As we all sit around and hope that more RVs become available, there comes news that Forest River’s Ibex division is building a new plant to further expand their ability to deliver trailers. For prospects interested in these popular models this is great news. However, it will take a while for the factory to get into the business of delivering product. At the present time there are about 500 “help wanted” signs hoping that crafts folk step up and bring their resumes.
Seeing how popular smaller, adventure-oriented trailers are, Forest River created the Ibex brand. Their trailers fit nicely into this slot, offering things like larger, more aggressive tires and style that is less traditional and, theoretically, more appealing to younger families and adventure seekers. However, this is a market that is already no stranger to Forest River.
Indeed, the company already hit the market squarely with the rPod line. Then Rockwood and Flagstaff expanded their lines with the GeoPro and ePro models, respectively. To me, this is one of the fascinating things about RV manufacturers. There is just an ocean of brands out there and I wonder at what point it wouldn’t be more efficient to just whittle down the various nameplates into a more cohesive list and then employ more modern manufacturing to mass assemble those.
I know this kind of worked out OK for this guy named Henry Ford. But I digress.
Keynote features in the Ibex brand
There are a number keynote features of the Ibex brand, including their use of Azdel substrate in the wall construction, a 12-volt TV (meaning you can run the thing without having to turn on an inverter), a 1,000-watt inverter, heated and enclosed underbelly with heating pads on all the tanks, a JBL wireless Bluetooth audio player (hooray, no horrible iRV radio!!), and a solar panel.
There’s also a standard central vacuum system in the entire line, including a dust “kick” component.
This is a solid collection of very usable features. The overall appearance of these also really seems appealing to a younger, more adventure-focused audience, while the units are relatively affordably priced.
Specifically, I had a chance to take a look at the Ibex 19MBH, which is the smallest member of the Ibex family. This is a no-slide bunk model. One of the reasons I was so curious about this was that it sort of compares with the Ember RV Overland 191 MDB that we looked at yesterday. You could think of the Ember as the absolute extreme version of the Ibex.
Think of the Ember as the Cadillac Eldorado and the Ibex as the Chevy Monte Carlo. But then, I may be dating myself with that reference.
The Ibex features a true queen-sized Murphy bed at the front, which really maximizes this floor plan. That queen has a fold about 1/3 of the way down, but at least that means you get an east-west walk-around bed. The Murphy bed mechanism on this is nifty in that it’s essentially just a platform that the bottom 2/3 of the mattress sits on, but when you push it up it has a lock that catches easily.
When the bed is down there are rather substantial cubbies behind the closets on either side of the bed. There’s space for all those digital distract-o-matics we all love. There’s also a night table on either side which serves as a day table when the bed’s up and the couch is in sitting position.
Windshield with a Murphy bed? Why?
One of the silly things about the RV business is the use of windshields when there’s a Murphy bed. You have a windshield when the bed’s down and you want it dark, but you don’t get this source of light when the bed’s up. Seriously … Whose idea was this?
Otherwise, those side tables also have a cabinet below the surface so there’s actually a pretty decent amount of storage up in the bed area. Additionally, there’s more under the couch and the couch has nets on the front so you can access that storage. Or you can just flip up the lower cushion easily enough.
One note about the plugs on either side of the bed. The USB plugs have LEDs on them and there’s also a switch for that 1,000-watt inverter on the camp side, which also has an LED on it. Don’t forget your electrical tape to cover these sources of light at night.
The center of the trailer features a galley on the road side and a two-person dinette on the camp side. You might have noticed that this is a bunk model, so only two of the prospective five campers can sit at the dinette. But, remember, there’s a couch at the front.
Over in the galley you get a pretty large round-bowl sink and a really nice spray faucet. It reminds me of the commercial ones we had in the bed and breakfast I owned. (Don’t ask, I’ve owned a lot of really unusual businesses.) There’s also a two-burner cooktop and a convection microwave. That’s nifty, but it’s low under the stove top and I wonder if this might attract the wee ones? However, the placement here is a plus in the fact that the popcorn eaters can also make their own darned popcorn.
Ibex brags about their use of the largest refrigerators in the segment. But I’ve seen reefers this big in a number of other rigs, so I’m not sure I agree with their point.
On the camp side of this trailer are the bunks way in the back. They measure 44” X 74”, so many adults could occupy the space. But what I dig is the fact that there’s a door on the side of the trailer and the bottom bunk flips up, so you can bring some fun adventure gear along.
Like with the Ember, I’d love to see them offer this exact floor plan but without the bunks. I could see turning this back space into storage for larger items like eBikes. However, I can also see any RV company cautious about this idea.You know there will be somebody who sees this larger open space as some sort of challenge. They could create a situation where the trailer is tail heavy – which would make the handling quite unsafe.
I know Ibex states that their underbellies are heated and enclosed. But the heater in this model is not a ducted heater, so I’m not sure how they’re pulling that off. Maybe there’s just some information not translating properly. However, the company absolutely does have a 12-volt tank heater on each of the tanks – so there’s that.
Furthermore, I love the way they’ve done the knife valves in their trailers. Essentially, they’re at a really great angle for operation, and the valves themselves are in the heated underbelly. It’s a good arrangement.
Ibex versus Rockwood/Flagstaff siblings
The Ibex trailers are a little less expensive than the Rockwood/Flagstaff siblings. However, those also offer the benefit of a torsion axle suspension and frameless windows. I guess this is sort of like the olden days of GM where maybe the Ibex is like Pontiac and Rockwood is more like Buick. Again, dating myself.
I also like the fact that this is a no-slide model. Also, the narrower body (7’ 4”) means it’s a bit easier on whatever’s towing it.
Hopefully, someone over at Forest River will be watching Ember and realize how absolutely ridiculous a windshield is in a Murphy bed trailer, but how awesome that company’s “Stargazer” arrangement is and say something like, well, duh.
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.
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