Friday, June 2, 2023


RV Review: Coachmen Freedom Express Ultra Lite 238BHS

In yesterday’s overview of bunk models that are potentially half-ton towables, one that I should have included that I hadn’t written a review of, until today, is the Coachmen Freedom Express Ultra Lite 238BHS. 

With a gross weight of 7,600 pounds, this trailer offers a lot of bunk usefulness in a package that’s relatively flexible. Not as much as the Ember 191MSL, mind you, and I am willing to bet that that is going to be the new target a lot of RV manufacturers are going to be gunning for. But, still, this is a nice overall package. 

Highlights of the Freedom Express Ultra Lite

There are definitely some trailers that I see more as taking up residence in RV parks and those that are clearly meant for boondocking. I would categorize this as an RV park favorite only because it really shines when the slide is out, but it isn’t all that great when it’s in. 

This trailer is also better suited than some for taller travelers, with a 6’9” interior ceiling height. There’s also a real queen bed in the front. Both bunks are 50” X 74” with a weight rating of 300 pounds. There are also snap-on blackout panels that cover the windows in the bunk area, as opposed to curtains. 

I can see the blackout panels being polarizing. Kids will likely just pull them to get them off the wall, which may pull out the snaps. They might also be tough for some parents to put into place. But they’re also simple and easy to figure out, as well as durable—snaps aside. 

One of the legitimate questions I see a lot of readers ask in the comments section of these reviews centers around the fact that there aren’t as many places to sit and eat as there are to sleep. While one answer I also see given is that most campsites have a picnic table outside, this doesn’t help in places where it’s raining or where the mosquito force is on high alert and ready to attack. 

Good seating in the Freedom Express Ultra Lite

In here there is a u-shaped dinette that’s good for at least four people. There’s also a couch in the front that can easily accommodate two adults. 

Both of these seating positions incorporate tables that are not attached, which is my favorite way to put a table in an RV. The U-shaped dinette has a free-standing table that mashes down to help it become a sleeping surface. Coachmen includes a folding plastic table that could be used with the outside kitchen or as the table for the couch in the front. Choices are good. 

Murphy bed

On the subject of that Murphy bed, I know one of the reasons some travelers dislike these is that they are often configured such that they’re difficult to walk around. That’s not the case here, since the couch has no arm rests on the sides. So when the bed is down, it truly does make for a walk-around situation. 

The bed in this does fold about one-third of the way down, so that will turn off some campers. but it does take a smaller trailer and give it more useful space when the bed is up. I do think the mechanism to access the bed is well thought through, so it’s a pretty quick change. And, once again, I will advocate the RV Super Bag for this bed. 

No, the RV Super Bag is not cheap. But ours has had five years of use and is still in perfect condition. It is now going to find a home in our new RV that we’re picking up this week. 

Plenty of storage in the Freedom Express Ultra Lite

Storage is also a strong suit on this trailer. There is a pantry in the slide room, several drawers beneath the L-shaped counter, storage under the couch, and even a smaller pantry at the rear bulkhead of the main living space. 

Further, there is storage under the bottom bunk, but no way to access it from outside. However, this could also mean it serves as a pet kennel for pets that like this circumstance. 

Another big plus on the interior is that there are no furnace vents in the floor. Further, Coachmen’s flooring material is extended to the slide so the whole floor is a vinyl flooring. This is great with younger campers. 

Outside matters

I like a lot of the things Coachmen did outside this trailer. That includes the fact that the plastic table I mentioned earlier can also join the party out here.

Outside kitchens are another area that people have strong feelings about. This is a good one with a rail in the side of the trailer for a table and a propane griddle. This type of thing doesn’t take interior space, but still provides a place for these things.

There is a cabinet out here with a small bar-sized fridge and a fully plumbed sink. Further, Coachmen took their very clever U-shaped utensil drawer and fitted that around the sink.

There are also magnet hold-backs on the baggage doors. But Coachmen added a bonus in the form of mechanical latches, as well. Further, those baggage doors and the entry door are all keyed alike.

Boondocking and travel access

While the interior of this trailer is spacious and mostly well thought out, it is a total no-go in terms of mid-journey access. The slide prevents the couch from allowing the bed down. The L-shaped kitchen counter conspires with the dinette to block access to anything else in here.

In summary

I would absolutely consider this along with the few trailers I mentioned yesterday for a half-ton potential bunk model trailer. The higher ceiling height and spaciousness of this floor plan without this being too large of a trailer are a good combination. 

Further, I like that Coachmen is using Azdel as the substrate on both inside and outside walls. Lastly, there is now a tire pressure monitoring system included with this trailer. That is definitely a good thing. 

Yeah, yeah. There are the typical traits that so many bunk model trailers have, including that ridiculous small oven. This one is also following the trend of black cabinetry. That’s up to the buyer to repaint or just ignore. 

Overall, I’m liking Coachmen products more and more for certain applications. This is one where it fits quite nicely. 

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 having worked at an RV dealership and been a lifelong 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 an RV podcast with his wife, Peggy. 

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.

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

Tony Barthel
Tony Barthel
Tony Barthel has been a life-long RV enthusiast and travels part-time with his wife where they also produce a podcast, write about RVs and love the RV lifestyle.


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Roger Spalding
1 year ago

I find it very difficult to believe that the head in this rig is capable of servicing up to 8 campers. The bunk room destroys any reasonable space for the BR’s intended purpose. I suppose that a family with very young children might make a go of it. But, a parent assisting a toddler with the child’s morning ablution appears to be a tight fit. A young family on an ever tightening budget will be facing a catastrophe when the thing breaks, and then gets jerked around on a warranty claim. Why can’t we lease these things? It would give people a much cleaner exit when things go bad. Camping World salesmen offering consignment of your white elephant is just another rip off.

1 year ago
Reply to  Roger Spalding

There are multiple peer-to-peer rental websites where you can find every imaginable type, size, and MSRP RV. Even a weekend in a “wish list” RV might provide enough camping experience to prevent many of the mistakes newbies make on their first purchase. And it might “weed-out” some of the low-end, poorly made, defect-prone RVs being built by the industry The rentals may cost $100s/night, but it could save tens of $1000s on a lemon that sits all summer waiting for warranty work!

1 year ago

Another complete waste of money by installing a windshield behind a Murphy bed. It provides no light in daytime with bed up then you have to cover it at night for privacy as it always faces the neighbors across the road in a campground. Its only purpose is to freeze the heads of the sleepers on cold nights!

1 year ago

I saw this video by Josh the RV Nerd, and this RV is just about perfect for our needs. Very well equipped except for one thing, the bunk beds. As it would be only us two, bunk beds are nothing more than a storage area. I would have much prefered that the space be added to the bathroom. (which is not tiny really) I guess you could remove the beds and store bikes or other gear there. Love the outdoor kitchen layout.

Last edited 1 year ago by TexasScout

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