For the first time since it began selling fold-down tent trailers in 1968, Coleman, long respected as the quality leader in the folding-trailer market, is offering a line of hardside trailers. Coleman chose to expand into the downsized travel trailer market due to repeated requests from Coleman loyalists desirous of stepping up to more conventional travel trailers. Coleman calls the new line the Caravan series.
Coleman tested the waters for this new trailer in November 2000 with two 25-foot models that were made available to a limited market. The response was so overwhelmingly positive that Coleman went nationwide with them in the spring of 2001, and then introduced three more Caravans to its dealer network in August for the 2002 model year. We expect more to come.
The model used for this test is the C25SL. The SL stands for slideout, which in this case houses the dinette. All Caravan models also feature a nifty expandable master bed in a hardside slideout bedroom that moves out from the front wall of the trailer, thereby adding approximately 54 more inches of living space to its 25-foot 6-inch trailered length.
To tow the Caravan, we used a two-wheel drive Ford Explorer, which has gone through so many changes for 2002 that it’s virtually an all-new vehicle. The test Explorer was powered by the standard 4.0-liter V-6 engine and had a tow rating of 5,940 pounds, which would be just enough to handle a fully loaded C25SL’s 5,500-pound gross vehicle weight rating (gvwr).
Whether towing or running solo, we enjoyed the new and improved Explorer immensely. Throw in Coleman’s newest addition to the travel trailer market, and you have the ingredients for some truly fun recreational outings in terms of comfort, convenience and pleasant accommodations.
For more about the Explorer & Caravan 25′ test, pick up the July 2002 issue of Trailer Life on the newsstand. Then subscribe to Trailer Life – so you can stay informed on the latest tow vehicles, tests and previews, RV equipment and tech info.
Fleetwood Folding Trailers Inc., (800) 444-4905, www.fleetwoodrv.com
Ford Motor Company, (800) 392-3673, www.ford.com.