As one of the leaders of the RV industry, Forest River has led the way in bringing unique and innovative travel trailers to the market. The R-Pod is a great example of upscale features in an affordable ultra-light trailer. We’ll take you through an R-Pod travel trailer brand review showing you why it’s one of the most appealing series they have.
Is An R-Pod Worth It
According to one dictionary definition, R POD is an acronym that stands for “Residence to Place of Duty.” This acronym has its origin in the British Isles. Forest River hasn’t officially declared what does R-Pod mean to them, but we can only guess that it may stand for “Residence Pod,” since this unique travel trailer is pod-shaped.
Whatever the definition, the Forest River R-Pod trailer has become one of the best selling coaches in the ultra-lite market. It appeals to many different audiences:
- Teardrop enthusiasts
- Small to Mid-Size SUV-Friendly
- Young Couples
- Outdoor adventurers
- Entry-level RVers
- Campers on a budget
Specifications of the R-Pod Travel Trailers
The R-Pod series by Forest River has a range of floorplans that range in size, weight, and other values. Their specs stay within a limited scope, so you don’t have to worry if you need to upgrade your tow vehicle or change your expectations too much.
- Unloaded Vehicle Weight (UVW): the UVW, or dry weight of the R-pods range between 2,437 to 3,654 pounds. A vehicle that can tow an R-Pod would be something like a Chevrolet Traverse or a Ford Explorer. Anything that has a 5,000 tow capacity would be perfect tow this RV, your gear and everyone you’re bringing with you.
- Length: R-Pod lengths measure between 18.4 through 22.11 feet. This includes the hitch. If you’re curious about the actual living space, subtract about three feet for the hitch length.
- Sleeping Capacity: Except the RP-176T, all models sleep between 2-4 people. The main beds sleep two people and the fold-down dinettes allow for two more guests to spend the night. The RP-176T (which we’ll highlight later) and the bunk bed floorplans sleep up to six.
- Price Point: For the 2021 model year, expect to see a price range anywhere between $22,000 through $29,600. There are still plenty of 2020 models on dealers lots that have price tags around $16,000. There are only cosmetic differences between the two model years, so you can take advantage of this excellent buying opportunity.
- Holding Tanks: Every model has 30-gallon holding tanks for the fresh, grey, and black holding tanks. Three of the dealer special order units (176T, 177, and 182G) have 36-gallon freshwater tanks. This is the only exception.
- Hitch Weight: Hitch weights vary per model. They start at 245 pounds and go up to 460 pounds. Your dealer will assist you with making sure you have the correct hitch and setup for optimal towing.
Features and Options
The R-Pod series may be affordable, but don’t think Forest River would use less than optimal materials to construct this RV line. Many of the materials and components are also used on motorhomes and towables that cost ten times the amount of the R-pod.
Superior Building Materials
The aluminum frame connects to a powder-coated all-steel frame. The single axle uses a torsion suspension similar to what Airstream uses. Forest River even developed a way to lube up your axles without having to take them apart every year when you conduct your annual preventive maintenance.
Forest River makes all of its sidewalls out of Azdel. This material is stronger than wood and half as light. It also has insulation properties that contain temperature and dampen sound.
The roof is a one-piece fiberglass shell that continues down the front and back of the coach to avoid seams for water to find. Some models use a PVC membrane instead. Either way, you’ll have a waterproof roof that can handle a lot of elemental punishment.
Interior cabinetry gets its strength from lumber core plywood Hardwood cabinet doors complete the cabinets and drawers giving you storage that will hold all of your personal items. The drawers are mounted on ball-bearing slides that give you a full-extension, so you can easily reach those items in the back.
Forest River describes the R-Pod as “affordable luxury at the lowest tow weight…” The standard features they install live up to this description.
If you’ve ever set up a travel trailer with a manual tongue jack, you know the value of the powered versions. The R-Pod comes with a power tongue jack that saves your arm and back from the endless cranking.
100 degree summer days or near freezing late fall weekends won’t be a problem for you. Every model comes with a 13,500 BTU air conditioner and a 20,000 BTU furnace. R-Pod forum reviews talk about how fast the interior gets to the desired temperature once it’s set on the wall thermostat.
Your keychain will fit easily in your pocket with the R-Pod. Forest River uses the Bauer Keyed Alike System on all of the locks. One key will open the entry door, storage doors, and every other lock installed on the coach.
To keep your storage bays clean and odor-free, the back bumper has rubber stoppers that open to store your sewer hose. Other plumbing benefits include an exterior shower bay, a six-gallon water heater, and either a wet or dry bathroom (depending on model).
The kitchens have a mid-size single basin sink, 4-6 cubic foot 3-way refrigerator (depending on model), two-burner stove, and convection microwave. All models come with a Jensen media system that accepts all inputs. The entertainment center wall is fully prepared for the weight and connections for your TV arm and wiring.
The Best R-Pod Floorplans for 2020/2021
In the Midwest region, there are 17 models Forest River offers. The west has 16 models. You can explore each floorplan on Forest River’s website. For our review, we’re going to highlight those models that are either unique or are a good representation of the various models.
