It’s looking like my next fifth wheel will be a…

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Glacier Peak F30RDS

Way back in Sept. 2016 when I first visited the Outdoors RV factory in LaGrande, Oregon and got a “sneak peek” (click to see my original sneak peek post on this trailer) at their new Glacier Peak fifth wheel. Immediately I was excited about their new “project”.

You may know I’ve been living in a pretty good fifth wheel – full time – since 2011 and gaining even more experience with RV’s by working in the RV sales world since 2015. I spend about 1/3 of the year at a RV store in Casper, Wyoming, the other 2/3, I work while I’m on the road. It was in Casper where I was first introduced to Outdoors RV’s trailers (travel trailers and fifth wheels) and saw the “difference” between their trailers and most others.

**Here is the fifth wheel I currently own – an it IS for sale!**

As a full time traveler, I absolutely insure that life is never “all work” – there’s still lots of time for kayaking, biking, skiing and hiking. With all this time in and around RV’s (mostly towables – travel trailers and fifth wheels), when it comes to separating the wheat from the chaff, I have come to one BIG conclusion…

Construction quality and “design engineering” is a TOP priority

when selecting the best RV for you and your hard earned dollars.

Honestly, there is a lot of mediocrity out there in the RV world! Ask any service tech who works on RV’s!

The good news – there ARE a few companies who are dedicated to building a quality product – and Outdoors RV is most definitely among the “select few”. That said, when it comes to my next fifth wheel purchase, I’m not 100% locked into Glacier Peak (made by Outdoors RV) just yet. Yes, the dealer I work for carries them, but there is one other product – the Augusta RV Ambition is still in the running for my business. As their factory is in Indiana, I’m not likely to make a personal visit, but since I’m looking for a few specifics (I’ll detail as we move along in this article), I believe a phone conversation with their staff (as they only do factory direct sales) will give me the information I need to finalize my decision.

My focus in this article is to share the Glacier Peak F30RDS with you. The F30RDS is one of three just introduced “full profile” fifth wheels by Outdoors RV.

In case you’re wondering, a “full profile” fifth wheel is the larger of the two types of fifth wheels – the other being “mid profile”. To see the difference, look at Glacier Peak’s 26 and 28 series trailers. Briefly, full profile fifth wheels allow for more space in the bedroom – including closet space; there’s more room for storage underneath, larger refrigerators and microwaves. Features that all full timers would be dialed into – so, to have Outdoors RV release these full profile rigs is honestly an answer to my prayers!

Glacier Peak F30RDS Floor Plan
Glacier Peak F30RDS Floor Plan – right click to open larger image in a new tab

Real Claims and False Claims

When you read brochures from many RV manufacturers, they’ll tell you their rigs are built to resist leaks for years and survive in nearly the harshest of 4 season environments – hmmm…true in most cases? Simply put, NOPE. They claim to use the best materials when constructing their trailers, but how do you separate the exceptional from the mediocre, and precisely WHAT should you be looking for?

Here is what matters to me – and what might matter to you…

I’m going to use the photo essay below (where I honestly “geek out”) with lots of photos and commentary. Skip to the end if you just want to read my summary. You can click on each photo to enlarge it. Use your browser’s “back” button to get back to the article. Alternately, you can right click on the images and open in a new tab, this will keep the article in one tab and the image appears in a new tab.

Outdoors RV Construction

Overall, construction is key to me! The use of weather resistant plywood instead of “OSB”, the use of fiberglass where you would not expect it (like under the slides – further protecting your slideouts from weather and other stresses), the use of 2″ thick solid foam instead of fiberglass (pink panther) throughout all the walls (including each slide out wall) in the entire trailer, the use of shocks on the axles – with optional Monroe Air Shocks, this is especially important if you plan to camp in some of the more remote – and best – places! A design that keeps the overall length in check (under 35 ft). This allows access to some of the BEST camping areas. And there are more factors. Read my comments under each photo, they contain important thoughts I wish to share, in many cases areas where I was honestly impressed.

