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RV Review: r•pod RP-153 – Finally … Small gets a big bathroom

When you look at several of the very small rear-entry travel trailers we’ve talked about here, there are some commonalities that I think have made them less popular with many of RVtravel.com’s readers. But in an expansion of Forest River’s r•pod line, they now have a rear-entry model that truly might be one of the most palatable I’ve seen with this arrangement.

r•pod RP-153

The newly announced Forest River r•pod RP-153 is a relatively small, lightweight travel trailer that sports a rear entry much like you’d find in a pickup camper. In fact, the layout of this trailer is not unlike a pickup camper in a lot of ways. 

But it’s also an r•pod, and that means certain key features even in a trailer this small. 

Flushed with space

The most significant thing that sets this trailer apart from many, many smaller travel trailers is the bathroom – where you’ll find an actual dry bath. Yep, a separate shower and toilet in a trailer of this size. This could be game-changing for folks looking to get into a small, lightweight travel trailer but who don’t like the idea of a wet bath. Further, that shower has the SHOWERMI$ER feature that redirects the water into your fresh tank while you’re waiting for it to get hot, thereby saving water. 

In fact, the bathroom is surprisingly spacious overall. Now, it’s not fifth wheel big, but it certainly offers sufficient room to get the job done you came to do. Unfortunately, it’s a plastic toilet. But if that bugs you, these are easy to change. I did in my camper. 

There’s even a sink with counterspace along the side. Quite a bit, surprisingly. 

Space II

Getting into this camper is done via solid steps, which some folks love. The entry door follows the rest of the current r•pod family in that the exterior is all tinted glass. However, only a portion is actually window at the top from the inside looking out. 

To the right of the entrance as you come inside they’ve actually put in a pantry. Just beyond that is a propane-electric RV fridge. 

Along the camp side is a couch. That couch extends a bit further as part of the two-person dinette, which is also a component of the main bed in this trailer. 

Below the sofa are netted storage cubbies which would be great for shoes, for example. 

In something of this size there has to be some compromise. I guess that’s the bed which folds in half in the daytime so you can access the dinette. Once it’s sleepy time, you simply put the dinette table down and unfold the bed and you’re set. 

But since there is the couch, there’s no reason you have to even put the bed back up. You could leave it in bed mode all the time and still have the couch to sit on. 

The galley in the r•pod RP-153

Across from the sofa is the galley, which consists of a two-burner propane stovetop and a round sink. Below the counter is a convection microwave, and there is a bit of storage under here. But most of the storage is in the pantry at the rear of the trailer. 

There are cabinets both over the galley and over the couch, so this trailer isn’t bad for storage. The cabinets are hinged at the side, so you won’t have to hold the door up with one hand while you try to get whatever’s in there with the other. 

This being an r•pod, one of their signature features is a built-in vacuum cleaner where you can kick on sort of a dust pan arrangement. This actually has that feature, as well, mounted below the microwave.

One of the things I saw in the preproduction prototypes was a flip-up Lexan windshield. That windshield is the type where it incorporates both a screen and a shade in a track as part of the construction of the unit. 

As some of you know, I haven’t been the biggest fan of windshields in trailers. But Lexan is a different story than glass. And the fact that it flips up for air makes it a pretty great feature. 

In summary

Just when you think you know a brand like r•pod for their designs they start to change and branch out. There are slightly larger trailers with things like the RP-202, and now smaller ones like this. 

But it seems that the trailers they make still have some really usable and cool features along with floor plans that make a lot of sense. 

In my review of r•pod’s RP-201, I mentioned that I really, really like that floor plan. I must say that I really like this one, as well. But it’s also encouraging to have a company continue to move forward even when you know they can sell every unit they can build. 

I like the r•pod RP-153 quite a bit

As you can probably tell, I like this unit quite a bit. But I’m also impressed with the cargo carrying capacity. The only thing I can gripe about is maybe the size of the fresh water tank and the plastic toilet – but it’s still not bad. I would put this high on a list of smaller trailers to look at. 

I would love to read your comments and suggestions over on our new forums, where you can weigh in and start or join a discussion about all things RV. Here’s a link to 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

Space utilization
Dry bath
Plastic toilet

SUMMARY

The Forest River r-Pod RP-153 offers a small trailer that really uses the space well to the point that it includes a dry bath, something you don't often find in smaller RVs.

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Rebecca
22 days ago

Don’t love the fridge & pantry location. I’d move the bathroom down toward the entry, put the shower across the entry hall from it, & put a privacy curtain across the hall to make bath, shower & hall one large usable space when showering. Put fridge up next to the rest of the kitchen

Les
22 days ago

It seems a small trailer like this would be good for a single or couple, so why the couch? Replace the couch with a dining table setup that can convert to a bed for a single and then you can have a regular bed up front that can stay a bed. Raise the bed up to increase storage underneath. Done.

Tommy Molnar
22 days ago

Doesn’t appear to be much storage in this unit. No matter how ‘compact’ a trailer is, you still need to carry the same amount of clothing, food, and things that make ‘camping’ worth the trip. Hopefully, whatever you’re towing this with has tons of space for those things. I’ve seen closets on “House Hunters” that are bigger than this trailer. Just sayin’.

Donald N Wright
22 days ago

The rear entry trailers really make sense for the few of us that take bicycles or canoes, and actually have a bathroom that an adult can fit inside is a plus. The Egg camper was supposed to be very nice until Airstream bought it and became the problem laden Nest.

Steve
22 days ago

There seems to be plenty of space to double the width of the “medicine cabinet” in the bathroom. Any extra storage space for small items (ie., hair dryer, socks, rolled-up underwear and T-shirts, etc.) would definitely be useful in a trailer this small. And at least the fold in the bed is between the two sleepers, not in the middle of your back! Kind of like sleeping in twin beds with a hinge. The real question is, how comfortable is the mattress?

megan edwards
22 days ago
Reply to  Steve

I wondered how comfortable a mattress like this is myself. Maybe a write-up by Tony on mattresses like this.