RV Review: 2008 Starcraft Antigua 215 SSO
You don’t normally see two large expandable bunks and a big slideout in a lightweight travel trailer in the low 20-something-foot-range, so we took a new Antigua 215SSO for a little test trip. Here’s what we found out.
Construction and Design
Built on a welded steel-tube chassis that’s powdercoated for corrosion-resistance, the Antigua 215SSO coach is made from sturdy and easy-to-clean welded aluminum-framed laminated walls with smooth Filon fiberglass exteriors. The roof and floor are also welded aluminum structures. The belly of the coach is protected by floor-brace reinforced under-siding.
The roof is covered with an all-weather vinyl product; Starcraft covers the vinyl roof topping with a 12-year warranty. Expandable bunk tent covers on the Antigua line of trailers are made of Aqualon 7, a material that’s waterproof and mold-resistant, and carries a seven-year warranty. The coach floor is covered with wood-grain Congoleum Diamondflor premium vinyl that’s durable, looks good and is easy to clean.
The door and windows are a radius-style construction. The windows all have screens; the 24-inch-wide entry door has a window and a screen door, a flush door latch, and a deadbolt for extra security. The exterior pass-through storage compartment up in the nose of the 215SSO also offers radius-style locking doors. This pass-through will carry lots of gear and is perfect for items such as fishing rods, water skis, and any other lengthy cargo you want safely stowed and transported to and from camp.
The whole thing rides on tandem 3500-pound capacity straight axles with leaf-spring suspensions, 14-inch wheels (our unit came with the optional aluminum wheels) and ST205/75D14C tires. Ten-inch electric drum brakes are on all four wheels.
Time To Set Up
Set up was easy, but you really do need a partner to get the 215SSO ready for camp in any decent amount of time. The first time we set our test trailer up, it took three people just less than 30 minutes – we started the clock at the point we unhitched the trailer from the tow vehicle.
Extending the electric-powered slideout was as easy as pushing a button, once we removed the interior travel-stays that keep it from getting jostled about on the road. One person can crank down the four stabilizer jacks, too. Folding down the bunk platforms, however, is really a job for two. The bunk platforms are not light, and after each bunk end is unlocked (massive locking mechanisms are used to secure the platforms during travel), they must be carefully lowered onto the skeleton of aluminum-tube bracing that needs to be unfolded and set in place. The bracing is stored in the forward pass-through compartment during travel. Then, the bunk-end tents can blossom out, with their interior support rods put in place and their bottoms snugly secured underneath the edges of the bed platforms. Starcraft uses a system of tiny bungee-cord loops and flared-out buttons to hook the loops around and secure the tent bottoms to the bed platforms.
Other than tidying up placement of the 4-inch foam reversible convertible dinette cushions and the 4-inch foam bunk mattresses, all that’s left is to plug in your power, water and sewer, and you’re ready to enjoy this spacious and well-designed expandable travel trailer for the weekend. If you camp like we do, don’t plug in and just live on battery power while boondocking. If dry camping is the plan, though, you will need a second fully charged back-up house battery, or better yet, a power source such as a solar panel or compact generator to charge up your house battery.
Galley, Head and Appliances
The kitchen (or galley) of a trailer is usually busy from breakfast through dinner and then into the night for a bedtime snack. It’s critical the galley is well organized and easy to work in. With the slideout deployed, the aisle space between dinette and galley in the 215SSO is large enough to handle the flow of traffic to and from the head or the back bedroom without interfering with the cook’s chores. The pantry is also just a few steps away from the galley.
The double-door Dometic refrigerator/freezer (standard!) is huge. The stove is a moderately sized three-burner cooktop (our unit also came with the optional range oven below the cooktop), and the double-bowl sink with the high-rise faucet offers plenty of room for cleaning veggies and washing big pots and pans. The dinette table is right behind you if you’re working in the galley area, and a decent-sized piece of open counter space also exists on top of the wardrobe directly to the left of the stove (though it’s really designed to hold a TV). Unfortunately, there’s no open counter-top space directly adjacent to the stove and sink, but storage and cupboard space is generous in the galley area.
