My NEW, TRUE 4 Season (Outdoors RV) 5th Wheel – The Outside

Introducing my Outdoors RV “Glacier Peak” 5th Wheel

I’m going to start my “tour” of my new Outdoors RV Glacier Peak 5th wheel on the outside. I know that everyone loves to see the interiors of campers, but frankly, the outside is just as if not more important than what’s inside. As a point of encouragement, when you are considering a camper, you should spend as much time looking over the outside as you do enjoying the interior.

outdoors rv glacier peak F30RLS
My new Outdoors RV Glacier Peak in the first of my travels (a few days before arriving in McCall)

Outdoors RV: Built for 4 Season Living… REALLY!

The photo below, while NOT glamorous by any means depicts the ONLY plumbing that is not enclosed in the fully heated underbelly.

This 4 inch pipe is the ONLY exposed plumbing carrying liquids in an Outdoors RV – all other plumbing is enclosed in the heated underbelly.

A full video tour of the outside of my Outdoors RV Glacier Peak F30RLS

Written commentary follows below.

Outdoors RV – a TRUE 4 SEASON Camper

As I did my outside walk-around, did you catch what I said about the 2″ thick (solid foam) insulation in all the walls. What I didn’t note what that INCLUDES the walls of the slides AND the roof of the slides. This provides NEEDED insulation in areas that many (most?) manufacturers ignore.

How about the VERY LIMITED exposure of plumbing outside the sealed (and heated) underbelly? This is important to avoid freezeups – even if you’re in a region where temperatures only occasionally fall well below freezing! The (fully heated) underbelly also seems to be very well designed (see photos below). Its so solid, I’m not sure that even a mouse can find its way in! (Poor mice)

Another design feature I’ve grown to appreciate is the storage compartments under the nose. (Check ’em out again!) The entire area is diamond plated (that’s nice!) and the main compartment is split into two doors that open up and down (the lower door is closed in my video). This makes it easy to load “stuff” into the main compartment (and it is BIG) and when you open it, its less likely something will fall out!

I should mention the chassis is custom designed for the floor plan it supports. This produces a better pull as you travel and allows Outdoors RV to use tanks with VERY large capacities – 82 gallons fresh water, 72 gallons grey water, 65 gallons black water. Conclusion? This trailer IS truly designed for full time living and spending some serious time “off the grid!”

Last thought before I move to the next video – consider how much time I’ve spent talking about the outside (and underbelly) – to me this part of a camper is as (or more) important than the interior.

I’ve seen plenty of campers where the underbelly sags or has lots of tape used as sealant – not the case here!

Ok, next, its a few days (and TWO snowstorms) later, I have the skirting up. Allow me to share a few more observations as I complete my outside tour of my Outdoors RV Glacier Peak F30RLS.

A few additional thoughts –

The skirt is designed to stop air flow under the camper. The material is made of non-breathable vinyl (very heavy duty, sun resistant material). Contact me if you’re interested in getting a skirt for your camper (any type of camper) – they do VERY good work.

It ended up going down to 3F that next morning – and I notice a difference already in propane usage. In cold winter conditions, that can mean BIG savings in propane costs!

I LOVE the additional storage area where the kitchen trash can could be. I simply use plastic grocery bags instead. In a few days, I’m going to prepare an INSIDE TOUR of my new camper and will post a link HERE to that tour. STAY TUNED!

One thing you can be CERTAIN of… I purchased an extended service contract to cover my camper for 7 years – as I’ve said before I would not be without it. After the experiences I had with my prior camper – and its RARELY “the camper”, its the “3rd party components” that fail. I detail this in the post linked in this paragraph. If you’d like a quote for a “ESC” for your camper, contact me privately, I can help with that.

I also maintain a membership with CoachNet – for peace of mind while “on the road.” This is an emergency road service program that includes funds for hotel stays if your travel is delayed for a period of time. I’ve looked at other roadside service programs and this one tailored to the needs of a RV traveler.

