Designed with full-time RVers in mind, this model boasts many of the comforts of a stationary home.
By Mark Quasius, F333630
Full-time RVers want a product that can take the rigors of long-term live-aboard use while retaining many luxuries found in sticks-and-bricks homes. KZ RV, a Thor Industries company, meets this challenge with the Durango Gold series upscale fifth-wheel. The Durango Gold is filled with residential amenities and furnishings and is available in nine floor plans, ranging from 36 feet to 42 feet in length.
The G384RLT has a base unloaded vehicle weight (UVW) of 12,250 pounds and a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 14,995 pounds. This leaves 2,745 pounds of cargo carrying capacity. (My test unit, with several options, weighed 12,360 pounds.) Because this model is designed for full-time use, it’s not a lightweight trailer and will require a one-ton truck to tow safely, although some ¾-ton trucks may handle it.
The powder-coated-steel I-beam frame supports the basic skeleton, which consists of welded aluminum studs, floor joists, and roof trusses. The unit’s 2-inch-thick sidewalls are rated at R-11 and use metal backing strips to secure interior cabinets. The walk-on roof is a TPO membrane over 3/8-inch plywood decking.
The Durango Gold is designed for year-round use, thanks to an all-weather insulation package that comes standard. This incorporates R-38 insulation in the roof, floor, ceiling, end caps, and tank compartments. The roof is built on 5-inch aluminum trusses and has a ventilated attic. One-piece ABS slideout bottoms are also insulated to R-24, so keeping the cold out won’t be a problem in this RV. The 5/8-inch plywood floor is screwed and glued to the aluminum floor joists.
A rounded front cap improves the unit’s turning radius on short-bed trucks. An optional six-point hydraulic leveling system eases setup procedures. Also standard on this floor plan are lightweight, self-contained, swing-down ground-stable steps, which are adjustable; these steps make for a solid and secure feeling when entering or exiting the RV. (Most of the Gold series floor plans come standard with lightweight, rustproof aluminum flip-down steps.)
Inside, an open-concept main living area blends into the galley and is made expansive with opposing slideouts. One clever feature of note in the G384RLT: The entry door is placed in the curbside slideout, which makes living room access easier.
Dual-pane, tinted, frameless windows keep the sun out and help to insulate the interior. Flooring consists of 22-ounce residential-grade carpeting laid over a 3/8-inch carpet pad, which produces a nice, soft feel; wood-look vinyl is also used. A 40-inch wide-view electric fireplace is located below the TV and adds that extra bit of ambience to the living area.
The galley island holds a deep-basin stainless-steel sink with a high-arch pull-out sprayer faucet. Work surface countertops in the Durango Gold feature solid-surface material. Part of the galley shares space in the same slideout as the street-side entertainment center. Overhead galley cabinetry in this slideout contains a standard 30-inch microwave oven (a convection microwave is optional), while the base cabinetry offers a nice work area complete with a three-burner cooktop placed over an optional drawer-style dishwasher.
Immediately to the right of this area is an 18-cubic-foot residential refrigerator equipped with an inverter; an 18-cubic-foot propane/electric RV fridge also is available. A wide, enclosed pantry is located near the refrigerator.
The review unit featured a freestanding table with four chairs in the curbside slideout, adjacent to the entry door.
The bath boasts a wide residential fiberglass shower with a built-in seat and a glass door enclosure. A porcelain foot-pedal-flush toilet, a solid-surface vanity sink, and a linen closet complete this room.
The Durango Gold’s bedroom comes standard with a king-size bed. The G384RLT contains a second vanity sink and expansive cabinetry; the latter holds an overhead 32-inch LED TV. A full-width mirrored wardrobe spans the front of the RV.
Full-time living requires full-time utilities, and the Durango Gold does a good job of providing them. The 50-amp electric service with marine connector provides adequate power to run the various appliances, including the dual 15,000-Btu ducted air conditioners. A 35,000-Btu propane furnace provides plenty of heat for cold days. All plumbing runs and holding tanks are installed inside the R-38 insulation, so freeze-ups should be a thing of the past. The water convenience center is heated and contains all of the controls required to maintain the fresh-water system, as well as the holding tanks.
A 12-gallon DSI gas-electric water heater provides domestic hot water, and a pair of 30-gallon propane tanks are located in a dedicated compartment. A quick-connect LP setup allows for appliances such as gas grills or campfires to be fueled by the propane system. Optional solar panels are available for off-the-grid use.
A standard 11-foot awning over the living room slideout and an optional 17-foot awning toward the front of the unit (both are power units with LED lighting) complete the outdoor experience.
Considering the level of insulation and construction quality packed into this fifth-wheel, and K-Z’s two-year limited warranty, the 2018 Durango Gold should be a popular choice with full-time RV owners.
KZ RV, 985 N. 900 W., Shipshewana, IN 46565; (260) 768-4016; www.kz-rv.com
40 feet 4 inches (measured from center of hitch pin to rear bumper)
13 feet 3 inches
6 feet 4 inches
GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR)
UNLOADED VEHICLE WEIGHT
12,360 pounds (as tested)
CARGO CARRYING CAPACITY
FRESH WATER TANK
GRAY WATER TANK
BLACK WATER TANK
DRY HITCH WEIGHT
24 months hitch to bumper
BASE SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE
PRICE AS EQUIPPED