Small Wonder: Lance 1475 Travel Trailer

The Lance 1475 was paired with an all-wheel-drive performance-oriented Dodge Durango GT that was so competent we almost forgot the trailer was there.
The Lance 1475 was paired with an all-wheel-drive performance-oriented Dodge Durango GT that was so competent we almost forgot the trailer was there.
photos by Scott Hirko

Lance’s shortest travel trailer, the 1475, incorporates a slide and well-conceived layout in less than 15 feet of floor space

It’s a toss-up over who was more delighted with the 2018 Lance 1475 travel trailer — the woman who’d recently bought an RV that was “too much, too big” for her and came by to inquire about it, or our group of a dozen who crowded inside the 14-foot, 10-inch floorplan for a standing-room-only breakfast to escape the pestering flies and yellowjackets. Four were seated on the sofa, and three sat on the queen bed, which left five of us loitering in the galley. Though we exceeded the 1475’s cargo-carrying capacity for about 20 minutes, we enjoyed a peaceful bug-free dining experience.

The 1475 test coincided with a surprise Western-theme birthday campout we planned for a friend, with our group spread out at Rancho Oso RV Campground and Ranch near Santa Barbara, California. We camped in the Western Village portion, on the outskirts of the main RV park. Except for the pests, it was a lovely camping experience with the Lance serving as the staging area and chuck wagon for our party of 15.

The test Lance 1475, a prototype model, was paired with an all-wheel-drive Dodge Durango GT with the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine and the Brass Monkey Appearance Package, which includes a monochromatic sporty exterior, blacked-out badging/crosshair grille and 20-inch burnished-bronze aluminum wheels. Putting this special-edition Durango through its paces, we found it to tow the 3,520-pound (loaded) Lance smoothly over more than 150 miles of highway and a representative amount of two-lane road with twists and dips that larger RVs would have to be driven more slowly on. The test was topped off by navigating hard-packed dirt with ruts and bumps up a hill to the campsite.

Tip to tail, the Lance 1475 measures 19 feet, 8 inches, with the single battery and 5-gallon LP-gas cylinder at rest on the trailer’s A-frame under a TPO cover. The 1475, introduced in 2016, is Lance’s smallest travel trailer, and for 2018, the Lancaster, California-based RV manufacturer added an optional slideout. On the slide-equipped version, the two midship captain’s chairs are replaced with a jackknife sofa and two removable tables. The slide pops out curbside less than a foot, but it opens up the galley so much that, as one friend put it, “For as small as this trailer is, it sure is roomy!” A Fan-Tastic Vent is set over the bed, and there’s close to 6½ feet of headroom (a couple of inches are lost to the air conditioner shroud in the galley).

The 1475’s spacious galley features a clean look with a glass flush-mounted cover for the range, and attractive cabinetry and decor, including soffit LEDs.
The 1475’s spacious galley features a clean look with a glass flush-mounted cover for the range, and attractive cabinetry and decor, including soffit LEDs.

One morning, four friends were going about their business cleaning up from the night before, cooking and efficiently weaving around each other like they were moving about in a galley twice the size.

Part of the spaciousness can be attributed to the two swiveling tables with a Lagun-brand anodized-aluminum table-leg system, which are attached via mounting plates on the sofa and bed platform; they easily swing out of the way, taking up no floor space. The other advantage to these tables is that there is no floor base mount to trip over. The tables are solid enough to cut up veggies and fruit on, and they’re adjustable up and down, locking into place and swiveling 360 degrees. The tables are shaped well for mealtime while sitting at the sofa, and one of them can be swiveled over the queen mattress for use while lying in bed. They can stay mounted during travel, and with a turn here and a twist there are set up and taken down quickly.

The 5-foot-long jackknife vinyl sofa has two kickout footrests and, once the tables are removed, it can be made into a 3-foot-wide bed within seconds. With the sofa laid flat, there’s room between it and the kitchen to get to the queen bed at the front of the trailer. There’s a large window in the slide, but absent is overhead lighting. We used the adjustable LED reading light over the bed closest to the sofa to shed light into the slide for nighttime reading.

The slideout with a jackknife sofa is opposite the galley.
The slideout with a jackknife sofa is opposite the galley.

