Keystone RV: First Look At 2021 Models
To say that 2020 was massively disruptive is an understatement. However, if there is a silver lining, it is in the way the pandemic forced RV manufacturers to break from the norms. Supply chain disruptions coupled with swarms of first-time buyers seeking safe, affordable vacation alternatives, spurred manufacturers like Keystone RV to respond.
The result is a crop of new products that will go down as perhaps the most innovative in years. Let’s look at some Keystone RV’s 2021 offerings, starting with its flagship brand, Montana.
Montana High Country 280/281CK
With the removal of the RV Industries Association’s 430-square-foot rule, some manufacturers have chosen to build bigger. However, Montana High Country’s new 280/281 CK is going in the opposite direction.
“When RVIA removed the maximum square footage limitation for fifth wheels, the temptation was to go bigger. But our sales data pointed to something different,” said Montana product manager Sam Lengerich. “Many of the customers we see today are mobile, moving throughout their travels rather than sitting for weeks at one site. They push us to smaller fifth wheels, an example of which is the Montana High Country 280/281CK.”
By the way, the odd-even number floorplan designation—280/280CK, for example—indicates whether the floorplan is offered with an RV refrigerator or a residential refrigerator. Keystone feels that there is a demand for both. In this example, the 280CK is an RV refrigerator, and the 281CK is a residential refrigerator.
While Montana High Country successfully introduced some smaller floorplans over the past few years, at 32-feet in length, the new 280/281CK is the shortest by 24-inches.
Comments Lengerich, “Normally, when you design a shorter unit, you have to sacrifice kitchen counter space, and you end up with the television on the back wall with a terrible viewing. Our goal was to blow up those design limitations, create a floorplan that is compact but doesn’t feel that way at all.”
The High Country team did this by dropping the dinette in favor of a U-shaped kitchen with oversized countertop and bar stools. They also created an L-shaped seating collection with a chaise lounge that sits across from the entertainment center for perfect TV viewing. You may have noticed that in some RV floorplans, TV seating is at a severe angle, not so in this High Country.
Additionally, to help create a more expansive feel inside, Keystone RV created windows that are larger and positioned to draw in more natural light. Montana High Country interior colors and design stays mostly unchanged from 2020. As Lengerich explains,
“We took a diamond and polished it up a bit,” keeping the whitewashed Louisville Ash color palette and fine-tuning the accent color to what he calls Urban Charcoal.
One not so visible change to the High Country for 2021 concerns the axles and springs. While the GVWR stays the same at 7000-pounds per axle, Montana worked with Dexter to create heavier-duty components, which Lengerich describes as beefier.
The 2021 High Country offers an optional Solar Flex System, which includes a 265-Watt Solar Panel with a 2000-Watt inverter. For enhanced outdoor living, the 280/281CK floorplan ships from the factory with two patio awnings supplying 27-linear feet of coverage.
Keystone RV – Cougar
The Keystone RV Cougar and Cougar Half-Ton fifth wheels and travel trailers are Keystone’s most popular brands and have been so for many years. So, when Cougar makes a notable change to the brand, it is inherently big news. And the BIG NEWs for 2021 models is the all-new interiors.
“We’ve gone away from the traditional browns and darker colors to a brighter interior with a new fascia, flooring, ceiling, and cabinets,” says Cougar Product Manager Scott Taylor. “It’s a look we named the Amy Gray Signature Series, after one of our interior designers.”
The new Cougar look features a vintage-white called Matte Luxe and with slightly darker “Modern Driftwood” cabinets in the living area. Customer feedback to the early-released shipments has been universally positive, the Cougar team claims.
While the interior transformation has been high on Cougar’s 2021 What’s New List, so also are eight new floorplans, one of which is the Cougar 345UMR fifth wheel. As a dog owner who always camps with his two large dogs, this floorplan makes so much sense.
The “UMR” designation in the model names stands for Utility Mud Room, a feature that Cougar says makes this floorplan unique, and, frankly, one I have never seen before.
The Cougar team says it is designed specifically for campers with more active pursuits like fishing, hunting, and for pet owners. The 345UMR introduces the flexibility of a full-sized utility/mud room in the rear of a 38-foot fifth wheel.
Call out features include:
- Walk-in dog/utility shower making it easy for campers and their four-legged friends to rinse off the adventures of their day without tracking dirt or debris into the main living space
- Extra-large storage cabinet in the rear with washer-dryer hookups or to store fishing poles, rifles, or beach gear
- Dedicated office space in the utility room
- Barn-style sliding door to separate the utility/mud room from the main living area
Keystone RV – Outback
The Keystone RV Outback sports a freshened-up interior and new exterior graphics for 2021 along with three ultra-lite floorplans (two of which are bunkhouse models) and two larger floorplans.
In the kitchen, Outback is offering as standard a 12-volt 12-cubic foot refrigerator, with an 8-foot RV refrigerator optional. Outback feels that the 12-volt refrigerator, new to the line for 2021, will be extremely popular as it uses a compressor-based system rather than an absorption-based refrigeration system. Because the mechanical footprint is smaller, this also makes it possible to place a 12-cubic foot refrigerator in the same space that would be occupied by an 8-cubic foot RV refrigerator.
Perhaps, the biggest news is centered around one of these new larger floorplans, Outback 324CG, which has been designed for those with physical disabilities.
