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Coachmen Spirit of America 241FKG

February 24, 2004
Filed under RV & Trailer Reviews, Trailer Reviews

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Spirit of America travel trailers from Coachmen are available in three floor plans. While all models are the same exterior size, what creates a distinction between one model and another are the unique interior configurations. The 249QB has a full queen bed (60×74 inches) positioned at the forward end of the trailer. The 248TBG features bunk beds at the rear and a double bed at the front of the unit. The 241FKG floor plan is designed to sleep between four and six people, depending upon the ratio of adults to children. It includes a double bed, a convertible sofa/sleeper and a dinette that makes into a separate sleeping quarter. With the Spirit of America product line presenting three very different floor plans, the customers are able to enjoy the RV camping lifestyle on their terms. Coachmen’s Spirit of America line represents the company’s desire to create a high-quality product without a high price tag, helping customers to more easily enjoy the great outdoors.

We took delivery of a new 241FKG and put the travel trailer through its paces, discovering in the process what this Spirit of America trailer has to offer. For the unit we reviewed, the manufacturer’s base suggested retail price (no options) was $15,350. With $2275 in options, plus a destination fee of $300, the suggested retail price came to a very reasonable $17,925. This product line has been positioned to facilitate aggressive promotional opportunities targeted at presenting an exceptional value appealing to the first-time buyer and seasoned RV enthusiast alike.

Our recorded tongue weight (800 pounds) was quite a bit higher than the tongue weight noted in the brochure. According to the Coachmen engineering staff we contacted about the high hitch weight, when the trailer is loaded (fluids and cargo), some of that weight will shift aft, reducing the amount of the actual weight placed on the tongue. For many tow vehicles however, this trailer will require a load-equalizing hitch.

EXTERIOR NOTES

One of most notable features of the 241FKG is the amount of exterior-accessed storage. At the rear of the unit, from the floor all the way to the roofline, is a storage door that when raised, reveals copious amounts of storage (it’s like an outside armoire). It yields 63 cubic feet of storage. The large lift-up rear door is assisted by air-struts, and when opened makes all stowed gear available at one time. In addition, there is another 10×30-inch storage door providing access to a generous 52×72-inch storage area. The dry weight we recorded at the public scales was 4520 pounds. With a full tank of fresh water (32 gallons or approximately 250 pounds), the cargo-weight capacity that remained for the unit we reviewed was 1490 pounds. That’s plenty for an extended family adventure.

Spirit of America trailers are built on a welded tubular-steel frame that features steel crossmembers and outriggers. The frame is mounted on twin Dexter leaf spring axles, and the entire chassis is powdercoated to prevent corrosion. To keep this a lightweight product, Coachmen employed its time-tested conventional coach construction.

Weight was held to a minimum by using wood framing (2×2-inch fir with 16-inch centers); residential insulation; decorative, low-maintenance, vinyl-dressed luan paneling on the interior; and an aluminum exterior. Openings in the walls (for windows) are double-studded. Above the entry door, double-studded 2×6-inch fir members are also used to add strength.

The sidewalls sit on top of, and are lagged to, the floor structure that features a single sheet (seamless) of Structurewood mounted to a 2×2-inch on 12-inch center (lattice and truss) wood fame. The center of the floor is insulated with residential-style insulation. The entire underside is wrapped with Darco, a product impervious to moisture and dirt, and also highly puncture-resistant. The floor structure is attached to the chassis with steel fasteners.

Tapered 2×4-inch fir wood members are used to create a crowned roof designed to facilitate drainage. The roof rafters are placed on 16-inch centers, with the perimeter around the opening for the roof air conditioner double-studded for additional strength. The roof is also insulated with residential-style insulation, then covered with a luan panel product and dressed on the exterior side with a continuous-sheet rubber surface.

INNER BEAUTY

All-wood cabinets (no structure wood or particle board materials) are used by Coachmen to build its coach interiors. All cabinets are hung on the walls from the inside. This is important for better long-term serviceability should there ever be a repair needed. For structural integrity, backers (structural wood members between the 2×2-inch wall framing) are added, providing a place to which the cabinets and counters can be anchored. All of the drawers feature roller guides, with the drawers themselves fabricated from a product called Tech-Wood (a PVC product that is exceptionally strong and impervious to water).

