The Coleman brand has been for a long time an industry benchmark for camping accessories and RVs. Those that come from a multi-generational camping family have stories about Coleman products. Whether it’s their accessories or RVs, these stories have a theme of reliability and trust.
Those who have camped in Coleman RVs have seen major changes in the coaches. Their RVs have been passed down from one generation to the next because of how families have become so invested in the brand and the long-lasting construction. Others are introducing their own families to the Coleman RV brand through their current line up to pass down the RV experience.
In this discussion, we’re going to look into the current Coleman Lantern RV series. We’ll explore the following questions:
- How did the Coleman brand evolve?
- Who owns Coleman travel trailers throughout the years?
- What is the ideal audience for Coleman’s current travel trailers?
- Do Coleman trailers still live up to the brand’s name and how do they take care of their customers?
The Evolution of Coleman
The history of the Coleman company starts in 1905 with W.C. Coleman. One night, he saw a gasolene fueled lantern in a pharmacy window. What fascinated him about this lantern was its smokeless bright white light. It was more efficient and cleaner than the current smoky yellow flamed kerosene models that were the industry standard.
He decided to give up his traveling typewriter sales job, to create his own version of the gasolene lantern. He made it portable and virtually indestructible. He would soon after create a portable stove as well.
His lantern and stove were such a hit that the United States Army would rely on his company to supply our troops during parts of WWII. Afterward, his products and a newly designed cooler would be required camping gear for the car campers of the 1950s and 1960s. If you find one of his lanterns or stoves in your attic today, more than likely, it still works.
In 1966, his son Sheldon created the first Coleman RV. By 1979, The Coleman pop-up and travel trailers became one of the top-selling RVs on the market. Ten years later, Fleetwood would buy Coleman’s RV division and move it to Pennsylvania under their FTCA daughter company.
Due to financial problems in 2008, Coleman trailers went out of business as a result of Fleetwood shutting down subsidiary operations to stay alive. Coleman RVs had been in operation for 40 years and were still very popular. Their remaining stock and parts were sold off to many leading RV dealerships across the country through 2011.
Two years later, Dutchman (a Thor Industries subsidiary) picked up the Coleman licensing in 2010. Coleman travel trailers are now made in Goshen, Indiana, which is in the heart of the RV capital of the world. Once competitors, Dutchmen uses the best of their engineering techniques to keep up with the high standards that are required for Coleman travel trailer construction.
The DNA of a Coleman RV
Coleman Lantern Series
Click here to see Coleman Lantern Series floorplans, which provides pictures of campers by model and includes its length, weight, and size (how many folks it sleeps).
- 20 floorplans
- Length range: 27.7 – 37.11
- Weight range: 5,603 – 8,580
- 15 floorplans
- Length range: 21.5 – 30.7 feet
- Weight range: 3,370 – 5,896 pounds UVW
- 13 floorplans
- Length range: 22.9 – 36.11 feet
- Weight range: 4,503 – 7,718 pounds UVW
- 11 floorplans
- Length range: 18.10 – 31.3 feet
- Weight range: 3,283 – 5,884 pounds UVW
Wide Audience Appeal
Today’s Coleman travel trailers are primarily designed for entry-level RV enthusiasts. Compared to other brands on the market, they are budget-friendly. Most models have an unloaded vehicle weight (UVW) that keeps the unit towable for family-friendly SUVs (towing weights below 8,000 pounds).
Three major camping audiences Coleman RVs are focused on are young couples, families, and empty-nesters. Coleman RVs have floorplans that appeal to each of these groups. Some designs emphasize spacing to allow many people to live in the space, while others focus on living rooms that give layouts optimized for entertaining guests.
The family-focused units have bunk beds or bunkhouses that give children their own space. Amenities are maximized to accommodate enough supplies for the whole family. Sacrifices on smaller units like cramped master bedrooms are made for space considerations.
A great example of this design is the Coleman Lantern LT 215BHWE. This 25.11-foot trailer can sleep 5-7 people even without a slideout. It offers two double-sized bunks in the rear of the coach with privacy shades and a fold-down dinette for guest sleeping.
As you view the walkthrough of the RV, you’ll notice that there is a lot of storage for a coach of this size. This includes a seven cubic foot refrigerator. Coleman does sacrifice some exterior storage space to utilize the outside living space by providing a full kitchen in the rear door-side storage bay.
With a 4,555-pound UVW, a family-friendly SUV like a Toyota Highlander won’t have much of a problem towing this RV. Coleman doesn’t offer wifi or LED TVs as standard equipment. Yet power tongue and stabilizer jacks make setting up less arduous with a push of a button.
Younger Couple Floorplans
Younger couple units have a perspective of comfortable utility. While there are creature comforts like real beds in most, some models have murphy beds that fold over sofas or bigger fold-down dinettes. The idea is to give these campers a pleasant home base to return to after a day of outdoor adventure.
A more traditional example is the Lantern Light LX 1755FD. This 22.4-foot trailer’s floorplan drawing design is quite deceiving when you actually walk through it. The drawing may look a little tight, but up to four people can sleep in this coach.
Pulling this RV with your Chevy Blazer shouldn’t be a problem. Both the queen-size bed and four-person dinette have plenty of room for everyone to relax. If you have some friends over that had a little too much of a good time, the dinette folds down to sleep two additional people.
One of the ways Coleman keeps their RVs budget-friendly is not adding the extras. This coach is prepped for a flatscreen TV on the wall that is between the shower and the entryway but doesn’t come with one. Some enjoy this because not having a “zombie box” forces them to get out and explore on their vacation, rather than zone out in front of the TV in just another location.
Empty-nesters generally want a wonderful camping experience with plenty of room to relax. They still live an active lifestyle, but don’t want to feel claustrophobic when they come back to their RV. Fold-down couches and dinettes are great on those occasions when the kids and grandkids come with.
The Coleman Lantern Light 2955RL has a lot to offer the active baby boomer couple. As you can see from the video tour, there is a lot of space in the living area and bedroom suite to relax and entertain guests. This is accomplished through the dual slideouts in the living room at the rear of the RV.
When you compare this 33.11-foot trailer to the many other models within Coleman, you can easily see that it’s one of the top-end versions. Some of the upgraded features include theatre seating, stainless steel appliances, a faux fireplace, and many other features that don’t normally come standard. All of the materials you see are the best Coleman has to offer.
If you compare this RV to other brands with the same layout, you’ll see many differences. Coleman’s unit may not have the ultimate leather or gadgets that the more expensive brands have. Yet, you can still travel in style with your Lincoln Navigator since it only weighs 7,290 pounds UVW.
Other comparable travel trailers weight 1,000- 1,500 pounds more and require the strongest SUVs or pickup trucks. The 2955RL has power controls on virtually everything, so you don’t have to worry about straining your back on setup. The RV does come with many pre-wired options for solar, TV/internet sources, and other options you may want to add.
The Lantern series offers a unique specialty floorplan. For those that like to bring their ATVs, golf carts, or other toys with them, these designs are Coleman’s toy hauler models. When parked, the garage area has sofas that fold into a queen-sized bed and a top bunk that lowers down for additional sleeping.
An example of this is the Lantern 300TQ. This 34.10-foot weighs 6,781 pounds UVW. As you explore this coach, you see it has a dinette that slides out upfront and uses the passthrough bathroom as a border between the garage area and the living space.
While you could tow this RV with a Jeep Grand Cherokee, you may want something with more towing capacity. Bringing your toys with you can add a lot of extra weight that could overload your tow vehicle. Do your research or talk to your RV dealer about realistic tow vehicles if you are interested in this type of travel trailer.
Another unique floorplan is the Lantern Light LX 1601EXP. This is the lightest of all of the Coleman coaches. Its hybrid bed features are reminiscent of the earlier pop-up era, without having to crank up the roof. The RV is 18.10 feet in length and can be towed by Subaru Ascent having a 3,283-pound dry weight.
Hybrids are known for having a lot of walking space in them since the sleeping areas expand out. Looking at the interior of the coach, Coleman does an impressive job making sure the full bathroom, kitchen, and dinette fits without having everyone squeezing against each other. If you need additional space, its sister coach, the 1705EXP has a third expandable sleeping space on the off-door side.
