Back in August of 2017, I gave a first hand report of the new for 2017 Aliner Ascape, which you can read here. Aliner has since shuffled the Ascape lineup and now offers one that really hits on all cylinders, so to speak. The Aliner Great Ascape will soon be hitting dealer lots after the new year, and is one worth looking into, especially if you’re short on tow capacity. It’s 9″ wider than the smaller Ascape Camp, ST, MT, and Plus, equating to 12% increased width. But it adds all the features that the smaller versions couldn’t fit in to one floorplan. The Great Ascape continues like the rest of the Ascape lineup with its signature rear entry door, covered by a standard 6′ Thule awning. It also comes standard with a Cool Cat AC/Heat pump, as well as double pain Euro style windows. This is one I’d give a hard look at if I were in the market for something in this class.
Key Features:Unique rear entry door; 9″ overall width increase compared to the entry level Ascape; small footprint and lightweight; loaded with amenities .
Key Specs: Checks in at just over 1800 lbs, with a 14′ length and 220 lbs hitch weight with 650 lbs of cargo capacity. Interior height is 6’4″ A 6’4″ interior height due to a handy drop floor makes the Great Ascape one that your average camper can easily fit in.
Why I Like It: Why would any small trailer enthusiast not love the Great Ascape? It’s small enough to tow with a plethora of vehicles, it’s got everything one needs to camp comfortably, and it’s got visual appeal. Standard features include a built-in microwave, flush mount sink and stove, 3.0 cubic foot fridge, enclosed wet bath with cassette toilet, and 23″ flat screen TV & sound bar. Exterior features include an outside shower, dual 20 lbs propane tanks, a 6′ Thule awning, and a 100 watt roof mounted solar panel. When the dinette is in full bed configuration, it measures out to an impressive 77″ x 64″. Or if you are camping with a buddy, you can use each side of the dinette booths as single beds. While the Great Ascape is a brand new model in the Ascape line, I’ve not found any out on the market yet, but I suspect that will change within the next couple of months. Look for MSRP’s to be in the mid $20K’s, which should translate to a low $20K take home price.
Aliner has been building hard sided pop up campers since 1984, and they’ve been generally accepted in the industry as the standard which other manufacturers follow in that category. In the late 2000’s, Aliner experimented with conventional small travel trailers with the Marco and the Amelia, which were short lived with minimal success. This year, Aliner has made a comeback in the small travel trailer segment with the introduction of the 13 foot Ascape.
The Ascape is produced in Aliner’s Mt Pleasant, Pennsylvania’s plant. In these times where every manufacturer is copy-catting what everyone else is doing, it’s refreshing to see someone come out with something that no one else has. And despite its diminutive size, the Ascape is loaded with a lot of amenities.
One of the unique features of the Ascape is the rear entry door, which includes a drop floor creating a generous 6’4″ of interior head room. When the dinette is converted into a bed formation, it creates a very roomy 64″ x 77″ sleeping area.
The Ascape packs a lot of standard options, including outside shower, 40 watt front roof mounted solar panel, electric brakes, 13″ aluminum wheels, 3.0 cubic foot refrigerator with freezer, 6 gallon water heater, range hood with fan, Fantastic Fan, screen door, LED lighting throughout, 2 burner range top stove, deep stainless steel sink with pull out faucet, microwave oven, dual 20 lbs propane tanks, and 16K BTU furnace.
When it comes to options the Ascape offers, there are just a few and they come in one package: 9200 BTU roof mounted A/C, a 5 foot Carefree awning that mounts over the rear door, Thetford cassette toilet, and a 23′ flat screen TV with a Bluetooth sound bar.
I did mention above that the optional air conditioner is a roof mount. However, for a period this year, Aliner was installing wall mounted units, which is how these units I looked over at Mount Comfort RV were equipped. I’ve been told that newer Ascapes being produced will have the roof mounted unit. If you go with option package that includes A/C, this will negate the standard Fantastic Fan. However, if you want both the wall mounted A/C and the Fantastic Fan, as you can see from these pics, there are some out there.
As for the exterior, the Ascape is a smooth aluminum siding with a one piece of aluminum on the roof. Four stabilizer jacks are standard as is the front mounted spare tire. The graphics packages offers four different color options. The green pictured above is standard, but you can also pick from black, red, and blue.
As for overall specs, the Ascape is 13 feet from hitch to tail, and fully optioned will weigh right around 1700 lbs. Exterior height is 7’5″ without A/C and 8’4″ with the roof top A/C. The box width is 66″ and the total width is 73″. The hitch weight is 170 lbs and the GVWR is 2500 lbs, giving you somewhere around 700-800 lbs of cargo capacity.
So you might ask who is the Ascape made for? Several! It’s great if you have a tow vehicle with minimal tow capacity. It’s also a perfect fit for a growing segment of buyers, and that would be single females looking for something easy to tow with minimal effort to camp in. I also see this set up well for the adventure outdoors buyers looking for something they can use off the grid, as the standard solar panel and dual propane tanks can offer some extended boondocking. Or it’s also good for those of you who like unique, cool looking small trailers with good features. Overall, my opinion is positive on the Ascape. It would be nice if there was a wet bath feature, but given the small footprint of the Ascape, a wet bath would take away much of its storage, so it would take some creativity. However, Aliner has been pretty creative over the last 30 plus years they’ve been in business, so if it can be done, they’ll be able to.
While at Mount Comfort RV looking over the Ascape, I also did a little 10 minute walk thru video for you to get a little more up close look. A fully loaded Ascape has an MSRP of just over $20,000, so you should be able to fetch one somewhere in the mid teens range.
At most jobs, we get that dreaded yearly review from our boss where we beg for mercy to keep our jobs another year. OK, maybe not that bad, but they can be a little on the stressful side. Today I turned the tables and I was the boss and my 2016 Shasta Oasis 18BH was the employee I was reviewing. It didn’t need to beg for mercy, as I was pretty sure I was happy enough with it to keep it for another year of camping.
The 18BH is our second Shasta Oasis in as many years. We traded our Oasis 25BH for it on January 21, 2016. It was a trade down of some 7 feet of trailer due mainly to some tow vehicle issues hauling the 29′ 25BH. Had Shasta had the 18BH floorplan when we bought the 25BH in 2015, it never would’ve been an issue, as we would’ve bought the 18BH back then. But despite going through multiple tow vehicles and trailers over the past two years, we finally are set for hopefully several years to come with the 18BH and our GMC Yukon XL.
Now for the meat of the post. Overall, I don’t have any complaints after our year of camping in the 18BH. I did take it in for some minor fixes, like an air conditioner adjustment and tank sensors, but nothing structural – and no leaks! As mentioned, we tow it with a Yukon XL and I’ve found no need for a weight distribution hitch and sway control. The 350 lbs tongue weight is light when compared to identical floorplans from other manufacturers, which generally are checking in at 450lbs and more in some cases. Our 18BH weighs in at 3329 lbs and offers an impressive 1420 lbs of cargo carrying capacity, which leads this floorplan among manufacturers by several hundred pounds.
The tanks on the 18BH blow away the competition as well: 42 gallon fresh water, 36 gallon black, ad 36 gallon gray. Many…and I emphasize MANY…with this floorplan give you fresh water tanks half the size as the 18BH. The benefit is the extra tank capacities give you the luxury of camping off the grid for an extended period of time when compared to the competition.
Shasta put a nicely sized 12 foot awning on the 18BH, which gives excellent coverage of most of its 21’9″ hitch to tail length. I’ve done a few upgrades to it and have more in store. One of the first things I did was swap out the tail light assemblies for LED. etrailer.com had the same LED assembly that the 18BH had with its incandescent. You can change out just the bulb and save some time and money, but I’ve never been a fan of the barrel style LED bulb. The flat board type LED distributes the light better, in my opinion. The license plate lights also give the added benefit of acting as almost a backup light, which comes in handy when backing into a campsite at night.
Another upgrade I recently completed was replacing all the incandescent interior light fixtures with identical Optronics LED fixtures. There are 5 double lights and 4 single lights in the 18BH Oasis. This was a simple upgrade that cost less than $100 shipped. The result is more than 75% energy saved, a brighter and whiter light, and better ability to camp off the grid. This was by far the biggest upgrade I’ve done and the results far exceeded my expectations. The 2017 18BH models now come with LED lighting, so unless you have a 2016 or older, this wouldn’t be a necessary upgrade.
