You don’t have to shop for a camper for too long before discovering there’s no shortage of camper manufacturers. However, you also don’t have to spend much time inside them to realize that some manufacturers are better than others. Coleman is a well-known camper brand in the RV industry and has been a widespread choice for decades.
However, just because a company has a well-known name and has been around for a while doesn’t mean they’re good. So are Coleman campers good RVs? Do they live up to the hype?
Let’s look and see!
What Is a Coleman Camper?
Coleman campers are family RVs currently made by the Dutchmen RV company and come in various sizes and styles. They’re comfortable and convenient for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy short-term camping and travel. You can find travel trailers, pop-up campers, and hybrid trailers all donning the Coleman logo.
They typically offer amenities like kitchens, bathrooms, and sleeping spaces. Additionally, you can expect modern conveniences like air conditioning and entertainment systems to maximize your comfort and experience.
Who Makes the Coleman Camper?
Dutchmen is the manufacturer responsible for producing Coleman campers today. They’re currently a subsidiary of RV-industry titan Thor Industries, also accountable for Airstream, Keystone, and Jayco campers. However, Dutchmen RV hasn’t always been responsible for producing campers of the Coleman name.
While the Coleman Company started by selling gasoline lanterns in the early 1900s, they expanded to include tents, grills, and almost any camping gadget you can imagine with their name on it. They typically offer numerous products at various price points to cast a wide net in the camping segment of the market. In the 1960s, they started putting their name on camper trailers by licensing it for use by various RV manufacturers.
Thor Industries purchased Dutchmen RV in 1991, and acquired the Coleman camper name in 2008, bringing the name and the company of today together. According to Dutchmen RV’s account of the Coleman camper history, they were best-selling campers until 2010, just two years after the Thor/Dutchmen change to the camper beneath the name.
Pro Tip: When buying a new RV, make sure to keep an eye out for these Top 10 Easily Missed Things to Look for When Buying an RV.
Where Are Coleman RVs Made?
Dutchmen RV produces their Coleman campers in the RV capital of the world, northern Indiana. Their manufacturing facilities sit in Goshen, Indiana. In addition to creating the Coleman camper models here, Dutchmen RV produces trailers for eight different RV brands.
What Camper Types Does Coleman Make?
Coleman campers come in two styles, the Light and the Lantern travel trailers. Let’s examine the differences between them and see which might suit you.
The Coleman Light series features the Rubicon, Rubicon 1200 Series, and the Light. Each series comes in various floorplans and layouts to accommodate a range of possible uses. The Light series is a more value-centered line.
These rigs can sleep up to six and have amenities like power stabilizing jacks, a power tongue jack, and residential features. Whether you’re an individual, a couple, or a family that wants to get out and make camping memories, there’s likely a floorplan for you.
With the largest camper in the Light series being just over 30 feet and 5,900 pounds, you don’t need a massive truck to haul it. Additionally, the shorter length helps ensure you have no problem finding a campsite to enjoy your rig and make memories.
The Coleman Lantern camper series is the one to consider when you want to escape it all. These campers feature more spacious floorplans and amenities than others. As a result, they tend to be heavier and require a more substantial towing vehicle. However, they’re perfect for any adventure, whether a short weekend trip or a more extended vacation.
The largest offering in the lineup is the 337BH, nearly 38 feet long with a dry weight of over 8,500 pounds. It’s roomy enough for even the largest families, as it can sleep ten people. If you’re worried about running out of space, you’d be wise to consider a camper in this line.
How Much Do Coleman RVs Cost?
Because Coleman casts a wide net in the consumer market, their camper prices vary considerably. The Coleman series in the Lantern lineup starts at a budget-friendly $21,000. However, the 337BH begins at over $55,000. These are the base prices for these units, which can vary based on upgrades.
Additionally, demand in the market can heavily influence the final sales price. Discounts and price reductions have been rare recently, and RVs have been selling at MSRP. However, in a typical market, buyers could see discounts as much as 20 to 30% below MSRP. If you want the best deal, it may be worth shopping during the off-season.
What Are Common Issues with Coleman Campers?
You’re in for a surprise if you think there’s a perfect RV manufacturer. Coleman campers have had their fair share of standard issues, including leaks, electrical problems, suspension, and build quality. Let’s look at some of the most common problems with Coleman campers.
One of the usual complaints for Coleman campers is that they leak. This is typically due to damaged or missing seals in the roof or along the seams of an RV. This is routine maintenance that owners must maintain. However, one customer, Jeffrey, purchased a 2022 Lantern 334BH and discovered significant damage in the walls only after two days of owning his camper.
