RV-ing: 2018 Coachmen Apex 300BHS

RV-ing: 2018 Coachmen Apex 300BHS

Story and photos by Howard J Elmer

The family trailer. It’s a title, a description and also a lifestyle statement, all in three words.  And, despite those who dismiss the “old-fashioned family unit,” it really is a label that is timeless, as is the call of the Wild that beckons to those families.

So, no matter how they are made up, today’s families carry on – comprised of younger and/or older parental units with kids of all ages (including grandkids) in traditional, blended or mixed groups. Every year, new families come into their prime RVing time-window, and where will they spend these outdoor family holidays? In the family trailer, of course, and it’s one of these units I recently had a look at.

The Coachmen Apex line is made up of 24 models, each being towable and each aimed at accommodating the multi-generational family out camping – large or small. I chose the largest unit – the Apex 300BHS – first because I like bunkhouses and secondly  because I was intrigued by how light it was considering that the trailer is over 30-feet in length and can sleep up to ten people.

Now, the term light-weight is bandied around a lot in the RV business – and for each manufacturer, that claim is based on a wide variety of materials and build methods. Most have been around for years.

On this Coachmen though, what stood out was a newer material called Azdel. It’s used in the vacuum-bonded walls and is 50-percent lighter than the commonly used Lauan plywood material. In addition, this lighter-weight Azdel also claims to be mould-resistant, and being a solid, to not delaminate over time. The other standout in this Apex is the use of aluminum, throughout the entire superstructure, including the domed roof. Just these two design features alone equal a substantial weight savings overall. However, I also noted that supporting the entire trailer is a full-steel I-beam frame. Frankly, for rigidity and strength (stiff slide-out support being another necessity) this is one place you do want the extra weight of steel.

My tow vehicle for this test was the 2018 Ford F-150 powered by the 3.5L V6 EcoBoost engine and 10-speed transmission. This truck easily handled this 6,000-pound dry weight. In fact, at that number, there are a host of SUVs and trucks that would handle it, so that makes a buying choice that much easier for many who don’t want to switch up tow vehicles.

The trailer body supports two slideouts. The first houses the kitchen and the dinette right in the busy centre of the unit, offering up the most floor space possible in this high-traffic area. The second moves the one wall (and two bunks) out in the rear bunkhouse, which incidentally has a hard door. With both slides open, a standard nuclear family has lots of space – and if you do want to stretch you accommodations with more overnight invitations, it’s still going to be OK.

As I mentioned, the trailer will sleep ten. A couple in the front master bedroom, four kids (though they could be adults) in the rear bunkhouse and two each on the fold-down dinette and the adjacent Hide-a-Bed couch. Not saying you’d want this many bedded down every night – but it’s good to know you can do it if the need should arise.

With this many people potentially rising together and demanding to be fed, it’s also good to know you have two kitchens available. The inside kitchen has a nice-sized counter if you include the covers over the double sink (which can be split). The three-burner stove top is pretty standard, but it does come with an oven below and a microwave above including the power exhaust vent. Two things I liked here were the window behind the sink and the wipeable backsplash behind the stove top. The two-door refrigerator to the left is large and the separate freezer offers up a bit more space than a single-door model. For sitting/eating, the four-place dinette seems underwhelming – but if you factor in the seating on the couch, you could accommodate eight.

The second kitchen is outside, behind (then under when flipped up) a spring-loaded door that reveals a large bar fridge, sink with pumped water, counter with two drawers below and a pull-out two-burner gas camp stove. Obviously, these two cooking centres can be used simultaneously or separately as needed. The 18-foot power awning is a good feature – it will cover a lot of dining space outside.

The other area (in a trailer like this) that will be heavily used is the bathroom. Coachmen has anticipated this traffic by allocating a decent sized space to this need. Example: the roomy shower includes a half-tub and enough space outside it for an adult to comfortably kneel while scrubbing a little kid after a day of rolling in the mud. The sink is built into an oversize counter that has a large towel shelf under it – in addition to the medicine cabinet above and the below-sink cupboard. Of course, there is a powered fan, skylight, and a lockable hard door. All important things for keeping the peace in a crowed trailer.

What’s in a bunkhouse is obvious – bunks. But what is important is making this space bright, airy, entertaining and lockable! The Apex hits all those high notes with four windows – the large slideout and a pre-wired built-in location for a second TV. And of course, the hard door – not really for locking them in – instead for a noise break and bit of needed separation.

That’s the same reason that the front master bedroom has twin doors off the centrally-located Entertainment centre. However, make note that many trailers go with just curtains in this location, but hard doors are better.

This trailer is also potentially a four-season camper, as it is equipped with a 55-amp power centre, forced air/floor-ducted furnace, ceiling-ducted air conditioning, and a fully sealed and heated underbelly. Insulation ratings are R-14 in the roof, R-9 in the sidewalls, and R-11 in the floor.

Coachmen RVs have been on North American roads since 1964. They have built over 600,000 RVs to date; most of them with an eye towards serving the needs of the RVing family.  Certainly that’s what I saw in the Apex unit I spent the day in.


Technical Specifications: 

Dry Weight:                           5,975 lb

Hitch Weight:                           672 lb

GVWR:                                  7,600 lb

CCC:                                       1,625 lb

Exterior Length:                   34’3”

Exterior Height:                    10’4”

Exterior Width:                     96”

Fresh Water:                          50 gal

Gray Water:                           35 gal

Black Water:                         35 gal

LPG:                                       2x20lb

Awing Size:                           18’

MSRP for this unit, including options, is $41,683.00

This trailer was loaned to us for testing  by Campkin’s RV Centre, Myrtle, ON.

Categories: Features, RVing, Trucks Plus