Thursday, December 9, 2021

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RV Review: Keystone Outback 328RL updates

Fifth wheel or travel trailer? Fifth wheel or travel trailer? That’s a choice a number of people are making, so it’s no surprise the Keystone Outback 328RL is the most popular trailer in the company’s line. In many ways it’s kind of like a flat fifth wheel. 

In fact, we’ve looked at it in the past, but Keystone’s made enough changes to the model that it bears a new visit. 

Photos above represent Keystone Outback’s new interior but are not this specific model. However the video (below) is from this specific model. 

Something new

Probably the first thing anyone would notice if they’ve seen this floor plan in the past is the appearance of the interior. Back when I was selling these trailers I remember being surprised by the difference the then-new “modern farmhouse” appearance made. Of all the RVs at that time that had attempted this look, I thought Outback did it the best. 

But I don’t necessarily like to talk appearance as I feel it’s subjective. What might float my boat could be a Titanic for someone else. 

However, the interior of this trailer really was striking and I think it may be more polarizing with black cabinets, very white walls and natural wood accents. I like it, but I’m not the one writing the check to put one behind my pickup. 

There are other things that also stand out, including the two refrigerators that come with this unit. Keystone now uses two 12-volt compressor-based fridges instead of the gas-electric models of “my day.” The idea is that you can load them up before you leave and then shut one off if you eat through all the food in there. 

Other things that have become Keystone hallmarks include the Blade Pure™ air conditioner. It offers higher-performance air handling and a filtration system. New, also, is the implementation of a demand-based water heater. In the living room, all Outback trailers have at least a 50” television. 

But the biggest change, aside from the appearance, is the fact that all Keystone products now come with at least 200 watts of solar in a package that’s flexible enough to be upgradable by the owner or dealer. There are various configurations in the SolarFlex™ system, and I’ve written enough about it that I won’t elaborate here. 

Keystone Outback 328RL

When I first saw the Keystone Outback 328RL it wasn’t its large size that impressed me, but it was the two refrigerators in the trailer. Seriously. I’m not talking just a second puny bar-sized fridge on the outside. I’m talking two full RV refrigerators.

Signature things about the premier Outback line included the fact that the TPO roof material was rolled over the joint between the wall and the roof much like in some motorhomes. It means that there’s less of an exposed joint. Keystone also warrants the roof material for a full 18 years. 

Our rep made a big deal of the fact that the body of the trailer was attached to the frame with huckbolts. Also, those frames were specific to each model of the Outback line. The front of the trailer is a painted cap that also overlaps the walls. The bottom of the cap is painted with the same type of paint used for lining truck beds. The finishes on these trailers was an above-average type, as well, with a high-gloss gel finish. 

For those who want a full auto level in a travel trailer. it’s available here. It’s built by BAL®  Norco, the same company that makes the unique frames for these trailers. The optional BAL® Norco 7.3 auto level uses six jacks under the trailer in conjunction with the power tongue jack. That also remembers the height the trailer was when you disconnected it from the truck. Hit a button and the leveling jacks raise up and the nose of the trailer raises to meet the hitch ball. 

While taking note of exterior features, there’s a front compartment with a metal sliding drawer that goes the full length of the compartment, much like in a motorhome. There are also two awnings on this model, one on the camp-side slide and the other on the front of the trailer. 

What’s inside the Keystone Outback 328RL

The floor plan of this trailer is very much like a fifth wheel, which you’ll notice as you step inside. Your entry point is a hallway, and there are night lights here and in several other places. Take a left and you’re in the main living area, which features opposing slide rooms. 

The camp side is a dinette. I was also pleased with the cushions used in these dinettes. It’s another example of a slightly more upscale attitude when building trailers. The dinette table can be pushed down and the backrests slide in to make a bed. This is not unusual, but the thicker cushions are. Also, the seat cushions flip up to reveal under-seat storage. 

Next up are theater seats from Thomas Payne, a furniture brand you’re more likely to see in fifth wheels than in travel trailers. There have also been upgrades to this even within the same brand. The couch at the back of the trailer has exposed, feet which makes it feel much more residential. 