The kitchen’s 3-foot-high counter­top incorporates a stainless-steel bowl sink — conveniently deep enough to keep water from splashing all over during cleanup — and a faucet with a pull-out sprayer. To the right of the sink, the counter steps up 4 inches to accommodate a wardrobe with a clothing rod, offering another 21½ by 24½ inches of usable countertop. The “lower” portion of the counter offers more than 3 feet of continuous countertop with the sink and range covers in place.

The three-burner range’s glass cover folds back to act as a backsplash, and there’s a splash guard on the walls behind and to the left. Buyers can spring for the optional microwave ($239) and Wedgewood Vision oven ($322) — both of which were in the test trailer — for less storage. Even with these in place, we found that there was plenty of cabinet space.

To the right of the range are three 3-inch-deep slideout drawers with plastic bins for stowing silverware and cooking utensils. Over the window is a shelf for small items like spice bottles; there’s a rod to hold things in place, but a couple of our spices didn’t make it during travel. Overhead, a large, curved European-style cabinet made by Technoform and soffit LEDs brighten the kitchen.

Lighting and airflow throughout the 1475 is splendid, with ceiling-mounted LEDs and European-style acrylic windows that open outward for maximum airflow, all with screens. In the “bedroom,” you literally get a room with a view, with a window at the foot and head of the bed, plus the large, tinted windshield-type Thermopane window. This dual-pane window also opens outward and is equipped with a privacy shade that pulls up from the bottom to close partially or completely.

Over the queen bed, a shelf with netting is a handy place to keep blankets, towels, plastic serving platters and other things at the ready. Below the bed is access to the exterior’s pass-through storage, making this large area accessible from three sides. The aforementioned reading lamps over the bed are bright and can be twisted to direct the beam, and they did not get hot to the touch even after being on for more than an hour. USB ports are accessible from the bed as well.

One night, full and happy, I slipped quietly into the 60- by 80-inch queen bed next to my husband, Bill, who’d gone to sleep earlier. Waking up the next morning feeling rested from a good night’s sleep on the pillowtop mattress, I found that we’d been sharing the bed with a 10-pound bag of Red Delicious apples. Good thing the bed is at the front of the trailer and surrounded by three walls so no occupants were kicked out of bed during the night. If you’re sharing the bed, one person will be against the wall so he or she will have to climb over the other to get out.

A 27-inch Jensen HDTV that locks into place for travel is set over the wardrobe for viewing from the bed and sofa, and the 1475 is prewired for cable and a satellite antenna. The Jensen AM/FM/CD/DVD stereo with Bluetooth is mounted at ceiling height, and to the left of it is the digital Airxcel thermostat for the 18,000-Btu furnace and air conditioner, which means that shorter people may have to stand on the bed or a step stool to see the controls for both. An open cubby below the stereo was a good place for keeping DVDs and bowls while in camp, but there’s nothing to hold things in place during travel.

At the back of the trailer, next to the entry door, is the 5-cubic-foot three-way refrigerator, conveniently located for grabbing a drink or snack on the way out or in. The fridge door swings open toward the door, blocking entry and exit, and the entry door’s frame kept it from opening much past a 90-degree angle.

For a small trailer, the 1475’s bathroom is spacious, with good elbow- and headroom in the shower. The toilet offers more legroom than expected.
For a small trailer, the 1475’s bathroom is spacious, with good elbow- and headroom in the shower. The toilet offers more legroom than expected.

A simple adjustment of the shelves on the inside of the refrigerator’s door allowed the crisper drawer to be easily removed when needed.

To the right of the refrigerator is a deep pantry with adjustable shelves. We also really liked the four-ring hook over the pantry near the entry door for keeping keys handy when coming and going. A great touch is the keyless entry-door handle with a combination pad, and the exterior storage locks are keyed alike. I’d raise the key hook a tad since my dangling keys had to be moved to close the pantry door. And how about this? A real analog wall clock (AA battery included)! It’s a nice touch we don’t see too often — and Lance set it for 5 at the factory because “it’s 5 o’clock somewhere,” according to Bob Rogers, Lance’s director of marketing. When all was quiet inside, we could hear the ticking of the clock.

Also impressive is the good-size bathroom with a curved shower pan that maximizes space.
A heavy flexible-acrylic curtain that stays in its track and sticks to the wall magnetically keeps water where it’s supposed to be, and a stabilizing bar attached to the ceiling helps support the curtain rod. There’s a showerhead shutoff valve and a height of almost 6½ feet with the skylight.

