Glacier Peak vs. Augusta RV Ambition – a VERY interesting comparison

Glacier Peak vs. Augusta RV

AND… I’ve made my decision on what my next 5th wheel will be!

I’ve been in the market for a new fifth wheel for about 18 months now. I’ve looked at MANY manufacturers models with a focus on design and engineering over “bells and whistles”. Having lived in a reasonably good Crossroads Seville since 2011, and “tested” it in winter conditions where over 250 inches of snow fell in a winter and temperatures regularly fell WELL below Zero Fahrenheit, I know what to look for and have a good idea of what will “hold up” for the long run.

Two 5th wheel trailers have caught my eye in a true sea of mediocrity in the RV world – these are the Glacier Peak model 30’s, brand new this year and the Augusta RV Ambition model 33. Both have many fine attributes and in many ways excel beyond their peers – but only one survived my head to head comparison.

Incidentally, both are at a length I consider optimal for full-timing. They are just under 35 feet (real length). Yes, I’d agree that longer fifth wheels are REALLY nice to live in, but they are equally as difficult to maneuver into the more remote (and best) camp sites. Thirty five feet represents a compromise – large enough to be comfortable and small enough to go (almost) anywhere.

glacier peak 30 rds
Innovative storage in the Glacier Peak 30RDS
glacier peak 30RDS
Even MORE innovative storage locations in the Glacier Peak 30RDS

Glacier Peak is manufactured by Outdoors RV, a relatively small company located in eastern Oregon. They claim to know their buyers and make rigs (fifth wheels and travel trailers) designed for heavy duty, off-road use in all types of weather – including heavy snow and low temperatures.

Augusta RV is likewise a relatively small company – now owned by the RV Factory. Their claim to fame is to be factory direct and focused on doing custom modifications for their customers. That is, if you need significant changes in their existing floor plans, if it can reasonably be done, they’ll do it. From my conversation with one of their sales reps, I found this claim to be questionable. I asked about simply switching out the residential fridge the Ambition comes with for a Norcold propane/electric, and the response was “probably not.”

Augusta RV Ambition
Yes, the interior of the Ambition 33 is GORGEOUS, but does it have what it takes where it COUNTS?? See the comparison chart below!
Of course… the Glacier Peak’s interior is no slouch either! I love the rustic look and when you’re in it, you see just how much window space it has – and… they’re **thermopane windows**

As I studied each fifth wheel, I have to admit the Augusta Ambition is GORGEOUS inside and frankly I like the layout better than any Glacier Peak – but – for me to spend my hard earned dollars with Augusta, it HAS to stand up to certain specific criteria before I can consider spending my hard earned bucks on it.

To settle the “face-off” between Ambition and Glacier Peak, I developed a comparison chart (below) that details specific issues I consider important in a fifth wheel and my findings with each trailer.

coach-net
I have had Coach-Net for years now – far more than simple emergency road service. Simply put, I wouldn’t be without it.

A side by side comparison of the Glacier Peak and Augusta RV – Ambition

Design FeatureGlacier PeakAugusta RV AmbitionAdvantage
 Insulation2″ high density, solid foam in all walls including slide walls and top of slide1 layer fiberglass and 1 layer R14 foil including slide walls and top of slideGlacier Peak – a clear advantage, important in winter AND summer. High density foam beats fiberglass/r-foil any day!
 Composition of the underside of the slide (the slide-ski)High gloss fiberglassHigh gloss fiberglassTIE – both are excellent! It’s amazing how many companies cut corners in this important area – one that will cost the owner down the road.
 suspensionMORryde 3000 + shock absorbers on both axlesMORryde 4000Glacier Peak – shocks make a BIG difference, amazing more companies don’t provide shocks on their axles.
 refrigerator12 cu ft Norcold with winter kit and heat tape20 cu ft LG residentialGlacier Peak – residential fridges will drain your batteries in less than 24 hours if you dry-camp AND they have NOT stood the test of time. LG did not design their fridges to do 60mph down pot-holed highways!
 Insulation in roof2 layers fiberglass and 1 layer R14 foil1 layer fiberglass and 1 layer R14 foilGlacier Peak
 Roof Truss5/8″ truss that does NOT pinch fiberglass towards edges5/8″ trussGlacier Peak
 Insulation in chassis2 layers fiberglass, 1 layer R14 foil, tanks wrapped in R14 foil, 12v heater on fresh water tank.1 layer fiberglass, 1 layer R14 foil, 12v heaters on tanksTIE. Fact is if you skirt your rig AND burn propane “as needed”, you won’t freeze up with either GP or Augusta
 Quality Control IssuesEvery Glacier Peak is inspected before it leaves the Outdoors RV factory to minimize QC issuesA recent merger with the RV Factory was accompanied by a spate of QC related complaints, the sales rep I spoke with claims this has abated.Glacier Peak
 Grey and Black Tank PullsNO cable system in useUses cablesGlacier Peak – cable systems are prone to fail.
 Weight 12075 (dry), 2655 (hitch), 15000 (gvwr) (this is on the 30RDS model, the other 2 are very similar) 14500 (dry), 4100 (hitch), 19180 (gvwr) Glacier Peak – The Augusta will require a 1 ton Dually (minimum) whereas the GP requires a 3/4 ton SRW. Diesel is recommended for both.
 Outside StorageVERY innovative, with extra compartments in each model, the most is in the 30RDS, the front storage is broken up into 2 separate sections and one has shelving in it!Standard – no additional outside storage areas Glacier Peak

