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Old 04-17-2017, 05:36 PM   #1
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Moving on with a 2017 Flagstaff HW27SC

sold my 2005 Fleetwood Utah last fall. Wanted to move into a full hard side but I have not on premise storage for anything over 96" in our car port hence the reason we had a tent trailer. I am not jazzed on paying off site storage.

Fast forward to April. The wife and I popped into a local dealer here in Portland that used to be the Coleman/Fleetwood dealer and now sells the Somerset models as well as Flagstaff tent.

Lets just say I was surprised at how full featured the Flagstaff HW series models are.

Few things have me pausing as I have had two Coleman/Fleetwoods in the past.

1. Travel Door: Can Forest River not find a better way to get around this?? Storing under the slide seems odd.
2. Bed Rail supports: Again, another seperate item that is stored when collapsed and put in place before the beds slide out. This seems odd to me they are not somehow integrated.

One of the reasons I sold the Utah last fall was that it was getting to the point everything was wearing and needing replacement as well as I got tired of the setup time.

Wife wants back into the popup world but the options out there are very limited. The Forest River family, Somerset and Jayco.

Setup times on the HW series?? Sales guy told me was the same as my Utah.

Thoughts and feedback from current owners appreciated.

Also, the one common themes I have already noticed here are electric winch failures. hmmm.
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Old 04-17-2017, 05:45 PM   #2
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I leave mt travel door on when camping. Plenty of roon for the screen door
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Old 04-17-2017, 06:06 PM   #3
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I sold my 2000 coleman bayside last summer and bought the HW296 from Rockwood. You are right, the bed supports are a step backwards, but no big deal. The door storing under the bed seems weird, but I sure don't miss the giant step of the fold down door on my Coleman. The double step and side hand rail are a huge improvement.
Like you, i was surprised at how nice the new Rockwoods are. I was a Coleman snob. But we've been out twice in the new Rockwood without problems, and it's many amenities are nice. This one has a microwave, AC, LED lighting and a lot of other little things I appreciate. I don't miss the Coleman.
Someday maybe we'll go hard side but we like to store on site in our garage, and we like the tent feel, even it isn't the best in a hard storm.
The High Wall gives you substantial cupboard space, higher surface levels, and a much higher ceiling. Plus, there is no sink to put up or down.
The furnace in the new camper seems much quieter, even though it's larger. The 12v convertor used to run incessantly in the old one and drive me crazy. For some reason, it doesn't come on much in the new one, and it seems quieter when it does.
I also have electric lift, and double propane tanks. And a bathroom, which I haven't decided if I am going to use or not!
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Old 04-17-2017, 06:26 PM   #4
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Good feedback, especially from a former Coleman owner.

We looked at the Flagstaff version of your model but liked the additional seating over the outdoor kitchen.
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Old 04-17-2017, 06:27 PM   #5
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I guess I'll need to be a decenter! I've had three popups, and the bed supports on our 2017 228 are a definite step up from single rod supports. Setting up with the two bar supports eliminates the need to lift the bed and fit the bar into the holes. It also puts less stress on the bed tracks as well. I truly think that the current system is an improvement. BTM-I store our supports on the bed with no trouble.
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Old 04-18-2017, 06:51 AM   #6
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We traded our Utah for an FR 2016G, a mirror floor plan to the Utah, a couple years ago. We did look over the HW options also and opted for the shorter trailer. We liked the Somerset Utah a little better, but it cost too much more for us at that time
  • Agree the bed supports are as step back.
  • Liked the stepper door of the Coleman. We never removed the FR door for storage. it is not in the way when latched open.
  • While not a HW, setup effort and time was similar.
  • The bed supports and the extra lock sleeves for the roof with the companion cover, are extra on the FR.
We traded the 2016 on a ROO last fall as we are one of the ones who had too many problems. I was fixing more on the new FR than the Utah, which you can find here elsewhere if interested.

