Lots and lots of RVs just seem to be making big changes to interiors, features, technology and that sort of thing. So I recently stopped by the dealership where I previously worked and checked out the 2022 Coachmen Chaparral 336TSIK fifth wheel on my journey to see what differentiates one of these very popular floor plans from another.
My take on the Coachmen Chaparral was that it feels like an RV from a few years ago in terms of color choices and such. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Further, there were some interior features and qualitative differences that would definitely make this rig worth adding to your checklist, if that’s what you’re up to.
The Chaparral is the top of the Coachmen fifth wheel line. As mentioned, a lot of the competition is coming up with interiors that really feel cutting edge. While this one seems more traditional, there were absolutely features that make it very much worth considering. Also, making polarizing interiors isn’t always in the best interest of a company, and I don’t feel that the interior is unattractive.
For those who camp during more different seasons it’s good to know that Coachmen has certified these for use in temperatures from 0° to 110° Fahrenheit, and has done so in a temperature chamber. There are a few brands who have also done this and really make a big noise about it.
Emphasis on build materials and quality at Coachmen
Coachmen puts a lot of emphasis on build materials and build quality in their marketing voice. That includes using a Road Armor® Suspension By Trail Air® with heavy duty shackles and wet bolts. I think the better the suspension and the more you’re able to maintain that, the longer everything’s going to last.
This unit also features the Azdel® substrate in the sidewall lamination, which I really like. I don’t see as many fifth wheels as I do travel trailers using this. There have been some arguments that it doesn’t have the structure for these large walls. But then I’ve seen arguments that it’s better for large walls.
Interestingly, one of the things Coachmen pointed out as a decision about climate is that they specifically chose lighter color roller shades. They cited the fact that darker roller shades actually attract more light and heat.
There are also some details here that I keep harping on. Coachmen nails those, including using the larger 22” RV oven and providing both a digital control panel and traditional switches. The microwave, too, is a larger model that will actually hold a proper plate.
New to the stove and microwave area is a large pantry to the left of the stove. This particular model featured a large gas-electric RV refrigerator in it.
What’s inside the Chaparral
As mentioned, if you’re a fifth wheel maker there’s a huge chance that you’re making one with this floor plan. The couch is at the rear and there are theater seats directly opposite a large TV and fireplace. There’s a dining space and the kitchen has an island. Also, there are slides on both sides. Again, none of that is surprising.
But what I really thought was nifty were the two bar stools at the island. There’s a place where that could form a breakfast nook, or just a place to sit with friends.
There’s also the dining table, of course, with four free-standing chairs.
I also really liked the way the Chaparral arranged the front wall of the main living space. There’s a single wide countertop and lots of cabinets all around. This would be a great place for things like instant pots or toasters or coffee makers, if those are things you bring along.
While a queen-sized bed is standard in the 336TSIK you can opt for a king-sized model, which is how the one I saw was outfitted. I like that Chaparral still puts bedside tables beside even the king bed.
Up front, the closet occupies the entire width of the nose of the RV. However, there is also a provision for a washer and dryer up here.
The nightstand opposite the bed is a solid design with four somewhat shallow drawers. But then the lid on it flips up and there’s a shallow compartment here that runs the full width of the nightstand.
There are lots of companies which, even with the sales of anything they can possibly churn out, are coming up with newer and unusual products. But the long game is to continue to hone what you do and do it well enough that the discussion around the campfire isn’t about how odd or unusual or unusable your RV is.
I think Coachmen has done a good job with this platform, especially with details that will make a difference long-term such as the insulation, build materials, suspension and basic features. In fact, oftentimes just doing the normal stuff well really does play out better in the long run.
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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