The Coleman Company has long been known as a camping supply powerhouse. Making everything from coolers and lanterns to tents and grills, Coleman’s expertise lies in everything outdoors.
While these aren’t the highest quality travel trailers on the market, Coleman travel trailers offer good quality construction at an affordable price. These travel trailers offer a surprising number of features in their class and are popular because of this combination of a low price point and convenient amenities.
First known for their pop-up campers, the Coleman name lends confidence to this brand of travel trailers found in RV parks across the country. Coleman travel trailers are consistently rated highly by customers who like the level of quality for the price and ease of use.
It might surprise you to learn that the Coleman Company does not manufacture the Coleman travel trailers you see on the market today that carry the company’s name and logo.
Below, we’ve laid out all the info you need to decide if this brand is right for you. We’ll explore just who makes these RVs and whether you can count on this brand to last you through years of outdoor excursions.
All About the Company
The familiar brand Coleman was founded in 1900 by W.C. Coleman in Kingfisher, Oklahoma. This company originally sold gasoline lanterns, and the company logo today still features the lantern as its symbol.
As time went on, Coleman’s product line expanded to include almost every aspect of camping and enjoying the great outdoors: sleeping bags, tents, cooktops, and coolers.
In 1967 the Coleman company began making pop-up tent trailers, and by 1979 their camping trailers were North America’s top-selling brand. Ten years later, however, Coleman sold its designs to Fleetwood RV who then took over manufacturing the trailers.
Fast-forward to today, and Coleman campers are now made by Dutchmen. Dutchmen began manufacturing the lines of travel trailers and fifth wheels that carry the Coleman name in 2010.
Dutchmen itself is part of Thor Industries, a market-dominating RV company that also counts Airstream, CrossRoads RV, Heartland RV, Jayco, and Keystone RV among its many subsidiaries.
Dutchmen now make four lines of RVs that carry the Coleman name: Coleman Lantern, Coleman Lantern LT, Coleman Light, and Coleman Light LX.
Coleman campers are designed to be lightweight and packed to the gills with awesome features, proving that families and couples on the road don’t have to skimp on convenience and amenities when having an outdoorsy experience.
Coleman Lantern and Lantern LT
Some features of the Lantern and Lantern LT lines include the following:
- Variety of lengths, ranging from 24’11” to 37’11”
- Lots of sleeping space, generally accommodating around 8 people
- Eight bunkhouse floor plans and one quad bunkhouse
- Two models of toy haulers
- Interior heights of 82 inches
- Tall, oversized slide rooms
- Large capacity water tanks
- Black diamond plate rock guards
- LED power awnings and outdoor speakers
- Outdoor kitchen
- Interior power command center
Coleman Light and Light LX
The aluminum framed Light and Light LX models include amenities like the following:
- Lengths ranging from 18’10” to 34’9″
- Six bunkhouse models and two models with expandable pop-out tent sleeping areas
- Power stabilizer jacks
- Residential-style 60 x 80 queen bed
- Fiberglass front cap
- Fully enclosed underbelly
- Interior height of 80 inches
- Pass-thru storage areas
All Coleman Travel Trailers
One of the biggest perks to purchasing a Coleman travel trailer from Dutchmen is that Dutchmen stands behind its products, guaranteeing that your travel trailer meets the company’s expectations for quality.
Dutchmen advertise that choosing their company means that you’ll have a great warranty, top quality assurance, and dependable aftermarket support.
Coleman’s Travel Trailer Warranty
Dutchmen claim to have the industry’s best warranty and try to ensure that their customers know exactly what is (and is not) covered under the standard three-year limited structural warranty.
Except for items subject to normal wear and tear, Dutchmen’s coverage of the travel trailer for the first year is transferable to a second owner if the RV is sold during that time period.
That’s a huge bonus for customers looking at a used Coleman travel trailer because you won’t miss out on the coverage you might normally expect to get only when buying new from the manufacturer.
It’s also good news for hesitant buyers who worry about the resale value of a Coleman travel trailer if they decide that RVing isn’t for them. Letting buyers know that they can get in on the manufacturer warranty when buying used can be a great selling point later on.
It is important to note that the three-year structural warranty applies only to the purchase of a new Dutchmen RV and that the warranty transfers to a second owner in the case that the RV is sold within that first year of ownership.
Coleman’s Quality Assurance
Another great feature of buying a Coleman travel trailer from Dutchmen RV is the 100% pre-delivery inspection guarantee. This means that every travel trailer that Dutchmen manufactures is thoroughly inspected before it leaves the manufacturing facility.
Every Coleman travel trailer you step inside has been subjected to a 253-point inspection to make sure you are getting exactly what is advertised, that everything functions as it should, and that your unit measures up to their exacting standards.
Because these RVs are made on an assembly line, this step is important because it helps the manufacturer catch any line issues before the RV rolls off to the dealer and helps to prevent any large-scale recalls.
Dutchmen also care about what happens to your Coleman travel trailer once it’s off the lot and extends their quality assurance to your on-road experience.
They use the data from service claims to look for ways to improve the travel trailers coming off the assembly lines, making sure that each model year is as good (or better) than the last.
Coleman’s Service and Support
No RV is designed to provide optimum performance indefinitely. Parts do wear out and from time to time, people inevitably have problems with various aspects of any travel trailer.
Dutchmen publish service statistics on its website so that customers can easily see trends in customer service and support.
