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30 March 2011

Dodge Ram and Rockwood 8265WS Review Part 2


2011 Rockwood 8265WS 5th Wheel Review


Back in September of 2010 we wrote a quick review of our truck and 5th wheel trailer. We have since then had several request of a follow up review. If you are following our blogs, you know we did a review of the truck not too long ago, and now it's time for the 5th wheel trailer review.


Rockwood 8265WS Signature Ultralite

2011 Rockwood 8265WS by Forest River


Forest River is a large manufacturer of several different types of RV's and many other products. Some of the brands under the Forets River roof are: Blue Ridge, Cardinal, Cedar Creek, Cherokee, Salem, Sandpiper, Sierra, Wildcat, V-Cross, Wildwood, Berkshire, Charleston, Georgetown, Ridgeview, Forester, Solera, Sunseeker and Lexington.




The founder of Forest River is Peter Liegl. In 1996 he had a vision to create an RV company dedicated to help people experience the joy of the outdoors to the fullest by building better recreational vehicles.
First stop at the Hope Slide

Our Rockwood 8265WS


In September and October of 2010 after we picked up the trailer we went on a 5,000km trip of Western Canada: British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. This was a great trip to see how everything worked.

Prior to leaving on the trip, we followed the advice of some of the "seasoned" RV'ers on the Forest River Forum . Many of the people on the forum suggested to stay close to the dealership the first night to make sure that everyhting was working OK. Also make sure the dealership is open the next day, should you have any problems, you can just go back and get it all fixed. This is very good advice, you don't want to be 800km away from the dealership to find out that something is not in working order.

We camped 20 km from the dealership, and everything was working just fine as far as we could tell. I have to say that both my wife Liz and I were a bit tense pulling the new rig and setting it all up. 

When we picked up the trailer,a representative of the dealership did go through everything on the trailer (about 3 hours) with us prior to leaving the lot, but after about 30 minutes or so, we both had information overload. But it all worked out well.


Camping  in Golden, BC.



Rockwood 8265WS Floor Plan


If you and your partner are like my wife and I, you will have several discussions in regards to what RV and what size of RV you are going to buy. We sure had lots of them.

The Rockwood 8265WS floor plan was one that we both could agree on for the type of travelling that we planned...... Like our upcoming trip across Canada and back (Victoria, BC. to St. John's. NL.). We also hope to do many more trips through northern Canada, the USA, and maybe down to Baja California.

The size of the trailer is important if you are going  to be in many different campgrounds. When you get over 30 ft in length you start to limit the amount of places your trailer will fit into. Our trailer is 28ft 10 inches.


Rear of trailer with slides out. In Golden, BC.

Anders' opinion on the Rockwood 8265WS


The trailer is great, it is light, has all the power options, like: 3 slides, power front jacks, power rear stabalizer jacks, power awning.... All these features sure makes camping a lot easier and very comfortable.

The trailer is light, 6700 lbs empty, about 8,000 lbs loaded up. Keep in mind if you have a BC drivers license and are towing a trailer registered in British Columbia with a total weight over 10,141lbs or 4,600Kg, you are required to have a "Heavy Trailer Endorsement" on you license or your insurance may not cover you. Check with your Province, Territory or State for local regulations. See our website from more information.

The quality of the trailer is better then I expected, it feels very solid with the welded aluminium frame. Lots of storage to keep everything. The fully enclosed bathroom is also nice option and the sky-light over the shower makes the bathroom bright.


The electric fireplace is fantastic. I would not go without. It heats the whole trailer just nicely, however you have to be hooked up to at least 15amp shore power to run it. We first thought that a fireplace was "overkill" but not so, it is a must. Apparently some parks in the USA does not allow you to have a portable heater because of fire hazard.

Since I live for BBQ'ing, the included BBQ and its easy hook up is great. I can have my BBQ going in 47 seconds or less.

We had two small issues we had to get fixed after our first trip. One was a window in the bedroom that did not close properly or easily after being opened, the other was a drawer that would open during transit. Those were fixed promptly at the dealership.