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When it comes to purchasing your next camper…

Want a “guide by your side” when searching for and buying your next camper? Someone who will have your back and help you navigate the choppy waters when purchasing an RV? Contact me! I now offer a Concierge RV Buying (and Selling) Service – click HERE to learn more.

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How I came to know about Outdoors RV

I’ve been a RV owner now since 2003, and full time since 2011. My winters are spent in ski country out west. I have experienced conditions as cold as -35F for several mornings in a row. I have had furnaces fail on -23F nights! You learn and you adapt. I have had many interactions with owners of all types of RV’s from motorhomes to trailers, and from that I developed a perspective on the industry and the various manufacturers campers and how they’re made.

Prior to getting into the industry as a consultant/salesman, I realized that most trailers are built poorly and do not last. As an “insider”, my opinion was reinforced as I engaged in ongoing discussions with management and service personnel. Few companies stand out from this “sea of mediocrity” and Outdoors RV is among the best I’ve found.

After establishing my personal needs – a 5th wheel that did not exceed 35 (real) feet, did have “dual opposing slides”, a large fridge, microwave/convection oven, a well designed bedroom and ABOVE ALL was constructed and insulated well, the pack of competitors for my hard earned bucks became fairly small. I was fortunate to be aligned with a dealer who offered Outdoors RV trailers so I had the opportunity to learn more about them AND see how they held up over time as I’m now completing my 3rd year in the business.

Don’t get me wrong, there ARE worthy competitors – but for the money, design, quality, engineering and features, Outdoors RV deserves a VERY close look if you’re in the market for a new travel trailer or 5th wheel. Feel free to reach out to me if you have questions or just want to talk RV’ing. There is space provided below to post – I answer ALL.

In closing… I’m often asked what RV equipment (water & sewer hoses & accessories; electric; winter specific) I use. Click the image below to see my “best picks” in all these areas and more.

This entire post focused upon the EXTERIOR of my camper. Want to see my review of the campers INTERIOR?? Click HERE.

best rv accessories
Click the image to see my recommendations for important RV Accessories

IMPORTANT UPDATE: This model which has proven to be AMAZING for my needs nearly 2 years into owning it is NO LONGER PRODUCED by Outdoors RV. If you’re looking for similar quality – contact me for ideas regarding what’s made today that meets the same standards. (traveler@rvacrossamerica.net)

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98 thoughts on “My NEW, TRUE 4 Season (Outdoors RV) 5th Wheel – The Outside”

  1. Thanks Al, I actually prefer used and have been searching many of the online RV sites for a rig in the 35 foot range. Understand your thoughts on the toy hauler and will keep that in mind. I mistakenly said we fly in Dec but it’s January so I’ll look you up when we get there. We have Epic Ski passes for the Vail region and would like to park the rig somewhere up there so we can enjoy the bunny slopes!!

    Reply
    • When it comes to ‘bunny slopes’ – I work in Jackson as a ski instructor… so if you want, I’ll help you move beyond those bunny slopes!

      Reflecting upon your wants/needs – take a look at the Arctic Fox 32-5 as well – it has the dual opposing slides and is only slightly longer than the 35 ft “ideal”. I believe its 36 ft long bumper to hitch; the 29-5 is 33-34 ft bumper to hitch.

      Al

      Reply
  2. Hi Al,

    First off, congrats and thank you for this incredibly professional and informative site. I think I’ve read just about all of your stuff in the past week or so since I discovered it…well done!

    I am retiring from Germany next month and flying with my wife to Denver on 8 December….just in time to spend four days at the annual Denver RV show 9-12 Jan. I’ve been doing research on Airstream trailers and fifth wheel toy haulers for the last six years as our goal was to return to CONUS and spend a year on the road before building a house in the Denver area in 2020. Our #1 priority is quality which is why I was looking at Airstreams initially. I switched to toy haulers because we don’t think a 30 Airstream will be big enough for us as we may also live in it while building our new house…up to two years total. Our trip plans include Canada and Alaska so build quality and insulation are critical as well.

