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Old 09-20-2017, 03:38 PM   #1
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Roo 183 - Opinions

Hi all -

We are a "tenters" that are looking to take the next steps in our camping adventures and considering a Roo 183.

I'd be curious people's opinion of the Roo line (and especially 183). Good, bad and the ugly?


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Old 09-20-2017, 04:09 PM   #2
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That would be a very nice step up from a tent! The 183 has a lot of space for a trailer that size. If you need/want the 3 beds, its hard to beat.

We are just finishing our 5th season with our Roo and are super happy with it. Would certainly recommend one if you want more amenities, but still like the tent feel of the canvas bunks.


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2013 Rockwood Roo 23 IKSS
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Old 09-20-2017, 04:37 PM   #3
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We had our Roo 19 for 3 seasons; only issue was a bad water heater valve.

That being said, a very small percentage of folks have had problems with the bunk doors leaking. There are some easy mods to help with that. Wanted you to be aware.

Also, if you sleep as a couple and are "of a certain age," you may find one of you needs to crawl over the other several times a night. That's essentially what moved us to our Mini Lite. I do miss sleeping under the canvas, though.
1988 Coleman Sequoia - popup (1987-2009) - outlasted 3 Dodge Grand Caravans!
2012 Roo19 - hybrid (2012-2015)

2016 Mini Lite 2503S - tt (2015 - ???)
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Old 09-21-2017, 01:07 AM   #4
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I have had my 2014 183 out to two 3 month winter trips in FL, plus many other 2 and 3 week adventures from Upper MI to TN. Just my wife and I usually, but sometimes my grown daughter and her friend. The wife and I sleep in separate bunks as we have different sleeping habits. We usually use the side bunk for clothes storage and other misc items. We never spend much time inside, and usually cook outside, under the power awning.

We tent camped years ago, but most recently had a popup. I got tired of the hour or more up/down with the popup, as everything needed to be packed in order to get everything put away. With our Shamrock we can tear down and setup in less than 30 minutes taking our time. There is a lot of room to move around and get dressed that the popup did not have.

I towed my 183 with a '01 Dodge 250 van for two years, but now I have a '14 RAM 1500 that tows it much better.

The 183 is about 3800# unloaded, and I always load mine to the max which gives it a 4800# max weight and about a 550# tongue weight. I use a Harbor Freight $200 weight distribution hitch and it does just fine.

Make sure you have a suitable payload capacity in your tow vehicle... payload is the key because about 500# plus or minus will be used up as tongue weight. My 1500 only has about 1400# payload, but with just the wife and I that has been plenty. You are pulling a massive wind break behind you and a smaller SUV will be taxed on longer/mountains drives.

I have made a couple of big mods to my 183... you can read them here and here...

Roof preventive maintanence

MOD-adding an additional baggage door to Shamrock/Roo

The smaller size if the 183 is nice in cramped campgrounds, but with 3 queen beds and a dinette bed you can sleep a small crowd if necessary. It is a hybrid, so you have to watch for leaking bunk ends, but I have not had that problem.

Read thru the Shamrock/Roo sub-forum for lots of info on 183's.

2014 Shamrock 183
2014 RAM 1500 Bighorn Crew Cab, HEMI, 3.21 gears, 8 Spd, 4X4
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Old 09-21-2017, 09:47 AM   #5
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We have the 2014 Shamrock 183 which is pretty much the twin to the Roo I think. So far weve had no major problems with it. Electric jack froze on the 2nd trip but I figured out that that was due to the top cap missing a gasket and rain got in probably the whole time it sat on dealers lot. Only other little quirks Ive found is not being able to find a replacement cartridge for the on board water filter and the outside electrical outlet doesnt like a griddle on with anything else. Solved that with by running a drop cord from the GC pedestal.
2014 Shamrock 183
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Old 09-21-2017, 10:48 AM   #6
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I have a 21SS, but we went from tenting to a pop-up for 10 years. The hybrid is perfect for us, as it still keeps the close-to-nature feel, but we don't have the issues of packing so tightly in a 8' Rockwood 1610 pop-up and allows us to further extend our camping season from late March in Indiana to just after Thanksgiving in Kentucky.

