Friday, September 17, 2021
Friday, September 17, 2021

RV review: 2022 Flagstaff Micro Lite 25FBS, and how I evaluate RVs, part 2

Yesterday we took a look into how I come about my opinions on some of the key features that I think are important in RVs. Unfortunately, you might have come to the conclusion that I wasn’t such a fan of the RV in that review and, well, you’re not entirely wrong. 

So what is a good alternative? I think I’ve established that my own research in travel trailers led me to the Rockwood/Flagstaff line from Forest River. The closest model I can find to yesterday’s reviewed trailer is the Flagstaff Micro Lite 25FBS (also available as the Rockwood Mini Lite 2513s). 

Feature for feature inside, I wanted to show how different manufacturers put things together as a way to do some of your own research if there’s a model you’re considering. Both of these trailers are comparable in terms of size and weight, and within a similar price range. 

Both also offer theater seats and a couch, although the way they accomplish this is very different, indeed. Grand Design has a dinette, whereas Flagstaff/Rockwood have a couch – but that couch is under the Murphy bed when that is down. 

Murphy’s Law

I’ve written before that I was using my own trailer, a 2017 Rockwood, as the office for a car show. People were really intrigued by the trailer and wanted tours – which I offered. I was surprised at the very decided opinions of a Murphy bed: some folks liked them, others were adamantly opposed to it. 

I don’t understand why. It’s a great solution to making the interior of a smaller trailer much more usable. But we are all entitled to our own feelings about things, of course. So, I will fully acknowledge that this can be a deal breaker for some. 

Suspension

Yesterday one of the areas I was most critical of was the suspension system, noting that some owners in forums reported upgrading this. In the Flagstaff you’ll find twin torsion axles –  which is my favorite suspension design. This system uses a rubber torsion spring that’s frozen and then inserted into a metal torque tube to form the suspension. It offers better dampening action than a traditional leaf spring and requires no maintenance. 

However, all trailers do require periodic wheel bearing maintenance. 

While we’re down here looking at the suspension, it’s also worth taking a look at the tires, which are Goodyear Endurance ST tires. These are mounted on aluminum rims and filled with nitrogen. But there are also in-wheel tire pressure monitors included here. They also provide details about tire temperature. 

To me this is a best-in-class solution. 

Wall construction

I had also mentioned Azdel as a wall substrate and aluminum construction. Flagstaff and Rockwood use both inner and outer Azdel substrate material on the Micro Lite/Mini Lite (and ePro/Geo Pro) trailers. They then only vacuum laminate two wall assemblies at a time. The side, rear and slide room walls are all built this way, as is the roof. 

Part of those walls are frameless windows, which require less maintenance. However, these don’t offer as much natural air flow. But then Flagstaff includes a MAXXAIR roof vent fan as standard equipment. 

The Flagstaff Micro Lite 25FBS is a road warrior

I like any RV where you can use the unit with the slide in for mid-journey stops for things like the bathroom or refrigerator. The slide room in this unit does make it tight to get past the “L”-shaped kitchen counter. However, there is a door at the front of the trailer and one at the rear, so you do have full access to the useful features of the trailer. 

Also, this model features a Furrion 12-volt television, so you can use the TV without a generator or having to be plugged in. That’s smart. 

If you choose the optional 12-volt refrigerator, it also comes with 190 watts of solar on the roof along with a solar charge controller and a 1,000-watt inverter. You can opt in a second 190-watt solar panel. You can also utilize a solar panel on the side of the rig with a port there, which is common in the industry. 

If you are a boondocker, one of the niftiest gadgets on an RV is the SHOWERMI$ER system. This allows you to direct water back into your fresh water tank as you wait for the hot water in the shower. Once the water gets hot, a sheath on the valve changes colors and you’re good to go. I don’t know how many gallons this will save, but it’ll be enough to potentially add another day to your off-grid adventure – and that’s cool. 

Dislikes

It seemed like a litany of dislikes yesterday without enough redeeming likes to put that trailer on my list. Today there’s a litany of likes with a few dislikes regarding the Flagstaff Micro Lite 25FBS. 

The first dislike is that front windshield and a Murphy bed. Honestly, if the bed is up, the windshield is useless. If the bed is down you likely have the blinds drawn. This is just silly. 

I’ve also had to replace more than a few glass shower doors under warranty when I was at the dealership. So I’m not a big fan of these.

More stuff

Flagstaff and Rockwood offer a lot of choices and options. These include two exterior colors and a bunch of other stuff. In a trailer this size, I wish the standard AC unit was 15,000 BTU. But it’s not, though you can opt that in. 

You can also get thermopane windows, a tongue-mounted bike rack and more. 