There is a few things I don't like. In the bedroom it is a bit tight getting around the bed on the left (that's my side). The other issue is that there has to be a better way the sewer hose hook up is installed,so you don't have to remove the hose and store it every time. This is not unique to this trailer, all brands have yet to figure out an easier way.... In my opinion, there should be an outside compartment where the hose is permanently attached. Open the door, take it out, empty the tanks and stick it back in. In my opinion one should not have to remove the hose and store it some other place, like the bumper etc.

I know there are small pumps you can buy and attach, but before I go there I want to talk to someone that has one.... I'm sure this summer we will run into some person that has it all figured out. I am looking in to building in the sewer-hook up with only an outside door..... I will let you know if I can figure it out.

The ideal for me personally would probably be a trailer that is about 3-4 ft. longer, with extra space around the bed (King size would be nice) and a couple of recliners in the living area would be great. However it is not a perfect world.

If we plan to stay more in one spot, a bigger trailer is warranted. Overall though, I'm very pleased. 

Fireplace going and  laptop ready to go


Liz' Opinion on the Rockwood 8265WS


This trailer is a compromise between the wishes of my husband and my wishes. If it would go by me, I would prefer a 24 ft. trailer, Anders would pull around a 38 foot monster. 

What I like most on this Rockwood Trailer is: it feels very spacious with the three slide outs, the kitchen is by the entrance, accessible on lino flooring, and the washroom is a separate room and not half of it in the master bedroom.

There are other pluses:
  • The slide out wardrobe with ample space for clothes
  • The couch/air bed is very comfortable, not only to sleep on, but also as a couch to sit, read, or simply to laze on
  • The shower stall is large enough to have a comfortable shower and wash hair
  • It is bright with plenty of windows to get a cross draft going, all windows which open have screens
  • Good storage everywhere
  • Easy to access the electric slide out buttons
  • Good lighting inside and outside
  • The kitchen, including the fridge is accessible even with the slides in
  • 2 big Propane bottles for cooking and heating
  • Good outside storage
  • Nice awning, covering the entrance and BBQ areas
Here are a few things I would like to see:
  • More counter space around the sink and stove
  • The extra table over the drawers is a bit awkward
  • Space for shoes by entrance
  • Space for coats by the entrance
Driving the trailer you certainly know that you are pulling something behind and extra caution is a must. But in curves and mountain passes it handle really well and follows our truck like it should.

The best is, I do not need a special endorsement on my BC Driver's Licence, because even fully packed the trailer weights under 9,000 pounds.

I think it is a good trailer and suits our needs. I am looking forward to travel all the way to Newfoundland and back in this rolling summer home.


Camping  in Waterton Lake National Park

Rockwood 8265WS - A Good Trailer For Us


As you can see my wife and I have some different thoughts on RV's. One thing we do agree on,  we both love to travel and explore this wonderful country of ours.... Canada.

Happy Trails,

Liz and Anders

15 comments:

  1. Thank you both for your honest opinions. This is the unit that both my husband and I keep coming back to. We haven't purchased yet, but this will certainly help us make a decision. I have one question, did you check out it's rating on the RV guide? Lynda

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  2. One more thing, I see the picture has the fireplace on. Neither of you has commented on this feature, so I am curious if it matters to you and does it heat the unit on cool nights?
    Once again, thanks, Lynda

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  3. Hi Lynda,

    Thank you for your comments. We did not check out the RV Guide, did not know of it. Can you send me a link to the guide you are talking about and we will add it to the links page. I talked mostly to other owners at the Forest River Forum. This way I got a very good feeling from what to expect.

    The Electric Fireplace.... it is great and sorry we forgot to mention it. It heats the place just nicely but you need to be hooked up to at least 15amp power supply or use a generator. You can still use the gas furnace without being hooked up to power but it draws the batter down after a while.

    We have also been told that in some parks in the USA you are not allowed to have a portable heater because of fire hazzard and the fireplace then is nice.

