By Tony Barthel
Last week I shared a story about an incredible semi-truck sleeper cab and I don’t think I was clear about the fact that there are people who tow fifth wheels with what are called HDTs, or Heavy Duty Trucks. So what kind of trailer might you want to tow with an HDT? Perhaps this Heartland Big Country 370FB2 fifth wheel.
A few years ago, when California was having such intense wildfires and people were losing their homes, our dealership carried this brand of fifth wheel and it was all we could do to keep them in stock as people were looking for a replacement for the home the wildfires took. I got to see a good number of these Heartland Big Country 5ers come through the dealership on their way to being a temporary house while the owners built their new home.
There is a lot to like about these from a features standpoint. For example, in this model the kitchen features a good amount of counter space on a kitchen island surrounding a deep two-bowl stainless steel sink. The stovetop isn’t your typical RV stove but, rather, is a three-burner arrangement with very high-quality burners including a very high-performance center burner that can really bring on the heat. Beneath that is a real convection oven and above it is a 30” convection microwave.
These now come with only a residential refrigerator, and it’s a fancy model with French doors at the top and a slide-out freezer.
People also liked the fact that these had heated and massaging theater seats opposite an absolutely huge TV and fireplace. At the back of this model at a 90° angle from those theater seats is a jackknife sofa which can legitimately sleep two guests. It’s actually not horribly uncomfortable for sleeping unlike some of their kind.
Those guests will have access to one of two bathrooms in this unit, that being a downstairs half bath with toilet and sink. This actually would be a good full-time living model, especially if you have friends or relatives who come to stay for a few days at a time, because of this two-bath arrangement.
Upstairs you’ll find a king-sized bed in a slide opposite which is a set-in a window much like the houses in the neighborhood I grew up in where they had bay windows and the ladies would sit in those windows and do their sewing. But I digress. And RVs don’t have bay windows.
They do have a second bathroom that is essentially a good chunk of the nose cap of this unit, so you get a substantial shower and roomy bathroom and it feels like a “master bath” since you’re passing the bedroom to get into it. What isn’t bathroom space is used as a walk-in closet and that, too, is substantial.
Honestly, this really is a great unit for full-time living and, if I remember correctly, Big Country does warrant them for that… though I don’t see any reference to that on their website. But we all know RV company websites can be pretty lousy.
Another thing people liked about these was that the walls are 2” thick and you can get the frameless windows in dual-pane mode. While we don’t see Minnesota winter temps here in NorCal, we do get below freezing overnight (not good for wine grapes), so the insulation is much appreciated.
Since many of these customers had never been RVers before, they also appreciated the six-point hydraulic auto level where the coach would level up at the touch of a button.
I see that Heartland has also gone to Azdel substrates in their wall construction – and the drop-frame construction was a hit, too, as it provided a lot of storage space in the pass-through baggage compartments up front.
Lastly, since this beast is a big, heavy 5er, Heartland’s rep always extolled the virtues of their suspension which is a MORryde Series 3,000 two-axle system that incorporates shock absorbers. While these didn’t get towed by most of the people we sold them to, this would be an advantage for those towing these around. In our case, many of these were towed to the site by us.
I do not know if this has changed or not, but I also handled the warranties for our dealership and dealing with Heartland’s warranty system was a lesson in frustration for me. There were times I had to make multiple requests for coverage or parts and even one time I was so angry at the process I threw my computer mouse across the room.
To be fair, this was a few years ago and things may have changed – but they may not have.
If nothing else, this is certainly an interesting floor plan and really would make a good unit for full-time living or just a nice way to get away. I hope that Heartland’s service to their dealers has improved since I worked with them, as they do produce nice units that have a lot of the right specs. The place where I worked had since dropped Heartland partially because of these warranty challenges so I can’t tell you if they’ve been fixed or not. Might be a question for whomever handles the warranties at the dealership you go to if this is a unit that intrigues you.
Also, I fully encourage responses from owners of Big Country products on how the warranty service has been for you. I am hoping that they have made the big improvements that were promised to us.
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.