    Will you be at the Denver show? If not, what inventory do you expect to be on hand in January as I can easily make a trip up to Casper.

    I agree with your thoughts on dual opposing slides. We also have annual National Parks passes so we’ll need a rig of accessible length.

    My wife is dead set against a dually and prefers gas over diesel. I’m with her on the dually but I like the extra torque, fuel mileage and engine brake features that the oil burners offer. Interested in the company’s recommendations for a 35 foot 5-er?

    Reply
    • Brian,

      Thanks for your kind words and sharing your thoughts. First thought: a 5th wheel is THE way to go – not a travel trailer. Now that said, with the thought in mind to travel AND gain access to the best campgrounds and to get to Ak and Canada, your choice of a 35 ft. trailer is a wise one. Before I go any further – I’m NOT going to recommend a toy hauler at all. Reason? Most are 38 ft OR LONGER (bumper to hitch) AND very few are well insulated – especially in the garage. So, this leaves us with a 35 ft 5th wheel NON-toy hauler. My recommendation (since Outdoors RV has stopped building my trailer for now) is the next best thing – Arctic Fox 29-5 which comes in 2 flavors – rear kitchen & rear living. It is WELL BUILT and WELL INSULATED.

      Next thought: If you only plan to spend a year in it, why not buy a used one? All trailers depreciate rapidly and 2-3 year old trailers can be had for far less than a new one – and – they’re often very lightly used. I do have a concierge buying service (http://rvacrossamerica.net/buysell) and would be glad to work with you to find one. For the winter, I will be stationed in Jackson, Wyoming – skiing most days (tough life, eh?), but I can do my work entirely online and on the phone. My store in casper is in transition, but we’re not limited to what they have, I can work with you on a nationwide search for the Arctic Fox 29-5 and will then negotiate for it for you to get the best price after insuring its in good condition. Al

      Reply
  3. It seems like having 2 A/Cs and at least one with the heat pump feature, as well as an electric fireplace is good in settings where electric power is more available than propane. Like when you have 50 amp power as part of your hookups.

    Reply
    • From my experience, a/c w/ heat pump is only found in toy haulers in the garage; otherwise, your furnace provides the necessary heat AND does it from below so (in good trailers) it heats the underbelly area as well. In the Glacier Peak (and most good trailers), the underbelly is fully sealed (triple layers of insulation) and heated and mine also has 12v heating pad on the fresh water tank. Whenever temperatures are below 32F, you WANT/NEED the furnace to run to keep the underbelly from freezing up (well, the plumbing and fresh water tank). You only need 2 a/c’s for cooling if you’re in a larger trailer AND it gets HOT. In Casper, even on 95F days in July, with 1 a/c, my camper never got much over 80F. Now, if you’re in a humid area, that is uncomfortable, so, yes 2 a/c’s and 50A service is important. Most (if not all) of the glacier peak’s come with 50A and are pre-wired to the bedroom vent for a 2nd a/c to be dropped in by the dealer. An electric fireplace (by the way) is nothing more than a $20. 1500 watt portable heater (with a lightshow).

      Reply
  4. Hope your Fifth Wheel repair went well.

    Anyway from what I have said above, I think we need closer to an all electric rig. I see Arctic Fox’s with more common generators in them. Switching between genset and solar would be the best energy source for us. Although I think we might still want a propane fridge.

    Any camper I would prob. change the charger converter right away if it did not charge Lithium according to spec. I can manage that.

    I think you said the ORVs commonly came with 500 watt solar. That could do for a while….
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    I still think the ORVs look better for BLM land and roads (do they call it the x4 package). And no doubt the cold, although I am not sure about the baggage compartment insulation on the ORVs. How is your Glacier Peak insulated in the basement between the compartment and bedroom floor?

    I spent one winter in upstate New York. We had to drive across the frozen lake and shovel the snow off the cabins.

