Saturday, December 2, 2023


Salem-Wildwood FSX 275VC—What is a flex house trailer?

I know there are decision-makers in the RV industry that read these stories. While I seriously doubt that the Wildwood-Salem FSX 275VC is the result of someone reading this, the product is something that makes me very happy. [Wildwood-Salem, Salem-Wildwood—same difference.]

What we have here is something that takes some of the usable features of a toy hauler along with the conveniences that are typical of the Wildwood-Salem line and puts them together into a camper that can serve a lot of different purposes. And, with reconfigurable bits, it can serve multiple uses depending on your travel plans. 

Salem and Wildwood

Salem and Wildwood are divisions of Forest River that, essentially, are identical. Any RV dealership is granted a specific region that they can serve exclusively. However, this may not always make sense from a marketing standpoint. 

An example of this is the dealership I worked at. While we were within the territory of another dealership that sold the Rockwood brand, it was over a mountain pass and far enough away, psychologically, that they didn’t get many customers from our neck of the woods. Hence, we sold the Flagstaff brand which is identical to Rockwood except for the stickers and name. 

This is true of Salem and Wildwood and several other twin brands of RV. So if your local dealer doesn’t have one, they may have the other and you’re getting an identical product. 

Another interesting thing with companies is that some, including Wildwood/Salem, have manufacturing in Indiana but also on the West Coast. Shipping RVs is expensive so several manufacturers have West Coast manufacturing operations. If you see a model designation of something we review here and it has a “W” in that designation, typically that means it’s built on the West Coast and, usually, that’s in Oregon. 

One more thing: Wildwood and Salem offer their standard aluminum skin over wood frame but then often offer a “Platinum” series which is a fiberglass-skinned trailer. These are not laminated like some brands and still utilize wood framing. Not better, not worse—but definitely different and worth noting. 

What is this trailer?

Now that we’ve had that wordy explanation, let’s look at what the Wildwood/Salem FSX 275VC is. You might see a patio deck in the back and immediately think “toy hauler.” In some ways you’re right. 

There is, indeed, a patio deck that can also serve as a cargo ramp, and there are tie-downs and ventilation doors on the back of this trailer as you might expect in a toy hauler. 

But the garage in this unit is just 84 inches long, so don’t expect your side-by-side to fit in here. 

There are hefty bunks on either side of this space that flip up. The lower bunks also come with a cushion so you can use them as a couch. This makes seating for potentially six people back here. There’s even a folding table included, which can make this a good spot for dining. 

Doesn’t that make this a bunkhouse? Well, kind of. And doesn’t that make this a toy hauler? Also kind of. 

But consider that this could be an office, or a bedroom, or a dining room, or a workshop. Or a room where you could offend the entire campground with your karaoke stylings. 

The beds, when they’re beds, are 76 inches long, so real adults can sleep here. When they’re up, there is also a flip-down shelf sort of thing. So you could use this as a counter, or a standing desk. 

Patio deck/ramp on the Salem-Wildwood FSX 275VC

And there’s that patio deck/ramp. I’ve seen more than one person buy a toy hauler so that they could take advantage of this deck rather than use it for toys. This trailer is an acknowledgment that there are enough customers who fit into this mold that now there is a good option for them. 

And, as for hauling toys, while you might not use this for larger toys, this could be a great way to get ebikes to the campground or things like that. This could be a great rig if you like mountain biking, for example. 

Another nifty thing that’s typical of Salem/Wildwood is that this comes with a half dozen totes that can fit under the lower bunks. Each traveler in your posse could be responsible for their own tote, or you could earmark totes for specific items. 

The way to block light on the windows in the back of this RV is with snap-on shades. This makes sense because you’re likely to have younger campers back here who might destroy any other kind of shade. And, it does block out the light. 

Bedroom eyes

Since we mentioned the four beds at the back, let’s also look at the one in the front, which is in its own bedroom. I have to tell you it’s a shortie queen. While many of you have just swapped out the shortie queen mattress for a larger one, this one has something else it can do. And it’s not a long shortie. It’s only 74 inches long, which will absolutely be a deal breaker for a lot of you who leave comments here. 

Are you RV Travel readers a taller lot? 

The bed in this rig can lift the head of itself up via a power lift mechanism so you can use it for sitting around during the day. But making this work successfully means there’s a metal bar at the bottom of the bed so the mattress doesn’t slide off when it’s lifted. That means that the shorter length of this bed is all you can have here. 