The back wall is a tri-fold sofa with thick cushions

The back wall is a tri-fold sofa and, again, the cushions are thicker than average. So it’s a decently comfortable bed when it’d doing sleeping duty. 

On the camp side slide there’s a huge 50” TV lording over an equally wide electric fireplace. I would assume this trailer will spend much of its life taking full advantage of that 50-amp power service. So having electric heat to supplement the furnace is a good thing. 

Next down the line is a Furrion three-burner RV stove with 22” oven. There’s a drawer directly underneath that which matches the finish. It is intended for pots and pans. Next to that are those two refrigerators. Outback has since moved to 12-volt GE refrigerators instead of the gas-electric models. 

Around the corner from that on the front wall is a cabinet that really does look like what you’d expect in a fifth wheel. That cabinet features the microwave, a paper towel holder, some cabinet and drawer space, and a countertop with a plug. 

The company is also particularly proud of the doors and door jambs they use. The doors are solid core and covered in two types of wood finish. The door jambs are wood and fully framed out. This might seem like a small detail, but it really does change the way an RV feels as you open and close doors. It results in a higher quality feel overall. 

Large bathroom in the middle of the Keystone Outback 328RL

The bathroom is in the middle of the coach and is also a bit larger than you might expect in a travel trailer. There’s a corner radius shower and a porcelain toilet. They’ve also included a linen closet inside. 

In the bedroom you’ll find the third slide room in this trailer where the king-sized bed resides. That bed rides sideways in this trailer, so it can go out with the slide room. Along the front/nose of the trailer is a closet and drawers. There’s even plumbing and space for a washer/dryer in this trailer. Furthermore, there are additional drawers in a camp-side cabinet in the bedroom. 

Lastly, one of the more clever things about Outback trailers is the pet kennel under the bed. If you have a small or medium-sized pet, this could be a great place for them to sleep if they are crate-trained. Even if you don’t have a pet, you can use the space for storage or shoes. Furthermore, of course, there is additional space under the bed for other things.

In summary

When these trailers came in they would go out in short order. A big part of the appeal was that people who might have considered a fifth wheel liked these since there were no steps to an upper level. For some customers who might have mobility issues, or even if they have pets that do, this makes a lot of sense. 

But it’s also nice in that you don’t have the height of a fifth wheel either. 

Overall, the customers whom I sold Outback trailers to really had a great experience with them. We also had very little need for warranties on them. But Keystone did a great job servicing our dealership with regard to warranty. 

We have a new forum system here at RVTravel.com, and you can go over there and share your opinion of the new interior appearance of this line. Do you like it? What about the idea of getting a travel trailer that has almost all the benefits of a fifth wheel? Here’s 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!

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REVIEW OVERVIEW

Build quality
Living space
Appointments
Floor heater residents

SUMMARY

Keystone's Outback 328RL has been their most popular model and for good reason - it's almost like a fifth wheel with nice appointments and, for 2022, even more things to appreciate about the model.

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Steve
12 days ago

A 50″ TV and a 74″ long king bed. What kind of sense does that make in 2021 for anyone over 5′ 10″ tall? Of which there are very likely millions of men and women in the U.S., especially in the millennial generation, and many, even we baby boomers, are RVers. RV INDUSTRY TAKE NOTE: we are not in the 1940s or 1950s. People today are much taller than they were 70 years ago!

shon wolf
12 days ago

The floor plan does not match the pictures

Admin
RV Staff(@rvstaff)
12 days ago
Reply to  shon wolf

Very observant, Shon. That’s probably why Tony wrote under the pictures: “Photos above represent Keystone Outback’s new interior but are not this specific model.” However, the floor plan is from their website. Have a great day. 🙂 –Diane

shon wolf
12 days ago
Reply to  RV Staff

Thanks Diane

Admin
RV Staff(@rvstaff)
12 days ago
Reply to  shon wolf

You’re welcome, Shon. Sometimes Tony just has to use what is available, but occasionally he goofs. 😯 But our astute readers are quick to point it out. 😆 Anyway, it’s good to let us know, just in case. Have a good night. 🙂 –Diane

Don
12 days ago

Sorry Tony, but once again the photos don’t match the layout that is shown, or what you describe… 🙁