We recently looked at two very different bunk model RVs: the Thor Magnitude RS36, a Super C, and the Coachmen Apex Ultra-Lite 256BHS, a travel trailer that really exploits the platform and makes good use of the space. And then the emails came in: What about a fifth wheel? Yeah, good point, RV Travel readers. What about a fifth wheel?
Just when I thought I had seen it all when it comes to RV floor plans, a unit like this comes along. There’s a lot to look at here.
While I have written a lot of reviews of various Rockwood Mini Lite travel trailers, I haven’t been as prolific with the company’s fifth wheels. A lot of what makes their travel trailers such standout models is also true of the fifth wheels.
For example, the trailers all start on a good foundation by incorporating Dexter Torflex suspension systems. I can’t really call to mind any other fifth wheel that utilizes this type of suspension. The advantage of this is that the suspension is semi-independent at each wheel with a torsion bar that is encased in a rubber shock tube, essentially.
This offers a smoother ride, which translates into the trailer not being rattled around as much.
Another plus about the Rockwood brand is that they frame anything that has to support weight in welded aluminum. While you will usually find things like dinettes, beds and that sort of thing framed with wood in the RV industry, that’s not true here. It’s welded aluminum framing.
Speaking of aluminum, the company also builds all the walls, floor and ceiling structure out of welded aluminum. This includes slide box walls, slide roof walls and slide floors. The floor, too, is a welded aluminum cage upon which is placed a 5/8” tongue-and-groove plywood substrate.
One thing that sold me on the Rockwood brand
But what sold me on this brand when I was looking five years ago is that the walls are all vacuum laminated in batches of just two at the company’s own plant. Then they employ frameless windows which are less likely to leak and require less maintenance. There’s also at least one high-performance fan in each Rockwood unit.
While some folks don’t like the way the frameless windows open, I can attest to there being plenty of air flow with that fan running and a few windows cracked open. Plus, you can leave the fan on and the windows open in the rain, which I’ve done on many occasions.
Also on the subject of windows, so many RVs nowadays come “thin shade ready” where there’s a provision to put a shade in the door window. Rockwood actually includes the shade. It’s not a major thing, but shows an attention to detail.
As a gadget geek I also appreciate the fact that Rockwood products both employ the Lippert OneControl® system – which lets you do things like open slide rooms and operate lights with your phone – but there are also proper buttons as well. So, basically, no matter what your preference, you’re covered. I like choice.
The company also has a terrific cabinet shop, which I’ve also visited. The cabinets are all hardwood, as you would hope to find in a better RV.
I also feel compelled to add this as I’ve watched RVs built at Rockwood and seen the quality inspections along the line and at the end of the line. Among other things, they fit a high-pressure fan in the door frame and pressure test each unit for leaks. That’s certainly not the only test they do, but it is an example of attention to detail.
Unusual floor plan in the Rockwood Ultra Lite 2891BH
I mentioned that this is an unusual bunk model floor plan, and that’s absolutely the case here. The bunk portion is at the rear of the trailer in its own room. There’s a larger 42” X 72” lower bunk atop which is another bunk of the same size. But that top bunk dog legs over with a 32” “L” so genuine adults could actually sleep here.
The dog leg on the bunk is atop a cabinet which incorporates a number of drawers. It’s also a large closet which is plumbed and wired for a washer and dryer combo.
Not sure about puttng a washer behind the axle on a trailer
There is something I feel compelled to write here and that’s about putting a washing machine behind the axle on a trailer, any trailer. Motorhomes often get away with this due to their being extremely heavy and riding really smoothly But I don’t know how long a washer will last or the forces it may be exposed to in this position. But it’s something to consider if that’s your intention here.
I can imagine you could reasonably sleep three smaller travelers back here or two normal-sized adults, although they’ll max out at 72” of height if that makes a difference. There’s also a good amount of cabinet and drawer space if you don’t opt for the washing machine. Or, heck, you could use this washing machine – which served us very, very well on a two-month Southwestern trip recently.
Main living space
Rockwood is unusual in that they often have a number of options available, unlike some brands. For example, there’s a big U-shaped dinette in the Rockwood Ultra Lite 2891BH with a free-standing table. But you can swap this out for theater seats, if you prefer.
Apparently, you can also sub in the theater seats instead of the tri-fold sofa, although these wouldn’t be directly across from the TV, if that matters.
One of the areas where fifth wheels really shine is in the galley. This is no exception, with lots of overhead cabinets, drawers and under-cabinet space, as well.
Speaking of space, I like that Rockwood uses a larger-than-typical microwave as a normal course of action, plus a 22” oven. I guess whoever makes decisions at Rockwood actually cooks in their RVs. I was recently talking with another content creator about small ovens and we agreed that most RV manufacturers essentially are checking boxes more than anything.
“Yep. It has an oven. So what if it’s almost unusable.”
One of the areas where fifth wheels generally shine is in the bathroom. Typically, fifth wheels have really large showers. This one, however, has the shower that you’ll likely find in one of Rockwood’s travel trailers. It works – it’s just not the gigantic shower you may expect.
Otherwise, the bathroom is fine. There’s plenty of space plus cabinet room here. All good.
Speaking of cabinets, this trailer features a wardrobe slide upstairs. So there is a good amount of closet and drawer space available. Rather than have the typical closets next to the bed, as you’ll find in most towables, this one has overhead cabinets. The hanging space is there in the road-side slide.
Other fifth wheel stuff
Another area where fifth wheels tend to shine is in front storage, and this one certainly does.
But there are also some unusual storage areas on the outside of this rig. Those include a narrow cabinet on the camp side that I guess might be good for fishing poles. There’s also a really tall cabinet that’s essentially behind where the refrigerator is on the inside. It’s almost funny how tall this storage bay is.
There’s also an outdoor kitchen with a two-burner cooktop and 120-volt bar-sized refrigerator. But then, Rockwood almost always includes a griddle and table, as well, which mounts to a slide-in bracket on the side. So, with the outside kitchen and griddle, you can really cook up a storm out here.
This fifth wheel is unusual in a couple of ways, starting with that rear bedroom. But that would make this a good choice for folks who actually have larger campers coming with them, as these bunks are larger than some bunkhouse models.
There’s also the bathroom. You’ll just have to decide for yourself if the shower suits you or not.
I like the way the Rockwood Ultra Lite 2891BH is built
As mentioned, I like the way these are built. I am particularly fond of this type of suspension, especially considering that the entire fifth wheel rides on this. So a difference is definitely noticed. There’s also a tire pressure monitoring system included, and Rockwoods use Goodyear Endurance tires.
Overall, this is a definitely different floor plan that could suit some travelers very well.
I would love to read your comments and suggestions over on our new forums, where you can weigh in and start or join a discussion about all things RV. Here’s a link to my RV Reviews Forum.
Tony comes to RVTravel having worked at an RV dealership and been a life long RV enthusiast. He also has written the syndicated Curbside column about cars. You can find his writing here and at StressLessCamping where he also has a podcast about the RV life with his wife.
These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. We receive no money or other financial benefits from these reviews. They are intended only as a brief overview of the vehicle, not a comprehensive critique, which would require a thorough inspection and/or test drive.
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