    Rockwood also have a new model 8288WS see floorplan at http://www.forestriverinc.com/nd/default22.asp?location=rv&unittype=&page=floorviewertt&model=8288WS&choice=rk&nav=rec&name=3993&series=8WideFW . That looks very good and it is still light at 7200 lbs and is 3 feet longer. Nice unit. Cheers, Anders

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  4. We bought this same camper in the summer of 2011, in minnesota, we are from montana, i have to say this camper is awesome... we went to medora on the way back, also yellowstone for 6 days and fishing at tongue river reservoir for 3 trips in september for 11 days. you have to have the fireplace to enjoy it! we love it!, the 2 opposing side are great if you want to intertain with lots of room.. we had 3 campers on this trip and everyone was in ours even though ours was not the longest and or the heaviest!.. oh and by the way we are pulling this with a 2010 dodge hemi 1/2 ton.. remember montana, yellowstone park and sylvan pass.. so we are so happy with this! less then 10,000 pounds! great job Forrest river

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  5. Thanks for that comment. Good to know about the 1/2 ton truck. What kind of gas mileage do you get pulling the trailer?

    I'm sure the ride is a lot smoother with a 1/2 ton and the 2010 is a really nice looking truck.

    In the next few years we hope to work our way down to your neck of the woods.

    Cheers, Anders

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  6. Well on the trip down from billings, mt. here to bismark, nd. we got 19.6mpg, from bismark to painsville, mn. 23.2. with camper painsville to fargo, nd. 13.1mpg, and when we turned into the winds, which were 20 to 30mph...8.9mpg.. our trip to the yellowstone with camper and without round trip was 11.9mpg... should i get a 3/4 or 1 ton maybe... but when the dodge hemi drops back unloaded to 4 cylinders i always smile.. oh and by the way, first dodge i have ever owned.. and we love it.. we are in our 50s. and for shopping around..Billings and surrounding area.. 8265ws.. cheapest was 33,000..and we did everything to buy here..it was between ted's in mn. and vicars in mi. mi was a 1000 cheaper. but we went with Ted's in mn. for 24,500.

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  7. That's not bad. We have the 6.7 liter Cummins motor in our 1 ton and the power and torque is just wonderful to have. The "towhaul" and exhaust break is wonderful when going down the mountain passes.

    Our milage pulling the trailer is around 15mpg, empty we get 26-28 mpg. We rarely exceed 100kmh or 60mph.

    That's a great price we might just have to look south next time?

    Thanks for sharing,

    Cheers, Anders

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  8. Oh and by the way reading you posts was a great help in selecting this camper. We agreed with everything you guys said and it was very helpful, along with the videos..what year is your truck?

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  9. Glad our blogs helped you picking out a great trailer. We did a lot of research. Our truck is a 2008 Dodge Ram Laramie 4x4 Quad Cab. I love it. We just finished a cross Canada trip and back, we drove 34,017 km or 21,137 miles. Part 1 of the trip is at http://lizandanders.blogspot.com/2011/05/cross-canada-and-back-part-1.html and I am on part 31 right now and hope to finish it all this winter before we forget it all. The truck ran fantastic. We ended up in one tornado with almost 6,000 damage to the trailer see http://lizandanders.blogspot.com/2011/07/wind-storm-in-val-comeau-new-brunswick.html We also had to replace one axle, the reason being that the cotter pin going through the axle holding the crown nut in place was missing. Would be a good idea to check and make sure you have one in place on all spindles.. our blog on that is at http://lizandanders.blogspot.com/2011/08/cross-canada-and-back-part-20.html ... Wow that was lots... but those are the only two real problems we had... one flat tire, but I had a tire kit with me and just put a plug in.

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  10. is it a problem because the gray tank and black tank
    aren't real big and fresh water tank doesn't hold as
    much as we are used to?? we camp alot at state parks
    where there is just electric hookup. thanks

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  11. If you use park showers (if available) then it is not a problem at all. If you use the shower in the trailer it will "drink" up your water fairly fast and fill up your gray tank accordingly.

    The black tank is not a worry. Two people can go a week to 10 days.

    If there is no or just electric hook ups we are good for about 4-7 days

    Hope that helps,

    Cheers, Anders

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  12. we also worried about the gray tank and black tank.. lol...but remember before we got this camper we had a tent.. and 16' PULL behing a overhead, self contained...6 gallon... so for us this is awesome... but you do need to watch because a hot shower feels really good.. never had one..mmmmm..also when we kick out the two slides... width is also the same size as our 16' camper we had with 2 small boys..lol.. now we need to talk relatives into taking their own camper.. and again Anders, thank-you for this forum!
    Thanks Campers in Montana
    Barry & loria

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    Replies
    1. Just wanted to say hi and thanks for your site! I hope your summer is great and safe! Montana is already hot May 15th and "90's". we are heading out tomorrow for our 1st trip tongue river res. for fishing and just to get away.. it was a long winter.. Take care all and thank-you Anders for your blog!