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The Glacier Peak F30RDS – Up Close and Personal

Outside Photos of the Glacier Peak F30RDS

Glacier Peak F30RDS
Fiberglass Front Cap
Glacier Peak F30RDS outside storage
Rear outside storage – as a full timer, I will definitely appreciate this!
Glacier Peak F30RDS Outside Storage
Note outside storage under rear bay window and to the left towards rear axles (this is behind the entertainment center) – closeups appear below
Glacier Peak F30RDS
Outside storage is under the rear booth. Reminder: Click (this or any) image for a larger view.
Glacier Peak F30RDS
Outside storage under the front cap, in main bays ahead of dual axles AND behind axles. Tank pulls are ahead of axles and NOT located inside the storage bay. Outdoors RV has found cable systems to be problematic – so they do not use them (I’ve experienced this with my current rig – cable systems CAN be problematic.) Last – note LARGE panel for OUTSIDE furnace access – VERY important to let you EASILY service the furnace.
Glacier Peak F30RDS outside storage.
Outside storage behind axles – another area typically NOT found on many RV’s. – Note: This additional storage provided by Outdoors RV is evidence they’re thinking of how to best utilize every square inch in their rigs – space other manufacturers leave inaccessible as otherwise dead space.
Glacier Peak F30RDS
Glacier Peak F30RDS Front Outside Storage: Generous storage broken into 2 sections AND no spare tire in the front storage! (I appreciate this as about 20% of my front storage is lost in my Crossroads due to the spare tire sitting there.)
Glacier Peak F30RDS Fifth Wheel Storage
Front Storage – Compartment to the right. (I like the idea of breaking up the front storage into two sections in these new Glacier Peak fifth wheels.)
Glacier Peak F30RDS Slideout design
Two inch thick hard foam insulation in the walls AND roof of the slideout – THIS IS IMPORTANT to anyone who is camping in the heat OR cold. When you walk into a Glacier Peak on a hot July afternoon on the dealers lot, and then walk into most other trailers, the Glacier Peak is a solid 10-15F cooler! Also – solid foam insulation CAN NOT SAG like pink panther fiberglass can.
Glacier Peak F30RDS insulated slideout
Glacier Peak F30RDS Slideout insulation – 2 inch hard foam. The alternative is fiberglass and that can “sag” with age leaving parts of the slideout uninsulated. **This could be a KEY difference between the Glacier Peak and the Augusta RV for me**
Glacier Peak F30RDS Schwintek Slideout with Rubber Roof
Glacier Peak F30RDS Schwintek slideout has a rubber roof – this is IMPORTANT – it is MORE weather resistant than the materials used by others. The underside of the slideout is FIBERGLASS (again – FAR better than others! Some even use materials that CRACK and deteriorate under the slide – the end result? Water damage!!)
Glacier Peak F30RDS bay storage
LARGE bay storage. Note the table; heat register; doors on the side to provide EASY access to interior plumbing and the LACK of plumbing obstructing the storage area!! This storage area is about the WIDEST I’ve seen – especially in a 33ft 9 inch rig. NOTE: I’m looking to stay UNDER 35 ft. Why? Longer rigs (from experience) can not get into the BEST and more remote campgrounds!!

 

Glacier Peak F30RDS 4 point automatic leveling
Optional 4 point ELECTRIC automatic leveling system. Outdoors RV opted for this system on their Glacier Peaks instead of hydraulic  auto leveling for 2 reasons: 1) no need for space for hydraulic reservoir 2) more reliable than existing hydraulic systems
Glacier Peak F30RDS aluminum steps
Aluminum Steps – and 4 of them!
Glacier Peak F30RDS Battery Compartment
Battery Compartment – plenty of space for 2 batteries
Design features of the Glacier Peak F30RDS
Goodyear tires (NOT “china bombs”), MorRyde3000 suspension, AIR SHOCKS, and a METAL PLATE over the tires (to protect your 5er’s interior!!)
Glacier Peak auto leveling system
Control panel for ELECTRIC 4-point auto-leveling system (remote control is included)