Enjoy what you select!
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Old 04-18-2017, 10:59 AM   #7
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Quality issues is my big concern with the FR pop-ups...
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Old 04-18-2017, 02:13 PM   #8
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Ours doesn't have the outside kitchen. the HW296 is the tandem axle with a dinette, and separate seating area next to one the beds with its own table. Haven't had any quality issues, other than the roof laminate bubbling, which they replaced for us.
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Old 04-18-2017, 02:38 PM   #9
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I have a 2009 HW27SC. We have been going on a trip every fall for the last 4 years, lasting 1-2 months each. We have been very well pleased with it. It does not take any more time to set up as a regular pup. We do not store the door, just leave it on with no issues, don't know why you would take it off anyway. The bed supports we slide in on the sides of the mattresses from the outside with no issues. Love the heated mattresses by the way. We use the bathroom, especially for those late night trips, and like it. Little trouble and learning curb dealing with the waste tanks, but not too bad. The only problem is the gray water tank is only about 12 gal. and does not go far. We usually try to have FHU's or use the park facilities. The black water is also 12 gal. but usually good for about 3-4 days. The electric winch was a problem at first. The unit was used and a new winch was installed when I purchased it. It had issues after the first trip and was replaced under warranty with a newer designed model. Sometime it would not work but if I banged on it with a screwdriver it would start (probably a bad spot on the armature.) Everything else has been fine. There is always some quality control issues with any of these units, but nothing that I have not been able to address. Just be very vigilant about the roof caulking. Would not take much leaking to ruin the structure. I put eternabond tape on mine and feel pretty comfortable with it. I tow with a 1999 Ford F150, 4.6L engine. Pulls very well, just a little underpowered for steep hills, as my wife likes to bring "everything" with her. Hope this helps.
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Old 04-18-2017, 05:53 PM   #10
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Thumbs up

thanks for the reply. We are looking at a new 2017 HW27SC so it will take a few trips to figure out the setup and hopefully have minimal issues.


What about blackwater tank rinse after dry camping?? I know this is something that is on hard sides but did not see it in the documentation or feature list.
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Old 04-18-2017, 08:54 PM   #11
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Mine does not have a black tank flush. You drain the black water then the gray water to flush the hose. Between stops I will sometimes put in about a gallon or two of water with dishwasher packets. Drain it when we get to the next campground. Have not had any issues. On last day out I fill it with fresh water and drain twice, then a couple of gallons with dishwasher packets to go home.
Good until next trip. Don't leave valve open at campground, just drain when full. It needs a good flush to avoid buildup and major problems aka the "poop pyramid". We stay at state parks and COE parks 90% of the time. Many have FHU's depending on the state. There is also post on the proper way to lubricate the lift system, I do that annually, but we camp 1-2 months at a time, staying 2-3-4-days in each place so it gets used a lot.
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Old 04-18-2017, 09:03 PM   #12
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Another thought. Don't forget to hook up the a/c cord and deploy the awning before raising it all the way. Seems like a no brainer but we still forgot on occasion the first couple of years. Really a pain when you get set up and then realize it.
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Old 04-19-2017, 09:52 AM   #13
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If it is just you and the wife, you might consider an A-frame pop-up instead. The A-frame is much faster and easier setup and take-down. The primary drawback is less floor space than a conventional PUP because the ends do not pull out. The Rockwood and Flagstaff A-frames are very nicely equipped at a decent price.

Forest River A-frames are available in both standard and high wall models. The high walls have higher counters, bigger fridges, and more storage.

Whether you would prefer an A-frame or conventional pop-up really depends on your camping style. We had a 2000 Coleman 12ft box pop-up. It was great for week long dry-camping stays with the kids. With the kids gone, we love our A-frame (also 12ft box) for spur-of-the moment weekend trips as well as the week-long trips. Happy we made the switch.

Fred W
2014 Rockwood A122 A-frame (stores in the garage)
2008 Hyundai Entourage minivan
camping Colorado and adjacent states one weekend at a time
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Old 04-19-2017, 10:36 AM   #14
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It will be the two of us, a 10 year old boy and usually a friend and a 60# Boxer/Rhodesian Mix.


