Monday, January 30, 2023


RV Review: Coleman Lantern LT 202RD

By Tony Barthel
When I was selling RVs, I would get a lot of friends who came by to shop our inventory and pricing. They’d anticipate getting a “buddy” price. That’s the beauty of having a friend in the RV business!

After several visits one day I was planning a big group camp trip, which is something I enjoy, and a mutual friend indicated that my buddy the shopper would like to come in his new camper. What? I didn’t sell him a trailer. 

It turns out that my friend went to a large national retailer and bought a Coleman Lantern LT 202RD. The Coleman Lantern LT 202RD is a couples’ smaller camper that packs a fair amount of amenities into a small box without a slide room. Even at under 25’ in total length you still get a queen-sized bed, a dinette and even a jackknife sofa – all in a package that my friend towed with a mid-size pickup. 

I can see the appeal of this trailer. It has huge windows surrounding the rear of the trailer, where a dinette sits on one side and that jackknife sofa on the other. Under both of those is some storage, certainly sufficient for the bedding if you’re going to convert either of those surfaces to a sleeping surface – which is something they both can do. 

For 2021, Coleman is including a 12-volt GE refrigerator, powered by your vehicle’s power, that can operate when rolling down the road. Once any of these 12-volt compressor refrigerators is cold, they actually take very little power to maintain temperature. Of course, they operate on shore power as well. 

This camper appealed to my friend for a couple of reasons. One is that these campers aren’t expensive and, two, the large rear windows really make them feel open. It’s also nice that there’s more than just a dinette to sleep in, and the lack of a slide makes them relatively light – some mid-size trucks could tow these. 

In the kitchen, there’s a pantry right next to the refrigerator on the street-side of this camper, which might be something you don’t expect. Opposite that is a counter with your three-burner stove featuring a 17” oven and a large plastic sink. I’m so used to seeing stainless steel or products that look like stainless steel that the plastic sink was a bit surprising, but they’re good enough. 

I also like that it’s not an undermount sink, as I have seen more than my share of undermount sinks become un-mounted sinks, which happens at the worst time, of course. By no means is this your well-equipped luxury trailer, but it’s not a cheap-feeling trailer either. 

Thor’s Dutchmen division, which makes these under the Coleman brand, tends to do pretty nice interiors in traditionally built (stick and tin or aluminum skin over wood framing) trailers. I would describe these interiors as generic RV brown but not in a bad way. They’re not offensive at all, and I like the fake plank look over the bed. It’s a printed pattern but you’ll have to touch it to reassure yourself that that’s the case. 

Even though this trailer seems bigger inside than the dimensions dictate, the one place you’ll feel the small size is in the bathroom, especially sitting on the plastic foot-flush toilet. This may be a nice couples’ camper, but that bathroom serves only one at a time, please. Also, the fan in the shower is that cheap vent fan that I wish would just disappear off the RV parts list. 

While the bathroom isn’t huge, the mattress is an actual residential-sized queen mattress – so if you deem the one that comes from the factory to be unsuitable, it’s easy enough to replace. There’s another bit of storage under the bed, as you would expect. But the hinged lid isn’t counterbalanced in any way, so you’ll be using your shoulders to keep the mattress from falling on your head while accessing that storage bin. 

A few things really stood out to me on the 2021 version of this trailer. One is that there’s now pre-wiring for power stabilizer jacks. Frankly, I just use an electric impact driver to accomplish jack raising and lowering, which also gives me an impact driver should I ever have to change a tire. This is one of those options where I would tell people to just save their money, but the choice is yours. 

I also like that, while this is a more affordable camper, there are still magnetic baggage door catches. Rounding out the value proposition is the enclosed underbelly on this trailer – although the black and gray tank pipe is fully exposed, so I don’t really see the point. 

Lastly, there are those solid steps for getting in and out. I remember selling these and feeling the old steps were pretty wiggly – my dog hated them. So these are a big plus in this price category. They’ve also put a larger platform on the top step, making ingress/egress a little easier. Nice. 

Ultimately what happened with my friend, who has since sold his camper, was that he found his mid-sized truck just wasn’t up to the job of towing this. Trailers with corrugated skin like this do have additional drag forces, and the pulling power reserves of some mid-size trucks can really be challenged by these. 

If you’re looking at this model and like it but don’t want to support that large national retailer, Dutchmen makes almost the same camper in the Aspen Trail 2180RD, and parent Keystone has the Springdale 222RD. While these trailers are very, very similar to the Coleman, there are a few minor differences including tank capacities. There are enough people who won’t shop at that large national retailer that these alternates are a choice they’d prefer. 

When my wife saw that our friend had purchased a Coleman trailer, she was excited to see how they had implemented all those cool Coleman gadgets she grew up using into an RV. She was disappointed to learn that there was no Coleman stove, cooler, lantern or any other bit to reflect the memories that the brand name evokes. Oh well. Still not a bad package and it does come with Keystone’s three-year structural warranty, so there’s that.

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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1 year ago

Except for a few grandfathered in RV Dealerships, the Colemen line up is “exclusively” sold at “the large retailer” and advertised as a “dealership, brand exclusive. Much like Thor making a lower quality Class C “Freedom Elite” for this dealerships locations. Colemens are priced as their “loss leader”. The controversial, very politically opinionated reality star wannabe CEO of the company negotiates the cost of Colemens, make cuts and negotiates to buy in bulk. It is a “starter” RV and nothing more. Coleman is AMAZING at sleeping bags, laterns, grills and tents. Travel trailers… meh. It’s a cheap, excuse me, economically priced travel trailer and fits many peoples budget and needs. The Colemen might literally be at the “bottom” of the travel trailer bar. But again, people get what they pay for and it gets people camping. On a positive note, new units come with warraties and believe me you are gonna need it at this build quality. Good luck getting a service appt with that dealership.

2 years ago

We bought a 2019, 193MBS Shadow Cruiser (19’3″ inside) in June of 2019 for $20,400 including all costs. Sticker said $29K. Made by Heartland out of Idaho. Managed by Cruiser RV. Same model as the Sundance by Thor. Thor owns Heartland. Weighs 4300 lbs, fiberglass, with a dinette slide out and a Murphy bed with a couch underneath it. Full size fridge and oven. Dual axle. With the slide out and the bed up we get 7 people in the trailer with plenty of room. They extended the warranty because of COVID. We pull it with a 1/2 ton 2018 Nissan Titan (9,400 lbs towing capacity). Our Shadow Cruiser is similar to the Coleman. I also think this Coleman is a good deal; especially if one negotiates the price down 15 – 20%. It will fit a niche of newbies or a couple who doesn’t want to spend a lot but get a very usable camper. Thanks for the Coleman review.

2 years ago

That 3 year warranty is only as good as the company behind it.

Bob P
2 years ago

Surprised you would feel negative thoughts about the largest RV manufacturer in the world. Lol

Donald N Wright
2 years ago

Please tell your wife I have my old 1980 Coleman Gettysburg popup if she wants it. They used to be built by craftsmen, now Coleman is assembled with parts made overseas.

Ron J. Moore
2 years ago

Seems that is for all the manufacturers.

Bill Hewitt
2 years ago

What makes you believe that companies overseas don’t have craftsmen? If Chinese-made products are of poor quality, is because that is the way the US company specified them.

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