Living It Up
The latest trend in fifth-wheels brings the lounge upstairs
Fifth-wheels come in all sizes and a variety of floorplans, but over the years there has generally been a sort of unspoken template for their basic interior footprint. Previously, one could pretty much lay money on the fact that the master bedroom would occupy the raised front section, with the living area situated in the rear. There will always be a few exceptions, but, by and large, this is your classic fifth-wheel layout.
A trend is again emerging, one that turns traditional thinking upside down or at least takes an opposing view: Why not switch things around and build the living room and lounge area at the front of the trailer, providing a more private bedroom in the rear, a more central bathroom and more overall flexibility when it comes to livability options?
In addition to the always-popular “personal preference,” moving the lounge up front has some definite advantages. Perhaps the most obvious is that the front-living-room configuration results in more privacy for overnight guests in the living room. “[Our] lounge has theater seating directly across from the TV for optimal viewing and two additional hide-a-bed sofas,” said Dymon Ferrer, general manager of EverGreen’s Lifestyle luxury RV division. “When guests stay over, the hide-a-bed sofa creates one large semiprivate sleeping area in the lounge.”
The front-lounge area also offers more versatility for interior storage, kitchen setup and especially entertainment options, as there are now two separate lounge areas instead of one large kitchen/dining room/living room.
“Many people love the ‘denlike’ setting of the front living room and feel it creates a more residential environment,” said Jim Mac, communications director at Keystone RV. This means you can actually hold a civilized conversation in the dining area, as the sports fanatics scream at the referees down the hall and up the stairs in front of what’s usually an impressive home-theater setup featuring a large flat-screen HDTV with surround sound and plush seating. “We lovingly call the front-lounge portion the Grand Theatre, for obvious reasons,” said Marty Friend, Grand Design RV’s marketing and communications manager.
Likewise, moving the living room forward means placing the bedroom and lavatory in the back, which leads to more space in two pretty important areas. “With the bedroom and bathroom in the rear, it gives campers more headroom than is common in front-bed-and-bath decks,” said Fred Hershberger, general manager of Coachmen’s fifth-wheel division.
Whether for more privacy, a residential theater area, more headroom or just because variety is the spice of life, manufacturers are more than happy to provide customers with even more options by offering front-living-room fifth-wheels. The following are but a few of the models available today.
The front living area in the Brookstone 375FL is built around a 50-inch LED TV featuring “smart” technology. That means the TV utilizes the RV park’s Wi-Fi to connect to the Internet and run popular apps like Netflix, Hulu and YouTube. Viewing is even more enjoyable when you’re seated in one of the opposing comfy sofa beds or reclining home-theater chair. A fireplace is optional.
Thoughtful appointments such as recessed LED lighting, MCD roller shades throughout and sectionalized drawer dividers in the galley help keep living easy on the inside, while double-laminated side walls and a gel-coat exterior protect the trailer from weathering and road debris. Owners will truly appreciate that each side of the queen bed (a king bed is optional) features a nightstand that contains a 120-volt AC outlet for charging a phone, tablet or other electronic device.
Coachmen RV | 800-353-7383 | www.coachmenrv.com
The Rushmore Lincoln clearly features a focus on a wide-open, airy atmosphere. The Lincoln boasts what CrossRoads calls an industry-first windshield in the front cap, which offers panoramic views and permits natural light to make the interior appear even larger and more inviting.
The concept is further bolstered by dual slides in the living room, creating an open pathway to the fully equipped galley and the rest of the trailer. Two more slides expand the square footage of the rear bedroom, establishing the feeling of a true “master suite.” The full bathroom on the main level includes a full-size fiberglass shower, linen storage, a dual vanity and room for a stackable washer/dryer.
CrossRoads Recreational Vehicles | 260-593-2088 | www.crossroadsrv.com
EverGreen RV offers a front lounge in its Bay Hill 379FL that’s great for movie night or catching the big game. Dual front slideouts house opposing 80-inch sofa beds, and two theater seats offer perfect views of the big-screen TV above the fireplace.
But the TV isn’t all that’s big in the Bay Hill: The crowned ceiling in the lounge adds 4½ inches of headroom, making the living room feel bigger than its already impressive space.
The galley features solid-surface countertops and an island, plus there’s an option for a residential double-French-door refrigerator with an integrated icemaker. The rear bedroom offers an option for a king-size bed and TV, while a wardrobe, dresser and closets provide plenty of space for your wardrobe. A full-size shower in the lav completes the big feeling of the Bay Hill.
EverGreen Recreational Vehicles | 574-825-4298 | www.goevergreenrv.com
The front living room of the Cardinal 3800 from Forest River boasts a large 55-inch LED HDTV in a built-in entertainment center above the electric fireplace, which can be viewed from either of the large, plush opposing trifold sofas.
The bedroom comes standard with a king bed and an impressive flip-up 32-inch TV. The large wardrobe unit in one of the two bedroom slides means packing for extended trips — or even full-timing — is worry-free. The amidships galley offers a good amount of solid-surface prep space, while the freestanding dinette and large pantry offer the versatility of a residential layout. Frameless windows, an aluminum-wrapped LED-lit electric awning, a high-gloss gel-coat exterior and laminated slide-end walls help keep the trailer looking good.