**Without your health, where are you?? Don’t miss my “heart health scare” article – what I’ve learned – and how I solved my problem**

Interior Living Area (including the kitchen)

General layout: (see floor plan diagram above) Rear booth, mid-kitchen. Two dual-opposing slides in the living area (VERY IMPORTANT in my humble opinion!) A center island, one slide houses the entertainment center and directly opposite (nice to have) is the recliner/couch. Personally, I am more a fan of a “RLS” (rear living room which includes a dinette instead of a booth) – but – for now at least the only full profile Glacier Peak with a center island is a “RDS” (read dining). The center island adds more storage space (extra drawers/cabinet) AND more counter space for food prep – personally, I’m a bigger fan of the center island than I am of the rear living room. I can see how this floor plan with a rear dining area would provide for a panoramic rear view – a really nice feature. The rear booth also has two very large drawers for storage and allows for the outside rear storage (see photo above.)

Glacier Peak F30RDS Kitchen
Kitchen area with convection-microwave (in titanium model)
Glacier Peak F30RDS Kitchen
Good counter space with access to 110v, additionally there are 2 drawers and a cabinet next to the oven.
Glacier Peak F30RDS Oven - Stovetop
Note the glass cover over the stovetop – can be used to extend food prep counter space.
Glacier Peak F30RDS Kitchen
Kitchen cabinetry – microwave closeup
Glacier Peak F30RDS refrigerator
12 cu ft refrigerator (option), A 9.5 cu ft fridge is standard, and with that there is a pantry cabinet next to it (refer to the floor plan diagram to see this). Personally, I will opt for the 12 cu ft. fridge. Every Outdoors RV fridge comes with a winter kit with heat tape in use to keep it operating to 0F (really!)
Glacier Peak F30RDS Pantry Space
Pantry space – next to the recliners and the door. The depth of this space seems adequate – however, I do wish there was more pantry space for those who opt for the 12 cu. ft. fridge. (Personally since I’m coming out of a 38 ft “monster” fifth wheel, I’m used to more… but, with all the other hidden storage spots on this rig – both inside and outside, I’m confident I can make it work for me.)
Glacier Peak F30RDS Center Island
Center island – as I noted earlier, this adds valuable storage below it along with food prep area next to the sink. The faucet fixture is high quality as is the sink itself.
Glacier Peak F30RDS Center Island
Center Island storage cabinet and drawers – there is also 110v electric wired to the island
Glacier Peak F30RDS Center Island
Center Island faux rock facade. Note also the beautiful wood flooring. Also in case you’re wondering, all countertops are a high quality solid material (equivalent to or better than Corian).
Glacier Peak F30RDS finishing touches
Tasteful decor
Glacier Peak F30RDS drawers
Full Extension Drawers – few manufacturers do as good a job as Outdoors RV on this feature.
Glacier Peak F30RDS recliners
Recliners/Couch. Note the Pantry next to the recliners with 2 drawers underneath. The recliners are directly opposite the entertainment center.
Glacier Peak F30RDS rear dining area
Looking back towards the rear dining area. Note the TV to the right, center island in foreground, and recliners (not pictured) to the left.
Glacier Peak F30RDS Entertainment Center
Entertainment Center with optional electric fireplace (1500w heater) and 3 drawers. Note the fridge to the right.
Glacier Peak F30RDS Entertainment Center
Cabinet storage above the entertainment center.
Glacier Peak F30RDS Rear Dining Area
Rear Dining Area – note panoramic windows surrounding
Glacier Peak F30RDS
Large drawer storage (2) under the booth. Residential quality stand for the dining table (much more secure than typical RV dining tables)
Glacier Peak F30RDS Rear Dining Storage Cabinets
Cabinet storage above rear dining area.

