If you’re in the market for one of 2021’s most unique fifth wheels, you’re in the right place. It’s not often you find a radically new fifth wheel idea. But with this year’s Columbus River Ranch, you’ll get pretty darn close. It is a brand new flat-floor fifth wheel RV design you won’t find anywhere else. Let’s take a closer look!
The Palomino Columbus River Ranch is a pretty functional fifth wheel. It brings together unique storage solutions for tiny living with all the amenities you’d expect in a sticks-and-bricks home. This fifth wheel has an exterior length of 42 feet, and the length combined with four slide outs makes the living space feel enormous. However, its GVWR is 17,999 pounds, so make sure you have a truck that can handle this bad boy.
It’s also decently outfitted for boondocking. The River Ranch comes with 75-gallon fresh water and grey water tanks and a 39-gallon black tank. There are also optional upgrades to make this rig even better. You can get dual pane windows, an 18 cubic foot fridge, a 5.5kW generator, and more.
But let’s now examine the thing that really makes this RV unique.
In almost every other fifth wheel out there, the front section is raised over the bed of the truck and accessed with 2-3 steps. Instead of raising just the front, they raised the entire floor plan in the River Ranch in what they’re calling a “flat-floor” design. This means that the bedroom, kitchen, and living area are all on the same level – no more steps up into the bedroom.
To enter this RV, there are a couple of extra steps on the inside of the entry door, similar to a Class A motorhome entrance. These steps at the entry protrude into the living space and hallway and are encircled by a closeable railing to help prevent falling when you pass by.
Because of the raise floor, the ceiling throughout the RV is lower. If tall ceilings are one of your favorite things about the fifth wheel, this may be a downside.
On the other hand, it may be nice to not have to worry about stepping up and down stairs as you move through the RV or especially in the middle of the night. Once you tackle the extra steps at the entry, you’re done with steps. We could see this being a particular benefit for families with young kids who haven’t yet mastered stairs.
So why raise the floor up? The second main result of the flat-floor is that you get TONS of storage underneath the RV – 480 cubic feet worth.
Often, you’re lucky if you get 1 or 2 pass-through storage cubbies in an RV. But in the Columbus River Ranch, the exterior storage compartments are all pass-throughs that combine for one spacious storage compartment. You could literally fit your whole bike or a kayak underneath and still have plenty of room for more stuff.
However, space doesn’t necessarily mean cargo carrying capacity. This was our first thought when we saw this model – will you even be able to fill all that space safely?
We were actually surprised to see that the new River Ranch was designed to have 4055lbs of cargo carrying capacity, which is a lot by fifth wheel standards. This leaves you with just over 3400lbs after a full freshwater tank for cargo. So, you might actually be able to utilize much of that space.
Reaching the interior storage may prove difficult – you might want to install some sliding shelves to more easily access all your gear. (And factor that weight in.)
Besides the amazing storage you get from a raised floor design, the Columbus River Ranch fifth wheel has some other unique features as well.
First, the exterior roof height is 13′ 6″. This is much taller than many fifth wheels. It is actually as tall as it can be while following state laws regarding fifth wheels.
And if you’re worried about scraping off your roof’s A/C unit on an overpass, don’t be! The Columbus River Ranch has a 2-ton (24,000 BTU) residential air conditioning unit in the basement, so it’s not on the roof. This A/C also doubles as a heat pump.
The HVAC system rounds out with a 35,000 BTU furnace with residential floor ducting that it shares with the A/C.
The River Ranch comes with G-rated tires, which helps them achieve their weight capacity. A tire pressure monitoring system is already built in to help detect leaks and blow-outs before they happen. It also has Mor/Ryde CRE 4000 suspension which should help with the ride.
The 20 Cu Ft residential fridge has its own dedicated inverter, which makes it more efficient when it isn’t hooked up to shore power. The Columbus River Ranch also comes with solid surface countertops and a solid wood entertainment center.
In the bathroom, you’ll find a spacious spa shower for taking long hot showers with its tankless water heater (we are unsure of which brand).
The Palomino Columbus River Ranch has a floor plan with the bedroom and bathroom in the front. It even has a king-size bed. You’ll also love cozying up at night and falling asleep by the 5,000 BTU fireplace situated on a slide-out at the foot of the bed. Plus, there is a long slide spanning the bedroom and bathroom, giving you added space in both rooms.
Just behind the bedroom and bathroom are a spacious living and kitchen area. Opposing slides in the living and dining room open up the space. It comes complete with theater seating, a sleeper sofa, a kitchen island in the middle of the room, and a table with cushioned dining chairs.
Beyond the layout, the interior has some nice features as well. These include large frameless windows, soft close doors and drawers, and marine-grade carpet. The kitchen also has a residential size RV sink with a sprayer faucet, a full pantry, and plenty of under counter space.
The exterior of the Columbus River Ranch has magnetic compartment holds, slap latches, a power awning, a fiberglass front cap, outdoor speakers, and an outside shower.
We’re always excited to see something new come out in the RV industry, and this new layout design is no exception. While the benefits of the enormous storage and flat floor might not apply to all fifth wheel RVers, it’s cool to see such a different layout idea come to fruition. We are pleased to see that our cargo carrying capacity concern with the vast storage space was addressed and that some of the modern features like a residential A/C unit/heat pump were also added. Whether you’re a full-time or part-time RVer, the Columbus River Ranch is worth a look.
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