Of the 17 midwest floorplans, six of them are dealer special order coaches. This means that Forest River only builds them when an RV dealer specifically asks for them. RV manufacturers offer these models when they want to “test the market” for new concept designs.
Bigger RV dealers will order one or two of these floorplans as enticements. They can make claims that they’re the only ones in the area that have that specific model. If potential buyers really want a specific floorplan, their RV dealer can special order it for them.
RP 171: Smallest and No Slideout
- Dry Weight: 2,504 pounds
- Length: 18.4 feet
- Average Price: $18,100
The RP 171 is the smallest and lightest of the R-Pod series. It’s one of three models that doesn’t have a slideout. Young couples who are just starting out in the RV lifestyle will enjoy this travel trailer since it’s easy to tow and has plenty of room for two people.
Underneath the rear short queen bed is the exterior passthrough storage bay. The door side wet bath is surprisingly roomy to get ready in the morning. The TV’s adjustable arm may mount at the door entrance, but its long enough to reach around so you can watch it from the rear bed or the front dinette.
RP 190: Slideout Kitchen
- Dry Weight: 2,979 pounds
- Length: 20.4 feet
- Average Price: $21,950
When you compare all of the slideout models, most often you’ll see the full kitchen placed on it. Other models place either a sofa or dinette on it. The RP 190 has the kitchen counter, four cubic foot refrigerator, convection microwave, and a shirt wardrobe with three drawers.
The dry bathroom has a 32 inch shower that’s separate from the Thetford commode and sink. The rear U-shaped dinette gives you seating for six if your entertaining. The front 60 x 74 inch short queen bed has plenty of room to sleep comfortably to recharge for tomorrow’s adventure.
RP 191: Front Twin Beds
- Dry Weight: 2,952 pounds
- Length: 20.4 feet
- Average Price: $22,700
Many RV manufacturers are now offering two twin bed floorplans in their popular models. It’s not that they’re trying to return to the 1950s, its the versatility that these beds offer. Each bed has full length and width storage underneath.
Couples can use the adapter to turn the two twins into a king-size bed. For those that must have their pets sleep with them, the king conversion gives everyone enough room to sleep at night. Those that need different comfort levels in a mattress have the opportunity to change them out to what they need.
RP 193: Front Murphy Bed
- Dry Weight: 2,839 pounds
- Length: 20 feet
- Average Price: $23,325
When RV manufacturers started making bunk bed models, they came in full-length travel trailers that were heavy. Families needed SUVs and pickup trucks that had powerful V8 engines and low fuel-efficiency. As the technology evolved, RV makers found ways to add bunk beds in lightweight travel trailers that wouldn’t sacrifice the family-friendly MPG-saving SUV.
The RP 193 has two twin-size bunks and a dry bath in the rear. To save space, the full sofa up front has a fold-down Murphy bed for parents to sleep at night. The front bed has a thick upgraded mattress that doesn’t sacrifice comfort because it’s movable.
RP 176T: Rear Hybrid Queen Bed- Dealer Special Order
- Dry Weight: 2,839 pounds
- Length: 20 feet
- Average Price: $21,200
The RP 176T is a great example of Forest River thinking “outside the box.” This special order model is a hybrid trailer that’s only offered in the Midwest. The rear short queen expands out from the rear wall. In front of it is a U-shaped dinette that folds down for additional guest sleeping.
The front has two bunk beds with storage under the bottom bunk. The kitchen slideout gives a lot of walking space in the trailer. This R-Pod has a wet bath on the door side, which makes room for a wardrobe and a TV mount wall.
If you look at other travel trailer lines that have hybrids in them, you’ll see a significant difference in outer shape between the travel trailer and hybrids. When closed up, it looks like its sister trailers. The only way you’d know it’s different is when it’s opened up.
RP 182G: Teardrop Style Garage- Dealer Special Order
- Dry Weight: 2,836 pounds
- Length: 20 feet
- Average Price: $22,500
When you walk through the RP 182G, it looks like a self-contained travel trailer with a front queen-size bed up front and two bunks in the rear. What makes this floorplan so unique is the rear hatch outside. When you lift it up, it’s a handyman’s paradise.
- MARINE CLEANER: Safely removes light to moderate oxidation, water...
- BRILLIANT SHINE: Enriched feeder oils restore color while adding...
- RESTORE COLOR: Restores the original color of older fiberglass...
- UNIQUE FORMULA: Unique diminishing abrasives break down and...
- VERSATILE: Safe and effective by hand or by machine
The garage area resembles the outdoor kitchen of a teardrop. It does have a counter and a sink, but that’s the only commonality. The back wall has slats that you can hang brackets to support various baskets and tools.
It also comes with pouches to store whatever other supplies you need to bring with you. Whether it’s extra gear or your camping club’s “fix-it guy,” this storage space has plenty of room for everything you need.
Product data was last updated on 2020-12-04 at 03:57.