    The one great thing about 40 below winters is that it is the same centigrade as Fahrenheit!!

    Reply
    • I don’t know what an “all electric rig” is – and I would not want one. As I noted in my message a moment ago, you NEED to use your furnace in cold weather – your PROPANE furnace. As to generators, I’d go with an after market generator that sits outside – the Predator (for about $400.) provides 2000 watts (get it at harbor freight) and can be paralled to a 2nd generator to drive an a/c (NOT 2), you’ll need a bigger gen for two, but its still cheaper/and more space efficient to get 2 predators than 1 Onan (which can be wired to have a switch inside to start it (an unneccesary luxury if you ask me). Bottom line – the ORV 5th wheels offer an OUTSTANDING value as do the Arctic Fox. When you’re ready, I can negotiate a great price on either for you (or anything else for that matter.)

      Reply
  5. I wanted to compliment you on your videos on the 12 volt system on an RV. You really caused me to look into the matter. The saga of your WFCO converter was really a brilliant piece of camper journalism.

    I love the ORV for its insulation bones. Additionally, I want a true 21st century electrical system. If the insulation, roof, laminated slide floors are the bones, then the electrical system is the nervous system of a camper.

    Looking back at your early videos (in your old camper) you talk about buying very good AGM glassmat batteries so you could boondock. You seem to say that you ended up mostly rving in RV parks. Your more recent videos where you are in the deep cold have you hooked up to a big propane tank. That is great. And the ORV seems to have served you well in the deep cold.

    But for me, I also want independent electric. There is a couple that lives in a converted bus – pretty big youtubers. They have a very small generator, solar, lithium and great converter/inverter set up. With the hybrid inverter they can draw power BOTH from the Lithium AND the small (read quiet!) generator and run one of two ACs in the summer.

    Since my wife and I have family in the South, where it is hot AND MUGGY, we want the option to run the A/C everyday.

    Shoot. I remember when we used to live in Portland. We would run the A/C there even when it was not too hot in the house, because of that Portland humidity.

    Thanks so much for all your videos.

    ek

    Reply
  6. I would also like to see a Lithium/Solar prewire. Something Lithium drop in ready. An ORV would be great, with all that insulation in the Arizona sun with six or eight hundred amp hours of battery.

    We would want the resilience to be able to brave the heat, as well as the cold.

    Reply
    • The roof is prewired for 2 or 3 solar panels – i believe up to 500 watts. For the kind of use you intend, I would encourage you to meet with a solar panel expert after you get the camper and be prepared to drop some serious money into prepping it for solar and installing it. Don’t expect ANY manufacturer to prewire more than ORV and AF do already as they won’t invest hundreds of extra dollars in wiring unless there is a significant demand for it – and to my knowledge and from my experience, most solar users are quite happy with 200 – 500 watts. In my case, I use 200w of portable panels which is all I’ll ever require.

      Lastly, if you want a truly custom camper, get a new horizons – you’ll have a camper that will cost your $150,000+ and require a F450 or F550 or freightliner to pull it – but – you’ll get what you’re looking for. Remember, ORV and AF make campers (5th wheels) that sell for well UNDER $100,000. and I see no sign of them reaching farther up the ladder to the truly few folks that want to spend much more than they’re already being asked to.

      Reply
      • A New Horizons at that price might actually be cheaper (in the long run) than the cheapo brands that are mentioned in your blog: since people buy so many of those cheaper brands!

        I have always disliked laundromats my whole life. If the leak problem is bad for washer/dryers it would only be worse for retrofits. If ORV ran the PEX I doubt it leak any more than a kitchen sink.

        The difficulty is similar for upgraded electric. It is hard to pull wires in any RV.

        I agree that it is mostly DRVs and up have the fiberglass roofing. I still think it would be a good idea the “other side” of the Cascades where it rains from now till summer.

        RV buying is frustrating because companies build to their average customer –

        My DW wants the washer. I would like to be able to run one AC with a hybrid inverter (a small generator and hefty batteries, prob. Lithiums that you could run down almost all the way). The Lithium Iron Phosphates seem safe and flexible.

