It’s late winter, and the itch to get out camping is coming on. Whether you have an RV or are contemplating getting into one, this is when summer plans are born, even with the snow still on the ground.

For my RV preview this month, I started by brushing up on what the new units offer – and how that fits with RVing today. In 2024, specific RVing trends first seen during the pandemic are now becoming a standard in the new units. I’m referring to a shift to smaller, lightweight units that are well-equipped to go “off-trail” and feature the latest electronics and solar power options. First, travel trailers with a GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) of less than 6,500 pounds are increasingly popular because half-ton pickups and full-size SUVs can easily tow them. Many can also be towed by properly equipped vans, mid-size pickups, and even smaller SUVs. These vehicles fit nicely with the lifestyle of younger buyers. This brings us to the next trend – for the first time in decades, the average age of RVers is dropping. Millennial buyers have discovered RVing and are doing it their way. That includes buying lighter, smaller units and wanting all the power and technology they have at home in their RV. Increasingly, they are going off-grid with their trailers as well.

The off-trail comment I made refers to a relatively new trend that is catching on fast, as reflected in the options now being offered by manufacturers. There have always been those who go off-grid – or boondock – as it’s been called for decades. But this new off-trail movement is something else. It requires unique off-road running gear on the trailer – and increased ground clearance, as these RVers are not just camping without services. They are towing trailers into areas without “roads”.
In the case of Forest River – they have answered this need by offering a package called Beast Mode. To be fair, this package is also cosmetic. Still, it includes – a Curt “independent suspension” along with 15-inch all-terrain tyres on aluminium rims, giving the trailer the needed flex and increased height to get into those off-trail locations.

An image of a sleek interior of an RV. Closed blinds sit in front of a black stove and sink with a sink cover. A striped towel is hanging on the handle of the oven. On the left is a small table and bench. In the rear of the RV is a small bed.

So, this package can be added to a variety of Forest River trailers. However, for 2024 a new floorplan caught my eye in the IBEX lineup. It’s family centric – the IBEX19BHQ (IBEX is a type of gazelle – not an acronym) has a bunkbed and well-appointed common space.

The single slide in this unit is dominated by a large chaise dinette that converts to sleeping space. Up front is a 60X80-inch Queen bed under the large front nose window.

The rear bunks are singles – 31X74-inches – however with the dinette conversion a total of six sleeping spaces are available in a relatively compact unit. Still, as with most new RV designs special attention was paid to the washroom. With the toilet set at an angle and the sink in the corner – a full-size shower is offered as well as a sizable linen closet. In addition to ample inside storage space there is a decent sized pass-thru storage in the front of the trailer for gear.

An image of an RV kitchen. A stainless-steel fridge sits on the right and a small sink and stove is in the centre. There is a door next to the sink and stove

All IBEX models have these standard features: Azdel construction, largest-in-class refrigerator, Solar system with large panel, controller, and 1000W inverter, cold weather package: including heated and enclosed underbelly and tank pad heaters. There is also a 15K A/C, PVC roof with 15-year warranty, JBL wireless Bluetooth audio system, Central vacuum system, 12V, 32” television, Rhino-Rack RTV tracks, Panoramic front window, Seamless countertops, Stainless steel appliances, and an outside cooktop.

Pricewise this is a solid mid-range trailer as reflected in its build quality and the long list of standard features:

      • Panoramic Front Window
      • MORryde Entry Step
      • Spare Tire
      • Black Tank Flush
      • Friction Hinge Entrance Door
      • Power Tongue Jack
      • LP Quick Connect
      • 200W Solar Panel
      • Large Outdoor Hose
      • Enclosed Termination System
      • Exterior Bush Kitchen
      • Tinted Windows
      • JBL FLIP 5 Speaker
      • Recessed Cooktop
      • Convection Microwave

The Beast Mode option I mentioned adds the chaise dinette, a single slide, butcher-block countertop, power awning and premium accent lighting. It also boosts the inverter capacity to 2000W.

Another package that extends off-grid stays is called the Unplugged Package. As expected, it adds even more solar power by including premium Lithium-Ion batteries, a 3000W Inverter and an EasyView Control Panel to mange your power. In this package, Solar panels are bumped up to 500W and where applicable, a high efficiency A/C can also be run without shore power. Note that the TV in this unit will run on 12V power (inverted) – again another nod to the trend that says just because you’re not plugged in, doesn’t mean you have to go without TV.

An image displaying the layout of a 2024 Forest River IBEX 19QBH.

GVWR: 5,365 lb.
UVW: 4,469 lb.
CCC: 896 lb.
FRESH WATER: 30 gal.
GREY WATER: 30 gal.
BLACK WATER: 30 gal.

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