Summary on the Glacier Peak 30 vs. the Augusta RV Ambition 33

Glacier Peak has 3 models ranging from 33′ 9″ to 34′ 11″, the Ambition 33 is 34′ 6″. For a smaller trailer, it IS heavy and my concern is you need MORE truck than many folks own. Personally, I will NOT get a dually as I spend lots of time in the snow in the winter. I had also hoped to get photos of the storage bay in the Augusta as the sales rep Colin promised me, but he never followed through to send me photos or any additional information as I requested of him.

So…I’m done! Glacier Peak by Outdoors RV it is – this will be my next fifth wheel! All I need to decide is 30RDS or 30RLS – both of which are great (and frankly, for those who like a rear kitchen, the 30RKS is THE choice to make!) I took the time to make this detailed comparison as Augusta RV seems to make a solid fifth wheel and does offer *some level* of competition to Outdoors RV’s Glacier Peaks. Had I chosen a different manufacturer – particularly ANY from Thor or Forest River, there would be virtually NO basis for comparison.

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49 thoughts on “Glacier Peak vs. Augusta RV Ambition – a VERY interesting comparison

  1. I was already leaning towards Glacier Peak! Great rig! Now, the model selection to do. Then get a truck.

    • Yep, I’m now hearing they’re (the factory) not planning another run of model 30’s for several months yet – likely to Christmas or even longer. At the moment, what dealers have in stock is all that’s available. We here in Casper Wyoming currently have two 30 RKS models – one platinum and one mountain. As to a truck, 3/4 ton diesel will do fine – my preference? Ford. If you end up purchasing from another dealer, I can still supply you with a great price on the extended service contract.

    • yes, and know outdoors rv builds on the northwood chassis; at this time arctic fox does not have a dual-opposing slide model and to me that is a mandatory design feature

        • I’m sure its a nice trailer BUT it compares more closely to the Glacier Peak 26 models – which I would never full time in. Yes, it has dual opposing slides, but it is a mid-profile trailer, not a high profile. Here’s the key differences: First, at 31’11”, its a couple of feet shorter than I’d like (that’s not what makes it a mid-profile though!) The bed is “north-south” offering only a (tiny) wardrobe slide for clothing – in contrast the Glacier Peak F30RLS and F30RKS have an East-west bed and that allows the entire front cap to be a (giant) closet.

          While I am impressed with the 28-5, the bed/closet situation to me is a non-starter. I’m sticking with the 30RLS.

          • What do you define as mid-profile vs full-profile? I thought the Northwood Arctic Fox fifth wheels were full-profile and the Northwood Fox Mountain fifth wheels were mid-profile.

          • Look at the floor plan – whenever the bed is N-S and there is a small wardrobe slide, its a mid-profile. The 28-5 is mid; the 29-5K is full, but only 1 slide in the living area. Al

          • Interesting. Learned something new, as I thought the difference was the height of the ceiling in the bedroom.

          • Regardless of whether you call the 28-5 a mid or full profile, the fact is the wardrobe slide is small and insufficient for full time living (for most people). The only products I’ve seen pull off a decent wardrobe slide are some toy haulers – like Fuzion. Fuzion is frankly the only keystone product I’d own.

  2. Do you ever compare toy haulers? My wife and I want to retire in about 5 years and want to run a business out the back of the toy hauler. I am mostly looking at quality issues. Thanks.

