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Old 07-17-2019, 01:27 PM   #1
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Comparison Shopping Coachmen v. Rockwood

We're narrowing down our travel trailer preferences. Having never bought a travel trailer, we're having some problems comparison shopping and I am wondering if anyone can help give us pointers on what we really should be looking at here.

So far our choices are: 1) Rockwood Mini Lite 2109S. I admit, I haven't seen it in person yet, just videos and 360 walk-throughs on line, but I've seen other Rockwoods and I like what I've seen. We're going to see one this weekend. 2) Coachman Spirit 1943RB. This we have looked at and of all the TT we've seen, it's my husband's favorite. I admit, it's a lovely trailer, my concern is whether it's the best choice for us. It's a tiny bit cheaper - like $2,000 or so.


Both are brand new. We're having no luck finding either used.

They have similarities. The bathrooms are nearly identical. They both have fixed front queens. The Fridges are in the same place with a pantry next to them. I think, but am not 100% sure, that they both have 8 cubic foot refrigerators. They both have sofas (or in the coachman's case - theater seating) in the slides, which we definitely want. We don't want a booth at all.

You can walk through the Rockwood with the slide in. The Coachman, no so much unless you walk on the slide.

The Coachman is a bit longer and about 700 lbs heavier. It is the very top of what we're comfortable towing with our present truck, a Colorado. (I don't want to get into whether the Colorado will handle it...we're upgrading to a full-size truck in the next few years with an eye to full-timing when we retire, at which point the truck will be way overpowered for the little TT. For now, we'll be careful, pack light, drive slow and avoid hills.)

The Rockwood has a bigger fresh water tank and I expect to boondock quite a bit, but this will be mostly used for weekends, maybe a week at a time for longer vacations.

So, I guess the question really is, what differences REALLY matter? What should we ask the dealers? Insulation? HVAC? Solar Prep? Generator prep? Maybe someone has a link to a list of questions we should really be thinking about?

Both dealers we're looking at have a good reputation. We just don't know how to make up our minds!
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Old 07-17-2019, 01:33 PM   #2
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We were looking at both Rockwood and Coachmen. Our decision to pick the Coachmen was strictly a floorplan choice. Our Coachmen also had a full 80" queen bed vs Rockwood's 76". One advantage I believe the Rockwood has is aluminum framing in the roof vs wood for the Coachmen. The one Rockwood we did like blocked the bathroom when the slide was in. Not a huge problem since we rarely use the bathroom while on the road. Some people claim the Azdel exterior walls on the Coachmen is superior to what is used on the Rockwood
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Old 07-17-2019, 02:03 PM   #3
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we are in our second rockwood so needless to say we are a little biased...
Internal Space:

Probably what you will notice at first is that the different front profile will make the Rockwood look way roomier than the Coachmen from the inside.
Kitchen:

The Coachmen seems to have a little more storage under the TV but that was achieved making the kitchen counter top less usable (L shape) and more intrusive into the livingroom.
We personally think the Rockwood kitchen is more usable and the livingroom in the Rockwood is more spacious than the Coachmen.

Livingroom:

The sofa in the Rockwood is bigger and will be more comfortable (space) than in the coachmen... You will use the sofa way more than you will use the side stands the coachment offers so for us, again, the Rockwood is better on that.
The Rockwood also have cabinets above the sofa and the Coachmen don't (ours are always full of stuff).
Bathroom:

In the Bathroom, the Rockwood seems to have a bigger sink and countertop and better faucet....
External:
The rockwood have better steps and bigger grab handle goin into the camper.
The Dexter Torflex suspension of the Rockwood is a better suspension than the coachmen leaf springs system.


The only point we think the Coachmen is better than the Rockwood is the Azdel it uses in the walls (maybe that is the reason it is heavier).