The kids are to the point if we are camping I set up our 6 person Marmot tent for them to stay in.


As for the A-Frame. I did look at them but not sure how the wife feels about them. I know at the Portland RV show back in March we just walked right on by so I am pretty sure she has not seen the inside of the largest A-Frame yet. They can be pretty spacious.
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Old 04-19-2017, 10:55 AM   #15
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My wife was sold on the hard walls instead of canvas from the beginning. The interlocking walls and roof are very secure in high winds.

I was the skeptical one, thinking I would miss the open and airy feeling of the tent trailer. The A-frame does have windows on all sides, and ventilation is pretty good with the fan on low and any side or door window open. Insulation is better, so the A-frame is not as hot or as cold as the tent trailer.

It was the 10 minute single person setup and take-down that sold me in the end. Overnight trips are practical and fun. Even moving every day to a new campground is not a back breaker, although in our 4th year with the A-frame we have come to prefer 2 nights before moving on, especially if we have company with us.

That said, we live outside and sleep inside.

The only real change the wife wants is the A122s, which has the front storage trunk. All the A122 storage is underneath the bed or dinette or sink or microwave, which is nowhere as easily accessed as the front storage trunk. With the Coleman, the front storage trunk wasn't as practical because the pull-out bed covered it when camping.

Just thoughts to consider. I really hope you enjoy whatever you choose.

Fred W
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Old 04-19-2017, 11:21 AM   #16
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I feel you. The Popup setup time of the Utah is what I got tired of which is what intrigued us about moving to a full hard side but after further discussion on what we wanted, I didn't want to pay and manage off site storage. Hampers the spontaneity.


I think our goal is to do road trips and those road trips will include one nighter's on the way to a destination. A PUP does not work for that. An A-Frame also works for 4 nighter's as the purpose of camping is sitting outside and enjoying the outside correct??


All I care about is a place that fits me sleeping as I am 6'4", ample storage, a convertible dinette when needed, High Wall model and a cassette potty.


I think I can sell the wife on the road trip benefits of the A Frame as I really do not want to go back to the PUP setup.


EDIT: The Aliner Expedition XL Rear Mattress with the front and rear dormers would be about what we would need for an A Frame to work. I prefer the potty over the full bath in the Chalet. Not sure what FR has to offer as their website is just not good. Also prefer the off road sport package.
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Old 04-19-2017, 05:22 PM   #17
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We just returned from a trip to Waco from Colorado Springs (800 miles) to visit our daughter. Because funds are tight, we decided to camp this trip rather than hotels. The distance is just too much to do in one day when towing the camper. Amarillo, Texas is about half way.

Going down to Waco, we stayed 1 night at Cap Rocks State Park (470 miles from home) amidst the buffalo herd. Drove to Waco the second day and camped at Airport Park Corps of Engineers campground on Lake Waco for 6 days (had a beautiful waterfront site, $12/night with senior pass). Used the campsite as base to visit with our daughter.

Monday night, she had a group project to do for school. So at 2:30PM we said our good-bys, went to the campground, packed up and hit the road at 3:15. We got to Wichita Falls at 7:45PM and decided to push on to Copper Breaks State Park. We arrived at Copper Breaks at 9:15PM and set up in the dark (our first set up in the dark). And it was dark, this is a designated star-gazing park. Backing the rig in was a little tricky with the only light being the flashlight in DW's hand. But we got her done, leveled, disconnected, and set up in 20 minutes. We were in bed sleeping by 10:15 after some star gazing and identification, walking the dog, and potty visits (we use campground facilities).

The next morning we got up at 7:30 (in the heavy fog). We departed at 8:15 for the remaining 500 miles home.

The A-frame is very conducive for the quick overnights. But as I said, we prefer 2 nights in one place to do some sight-seeing of the area.

We put in mattress toppers to make the beds very comfortable. We installed dual batteries to carry us 4 nights of dry camping. We run out of battery (if the weather is cold), water (15 gal tank +6 gal hot water heater), and food (small fridge) all about the same time.

