Ready for Takeoff
Starcraft’s lightweight Launch travel trailer propels families into the RV stratosphere
Sometimes, selecting a new travel trailer is as simple as taking note of what’s in your driveway. Purchasing a new tow vehicle can play havoc with your budget, so it makes sense to determine the tow rating of your regular ride and start your search with that. If you’re the proud owner of a suitably rated full-size SUV, van or midsize pickup, Starcraft offers the Launch Ultra-Light series of trailers in eight floorplans, five of which weigh in at less than 6,000 pounds, dry.
Aimed at families that enjoy weekend and extended-weekend trips, the Launch Ultra-Lite 24RLS featured here is listed at a svelte 4,880 pounds unloaded and packs in many of the features any family moving up from tents or a folding camper might expect to find in heavier hard-side trailers. The lower weight is achieved via vacuum-bonded aluminum-frame construction and the one-piece Magnum Roof System, which Starcraft claims is 50 percent stronger than the competition. Crowned-truss roof rafters, a poly-flex one-piece underbelly covering and 5/8-inch main-floor decking round out the build specs.
Outside, the stately gray-brown exterior has simple graphics. A pass-through compartment up front is a near-necessity for RVing families — for tables, toys and adventure gear — and the Launch has been outfitted with a large one. Although the compartment looks big enough to bring along the kitchen sink, owners need to heed the cargo carrying capacity (ccc) to prevent overloading. For example, the manufacturer lists the ccc at 1,370 pounds, but this is based on the manufacturer’s dry weight (sans freshwater, LP-gas and factory/dealer-installed options). The 24RLS we inspected came with dealer decals listing the wet weight at 5,324 pounds, leaving 926 pounds for cargo, which is still a decent amount.
Inside, the 24RLS offers an open floorplan that can accommodate a good-size tribe and guests by day and provides up to six sleeping positions by night. The living area gives occupants plenty of seating options, with a dinette for four and a rear jackknife sofa. The entertainment center is centrally located across from the galley, and though an LED TV is a standalone option, the mandatory Customer Convenience Package includes a 12-volt DC stereo with CD/DVD and USB input. The television’s position may strain the necks of those on the right side of the dinette, as the seats face away from the screen, but overall, TV watchers should find the experience satisfactory.
The primary feature of the living area and galley is the countertop, which extends from the three-burner range clear back to the rear of the trailer. This makes for easy meal prep, an important but often overlooked feature in a family-oriented trailer. The dual-basin acrylic sink with a cutout was underwhelming but is a necessary concession to a lightweight trailer in this price range. A microwave, a flush-mounted refrigerator and a pantry with four shelves and two cabinets also occupy the galley and should more than handle extended-weekend duties.
The amidships bathroom functions as intended, with the toilet set at an angle to maximize seating space, a welcome detail. The curved shower enclosure utilizes two framed curtain “doors” that slide to meet in the middle. The rear master bedroom consists of an RV queen bed flanked by dual wardrobes with hanging rods. The decent-size open shelf above is perfect for duffles, bedding and the like. Of note are two nightstand-type surfaces on each side of the mattress, ideal spots for tablets, books, eyeglasses or even a bottle of water.
Overall, it seems that Starcraft understands its customers and delivers on that front with the lightweight Launch, an impressive step up from smaller hybrid trailers. The 24RLS opens up nicely for entertaining during the day and offers a variety of comfortable sleeping options once the night closes in. All of the trappings may not be top-notch, but this is more than offset by a fully featured travel trailer with a modest sticker price that probably won’t require you to purchase a new tow vehicle. That’s reason enough for RVing families to keep the Launch Ultra-Lite on their radar.
Starcraft RV | 800-945-4787 | www.starcraftrv.com