The disadvantage is that Roo's have the aerodynamics of a flatiron, and the wind resistance takes more fuel to pull than a pop-up or A-frame with their lower profile. We stored our pop-up in the garage, but we are building a 14' sidewall pole building garage to store our Roo, which requires a 12' high door.
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Old 09-21-2017, 11:37 AM   #7
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We have a 2014 Roo 21DK which is a 19 foot box, 2 queens and a kitchen slide. Works for us since we don't need the 3rd bed all that often and if we need more beds we use the dinette. Only thing I miss in this lay out is we don't have a couch but the extra room and counter space you get with the kitchen slide is a nice plus. It 4010 dry so not that much more then the 183... Tongue is 590.

The fit and finish on ours is pretty good and everything has held up well so I would not hesitate buying another Forrest River hybrid like Shamrock or Surveyor.

We tent camped at first, then a pop up for 10 years and now the Hybrid. The reduced set up and prep time with the Hybrid makes getting ready for a trip so much easier we find ourselves camping more sometimes at the spur of the moment. We keep most of what we need in the camper, so turn on the fridge, load the food and we're off...Set up and tear downs are minutes, not hours so that helps too and the weather isn't as much of a concern as it used to be.

It's been a real game changer for us and my only regret is not upgrading sooner.
Gerry Z
2014 Roo 21DK
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Old 09-21-2017, 12:20 PM   #8
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You don't give us any details on family size or future family thoughts. But I will say we went from a big pup to the Roo 19 (only two beds but still same concept) and the setup and tear down, along with extra capacity for water and bathroom was enough to make it worth it.

The only thing I would have done if I had a bigger TV, would be to go with something with a slide. It can get a little cramped inside w/ 2 adults, kids, and dog.
2018 Rockwood Roo 19
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Old 09-21-2017, 02:18 PM   #9
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Wish I would have known this model existed when we bought our 19. An option to have 3 queen pop-outs plus the table/bed? Looks like it would sleep technically one more person than my 19, but otherwise has the same/similar features.

It can get cramped inside if everyone's moving around at once, much better than our popup was, but we try to kick everyone outside unless it's bad weather so it's not an issue. We tend to have 6 or more when we camp (extra kids in a tent).

We have had to fiddle and fix a few things over the last 2 years, (we're having the dealer look into a leak in the front bunk next week actually). It helps if you're somewhat handy. Colorado to Gulf Shores to Edisto Island, and lots of local trips later, no real complaints!
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Old 09-21-2017, 02:45 PM   #10
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I now have a roo 233s, and I love this camper. My previous camper was a kz spree escape 20rbt, which is also a three bunk hybrid with a very similar layout to the 183. (The one thing that is missing from the 183 is a couch, which may or may not be a big thing for you.) It was great, but the roo is a step up in every dimension... literally. A little taller. A little wider. Power awning. Scissor jacks vs stab jacks. The glass shower door. Mounted tv vs one you have to set up every time. A little larger sink. Gas and electric water heater. And the slide out. Man do I live that slide out! The little things add up!!!

I will give you my perceived negatives. The beds are not that comfortable. Fixed with a mattress pad. I am in the small group that has a little leaking from the bunks when closed. Easy mods to fix that. That's really all I've got.

It is a solidly built trailer. It's an ultralight, so keep that in mind, but if you are handy at all, and take care of it, I think you too will love a roo!

One thing that I will ask you to think about is the size of your family. When I bought our spree escape, I had one kid. We now have three with the oldest having just turned 4. The spree escape is fine for now, but these suckas ain't getting any smaller.

Everybody's different, but I thought that in a few years, we're gonna out grow this spree escape. Many people just need a place to sleep, but we do spend a bit of time in the actual camper. So, I went with the 233s. If your trailer is a long-term purchase, I would suggest you look at it. It's not that much more money, and it has the slide, and the dinette, couch, and front bunk are all within viewing angle of the tv. Maybe I'm just a bad parent, but with three small kids, it's sure nice to be able to get everyone together in the evening to veg out before bed time.

Bottom line... I love my roo. I would recommend it to anybody. It's my prize possession, and I have zero regrets.

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