The last thing I did wasn’t much, but a little “dressing” up the wheels by adding plastic chrome hub centers. Sure it’s not much, but when I add some stainless steel beauty rings this year, it’ll add some additional flair to it.
As for the 2017 18BH models, Shasta has given them a makeover, as well as added a few extras. Gone is the combo white/gold paint scheme in favor of a tan/cream look. They’ve also made the entry door as well as baggage door the same color as well. It’s been out a few months now, but I’m still on the fence which I like better. I guess they both look nice…just different from each other. Aside from the exterior colors, they’ve also added a back-up camera prep as well as solar prep.
If you’re looking for this bunkhouse floorplan, there are A LOT of manufacturers that carry it. I would venture to say that this is one of the most common floorplans among all RV manufacturers. I looked at a lot of them just over a year ago. I traveled a lot of miles to look at brands that dealers didn’t carry in central Indiana. While I liked some features of others, we kept coming back to the Shasta. The storage in it exceeds any floorplan by any other manufacturer without debate. I completed a nearly 30 minutes walk thru video of ours earlier today where I talk more in depth of how the Oasis blows away the competition in terms of interior storage.
The price is right for what you get too. Sure another manufacturer may put in a stereo system and throw in a TV, but I’ve got my own radio and my own TV I can bring to the party. I look for bang for my buck when buying a trailer and the Shasta Oasis 18BH delivers. The dealer where we bought ours, Mount Comfort RV, currently has 2017 models for under $13,000. So if you’ve been searching for this floor plan and you were to ask my opinion, this blog post should give you my answer. You can feel confident in its structure and functionality, all while not needing a pot of gold to buy one.
If all this writing wasn’t enough, here’s the video walk thru I did on it this afternoon. It’s almost 30 minutes long, so grab some popcorn and the kids and enjoy! For more info on the Shasta Oasis 18BH, visit the Shasta website at http://shastarving.com
The winter RV show season is kicking off in many cities this coming weekend, and the 120,000 square foot Indy RV Expo in Indianapolis is one of them. Some of you long time readers may recall I’ve filled in as a part time salesman over the past few years for local Indianapolis dealers Braun’s Fun Time Campers and Mount Comfort RV. I thought I was going to be an “unsigned free agent” for this year’s show and just be a spectator until an opportunity arose this week to join Braun’s again on both weekends of the show.
As most of you know, this website is not my full time job, and I don’t even make a regular living in the RV industry – I work full time in the retirement services division of a major insurance holding and financial services corporation. So any time I get to escape the daily routine and talk to folks about trailers in person, I’m all over it! I enjoy writing and having you all read my ramblings, but helping dealers at these shows is a no pressure, rewarding venture for me that allows me to get out and help the industry grow. Granted, I like to think this website does just that as well, but talking to people one on one about RVing is one of my more enjoyable things to do. So, for those of you in the Midwest looking to get out of the house, the show starts this coming Saturday, January 7 and runs through Sunday, January 15 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. I’ll be working at the Fun Time Campers corral both weekends of the show from open to close. Braun’s is a dealer mainly of Riverside Retro, Winnebago Towables, and KZ travel trailers. They’re the same dealer we recently bought our Riverside teardrop from, so as was the case with my time working the show for Mount Comfort RV last year, I’m taking the angle of a customer selling for them as well. Honestly, a lot of folks don’t like dealing with sales people, so I try to convey to them my position as a fellow RVer. In some cases, that can tend to enable them to drop their defense shield a bit knowing they’re dealing with “one of them”.
So aside from Riverside Retros, you can expect to see some Winnebagos there such as the Winnie Drop and plenty of KZ products, such as the Escape.
Even if you’re not in the market for a trailer and just want to see what Braun’s and the other dealers have brought out, I do hope you’ll hunt me down and say hello!
When the 2016 Aliner Limited Edition was unveiled at the Louisville RVIA trade show last December, it was an addition to the ever growing retro trailer segment of the RV industry that seemed to come out of left field. After all, the A-frame pop up company didn’t come into existence until 1984, well after the era of canned ham trailers that the recent wave of reproductions has meant to mimic.
According to Aliner president and CEO Brett Randall, “We like to stay on top of what our customers are looking for in a camping trailer and we believe we have done so with the Aliner Limited Edition as it has a retro graphics package, new exterior porch light, tires with chrome moon hub, tire cover and a certificate of authenticity.”
Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania’s Aliner has committed to building 84 Limited Editions, which commemorates when they went into business in 1984. It’s based on an Aliner Classic, with a few standards that are options on a standard Classic. Some of the standard features on the Limited Edition include chrome baby moon hubcaps on 14″ rims, a retro graphics package, a 5,000 BTU air conditioner, a rear sofa that converts to a 60″ x 76″ bed, a front dinette that converts to a 40″ x 76″ bed, a 3.0 cubic foot refrigerator, microwave, a DSI water heater, LED exterior lighting, an exterior shower, and an off-road package.
As for the specifications, the Aliner Limited Edition has a box length of 12′, total length of 15′, and a width of 78″. The gross vehicular weight rating is 3,000 lbs and the unloaded weight is 1635 lbs. The tongue weight is 190 lbs and the maximum carrying capacity is a generous 1365 lbs. The Limited Edition also comes with a special 2 year warranty.
Recently, Aliner dealer Mount Comfort RV received one of the 84 Limited Editions on their lot in Greenfield, Indiana. They put together a really nice walk through video of the Limited Edition Aliner with President Rusty Eckstein. Rusty tells me the video has received nearly 3,000 views in just a week, so that’s a pretty strong statement as to the interest it’s drawn with potential buyers.
As the winter months drag on, I’m sure a lot of you have hit an RV show in your region. I was fortunate to work at one in Indianapolis for a couple of Saturdays this month for Mount Comfort RV at the Indy RV Expo. Seven dealers packed over 200 RVs in the West Pavilion at the Indiana State Fairgrounds for the 9 day event. Here are some of the small trailer offerings that the dealers brought to the show. In case you didn’t see some of these at the show(s) you attended, here’s a little more for you to research. For ease of viewing, I’ve put the 5 of the 7 dealer’s photo above all the trailers that follow it. One dealer didn’t have anything small. There were a couple I would’ve taken at Camping World’s booth, but 3 of their sales people were standing in front of them, too busy watching a football game on an outside TV on a motorhome across the aisle. Their loss….they should’ve been working.
Over the next few weeks as holiday schedules permit, I’ll be recapping a few of the new offerings I found at the RVIA trade show in Louisville last week.
Shasta RV debuted a new floor plan for their Flyte brand. The Flyte 185BH is the somewhat more upscale version of the Shasta Oasis 18BH. As with all Flyte floor plans, the 185BH will have a fiberglass exterior and a few extra amenities the Oasis does not offer. Last April I wrote about the Oasis version, both the 18BH (bunkhouse) and the 18FQ in a post here. The 2016 models on the Flyte will have a light brown exterior as opposed to the white sides the Flyte has had, giving it a more contemporary look. The addition of LED awning lights is something new for the Flyte as well.
Although the entire length from hitch to tail is just over 21′, the 185BH is surprisingly roomy. Despite not having a slide, a small family should be able to camp in the 185BH quite comfortably. The beds include two 30″ x 74″ bunks as well as the standard Shasta 60″ x 74″ queen bed.
Storage is of no concern. There is ample pass through storage in the front, but interior storage is quite ample for a smaller, weekend trailer like the 185BH. The overhead cabinets are plenty and the kitchen area also includes a pantry and a spacious counter for food prep.
If that weren’t enough, there’s a huge cabinet in the bathroom against the rear wall of the trailer. It seats right behind the foot flush toilet and includes two large cabinet doors that provides storage all the way to the sidewall on the door side of the trailer.
Aside from the toilet and the storage cabinets, the bathroom also includes a 24″ x 36″ bathtub and an overhead exhaust vent. Overall, I was very pleased with what I saw with the Flyte 185BH. Being a 2016 Shasta Oasis owner, I’m able to use my own trailer as a benchmark, and I believe Shasta has stepped up their game in regards to fit and finish just in the last 9 months. The Flyte at the Louisville show as well as a couple of Oasis 18BH that I walked through recently at Mount Comfort RV in Greenfield, Indiana have all appeared to have better workmanship than what I’ve seen in my own.
As for a few specs, the 185BH Flyte weighs in at 3580 lbs and measures 21’9″ long with a hitch weight of 381 lbs and a cargo carrying capacity of 1101 lbs. The tanks are more than ample for a trailer this size as well: Fresh water is 42 gallons, and the gray and black tanks each are 36 gallons. The LED lit awning measures 12′ long.
