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Old 09-19-2015, 04:22 PM   #1
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Decision Time Catalina vs Freedom Express

My wife and I are downsizing from a bunkhouse to a trailer for two. We have looked at a Freedom Express model 248RBs and Catalina 243 RBS. Apart from the Fiberglass and Aluminum issues between the two units the interior fit and finish seem similar. Do any of you members have a reason that would justify the significantly bigger expense of the Freedom over the Catalina or is the Catalina just a great value for their price point. As an aside, do they both have walk on roofs. Thanks very much

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Old 09-19-2015, 11:31 PM   #2
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Location: Oregon
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I had the same decision to make although I have a different floor plan. They both have their own pros and cons. I like the fiberglass with the Azdel in my FE but wish it had the Norcold fridge so I didn't have to mess with the stupid sliding thing on the fins to adjust the temp in my Dometic. I just can't seem to get it right and now the sensor is all messed up. I'll probably replace the sensor with something else before next spring. I camped for 7 nights in over 100 degree weather and I was able to keep the trailer 30 degrees cooler than outside. I attribute part of that to the Azdel.

The Catalina rear kitchen model had better counter space and better tv placement than the FE. I prefer mini-blinds like the Catalina had but I'm going to replace all the accordion night shades in mine. The Catalina had a 2nd entry door into the bathroom which made the bathroom much bigger.

It came down to economics for me. The FE was a leftover 2014 and I got a really good deal. Do I wish I had the Catalina? Sometimes, but I'm happy with the quality of the FE and I've had few problems since I purchased in February. If the dealer called me tomorrow and said "we want to trade your FE for the Catalina you liked" I would have to really think about it. I would probably do it just to get the Norcold fridge LOL

I don't think you can go wrong with either one. I don't know if you can walk on the roof or not.


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Old 09-20-2015, 08:33 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. Much like yourself we are weighing the pros and cons of both units. At the end of the day, with two in college, it will be economics for us as well unless the Freedom was a much superior camper.
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Old 09-24-2015, 06:49 PM   #4
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Have you looked at the Coachmen Apex models? Kind of in between these two... Fiberglass with the Azdel but a little less expensive than the Freedom Express.

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Old 09-24-2015, 09:11 PM   #5
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Location: Spring Branch, TX
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We have a Coachmen Catalina 263 RLS. Our does have a walk-on roof but no ladder on the back. I have been very comfortable on the roof when cleaning it (235 lbs). Don't see why the roof structure would be any different on the Catalina you're lokking at.

Good luck on your decision and enjoy whatever you choose.
Pops and Nana P.
2015 Coachmen Catalina 263 RLS
50th Anniversary Edition
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Old 09-25-2015, 05:12 PM   #6
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I love my Catalina.
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Old 09-25-2015, 05:35 PM   #7
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Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 154
Had the Catalina for two seasons and love it. You can walk on the roof with no problem. Yes there is no ladder but I use an extension ladder and have no problem.
Southwestern Pennsylvania
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Old 09-25-2015, 05:59 PM   #8
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Our dealer just called and said he was getting a Catalina delivered in 6-8 weeks. He just got back from a dealers show and said he was very impressed with the Catalinas and suggested we wait until it comes in before we make a final decision. Thanks for all the input!
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Old 09-26-2015, 10:00 AM   #9
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They seem to be pretty much the same. Different trim, interior colors, exterior decals, and some bells and whistles here and there. We are very satisfied with our Catalina.

I'm a little too truthful, I guess.
Y'all have fun in "Fantasy Land".
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Old 09-26-2015, 04:50 PM   #10
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Well we got a call from our dealer today and he had a 2016 Cherokee 254Q which he had sold last month but had not been picked up. Well the deal fell through and he called us and lo and behold two hours later we had a deal. So thank you to you members who had given us the advice.
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Old 09-27-2015, 01:28 PM   #11
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Location: Eastern North Carolina
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I think the Catalina is an awesome deal at their pricepoint! Very happy with ours and no problem up on the roof!

Beau & Sue
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2015 Coachmen Catalina 303RLS
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Old 10-11-2015, 10:47 PM   #12
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Have been using our 2016 Coachmen Catalina 243 RBS all summer, and loving it! Perfect couples trailer. I like the fireplace especially in the morning: the dogs and I fight over who gets in front of it first! We purchased the unit with dining room chairs instead of bench at the suggestion of another couple, and glad we did-it gave us lots more room around the dining area. There is a couple bar stools that we don't use, however the bar gives lots more room in the kitchen area.

2016 Coachmen Catalina 243 RBS
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