Tuesday, March 21, 2023


RV Review: 2023 Jayco Redhawk 26M

Today’s RV review is of the Jayco Redhawk 26M, a Class C motorhome built on the Ford E-450 platform. This is a relatively small Class C motorhome, but one with some pretty great features and really good packaging. 

Playing with Godzilla

I really prefer the Ford E-Series platform to their Transit, or even the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis for a number of reasons, but the principal among those is the 7.3-liter gasoline V8 that they call the Godzilla engine. 

Essentially, this is a huge, old-fashioned, relatively simple gasoline engine like the kind that powered the hulking behemoths of the 1970s. Nothing fancy here, and that’s good. This is a truck. Regular unleaded. No fancy technology. Just a big engine that does a great job of hustling around a giant box on wheels. 

The funny thing is, this engine is actually a tiny bit more fuel efficient than the one it replaced with ten cylinders and overhead camshafts and all of that. There’s something magical about tons and tons of torque in a big truck. 

Lots of torque also means towing capability. And this rig has it with 7,500 pounds of towing ability. Nice. 

In the past, the cab of the E-Series has been, well, industrial. It’s not quite up to the standards of the Mercedes-Benz. But this model comes with a large display that incorporates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with cameras all over the place. So it’s not as dismal as it had been in the past. 

The seats also spin around to face the main cabin, and there’s a booster cushion included. Those seats sit in a bit of a well, as the cab floor is lower than the camper floor. So the booster lets you sit up at camper level when the seats are facing backwards. 

Murphy’s bed

The first thing we should go over is what I think will break the deal for some of you—the Murphy bed. Not only does this have a Murphy bed, but it’s a 60” X 70” Murphy bed. That’s not going to make some of you very happy and, well, there are other Class C motorhomes worth considering if that’s you. 

But if the size of the bed is okay after all, then something that may tickle your fancy is the fact that the bed is power-operated and does not have a bend in the middle. It’s a single flat bed. 

I know a good number of readers might use something like this both for family vacation and also vacationing with hunting or fishing buddies—and Jayco has you in mind. For example, if I went out in the woods with my friends and one of us were on a Murphy bed, the others would push the power button to clamshell the Murphy occupant to the great delight of the others. 

But Jayco anticipated this and you need a key in a lock to make the Murphy bed work. If I were out with my friends and I were the one sleeping in the Murphy bed, you can bet that key would be well hidden, particularly after a night of drinking craft beer. 

For those not interested in sleeping here, there is also a bunk over the cab that’s rated for up to 750 pounds. 

The dinette, too, makes into a bed that’s 42” X 80”—which might solve the height problem. 

Height of things to come

Speaking of height, the ceiling height on this model is seven feet, so taller folks might like that. This would play out well in the bathroom, which is pretty spacious, including the larger shower. Plus, there’s enough room around the main thinking chair to accomplish all tasks associated with that seat. 

That better ceiling height also means that even taller campers can stand up in the shower without their head in the bubble—bonus. 

Otherwise, the interior features a good amount of cabinetry and pretty decent storage. 

Boondocking and travel access

A rig like this is well-suited to boondocking for a lot of reasons, but the principal one is how long you can go without hook-ups. This rig comes with an Onan gasoline generator so you can top off your batteries or even run the air conditioners, if need be. 

Further, the only fridge available at the time of this writing is the propane-electric gas-absorption style that has been part of RV life for ages. While I think this would be a great place for a 12-volt fridge, they’re not available in here. Yet. On the plus side, those propane-electric fridges place a tiny tax on the house batteries, so they are really well-suited to being off the grid. 

Speaking of batteries, you can opt in a solar system here with a 190-watt solar panel. This system will also keep the chassis battery charged if your rig is in storage. That is a big reason I’d check this option if I were placing the order. 

As for travel access, you can get to the bathroom all the way at the back of the rig even with the very large slide room in. In fact, everything is accessible with one exception—ol’ Murphy’s bed. There will be no putting that down with the slide in. The button won’t even work with the slide in. 

