Starcraft 10 RT

August 1, 2003
Filed under RV & Trailer Reviews, Trailer Reviews

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Once in a blue moon something comes along in the RV industry that makes us stand up and take notice. The Starcraft 10 RT folding camping trailer is one of those “different” products that caught our attention and invited us to look deeper. We saw a prototype of the 10 RT at the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) Expo (sort of a world premiere event for the RV companies) in Louisville, Kentucky, late last year, and knew right away that it was something we wanted to get our hands on.

In many respects, the Starcraft 10 RT appears to be like any other folding camping trailer. That is, if all you see of it is above the frame. It’s what lies below the box that makes this little brute a good choice for those campers who want to get out into the wild and woolly. But before we get into that, let’s look at what’s inside.

Starcraft 10 RT INTERIOR

The interior is compact, yet well furnished with the basic equipment that a camping family will need. The front slide-out bunk is a “king” that will comfortably sleep Mom and Dad on its 4-inch-thick foam mattress. The tail end of the trailer features a slide-out “double” with a 4-inch-thick foam mattress that is plenty of room for two kids, or possibly three small children. In addition to the slide-out bunks, the dinette converts to a sleeping area that could handle one or two children, depending on size.

The dinette offers a free-standing table that can be used outdoors, and when set in between the dinette bench seats, will accommodate four persons tightly. The dinette seat cushions and seatbacks are reversible 4-inch foam with zippered covers; and underneath the bench seat are lids that allow access to storage space below.

Directly aft of the dinette is a galley equipped with a small sink with a faucet, and a two-burner cook-top with a hinged cover that acts as a splashguard when deployed. The top of the galley cabinet (containing the sink and stovetop) is hinged along its front edge and flips over for storage during transport. Tucked below in the galley cabinet was an optional Dometic three-way refrigerator, but it’s not very big, so we brought along a large cooler full of ice to keep enough food around for the entire family. The curbside of the interior is lined with storage cabinets (on each side of the entry door) with hardwood-framed doors and sliding drawers. The cabinets offer generous countertop space for a compact unit such as the Starcraft 10 RT.

Starcraft 10 RT BASICS

Construction basics include laminated sidewalls with aluminum exteriors, a five-piece Aqualon-7 tent assembly with screens and smoked vinyl windows, plywood bunk platforms, and a two-piece screened door that stows on the underside of the seamless and radiused fiberglass roof.

The roof-lift system is hand-crank operated from a point near the jackstand on the trailer’s tongue. Braces are used over two of the lifter posts to secure the roof in place once fully raised. Pulling the bunk-bottom frames out and into place was easy; and the ends of the bunk-end tenting are permanently attached to the ends of the bottom frames. You must secure the side edges of the bunk-end tents to the sides of the bottom frames, and insert the interior tenting-support poles to finish the job.

Electrical equipment includes a duplex GFI protected circuit; 12-volt patio light; 36-foot-long, 30-amp, park-power cord; and 12-volt interior ceiling light fixtures with electrical jacks for the optional bunk fan-lights. An automatic safety switch turns off the 12-volt power to the interior lights when the trailer’s top is down.

Our test unit came equipped with the optional Convenience Package that included the double LPG tank cover, privacy curtains, an exterior 110-volt outlet, manual fold-down double entry step, 15-inch spare tire and wheel, a 12-volt Fantastic roof vent fan, and sand pads on the stabilizer jacks. The 10 RT we reviewed also came with optional electric brakes, an A&E awning, 16,000-BTU furnace, an RVQ carry-out gas grill that attaches to the side of the trailer, and aluminum wheels.

Starcraft 10 RT BACKBONE

All this is fine and fancy, but the real story is the undercarriage of the Starcraft 10 RT. To say it’s beefy is an understatement — the frame construction is almost overkill considering the weight of the trailer and its available cargo capacity. But that’s not the point. This trailer was designed and built with severe duty on rough dirt roads in mind. So Starcraft gave it a main frame of 2×6-inch steel tube (not channel) and a tongue frame made of steel tube of the same girth.

The frame is set on a 2500-pound GVWR axle with leaf springs and shock absorbers. To give the 10 RT even more beef, the designers provided the axle with knobby LT235/75R15C mud-terrain tires that don’t take no for an answer. We measured 13 inches of ground clearance under the axle — plenty of room to tackle those rutted backwoods dirt roads. And both ends of the trailer’s box are plated with diamond-pattern cladding for protection from stones and other debris.


Due to the increased ground clearance, this trailer stands a good deal higher than your typical folding camping trailer. At 67 inches, the top of the 10 RT was almost perfectly level with the roofline of a Ford Explorer. And while a mid-size or compact SUV will have the towing capacity to handle the 10 RT, it blocked the line-of-sight through an Explorer’s rear-view mirror. We towed it to our campout/photo shoot with our F-250 shop truck simply for the increased over-the-roof visibility. However, the trailer’s 7-foot, 2-inch exterior width means that you won’t need to buy expensive towing side mirrors for your tow vehicle.

The Starcraft 10 RT is, as we stated earlier, a compact trailer. This isn’t the unit for folks who spend their days inside. It’s equipped with just enough of the basic amenities and equipment to provide a good night’s rest and a good meal. If you are the adventurous type who wants to take your fun (and trailer) into the boonies so you can spend your days hunting, fishing, hiking or pursuing other outdoor activities, then the Starcraft 10 RT may just be your ticket to the wilder side of life.

Starcraft 10 RT Specs

Base Price: $6,140
Price as Tested: $8,714
Travel Length (incl. hitch): 13’ 10”
Campsite Length: 20’ 6”
Overall Width: 7’ 2”
Travel Height: 5’ 7”
Dry Weight: 1800 lbs.
Dry Hitch (Tongue) Weight: 240 lbs.
GVWR: 2540 lbs.
Fresh Water: 10 gals.
LPG: Double 20-lb. tanks
Sleeping Capacity: 6 persons

Major Standard Features: Two-burner cook-top with splashguard, icebox/cooler, LPG leak detector, fire extinguisher, 30-amp camp-power cord, 10-gallon freshwater tank, single sink and faucet, leaf spring axle with shock absorbers, seamless fiberglass roof, dolly wheel jack, 6×2-inch steel tube frame members, four adjustable stabilizers.

Major Optional Features: Convenience Package (double LPG tank cover, privacy curtains, outside 110-volt outlet, double entry step, 15-inch spare tire and wheel, 12-volt Fantastic roof vent fan, sand pads), A&E awning, 16,000-BTU furnace w/ electronic ignition, Dometic three-way refrigerator, electric brakes, RVQ outside gas grill, AM/FM/CD stereo w/ outside speakers.

Starcraft RV, Inc.
Dept. CLM
P.O. Box 458
Topeka, IN 46571

Thanks to Adventure RV, Irvine (949/653-8041) and Norco (909/582-9101), California, for the loan of the Starcraft 10 RT for this test.

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