Outfitted with attractive features, Winnebago’s midsize fiver tucks into RV sites that are off-limits to larger fifth-wheels
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People have many reasons for buying a fifth-wheel, whether they’re new RVers or switching from towing a travel trailer. These can include a desire for more space in a shorter package, more homelike amenities or better handling on the open road.
With so many fifth-wheels to choose from, it can be tough to decide on the right one. After all, lengths run from the mid-20-foot range up to 44 feet, and models vary from small ultralights to grand full-timing rigs and toy haulers. From spartan to deluxe, and basic camping to multizone living, fifth-wheels cover all the bases. Finding the one that best suits your needs can take some work.
For RVers in the market for a well-built midsize fifth-wheel, the 2017 Winnebago Voyage Lite 25RKS may narrow that search. The roomy rear-kitchen model comes with a single slide and is nicely provisioned. After living in this fifth-wheel for more than a week, we came away quite impressed with the comfort features and functionality.
The Voyage Lite 25RKS has an overall length of 27 feet 6 inches, which means it can go most places with ease, including many state and national park campgrounds where finding space for bigger combinations is a challenge.
Entering the 25RKS through the right-rear door takes you into the kitchen and living area. We appreciated the space here, which is just the right amount of room, especially with the dinette slide deployed. We served dinner for four one night with no problems.
The 8-cubic-foot Dometic refrigerator is adjacent to the door, followed by the range, a double-bowl stainless-steel sink in the corner and a countertop that can be augmented by the freestanding dinette table, which can also be taken outdoors for eating under the awning. Two windows offer great visibility, and lighting is ample, with three under-cabinet LEDs conveniently controlled by a switch beneath the facing cabinet. Two electrical receptacles provide power to the kitchen — one by the range and the other on the end of the base cabinet by the dinette.
Cabinet space is also ample, with a three-drawer pack on the right side, a large drawer for pans under the range and a deep under-sink cupboard. Large cabinets with a shelf are above the counter, and a High Pointe microwave and the customary range vent with
a light reside above the stove.
For additional sleeping, the dinette table legs fold up to make a bed suitable for two small guests or one 6-foot-plus adult. Below each bench seat is a large storage area, and there’s a 120-volt AC receptacle to service the dinette.
In the living area, the vinyl-upholstered sofa bed is well stuffed and comfortable, and folds out into a nice 60-by-56-inch bed for guests with just enough room to get around the foot of the mattress. Above the sofa is a wall-mounted cabinet for general storage that does not extend to the ceiling, leaving the option for placing small items on top. The top of the cabinet is fitted with crown molding, which became dislodged when it was grabbed. Once tacked back in, it was no big deal, but it likely will not be suitable for holding items on top of the cabinet while in motion.
Next to the sofa is a large pantry cabinet for storing necessities. At the far wall of the living area is what looks like a freestanding cabinet but is actually a permanently mounted entertainment center with the Jensen DVD/stereo and room for more components and other items. A flat-screen Jensen TV is mounted just above it, with a glass-door cabinet above the TV. The TV is fed by a standard King Jack antenna, as well as satellite and cable connections. Overall, the main living space is attractive and has a high-end look.
Steps lead to a short side-aisle hallway with an angled floor-to-almost-ceiling linen cabinet at the top, across from the bathroom door. The bathroom has a porcelain commode, a sink with a vanity and a corner shower with a sliding-glass surround. Entered from the hallway or the bedroom, the bathroom has room to take care of the necessities but almost no counter space, so swapping needed items from the vanity to the sink top will be required.
The bedroom features a 60-by-80-inch queen bed with a comfortable innerspring mattress that lifts to reveal under-bed storage. The front wall is rounded, leaving less space for traditional cabinetry above the head of the bed. In lieu of the overhead cabinet and nightstands is a cross-bed shelf with a 120-volt AC receptacle and a USB charging outlet. Wardrobe closets extend from floor to ceiling on both sides with a small drawer at the bottom. While different, this setup was quite workable, and we were able to reach the overhead shelf easily while lying in bed. Beneath the shelf is a centered LED light bar.
