Thursday, September 21, 2023


RV Review: Forest River Coachmen Catalina Legacy Edition 283RKS

Today’s review is of the the Coachmen Catalina Legacy Edition 283RKS, a “stick-and-tin” rear kitchen couple’s camper that is a layout we’ve seen before in other brands. In fact, this absolutely highlights something I’ve written numerous times. 

If you see a floor plan that you like but there are things about it that you don’t, keep looking. That’s also true in shopping for RVs in general. If someone makes a floor plan but a certain dealership in your area treats you in any way other than like a valued customer, keep shopping. 

In fact, one of the things I am most emphatic about is that a great, locally owned dealership can be the biggest difference between your having a terrific RV ownership experience and a lousy one. 

Coachmen Catalina Legacy Edition 283RKS

Going back to the rig itself, this is a larger travel trailer that’s well-suited for couples. It has the kitchen out back, a super slide and a really good layout if you like entertaining. There’s a couch opposite two free-standing recliners and the kitchen offers enough prep space that you can make a nice meal in here and still be in touch with those waiting to taste your famous chili. Or whatever it is. 

But, further, this floor plan has a higher-than-average ceiling, so the fact that this has large windows all over plus that higher ceiling really gives the interior of this an open feel. If you’re looking for a camper with a bit more space over your head but don’t necessarily want a fifth wheel, this might be worth a look. 

Fit for some kings

Another unusual thing about this is that there’s a king-sized bed up front. Well, sort of a king. It’s a 70” X 74” bed, but it actually works really well in this space. 

By putting the hanging storage on the wall facing the rear of the trailer, Coachmen was able to forego the hanging closet space on either side of the bed so that king-ish bed really works well in the space allotted. 

One of the disadvantages of larger beds in travel trailers is that the whole bedroom begins to feel really cramped with the bed rather close to the walls. But that’s not the case here at all. This might be one of the better implementations of a larger bed in a travel trailer that I’ve seen. 

I guess king-sized bed is a relative term. Napoleon would have been just fine in this bed. But King Felipe VI of Spain probably would have wanted more (he was 6’ 5”). 

Options in the Coachmen Catalina Legacy Edition 283RKS

There are a number of options worth noting in this trailer, but my absolute favorite centers around the steps. You see, I do not like the solid steps that are so common nowadays. Why?

Several reasons. First, if you just want to get in quickly such as at a rest stop, you can’t, really. You’re supposed to adjust the feet on the solid steps so you don’t bend them. So if you’re in dire need of a visit to the potty, you’ll be dancing while fiddling around with those steps. 

Further, if you keep your RV in a storage facility, sometimes the rigs are parked so close together that you may not be able to open these. 

Third, I know of people who have brought critters into their RVs when they folded the steps in. The most notable of these critters were frogs, oddly enough. And it’s very common that, when the weather’s lousy, you have to fold in wet steps or muddy steps. 

In practice, they’re a great idea but I don’t like them, ultimately. My point here is that, drum roll please, they are an option on this trailer. You might not have seen it, but I’m over here doing a happy dance. 

Boondocking and travel access 

If you have eyes on that fridge and pantry in the kitchen and you want to use those when this trailer is turtled up for travel, as the old saying goes, fuggedaboudit. The slide completely blocks those two, so no getting in.

You can also get a solar package, which is good.

For seating and dining, you can replace the dinette with a free-standing table and chairs, and replace the sofa with a tri-fold hide-a-bed.

In summary

Compared to the Forest River Cherokee 274RK that we looked at before, this trailer shows just how differently a floor plan and the various features can be configured, going back to my original point. 

The Cherokee seems dark and dreary inside but has some really good features. This is light and airy inside but lacks some of those features, not the least of which is the high-performance ceiling vent fan. However, there is a lousy fan in the main living space and in the bathroom. 

Coachmen versus Cherokee

Other than the dark living space, I like the Cherokee better. But black cabinets with gold handles, to my taste, are horrible. So the Coachmen might be the direction I would head. But, obviously, that style is popular today—so that just means I’m out of touch. Or have good taste. 

Either way, if you see a floor plan you like, you can shop brands even within the same manufacturer (in this case Forest River) and you might find features or details you prefer. I know I did. 


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.

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



Spacious interior
Larger bed and bedroom space
Ceiling height
Small vent fans


The Coachmen Legacy Edition 283RKS is a travel trailer that has a very open and airy interior.
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.


  1. PS: The Millennial couple who bought our fifth wheel were 6’4″ and 5’9″. They liked it, in part, because it had a full 60″ x 80″ queen bed. Our X-Gen sons are 6 ‘2″ , 6’4″, and 6’5″. Does any manufacturer really believe that any of that admittedly small sample of the population is going to buy any RV with an “RV Queen” or “RV King” bed? If they do, their designers are not only short, but living in a fantasy world!

  2. I wouldn’t consider this trailer for two reasons: the bed and the TV location. I may not be 6’5″ , but I am tall enough that my feet hang over the end of any 74″ bed. I could theoretically sleep diagonally in a king, but then my wife can’t sleep because her feet keep hitting my legs. And , even though I only watch TV for the weather and football, I wouldn’t buy any RV that has the screen perpendicular to the seats. If I can’t sit directly in front of the TV, I won’t buy the RV. The only way the manufacturer could rectify those problems would be to add 6″ to the bed and put the TV on a swing arm that could be moved to the proper viewing angle.

  3. As usual, don’t like the cheesy little ‘noise fans’. Don’t like the placement of the TV either. It’s not convenient for anyone to see (unless you sit cross-legged on the floor in front of it). I’m also not a fan of those flip-down stairs for all the reasons you mention. Though we have the familiar fold-down stairs, I’ve seen some nifty aluminum replacements for them. But, I don’t have them. I’m surprised that on the Coachman website, many of the pictures are dark, which doesn’t show this unit in a favorable light (pun intended). And that shelf on the rear bumper makes no sense. The attached wheel and tire are HEAVY. Do you think someone is going to put their 3,000-watt genset on that thing and head down the road?

  4. I have a Jayflight 29 RKS and put the booth table sideways and can slip around to open the fridge to get a drink if need be. I hate Jayco’s folding dinette. I feel it’s dangerous folding and unfolding. I also don’t like they don’t have the dinette cushions with velcro to keep in place. Stick on velcro won’t adhere to the materials. This Coachmen Catalina Legacy Edition 283RKS seems nice except for the short king bed with no side stands. Prefer a queen bed.


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The Coachmen Legacy Edition 283RKS is a travel trailer that has a very open and airy interior. RV Review: Forest River Coachmen Catalina Legacy Edition 283RKS

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