The Outback 342CG is the result of collaboration with adventure and disability advocates, Riley Poor and Andrea Peruzzi. Mr. Poor, a devoted Freeskier (think Winter X Games) and talented filmmaker, was left paralyzed after a freak accent in 2009. He discovered that traveling as a person with quadriplegia is extremely difficult, costly, and often dangerous and unpredictable.
Says Outback Product Manager Nick Ebenroth, “Our dealers and retail customers tell us about a growing need for RVs that can accommodate people with physical disabilities. Our goal was to produce a multi-use floorplan that would meet those requirements but also have wide appeal beyond this specialized market.”
The Outback team started with the basic design of one of their proven floorplans and then redesigned it. The original floorplan includes a 56-inch wide ramp door, which was a natural point of ingress and egress for campers who use a wheelchair.
“We took the basic footprint and reconfigured the kitchen counter, slimmed down the wall for the entertainment center, and replaced a hinged door with a sliding barn door to create an easy transition into the living area,” says Ebenroth.
Other changes include a more expansive, 30-inch main entrance door to work with aftermarket wheelchair lifts, a more accessible pantry, sliding doors to the bedroom and bath, and more ergonomic cabinet and drawer handles.
Other notable features of the 342CG include a cargo garage with flip-down bunks, a king-bed with built-in pet kennel, two pantries, a 48-inch fireplace, and a sofa sleeper.
Keystone RV Toy Haulers
While smaller, “entry-level” type trailers initially benefited most from the influx of first-time RVers, other segments of the market have also experienced a rush, including Keystone’s Fuzion and Raptor toy-hauler lines.
For 2021, Fuzion unveils an all-new interior look, several floorplan refinements, and two new floorplan models.
As far as interior changes, Fuzion has moved on to warmer grey tones that reveal the wood grain of the cabinets and has added shaker-style cabinet doors. Gone is what Product Manager Nick Ebenroth described as last year’s flat, primer-grey color. Instead, the new brighter look is balanced with a dark wood plank flooring and accented by deep brown trim and a shiplap headboard.
Also, all 2021 Fuzion floorplans will feature an east-west bed, rather than a north-south. The brand has also redesigned its existing 430 floorplan, stretching it to convert the living area half-bath to a full bath, making the 430 the first two-full-bath floorplan in the Fuzion stable.
Along with the above changes, Fuzion is adding two new floorplans currently. One is the 379, a double-axle, ¾ ton towable fifth wheel with full-length 11-foot garage, cross-conversational seating, a half-bath in the main living area, plus outside kitchen, along with two patio awnings.
“We LOVE our Keystone Fuzion 427, we recommend it all the time and invite other campers in to check it out. We can’t wait to check out the new floorplans and decors on the 2021 models! “Jimmy and Lisa Cox – Find Us Camping
Carbon is another Keystone toy hauler brand that is planning to shake up the market, courtesy of its new 338 fifth-wheel.
Until now, the toy hauler universe has been dominated by big—think 40-foot—models, says the Carbon Product Manager Colin Clark. Based on conversations with campers, Clark feels there is a need for a state and national park-friendly fifth wheel toy haulers. By that, Clark means toy haulers under 35-feet to meet park size restrictions, and which will also be more maneuverable in boondocking situations where quarters are tight.
Carbon’s new 338 fits the bill, according to Clark. It comes in at around 33-feet in length, offers a 10-foot garage with welded-to-the-frame tie-downs, a fuel storage system, a full vapor-wall to separate the toys from the living area, and includes a private bedroom suite.
One Keystone brand that saw an immediate jump in sales is the Springdale. With a virtual candy-store of floorplans and bunkhouses, Springdale claims to deliver a comfortable camping experience for any sized family at an affordable price. So, with all this going for it, why would the company choose to reinvent the product now?
“For years, our dealers and customers have come to know and love Springdale as a dependable, reliable entry-level product,” said Product Manager BJ Kloska. “One of the things we set out to do in 2021 was to raise the excitement level. We did that by taking a fresh look at the product, especially on the interior. There’s not a square that we haven’t touched.”
Among these changes are all-new décor, all-new furniture, all-new cabinets and hardware along with a host of upgrades.
For 2021, Keystone RV has transitioned the Springdale to a lighter wood cabinet color with black accent hardware. Also, windows have increased in size to bring in more daylight and to brighten up the interior. For example, in some Springdale models, customers will find a 48-inch long by 12-inch tall window stretching from the kitchen sink to the range, a detail Kloska feels will be a big hit. Another major upgrade is the addition of the Do More Furniture Collection.
With Do More Furniture, Kloska claims, you can use your sofa/dinette in multiple ways. It’s a little difficult to describe in words, but how it works is that the booth-sofa combination pivots and folds to increase sofa seating, converts to a lounge, or into a jumbo dinette.
Increased storage has also been a focus of the Springdale team. 2021 models offer convenient dinette storage, double shelves in the master bedroom (instead of single), and ingenious expandable-net pockets positioned throughout the interior to hold small stuff like phones, iPads, and remotes.
Visit their website to order your new Keystone online. Not ready to buy? Try renting from RVShare or Outdoorsy. If you are looking to buy a new 2021 Keystone RV but hate to part with the old one, earn some additional income by listing it for rent with Outdoorsy.
You can see more 2021 RVs with the RVB 2021 Model Year Guide.