On the plus side, when the head of the bed is lifted, it affords a lot more floor space in this room so you actually can change clothes in here. 

And, again, there are a series of soft-sided totes under the foot of the bed which makes loading/unloading nice and provides more storage flexibility. 

Another surprise in the bedroom is a closet, of sorts, that is situated behind the shower. This is in the bedroom but occupies the space behind the shower. 

For those who just want a lot of storage, you’ve got it. But you can also put a washer-dryer in here, as it’s plumbed for that. Not something you’d expect in a rig like this but, whoomp, there it is. 

Not a toy hauler interior

One of the things that does disappoint some buyers when shopping for toy haulers is the living space. Typically when a trailer favors space in the back for your stuff, the space for yourself is compromised. And, oftentimes, it isn’t all that attractive either. 

That’s not true here, where the living space is actually rather pleasant. There’s a bar right at the entrance where you could serve breakfast or beverages, depending on the time of day. And I’m not here to stop you from doing both at any time of day. 

The only seating in this portion of the RV are theater seats but, remember, there are those couch/bed seats in the way back. 

Lots of prep space and storage in kitchen

The kitchen is really nice with a lot of counter space and storage. The large U-shaped kitchen extends from that breakfast bar around to the side and makes a turn to extend along the front wall. There is a lot of prep space here. 

Under that breakfast bar is another surprise, a pull-out pantry door. This is a brilliant use of space. Plus, who wouldn’t keep their bottles of booze here? 

This isn’t the only hidden storage—there’s more behind the refrigerator. Since the fridge doesn’t occupy the entire depth of the slide room, Wildwood/Salem used the space behind the fridge for more storage and employed adjustable shelving. I can see this being ideal for backup bedding or towels or games for those family night gatherings. 

Once your grub is ready to cook, you can utilize the three-burner propane cooktop or the convection microwave. There’s also a flat-top griddle on the outside of the trailer in the shadow of a mini fridge. 

Interestingly, we looked at another Forest River product recently, the Surveyor Legend 202RBLE, and that had a similar outdoor kitchen. However, there was a sliding drawer-style arrangement so you didn’t have to reach over the griddle to get to the fridge. I can see more than one griddled middle having to do that because you know the beer you want will be the beer in the back of the fridge. 

Wildwood-Salem FSX 275VC specifications

Boondocking and travel access

I’m not sure how to address this as the floor plan I saw of this rig had a separate door to the bedroom enabling access to that space and the bathroom with the slide in. However, the unit in the attached video did not have a second door. So I’m waiting to hear back from Salem/Wildwood on this. 

This rig does come with 200 watts of solar, though I don’t have details on the charge controller either. I suddenly don’t feel so helpful. 

Final thoughts

There are a few more things worth noting on this. One of those is that this does share ceiling height with toy hauler platforms. That means that the ceiling height is seven feet, which would make this great for taller people. 

Well, except for that doggone 74-inch bed restriction. 

I do like that Salem and Wildwood use something called the AccessiBelly, which means segmented panels make up the enclosed underside of this rig. If you find a problem in one area you don’t have to remove, or cut, the entire underbelly to get to an area that needs attention.

This also features Lippert’s Quick Drop stabilizers—which I want, want, want. These are the only manual stabilizers that are approved for use with a power driver (aka an electric drill). They are far better at stabilizing than those weak stabilizers on many other towable RVs. As another Tony is noted for saying, “They’re great!”

Something that caught my eye is the cabinetry in here, which just seemed budget-focused. While some brands are good at making affordable cabinetry look premium, I think the color choice and the exposed hinges have the opposite effect, to my eye. 

As a counter to this, however, there are accent lights under the cabinets, which are a very nice touch. 

This trailer is well-suited for a number of use cases. But, even better, it can be changed based on what kind of camping you’re doing. For example, it can be a bunkhouse one weekend, a mobile office the next. A home base for adventure at another time. 

The convenient totes that are included also facilitate this type of reconfigurable utilization—so another plus. 

Overall, I like this specific trailer and also the thinking behind it. In fact, I’m going to call this configuration not a bunk house, but a flex house. 

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. 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.

Tony comes to having worked at an RV dealership and been a life long RV enthusiast. He also has written the syndicated Curbside column about cars. He also works closely with a number of RV manufacturers to get an inside look at how things are done and is a brand ambassador for Rockwood Mini Lite with his wife, Peggy.

