Is Dutchmen RV for you?
Dutchmen RV is an entry to mid-level RV manufacturer of towables. Now owned by Keystone RV, Dutchmen has stepped up their game over the last few years. Once known as a stodgy builder of traditional campers, Dutchmen now appears to have learned a trick or two at the knee of Keystone. Their entire lineup has been updated with better materials and more technology. Build quality has improved but is still somewhat erratic. We’re seeing more owners than ever before that would recommend Dutchmen RV to a friend, but we also still receive complaints about initial fit and finish about some specific models.
There are more than 100 RV manufacturers fighting for your business.
Everyone has heard of the big guns in the RV universe. Names like Forest River, Jayco and Keystone are known by anyone in the market for a travel trailer or fifth wheel. Years ago, Dutchmen RV was one of these big names, but complacency took hold at some point. Today, Dutchmen RV is more of a second tier builder. Their name seems to evoke memories of campers from the 1980s and we’ve talked to people who were surprised to hear they were still around.
This is a tad unfair. With access to Keystone’s deep pockets and design assistance, today’s Dutchmen RV is as current and innovative as anyone else in the entry to mid-level market. For instance, recent years have even seen them beef up their warranty -kind of. Their new “3 Year Warranty” logo is splashed all over their website and press literature along with a reference to the “industry’s best warranty”. It isn’t. The fine print clarifies a one year bumper-to-bumper warranty and two more years for the structural components. This translates in to what we would call a “3 Year Warranty -Kind of….”
Regardless, it is better than it used to be. Also, to be fair, you can’t throw a rock in this country without hitting an RV manufacturer with a slippery warranty awash in fine print. In short, we suggest a thorough review of any and all advertised warranty coverage -from any manufacturer.
Where does Dutchmen RV compare against their peers?
There are a handful of RV factories that build top notch products at affordable (and fair) prices, but many buyers don’t look further than the top names. As a result, we think more people should be looking to some of the less known (or forgotten) builders like Dutchmen RV. They have a handful of models in their current lineup that we really like. Unfortunately, they also have a few dogs that we would avoid. Remember, no manufacturer builds equally across their entire lineup. With this in mind, knowing the best models from each builder is more important than knowing the best-selling builder.
Research should be unbiased and independent.
The takeaway is this: before you decide to shell out tens of thousands of dollars on a travel trailer or fifth wheel, do yourself a favor and do some research first. The more you know, the more you’ll save. Granted, your RV dealer will be happy to educate you on the best RV on the lot (usually the most expensive one -imagine that?), however, his focus is on selling more RVs with more profit. Are you sensing a conflict of interest here?
Our Travel Trailer & Fifth Wheel Comparison Guide will help you focus on top-rated builders and not just the most popular builders. If a little research puts you in a Dutchmen RV that is equal to -or better- than a comparable offering from Forest River or Jayco, for a few thousand dollars less, would you consider that to be time well spent? Putting it another way, how many trips could you pay for with an extra few thousand dollars in your pocket?
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