For the above reasons, We probably would stick with the Rockwood.
We can't remember what was Coachmen fit and finish quality but Rockwood, at its price point, was the best we could find in our opinion.
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Old 07-17-2019, 02:23 PM   #4
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I would recommend that you take a look at prices from https://www.rvwholesalers.com/forest...trailer/2109s/

They had the best prices when we looked.
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Old 07-17-2019, 06:37 PM   #5
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I would recommend that you take a look at prices from https://www.rvwholesalers.com/forest...trailer/2109s/

They had the best prices when we looked.
Thanks. I did check and their price was good, but I'm thinking that after the delivery is added the local(ish) dealer will be just as good. We have two family owned RV dealers an hours drive. Non- commissioned sales people. Good reputations. Not to mention I feel weird buying without seeing the actual unit in advance. I'm not sure how that works.
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Old 07-17-2019, 06:51 PM   #6
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We just purchased a 2017 mini lite 2109s this spring. We are very happy with the construction and quality. It tows nicely with our Ford F-150. The torex axels give it a nice smooth ride. The storage space is more than adequate for the two of us. I liked the aluminum construction.
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Old 07-17-2019, 07:35 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Mrs.Shockley View Post
Thanks. I did check and their price was good, but I'm thinking that after the delivery is added the local(ish) dealer will be just as good. We have two family owned RV dealers an hours drive. Non- commissioned sales people. Good reputations. Not to mention I feel weird buying without seeing the actual unit in advance. I'm not sure how that works.
As close as Missouri is to Ohio, it would be worth it to me to make the drive.
We are on the West Coast and we drove 2000 miles one way, to buy from a Midwest dealer. We were planning on buying from RVW but we found a better price, from a Chicago dealer, on a left over model. We bought it based only on pictures. But we had looked at the same model at the local overpriced dealers.
RVW would've met us halfway, cutting the delivery costs in half.
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Old 07-17-2019, 08:10 PM   #8
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[...] I don't want to get into whether the Colorado will handle it [...] For now, we'll be careful, pack light, drive slow and avoid hills. [...]
I don't know if you're overweight or not. If you aren't, don't worry about upgrading TV or any of those work-arounds you list. If you are, then don't tow it. Ever. Not on short trips. Not on flat stretches. Etc. It doesn't suddenly become safe or acceptable just because you "take it easy." That's about like saying, "I've decided to drive drunk. But, don't worry, I'll be careful, make a short trip, drive slow, and avoid traffic." Don't justify bad behaviors will silliness. Do the math, make a good decision. Done and done.

Don't discount driving to pick up your trailer long distance. Dealer support is hit or miss, anyway. We also didn't have a single warranty issue on our trailer. I drove from Denver to Indiana (Wana RV) to save around $4,000 on our trailer. I have more time than money, so it worked out great. I think the roundtrip in fuel and lodging cost around $400. I'd do it again without thinking twice.

Just make sure you really weigh the options. A roadtrip isn't that bad and you could save significant money.

Make sure you find a Rockwood to walk through. You can also look to see if there are any Flagstaff equivalents. Rockwood and Flagstaff are identical, other than branding and fabric colors. There is always a Flagstaff equivalent model number that matches the Rockwood version. If there aren't any Rockwoods in stock around you, maybe the Flagstaff dealer has one.

We love our Rockwood, but I didn't really look at the Coachmen trailers. Go with the one you like the best and enjoy it.

Good luck.
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Old 07-17-2019, 10:15 PM   #9
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We have both of these models within an hours drive. The current plan is we're going to see the Rockwood, then go to the other dealer and look at the Coachman again.

So... what important features should we really compare? Those of you with more knowledge... what would you look at? They're both nice, but what structural/ mechanical/ etc. questions should were ask?
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Old 07-17-2019, 10:20 PM   #10
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I don't know if you're overweight or not. If you aren't, don't worry about upgrading TV or any of those work-arounds you list. If you are, then don't tow it. Ever. Not on short trips. Not on flat stretches. Etc. It doesn't suddenly become safe or acceptable just because you "take it easy." That's about like saying, "I've decided to drive drunk. But, don't worry, I'll be careful, make a short trip, drive slow, and avoid traffic." Don't justify bad behaviors will silliness. Do the math, make a good decision. Done and done.

Good luck.
All I meant was we're aware we're closet to max capacity. We're not over weight if we pack light as opposed to taking everything we own. We are upgrading because we'll need a bigger truck in the future, not because this one will be unsafe. I just didn't want this to turn into a debate about the truck. The Coachman is heavier, at the top of what we're comfortable with.
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Old 07-18-2019, 04:30 PM   #11
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https://www.wanarv.com/images/dynami...5SS%203063.pdf