Lighting in the bathroom is excellent with two lights — one behind you when standing at the mirror and one above the mirrored medicine cabinet, good for when putting on makeup or shaving. A long towel rack is on the wall over the toilet, and there’s a towel ring next to the sink. The bathroom has a powered ceiling vent and a heat register mounted at floor level in the vanity. There’s also a black-tank flush system. On the outside of the bathroom door is a 14- by 28-inch mirror for getting ready in the galley while the bathroom is occupied.

Stepping outside, tall folks’ heads are protected by a thick vinyl pad over the entry door with the Lance logo stitched across it — a thoughtful and welcome touch. The single entry step has LED lighting, and the rounded entry door stops short of the extended slide, opening 90 degrees. When extending and retracting the one-touch 10-foot electric awning, the entry door must be closed to prevent the awning from getting hung up on the door, something to keep in mind. The lateral arms were very much appreciated when we set up our taco bar under the canopy, since nobody had to dodge vertical-mounted hardware.
When it got dark, our group admired the LED lighting strip that added ambience. During travel, however, the 1475 suffered a minor casualty — losing the end-cap covers for the Carefree awning’s hardware on our way to the campsite, something Lance has fixed on production models.

For 2018, Lance replaced the diamond-plate rock guard below the front window with an integrated TPO gravel guard, inset with LED lighting, and there’s a hitch light and electric A-frame jack. The switch for the LEDs is housed inside the pass-through storage compartment, which has a cargo drawer that can be pulled out from either side of the trailer. We stored the electrical cord and hoses here, and magnetic latches keep storage doors up and out of the way. Other exterior niceties include a water sprayer, a quick-disconnect propane line for a barbecue, a 120-volt AC outlet, speakers and an LED light.

The Dodge Durango GT, with a tow rating of 6,200 pounds, made simple work of towing the lightweight 1475. Equipped as it was with the Trailer Tow Group, the Durango was outfitted with a seven-pin wiring harness, Class IV hitch receiver and Rear Load Leveling Suspension. Standard is a ParkView Rear Back Up Camera and Trailer Sway Damping, selectable steering modes, a remote start system, keyless entry and push-button ignition.
The vehicle has more than 60 available safety and security features, including forward collision warning with crash mitigation, adaptive cruise control with stop, Blind-Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Path detection, and Uconnect access with 911 call and roadside assistance.

The 8.4-inch touchscreen pairs with the Uconnect GPS Navigation, entertainment and satellite radio, Send ’n Go and Vehicle Finder (using a smartphone’s data plan to access information online), SiriusXM Traffic with real-time updates, and SiriusXM Travel Link, which includes fuel-station locations and prices, sports scores and weather updates.
The leather-trimmed and heated bucket seats were delightfully comfortable, and the second-row fold-and-tumble seats made it easy to get back into the third row to pile in bins with party favors and too much food. Second-row passengers can stay occupied with two 9-inch screens with a Blu-ray entertainment system with HDMI.

We’d like to see more cargo carrying capacity on the Lance 1475, though to be fair, the test unit was a prototype with nonproduction windows, and Lance claims the production ones are lighter. Test units are also weighed with a full tank of freshwater (26 gallons in the Lance), so there’s the option of carrying less water to improve weight-carrying capacity — especially when you’re heading to a campsite with full hookups.

My last night was spent alone; everyone — including my dog — deserted me. I went from being part of a birthday jamboree to it being just me and a Class C that was parked down the hill, far enough away that I couldn’t see it from my campsite or hear the occupants. I sat outside in a camp chair enjoying the outline of the darkened Santa Ynez Mountains and the peace and quiet — no generators, no music, no lights from other RVs — just the sounds of crickets and the occasional neigh from a horse or yip-howl of a coyote.

As nice as it was sharing the 1475 — with an interior that’s more spacious than its compact appearance would indicate — I liked having the little Lance to myself, too.

Lance Camper | 661-941-9255 | www.lancecamper.com/travel-trailers/1475

Dodge | www.dodge.com/durango


 

1 COMMENT

  1. Great article on the Lance 1475! Having owned many RVs from pull types to fifth-wheels, I will give the Lance a serious look now that I’m widowed. Going to travel again on my own using a 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee very similar to the Durango package in the review. I do wish it had larger LP-gas capacity, but maybe that’s dealer possible.

    Thanks again for the informative article.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here