I read a lot of comments on various forums where people bemoan Forest River and Thor. As I’ve written before, while these are large manufacturers of RVs, the sub-brands are not all the same. Thor makes everything from Tiffin and Airstream to brands like KZ. Forest River similarly makes everything from Rockwood/Flagstaff to brands like Cherokee.
One of the commonalities of these larger companies is that they strongly encourage the sub-brands to compete with one another. While all RV companies have a limited number of major suppliers to buy parts from, they can specify grades of parts and develop their own processes for building the RVs themselves.
How does this play out in the final product?
East to West Ahara
In the case of the Ahara line, these are wider fifth wheels at 101 inches in width. The walls are laminated with an Azdel substrate on the outer wall build. Azdel is a man-made product that, in theory, is less susceptible to delamination due to water intrusion.
There are three air conditioners on this unit, all of which are 13,500 BTU models and are a higher-efficiency design. The advantage of this is that you can run all three on a 50-amp service.
This might not sound surprising but, in some cases, the air conditioning systems are designed such that they cycle on and off. But, in reality, not all three are actually running at the same time. Further, if you’re on a 30-amp service, two can operate at the same time.
I often suggest that you look under an RV to see how the suspension is built before you ever step inside. I know of so many people who have purchased larger fifth wheels and then go have the suspensions upgraded after not that long.
You won’t have to do that with the East To West Ahara 365RL. This comes with a MORryde CRE 3000® suspension system with heavy duty wet bolts. That means they’re designed to be greased, which is proper maintenance. It’s better to be have a system that can be maintained than a closed system, in my opinion.
There are other things I appreciate, as well, such as no holes in the floor for furnace ducts. Instead, the furnace ducts are mounted low on the cabinets so you’re not stuffing dust and pet hair in them all summer long—which results in that awful smell the first time you kick the furnace on in the fall.
More features in the East To West Ahara 365RL
This floor plan is one that all makers of fifth wheels seem to build, so standing out is the challenge here. How does East To West do so?
One of those is with windows, windows, windows. I’m noticing more and more RVs with fewer and fewer windows. That’s not true here. There are lots of camp-side windows in this rig.
Also, the TV on this is on a televator, and there’s a window behind the TV. During the day you get a window, but it gets covered if you’re going to watch something.
The way the cabinet for this was done really works for me. The entire countertop is the same height from the edge of the stovetop all the way to the back wall of this model. That means you have lots of service or prep space—more than in most RVs.
A lot of fifth wheels put a pantry between the living room area and the kitchen area. Instead, East To West put that pantry on the front bulkhead behind two large doors. The shelves are adjustable and removable in here, and the pantry is somewhat shallow—which makes sense. I don’t know about you, but I know I always forget about the things in the back and have often gone to the grocery store and bought more of what I already had because I didn’t remember it was “back there.”
Best folding couch I have seen
This also has literally the best folding couch I have seen. This is a trifold arrangement where you simply pull out the bottom cushion and the rest of the couch folds with it. You don’t have to fiddle with the folding legs in the process of doing so. Neat.
Other details that show that the company is paying attention include the very usable kitchen featuring a large convection microwave and a large stove with a real oven. I like that the countertop extends past the stove. While nobody ever complained about too much storage and cabinet space in any RV, ever, open space isn’t a bad thing either.
Plus, there is a good amount of storage in here, so prioritizing counter space sets East To West apart in this model.
Upstairs in the East To West Ahara 365RL
The upstairs section of this is also unusual in that the company prioritized headroom by incorporating low-profile air conditioner units. This allows for the ceiling to be higher in the upstairs area while still allowing the rig to get under bridges.
The bathroom offers plenty of space for all functions, including a large shower with a seat. There are even two sinks. It’s almost not silly that that exists here—they’re both usable.
The standard bed is a king-sized affair in a slide room. That means closet and storage run the full width of the front of the trailer. Naturally, this is plumbed for a washer and dryer.
Boondocking and travel access
Fifth wheels are really adept at staying off the grid for longer periods of time just because the tank sizes are larger. It’s that simple. But this is also available with some advanced solar for those who want it. You can, of course, also opt in a generator.
Surprisingly, even with both of the slide rooms in on the main deck, you can still get to the fridge. Oh, and you can get a 12-volt compressor fridge or a traditional propane-electric RV fridge. Of course, the bathroom is fully accessible.
It’s a crowded market out there and, to make something that stands out, it’s going to take some work. I will say of all the fifth wheel brands out there, Grand Design has probably done the best with their brand managements and customer relations. Like with Airstreams, campers who have a Grand Design, say they have a Grand Design and want to tell you how much they like it.
That’s an enviable place to be.
Frankly, I would rather have one of these over the comparable Grand Design product just because I like the feature set and build methodology of this brand. But they still have to continue polishing the diamond that is their reputation out in the real world. The products, though, do seem to have what it takes to make for a good reputation.
More from Tony
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Tony comes to RVtravel.com having worked at an RV dealership and been a lifelong RV enthusiast. He also has written the syndicated Curbside column about cars. He also works closely with a number of RV manufacturers to get an inside look at how things are done and is a brand ambassador for Rockwood Mini Lite with his wife, Peggy.
You can also check out his 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. They are based on information from a single unit and may not reflect your actual experience. Shop your RV and dealership carefully before making a buying decision. 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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