    • I’m actually going to do a piece on toy haulers that talks about what REALLY matters in a toy hauler and how to separate the wheat from the chaff… coming soon. Al

  3. Since you rv in very cold weather, I understand your decision. We will be heading for warmer climates, so an Augusta rv will be in our future!

    • Cold or warm – good insulation helps immensely. When I’m out on our RV lot on a hot summer afternoon and I walk into an Outdoors RV trailer or fifth wheel and then walk into virtually anything else, there is a 10 – 15F degree temperature difference between the two! Simply put, good insulation keeps you cooler in the summer (less work for your a/c and less cost to electric if you pay) and of course warmer in the winter.

  4. Since you rv in very cold weather, I understand your decision. We will be heading for warmer climates, so an Augusta rv will be in our future! Snowbirds over here!🙂

  5. We also did an exhaustive review of Arctic Fox, Glacier Peak, Grand Design, and Augusta. We went to the Airstream, Northwoods and OutdoorRV factory tours. We just bought a 2017 Glacier Peak F26RLS this week from Sumner RV in Sumner, WA. we live in Ohio and bought from an Oregon manufacturer.

    • Congrats! What were the deciding factors that made you pull the trigger for the Glacier Peak over the other 5ers you were considering?

      • Dan, my take on that issue is the glacier peak is far better appointed inside; also the new model 30’s have dual-opposing slides, arctic fox has the 29-5k, which only has 1 slide in the living area.

  6. Allen, do thermal pane windows “sweat” as they do on normal single pane windows in the chiller season? We will never get into the winter time conditions like you, but we do like the shoulder seasons here in Ohio from late March to Thanksgiving.

    • Jim,

      I’d say they “sweat” less. Lets look at the dynamics occurring to cause the “sweating”: Air near the window is cooled when it is cooler outside than inside. If that air is cooled below the “dew point”, the water vapor (always present in our atmosphere) will condense into fine water droplets (dew) or ice crystals (frost). Dual pane windows DO offer much greater insulation from the outside than normal rv windows – so, the air inside will NOT be cooled nearly as much, thus cutting back on the amount of dew or frost forming on the inside. The other “variable” in all this is the amount of water vapor in the air. Most definitely NE Ohio is more humid year-round than the inter-mountain West (even though you may not feel the humidity in January, there certainly is more water vapor in the air where you are than where I am in the winter) – that will cause more “sweating” on the inside of the windows for a rig stored in NE Ohio than in lets say Wyoming. In either case, the dual pane windows WILL cut back on the amount of dew/frost formation regardless of where you are located. Does this all make sense? I had to put on my science educator hat to answer this one! Al

  7. We bought an Ambition 33 after also doing a comparison. We were treated poorly by Outdoor RV. They refused any alternative furniture options. Furniture was cheap and we wanted an upgrade. The GP floor plans were poorly thought out. You have to look through the kitchen to see the TV. The I-beams on the GP are 8″. Ambition is 12″. GP has 7,000 pound axels, Ambition has 8,000. Ambition has option to upgrade suspension which we wanted. Standard tires on Ambition are H. So, lots of additional things to consider. BTY we have been in our Ambition in 14 degrees it was perfect.

    • Kathie, I tried reaching out privately to get more info but as I have not heard from you since you posted this, here is my reply:

      When you say you were treated poorly by Outdoors RV, was that the factory itself OR a dealer for their product?
      As to furniture, yes, it is not a custom built coach, so, what it comes with (as per the package you order), is what you get. Few if any manufacturers will change furniture. That said, you always have the option of customizing the interior as you see fit after purchase. As to the furniture being cheap, I’ll agree in some cases, it was not the greatest, but in the past 6 months or so, they’re using a new furniture vendor and it IS better. Please realize that for the money (or virtually any money) there IS NO BETTER MADE TRAILER – and I’d FAR prefer they spend their money on chassis/construction/engineering than couches! As I noted earlier, you can always change couches/furniture.

      As to I-beams, here are the facts: The mid-profiles are 8″ I-beam for main rail & dropped rail.The full-profiles are 10″ main rail & 12″ dropped rail. Please understand, the 26 and 28 models made by Glacier Peak/Outdoors RV are mid-profile rigs, the 30 is a full profile, as you never replied to me privately, I have no idea of what model you were considering. The only models I’d consider to compare to the Ambition 33 would be the GP 30 models.

      As to axle weight, it is commensurate to the weight of the trailer – the Ambition is (frankly) bloated with a dry weight of 14000# and a GVWR of OVER 19000# , thus knocking out ALL regular trucks except a 1 ton DRW. Ambition’s upgraded suspension STILL does not include shocks! Really?? As to tires, they too match the weight of the trailer, H is needed for Ambition, G is fine for GP.