Bathroom – space, space and MORE space

This is honestly one of the largest bathrooms I’ve seen in a fifth wheel! One “trick” used by Outdoors RV to create a large bathroom is to keep the hallway a bit more narrow (after all, how much time do you spend in the hallway!?) Lets start there…

Glacier Peak F30RDS
Hallway steps to the bathroom/bedroom (unfinished). Note the fact that Outdoors RV uses real wood here! I may modify them to add hinges to provide additional (hidden) storage.
Glacier Peak F30RDS
Hallway with real brass railings – nice touch!
Glacier Peak F30RDS bathroom fixtures
Bathroom vanity, cabinet, and medicine cabinet
Glacier Peak F30RDS bathroom
Bathroom vanity – LARGE. Hair dryer (not pictured) on far right. Note high quality countertops here as well – and residential quality fixtures.
Glacier Peak F30RDS bathroom
Nice touches!
Glacier Peak F30RDS bathroom medicine cabinet
Bathroom medicine cabinet
Glacier Peak F30RDS medicine cabinet
Inside of medicine cabinet
Glacier Peak F30RDS shower
Large shower!
Glacier Peak F30RDS bathroom
Bathroom skylight
Glacier Peak F30RDS bathroom
Bathroom Maxx-air fan
Glacier Peak F30RDS towel hooks
Another nice touch!
Glacier Peak F30RDS bathroom storage
Generous storage!

A truly IMPRESSIVE bedroom

I saved (perhaps) the best for last. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve seen a bedroom in a 5th wheel with more storage space than I saw in the Glacier Peak bedroom! Take note of how the bed box is designed, the front cap closet, and the dresser and accompanying cabinets opposite the bed.

Glacier Peak 30FDS Bedroom
Large 32 inch TV, generous dresser drawer space with an optional fireplace (see photo below). If no fireplace, two additional drawers are provided.
Glacier Peak F30RDS bedroom
Personally, I do want a fireplace in the bedroom (its an option), instead I will opt for the additional drawers in the Glacier Peak bedroom.
Glacier Peak F30RDS bedroom entertainment center
Cabinet storage and a sound system over the TV
Glacier Peak F30RDS bedroom
Full width front cap closet with excellent latch design.
Glacier Peak F30RDS bedroom
Additional closet storage in the wings
Glacier Peak F30RDS
King bed with a very comfortable mattress. A queen mattress is available and with that end tables are provided. Windows are easy to work and found on both sides of the bed. Electric is available on both sides near the floor at the head of the bed.
Glacier Peak F30RDS bedroom
Additional cabinet storage next to the bed. Truly impressive!
Glacier Peak F30RDS
Nice, huh?
Glacier Peak F30RDS bedroom
Exceptional storage under the bed – note 4 drawers and a great mechanism for lifting the mattress (not pictured)
Glacier Peak F30RDS
Yet more full extension drawers

Summary of findings in the Glacier Peak F30RDS

My initial reaction is to be thrilled with Outdoor RV’s new creation. Naturally, the big test – the test of time is yet to happen. If I decide to “pull the trigger” and purchase this model, I will most definitely keep you posted on my findings. Based upon my experience with their earlier models, I’m expecting only the best in long term results.

What I really like

  • The use of 2″ thick solid foam insulation (it can be seen under the bench in the booth) throughout the rig’s walls and roof of the slides
  • The design of the truss in the roof and the thickness of insulation used (See THIS VIDEO)
  • The use of shocks on each axle, REAL tires (Goodyear, G rated), and a metal plate above the tires to protect the interior
  • A rubber roof on top of each slide – having lived with “other” for years in cold/snowy winters, it matters!
  • Cabinetry mounted into the aluminum frame which is backed by wood IN the aluminum frame – solid & lasting!
  • Outstanding design to the entire bedroom with better storage than I’ve seen in most any other 5er
  • 82 gallon fresh water tank
  • Winter kit applied to the Norcold fridge – with heat tape in use to provide reliability down to 0F
  • Approx. 12000 dry weight – 15000 GVWR – carry capacity 3000 pounds
  • EVERY trailer is inspected BEFORE it leaves the Outdoors RV factory
  • These trailers are built in the Pacific Northwest – a region that experiences plenty of rain, snow and cold weather – these folks “walk the walk”
  • Reasonable price! The MSRP is about $82,000 (including transport to a dealer, Titanium package*, 12 cu ft fridge, living room fireplace, off road suspension package and 4 point leveling system)

*Refer to an Outdoors RV Brochure – or – Feel free to contact me (traveler@rvacrossamerica.net), I’ll be glad to work with you to help you plan the BEST Outdoors RV trailer for YOUR needs, and get you a fair price on one – remember, I do work for a dealer that carries these trailers. My goal here however is NOT to pitch you, it is merely to inform and you can do what you will with the information.