The fabrics used throughout the interior (there are four décor package choices: American Pride, Madison Plum, Morning Glory and Cameo Shores) are resilient and attractive products.

We appreciated the level of accommodations the trailer provided, the storage available and the plethora of amenities that are provided as standard features. This unit was nicely accessorized with options that really put this Spirit of America over the top. For example, the Ashland Oak wood cabinets in our test unit not only had great “eye appeal,” but the amount of storage capacity offered will support a family very comfortably during an extended vacation.

This unit is microwave-ready, and the microwave option makes the galley area a full-service venue. The three-burner cooktop with oven below, double-door, three-way refrigerator/freezer, double stainless-steel sink and the microwave oven are positioned to our liking. With the linear configuration of the galley, we found we could stand in one spot and address any “chef’s” duty. The L-shaped galley counter that sweeps around the front of the unit eliminates “step-and-fetch” movements during food preparation and offers a place to serve meals buffet style.

Even though this coach is only 24 feet long, each space (galley, living, bedroom and bathroom) is clearly defined and unique unto itself. As you climb the fold-out entry steps and through the entryway, the galley and dining areas are immediately in front and to the right of you. To the left is the living area with the sofa/bed on the street side. An entertainment center and an optional chair sit immediately to the left. Interior walls separate the living area from the rear bedroom that can be fully sequestered from the front of the unit using the folding doors. The bedroom features a double bed that’s positioned with the head, the left side and part of the right side of the bed, flush against the rear, curbside and the interior bathroom walls. Again, every square inch of floor space has been managed such that the maximum amount of livability possible has been coaxed from the interior. The foot of the bed (interior corner) is angled slightly to permit ease of access past the bed to the rear corner bath. The bath features a marine-style toilet and a full tub and shower. In the bedroom suite a lavy/counter complex and a medicine cabinet occupy their own venue against the street sidewall.

Attractive, low-maintenance, high-sheen vinyl dresses the galley, dinette area, and bathroom floors. Optional carpet can be ordered for the living and bedroom areas. As for entertainment, you will need to provide the television, but a TV antenna and rotor package are offered as options, as in an AM/FM/CD stereo system.

The trailer provides excellent residential-style facilities for three-season RV camping. The 25,000-BTU, forced-air furnace is centrally ducted through cabinet-base-mounted registers. The standard 13,500-BTU roof air conditioner is centrally ducted, and the double, 20-pound LPG bottles with auto-changeover are capable of providing many hours of service before you will need to refuel. Using a Group 27, deep-cycle battery (many towables only accept Group 24 batteries), remote camping can be enjoyed for a few days.

A Spirit of America trailer can offer the customer a well-outfitted unit at an entry-level price. In addition, the trailer is backed up by a strong warranty and a nationwide service and parts support system. For the first-time trailer camper or the seasoned RV aficionado, this line of Coachmen towables is worth a good look.

Coachmen Spirit of America 241FKG

Base Price: $15,350
Price as Tested: $17,925
Overall Length: 26’ 7”
Overall Width: 7’ 10”
Overall Height: 9’ 4”
Interior height: 6’ 3”
Dry Weight (public scale): 4520 lbs.
Dry Tongue Weight: 800 lbs.
GVWR: 6010 lbs.
Fresh Water: 32 gals.
Gray Water: 32 gals.
Black Water: 34 gals.
LPG: 2 x 20 lbs.
Sleeping Capacity: 6 persons

Major Standard Features:
Three-burner cooktop with pots and pans drawer, large single-door refrigerator, innerspring mattress, 6-gallon water heater, dual 20-pound LPG tanks, 25,000-BTU EI furnace (heater), 13,500-BTU air conditioner, awning, pass-through storage, rubber roof.

Major Optional Features:
Liberty Edition Package, straight axle w/15-inch tires, jackknife sofa, partial carpet, TV antenna and rotor package, AM/FM/CD stereo system, double-door refrigerator, three-burner range w/oven, microwave, 6-gallon EI water heater, one-piece ABS surround tub, outside shower, sky light, diamond-plate stone shield.

Manufacturer
Coachmen Recreational Vehicles
P.O. Box 30
Middlebury, IN 46540
800/881-8765
coachmenrv.com

Thanks to American RV Outlet
(888/898-8800; stiersrv.com),
Santa Clarita, California, for the loan of the trailer for this review.

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