        I would also like to see a Zero Carpet decor!

        Just like it seems you are in the deep cold in the winter, we may be in the hot heat in the summer. And like I implied, it the the rainy, rain in the wet season.

        Off grid living is easier with real flexibility.

        Reply
        • Based upon your wants & needs, I would suggest you contact New Horizons and get your wallet ready. I believe you’ll only be happy with a custom built camper and they’re the only one I know of.

          Reply
  7. I have kept up on the ORVs and see their value. We like the insulation and the build.

    However, still curious about why they don’t offer washer/dryer hookups. You seem to follow the snow, but that is not everybody.

    I have come to the conclusion that ORV is a camper company from the great Northwest. They are not building for long termers. Many, many long termers (and full timers) are going to value creature conveniences as much as a great suspension. And many, many, many would appreciate good insulation, but avoid the snow.

    Looking for a homey ORV is like looking for a light weight DRV, it seems. 🙂

    I would really like to see a fiberglass roof. Western Oregon has as much rain as other places have snow. Whenever branches scrape the roof, I would like to know it is fiberglass.

    Reply
    • You raise some interesting points. The ideal buyer for an ORV trailer is one who likes to go to more remote places, including rough roads that lead to the best campsites & campgrounds. Arctic Fox trailers are similar but have a few more “creature comforts” especially in the 32-5 and 35 models. They are also well insulated and have shocks to protect your trailer.

      As to fiberglass roof – very few campers have this – and for those that do, I’m not aware of any with slideouts. Most, including ORV and Arctic Fox use rubber (edpm) – it is tried & true and if cared for, will last many trouble free years.

      As to a washer/dryer – I’m not a fan of them, though the Arctic Fox 32-5 and larger models DO have w/d hookups. Why am I not a fan? Simple – they’re expensive, take up space that can otherwise be used for “stuff”, add weight, and cause water to run in more places in your camper – and the more places water is running, the more issues you may encounter. But, if you have $2500. burning a hole in your pocket, do as you wish. I’ve never found a laundramat hard to find or inconvenient, and as an adult, I don’t do laundry more than 3-4x/month. I can see where a young family would definitely need a w/d as kids clothes definitely need to be laundered more often.

      Lastly, you mention a “homey ORV” and a “lightweight drv” – things are because of the way they are – ORV makes a highly functional trailer, you sound like you may appreciate an Arctic Fox 32-5 – which is still not absurdly long. DRV’s are heavy because of their type of construction. Of course, AF and ORV are nearly as heavy for their length. Mine is 12400 dry and is 34’11”, a drv will be about 41′ and weigh at least 16,000 pounds.

      Al

      Reply
  8. Hi Alan just bought 2018 250 RDS black stone trailer. I was getting saw dust coming from the max air fans, so l pulled the bottom cover down to clean up the saw dust. To my surprise I found the pink insulation was not installed correctly. Know insulation under or on top of the air conditioning duck work many gaps in the insulation,the reflected foil was falling down and I could see the under side of my roof. I haved found out that the reflected foil is friction fitted between the rafters only. Outdoors rv have been great to work with, they are taking of my roof off and re-insulating my trailer. The reason I am telling you this ,so you can check your insulation in your new 5th wheel. I hope your 5th wheel Is insulated right. Again I say that outdoors rv are standing be hind their product and fixing my trailer.

    Reply
    • Sounds like you had a technician involved in building your camper who took a shortcut or made a mistake. It can happen anytime/anywhere that humans are involved in the process of building something! I’m glad to see ORV made it right. In my case, I appreciate your concern, however seeing how my 5er performed last winter – no leaks and no evidence of spots with poor insulation, I doubt mine has the same issue (or many trailers of theirs) as yours. Its likely an isolated issue affecting you or just a few trailers as again, it comes down to human error. Enjoy your travels. Al

      Reply

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