Interior storage throughout the rest of 215SSO includes the pantry closet, a three-quarter-length wardrobe just inside the door, storage underneath the dinette’s bench seats, more room in a small storage cabinet next to the front bunk, a shelf above the dinette, and an overhead cabinet above the fold-down couch.
The head is pretty nice for a trailer this size. We found a full-size freshwater-flush toilet and a tight but workable enclosed (with a curtain) shower stall with tub surround. The decent-sized lavy sink has brushed chrome fixtures, a mirrored medicine cabinet, and a toilet tissue roll holder and towel ring. You won’t find a head like this at the Ritz, but it’s on par with most heads we’ve seen in travel trailers this size. Most importantly, it sure beats a porta-potti.
Standard appliance and operational systems onboard our Antigua 215SSO included a 12-volt Quiet Pump for the freshwater system, 45-amp power center with battery charger, ducted 19,000-BTU furnace-style heater, twin 30-pound LPG tanks with auto regulator, 36-foot 30-amp park-power cord, and 110-volt electrical outlets inside and out. The exterior electrical outlet is a weatherproof receptacle. The coach comes pre-wired for the microwave, cable TV hookup and TV antennae.
Appliances and other accessories that came as part of our three option packages (the Convenience, Program and Comfort packages) included a LPG/electric DSI 6-gallon water heater with bypass, 13-foot A&E awning, shower stall skylight, TV antennae, AM/FM/CD stereo system with additional outside speakers, Dometic microwave oven, and an outside shower (very handy when the kids come back from a hike or fishing). The optional carryout gas grill that can be mounted on the exterior and hooked up to the trailer’s LPG system is an excellent choice for those who love to cook outdoors and keep their trailer from smelling like dinner all night long. Our unit also carried the optional roof-mounted 13,500-BTU air conditioner.
Good Family Fun
Fully expanded and ready for the night, the 215SSO can sleep up to eight persons: two people in each of the two pop-out tent bunks, two on the convertible dinette and two more on the fold-down couch. Of course, the smallish dinette bed should really be reserved for children, as two adults would find it uncomfortable. The fold-down couch would be tight for two adults too, so it’s best left to one adult or two kids.
The Starcraft Antigua 215SSO comes standard with all the goodies you really need, and plenty of accessories to make it exactly the way you want. It tows easy and sets up for camp with relatively little work. We wish it had more galley counter space, but the floorplan is well organized and makes good use of the slideout to provide a sense of spacious living inside a 21-foot coach. It’s a good choice for the family looking to go big trailer camping at a small price.
Base MSRP: $19,521
Price as Tested: $23,157
Travel Length (ball to bumper): 22′ 5″
Camp Length (bunks open): 27′ 3″
Travel Width: 7′ 7″
Interior Height: 6′ 4″
UVH (no options): 3741 lbs.
GVWR: 5000 lbs.
Hitch Weight: 541 lbs.
Fresh Water: 30 gals.
Gray Water: 27 gals.
Black Water: 25 gals.
LPG: 2 @ 30 lbs.
Sleeping Capacity: 8 persons
Major Standard Features: 19,000-BTU ducted furnace-style heater; Dometic LPG/110V double-door fridge/freezer; three-burner cooktop; freshwater flush toilet; six-gallon LPG water heater; double 30-pound LPG tanks with auto regulator; 45-amp power center with battery charger; 10-inch electric drum brakes on all four wheels; double-bowl sink with high-rise faucet; Filon exterior; electric slideout with dinette and couch; Aqualon 7 tent fabric.
Major Optional Features: A&E awning; TV antennae; spare tire with carrier and cover; AM/FM/CD stereo with additional outside speakers; shower skylight; Dometic microwave; outside shower; LPG/electric DSI water heater; 13,500-BTU air conditioner; aluminum wheels; range oven; carryout LPG grill; tinted safety glass windows; slideout toppers; 15-inch LCD TV and DVD player.
P.O. Box 458
Topeka, Indiana 46571