One of the details that caught my eye in the Flagstaff Micro Lite 25FBS was the breakfast bar integrated into the kitchen counter. I think that’s a nifty thing. This would be a pretty nice trailer if you liked entertaining people. There’s also a shoe cubby right at the rear entrance. 

Flagstaff incorporates the Lippert OneControl app technology but also has traditional buttons on the control panel. I like this combination of options – it gives everybody a choice. 

I also have used the heck out of the outside griddle which comes with this trailer. 

In summary

If the Flagstaff Micro Lite 25FBS were dramatically more expensive than the one I tested yesterday, I could see the decision being much more difficult to make when comparing the two. But the MSRP of this trailer is almost $5,000 less than the Grand Design and, frankly, I think it’s a far superior product. 

I can see some balking about the Murphy bed. That does also mean the front pass-through storage is less than it would be in the Grand Design.

The way these two reviews are written, I hope this has a little bit of value to you in how to do your own research. There is no single answer to any question, so none of these are absolutes. Also, I may have issues with leaf spring suspensions. But my own vintage travel trailer has been riding on these since 1970 – so they’re not all bad, actually. 

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.

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

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REVIEW OVERVIEW

Build Materials
Boondocking capability
Front windshield

SUMMARY

The Flagstaff Micro Lite 25FBS travel trailer offers a lot of flexibility with the floor plan, really solid build materials and some terrific nods to boondocking. Plus I further detail my thoughts in what I use to help evaluate RVs for review.

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Dennis
20 days ago

Are you sure about the 2,000 watt inverter? My research shows a 1,000 watt offered and no mention of an upgrade. 2,000 watt makes sense, enabling more appliances to be used. The fridge takes up a lot of that 1,000 and upgrading by the customer would not be covered by warranty,,,, maybe.

Diane Kenny
20 days ago

Tony, day after day, what a valuable asset you are to this publication. I especially value learning how to assess the positives and negatives of any RV you care to show us. And I’m a nut for floorplans. (My sweet husband agrees to my being a nut- for floorplans!) Thanks!

Steve
20 days ago

Our 2012 Rockwood Mini Lite 2109S was a similar floor plan, but nearly 4′ shorter and much lighter. It had a fixed queen bed instead of a Murphy bed. One selling point when we special-ordered it was access to the bathroom, refrigerator, and bed with the slide in. We used that feature every day we were towing in the 3 years we had it and 27,000 miles we put on it. We also enjoyed the torsion-axle suspension on our 9,000-mile trip to the frost-heaved, roller-coaster highways of the Yukon and Alaska. But we disliked the window above the bed on cold winter nights when heading for snowbird country south of I-10, even though we had ordered it with the optional thermopane windows. Our only mods were to cover that window with a quilted “headboard”, replace the heavy folding table (stored behind the sofa) with two lightweight TV trays, and construct a PVC-pipe towel rack that fit behind the toilet. The 2109S must have been a successful design for Rockwood as they are still being made!

Member
Karel Carnohan DVM (@karel-carnohan)
21 days ago

Thanks Tony. Do the Rockwood models have the torsion axles and the shower miser? Are the Rockwood and Flagstaff models essentially the same trailer in all respects except name? I find the manufacturers often don’t specify the type of suspension in the specs. Sometimes they give you a brand name. Plus how do you know if they are wet or dry bolt?

Snayte
21 days ago

I can answer one of these questions. Torsion axles do not have the bolts that would be wet or dry. These only apply to leaf spring suspensions
I would guess if they do not specif,y 90 percent of the time they will have dry bolt leaf springs. Torsion axles and wet bolts suspensions would be selling points that they should not leave out.

Member
Karel Carnohan DVM (@karel-carnohan)
20 days ago
Reply to  Snayte

Thanks. That clarifies it for me. I know a lot of people upgrade from the OEM suspension.

Member
Karel Carnohan DVM (@karel-carnohan)
20 days ago
Reply to  Tony Barthel

Thanks Tony. The new Forest River IBEX might be another built on that line too.

Julie
21 days ago

Great review! I was interested to read it because we owned a Rockwood with a bunkhouse for years and loved it. We traded it for a Grand Design Solitude after our kids left the nest.
We love features about both (aside from different floorplans) and think both were built with similar quality. I would buy another Rockwood/Flagstaff model again in a heartbeat.

One thing I hadn’t worried about was the suspension on the Rockwood. Now having a Solitude, we keep hearing about leaf springs failing, so we are looking at upgrading ours. As with a house, there’s always something to upgrade, fix or replace. We will just enjoy this rig till our needs change…though I’ve had my eye on a super-C for a while…

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