Overall, my impressions of the Shasta Flyte 185BH are very favorable. If you’re a storage junky, the Flyte 185BH offers the best storage for this particular floor plan, a floor plan several RV manufacturers use. And the cost is nothing to sneeze at either, as it should retail in the mid-$14,000’s when it hits dealer lots in early 2016. Shasta prides itself on being the RV industry’s value leader, and the Flyte 185BH certainly adds to that reputation.
Not interested in bunks? No worries, the Flyte 185FQ will be out as well, which will be the same floor plan as the Oasis 18FQ discussed in the previous article linked above from April of 2015. NOTE: As of today, December 10, 2015, neither the 185BH nor the 185FQ are listed on the Shasta website. Keep checking their website at http://shastarving.com for updates and floor plans.
Recently I introduced you to TAXA’s latest venture into the adventure camping arena called the Tiger Moth. The 900 lbs Tiger Moth will be available sometime late 2015 or early 2016.
Recently our friends at Mount Comfort RV produced a walk-through video with TAXA founder Garrett Finney. This gives you a really good insight on how the Tiger Moth is laid out and what some of the features are. Enjoy!
Last month I was invited by Rusty Eckstein of Mount Comfort RV to take a look at the Cricket Trailer at their lot in Greenfield, Indiana. When I asked him just who the demographic was for this “thing”, without hesitation he just pointed to this graphic on the back end of the 2015 Cricket Sport we were inspecting. With that in mind, I was able to get a better understanding of just what kind of trailer I was looking at and who the target audience is for it. Simply put, the Cricket Trailer is a base camp. It’s a 1500 lbs trailer that anyone you’d find in that first picture above would find useful, from mountain climbers, kayakers, hikers….anyone who’s lifestyle revolves around outdoor adventure. The 14.5″ ground clearance on the Sport model with rugged tires, Thule roof racks, optional diamond plate front storage box, and front stone guards standard on the Sport add to the adventure one can have with a Cricket.
Obviously the unique shape of a Cricket will be the first thing you notice. However, the more you look at one up close, it’s the construction that really makes the Cricket shine. There’s aluminum in these things. I mean A LOT of aluminum that’s thicker than I’ve ever seen in anything. Whether it’s the wheel wells or the rear hatch supports, the thickness of the aluminum is what left an impression on me.
The skin of the Cricket is just as solid, with the doors, sides, and roof built of a composite aluminum material and insulated at an R-6 value. When I was talking to Rusty inside this Sport model that late Saturday morning, the temps outside were quickly approaching 80 degrees with typical Indiana humidity. With the top popped open as you see it below, the ventilation design of the dual pane windows and hatch made it quite comfortable given the conditions…actually noticeably comfortable to the point of commenting on it at the time.
While the cage that surrounds the Cricket is stout, the floor it sits on isn’t lacking either. The robust 1″…ONE INCH…plywood, fully encapsulated floor has a Rhino lining undercoating with an aviation grade coin mat flooring above. To give you an idea how this floor compares, most manufacturers brag about their 5/8″ floor as a selling point. Rusty’s been in the RV industry for well over 10 years and told me, “I don’t know of anyone else in the industry using anywhere near that thickness of flooring”.
As for what’s on the inside of the Cricket, this is where designer Garrett Finney’s expertise as a NASA engineer shows. Garrett designed the Cricket after working for NASA as a senior architect at the Habitability Design Center in Houston, Texas. Simply put, Garrett was responsible for designing the habitability module for the International Space Station. With that kind of pedigree, you should have no doubt how well the Cricket was thought out.
First off, some key specs of the interior. The interior width is 6’3″, interior length is 11’6″, and with the top up the interior height is an impressive 6’4″ max. The storage underneath the bed, which fully engaged is equivalent to a queen, is 12 cubic feet. Underneath the bed is also where the battery is housed, as the Cricket is completely run on a 12 volt system, which includes the LED lighting, water pump, water heater, and ample 12 volt outlets throughout the unit. You can also hook up your Cricket to a 110 power source to charge the battery. Cricket offers an optional 2nd battery or you can also choose an optional solar panel for additional power longevity.
