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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23 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

  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. 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!

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