There is the dinette and the overhead bunk for mid-journey siestas, if need be. So I don’t see this as that big of a deal. 

Speaking of journeys, Jayco has seat belts in the U-shaped dinette that are rated about ten percent higher in capacity than federal mandates. Further, there is a child safety restraint provision on the forward-facing seating position. I’m glad to see RV manufacturers going this route. 

Jayco stuff

These chassis undergo a lot of massaging before they become an actual motorhome. The drive shaft is balanced, they add Hellwig Helper Springs, and there are rubber isolation mounts between the body and chassis. All of this is meant to make this truck less truck-like.

There are further pluses to the Jayco brand, including their roof build.


I really like this rig a lot. The size and layout would work really well for me, and I have zero issues with Murphy beds. In fact, I like them because they make a camper more friendly to multiple uses. 

But, if you haven’t figured this out yet, now’s the time that I should come clean and tell you I’m strange. 

However, no RV is perfect and this one has a few faults, including the small oven and the cheap bathroom fan. My gosh, for this kind of dough you’d think we wouldn’t see the same issues I see in low-budget travel trailers. Bummer. 

But, still, for flexibility, towing and features this is a tough one to beat unless, of course, that Murphy bed is a deal breaker for you. 

More from Tony

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.

If you’re RV shopping here are some tips on RV shopping from a former RV salesperson—me!

Tony comes to RVtravel.com having worked at an RV dealership and been a lifelong RV enthusiast. He also has written the syndicated Curbside column about cars. He also works closely with a number of RV manufacturers to get an inside look at how things are done and is a brand ambassador for Rockwood Mini Lite with his wife, Peggy.

You can also check out his RV podcast with Peggy. 

These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. They are based on information from a single unit and may not reflect your actual experience. Shop your RV and dealership carefully before making a buying decision. 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.

Got an RV we need to look at? Contact us today and let us know in the form below – thank you!



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Dennis Johnson
5 months ago

60″ x 70″?!?!?! That’s a drive-by on the dealer lot!!!

Steve H
5 months ago

Not only is the “queen” bed only 60×70″, the floorplan shows the dinette is only 43×74″, not 80″. That means the only place I could sleep comfortably is over the cab. But that one is a long step down to get to the bathroom at 2:00 am.

Edward Wilkinson
5 months ago

Hooray for Jayco! No 12 volt fridge available in this model! To me, a dyed in the wool dry camper, the worst thing that can happen is a 12v fridge in a rig. I know…I have one. My 2022 Rockwood 2109S has a near 10 cu ft GE fridge which has cost me a lot of extra dough. Medusa is my pet name for this wonder. I had to buy extra panels to supplement my 380 watts of solar. I had to buy an inverter generator to top off the 6 volt golf cart batteries, which I had to replace with 200 amps of LiFePo4 batteries, and update my converter to handle Lithium batteries…all to feed this 12v wonder of a fridge. Now that the power problems are solved [?]…how do I keep the food from falling out of the fridge? Lots of torsion curtain rods have helped…but not solved…the problem with this [not made for] RV fridge.

I know some folks like the 12v, and they have their place in the industry, but for dry camping on the cheap, an LP fridge is the best bet.

Dennis Johnson
5 months ago

Trying to maintain constant temperature is a huge challenge with our 12v fridge. You think you have it adjusted to a satisfactory range, then go to bed. Next morning it’s below 32°. So you adjust it warmer just a hair and next check it’s 42°. There’s no consistency whatsoever. The freezer goes up and down, too, but not as big an issue as food is frozen and takes the swings better.

Dennis Johnson
5 months ago
Reply to  Dennis Johnson

And yes, we use a battery powered fan and keep food away from the back wall, which is frosted, to help the fan circulate.

Bob p
5 months ago

Are you sure about the 60X70 bed? Question… if the 7.3L is the Godzilla engine, what was Fords 7.5L 460 cu in V8? Or GM’s 7.4L or 8.1L 496 cu in? Lol. Did the millennial engineers not do their history research? Lol

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