This one is nice and I think better than the 2109S
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Old 07-18-2019, 04:46 PM   #12
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Never owned a coachmen but loved the fit and finish of our rock wood. High quality product. Our favourite trailer so far even though we traded it on a new 5er.
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Old 07-18-2019, 05:06 PM   #13
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Writing this as we are on the road on a three week camping trip from NC to MN. Pulling our Rockwood MiniLitr 2109s with our half ton RAM with a 318 V8. Itís a 2017 model we bought in June 2016. We love this camper! No issues, ever. Pulls easy. Has the features we want in a compact package. Get a comprehensive pre purchase walk through. Get the Rockwood!
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Old 07-18-2019, 05:55 PM   #14
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Comparison Shopping

Not sure which brand, might have been keystone, but Coachman sticks in my mind. Check for recalls. Bent frames...If your thinking full time in couple years, doubt you will be in a 22 footer or anything less than 32, so buying vehicle, go large. Probably need to be able to pull 5th wheel TT up to 40 foot. No use going small on the tow truck only to have to upgrade within couple years. Had a 40 footer 5th.. Now in 42 MH....Forest River Berkshire...Love the Cummings, the Onan, the chassis, most of the componets...hate the workmanship lack of QC on the FR build out...Carry rubber mallet and Elmers wood glue to put everything together like it should have been at the factory. Not to mention the missing slide plates, bent screws left in door slides and the list goes on.
Good Luck
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Old 07-18-2019, 09:16 PM   #15
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Not sure which brand, might have been keystone, but Coachman sticks in my mind. Check for recalls. Bent frames...If your thinking full time in couple years, doubt you will be in a 22 footer or anything less than 32, so buying vehicle, go large. Probably need to be able to pull 5th wheel TT up to 40 foot. No use going small on the tow truck only to have to upgrade within couple years. Had a 40 footer 5th.. Now in 42 MH....Forest River Berkshire...Love the Cummings, the Onan, the chassis, most of the componets...hate the workmanship lack of QC on the FR build out...Carry rubber mallet and Elmers wood glue to put everything together like it should have been at the factory. Not to mention the missing slide plates, bent screws left in door slides and the list goes on.
Good Luck
You do realize they are looking at two relatively small travel trailers and both use the frames made by Lippert right?
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Old 07-19-2019, 09:23 AM   #16
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You may want to check the price on the Flagstaff 25BDS, same as the Rockwood 2509 !!!
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Old 07-19-2019, 10:21 AM   #17
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You may want to check the price on the Flagstaff 25BDS, same as the Rockwood 2509 !!!

Sadly, they're heavy. We have a Colorado. I'm barely comfortable with the 4800 the Coachman shows as UVW. Another 500 lbs??? Husband might say yes, but I say no.
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Old 07-19-2019, 10:52 AM   #18
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[QUOTE=Lifestylers;2143425]Not sure which brand, might have been keystone, but Coachman sticks in my mind. Check for recalls. Bent frames...If your thinking full time in couple years, doubt you will be in a 22 footer or anything less than 32, so buying vehicle, go large. Probably /QUOTE]

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You do realize they are looking at two relatively small travel trailers and both use the frames made by Lippert right?

You're both kind of right.

For NOW we're staying with our Colorado and so we want something with a dry weight UNDER 5,000 (I'd prefer closer to 4,000 but hubs is okay with heavier) and UNDER 26 feet. Those are ABSOLUTE maximums.

When we trade the truck - likely next year or two - we'll buy the big truck. We intend at this point to sell our home in town and full-time when we retire - which will be in about 5 years. But using a one-ton as a daily driver while we're both working doesn't sound like much fun so we're putting it off. We'll still have a cabin on a bit of off-grid hunting land that we'll keep, so we'll still need a truck - which makes an RV and toad an unlikely full-time option. Once we retire, we'll take our time and find the best full-time RV, but we don't plan to full-time in the teeny-tiny-TT.

****************

We're still planning on braving the 115 degree heat index tomorrow and look at a couple more TTs...so suggestions of any mechanical/structural things anyone thinks we should compare would be appreciated!
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Old 07-19-2019, 11:00 AM   #19
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Sadly, they're heavy. We have a Colorado. I'm barely comfortable with the 4800 the Coachman shows as UVW. Another 500 lbs??? Husband might say yes, but I say no.
The Flagstaff 25FBLS is a Micro Lite, same as the Rockwood 2511 !!!
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Old 07-19-2019, 06:18 PM   #20
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The Flagstaff 25FBLS is a Micro Lite, same as the Rockwood 2511 !!!
Well the Forest River website has them at 5300+ dry. That 5000 is an absolute max.
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