LED lighting has become standard throughout the industry, and it is well-placed throughout the 25RKS. The fixtures, cabinetry, valances and fabrics contribute to the Voyage Lite’s classy, modern feel. Vinyl flooring with a gray wood-plank design covers everything but a carpeted section of the bedroom. This color is great for hiding spills, as we found out during our stay, but the vinyl is easily cleaned and maintained.
Despite 80-degree daytime temperatures and 50 degrees at night, the interior remained quite comfortable, especially considering that the fifth-wheel was parked in direct sun. The 15,000-Btu Dometic air conditioner kept it from heating up during the day, and the digital thermostat kicked over to the 30,000-Btu furnace to keep things toasty at night. The test unit was equipped with the optional Extreme Weather Package ($428), and dual-pane windows are also available.
The exterior walls are framed in aluminum and clad in tan gelcoat, complemented by attractive vinyl-graphics and a gelcoat fiberglass front cap with integrated LED lighting. A “Winnebago” chrome plaque on the rear adds a high-end touch. The standard 17-foot electric awning with LED lighting integrated into the roller tube makes for a nice place to shelter from the sun or avoid the dew in the evening.
Dark-tinted radius windows are also standard, as are the radius entry and front pass-through storage compartment doors. While the pass-through doors have slam-latch hardware, the front cab-over door utilizes positive thumb latches. The doors are held up with magnetic latches, which is a nice touch.
On the left side, in what looks like just an exterior shower compartment, all the trailer connections for water, satellite, cable, tank fill and tank flush, as well as the outside shower valve are contained. The sewage termination is in the standard location, with valves up under the side compartment. The valve handles are located by the frame rail and a bit hard to reach, but this is necessary to keep the valves enclosed where it is warm as part of the Extreme Weather Package. An access hatch in the J-wrap on the bottom of the wall would have been a welcome addition here but is an easy add-on after purchase.
The Voyage Lite is built on the BAL NXG, or Next Generation, chassis. The NXG frame is different in that, instead of using a standard welded I-beam or C-channel frame, both of which are heavy and prone to rust, the NXG is made of modular huck-bolted pieces that have been fully washed and completely painted. The pieces are engineered for the specific application, and robotic welding ensures consistency. While it’s still a heavy steel frame, the assembly system makes the NXG the most precisely engineered foundation currently in the industry.
Notably, even though the 25RKS is a lightweight unit, it still had adequate truck-bed clearance to fit comfortably behind a stock Ford F-350 FX4. Some light fifth-wheels have a reduced bed clearance to better mate with lighter trucks. With pin-box and fifth-wheel-hitch adjustments, this trailer should fit well behind just about any truck. It rolls on cast-aluminum 15-inch wheels with load range D tires, all riding on an Equa-Flex suspension, which is designed to improve overall ride quality and towing smoothness.
The roof is clad with a TPO membrane, colored to match, and has an access ladder at the back. The standard front electric landing jacks are complemented by optional manually operated electric stabilizer jacks at the rear, with rocker switches in the front main compartment on the right side. While this is an unusual spot to have the switches, it eliminates the problem of switch failure in the rear due to crud and moisture exposure.
While limited on color selections, the Voyage Lite does have numerous options, including the aforementioned freestanding table and chairs, and the LED TV; a bicycle rack is also offered.
Overall build quality is above par. Cargo-carrying capacity is 960 pounds with a full tank of freshwater and full LP-gas cylinders. Given the size of the fifth-wheel and its designation as a “Lite” unit, we’re OK with this; just leave the rock collection at home.
The 2017 Winnebago Voyage Lite 25RKS is a roomy fifth-wheel that is nimble to tow and ready to take on outdoor adventures in comfort, style and quality.
Winnebago Industries | 574-825-5250 | www.winnebagoind.com
Chris Dougherty is technical editor of Trailer Life and MotorHome. Chris is an RVDA/RVIA certified technician and lifelong RVer, including 10 years as a full-timer. He and his wife make their home in Massachusetts and hit the road with their travel trailer every chance they get.