Hello all my name is Rob and I am a newbie so new that i dont even have a rv yet but iam looking to buy a new travel trailer and have a couple of questions.

1) manufacturers ... iam looking at either a model by forestriver or by Keystone. Any preferences to either one as in quality or value?

2) Rubber roof as opposed to a vinyl roof is one better than the other? Leaks? Maintenance? expected Life of roof?

3)I plan to use the trailer formost of the year if possible (I live in southern wisc.) Iknow i want the under belly fully enclosed. One manufacturer uses forced air from the furnace to heat the water tanks and the other uses a 12 volt electric liner under the tanks to keep from freezing. is one method better than the other?

Thanks everyone for your time and knowledge


Senior Member

Welcome to the community, Rob.

1) I don't have experience with either of those brand names, but most manufacturers make several levels of quality of RV. That is the reason that the price range is so wide. If you really want to learn the quality of different RVs, the best bet is to join the RV Consumer Group and get their help. ( )

2) I am not sure what you mean by a vinyl roof? The commonly called "rubber" roof material is really EDPM and it is very durable and has the longest guarantee of the roof materials. The only other common roof material today is fiberglass, which is more durable if rubbed under trees, but which will be damaged more easily in a hail storm than would the EDPM. There is one more material that is similar to the EDPM and it is a product from the same company that is called Brite Tec and it has all of the best qualities as the EDPM, but it does not chalk as EDPM does and it will take more from a tree limb. One advantage of the EDPM is that it is the most easily repaired material that is presently used on RV roofs. I have repaired two different EDPM roofs, and it is amazing just how easy it was. There are still a very few RVs built with an aluminum roof, but not many.

3) Both of the methods of heating you saw do work, but I suspect that the electric pad is probably the better one. The biggest problem with staying in a trailer in winter is the cold weather that you will experience. I do not believe that either of the manufacturers you are looking at are built for use in weather that goes below 0 degrees. Keeping the tanks warm will not be nearly as difficult as will be keeping the interior comfortable for you to live in.

Ok, you said Forest River or Keystone. I have sold both of those brands and I am courious as to what names have an enclosed underbelly. I do know they make fifth wheels with them, but up quality line. What names are you looking at?

Yes Kirk there is a vinyl roof. It is fairly new and Gulf Stream is beginning to use it. It carries the same warranty and does not chalk, so the black streaks are less annoying. It is also lighter. Believe it or not, the rubber roof absorbes some water in rain and vinyl won't.

This is the way I look at the underbelly heat question. The heat pads will only keep the tanks unfrozen. Radiant or forced heat would keep the whole underbelly warm and that will keep the floor warm and that makes the whole trailer feel warmer. I agree with Kirk that you would have to have an "artic package" to get below or near 0 and very few manufactures make a traier with that option. Hate to say Gulf Stream only offers an artic package in their best fifth wheels. They rate it to -10 degrees with, and without they say +10 degrees.

The flagstaff line from forest river has an enclosed underbelly, and also has the vinyl roof that we saw at a dealer. The Cougar by keystone is what I was looking atbut only have a brochure, havent seen one in person.

Thanks again for the info