Wish List

What I wish they would add to an already well engineered fifth wheel…

  • Cabinetry over the recliners – if sufficient room exists. Photo below illustrates what I’m thinking of. This is cabinetry over the sofa in my current 5er.

  • Corner cabinets over the bed as illustrated below (again if sufficient room exists).

  • Hinges on one (or more) of the stairs leading to the bedroom for hidden storage.

Last thoughts on the Glacier Peak F30RDS

I’m VERY inclined to make this trailer my next – BUT – I’m not going to finalize my decision until I take a closer look at the Augusta RV Ambition 33. While not (quite) perfect, the Glacier Peak (Outdoors RV) design does fit my definition of a well engineered true 4 season trailer. Having met the factory personnel, I can say they certainly do take pride in what they build.

Since I work for a dealer who carries Outdoors RV products, naturally I’m inclined to get the Glacier Peak (and if you are motivated to purchase one of their travel trailers or fifth wheels, please do feel free to contact me to check price and availability.)

While I’m (strongly) leaning towards the Glacier Peak, there are certain interior appointments in the Augusta RV Ambition that allure me. Frankly it will come down to build quality and not much more when I arrive at my final decision.

LATE BREAKING NEWS: In my review of an Augusta owners website, I learned that Augusta-RV merged with the RV Factory in November 2016. Whether or not this is good news or not remains to be seen, but I will certainly be speaking with their internal staff about this significant change – and – what appears to be some quality control issues I’m reading about from current owners of their products. From experience I know a certain number of issues are likely to arise in a new trailer – BUT – the entire reason to move away from the “big boys” (Thor and Forest River) is to see a better and more finished product leave the factory BEFORE the consumer takes possession!

An important closing thought –

Regardless of which fifth wheel I purchase next, you can be assured, I will be purchasing an Extended Service Contract – click HERE to see why.

Hey THANKS for reading all the way through! Enjoy the other articles here on RVAcrossAmerica.net – we’re approaching our 100th article soon!

 

 

14 thoughts on “It’s looking like my next fifth wheel will be a…

  1. Alan,
    Looks fantastic! Appreciate the pics and detailed “fine tooth comb” analysis. Love all the storage that’s beyond what I’ve seen ever. The Ambition 33 is great as well but hitch/trailer weight far exceeds the load capability of my truck. Keep us posted!!
    Tom

    • Tom,

      The hitch weight on the GP is about 2900 pounds, what is the hitch weight on the Ambition 33?
      And… thanks for your kind words.

      Al

      • Alan great article. One thing that might be good to check out on any rv, is how the holding tanks are mounted. On the second trip out on our recently purchased 5er we lost the fresh water tank. We retraced our route and found it near our home! The tank had been set between two frame rails and was held in place by wooden slats and 3 small wood screws. Naturally, these screws wallered out quickly on our rough Wyoming roads. I fixed the fresh water tank to be much stronger but every trip worry are the gray and bw
        tanks mounted the same way? Will have to dig into that to have peace of mind.

        • I’ll ask, but given the detail this company puts into building their frame (chassis), and the fact that its the SAME chassis as used by Arctic Fox, I’m quite confident that their holding tanks are well secured.

  2. Does this 5er have a full screen door? We currently own a 2011 Open Range that we love except for the door without a separate screen door. Even with screen (awning type) open, still feels closed in. Meet an Open Range owner who found a screen door from earlier Open Range models and had that installed. Wish we had done same!!! I like the model you have shown. Maybe willl go to Hershey, PA RV show in the fall and look for a dealer.

