Families may be able to picture themselves traveling in this lightweight towable RV that is packed with a multitude of must-have comforts and luxuries.
By Mark Quasius, F333630
Gulf Stream Coach has continued to bolster its reputation for innovation with its line of towable RVs. In particular, units in the company’s Envision series of lightweight travel trailers boast a number of features that make them a prime choice for family RVing. The lighter weight of the structure allows for plenty of cargo carrying capacity, and the RV is chock-full of amenities that make occupants feel right at home while enjoying time in the outdoors.
The Envision line currently has seven floor plans, ranging from 27 feet 8 inches to 37 feet 6 inches in length. I had the opportunity to review the 258RB floor plan, which measures 30 feet 4 inches long and includes a rear bath.
The Envision series adds a number of upscale touches as compared with the company’s Envision SVT (Special Value Trailer) line, while retaining reasonable price tags. At an unloaded vehicle weight (UVW) of 5,957 pounds, the 258RB can be towed by a wide range of vehicles. The gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is 7,999 pounds, giving it a cargo carrying capacity (CCC) of 2,042 pounds, which is a good amount for a unit of this size. The UVW includes the propane but does not factor in any fresh water. The 51-gallon fresh-water tank would weigh 425 pounds if full.
The Envision begins with square-tube aluminum floor framing filled with block-foam insulation. A layer of structural plywood is used as the bottom of the subfloor, while two layers of plywood with staggered seams form the top layer. All layers are bonded with robotically applied adhesives, and the entire sandwich is vacuum-laminated. The top of the finished subfloor is then covered with wood-plank-look vinyl flooring; the bottom and sides are wrapped in a tough woven polyester fabric that is designed to deflect water and road debris.
Sidewalls are constructed in a similar manner, with a welded square-tube aluminum framework filled with closed-cell foam insulation. Exterior gel-coat fiberglass is backed by Azdel, a synthetic composite material that can’t delaminate and is impervious to moisture. Structural plywood and vinyl wallpaper complete the interior of the wall, which is then vacuum-laminated.
A one-piece vinyl walk-on roof is equipped with gutters to divert water and tucks into a seamless fiberglass front cap. The cap is equipped with LED accent lighting as well as a diamond-plate lower shield to protect against damage from road debris. E-Z Lube axles and radial tires on aluminum wheels support the frame.
A power awning with LED lighting covers the patio area. The Envision comes equipped with a bracket and necessary connections to mount an HDTV for outdoor entertainment. Weatherproof outdoor speakers with night lights provide plenty of audio coverage for the patio area.
The pass-through storage area at the front of the unit includes motion-sensor lighting. A motion-sensor LED entry light also is included. Frameless windows, fold-down Solid Step entry steps, a power tongue jack, a pair of 20-pound propane tanks mounted on the tongue of the RV, and a propane quick-connect for a grill complete the exterior.
The 258RB designates a rear bath floor plan, which works well in this 30-foot RV. The bath is equipped with a foot-flush toilet, a Vortex vent fan, a mirrored medicine cabinet, a vanity and a sink surrounded by a nice-size solid-surface counter, and a linen storage cabinet. The walk-in shower measures 30 inches by 36 inches and is topped by a skylight.
The interior décor incorporates Matador Frost ceiling panels and Plush Dunes wall panels. The handcrafted cabinets feature solid wood stiles and doors for durability, and the gray modern farmhouse décor contrasts nicely with the vinyl plank flooring and makes for a bright interior. LED lighting is used throughout the interior of the RV, as well as on the exterior. Pleated day-night shades cover the deep-tinted radius-frame windows.
In the main living area of the review unit, optional theater seating replaced the standard trifold sofa bed. The entertainment center opposite the seating area holds a 40-inch LED TV and space for various entertainment system components. An optional electric fireplace also was included in the unit I reviewed. The dining area was housed in the same slideout, next to the theater seating. The standard booth dinette was replaced by an optional free-standing table with four chairs.
The Envision galley features the Chef’s Best kitchen package, which includes a stainless-steel farm sink accompanied by a high-arc faucet with a pull-down sprayer. The sink is set in a seamless solid-surface countertop. A three-burner range and a large oven stand ready for most cooking tasks, augmented by a microwave oven above the stainless-steel range hood and the stove. A tile backsplash protects the wall behind the range and facilitates cleanup.
The 10.7-cubic-foot Everchill 12-volt refrigerator consumes minimal power and is set atop a handy pull-out tray equipped with food and water bowls for Fido. An 8-cubic-foot, three-way (propane/electric) fridge is available as an option. All appliances, plus the range hood, are trimmed in brushed stainless steel for an upscale look.
The front bedroom holds a north-south-facing 60-inch-by-80-inch queen bed with a large under-bed storage area and dedicated shoe “corral.” A pair of mirrored wardrobes flank the bed, and a 19-inch LED TV can be mounted on the opposite wall. A 72-inch-by-80-inch king bed is an option, but the extra width requires that the spacious nightstands be replaced by smaller ones.
Electrical needs are met by a 35-amp converter/charger powered by a detachable 30-amp power cord and a pair of 6-volt deep-cycle batteries.
Keeping the RV cool in hot weather is handled by a ducted 15,000-Btu roof air conditioner. An optional 13,500-Btu unit is available for the bedroom area, in which case the electrical service is upgraded to 50 amps.
Heat is provided by a 35,000-Btu propane furnace. The optional electric fireplace furnishes additional heat and ambience. A dedicated heat duct from the furnace warms the Envision’s enclosed underbelly, which prevents its holding tanks and plumbing lines from freezing when the weather turns cold.
An external docking station provides a common location for utility connections. The RV is prepped for satellite TV, cable TV, Wi-Fi, and solar panels, as well as a backup camera.
The Envision is designed for families who want a lightweight RV capable of being towed by a wide range of vehicles, one that won’t break the budget or force them to give up many of the fea-tures found in larger upscale units. In that regard, the Envision 258RB scores well. It offers a very functional floor plan, durable fiberglass construction, and an attractive look to boot.
SPECIFICATIONS | 2021 ENVISION 258RB
Gulf Stream Coach Inc., 503 S. Oakland Ave., P.O. Box 1005, Nappanee, IN 46550; (800) 289-8787; www.gulfstreamcoach.com
30 feet 4 inches
6 feet 8 inches
GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR)
SHIPPING WEIGHT (DRY WEIGHT)
CARGO CARRYING CAPACITY (CCC)
rigid closed-cell foam
FRESH WATER CAPACITY
HOLDING TANK CAPACITIES
gray water — 72 gallons;
black water — 36 gallons
40 pounds (2 20-pound cylinders)
6 gallons, propane and electric, DSI
35,000-Btu furnace, ducted
(1) 15,000-Btu ducted, standard; (1) additional 13,500-Btu, optional
10.7-cubic-foot 12-volt, standard; 8-cubic-foot propane/electric, optional
marine, foot flush
3 years limited structural;
separate manufacturers’ warranties for appliances, components
MANUFACTURER’S BASE SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE