Today’s RV review is another preview from the RV Open House—the Keystone Outback OBX 17BH. When you read the name “Outback,” were you thinking a larger, rather upscale travel trailer? That’s what I would have expected. But what we have here is a very small overlanding trailer with some key new features.
Keystone’s Outback folks have earned a reputation for building upscale larger travel trailers. In fact, when I was selling RVs, these were ones we sold quite a bit when people were looking for something on the upper end of the spectrum. So, I was really surprised when I saw this at Open House as it’s not at all what I would expect from Outback.
This model is so new it isn’t features on Outback’s model lineup yet, but they are teasing it here. Part of what happens at Open House is manufacturers trot out new models to gauge the interest of the dealers who attend this big RV event.
New features in the Outback OBX
There were a number of things built into this trailer that were brand-new for 2024. The first of those is a new suspension from Dexter that’s a torsion axle off-road suspension. This system, built in partnership with chassis maker BAL, features a torsion axle suspension beefed up with horizontal shock absorbers and springs. The whole idea of this is to provide a more capable off-road suspension system.
This competes with the CURT independent suspension system. Like that unit, it has been painted in bright colors … because it’s just cool.
Another thing that I saw here was the new Furrion Chill Cube. It was described on a sale banner at the show as a solar-compatible air conditioner. I can understand this because one of the big questions people ask about any RV solar system is how long you can run the air conditioner on battery power, if at all.
The problem thus far hasn’t been the batteries, necessarily, but the air conditioning. Since it hasn’t had to become more efficient, it hasn’t been more efficient. So, the only way we boondocking aficionados have been able to run A/C on batteries is with a lot of battery reserves.
This new Furrion Chill Cube is perfectly suited to being able to boondock while running your A/C. It’s just remarkably efficient and very well thought-through. Yes. I want one.
More surprising features in the Outback OBX
Another thing I saw that surprised me was that this very small, single-axle trailer had two high-performance vent fans. Perhaps a nod to boondocking. Or maybe just someone at Keystone realizing that the four-inch vent fans were worthless and this is their penance.
Another thing that is starting to change in RVs is lighting. While LED lighting has been common for a number of years, what I saw at the show were LED strips that bisected the ceiling. It was sort of a ribbon of light overhead. These are nice. There is a dimmer switch to operate them—another nice touch.
The last bit of new tech built into these are dual-pane polycarbonate windows. We’ve had “Euro-style” windows for some time in RVs, with those windows being able to be opened a full 90° and being latched with multiple turn latches. If you’ve seen a Lance or an Ember Overland, you’ve seen these.
Lippert is now making them in the U.S., which should bring down the cost and up the availability significantly. These new Lippert versions were on this Outback. Like the ones imported from Europe, these incorporate a bug screen and a thermal shade. Both of those can be fully opened or fully closed, or you can have them share the space on the window.
Something that was impressive was the size of the windows specified by Outback on this. They were quite large—which made this small, no-slide trailer really feel open.
Other than the new tech and smart interior styling, this is not an unfamiliar layout, with an RV queen bed up front that is east-to-west, a small dinette and a single-over-single bunk in the back.
The kitchen consists of a sink, three-burner propane cooktop with worthless 17” oven (grrr), and a standard microwave.
Lastly, the bathroom has surprisingly good space for a trailer this small. Part of the path to that space includes incorporating the sink in the shower/tub. Makes sense to me.
Boondocking and travel access
This trailer steps up Keystone’s SolarFlex system by incorporating a 2,000-watt inverter in all models. The standard solar on this is 200 watts, but you can step that up to 400 watts with prep for additional portable panels.
There is no slide on this model, so you can get to anything any time—which makes me happy.
There was a lot to like in a small package here. I think this is a good package with some key innovations that will really set it apart in the small overlanding trailer space. Since that’s still an area with a lot of interest, I think Outback did well by stepping outside its normal boundaries.
Also, the interior of this model is a bright, light look and feel. The Outback (and several other Keystone products) have featured an almost black interior which, in a small space, just feels confining. This is just the opposite and is a refreshing change.
I don’t have pricing or a floor plan or a chart for this as it was a preproduction model, but the word from Keystone is that this will be priced very aggressively. [I saw one listed for sale online for MSRP $37,831.] Overall, this will be an interesting model to watch.
More about these RV reviews
These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. They are based on information from a single unit and may not reflect your actual experience. Shop your RV and dealership carefully before making a buying decision. RVtravel.com receives 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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