Forest River | 574-389-4600 | www.forestriverinc.com
The Solitude 379FL is Grand Design’s flagship front-lounge fiver. The Grand Theatre in the front living room offers two opposing slides with 80-inch trifold sofas in addition to dual theater seats, all lined up to view the 50-inch LED TV above the cozy electric fireplace. The galley is home to a large kitchen island featuring a built-in curio cabinet and hardwood cabinet doors with hidden hinges.
The 379FL also features a master-bedroom suite with a generous amount of closet space, solid-surface countertops throughout, a large master bath with a glass-bowl sink, aluminum entry steps and a huge pass-through underbelly storage area. Weather-Tex insulation allows four-season comfort, and the trailer also boasts a whole-coach water-filtration system, heated holding tanks and a “travel center” compartment.
Grand Design Recreational Vehicles | 574-825-9679 | www.granddesignrv.com
The five-slideout Bighorn 3750FL offers a wide range of residential amenities in a package that’s designed for full-time RV living. The roof, side walls and floors are all laminated fiberglass, adding to long-term durability. The front living room features a 55-inch LED TV with a home-entertainment system, Power Recline theater seats with built-in heaters and massagers, and two plush flip-and-fold sofas that offer additional sleeping positions.
Glazed hardwood chestnut cabinets and fascia lend a residential feeling, while the master bedroom features a king-size bed, built-in cabinets and a full-size dresser with four large drawers. Plus, the Bighorn offers a cavernous 8- x 10-foot pass-through storage bay, making it easy to pack most bulky items.
Heartland Recreational Vehicles | 877-262-8032 | www.heartlandrvs.com
Jayco clearly had entertainment on the brain when it designed the Pinnacle 38FLFS. The front lounge in the five-slide fiver offers a giant 60-inch LED TV over an optional electric fireplace. A sofa with an integrated chaise and an ottoman are situated across from another convertible sofa.
Cabinets throughout are hardwood with mortise-and-tenon joints, and the drawers all feature full-extension ball-bearing guides. An 18-cubic-foot residential refrigerator holds plenty of food, and the large galley with solid-surface countertops makes meal prep easy. The master suite features a king bed and a 32-inch TV, while the lavatory is highlighted by a large corner shower and handy linen closet. Jayco offers one-year roadside assistance for the Pinnacle, in addition to a two-year overall warranty.
Jayco | 574-825-5861 | www.jayco.com
The six-slide (yes, six slideouts) Montana 3711FL offers a front living room with dual trifold sofa beds housed in opposing slides, with an additional streetside unit that makes for a sectional sofa feel. There’s a 48-inch LED HDTV mounted above the optional electric fireplace, a Blu-ray player and surround-sound.
Galley highlights include an 18-cubic-foot refrigerator, an island and a convection microwave, while a freestanding table in the dining area adds versatility. Upscale flourishes include a vaulted ceiling accentuated by LED backlit crown molding, hardwood fascia around the slideouts, a 35,000-Btu furnace and a sky dome over the tub. Aluminum wheels, frameless windows, 5-inch arched roof rafters and a giant drop-frame pass-through storage compartment are exterior standards.
Keystone RV Company | 866-425-4369 | www.keystonerv.com
The Durango Gold 380FL offers a host of desirable amenities for full-time living. The exterior features ivory high-gloss fiberglass side walls and a painted front cap. Other standard features include hydraulic slides and landing gear, a quad step, a Rota Flex kingpin box, 7,000-pound-rated axles, a heated command center, Reflective Technology insulation, a keyless entry door and large pass-through storage.
The front living room contains a 50-inch HDTV, surround-sound upgraded stereo, two trifold sofa beds and theater seating. The galley offers solid-surface countertops, a flush-mounted 22-inch cooktop with glass cover, a 30-inch microwave, a ceiling fan, a pullout trash bin and a 12-cubic-foot refrigerator. The lavatory is home to a 48-inch shower with an integrated seat, and a cabinet is preplumbed for a washer/dryer combo. Other standards include raised-panel cabinet doors and a king bed in the rear bedroom.
KZ RV | 866-472-5460 | www.kz-rv.com
One of the most frustrating aspects of watching a movie or sporting event with a large group is finding a seat. Well, that shouldn’t be a problem with the Destination 37FL. In addition to the usual opposing sofas in the front living room, Winnebago has added a third couch, resulting in seating for six to nine people with ease. All occupants can get a great view of the big-screen TV in the entertainment cabinet, and buyers can opt for an optional electric fireplace with a radius front for upgraded aesthetics.
The rest of the fifth-wheel ain’t too shabby either, with LED lighting throughout, an open kitchen with an island, a 20-plus-cubic-foot refrigerator with an icemaker, and a large 60-inch shower. Other highlights include aluminum entry steps, a nifty magic mirror reflection entertainment center in the master, solid-surface countertops, optional full-body paint and six-point hydraulic leveling.
Winnebago Towables | 574-825-5250 | www.winnebagotowables.com