rv Review

Jeff Reviews the Coachmen Freedom Express Toy Hauler and Dodge Ram 3500

Toy hauler trailers are extremely popular today, and the Coachmen Freedom Express we tested with the Ram 3500 truck is a good example of that RV type. The Ram did its expected good job of hauling the trailer to Riley Ranch County Park. These new trucks have a lot of really fun features. But one thing about today’s modern pickups that I’m really a little bit puzzled about and all the manufacturers are doing it, they’re making the beds higher and higher. 

Now, I’m about 6’6, and if I have something I want to put in the bed like firewood, it’s a reach over for someone my size. Now, if you happen to be a normal size adult, a little bit shorter, this can be quite a chore. Fortunately, this particular Coachmen trailer has a solution to that. We have a really cool metal rack up here directly above the batteries that’s a cargo rack. Can be used to put a generator on there, just about anything. As you can see, we have it piled up with our campfire wood for the night. It’s a nice feature. More trailers ought to have this.

The forward cargo rack makes good use of the open space above the trailer batteries. The new Freedom Express Blast from Coachmen Industries. Coachmen, of course, is a name that we’ve known for a long time in the RV industry. A lot of our parents, maybe even grandparents, used Coachmen products. This is the model 283BL toy hauler.

Everything from approximately this point back is all garage, and we’ll show you more details about that when we get inside. Out here is smooth fiberglass sidewalls and alumicage construction, meaning the walls and ceiling are all framed with aluminum. 

And it has Azdel composite underneath the exterior skin, which is part of what it gives it its certified green compliance by TRA Certification. And that’s kind of a nice thing to have today. The axels are spaced out a little bit. This is to apparently increase stability and such when you’re driving. We towed this thing and boy, it just followed along behind the truck like a dream. Now, up here, the solar panel you see by Go Power, it’s a 120 watt unit. This is optional.

Now, the only exterior storage they have on this unit is upfront, but it goes all the way through, and it’s a really good size compartment. So, there’s a lot of long things that you can stash in here. And there’s also a convenient tray that’s strong enough to support something, oh, like a generator. We used it for a pile of firewood. That is a really neat item, which helps to keep the dirty stuff out of your vehicle and out of the inside of the trailer, especially if you have critters like the giant spider that my wife found on one of the pieces of wood, and decided she had loaded enough pieces of wood for the day. I finished that little job.

The front also has a power jack, which takes a lot of the work out of it. Around on the other side, we have the appliance connections and so on. Let’s take a look at them. As per usual practice, all of the trailer utility connections are grouped on the driver’s side.

The garage door loading ramps unlatches easily, and can be opened or closed by one reasonably able bodied person. Coil springs on the ramp hinge provide most of the needed weight support. This model 283BL has a lot of your typical toy hauler features.

Number one, the garage comes right up to this point approximately, so the back of the stove and the back of the refrigerator cabinet, it’s living up front and it’s garage out back. And living, but we’ll look at that in a minute. 

Up front, we have a conventional queen size RV walkaround bed. There are short wardrobes on either side, storage overhead, and a pair of really bright overhead LED reading lights available. Plus plenty of plug-ins and of course USB connections.

It’s a split bath arrangement on either side of the hall. On the driver’s side, you have the toilet and shower facility. Over here on the passenger side, you have an overhead cabinet with a mirror so you can get beautified after your ride. The sink, good size sink actually, a little storage cubby for your toiletries, and more storage underneath, all very conveniently located. Over here on the curb side, you got a good size refrigerator, lots of room. There’s a little bit of storage overhead. The furnace is down underneath. 

Now, over here in the kitchen area, boy, this is really nicely done for even enthusiastic cooks. You’ve got a really large single bowl sink. That’s the kind of big sink that RVers have been asking about for a long time. With a faucet that sticks out far enough that you can get things under it to clean them. The stove is a Furrion three burner with oven, which is kind of handy. Convenient flip fold glasstop that works well.

Furrion microwave oven overhead and an interesting variety of storage places. You got enclosed cabinets with these almost retro looking stainglass or glass finish doors. And overhead cubby holes with these elastic securement nets. There’s a barstool height dinette table curbside with a great window view that folds away when not in use. With the sofa beds folded flat, there’s maximum storage space in the garage. Fold the seats up and lower them, and you have lots of seating space for guests. Flip the seatbacks over and they make into a queen size bed.

The Lippert power mechanism lowers the main bed from the ceiling, and you also have the large lower bed available. Coachmen and Lippert seriously need to supply a printed instruction manual for these operations.

And when you have more people to eat than just the two that would sit at the little dinette table, you have this cool little portable table that stores in the slot in the storage compartment up front. And that becomes your additional dining space.

The Ram 3500 and Coachmen toy hauler are an effective combination. We enjoyed our time with the trailer and truck. We think you would, too. Cheers.

Thank you to our friends at Guaranty RV in Junction City, Oregon, for use of this trailer. To learn more about the Ram truck or Coachmen Freedom Express Trailer, log onto our website at rollinontv.com.