Recently we looked at the Coachmen Apex Untra-Lite 256BHS. After it was published, I got an email from a reader who has a similar model but one that’s different enough that it’s a very worthy contender for a few reasons. While they looked at the 256BHS, they prefer, and purchased, the Coachmen Apex Untra-Lite 300BHS. Why?
One nice feature about the 300 floor layout is the bunkhouse has a dividing sliding door. A friend went camping with us that has a 1-year-old daughter. Not only does the bunkhouse area have plenty of room to set up a pack and play (a portable play area), you can slide the door shut when it’s baby’s naptime so she could not see us and actually take a nap.
They mentioned liking both floor plans for a number of reasons, including the dining table on the awning side as opposed to being in the slide out as with many floor plans.
“I like sitting at my table in the morning drinking my coffee and looking out the window.”
Funny thing. As I write this, that’s exactly where I am and what I’m doing.
That bunk room in the Apex Ultra-Lite 300
As mentioned, the bunk room can be completely closed off so that whoever’s in there, or whatever mess they’ve made, gets shut off from the rest of this rig. That’s a definite bonus.
The couch in the bunk room is essentially just a number of foam blocks that can be configured as a couch or a bed. But, honestly, it’s also just removable. In that case, if you did want more floor space on this trip and then more sleeping space on the next, making that change is really easy.
But you could also bring a couple of chairs, or even camp chairs, and have yourself an office back there. That same door that keeps the munchkins from the adults can be used to do the same thing with the munchkins on the opposite side.
The bunk above this space swings up, so that’s a logical place for a desk or craft area. But that couch could also be folded into a fort and defended with nerf guns with the right audience.
On the plus side are things like Azdel substrates being used in the wall construction. Azdel is a man-made product that is not susceptible to water damage, unlike Luan, which is commonly used in laminated trailers.
On the outside of the Apex Ultra-Lite, I found out that you can opt for frameless windows in this model, which is what I would do. These windows offer much less concern about water damage. However, some folks don’t like them because they don’t open as far as some other styles. But then, that’s also why I like a high-performance vent fan. Plus, these can be left open in the rain— which I do frequently to enjoy the sounds and smells.
I also like that Coachmen doesn’t use floor registers. This seems particularly important in a bunkhouse model if you’re bringing the wee ones. There’s nothing hot to step on in the winter and not that temptation to drop things down the vents the rest of the year. Plus, unless you block the vents, you’re inevitably tracking dirt into them. And then there’s “that smell” the first few times you kick on the furnace after a long camping season.
Boondocking in the Apex Ultra-Lite
I’m not sure how long you could stay out with this trailer. There are 50 gallons of fresh water, which would serve my wife and me for about four-five days with daily Navy showers. But having more folks would reduce that.
There is a 100-watt solar panel on the roof. Frankly, this is more a battery tender than anything else. With a 12-volt fridge, you’re likely to want much more solar power to keep that thing humming if you’re camping off the grid. It’s not difficult to add these yourself or have a company do it for you. Coachmen is behind the game by not offering more solar as an option. I’m sure that’s coming.
But if you camp in RV parks with full services, then that’s not an issue. Also, this is a fairly long rig, so you might contact a few campgrounds you’re considering visiting just to be sure that they can handle this.
There are places in Northern California’s Redwoods area, for example, that I like to frequent that would not be able to accommodate this rig. Again, everybody has different styles, so I just want to be sure this fits your vision of RVing.
Minus side to the Apex Ultra-Lite
Naturally I’m going to continue beating on the puny 17” oven drum until RV manufacturers start at least considering the larger oven in their bunkhouse models. I used my own RV’s oven last night for a meal that likely would have never fit into this thing. The 22” oven is just usable. Plus, this meal would have served a family well and means leftovers tonight in our rig.
But the biggest thing I was disappointed about is that this didn’t appear to be fitted with the same nifty under-bed organizer as the 256 that we looked at recently. That under-bed storage system really impressed me, and I don’t know why it’s not here as well.
This would be a good floor plan with children. It’s just unfortunate that Coachmen didn’t include that nifty under-bed organizer that’s included in the 256.
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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