By Tony Barthel
I’ve been focusing a lot on couples’ campers of late and got called out on it by Jeremy Chrisman. Jeremy asked if I had any tips for smaller travel trailers that may even be SUV-towable for families. You bet I do! I really appreciate the input.
Now, I’ve admitted in the past that I have a strong bias for Rockwood/Flagstaff RVs, but it’s not unwarranted at all. Having looked at a lot of campers and a lot of brands, I really, really like their build quality and the company philosophy.
I also want to make something clear to people, since many will immediately discount Rockwood/Flagstaff products because they are owned by Forest River.
Surprisingly, companies like Forest River and Thor give their individual brands a tremendous amount of leeway when making decisions. These include decisions about product use, component use, materials use, build methodology and so many other factors.
That’s how you get big swings in features and build ideology between a company like Rockwood/Flagstaff and Evo. Other than both being trailers, of course, there are so many differences in how they’re built. The caliber of components that go into them might as well be different companies. The same is true of Thor – an Airstream is nothing like a Coleman that you’d get at Camping World.
So when someone suggests a small trailer and I focus on the Rockwood/Flagstaff family, there’s a reason. For example, I’m looking at the Rockwood Geo Pro 16BH trailer in their Geo Pro/ePro line (the smaller Rockwood/Flagstaff trailers) today. It uses all vacuum laminated walls featuring an Azdel substrate which is waterproof and very durable. It also adds some sound-deadening properties. Underneath that are six-sided aluminum welded frames that include the bases for beds and dinettes.
If you ever read that a trailer uses aluminum framing, open up a baggage door or lift a dinette. If there’s wood, it’s not all aluminum framing. Furthermore, some trailers that are smooth-sided are not vacuum-laminated on all panels. In fact, some aren’t vacuum-laminated at all. The advantage of this more expensive process is that the bond between the materials tends to be long-lasting and more evenly distributed.
These Rockwood Geo Pro trailers use Dexter TorFlex axles and have things like black tank flush and battery disconnect. The TVs incorporated in them are 12-volt models. They come with solar charging systems and inverters. They have 190 watts of solar on the roof and a 1,000-watt inverter that powers all 110vac receptacles except the microwave and AC.
Limited boondocking capable in the Rockwood Geo Pro
The solar and inverter are great for boondocking with some limitations. This system clearly won’t run high-draw items like the AC. But there is a provision for utilizing a portable solar panel, which I would recommend if boondocking is your thing. That way you can point the panel to optimize its position in the sun. The system is also already set up to take advantage of any battery formula that makes sense. This would include flooded deep-cycle batteries, that most dealers include, to AGM and even lithium – if the buyer’s budget and demands support this.
The Rockwood Geo Pro trailers also come with a tire pressure monitoring system and a SHOWERMI$ER water-saving system. Plus, they have buttons as well as the ability to control the entire rig with the OneControl app. They also utilize frameless windows.
I think Rockwood/Flagstaff really broke the mold when they introduced a line of small trailers that were high-content, well-made trailers.
The Grand Tour of the Rockwood Geo Pro
This is an interesting floor plan. You can sleep four people in a very compact, narrow trailer that’s only 92” in width.
To start with, there’s a U-shaped dinette at the front of the trailer that is also one of the beds. That table pops off its pole mount and rests on supports using the backrest cushions for the remainder of the bed. This is one of those circumstances where you’ll want to have some sort of foam pad or something. These dinette cushions are not going to cut the mustard in terms of support. None of them ever do.
I do like that there are windows on either side of the dinette. Those, along with a windshield at the front, really open up the area.
Rockwood/Flagstaff use frameless windows that tilt out. There are some owners who wish they would open further. However, in my own trailer, I have found they’re very sufficient and use the Maxxair fan to move air in my trailer. It works well considering that fan can move quite a bit of air and is pretty thrifty with power.
The galley is in a slideout
The Rockwood Geo Pro trailer features a slide on the road side that incorporates the entire galley. There is a 12-volt refrigerator, which is new for 2021. Moving beyond that is a three-burner stovetop and a microwave beneath it. Beyond that is a sink with a high-rise faucet. There is a wise option for a convection microwave too.
Storage can be found under the dinette cushions as well as under and above the sink. There’s a pantry beyond that with a drawer underneath. More drawer space can be found under the bottom cushion of the bunks along the rear wall of the trailer.
There are two bunks along the rear of the trailer that are accessed through an opening between the pantry/closet and the bathroom. I should surmise that these are more for the younger folks than a dude like me trying to get in there. This is sort of the reality of a trailer like this. You’re going to make compromises for size, but it can be done well or done poorly. I think it’s done well here.
There’s a dry bath with tub in the Rockwood Geo Pro
The last bit of space in here is a dry bath with a tub. I like that they’ve put a decent amount of counter space in the bathroom for the size of the rig. There is also a medicine cabinet and even a shelf with holes for toothbrushes and a cup. We actually use these in our own trailer. That’s another point I like about this brand. The higher-ups use the trailers, so the design and implementation of the features really play out well in real-world use.
We’ve had our Rockwood now for four years and toured all over the West Coast with it. It’s been great.
One of the last points to make, those sitting at the dinette will have a good view of the TV. They’ve seen fit to install a 12-volt TV with an integrated DVD player.
There’s a little surprise in the Rockwood Geo Pro trailer that can be a big deal. Outside in a cabinet is a 110vac bar-sized refrigerator. Also, there’s a flat-top propane grill and plastic table that slot into a rail on the outside. In other words, except for a sink, there’s a full outdoor kitchen here.
Why two brands?
The RV industry is an interesting study from a marketing standpoint. While you might find a Chevrolet dealer in your community and one in the next, that’s not likely true of dealers of specific brands. You won’t find a Rockwood dealer near where you live and another not far away. This is because the dealerships are given territorial privileges.
For example, in the community I live in, the closest Rockwood dealer is almost 70 miles away. But that’s where I bought my trailer as they were the closest Rockwood dealer. Meanwhile, I passed five Ram dealers on my way there.
When the dealership I worked for, which is only 30 miles from my house, wanted to carry Rockwood, we were out of luck. However, we were able to snag a Flagstaff contract. This made the Rockwood dealer very unhappy, as we were known for our low pricing and very, very low overhead.
So, as silly as it might seem to the common sense side of your brain, you could get either a Rockwood or a Flagstaff trailer. The primary difference between the two is the stickers. In terms of build, materials, components or design there’s nothing separating them. However, some dealers, including the one where I originally bought my trailer, will tell you otherwise.
I really like the Rockwood Geo Pro trailers – as I’ve written before. Putting together a design that can realistically sleep four individuals in a 16’ box is not easy. But I think they’ve done it well. These are not the least-expensive models on the market, but they do have a lot of class-leading features. Also, they are built with more premium methods and materials.
I will say the dinette as the front bed is not going to be the most comfortable sleeping surface. You’re definitely going to want a memory foam topper and something like an RVSuperBag.
Other than that, I think this could be a great choice for someone looking for a trailer that can sleep four and offers good build quality. But it’s certainly not the only choice. I have a couple more trailers like this I’m reviewing in the next few days.
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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