The front counter area has enough area for the optional Primus stove and flush mounted sink, which is operated with a 12 volt pump. There are several cubby holes for storage and an area on the lower right to house the optional portable toilet. All told, the front storage area is just under 9 cubic feet. The front of the counter is also the location for the control panel where you’ll find switches for lights, the water pump, and water heater, as well as a 12 volt outlet.
The Cricket also comes with an optional kid’s berth that suspends over the bed. You can option in one or two of them, with each having a weight capacity of 135 lbs. When not in use, they can be raised and bungeed in place until needed.
Then there are some of the little things that make you think “Oh, yeah!” when you see them that you typically wouldn’t have thought of when thinking about trailer design. First and foremost for the Cricket is the signature bottle opener. Bottle opener? Anyone know of an integrated exterior bottle opener on a trailer? It’s one of those little unique features that you’d probably find would come in handy after a long day of mountain climbing or hiking when you need a little carbohydrate replenishment.
Other small but useful features are the multitude of holes drilled in the roof’s rib structure where you can go crazy with the use of bungee cords for hanging items for use as additional storage, a built in bubble level on the tongue, exterior shower attachment in the front, and steps on the rear side for easy access to your roof top.
As far as the basic specs, the Cricket checks in with an exterior length of 15′ and exterior width of 6’7″. With the roof down, the exterior height is just 6’9″, making it easy to store in just about any garage. The base unloaded vehicle weight is 1460 lbs and has a gross vehicle weight rating of 2500 lbs. The fresh water capacity and gray water capacity are 12 gallons each. The V-berth bed length of 75″ and width of 57″ make it right at a nice queen size as mentioned earlier.
One of the things that impressed me is how Garrett Finney has put so much thought into the Cricket that I really wish more manufacturers would as well. He says, “It’s as narrow as a car, so for all you first time trailer towers, we were thinking of you when we laid it out”. Honestly when I see some layouts of trailers, I wonder what the designers were thinking…and not in a good way.
The Cricket comes in the standard model and the previously mentioned Sport model. Base MSRP for the standard model is $21,700 and the Sport model MSRP is $24,290, at the time of this post. The standard Cricket comes in blue or green and the Sport Cricket comes in silver. Standard Cricket model
Cricket Sport model
For an extended look at the Cricket, our friends at Mount Comfort RV have put together some fine walk through videos with Steve Belickis. Steve does a great job going through everything (and more) that I’ve tried to put together here in words and photos. Give them a watch and better yet, go check out one for yourself. For more info on the Cricket Trailer, visit their website where you can learn much more at http://crickettrailer.com.
Exterior walk around:
Interior walk around:
The Cricket offers so much as a base camp for those of you who are adventurers of the great outdoors. It’s versatile, easy to tow, lightweight, rugged, and constructed from multiple sustainable materials. It would make one heck of a bug-out trailer, which is a segment of the RV industry that’s slowly getting some legs. Garrett Finney was once quoted as saying of his time at NASA, “They think design is about survival, and we come along and say we want to survive well.” That thought process was at the forefront when designing the Cricket. And from the looks of things, Cricket Trailer is going to survive just fine as well.
The resurgence of Shasta in the RV industry over the past few years has been welcomed with open arms by consumers with a desire for a quality trailer, but one with value in mind. Since current Shasta RV president Mark Lucas took over the reigns of the Forest River subsidiary in 2012, their line of travel trailers and fifth wheels have been streamlined and well defined.
However, aiding in that resurgence of the Shasta brand was 2014’s reissue of the 1961 Shasta Airflyte, in both a 16′ and 19′ model. Once the news of 1,941 of the Airflytes were being reissued, with a little modern technology tweaks, it created a buzz in the RV industry the likes of which haven’t been seen in decades. As a byproduct of the Airflyte reissue, the iconic Shasta name has been put back in the forefront of the minds of RV consumers who recall the days when they might’ve gone camping with their grandparents in an original 1960’s or 1970’s Shasta. And although they may not have purchased a 2015 reissue Airflyte, it opened some eyes to the main lines of Shasta trailers currently produced in their Middlebury, Indiana factory.
Currently Shasta produces two fifth wheels: The Revere and the Phoenix, and three travel trailer lines: The Revere, Flyte, and Oasis. Today I want to focus on one that falls in the range of our theme here at The Small Trailer Enthusiast that is right at 20′ long: The Shasta Oasis 18FQ.