One great aspect of Dutchmen’s customer service is the maintenance of a 98% answer rate, meaning that phone calls to the company are extremely unlikely to end up in voicemail, and more than 90% of their service calls are answered within 20 seconds.
Dutchmen is also proud to have quick service in shipping parts to their dealers so that you don’t have to wait weeks for a damaged or malfunctioning part to be replaced.
While RV manufacturers and salesmen are always touting the features and positive qualities of their products, it’s important to remember that showroom-new RVs are only new for a little while and these vehicles are meant to be used.
It can be helpful to check out RV discussion forums and review websites to see what actual users of the product think because they can give you practical, real-world info on how these products stack up.
And RV owners love to talk about their RVs (if you already are one, then you know this is true!). If you see an interesting travel trailer or one you’ve been considering, don’t be afraid to ask the owner.
Those who’ve been using a travel trailer for a while can offer helpful advice and give opinions that go far deeper than just the aesthetic qualities that seem to matter so much to salesmen or factual information about weight and water capacity.
Pros and Cons of Coleman Travel Trailers
From my research into Coleman travel trailers, it seems that most of their customers are pretty happy with the product overall, but there are some important aspects of these travel trailers that you might want to keep in mind if you’re looking to buy.
Price and Quality
First, remember that price often (but not always) is a reflection of quality. Coleman travel trailers are definitely on the low end of the travel trailer price range.
Comparing a Coleman Lantern travel trailer at a 20K price point to a higher-end model like the Grand Design Reflection travel trailer (at a 50K price point) will reveal major differences in overall construction and material quality. That kind of comparison isn’t necessarily fair or helpful.
That said, when comparing apples to apples, Coleman definitely holds its own against similar models of travel trailers in its price range.
While the materials used in Coleman’s construction are fairly inexpensive, they seem to hold up relatively well as long as the travel trailer is subjected to routine maintenance and carefully inspected regularly.
Doing so is simply a habit of responsible ownership because this helps you to find and correct any small issues or potential problems before that become large or unmanageable.
Because Coleman travel trailers are marketed for a large number of features available, keep in mind that more features can also mean more potential malfunctions and problems.
If you’re like my dad, a guy who still refuses to buy a car with power windows, you might want to steer clear of this line in favor of something more stripped-down with fewer amenities and conveniences.
Going along with potential concerns over cheaper materials, it is also important to think about how you use (or plan to use) your travel trailer.
If you are looking for a travel trailer to use as a full-time or seasonal residence, durability with repeated use would be an utmost concern and may lead you to look for a higher-end (and pricier) product.
But for those who want an inexpensive travel trailer for occasional weekend use or as an easy drive-way or curbside guest house, a Coleman travel trailer may be just fine.
For a family with lots of rambunctious kids who are hard on surfaces (let’s face it, some of our sweet angels are downright destructive), it could be helpful to check areas like tables, cabinet doors, and drawers to see if they can take the kind of beating you envision them receiving during a typical camping trip.
For young couples looking for a mobile vacation home or a retired senior who wants a way to visit kids and grandkids without having to share their living space, the Coleman line can be an inexpensive investment that gives years of functionality.
While Dutchmen brags about the ease of use and comprehensive coverage in its RV warranties, we all know that sometimes big companies don’t live up to their promises.
Another concern of some Coleman travel trailer owners is the hassle of getting warranty work approved and completed in a timely manner.
After all, a warranty is supposed to provide peace of mind and inspire confidence in a company that stands behind its product, and it shouldn’t simply end up as another source of frustration when something breaks or gives you problems.
Some customers who have reviewed Dutchmen’s service and support find that it can take a while for warranty work to be approved, sometimes a month or more, which can delay an anticipated trip.
Another problem is that warranty work must be completed by an authorized dealer which may be hard if you’re on the road when a fix needs to happen and you’re miles from the nearest dealer or if the authorized dealer you use goes out of business or relocates.
Sometimes, though, these issues are less about Dutchmen and its willingness to honor the travel trailer’s warranty and more about the individual dealership you’re having to deal with.
It’s definitely worth the time and effort to research both the product you want to purchase and the dealer who will be selling and servicing the product to make sure that it’s a place you want to work with. Look for dealerships that have a good reputation for service and support.
Overall, on most customer review sites, Coleman gets a solid 4 stars out of 5. Customers find Coleman travel trailers to be extremely livable with functional floor plans and fun features.
Some favorite aspects are the efficient indoor kitchens with workable surfaces and the flexibility of also having an outdoor kitchen (depending on the model you choose).
People also find that these travel trailers pull easily and make the traveling part of RVing so easy as they are a breeze to set up and to get road-ready.
Coleman travel trailers also have lots of storage that is easily accessible and functional. Customers largely find these travel trailers to be both sturdy and reliable when in use.
Coleman travel trailers have a long history, a solid fan base, and a good reputation. But it’s important to note, especially when buying used, that the Coleman name has been associated with several different manufacturers over the years, some more reliable than others.
Remember when you’re shopping around that in a travel trailer you generally get what you pay for. If you’re forking out a minimal amount of cash for a lower-end product, then the quality you receive will reflect that price point.
That being said, if you are in the market for a lower end, less expensive travel trailer to use on occasion for weekend getaways and the associated features and amenities are important to you, then Coleman travel trailers are a great line to explore.
While they may not be the highest quality travel trailers on the market, Coleman travel trailers are good quality travel trailers at a reasonable price with enough of the bells and whistles to make you feel like you’ve got a good deal on a fun trailer.