Starcraft’s compact 18DS is ready for launch with a simple floorplan and all the comforts of home
For folks who like to keep it simple but don’t want to scrimp on creature comforts, Starcraft’s Satellite 18DS just may send you into orbit. With its curved body, front and rear, the Satellite is built with wind-cutting in mind. At a claimed unloaded vehicle weight of 3,055 pounds, the 18DS can be towed by most SUVs and small trucks. Fourteen-inch nitrogen-filled tires under fenders ride on a single axle, making for an interior width of a little over 6 feet.
Inside, the rear kitchen’s countertop spans the width of the trailer, sliding windows let in plenty of ambient light, and there’s sleeping space for three or four. With the slide that houses the 6-foot-long dinette and 4-cubic-foot refrigerator deployed, the 20-foot 8-inch 18DS transforms into a Satellite with ample space. With the slide retracted, the bathroom door can be opened fully for access while en route.
We were impressed with the kitchen layout, the focal point of this travel trailer. A two-burner range resides in a neo-angle cabinet with pass-through storage to the outside and is next to the single-basin sink in an expanse of countertop that allows the cook to spread out. Additional counter space behind the range is large enough to hold a big fruit bowl and several loaves of bread. Within easy reach are the Dometic refrigerator-freezer and a convection microwave docked above it. The wood paneling on the refrigerator ties in well with the Warm Sugar Maple cabinetry.
A couple of inches of headroom are lost at each end of the kitchen where the ceiling curves down, so people taller than 6 foot 2 will have to watch their heads while standing
at the kitchen counter.
The dinette, set midway between the kitchen and the front queen bed, is wide enough to seat two or three, with additional backless seating at each end. The cushions are thick and large, offering good back support, but because of their height, they partially block the sliding window. A freestanding table can be moved around as needed and folds down to fit across the seats’ brackets to convert the dinette into a bed.
A step away from the dinette is the queen bed with open floor space for large items you want to stow out of the way but still get to easily. Lifting the bed (no hydraulic struts) leads to additional storage that can also be accessed from the outside. Sliding windows at the head and foot of the bed provide airflow and make the space feel larger. A shelf serves as a nightstand and has a tall cubbyhole that can be a catchall for platters, magazines and shoes.
Across from the dinette is a wet bath with a 17-inch shower pan and a 6-foot ceiling height. There’s no vent, but the gap at the top of the door allows shower steam to exit. A mesh caddy for holding bath products is attached to the wall, and a large mirror takes up about half the door. A shower curtain keeps the door and the TP attached to it from getting soaked.
The Satellite’s Furrion stereo with USB and Bluetooth offers good surround sound with speakers inside and out. An LED TV is optional, as is a 13,500-Btu ceiling-mounted air conditioner and an electric A-frame jack. An 18,000-Btu furnace and a Fan-Tastic Vent are standard, and the 18DS is solar-ready.
We measured 7¼ inches ground clearance at the lowest point at the leaf springs on this model. While retracting the 9-foot electric awning, it’s necessary to make sure the large grab-rail is not flush against the trailer, where it can interfere with the awning arm and damage it.
For off-the-beaten-path adventurers, an Extreme Package ($742) includes 5 inches of extra ground clearance, 15-inch off-road mud/snow tires, and an insulated, enclosed and heated underbelly, among other things.
Constructed of welded-aluminum framing, fiberglass side walls and metal backers, the Satellite 18DS is a well-rounded RV — literally and figuratively — with an aerodynamic design that offers everything needed for traveling in comfort while not going sky-high on the trimmings and price.
Starcraft | 800-945-4787 | www.starcraftrv.com/travel-trailers/satellite
Special thanks to Camping World of Valencia, California.
888-654-5177 | www.campingworld.com