I first brought this unit to your attention back in December 2014 at the RVIA trade show in Louisville, Kentucky where the 18FQ was first introduced. It’s taken some time, but the 18FQ (and its brother the 18BH bunkhouse) are finally hitting dealer lots here in April. However, we’re still awaiting Shasta to update their website with specs and floorplans for each.
Some of you loyal readers of this site will know that I recently purchased an Oasis, although a much longer floorplan, due to a growing grandchild base. So I’ve been able to have a little more of an in depth take on the Oasis than I might other brands I discuss here. The 25BH Oasis that I have is my third trailer, after owning a 2010 T@B and a 2010 Serro Scotty HiLander. The materials and appliances Shasta uses aren’t cut rate, as it has a 6 cubic foot Dometic refrigerator, a 3-burner Atwood stove and oven, and a High Pointe microwave, which are all brands you’ll find in higher priced RVs. Shasta prides itself with the Oasis being the RV industry’s “leading value in the RV industry“.
From a construction standpoint, the Oasis utilizes a 5/8” tongue & groove plywood floor that’s covered with a Congoleum covering that has a 3 year warranty against cold cracking. The frame is a solid steel I-beam that’s solid as a rock. Prior to purchasing an Oasis, I did some homework and asked questions. I spoke with Rusty Eckstein, vice president of the Shasta dealer in Central Indiana at Mount Comfort RV, and he told me about the Oasis, “We have done well with the Oasis trailers. They have been out about 3 or 4 years now. Shasta has made improvements on them as far as looks and quality each year. They had been trying to get us to carry the line and last year, we finally decided that they had them dialed in. So, we picked them up. My dad and I spend A LOT of time shopping for RV’s. It is a large part of what we do. The Oasis is one that we bought!” That was pretty much all I needed to hear. I had looked at some other brands that I had knowledge of, but the floorplans didn’t quite offer what the 25BH did, so ultimately we were comfortable with what we saw and we put our order in on one. So far so good!
This brings back to the 18FQ. I’ve been able to put bits & pieces of specs together on the Oasis 18FQ. First, it’s a single axle with a dry weight in the 3200 lbs range and is right at 20′ in length. So as trailers go, it’s relatively light weight for that size. It has pass through storage in the front, and inside has the signature Oasis 60″ X 74″ queen walk around bed in the front. Although the video I’ve attached below states it’s a 6 cubic foot refrigerator, that is not the case on this model. It’s more in the ballpark of a 3-4 cubic foot. As you can see from the photos, it’s got ample counter space, a nice sized dinette, plenty of cabinet space, and a nice sized full bathroom in the rear with a 36″ bathtub, medicine cabinet, foot flush toilet, and additional cabinets for storage.
I was really impressed with the layout of this 18FQ when I first saw it back in December. This is an excellent fit for a couple with a smaller budget, as it gives plenty of room without stepping on each others’ toes. However, for those of you with kids and a smaller budget, Shasta does also offer the Oasis 18BH, which provides two single rear bunks. However, it does not offer the walk around island queen bed, but yields plenty of kitchen counter space.
While prices of the Oasis 18FQ and 18BH vary when you check on rvtrader.com, you likely shouldn’t expect to pay higher than the low teens for a new model. And as 2015 rolls on, more and more units will be hitting dealer lots, so the need to order one may not be necessary. But if you do order one, options are minimal for you to choose from, as the Oasis line is a value driven model that cuts back on goodies so you can keep your cost low.
Below are a couple of videos. The first is of a Shasta Oasis 25RS model, but I’m including that because Mount Comfort RV shows some really good footage throughout the walk through from the Shasta factory in Middlebury to give you a brief glimpse of a few Shastas during the production process. The second video was just published a day ago by Atlantic Marine & RV in Fort Pierce, Florida of a 2016 Oasis 18FQ.
UPDATE: I’ve added a video of my Oasis here. Again, this is the larger 25BH, but it gives you a little more visual of an Oasis from yours truly:
The Small Trailer Enthusiast is a home for news on small travel trailers, typically 20' or less. Here you will find info on new models, industry news relating to small trailers, and any other stories I think you might find interesting. Have some small trailer news you'd like to pass along?