If you’re wondering about the Montana fifth wheel, taking the time for a bit of research might be worth your while. A good fifth wheel is important if you want to have room for the whole family on your outdoor adventures.
Montana is a name that’s been in the game for more than two decades, but is this fifth wheel camper model really all it’s cracked up to be? Let’s look at these fifth wheels so you can make the choice yourself.
Who Makes Montana Fifth Wheels?
Keystone RV is the maker of Montana fifth wheel campers, and they build them in Elkhart, Indiana. The company offers 17 different layout options in their Montana line. There are three different interior design options as well: bourbon, cobblestone, and white cottage.
Keystone was founded in the late ‘90s and has sold more than one million units over the years. It manufactures some of the world’s most well-known and popular RVs. It has won numerous awards for its RV, and claims that the Montana fifth wheel is “North America’s #1 selling luxury fifth wheel.”
Keystone RV as a whole stands out in our minds as one of the few RV manufacturers who have been pushing the envelope in terms of innovation and community outreach. From our personal experience at RVX in 2019, we were impressed to see Keystone partnering with developers introducing and testing new RV technology from the factory. These included new leveling systems (0:30 mark in video below) and self-weighing RV systems (9:57).
Just recently, Keystone RV became an exclusive distributor of Dragonfly Energy lithium batteries. Dragonfly is the parent company of Battle Born Batteries, and we’re so excited to finally see one of the first major adoptions of lithium batteries by an OEM. This will allow consumers to more easily adopt the benefits of lithium in their RVs and finance it through their vehicle loans.
We love seeing companies that are willing to try new things and break the mold to introduce new concepts to the market. Keystone RV seems to be one of these companies.
Montana Fifth Wheel Reputation
The Montana fifth wheel has a pretty decent reputation themselves. Overall, these RVs are known for being reliable, and chances are you’ll see at least one at any given campground you stay at. Keystone RV makes clients feel heard regarding their likes, dislikes, and concerns.
With a variety of floorplans, appealing aesthetics, and a company known for keeping up with the times, it’s no wonder why Montanas are popular RVs.
One of the best anecdotal endorsements for us was in speaking with Cortni Armstrong of The Flipping Nomad. When she first started her RV renovation business, she told us that she’d only work on Montana fifth wheels because of their good bones. As someone who regularly tears these RVs down to those bones and rebuilds them, we think she’d know!
But as with any RV purchase, it’s important to fully inspect any RV before purchase. We recommend finding a local dealer with a good service reputation. A dealer can make or break your buying experience, so take the time to thoroughly vet your local options before deciding.
Are Montana Fifth Wheels a Good Choice?
Every purchase you make has pros and cons, and Montana fifth wheel RVs are no exception. However, they are one of the few fifth wheels designed and warranted for full-time RV living from the manufacturer.
Even if you’re not going to live in it full-time, this is an excellent indication that they are built with the anticipation of harder and more frequent use.
Here are some factors to consider as you’re comparing and contrasting RV makes and models:
The materials used to construct the Montana fifth wheel seem pretty legit, even to the untrained eye. The chassis maximizes towing strength. Every Montana chassis is fully powder-coated to guard against rust. Keystone also seals and warms the chassis, so you don’t have to worry about the holding tank and valves freezing even in cold temperatures.
Also, the whole camper uses aluminum framing, so you won’t have to worry about the challenges of wood joists and studs as your camper ages. Aluminum is lighter, stronger, and more durable than wood.
The Montana camper keeps durability and safety in mind from floor to ceiling. Technology is definitely a major perk of this brand when comparing a Montana fifth wheel to other fifth-wheel builds.
There’s plenty of room to find what you need in a Montana camper, as there are numerous floorplans to choose from. You can design the camper’s layout to fit the needs of your family.
Montana fifth wheels come in 17 models and floorplans across the Montana and Montana High Country product lines.
What’s the difference? Well, the Montana High Country averages slightly less weight and length, weighing in at 11,015 lb – 13,418 lb and 32′ 2″ – 41′ 11″ in length. In comparison, the Montana line weighs between 12,273 lb – 14,248 lb and 35′ 0″ – 41′ 4″. The High Country is also better suited to larger parties due to its generally higher sleeping capacity.
|Montana High Country
|12,273 lb – 14,248 lb
|11,015 lb – 13,418 lb
|35′ 0″ – 41′ 4″
|32′ 2″ – 41′ 11″
|13′ 4″ – 13′ 5″
|4 – 8
|4 – 10
Across these 17 models available in 2022, there are a variety of layouts. Montana offers models with rear living spaces, front living spaces, bonus rooms, front and rear bathrooms, and elevated dens with additional storage. One unique layout is the “master suite” floor plan with a walk-in closet connecting the bedroom with the bathroom.
