On this week’s show we start our series on buying a used RV by looking at the fast growing lite and ultra-lite travel trailer market. There are a lot of models available in this category and we decided to focus in on two of the most popular models, the R-Pod by Forest River and the Jayco Jay Feather Hybrid model. Both the R-Pod and Jay Feather are 2016 models and are currently selling in the $10,000 to $15,000 range. Of course, like cars the price varies depending on options and overall condition.
Forest River R-Pod
The Forest River R-Pod is easy to identify with its colors, graphics and rounded aerodynamic shape. This is the trailer, with its relatively narrow body and wheels and fenders that extend out past the sidewalls, that started a style trend in the industry as witnessed by several remarkably similar trailers from other manufacturers including the Hummingbird discussed above.
Its narrow profile and swoopy aerodynamics improve towability via reduced wind resistance. Placing the tires outside the body means there are no wheel wells inside to adversely affect its interior floorplan design. Jeff reviewed the Hood River Edition with the rear kitchen, side dinette floorplan. This unit also offered 3-inches more of suspension, heavy duty tires and custom wheels. A nice fun package!
It has one outside storage compartment which can hold a toolbox and longer items like fishing poles that are under 6-feet 3-inches long. You won’t be putting folding chairs in here but it’s fairly functional.
The body is about 17-feet long with a great slide-out which gives the unit lots of livability inside. The rear kitchen has a large wall-to-wall counter space that would be the envy of some mugh-larger trailers.. The usual two burner stove, Dometic 3-way refrigerator and a variety of storage spaces are additional kitchen features. The rear-kitchen floorplan doesn’t block traffic into the small trailer.
Remember this is one of several floor plans and which you choose depends on your priorities in a compact interior space. In this unit there is a small wet bath with a typically small sink. It’s functional but another model has a larger bathroom, and might be a better choice if that’s more important to you.
The bed is wide, but only 6-feet 3-inches long which is fine for most people and there are windows on both sides. The TV can be adjusted for bed or dinette viewing. There’s handy wardrobe and 3 drawers near the bed.
The Jay Feather 16XRB weighs in at 3200 pounds dry. ‘Hybrid’ means it is part hard-side and part tent trailer, with a hard-side, full-height body plus end-mounted fold-down tent platforms like a fold-down tent trailer. It’s seriously easy to maneuver and the 16 XRB comes with a 12-foot power awning.
Being a hard-sided travel trailer, the Jay Feather includes the security of a lockable door, bathroom, kitchen, and other standard trailer features. The fold-down tent platforms take just a few minutes to set up and provide far more open sleeping space than available in a typical lightweight. This small trailer can sleep quite a few people when both end tents plus the dinette bed are factored in.
There’s functional storage in the unit but no drawers in the kitchen so you’ll need to get creative about finding a place for your utensils. The dinette table is conveniently portable for use inside or out. There’s a 2 burner stove, vent fan, microwave, Dometic 2-way refrigerator and modest counter space in the galley. It has a manual ignition water heater which requires you turn the pilot light on and ignote it by hand, but it’s a simple process.
The TV mount swivels for viewing but is on a small platform shared with the stereo and the wall unit air conditioner so its manipulation is a bit clumsy and its position semi blocks the cool air from the AC unit.
The bathroom is functional and has a really handy feature that most RVs don’t come with: it has two coat hooks to hang towels or clothes. Most RV companies leave the towel hook or towel bar placement and installation up to the user’s preference. The Jay Feather hook placement seems pretty smart.