      Barry and Loria

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  13. Hey Anders, I know I am a bit late in responding to this review but I only just came upon it. Very interesting and looks like your having a great time with the 5th wheel.
    As you may have noticed I am writing from over in the UK and have just bought a new Rockwood 8280 5th wheel. I am very interested in how yours is shaping up and would love to ask your opinion on one or two issues. We plan to take ours to Europe next January just a few weeks away and are getting very excited about the adventure. I have also bought a 2004 Ford F150 to pull it with, so apart from the fuel costs it should be hassle free. One thing i wondered was if the trailer heating works when your not hooked up to mains supply? Just, still hitched to the truck. How did you manage if not on a site hooked up?

    i hope this reaches you and thanks again for a very interesting blog.
    Andrew

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  14. Hi Andrew and Sue,

    Thank you for your emails..... sorry it took so long getting back to you. We were on holidays in Palm Springs, California.

    First of all, let me tell you that the Rockwood trailers are great. Congrats on your purchase, you will have lots of fun.

    Regarding your questions. I am not familiar with the 8380ws, I assume it is an 8280ws at 31 feet long. If this is the case you will have a load for your F150. I would make sure I have a transmission cooler or you will run into problems. Does your F150 have a tow package? How long is your truck box? 8 feet or 6 feet? What type of hitch are you using?

    If you have a 6 ft box you have to be really careful when turning sharp corner. the trailer can nick the truck cab. I have seen many (some brand new) trucks that have pushed the back window in. We have an Hijacker auto slide hitch that moves the the hitch assembly back 14 inches at a 90 degree corner. See http://hijacker.com/autoslide/

    I would not want to pull our trailer (and yours is longer) around in Europe, there are a lot of small streets and tight corners, but you know all that and are use to it. I hope you are prepared. I have traveled a fair amount in Europe ( I was born in Sweden and my wife in Switzerland), make sure to plan your routes and keep an eye on over/under pass, trees hanging over etc.

    As far as running the furnace, this is not a problem, it runs on propane and the fan on 12 volt and puts out good heat. Not sure if I would want to camp in -18C but I'm sure you will survive. We have been in some -5 weather but we also have an electric fireplace that we can run when hooked up to an electrical hook up. Your unit may have better insulation then ours and you probably have double pane windows? We have two propane tanks on our trailer and I assume you will have the same. They last a long time.

    If your trailer has only one battery, like ours do. I would install one or two more batteries for extra storage. This is especially important if you are not hooked up to power for a long time or if you are not pulling the trailer. You can always hook up your truck and charge the battery up but it is nice to have the extra batteries. Also your grey and black water tanks will more then likely have heaters in them. They run on 12 volt and are great to have if you are camping in freezing temperatures. The truck will charge the battery on the trailer when you are on the road. Another option is to add some solar panels on the roof of the trailer.

    We might do that for our next long trip, the winter of 2013 and 2014 we will be travelling through southern USA. Further, June, July and August of 2014 we will visit, Northern British Columbia, Yukon Territory and Alaska. Both will be wonderful trips.

    The trip we did across Canada and back clocked 34,017 km on the truck in 4.5 months. The trailer did not get that many km on it but we had a fair amount.... There are another 20 posts or so coming from that trip. I saw you signed up for the updates. I have 3 written, just have to get to it and post it.

    As you know most of Europe has 220 volt not 110/120 like in Canada and US. I assume your unit is made for Europe or did you buy it over here?

    You and your wife will have a wonderful time in your new trailer. When you get the trailer do one or two days camping close to home, just to make sure everything works. It is much nicer to be able to take it back to the dealer you bought it from. Also when you get the trailer, crawl under it and check everything..... I had some loose nuts. I would also check the crown nuts on the axles and make sure they have a cotter pin through the axle.... mine had one missing and we had a breakdown when we traveled across Canada. See http://lizandanders.blogspot.ca/2011/08/cross-canada-and-back-part-20.html

    Any further questions Andrew, just let me know.

    Cheers, Anders

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