The Montana High Country floorplans emphasize bunks, lofts, and plenty of lounge living space. Only one of these floorplans sleeps less than 6 people, and two of them sleep 10 people. The flagship Montana seems to suit smaller traveling parties and focuses on a few more luxury amenities instead.
Pro Tip: Looking to get a 5th wheel layout that has a rear kitchen? We found the 8 Best Rear Kitchen Fifth Wheels That Feel Like Home.
In general, the storage space on the Montana fifth wheel is about average. It’s nothing special. If you’re traveling with a full house, you might have to get a little crafty on where you put everyone’s things as with most campers.
However, different floorplans will have slightly different storage options. You can opt for a butler’s pantry in the kitchen, a small closet in the bedroom, and front or rear storage in your layout choice.
The underbelly enclosure technology is one huge perk to owning a Montana fifth-wheel camper. The solar packages you can purchase on this camper are also pretty impressive. Starting in fall 2021, all Montana fifth wheels will come with one of four of the company’s SolarFlex packages, giving you noise-free power production during the day for quiet evenings.
The SolarFlex package options are the SF200, SF400i, SF600i-L, and the SF1200i-L. The most basic package, the SF200, includes 200 watts of solar panels, an inverter prep, and the necessary componentry to charge your RV batteries from it.
We are impressed to see them using Victron Energy solar charge controllers, as these are some of the best out there. Each subsequent package steps up with the amount of solar and larger equipment to suit power needs, including inverters.
Besides the high-tech solar setup, the proprietary “Helium technology” Keystone used in constructing the most recent Montanas makes these RVs lighter than in the past. A camper with Helium technology weighs up to 1,400 lbs less than a standard build.
Keystone claims that this lighter weight construction doesn’t impact strength or durability, but since it’s proprietary it’s still really hard to say what this really entails. Lighter weight means it’s easier for your tow truck and gives you more fifth-wheel truck options. Some claim it’ll also help with fuel economy, but it’s hard to say if your savings will be significant.
Pro Tip: Make hitching up and heading out with your 5th wheel easier with one of these 5 Best Fifth Wheel Hitches for Solid RV Towing.
Interior Decor Options
There are three different interior design options to choose from when building your Montana fifth wheel: bourbon, cobblestone, and white cottage. The interior of a standard fifth wheel may leave you feeling a little drab and dark.
Montana fifth wheels offer a lighter feel like many RVs these days, which is good to see. As darker woods and color schemes have gone by the wayside, Montanas have kept up and responded to customer demand.
Online in forums, customers report that Keystone Montana customer service is hit or miss. You may or may not get the stellar response the company promises in its marketing, but it will eventually take care of the problem.
Are There Disadvantages to Buying a Montana?
There are disadvantages to any purchase you make, and it’s good to know what they are before you buy. With Montana fifth wheels, you need to look out for the material quality of your particular build.
Since Thor took over ownership of Keystone in 2001, there have been some complaints about quality. Make sure you investigate the vehicle well before purchasing.
Storage is another drawback, as you won’t find many places to put your things. Also, be mindful not to overload your fifth wheel. It’s reportedly easy to put too much weight on a Montana, so know your specs to avoid trouble.
Do Montana Fifth Wheels Have a Long Lifespan?
Every Montana fifth wheel is built to last, so you’re not likely to have any trouble with the bones of the camper. You can count on using this RV for the next 20 years if you do the necessary work to properly maintain your fifth wheel.
Do Montana Fifth Wheels Retain Their Value?
Purchasing a fifth wheel of any kind always means you’ll face the effects of depreciation. On average, a fifth wheel loses around 20% of its value the second you drive it off the lot.
If you’re going to invest in a fifth wheel, it won’t be because of the huge financial perks. That’s not to say that it’s not a smart buy. But you should seek something other than financial gain when investing in a fifth-wheel camper.
Well-cared-for Montanas seem to hold decent value over time due to their good brand recognition, decent build quality, and generally well-liked floorplans and aesthetics. While they may not be the very best fifth wheels out there, they are far from the worst and can provide years of great recreation. This makes for a camper that you can expect to resell for a reasonable price down the road.
Suggested Reading: How to Determine Used Camper Values
Should You Consider Buying a Montana Fifth Wheel?
Overall, the Montana fifth wheel is a sweet addition to your driveway. If you have the financial comfort to enjoy and maintain a Montana fifth wheel properly, you likely won’t regret your purchase. You should never make a big purchase without proper research, and buying a Montana fifth wheel is definitely a big purchase.
Montana has been around for a long time and we expect they will continue to be around, ensuring the availability of parts and services for years to come. You’ve started your research by reading this article, and we encourage you to continue your research on how to get the best deals on RVs or find a great used RV option as well.
What do you look for in a fifth wheel? Drop a comment below!
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