Yesterday we looked at the Coachmen Freedom Express Ultra Lite 192RBS and today we’re looking at the Forest River Rockwood Mini Lite 2109S. As mentioned, if you look only at the floor plans overview of these two models, there are very few differences. Even the photos might not illustrate the whole story.
I guess that’s why so many people read these reviews. My goal is to point out things that may make a difference in your camping experience.
I have a difficult time deciding between these two campers. They’re both at the top of my list in terms of consideration for our next rig. This floor plan totally works well for how we travel. Also, the size is right within our parameters, as I wrote about in my story about a love for smaller RVs.
Rockwood and Flagstaff
First, I think it’s important to know that Rockwood and Flagstaff products are the same products with different stickers on them. Essentially this was done so that there can be wider distribution. For example, the dealership I worked at was within the territorial boundaries guaranteed by Rockwood, so we just signed up as a Flagstaff dealer. Same product. Different stickers. Oh, and a very angry competitor.
If you can’t find one brand in your area, you’ll almost certainly be able to find the other – and it’s the same product.
Another interesting bit: The Rockwood Mini Lite trailers are available in either a white exterior or a cream-colored exterior that also features a black nose. There are also different interior colors as well. So there is an unusually large number of choices and combinations available.
What’s the diff?
Yesterday we looked at a trailer that, for all intents and purposes, has the exact same floor plan. So, then, why bother looking again at another maker? Considering how similar these two floor plans are, there are yet a remarkable number of differences.
I raved about the bed and the cabinets under that bed in yesterday’s review of the . I love that. But Rockwood has chosen to build a large front pass-through storage, which translates into large carpeted “boxes” on either side of the bed.
The plus side of this is the large front pass-through storage. The downside is that it’s quite a reach to the closet and also a more difficult access to the bed. And, on the subject of that bed, the one in the Rockwood Mini Lite is a short queen measuring 60” X 74”, whereas the Coachmen’s bed is a full 80” long. That could make a real difference to some campers. Also, I’m not so sure you’d be able to fit a longer bed into the space as the slide room might not allow for that.
However, Rockwood does make a larger 2205S, which is, again, almost the same floor plan but a bit longer and with a true queen-sized bed.
One of the areas that really could make a difference is in the climate control on the Rockwood, which is fully ducted for both the air conditioner and heater. Having a heater duct in the bathroom would absolutely make or break a winter camping adventure to me. Furthermore, ducted AC units tend to be significantly quieter.
And, on the subject of heat, Rockwood also now puts in 12-volt tank heaters and has a fully enclosed underbelly, too. One more heat-related item: the oven in the Rockwood is the 22” model, whereas Coachmen uses a 17” model.
Tank sizes in these two trailers are very, very similar, so that won’t be what makes a difference between them. However, the Rockwood features a Showermiser system. It lets you redirect water into the fresh water holding tank while you’re in the shower waiting for the water to get hot. So there’s no wasted water down the drain.
This could be accomplished by using a bucket in the shower in the Coachmen, if you’re looking to save water. While the Showermiser is a nifty feature, for some reason it really seems to confuse some people.
The Rockwood Mini Lite does come with solar if you order it with the 12-volt DC refrigerator. If you choose that package, it also includes 190 watts of solar and a 1,000-watt inverter along with a 30-amp solar charge controller. You can also opt for a second 190-watt solar panel in this package. There’s a provision to add a portable panel, as well.
Pluses and minuses of the Rockwood Mini Lite
I think the couch in the Rockwood is more comfortable than the one in the Coachmen. But the Rockwood doesn’t have a fold-down center armrest. Instead, there are bolsters built into the edge of the slide room and upholstered like the sofa, and these have cup holders. It’s weird, and I’ve seen more than a few owners remove these.
That slide room also has a door to the outside so you can access the storage space behind the couch. But then you see the inside of the door if you fold the couch flat. Also weird. But, like the Coachmen, all the baggage and entry doors are keyed alike.
On the plus side, the Rockwood rides on a Torflex® suspension system – which was a big reason I bought our first Rockwood trailer. This is the same suspension you’ll find under something like an Airstream, for example.
It also features a high-performance fan in the bathroom, frameless windows, and sidewall construction with Azdel used in and out.
What would Tony do?
You might think I would automatically gravitate to the Rockwood what with all the features aboard. But not so fast there, Buckaroo. I really, really like those under-bed cabinets in the Coachmen product.
However, I also haven’t seen final pricing on the 2022 Rockwood. I suspect it’s going to be more money than the Coachmen. In fact, I was really surprised when I saw that the Coachmen was more than $30,000. It shows how much the prices of RVs have been climbing lately. Just a few short years ago I would sell the Flagstaff versions of the Rockwood 2205 for in the low-$23,000 range.
Some Other Reviews:
2021 Cherokee 274VFK V-nose travel trailer
I’m starting to think about the cost
So, while I really do like the larger oven, better suspension and other details of the Rockwood, it’s getting to where I am starting to think about cash outlay on a new trailer.
Whether the additional features can overcome that slick under-bed cabinetry is, as always, something for the individual buyer to decide. But each of these trailers really do offer a lot of usability and comfort in a package that’ll be welcomed at any campground. You won’t have to worry about how much of that campground you’re going to need to swing this into the spot.
My thanks to Josh Winters of Haylett RV in Coldwater, Michigan, for use of his photos.
Tony comes to RVTravel.com 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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The 2022 2109s Rockwood does not have a heating vent in the bath area.I own one. Just thought I would share this. It does not look like the 2023 has remedied this situation either. It is certainly colder in the Autumn months of our camping…or on the cold mornings in the high mountain camps we like to camp in.
Tony, in one of your previous reviews you implied a preference for trailers without a slide-out. Was this because of reliability concerns? But now you indicate that you are considering purchase of a new trailer with a slide. Why the change? I appreciate your in-depth knowledge so that’s why I’m asking.
We had a 2012 RW ML 2209S. Towed it 27,000 miles, including an Alaska trip, before selling it to buy a fifth wheel. No underbed storage would be worth exchanging Torflex for a leaf-spring suspension for our type of use. But, at 6’2″ and hating “RV Queens”, our fix was to put an extra foam cushion next to the front wall to add length to the bed. Admittedly, due to our advanced age and my height, crawling on hands and knees to get over the carpeted basement roof to go to the bathroom at 3 am, then immediately ducking under the TV, was also a disadvantage. However, the new model has cabinets and drawers in places that I had to engineer my own cabinets and drawers in the older model. No solar or 12v fridge on the old model either, so all-in-all, the 2209S has been improved for multi-day boondocking stays along the Alaska Highway.
We just ordered a 2022 Rockwood 2205s with a few add-ons and locked in a price of $29,900. Yes, I said “locked in” (which is why we went with the dealer we did). We chose the Rockwood was because the 2022 models have most of the stuff in your review standard now. The 12v fridge and 190W solar panel with inverter…standard (among other things).
We have been looking at trailers for a looong time and been planning to purchase a trailer in 2022 for the last 4 years. Little did we know how our timing for retirement would be great, but for buying a trailer and truck would totally suck.
We also went with the 2205s over the 2109s mostly because of the bigger bed, but also because of that couch…you nailed it….just weird.
Oh, and I need to add that the thing that really sealed-the-deal for us on Rockwood was the video that Josh at Haylett put out of the Rockwood/Flagstaff plant. Good to see how they are constructed!
Two axles to carry “mini” or “lite” or “ultra lite” ?
You’ve reviewed the Grand Design Imagine 17MKE. It’s a great unit! Is it on your wish list?
Thanks for the awesome reviews