By Tony Barthel
I always thought it interesting to listen to customers when they were shopping for RVs. Some of the features that were absolutely critical to some people were things others wouldn’t even consider in their RV. On that subject, kitchens with islands…
While some customers went absolutely crazy about a kitchen with an island, there were some who absolutely abhorred the idea. It’s interesting how this one feature made such a difference to different people.
But for those who love the idea, there aren’t many travel trailers that have this feature. Fortunately, there’s the Keystone Bullet 265RBI, which is a 30’ 10” long travel trailer with opposing slides that facilitate an island for the kitchen.
During the time that I was selling RVs, Keystone’s Bullet brand transformed their interiors from what you might call typical RV to their present design motif, which is called either Flagstone or Steel. These interiors are what you see on a lot of those design shows where cabinets are a solid color instead of wood tone. This, too, created a lot of decided opinions. You either liked it or hated it. There was no middle ground.
But what nobody complained about was Keystone’s warranty, which was a big selling factor. That warranty is your typical one-year all-around warranty, but then three years on the exterior structure of the RV – which is a considerable amount of time in the world of travel trailers.
One of the things our technicians might have appreciated is Keystone’s consistent color coding on their wires. Surprisingly, in the RV business not all RVs are wired consistently – so a blue-green wire in this trailer could be attached to one thing in one trailer and something different in the next trailer, even though they’re the same model. It’s pretty stupid and Keystone’s consistent wire colorization is a big help for technicians. I write that it might have been appreciated, but I can’t recall our techs ever having wiring issues with a Bullet.
Maybe one of the reasons they can offer that longer warranty is the fact that they are using a Keystone-specific flooring product called HyperDeck flooring, which is a laminate product that the company claims is both stronger and lighter than traditional laminated wood construction and resists water damage better than wood.
While I’ve knocked in-floor heater ducts in the past, there are advantages to having the ducts in the floor – including not taking up cabinetry. The ducting is usually much higher in quality when in-floor ducts are used. I still don’t like it, but Keystone proudly talks about their rigid ducts with thermoplastic duct joiners and, as mentioned, they do have advantages. I just imagine pet hair and spills and dirt falling into those heater ducts all summer long and then being heated and blasted back out come winter.
In a house I lived in we bought sheets of magnet covering and covered the ducts in the summer – which solved the hair and dirt problem for the most part.
OK, enough about the company. A friend of mine is one of those people mentioned above who is very passionate about having an island kitchen. She and her husband both have experience in commercial kitchens and they do a lot of meal prep when we all go camping.
Having the island is nice because there is more counter space than you might otherwise get in a trailer of this length. In addition to the counter space on either side of the sink on the island, there’s also counter space between the stove, a 17” model, and the refrigerator.
The island also offers a good amount of cabinet space and there are cabinets below the countertop in the camp-side slide as well. There’s also a pantry next to the kitchen slide. This model definitely comes through in cabinet space.
Opposite that are either theater seats or a jackknife couch and what Bullet describes as their “Dream Dinette.” Essentially this translates into the fact that the table is mounted on the wall and can be easily pushed down if you want to turn the dinette into a sleeping surface. I guess the dream is not knocking your knee against a pole since the table is mounted to the wall.
The street-side slide features a lot of windows with two large windows on the wall and a window on each side of the slide room, making for a nice place to sit and watch what’s going on outside.
Before we step outside, it should be noted that Bullet trailers feature a proper residential-size queen mattress at 60” x 80” – and this one happens to be a bedroom with a door on either side of the bed. That bed butts up against the wall with the doors so the only way to walk from one side of the bed to the other is around the wall. On one side of the bed, there is a hatch to the front pass-through storage, which Bullet says can be used as a laundry chute. Clever.
You’ll also notice that on the front of the wall is the TV for the living room. I remember when it was popular to put a TV on a swiveling stand such that you could swivel it around so it could be used by the bedroom or the living room. I always thought this was cool and don’t see it much anymore.
Okay, so now let’s go outside to admire another feature popular with my friends– and that is the outdoor kitchen. Funny thing: In my friends’ case, they use the included two-burner stove for heating things in pots but now also bring a Blackstone griddle and a barbecue. I told you they like to cook, and outside is where we spend our time at camp.
Rounding out that kitchen is a small bar-sized refrigerator that runs only on 120vac.
As with anything in the RV world, designing and building RVs is a series of compromises. So you have to weigh lots of cabinets against camp-side windows, for example, and lots of cabinets won the battle. Also, having opposing slides means that some campsites are made less usable by the intrusion of the slide but, honestly, that just means you move on to the next one. It’s just something to be aware of.
One of the things that may matter to some is that Bullet’s walls are laminated with pinch rollers as opposed to using a vacuum lamination process, which is less costly to do. There are some in the RV industry who think vacuum lamination is better – but Keystone’s three-year warranty shows confidence in their build process and maintenance is still the biggest factor in the life of any RV.
If an island kitchen is something of import to you or you just like a big, spacious travel trailer, the Keystone Bullet 265RBI might just be worth looking into. Add the outside kitchen to the equation and you see the appeal. Unfortunately, not everybody gets to camp with my friends, both of whom love to cook, but hopefully you can find your own camping buddies who will feed you well. Talk about camping on island time…
Incidentally for those of you on the left side of this country, you’ll see this listed as a Keystone Bullet 265RBIWE. Those last two letters designate that this was built on the West Coast as the “Western Edition.”
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.
When the slides are in, can you access the bathroom? Looking at floor plan, it looks like you might need to partially extend a slide to get there.
Yes must be extended slightly to pass through. Never been an issue.
We purchased our first travel trailer a new Bullet in 2017 from Camping World in Southern California. The three biggest features we made our decision to purchase was the island, large pantry cabinet and the left and right side sliders which created a larger floor area. We are currently in a camp ground in Tennessee and despite the rain, snow and some freezing cold it’s holding up rather well. Like all RVs keep your tool box handy and carry a long term warranty. Nothing is bulletproof.
We owned a Bullet and it was a great trailer, no issues in many miles.
We had a Keystone Bullet prior to our current Keystone 5th wheel and the Bullet was ” bulletproof. ” Pun intended. We towed it 22,000 miles and no major issues. Great trailer for the money.
Is there something special about the “Western Edition”?
Not usually other than the fact that they’re made in Oregon whereas the rest of the line are made in Indiana. It shouldn’t matter but, occasionally, there will be differences depending on parts availability.