If you’ve ever walked through an RV dealership lot, seeing all the different brands can be overwhelming. You may have spotted a Starcraft RV hiding among the masses. But are Starcraft trailers worth giving a second glance? What makes Starcraft different from the rest of the campers on the market?
These are questions you’ll want to answer while shopping. Today, we’re looking at the whole picture to help you decide if it’s an investment you should make.
Let’s get started!
What Are Starcraft Campers?
Starcraft RV makes travel trailers and fifth wheels at what they claim are “affordable prices.” In addition, they say they use “the latest technologies and highest quality materials available.” However, as many know, affordable prices and the highest quality materials typically don’t go together.
Their target audience is recreational campers who may go camping a handful of times annually. These adventurers typically stay closer to home when camping. They’re not full-timers who will crisscross the country and live in them for months.However, most RV owners are recreational campers. Solid wood cabinets and other residential features just add cost and weight that is not necessary for shorter-term use.
With this in mind, the Starcraft brand of RV’s produces fifth wheels and travel trailers that are lighter weight and can be towed by vehicles that can be used for everyday driving.
Who Makes Starcraft RVs?
The parent company, Jayco, makes Starcraft trailers. If you know anything about Jayco, they pride themselves on making budget-friendly campers. However, this typically requires them to make sacrifices. This generally results in lower-quality materials and a lack of fancier features.
The company started in 1903 as Star Tank Company, producing livestock tanks and metal farm equipment. However, they went through a minor identity crisis in the early to mid-1900s as they created a rowboat and changed their name to Star Tank & Boat Company. From the 1920s to the 1950s, they focused on making galvanized steel boats and innovated the first aluminum boat.
In the mid-1960s, they introduced the Starmaster, Starliner, and Star Rambler. They were officially in the camper business in 1966 when they officially changed their name to Starcraft Corp.
The company began focusing on campers. A worker running operations, Lloyd Bontrager, invented a unique lifting system. This product launched Starcraft into the public eye. However, by 1967 Lloyd left the company and started his own company, Jayco. In 1991, Jayco officially took over ownership of Starcraft’s RV division.
Today, they continue production in northern Indiana as they have since their inception. However, their product lines, facilities, and workforce look slightly different than when they first started.
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Are Starcraft Campers Good?
How good any camper is is always a matter of opinion but generally, everyone wants their products to work. Starcraft is a brand of Jayco so its quality will be similar to many of their other campers. In general, Jayco is not known as a high-quality brand but rather an economy to mid-range vehicle for the everyday user. Dont expect Starcraft to be drastically different in quality from other Jayco brands and models as its brand is mainly for marketing.
However, we always say one thing that almost always stands out above anything else in an RV buying decision: the layout. If a Starcraft is the right fit for your needs, then it can be a good camper for you.
Quality and longevity issues have long plagued Jayco, but much of this is because the products are used or maintained incorrectly. Starcraft RV’s are not designed for heavy use, so if you decide to move into it full time, things are going to go wrong just from wear. Excess weight or mileage will wear out these rigs quickly. Water damage due to improper maintenance or storage is always a big problem as well. In general, if these trailers are treated as lighter-weight builds and maintained even when not being used, they can hold up for many years.
Overall we would not recommend a Starcraft RV for a full-time heavy-use RV, but as a weekend family camper, it can be a good choice.
Starcraft Travel Trailers
Starcraft manufactures four types of travel trailers. They come in various lengths, weights, and price ranges. Let’s look at each model and see which ones you want to consider.
The Starcraft Autumn Ride RV lineup starts at around $25,000 but can climb to roughly $40,000 for the largest models. They have 13 floorplans across the lineup ranging from 19 feet, 3 inches to 33 feet, 10 inches. You can even find toy hauler options. They have small rigs that can sleep four to larger ones that can accommodate up to 10 people.
In making this a budget-friendly camper for weekenders, Starcraft didn’t include their TuffShell™ walls. This is mainly because the walls do not use fiberglass construction. They’re an aluminum siding construction, which is lighter, cheaper, and has less insulation. If you’re wondering how they can start at $25,000, this may have something to do with it.
Super Lite Maxx
The Super Lite Maxx is a step up from the Autumn Ridge lineup. Despite its smaller size (20 feet to 23 feet, 6 inches), it features some upgrades that make it worth considering. It comes with the TuffShell™ walls, which are fiberglass. This provides increased insulation and comfort.
One of the best features of these campers is that they’re incredibly lightweight. They range from 3,685 pounds to 4,420 pounds. This means you won’t need to go out and buy a massive truck to haul them to and from your campsite. We also like that they’ve begun including 200-watt solar systems and pre-wiring them to make it easy to add an inverter later.
