A known after-effect of the pandemic is a rise in the number of younger families getting into RVing. They came because they wanted to get out of the house or apartment with the kids – but now, post pandemic, they are staying because they discovered what most of us know – it’s nice out here. As for which RV will best serve this younger market, that answer is based on individual needs. However, one need is universal – affordable pricing.

When I talk about price though it must be understood that spending less is everyone’s goal, but for younger families, getting out into the wild is the real goal – they are not as concerned with the trip as they are the destination. Not to mention when they get out there, they will spend most of their time outside and that makes them a little less concerned about all the aesthetics and the build of the trailer. With young kids the trailer is a means to the end – that end being outdoor fun.

I recently reviewed several family focused travel trailers and settled on the Autumn Ridge line from Starcraft to review. These trailers fit the family bill. Lower-priced, with everything you need and nothing you don’t. This has been the mission of the Autumn Ridge line. The line itself is not new – but it is extensive, with a variety of floorplans and lengths that will accommodate four to 12 sleepers – and even serve as a toy hauler. Weights of these units are not the lowest, as that would require more aluminum, which is expensive, but they are proportionate to their size. Across the weight range many of these trailers can easily be towed by smaller trucks and SUVs – even minivans.

Right about now you’re thinking – “Starcraft, I’ve seen that name for decades – right?” Yes, you have – Starcraft was put on the map by Lloyd Bontager who invented a breakthrough lifter system for towable tent campers in the early 1960’s. It was that innovation that led to the explosion of pop-up campers on North American highways which, in turn, brought tens of thousands of new families into the RVing world with a lightweight, simple, cheap RV. Later, Bontager would go on to found Jayco – another builder of family-focused RVs.

An image of the back of the trailer with the back hatch and grilling station opened.

Well established as a top RV manufacturer in Indiana by the 1990s, today’s Starcraft has expanded product lines, facilities, and its workforce throughout North Central Indiana—and its reputable name throughout North America.

What is common on all versions of the Autumn Ridge is the solid construction including a PVC roofing membrane, a Magnum Roof System and the solid swing-down step on the main entry. On the inside, you’ll find residential vinyl flooring, including flush floor slideouts, and seamless pressed membrane countertops. Tinted safety glass windows keep units cooler on hot days.

A look inside the Autumn Ridge from Starcraft kitchen and dinette.

With 15 different floorplans and sizes, the Autumn Ridge trailer you choose can sleep up to 12 people, come in lengths of between 22 and 34 feet and weigh between 3,400 and 6,300 lbs. So, within this one product line you should be able to match your needs to the right trailer. Pricewise, I can say that they will start in the mid-20’s based on region and dealer, then go up from there based on size.

I’ve spent some time talking about price – so now let me tell you how price is represented in the way a trailer is built. Wood – the less wood in a trailer the higher the price. The cladding – tin vs FRP of composite materials is always cheaper. Neither of these build materials makes for a bad trailer – just a less expensive one. If you want to see where you’re saving money in a new trailer look at the components and what the trailer is built out of.

View of the spacious bedroom with white panelling.

Keeping the above in mind lets look the at standard exterior features of the Autumn Ridge.

      • 120V GFCI protected receptacle
      • 5/8″ main floor decking
      • 96″ exterior width
      • Black front diamond plate protection
      • Exterior docking center (dual axle models)
      • Detachable power cords
      • Fiberglass insulation
      • Flexible LP lines
      • Galvanized wheel wells
      • Grab handle
      • In-frame battery rack
      • Magnetic baggage door catches
      • Marine grade exterior speakers (2)
      • PVC roofing membrane (limited lifetime warranty)
      • Rain guttering with molded drip spouts
      • Rear camera prep
      • Safety bumper with drain hose carrier and end caps
      • Thermal Seal- enclosed, insulated, and heated underbelly and fully insulated roof with a PVC roofing membrane (dual axle models)
      • Tinted safety-glass windows throughout

Here are the standard interior appointments

      • Ball bearing drawer guides
      • 81″ interior height
      • AM/FM/Bluetooth® radio with indoor/outdoor zoned speakers
      • Closeable A/C vents
      • Flush floor slides with residential vinyl flooring
      • Foot flush toilet
      • Hardwood cabinet doors
      • LED interior lighting
      • Pleated blackout night shades
      • Pocket-screwed lumbercore cabinet construction
      • Pressed membrane kitchen countertops
      • Range hood
      • Residential high-rise kitchen faucet
      • Single basin under-mount kitchen sink
      • Storage below main bed
      • Customer Convenience Package (Mandatory)
      • Microwave
      • Powered awning with LED lighting
      • Powered bathroom vent
      • 2-burner range with glass cover (single axle models)
      • 3-burner range with glass cover (dual axle models)
      • Dome style digital TV antenna
      • Gas/electric water heater
      • Solid swing down step (main)

HVAC, running gear and solar prep

        • Self-adjusting electric brakes and E-Z Lube® axles
        • 13,500 BTU roof mounted A/C
        • Nitrogen filled radial tires
        • Stabilizer jacks (4)
        • Xtend Solar I Package (200 watt solar panel with 30 amp controller) – optional

      The photos included with this story of the Autum Ridge are for the model 28BHS. With double bed bunks, a convertible dinnete and couch this trailer can sleep up to 10 people. With that much capacity there is no excuse to leave any of the family at home – even the in-laws.

      The double bunk with spacious sleeping arrangements for additional family members.

      Specifications for the 2024 Starcraft Autumn Ridge 28BHS

      Dry Hitch Weight (lbs) 706
      Unloaded Vehicle Weight (lbs) 5,810
      Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (lbs) 7,500
      Exterior Length (overall) 30’ 8”
      Exterior Height 10’ 5”
      Exterior Height (with A/C) 11’1”
      Exterior Width 8′ 0″
      Interior Height (main) 6′ 9″

      Fresh Water Capacity (gals) 42.0
      Gray Water Capacity (gals) 32.5
      Black Tank Capacity (gals) 32.5
      Propane Unit (lbs) 60
      Sleeps up to 10
      Water Heater 6
      Furnace BTU 30,000

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