Speaking with my RV friends, it’s amazing how much prices for these have gone up in the past year. For example, yesterday’s update on the Keystone Outback reflected a $12,000 price increase since the last time we looked at that model.
Honestly, my wife and I went RV shopping and were having issues justifying the price of new RVs that we had looked at not too long ago. At that time we thought were reasonably priced and now they were closer to the wow segment. So, I thought I’d spend some time looking at just what you can get for under $30,000.
First of all, some RV manufacturers make it much easier to include this criteria in the parameters for looking into things. As such, I’m going to start with Keystone’s Springdale brand, one that we represented when I was selling RVs. While these were affordable “stick and tin” models, they tended to be fairly well-made and customers liked them. In fact, they had one of the lowest incidences of coming back for warranty claims.
So, the first in this series under $30,000 is going to be the Keystone Springdale 202QBWE at $30,930. Wait a minute, you say. That’s almost $1,000 over the criteria you just set. Well, yeah. But I’m figuring you’ll get the trailer for less than MSRP if you find a good dealership. I know some of them are selling at full retail right now, but that’s just crazy.
As always, I suggest you shop your dealer before you shop your RV. A great RV dealer can make the difference between an outstanding experience and a lousy one, to be honest.
Keystone Springdale 202QBWE
First, what’s in a name? In the case of this travel trailer, the QBWE stands for Queen Bed Western Edition. No, the Western Edition isn’t just for cowboys and rustlers. Keystone sells so many trailers there’s a plant in Oregon that builds some of the models for those of us on the left coast. These are the ones we’d get when I was selling RVs.
The Springdale line of travel trailers is built in the manner in which travel trailers have been built for a very long time. In the industry, these are referred to as “stick and tin” trailers, which means wood framing and a corrugated aluminum skin. This is a less expensive way of building trailers but offers advantages. One of those is being easily repaired in the event that a pesky tree jumps out at you or something of that sort.
As with any way of doing things, there are variations in the methodology. We liked that Keystone used a 24’ x 8’ sheet of plywood in the floor that’s called Dyna Span® subflooring. The benefit of this is that there are no seams along any trailer with a cabin shorter than 24 feet in length.
This Dyna Span flooring was mounted on a frame specifically built for this floorpan. That means any holes or other voids in the steel would only be there for a reason. That frame also included full-width outriggers.
Springdale has transferable three-year structural warranties
I remember when Springdale, and other Keystone brands, introduced three-year structural warranties and made them transferable – kind of a big deal. But, on the subject of warranties, our experience with these was that they didn’t need a lot of attention from the warranty department. Springdale was one of those brands we just relied on to build solid units.
One of the things I really liked about this floor plan is the rear dinette and the windows that surround it. This also makes into a bed, of course. But it’s a great floor plan if you can back up to a spot with a view, as the large windows really make this layout.
Under the skin, Springdale uses a color coded wiring system. If there is an electrical issue, the wire colors are consistent from model to model. This might sound like a no-brainer for anyone who has worked on vehicles. However, it’s surprisingly unique in the RV industry.
Of course, I keep bringing up the fact that Keystone has their SolarFlex™ system standard now on all their trailers, including these affordable models. In the case of the Springdale 202QBWE, you get a 200-watt solar panel on the roof. You can easily add a second 200-watt solar panel or your dealer can do it for you. That, too, would be warranted by Keystone.
This trailer is also well-suited to boondocking, with 60 gallons of fresh water along with that SolarFlex. With that big back window, this would be a great trailer for those who love to camp in forests and such.
As with any “stick and tin” trailer, owners are well-advised to pay attention to seals and voids in the surface area. Since windows don’t sit on a flat surface, there is more sealant than there might be on a laminated trailer. This is just one of the areas where water intrusion can happen.
Those who are diligent about maintenance likely won’t have a problem. But many, many owners are not, so there are just more opportunities for the weather to join you inside this nice space.
Springdale, like other Keystone brands, also has what they refer to as 4G LTE and Wi-Fi readiness. But this is a system that requires hardware upgrades and a service plan. You’re better off just getting something like a cell phone booster.
Something I’m not a fan of are the floor heater registers, but you can cover those with magnetic sheets in the summer so they don’t load up with dog hair.
I’m really surprised how much the prices of RVs have increased in the past few years. To that, you have to add delivery. For example, to get an RV delivered from Indiana to the left coast it’s costing almost $6,000. Seriously. And that’s a hard cost the dealers have to pass along to the customer.
So buying something made a little closer to home that’s reasonably affordable makes a lot of sense. We’ll look at a few other trailers that you can likely leave the dealership with for under $30,000 in the next few days.
I would love to read your comments and suggestions over on our new forums, where you can weigh in and start and 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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Love my new NEW
2022 KEYSTONE SPRINGDALE 202QBWE, no issues very well built for what I paid out the door with two batteries $26k in Madera ca looks good, very functional, no slide! So not need and having an oven was a must for me.camping world kicked dirt in the faces of all of the dealers u contacted in California and saving
And financing at 4% long term under $200 a month was great. Will double up the payments
Actual Bed Size
I’m a big guy (6’-6”) and I really need to know the actual size of the bed. I’ve seen “queen” beds in RVs range from 60” x 74”, 60” x 75”, to the residential queen size 60” x 80”. It would be useful if you stated the actual bed size in your reviews.
Hi, Tim. I think Tony usually puts in the bed measurements. Not sure why he didn’t this time. But I just looked it up on their website and it’s 60″ x 74″. (I used to be 74″ tall, until gravity took its toll! Heck!) Now I really have to look (way) up to my two 6’8″ sons! Have a good night. 🙂 –Diane
Love that you are reviewing smaller, affordable trailers WITHOUT slides. Get rid of the knee knocker table & put a window above the bed, and this one would work well for me.
Tony, Thanks for another great review. This segment of the market is often overlooked, and needs your attention. I’ve always liked Keystone (and Jayco) because the freshwater capacity is always generous (good for boondocking). In the past week or so, it was posited that the freshwater capacity was too large in relation to the CCC of a rig. The same could be said about this particular Keystone. I was taught never to tow any rig with a full water tank because it likely upsets its center of gravity while going around a curve on the highway. Fill up on water once you’re close to your destination. A full water tank doesn’t upset a parked RV’s stationary center of gravity. Plus, there is no rule that says you cannot fill your tank to less than 100% while on the road. Your guidance on this topic would be appreciated.
Roger, I must have my water tank full when towing. It’s a small rig but that weight is necessary for my tongue weight. If it’s full it doesn’t slosh much. The rigs with huge water tanks usually have baffles so it doesn’t slosh from side to side. Maybe Tony can address this.