We really enjoy the A-frame (if you can't tell).

Fred W
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Old 04-20-2017, 04:56 PM   #18
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Rockwood HW-277

We have a 2014 Forest River/Rockwood HW-277.
Previously, we had a Viking with a 10' tub and 12" wheels/tires. Simple and basic.

FIRST AND FOREMOST: I love my camper. The list of "issues" notwithstanding, the problems are relatively minor, and many could be addressed in advance without voiding the warranty.

Pluses:
  1. The travel door is a bonus. Rather than a split entry door when the camper is setup, you get a "solid" door in a frame and solid door. The travel door takes only a moment to store under the rear bed.
  2. The pipe frames to hold the beds are an advantage over the style where you must lift the bed to insert the pipe into the bottom of the bed track or the trailer bumper. I'm 6/6" and there are times on sloping terrain where the beds can be pretty high in the air, and you couldn't lift the bed with your back. It would take two people to setup the bed in that case.
  3. If you choose a model with the outdoor kitchen, you'll love it.
  4. Having the slide for the dinette is also a huge bonus. We have the U-shaped dinette in our 277, and it's very roomy.
  5. The hard-wall bathroom is terrific. It's more private than a curtain, and it goes up in a flash.
  6. The stereo is setup a bit strangely, but it sounds pretty good considering. Weird is that "balance" shifts sound from inside to outside, and "fade" moves the sound from front to rear on the interior speakers. That seems backwards to me, and it may be a quirk of installation.
  7. A stove with an oven and a microwave oven are pretty slick for a pop-up.
  8. HW means High-Wall. At my height, I was delighted to realize that they use the same canvass on the regular height trailer and the high-wall, so my ceiling is over 7 feet up! Love it.
  9. The fridge is a cut above the typical pop-up fridge, because the counter height is higher.

Setup time is on par with my Viking once you consider the extra features you must also setup. The bathroom takes a couple minutes; the slide dinette takes a few minutes; the outdoor kitchen and grill each take a couple minutes. And even though I'm tall, I often need to use a ladder to position the rain covers over the lift posts. Pretty soon, setup takes about 10 to 15 minutes more than a less fancy pop-up. But most of that trade-off is features vs setup time. And it's the features that make boondocking for days on end very comfortable.