Defining Entry-Level RVs
The Coleman Lantern RVs are considered entry-level RVs. The longer, higher-priced coaches can lean into the mid-level range based on their added features. For those that don’t know this terminology, we’ll give you a brief explanation.
Entry-level RVs are not designed for those who want to live the full-time RV lifestyle. The ideal audiences are those getting into RVing for the first time. Part-time campers that vacation one weekend a month and one week during the summer fit this level as well.
RVs that are mid to upper-level use different construction materials to handle long-term use. These units may use residential level components because people use these RVs as their permanent homes or for extended use. This can include snowbirds or those that travel for months at a time.
The point is, Coleman travel trailers are one of the best products on the market for part-time campers. They have a sturdy construction for the part-time RV lifestyle that won’t need much repair as long as they are maintained. Your model may not come with an LED TV, but they can handle your kids running, jumping, and goofing off.
They do come pre-wired and framed for added equipment that you can add aftermarket. Those that want to use solar panels, add TVs, or include wifi can do so. Coleman’s perspective is to add essential equipment over extras to still keep their RVs affordable.
Previous Coleman Parts
In a renewed age of renewability and sustainability, Coleman has been ahead of the curve with their products. After years or decades of dormancy, one author explains, you can replace the elements on your Coleman lantern and fire it up. This is due to its superior construction and resiliency.
RVs are much more complex machines but under the control of Fleetwood, Dutchmen, or Coleman itself, these coaches were/are built to last. Some families pass their older models down from parents to children. There are still online stores like Coleman Pop up Parts, Beckley’s RV Camping Center, Amazon, and other websites that have parts if you need them.
- For 1996-2003 Coleman Fleetwood ABS Plastic One-piece Roofs
- 41 feet of new roof seal
- Replaces Coleman Part # 4716-2221
- Screen door latch
- Use on Coleman camper doors
- Color: Gray
- 15 feet of seal for the storage bin lid
- For storage bin only - this will not fit on the roof
The Dutchmen Coleman Lantern Series comes with a three-year warranty. There are some details about the warranty you should know that you will be pleasantly surprised about. There are also some perspectives we want you to have as well.
Here are some major features of the warranty:
- Transferable in the first year: If for whatever reason you sell your RV, the Coleman travel trailer warranty allows you to transfer it to a second owner in the first year only. After the second year, if you sell the coach, the warranty voids out. Day one is the original purchase date, so keep your sales agreement with your owner’s manuals.
- Inspection process: Every unit goes through a 253-point inspection including a rain bay. Measurements, electronics, appliances, and other components are checked to ensure the unit is built to last. No unit leaves the factory without the company knowing it meets the Coleman high standards.
- Customer service and parts: Dutchmen maintains a 98% answer rate in their customer service department. They field over 900 calls from their authorized dealers and ship over 1,400 parts a day. They keep over 17,000 parts in stock in their warehouse, ready to deliver in anticipation for a warranty call.
- Getting the work completed: Based on Coleman-travel trailer reviews from outside forums and chatrooms, the biggest concern is time. Dutchmen does take care of their customers, but you do have to be patient. If you need warranty work completed, make sure you have it conducted at an authorized service shop.
As we stated above, Dutchmen sends out over 1,400 parts per day. This includes all of their brands. Your specific work order can be in an electronic inbox buried under many others. Then you have to include shipping time.
The repair work itself can take time. In one case, there was an issue of a roof membrane that needed to be replaced. Since this part is installed early in the manufacturing process, the repair shop had to dissect, replace, and reconstruct the coach back to original specifications. From the first phone call to customer service to completion, it took over two months.
Coleman Overview in a Few Words
Overall, if you are entering or re-entering the RV lifestyle, Coleman RVs is one of the best coaches to begin your experience. You are buying quality, reputation, and affordability. Those that plan on staying within the part-time camping realm are going to have a travel trailer for years to build a lot of family memories.
The Coleman travel trailer construction’s decision making comes from the decisions of the engineers, not the accountants. These RVs are made for part-time users or those who are beginning their RV adventures. Affordability, in this case, doesn’t mean you’re buying something that’s going to fall apart within the first few years.
Product data was last updated on 2020-02-16 at 16:46.