      As to being in 14 and it being “perfect”, was that for a day? a week? a season? I personally spend the ENTIRE winter where 14F is considered MILD. So, I require the BEST insulation (again – better on GP than Ambition) and the BEST construction (possibly equivalent, but given the QC issues I’m seeing reported by Augusta owners – I may have to give that to GP. The fact is the GP models that were built in February were their FIRST RUN and even those have proven to be virtually flawless (we sold 2 GP trailers from that run and neither is back with ANY issues); I am CERTAIN their 2nd run (on which mine is being built) in September will be EVEN BETTER with some updates and upgrades on these new 2018 trailers due to hit the street in late Sept/early Oct.

      All the best and enjoy your ambition. Al

  8. I see the carpet on the side floors, if I were buying a new RV, any type, and could custom order, that carpet would not be installed! I don’t appreciate carpet at all! It gets extra dirty extra quickly, and it’s hard to keep clean. I am full-time in a Class A.
    Thoughts?

    • I personally like carpet in the bedroom, and virtually all companies use carpet in the slides. With most companies, custom orders are not possible – if they were, you’d pay MUCH more for a trailer!

  9. Great article, I appreciate the list of comparison features and I will use it to compare the brands I am looking at. Will be doing a factory tour of Grand Design in a couple of weeks. Did you ever do a write up on the Lance brand, they seem (to my untrained eye) to be well made. I am also considering a bumper pull instead of a 5th wheel as option 2 for fulltime travel.

    • I recently spoke with some insiders at Grand Design and there are several key areas where Grand Design fails. Too bad, because I really liked the floor plan on the 310 5th wheel. Problem areas include: No shocks; No protection above the tires (recall – outdoors rv uses a steel plate); Tires are Chinese (avoid!!); underside of slide is NOT fiberglass – there were other issues but these were the big 4.

      I’ve looked at Lance, their truck campers are good, but their travel trailers do not compare to Outdoors RV (or Arctic Fox).

      Why a travel trailer instead of a 5th wheel?

  10. Alan have you done any reviews of the open range 3x 5th wheels. I will be retiring this winter and we are considering the full-time route and looking for a well constructed and insulated unit. Can’t trust everything you read on the internet but I have come to trust your evaluations. Thanks in advance for any input.

    • Gerritt,

      I watched their 15+ minute construction video – they do a great job presenting themselves, not so much when it comes to the “finishing touches”. I recall seeing nothing about steel plates over the tires (to prevent damage to the interior of the coach in the event of a blow out), same goes for 2″ solid foam insulation – none; no use of shocks on the axles, etc. My money would still go on the Outdoors RV or Arctic Fox. Honestly, in the smaller class, the Glacier Peak F30 models are phenomenal (34ft overall), and for larger, I’d go Arctic Fox (32-5 and up).

  11. Hi Allen: I’m new to the RV industry. I’m a retired general contractor of 47 years, so I do know a thing or two about construction. My research in last 2 months has included DRV mobile Suites, Augusta Luxe, The Grand Design all 5th wheels and a few more. Up till just reading your comparison of Glacier Peak VS. Ambition (which I was contemplating) You have peaked my interest in the GB . I currently have a F350 and was planning to buy a dually. We want a 5th wheel around 34′ for using at least 6 month a year. Have you compared the GB to DRV Mobile Suites. Yes they are very heavy but I love the 14″ frame. I will research the GBF30RKS . Love your post.

    • Bob, DRV is no longer making a 34ft trailer; any current inventory is at “end of life”. Pricing on any remaining DRV trailers will still be significantly higher than an Outdoors RV. Al

      • I didn’t even know they once built a 34′. I was interested in the 38 RSSB3, 38′ 4″ AT 17,100 GVW full capacity. A bit pricey but you get what you pay for. It’s well insulated but not as well as the F30RLS. The steel I beam frame is outstanding. I’m not looking for a 5th wheel that will survive winters. That’s not our goal. I want a unit we can use 6 months a year and will last many years. I’ve looked at Montana’s, Grand design, Landmark. Cruisers and none have the quality of DRV or Augusta as far as I can tell. I am interested in the F30RLS. I like the layout and quality. What’s standing in my way is the have no washer/dryer hook up. I don’t know if that’s even a possibility in these units. Thank You for your time.

