UPDATE: The NEW Glacier Peak’s have been spotted! If you’ve already read this article, scroll down for PHOTOS and a quick first impression…
Dateline: Late March 2016. I had just left my winter playground in McCall, Idaho where I ski and ski instruct almost every day all winter. I was “enroute” to my summer RV sales position in Casper, Wyoming, so naturally I headed WEST to Oregon!
My journey to Oregon had 3 goals – to tour the Outdoors RV factory in LeGrande, to visit Portland and in particular a CruzBike dealer (more on that soon), and to visit Brookings – a beachfront (and I DO mean beach FRONT campground) – where I caught a few days of rare March sun and warmth!
My focus today? The Outdoors RV factory tour – and what I saw at that time that may well be the answer to my wants and needs – a new Glacier Peak Fifth Wheel designed for RV’ers who spend lots of time (or live) in their “5er”. I shot video at that time, but held it back as to not “let the cat out of the bag” until Outdoors RV was ready to reveal this model to the world.
Full disclosure: I work for a RV dealer in Casper Wyoming that does sell the Outdoors RV trailers. That said, when I purchase my next fifth wheel, I’m going to buy the best for my money – whether its from my dealer or not. Just ask Steve, our sales manager, he will confirm I am an “independent sort” (he might phrase it as a “SOB”!)
Why I’m looking for a new fifth wheel
I’m in a 2011 Crossroads Seville, its a VERY nice trailer – but – its simply too long (38ft) for me. As I travel through the inter-mountain west, I found several camping areas where a trailer like mine simply can’t fit or negotiate the roads.
A likely solution in the NEW Glacier Peak Fifth Wheel
First, watch this video – then I’ll explain below what has me so excited…
A few thoughts on what I’ve found important (and perhaps you as well) in a fifth wheel – (and I expect the Glacier Peak will have ALL of these)
- A custom chassis (that is designed for the floor plan above it) that is WELL INSULATED, pulls well, and has a LARGE fresh water tank (80+ gallons)
- Shock absorbers on the axles, strong oversized axles, MOR-RYDE suspension, and REAL tires (NOT china-bombs!!) – This is already “standard fare” on all of Outdoors RV’s travel trailers and the current Glacier Peaks, so, I expect it to be present on the new “flagship” models
- Deep dual opposing slides in the living area – important for room to move about
- Fiberglass EVEN UNDER the slide (you should see what some manufacturers use for the base of a slideout!)
- 2 Inch Thick foam insulation – in ALL walls, including the slides! (I winter in my RV in the mountains!!)
- Additional storage bays – note the rear of the prototype above, and in the video above, note the drivers side storage in the rear slide
- An East – West bed alignment allowing for the front cap to be a full width closet (with few exceptions, this is a deal breaker for me)
- A large (double door) refrigerator (as seen in the prototype above) and a convection – microwave (I anticipate this will be an option)
- A build quality that is commensurate with all of the design and engineering features detailed above. With well over 80% of the available trailers made by TWO companies (Thor and Forest River), Outdoors RV has a unique opportunity to show themselves as a “cut above” and a reason to wander away from the pack.
Will Glacier Peak meet and exceed expectations?
In summary, I’m anticipating (which is more than “hoping for”) the BEST from Outdoors RV. If you look at their Blackstone line (their top of the line travel trailers), you’ll gain some insight as to what they’re likely to build into the Glacier Peak – which will certainly be their flagship. I’m told there will be 3 models (3 different floor plans) – each built upon the same size box (about 33- 34 ft). This size to me represents a great compromise between the 40 ft giants which are amazing to live in – but truly limit where you can take them and the 25-30 foot fifth wheels that can go virtually anywhere but are truly minimalist in terms of living space and storage.
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A brief but important note…
**A brief note – regardless of what I purchase next, I WILL carry an “extended service contract” to protect me from just what I saw this morning at the local campground here – an RV’er crawling around under his slide which was clearly not closing properly and apparently needed a technician to repair it (NOT the rv owner!) Unfortunately for him, he did not have a plan and since Saratoga is no where near any rv repair – even mobile rv repair, he’s in a bad sort. Contact me (RVAcrossAmerica@gmail.com) if you wish to get this IMPORTANT protection for your current RV – honestly, one event could save you the cost of the policy.**
NEW Glacier Peak Models Spotted at So. Cali. RV SHOW…
I was contacted by a reader, Scott. He was kind enough to share his thoughts and photos. You can see the photos below. Scott and I had a 20 minute conversation yesterday and one of my greatest take-aways was when he said “there were 1300 trailers at this RV show, and the Glacier Peak stood out above the entire pack of trailers he saw”.
As I studied the photos – and the floor plans, the RKS (rear kitchen) and RLS (rear living room) models were represented at the show; the RDS (rear dining) was not. Personally, I’m leaning towards the RDS as it has a center island – which to me always spells more food prep space AND more cabinets/drawers. Read on beyond the slide show below for additional thoughts and insights.
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Glacier Peak Brochure (Click to open a PDF flyer detailing the floor plans and specs on the new Glacier Peak’s)
Considering among the BEST of today’s mid-sized fifth wheels…
Continuing my discussion with Scott, he was struck by the build quality of the Glacier Peak’s. In particular, the use of shocks on the axles; the use of an arched roof (which helps improve the quality of insulation in the roof), and in general the “fit and finish” of the trailer. For me, I’m looking at a few competitors to the Glacier Peak. These include the VanLeigh Vilano 325 and the Augusta Ambition 33QS. Both appear to have a superior build quality and I like the fact that (as with Glacier Peak) they are built by small independent companies who appear to be focused upon building a quality 5er. I have serious concerns regarding the Vilano as its fresh water tank is only 54 gallons (the Glacier Peak is 82 and the Ambition is 79).
Other contenders in this size and quality class may include the Mobile Suites 32RS3, but with a MSRP of about $115,000. it better be a whole lot more 5th wheel than a Glacier Peak for $80,000 – 85,000 MSRP! I’m certainly open to looking at others, but I’m highly inclined to stay away from the Forest River (especially) and Thor “super brands”. As always, I welcome your thoughts and input – use the reply option below, and feel free to subscribe using the box above.
About the Author (Author Profile)Alan Sills is a full-time RV'er and has been since 2011. A science educator at heart, Alan has realized that its important to maintain an income stream while "on the road". He writes about RV life, RV issues, and living an entrepreneurial lifestyle.
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