You can also check out his RV podcast with his wife, Peggy. 

Got an RV we need to look at? Contact us today and let us know in the form below. Thank you!


Tony Barthel
Tony Barthel
Tony worked at an RV dealership handling sales and warranty issues before deciding he wanted to review RVs and RV-related products. He also publishing a weekly RV podcast with his wife, Peggy, which you can find at



4.7 3 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe to comments
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

John Waid (@guest_261303)
17 days ago

My wife needs a mobility cart if she has to stand for an extended period of time or walk a long distance. The short garage area would be perfect for us. Why wasn’t price, or at least MSRP included?

John W (@guest_261470)
16 days ago
Reply to  Tony Barthel

Sorry, I am new to the site and find I accidentally asked that question twice. Apologize for the inconvenience.

Marsha (@guest_260876)
19 days ago

Sounded really nice, until you got to the fact that the slide-out eliminates access to the bathroom. Nope. Would not consider this one.

Steve H (@guest_260896)
19 days ago
Reply to  Marsha

If the production model had the two doors Tony mentioned, bathroom access would not be a problem. But I am old enough to need quick bathroom access too, so I agree that it is impractical for us.

John W. (@guest_261305)
17 days ago
Reply to  Tony Barthel


You didn’t include MSRP in your review. Has Forest River not announced one yet?

John W (@guest_261469)
16 days ago
Reply to  Tony Barthel


Steve H (@guest_260794)
19 days ago

This would be a perfect RV for a retired couple where the husband is a kayak fisherman and the wife is a quilter. While traveling, a 10′ kayak could be stored diagonally across the top bunks and a quilt frame between the two bottom benches. The quilter could use the folding table and fold-down shelf after the kayak and fishing gear are removed from the “garage”. There might even be room to secure a couple of folding E-bikes in the garage while traveling. With the size of those tanks and a few more solar panels, you might even be able to boondock or dry camp for a few days. However, the long-arm sewing machine might require a generator. And the couple must be short to sleep in that bed!

Steve H (@guest_260798)
19 days ago
Reply to  Steve H

PS: Surprise! We are retired, I am a kayak fisherman, and my wife is a quilter. But I am too tall to sleep in a 74″ “queen” bed. Aw, shucks!

John W. (@guest_261304)
17 days ago
Reply to  Steve H

Thanks, Steve, for the Comment. I am not a fisherman, but my wife is a quilter. In my search for an RV, I have been looking particularly at those that have table space for her crafts.

Bill Byerly (@guest_260787)
19 days ago

While it doesn’t fit my travel plans, it’s another really good report. Thanks Tony!

Will B. (@guest_260749)
19 days ago

I always call these “in-house garages”. Heh. Didn’t realize there was a better name. Thanks for the article. We are a fifth wheel toy-hauler. We considered these early on for our motorcycles, but didn’t want to be in a position where the “house” was unusable if we didn’t want to get the bikes out (like at a Harvest Host).

Mikey (@guest_260717)
19 days ago

Hi Tony – I am not sure if the floor layout is correct or if you are talking about a different RV in your information listing. You state that there is no access to the bedroom and the bathroom with the slide in. Yes, you are right if you use the mid door but with two doors the front door opens to the bedroom and you have full access to the bathroom from the hallway that runs from the bedroom to the rest of the trailer. Just a little confusing.

Will B. (@guest_260752)
19 days ago
Reply to  Mikey

@Mikey Not this article, but our 399TH Grand Design Momentum is like that…. big slide blocks the fifth wheel bedroom and bathroom stairs. The stairs aren’t by the door, they’re on the street side! Weird design. (And we took out the toilet from the garage!)

Bob P (@guest_260671)
20 days ago

Every time I see a RV like this I wonder if the manufacturer includes a map of every where there are no mosquitoes where you could leave the giant insect door open. Lol. Several years ago we were in TX for the winter in Rockport where the hurricane made landfall. There was a toy hauler that was set up like this patio, and also a 5th wheel with one of the side foldout patios. Every time the owners tried to use their patio they were ran back inside by mosquitoes or other bugs. We couldn’t even sit outside in our lawn chairs. Finally the city sent their mosquitos spray truck through that helped for 4 days then they were back hungrier than before.

Sign up for the

RVtravel Newsletter

Sign up and receive 3 FREE RV Checklists: Set-Up, Take-Down and Packing List.