ISSUES
A) Build quality could be better. Keep a toolbox and some spare screws, nuts and bolts handy, because things sometimes come apart. We do a lot of dry camping 15 to 20 miles into gravel roads. I actually lower the tire pressures on the trailer when on gravel to soften the ride, then I inflate the tires to full pressure when we get to pavement. I have a top quality Viair 12 volt compressor (connects straight to the truck battery with clamps) for this purpose. First thing I do after setup is to sweep the floor looking for parts and put things back together.
B) If the one you look at comes with the heated innerspring mattresses, consider getting the dealer to swap for foam. A 4" innerspring mattress is a horrible idea - heat or no heat. We first tried a 2" foam topper, but this year I put a 5" memory foam mattress in "our" bed.
C) Speaking of rattles. Check the plastic bolts that hold the hinged glass stove cover together each trip. And use a towel or light rug to separate the glass from the stove top.
D) Continuing comment "A" - Look for loose screws/bolts as soon as you setup. This includes acorn nuts on the bathroom, screws holding the stove together (burners and all), screws holding the outside grill together, and so on. In particular, the metal angle support for the bottom of the door was just screwed into particle board (at least on mine). I soon replaced the screws (which had stripped out) with stainless bolts and locking nuts straight thru the wall. The bolt heads are under the awning bag so leaks aren't a concern.
E) The valves on the kitchen sink are not intuitive. We are constantly closing one and opening the other wide open when trying to turn off the water. A minor thing, but annoying...especially when dry camping and water is in short supply.
F) The support rail for the grill and outdoor accessory counter is also just held in with short screws into particle board (or plywood...seems like particle board to me). Get more screws - stainless - and reinforce this right away. The grill is pretty heavy for such a system, and since you tug on it and put things on the counter/table, you're constantly torqueing on this rail.
G) The tongue jack is adequate, but it's not up to the task of allowing you to roll the camper about on the tongue wheel. The plastic wheel could be replaced, but the jack shaft itself does not seem to be up to the lateral loads imposed by such a heavy trailer. My old Viking could roll in and out of the garage on its tongue wheel.
H) A real telltale on quality control. During assembly, someone drove a screw through the floor in perfect alignment with the freshwater fill hose to the holding tank. In relatively short order, the screw punctured the hose and I'd lose about 1/3 of my fresh water as it piddled out onto the ground via the hole in the hose. I used a dremel to cut off the screw, and I spliced a repair into the fill hose. But of all the things that needed attention in the camper, poor planning and execution puncturing plumbing is hard to forgive.
I) The main door is screens with two sliding panels that make the door solid. The corner joints on the sliding panels us non-standard and pretty fragile connectors. Just lifting the lower panel, I ripped the upper cross rail off the vertical rail. And the nonstandard plastic corner bracket means that your local hardware store doesn't have an easy replacement.
J) Finally, yes, the lift winch is wonky. I don't know if this goes with the territory or if it's a factor of which winch they spec for the camper. I suggest that you remove the protective cover over the winch and use silicone or bathtub caulk to seal the relay boxes. I've ordered replacements for mine after only 3 seasons of use. (Meanwhile, I've never replaced a relay on my 2006 truck or 2004 Toyota Rav-4.) This winch is "outside" in the weather, but the relays don't seem to be up to that duty. On the other hand, they are cheap at $10 each. The good news is that your cordless drill and the socket for the stabilizer jacks will raise and lower the camper just fine. But make sure you have spare battery. Doing it with the handcrank might take an hour because the winch motor runs 600 RPM vs. your hand cranking running 1/10 of that speed at best.

So that's a long list of gripes, but, as I said, I love the camper. Buy some gorilla tape, a small storage box for nuts, bolts, washers and screws, stock it up with a few sizes, and keep a small tool box handy. If you're smart, you'll have a drill to manage your stabilizer jacks, so throw in a small pack of drill bits. And before you take it on its maiden voyage, get some locktite and do all the acorn nuts, etc. that you can get to easily.

Buy a good step-ladder/stool. This thing is very tall, and you'll need it just to setup and store the awning!
Get a cover. My bag awning is roasted from the Colorado sun. I need to replace it. I spent about $150 on a cover from Camping World that, based on one year of use, should last 5 years or so.

This is a pretty big trailer. Mine is a 15' tub. It's a single axle, and fully loaded it's almost 4000 pounds and about 450 pounds tongue weight. Add a bed full of firewood, coolers, chairs, a generator and 4 x 7-gallon cans of extra water, and it's a load. I installed Firestone air bags on my Ram 1500, and I run them at about 25 pounds and the rear truck tires with about 5 pounds of additional pressure when hooked up. That setup makes the truck ride level, and it doesn't porpoise at all. It's VERY stable. The trailer tows like a dream with that rig. I didn't have the airbags for my old Viking, and even though it was only 2100 pounds fully loaded and the tongue weight was only about 200 pounds, my truck wallowed and porpoised a bit over undulating roads.

If you need to move this trailer by hand very much, you may need a tongue dolly like the Trailer Valet. I have a Harbor-Freight manual dolly, and it's a bear to move this trailer with that dolly.

One last tip. The climb into the beds on a highwall is rather Everest like. I bought some rubbermaid plastic steps and cut the body of the steps to match the "stair" leading up to the bed. We now have two stairs with better footing to give access to the beds. My wife is short, and these are a real blessing: http://bit.ly/2pjYMVl All I did was use a jig saw to cut the back of the plastic stair to match the profile of the built in step/ledge. It just drops in place - one at each bed. And they nest for travel and fit in the bathroom.

Speaking of bathroom, one of these is a must: http://ebay.to/2pIc5Mx

Would I buy the same trailer again? Yes!

Sorry for the "book," but I would have loved to have this info in advance.
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