    • I believe it does. You can check the company website – outdoorrvmfg.com/glacier-peak/ and look for the companies photos of the 30RDS. If their photos are inconclusive, you can call them and ask this specific question. As to seeing it in Hershey, Pa, I doubt you’ll see a Glacier Peak there. Outdoors RV limits their dealer base to the western states. The dealer I work with is in Casper, Wyoming and we are one of the easternmost dealers. Interestingly, when I’m in the store (April – Sept), I regularly receive inquiries and visitors from all over the eastern states.

  3. Thank you for your review. We are east-coasters making an initial drive out west in July to look at Glacier Peaks and making our followup purchase late October. The floor plan we like is the 30RLS 🙂

    • Nice! What part of the east coast are you from? If you’re head out to Casper, Wyoming, I will be in the store in July (Stalkups RV). Let me know and I’ll set time aside to show you the 30RLS. Al PS – there is some great history in Casper, it is the crossroads of all the major 19th century westward migrations.

  4. What is the difference between a Mid and Full Profile?

    I cannot think of any reasons not to go with this unit. I may have changed my mind on what to buy for myself and will have to check out one of these units in person! I like the better insulation package. I don’t like the TV placement, but I don’t watch much TV, so perhaps it is okay.

    I have looked at some of the HT 5th wheel trailers. They are lighter and thus can use a H)alf T)on truck. I like the concept, but they seem to take the weight out of the wrong items in my opinion. Suggest to Outdoors RV that we can help them to design a HT version.

    Let us know how you like your new 5th wheel!

    • Mid Profile: a smaller overall design, shorter in particular; in the Glacier Peak, the mid profiles have a N/S bed (in the front cap), with a wardrobe slideout – this allows for MUCH less space for clothes storage than using the front cap as a closet with an E/W bed which is found in the full profiles. To be sure, see the outdoorsmfg.com/glacier-peak/ page and look at the floor plans for the 30’s vs. the 26-28 series.

      I agree on no reason not to go with it! I’m going to place my order SOON. The insulation is exceptional. The TV is in a good spot, no? Across from the lounge chairs?

      These are NOT half-ton trailers. They have a dry weight of about 12000 and a gross of 15000, the company makes no apologies for saying 3/4 ton or bigger! I’d suggest diesel only!!

      Half ton trailers (eg: ultra lights) DO make compromises and are trying to enable the end user to have a 5th wheel when by all rights – no they should get a well built 5er AND a 3/4 ton truck – BUT – that combo costs more! I doubt Outdoors will ever do a 1/2 ton version as the insulation and other design aspects end up producing a trailer that will weigh in well over 10,000 pounds.

      I will certainly keep you in the loop on how things progress!

      Al

  5. Very interesting article. We currently have a Forest River Wildcat 5th wheel and have come to the conclusion that it is not for full time use. After we sell our home, we are going to use the proceeds to purchase a 5th wheel that will hold up better with a lot of moving. Since we live in Maryland, I had not heard of this company. Thank you.

    • I’m quite familiar with Forest River and definitely encourage you to get out of it what you can. As to Glacier Peak, I work for one of the easternmost dealers, when you’re ready, contact me and I’ll be glad to introduce you to the product and find the right Glacier Peak for your needs (there are only 3 I’d consider for full time use!) Also – Casper, Wy is a great “launch point” for some exploration of the intermountain west – Yellowstone and Glacier National Park are nearby and there are lots of ‘hidden’ spots I can share with you when the time comes.

      • I just looked at the Ambition too. That looks more my speed! Do you know if these units that are for full timing will have a better axle and bearing system than our Wildcat? Our 5th wheel is in the shop right now getting a new axle. In October we had bearings go out and had to replace the drum, brake, bearing, etc. My husband thought it must have been that he didn’t have enough grease in there. But on the way home from Florida, it happened again on the other side (same axle) only this time it chewed up the axle. Very disheartening. We don’t know if we did something wrong, or if it was just poorly made. I do almost all of the driving while hubby works in the passenger seat and I am loosing confidence in the camper. We really want to make a better decision next time. We have been across the country to Yellowstone last summer! As well as lots of other travel.

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