As Jeffrey experienced, leaks can be very challenging to detect. You may not discover them until there’s extensive damage. Addressing these repairs can result in a lengthy and costly trip to the shop for your rig.
If you’ve ever peeked behind storage compartments in an RV, you’ve likely discovered a rat’s nest of wiring. Because manufacturers like Coleman are cranking camper units out as quickly as possible, they tend not to waste time cleaning up the wiring. Unfortunately, this isn’t the only issue they overlook regarding electrical components.
Workers often rush through the process of wiring campers, and it’s no surprise that electrical problems occur frequently. Could you imagine the electrician trying to wire your house as fast as possible? No, thanks!
One customer, Doug, was unfortunate enough to experience electrical issues only after six days of owning his Lantern 251TQ. He had a light short out whenever they tried to use it. Because electrical fires are serious business and RVs can burn to the ground in minutes, you can’t take any chances regarding electrical problems.
Pro Tip: Learn how RVs are wired for a better understanding of what to look for in your next camper.
Suspension and Towing Issues
Coleman campers, like many budget-friendly trailers, try to be as light as possible. As a result, this increases the potential for trailer sway and other issues when towing. A trailer swaying behind you while you’re going down the highway is not a fun experience. However, it’s unfortunately relatively common for owners of a Coleman camper.
It’s crucial to note that these issues may not always be Coleman’s fault. Their trailers are lightweight and cheaply made, so they typically don’t have a sizeable cargo-carrying capacity. Owners who overload their trailers or don’t distribute the weight evenly should share some of the blame with Coleman.
Build Quality Issues
You can’t expect a premium product when paying a more budget-friendly price. Mark discovered this when he purchased his 2021 Coleman Lantern 285BH. He states, “It was junk.” In his scathing review, he shares how the wallpaper and trim fell off, and the inside speakers fell to the floor. He calls Coleman RVs lemons and says he would never buy them again.
We’re not saying every RV that Coleman produces is junk. However, some bad apples have snuck through their quality control. It’s not uncommon for them to assemble an entire Coleman camper in several hours. Quality tends to suffer when you’re working as fast as possible, and a negative review and angry customer should be no surprise.
Pro Tip: Use these 7 Handy RV Camper Checklists in your new Coleman RV.
Benefits of a Coleman Camper
While we’ve been pretty harsh on Coleman campers, some benefits make them worth considering. First, they’re incredibly affordable. They’re some of the industry’s most budget-friendly trailers, allowing more people to own them and get out and make memories with their families. We love seeing families camping, no matter what camper brand they choose.
Another benefit is that many of these campers are very lightweight. Unless you’re going for one of their largest RVs, you don’t typically need a massive truck to haul it. You can tow many of their models with a standard-size truck or SUV.
It’s also vital to know that Coleman packs incredible comfort and convenience in their campers. They make it easy to stay comfortable inside when mother nature doesn’t cooperate during your camping adventures. Whether playing board games or watching TV, Coleman campers and the modern comforts and amenities will help you pass the time.
Is the Coleman Camper Worth It?
It’s no secret that Coleman campers aren’t the top-of-the-line. However, they’re an excellent option if you’re looking for an affordable and easy-to-use camper. You’ll want to set your expectations accordingly and understand you’re not purchasing a luxury rig. For those individuals or families that want to get out and start adventuring together, Coleman campers can be worth it. However, don’t waste your time if you’re hitting the road to travel full-time and expect a luxurious experience.
Would a Coleman camper work for your camping style? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!
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Saturday 27th of May 2023
We own a 295 QB and love it. We travel with three cats and the love the bunk room. We had the hot water heater replaced under warranty and that has been the only issue.
Tuesday 16th of May 2023
No. Problems started a month after purchase. Window shades fell apart. Electric awning wiring broke. Also about 6 months ago front sliding window shattered and broke. Was hoping to live in it full time until I could find affordable housing. Also the dealer was aware it was going to be used full time. Now it is costing me money that I can not afford as a senior on a limited budget. Also insurance will no cover when u need help.
Wednesday 3rd of May 2023
Thank you for the review on Coleman campers and whether they are good RV's. Just the kind of information that I like to know. I'm looking to purchase an RV in the next 3-5 years so doing research now helps out so when it's time I can narrow down the almost infinite number of campers to choose.
Wednesday 3rd of May 2023
We had a Coleman pop up for 20 years, and it was still in great shape after traveling to 40 out of 50 states!!!