        • The F30RLS I believe is 12 to 10 inch ibeam construction – its a 15000# GVWR trailer; as to comparing to DRV, the dealer I work for carries DRV and we have a 38 Aire – its the affordable one on their series (115,000. retail) – the DRV has NO shocks, NO steel plate separating the tires from the inside of the coach; insulation is comparable, quality of construction (frankly) goes to the Outdoors Glacier Peak. I like the cabinetry better. The DRV does have “closing drawers” and very adjustable shelves, and a (somewhat) more sophisticated heating and plumbing system. But… if you want a FULL drv – not the “aire” series, you’re looking at retails of $150,000 to well over $200,000.

          Further, I’ve found the difference between 38 ft (real length) and 34 ft is significant. There are many camping sites I had trouble either getting into or even reaching at 38 ft. (And the 38 Aire is really 40 ft).

          As to washer/dryer – no in a Glacier Peak. I am no fan of w/d in a rv. Happy to use laundramats when I need.

          • Thank You All. Of course the W/D issue is my wife’s decision. Don’t know if that’s a deal breaker for her or not. Were looking at some Glacier peaks tomorrow. I certainly am all about making life easier and safer. Maneuvering a 34′ in camp is a lot less nerve racking than a 40′ for sure. And I really don’t want to buy a dually just to pull a 5th wheel. I love my 350 and want to keep it. I’m glad I came across your site this morning. I would have never known about Glacier Peak.

          • Gilbert AZ. There’s a dealership 4 miles from my house in Mesa. Robert Crist and company. They sell DVR and Glacier Peak. I looked at the Mobile Suites there 2 times already. I saw the Glacier Peaks parked next to the DRV’s but paid no attention to them, and the salesman never mentioned them to us. They had at least 10 units on the lot.

          • great, let me know what you think of them; just realize whatever your local dealer has, they’re the 1st generation build of the new glacier peak’s (the 30 models). The next build (with some changes/improvements/better build) are due to hit dealers in September. We have a few on order here to our dealership in Wyoming. (I’d be glad to earn your business, even though you’re a bit of a distance)

          • Do you by any chance know anything about the Vanleigh RV. I researched them this morning and found it very odd that they post no specifications anywhere on frame construction, tires, shocks. axle, insulation etc. I find this to be very suspicious. I know they recently had a recall because the mislead the customer as to there towing capacity. All they show and talk about is the eye candy .

          • Some believe Vanleigh to have a good reputation; I too do not know the details as I did not bother to call them to discuss their model 325. I wrote it off after discovering it has a 54 gallon fresh water tank – this to me is a clear indication that they “don’t get it” and likely there are other deficiencies. But to me a 54 gallon fresh water tank is a deal breaker – the Glacier Peak has 80 (or 82) gallons and having been ‘in the field’ now for nearly 6 years, I consider that necessary.

          • The dealer for Glacier Peak was not open today. We did go to another dealer and looked at the Vanleigh Vilano 375 FL. Was not impressed at all with quality or frame. No protection at wheel wells. hard plastic under belly shield. looked like a 12″ I beam frame. The draws at cabinets are very weak. I think they use OSB instead of 5/8″ plywood on deck. this I observed from a picture. low grade furniture.

          • Hi Allan: My wife and I looked at 2 units Monday. She liked the lay out of the F 30 RLS. W/D and dishwasher is nota issue with her.
            Upon my inspection of the unit, when looking in basement into cavity where the plumbing is I noticed the top frame consisted of 2×3 lumber. Using wood in a 5th wheel concerns me. Why doesn’t the factory use a 20G metal stud instead. or a angle iron structure.
            Also I can’t find any factory tours on You Tube or any other sites. I would like to see how these units are actually put together in the factory.
            My other concerns are cosmetic. The unit we viewed had broken blind slats, the closet sliding doors didn’t slide easily on the track and the kitchen draw construction of the draw box is very weak.
            Is it possible to visit the factory and do videos exist on line of factory operations.
            Thank You

          • Glad you got out there to see a couple. Regarding the use of wood over metal/iron, I suspect its a weight issue, but I’d encourage you to call the factory in Oregon and ask them directly (then report back to me, as I’m curious as well). I believe the use of wood there is consistent through out the industry.

            As to videos – go to outdoorsrvmfg.com and you’ll find several videos (search their site as its not the best layout of all time!) and some show some of the construction. Your best option is a visit to the factory where they take you through from soup to nuts.

            As to interior build issues, what you saw is the first generation 5th wheels from them on the 30’s. That is, it was their first go around; the next build (due in 4-6 weeks to dealers) WILL feature a better build quality. Al

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