You might imagine that since everybody in the RV industry can sell every single unit that rolls off the line that there wouldn’t be any new floor plans coming out. But there actually are new things hitting the showrooms, and one of those is the 2022 Keystone Cougar 25RDS travel trailer.
As part of Thor’s Keystone family, the Cougar line is at the upper end of the range and is comprised of both fifth wheels and travel trailers. In fact, if you’re looking at the floor plan and thinking you may have seen this recently, you have – sort of. Keystone makes the same layout in a fifth wheel in their Keystone Cougar 24RDS.
It makes sense that Keystone would take their most popular floor plan and turn it into a travel trailer. In so doing, they offer some slightly different features that may make it an even better choice for some travelers.Keystone Cougar 25RDS1 of 15
What’s the same
The things I really liked about the fifth wheel version of this floor plan move right over into the travel trailer design. Principal among those is the huge U-shaped dinette at the back of the trailer surrounded by windows. There are a few floor plans that have something like this and I really like that.
Perhaps that’s because the campground I frequent most often is right along a stream where the carp jump and the deer come to drink. That stream is right on the edge of a nature preserve, so there are alls sorts of inhabitants that frequent the area. Backing this trailer up to that stream would be a great way to sit inside, turn on the electric fireplace and watch nature at its finest.
I also like that that U-shaped dinette at the rear has a free-floating table. You can take it out and make it a lounge, or it could also go outside if need be.
But that table can also work as a dining table for the seats on the side of the trailer or for a desk. The standard issue in the slide is a two-person jackknife sofa, but there are also theater seats. Imagine sitting here getting my reviews done while peering out the back window at all that natural beauty.
I also like that the lighting above the theater seats is dimmable. That’s nice.
The plentiful windows in this trailer are probably part of why it’s such a popular offering. I can see being able to take advantage of the seating, as well. However, I wish they’d just put the thin shade over the window door. Yeah, it’s nice that it’s Thin Shade ready, but just install the shade already.
One of the stories the Cougar line is happy to share is how well-insulated they are against both cold and hot. The company has a heated and enclosed underbelly with heat ducted right onto each of the three holding tanks. Further, there are 12-volt heating pads on each tank.
There’s also Keystone’s Blade Pure™ AC system where the vents have been tested to provide about 20 percent more air flow. This system also incorporates air filtration – which you’d expect, but is uncommon.
On the subject of the heater, I also like that Keystone has no floor registers in this trailer.
And if you’re a regular reader of this feature, you’ll know that I like to go on about the small ovens in most RVs. However, this one has the larger 22” model. We just made peanut butter cookies in ours – we actually use it!
There’s more in the Keystone Cougar 25RDS than the fifth wheel
There are also features in here that are not part of the fifth wheel version, surprisingly.
One of those will make a significant difference to some of you – that being a king-sized bed. While the fiver has a queen, this one sports a king.
I also like the fact that this model has two entry doors. That would be a challenge to accomplish in a fifth wheel. Imagine the process of folding down the steps from the upper deck?!
But this model has a door to the bedroom and one in the rear. That means that every aspect of this trailer is accessible in travel mode. That is a huge disadvantage in the fifth wheel variant. You absolutely have to extend the slide room to get upstairs to the bedroom or into the bathroom, but not here.
So that makes this better for that reason, in my eyes. I like mid-journey stops and sometimes will use the bathroom, kitchen or even the bed while I’m on my way to places and wouldn’t want to have to extend the slide room. You wouldn’t have to here, although you’d have to get into the main living space through that door or the bedroom and bathroom through the bedroom door.
For the way my wife and I camp, having the bathroom dissect the trailer would be ideal only because I wake up early to get the latest news on the RV industry and she doesn’t. Having two doors and a bathroom between the bedroom and main living space would be a huge deal.
But I’ve also read lots of your comments and some of you absolutely do not like this.
Two versions of the Keystone Cougar 25RDS
One of the interesting things that I don’t believe I’ve mentioned in the past is that some RV manufacturers have so much demand they build their products in more than one plant. Keystone is definitely one of those companies, offering the Cougar 25RDS in an “East” and a “West” version.
There are plants in Indiana and a plant in Oregon, where these trailers are made. For the most part there are few differences – but there are differences nonetheless. Depending on the model, there may be changes to how the front cap is implemented or alterations on some insulation and things like that.
Having these two operations makes a lot of sense because shipping costs have been high as it is. But they’ve gone through the roof lately, like so many other expenses.
Essentially, larger fifth wheels and travel trailers, like this one, get hooked to the back of a shipper’s pickup truck and hauled from the factory to the dealership. The cost per mile of this shipping has already been high, but is significantly more so as so many other costs in the RV space have risen.
So, having a plant on the West Coast can significantly reduce the overall cost of an RV for a huge number of RV buyers. However, now the cost of getting some of the components to the West Coast has risen enough that the base MSRP of the two trailers is surprisingly different. The East Coast edition has a base MSRP of $45,848, and the West Coast model is $49,973.
That is by no means an insignificant amount of money.
I have reported before on the number of features that Keystone’s “Innovation Lab” has addressed. Those include the higher-performance air conditioning ducting, their HyperDeck™ man-made flooring product, and many other aspects of the design.
I also think that Keystone is doing an unusually good job of explaining the benefits of the various advantages that they have – which is really a good idea.
But one of the best features in Keystone products is the fact that every Keystone RV has at least 200 watts of solar included and up to 1200 watts available. This model’s choices go up to the SolarFlex™ 600i-L, which has 600 watts of solar and a Dragonfly 270 amp-hour lithium battery. (Dragonfly is the OEM branch of Battle Born batteries.)
Something else about this floor plan that I like are the tank sizes, with 60 gallons of fresh water and 60 gallons of grey water storage. This could potentially net my wife and me about five days off the grid even with daily showers. That would especially be true even with just the SolarFlex™ 400i package, which includes a 2000-watt inverter and two 200-watt solar panels.
I like the floor plan of the Keystone Cougar 25RDS, as you can probably tell. This would absolutely work well for my wife and me, especially equipped with at least the SolarFlex™ 400i solar package.
But there are some things that I’m not as fond of, starting with a simple leaf spring suspension. I’ve been spoiled by the torsion axle suspension in my present travel trailer. I wish there were an upgrade path to at least something like Lippert’s Road Armor suspension components, which might be one of the first things I’d put in.
Well, I guess buying one from Lippert and putting it in is an upgrade path of sorts.
Of course, I’ve also written about being very, very knowledgeable about towing and weights and paying particular attention to cargo carrying capacity and what your tow vehicle can safely handle. The reason I bring this up is that these are advertised as “half-ton” series trailers. I wouldn’t tow this with my present half-ton truck even after having upgraded the suspension.
The Keystone Cougar 25RDS is really intriguing to me
But the floor plan and many of the features of this trailer make it really intriguing to me. Further, if you like the fifth wheel version there’s that. Or, if you’d rather keep the bed of your truck for more stuff (like eBikes), then you have this model.
My thanks once again to Josh Winters of Haylett RV in Coldwater, Michigan, for use of the photos.
I would love to read your comments and suggestions over on our new forums, where you can weigh in and start or join a discussion about all things RV. Here’s a link to my RV Reviews Forum.
Tony comes to RVTravel having worked at an RV dealership and been a life long RV enthusiast. He also has written the syndicated Curbside column about cars. You can find his writing here and at StressLessCamping where he also has a podcast about the RV life with his wife.
These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. We receive no money or other financial benefits from these reviews. They are intended only as a brief overview of the vehicle, not a comprehensive critique, which would require a thorough inspection and/or test drive.