Unfortunately, the Super Lite Max has several strikes against it. Just because it has a smaller size doesn’t mean it comes with a smaller price tag. Across the five floorplans, prices start at roughly $32,000. Additionally, the main bedroom and living area share the same space. This provides no privacy, which may be less than ideal for families or those with guests.
The Super Lite RV is another smaller option from Starcraft. Across eight floorplans, lengths vary from 23 feet, 3 inches to 31 feet, 7 inches and weights range between 4,880 pounds and 6,155 pounds. You can find models that can sleep 4 to 10 people.
These all have dry baths, one slideout, and three even feature a second door entry. The second door allows parents to sneak out for a morning cup of coffee without disturbing the entire crew. Since every model has a slide, you can maximize space and spread out during your travels.
You can extend your camping season with an enclosed and heated underbelly and the TuffShell™ walls. You’ll also weather chilly temperatures without worrying about frozen pipes and floors. However, it will cost you, as these start at around $39,000.
GSL Travel Trailer
One of the first things you’ll notice when you see the GSL Travel Trailer is the $20,000 increase in price. Starting prices begin from approximately $58,000. The GSL Travel Trailer lineup goes from 33 feet, 5 inches to 38 feet, and weighs between 7,010 pounds and 8,445 pounds. Three of the four floorplans have multiple slideouts, and one features a second entry.
Not only are these their most expensive travel trailers, but they’re also their largest RVs. This means they have more room and space to include features that make it easier to enjoy these campers.
The GSL Travel Trailer lineup features the TravelLink system. This allows the owner to control awnings, lights, slides, heating, cooling, and more via a Bluetooth app.
Starcraft Fifth Wheels
Regarding Starcraft’s fifth wheel lineup, there are two models with multiple floorplans for each. Let’s see what makes them unique and worth considering.
GSL Light Duty
The Starcraft GSL Light Duty, as its name implies, is the smaller and lighter fifth-wheel RV option. They’re between 27 feet, 5 inches, and 33 feet, 3 inches and weigh 7,030 to 8,545 pounds. However, despite their shorter length and weight, they’re taller inside and outside than the GSL model. Their interior height is 8 feet, 6 inches, and their exterior is 12 feet, 6 inches. Prices for these begin from around $55,000.
The 234RLS has a single slideout, while the 304BHS features a mid-bunk space and two slideouts. With sleeping space for up to seven, the 304BHS makes a preferable camper for families looking to get out and make memories together.
One of our most significant concerns is the claim that these are half-ton towable. Typically, a half-ton truck can tow around 9,000 to 10,000 pounds. The 304BHS weighs 8,545 unloaded and 10,115 pounds when at max capacity. This would put most half-ton trucks up against their towing limits, which we would never suggest.
One of the first things you’ll notice about these top-of-the-line fifth wheels is the massive price. You’ll find them starting at around $82,000. While they may not be cheap, they have some upgrades that warrant the increase.
They are 32 feet, 7 inches to 39 feet, 7 inches and weigh 9,635 to 11,440 pounds. While they’re heavier, they’re two inches shorter (12 feet, 4 inches) on the outside and four inches shorter inside (8 feet, 2 inches) than the Light Duty. They come in three floorplans with three slideouts in each plan. The 364BHS is the most family-friendly of all three floorplans, with a rear bunkhouse and a half bathroom.
The GSL lineup comes with some of the features that full-timers look for, like washer-dry prep, a residential microwave, and massive water tanks (75 gallons fresh, 115 gallons gray, and 80 gallons black in the largest model).
How Much Do Starcraft RV Trailers Cost?
Sometimes it feels like RV manufacturers like to keep pricing a secret. However, Starcraft’s transparent pricing calculator makes it easy to see the total costs. As you add options to your purchase, it updates the price.
Do you want a second 13,500 BTU ducted air conditioner? You can see the current cost. If you check the box, the price updates to reflect the changes. Being transparent makes it easier to feel like you can trust them more.
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What Do People Say About Starcraft RV Campers?
Like most manufacturers, customers either love or hate their Starcraft campers. For instance, Joey Dyer left his Starcraft camper 1.6 out of five stars. He says he’s owned campers since 1982, and his Autumn Ridge was the camper he planned to use in retirement. However, he’s had to return it to the dealership multiple times. He says, “Workmanship is pathetic.”
However, Connie gave her 2022 Starcraft Autumn Ridge 19BH five out of five stars and said, “Thought it would be a starter trailer but can’t imagine another one I’d like more.” While she thought it would make a good starter camper, it turned out to be just what she needed.
Are Starcraft Campers Worth It?
Starcraft makes various campers, so it’s next to impossible for us to make a statement that covers them. The “you get what you pay for” mentality applies to these Starcraft campers.
We were pleasantly surprised with the mandatory four-season package on all their fifth wheels. Some of their more expensive models feature spacious floorplans and features that can make them worth it.
Would you buy a Starcraft RV? Let us know in the comments!
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