This luxury fifth-wheel RV offers an intriguing layout full of upscale conveniences.
By Bruce W. Smith
Since its inception 10 years ago, Venture RV has been all about the RVer. In fact, the company – a division of KZ RV – began with the idea of creating user-inspired RVs “designed for campers, by campers.” Its inaugural model, the lightweight SportTrek travel trailer, was developed for larger families. That was followed by several ultralight models, including the Stratus. The new Stratus SR261VRB floor plan is the subject of this review.
The Stratus boasts an eye-catching exterior, including a panoramic window in the aerodynamic front wall. This A-frame travel trailer comes in standard Arctic White but also is offered in three optional high-gloss exteriors: Indigo Blue, Victory Red, and Aztec Gray. Ample storage, easy-to-use leveling technology, and a productive air-conditioning airflow system are among its noteworthy features.
The SR261VRB comes with an unloaded vehicle weight rating of 6,490 pounds and an overall length of 31 feet 11 inches. Company designers have created an efficient, livable space in this one-slideout floor plan, with its front bedroom, huge rear bath, and outdoor kitchen.
Construction, Exterior, Featured Systems
Venture RV’s vehicles start with an NXG high-strength low-alloy steel frame from Norco Industries; it offers the lighter weight desired and is powder coated to prevent corrosion. Huck bolting secures the frame, and a flush-floor NXG slideout is added, said to offer a tighter, quieter system with minimal maintenance.
The floor is constructed with 2-inch-by-3-inch joists set 16 inches apart on center and 5/8-inch tongue-and-groove plywood decking, with a Darco moisture barrier added. Sidewalls include Azdel Onboard composite panels for reduced weight, increased insulation, sound deadening, and moisture resistance. To construct the walk-on roof, 4 3/8-inch trusses are set 16 inches on center; ½-inch decking topped with a reflective PVC roof membrane, which comes with a limited lifetime warranty, is added.
For improved heating and cooling, Stratus RVs include the WeatherShield package. This incorporates a 360-degree radiant foil barrier, 360-degree residential fiberglass insulation, forced-air heat in the enclosed underbelly, enclosed gate valves, and the aforementioned PVC reflective roof membrane.
The unit’s 15-inch Goodyear radial tires with EZ Lube hubs ride on polished aluminum rims. The trailer has self-adjusting brakes and comes with four angled stabilizer jacks, with lighting above each jack. Its power tongue jack is lighted for added convenience. Twin 20-pound propane tanks are protected in an enclosed compartment with an easy-access cover.
Slam-latch baggage doors with magnetic door catches secure the outside compartments. An additional front pass-through compartment is equipped with a motion light and slam-latch doors.
Solid, flip-up aluminum entry steps adjust for uneven terrain and provide secure footing when in use. They lead to the radiused friction-hinge entry door; its screen door comes with a Screen Shot automatic closing device and a Screen Defender protector for the screen. A combination dog leash tie-up and bottle opener is right by the entry.
The SR261VRB takes RV living outside with its 18-foot lighted electric awning.
This floor plan also comes with Venture RV’s Campfire Café, a nice-size exterior kitchen that features a flat-top griddle and a stainless-steel sink on a roll-out tray, along with a refrigerator, a 40-inch smart TV that swings out, and cabinet storage. A sound system is located in this outside kitchen. Campers can enjoy the DVD player, exterior stereo, and two marine-grade weatherproof speakers; the speakers can be utilized with the available Bluetooth connection.
At the rear is a ladder; a 2-inch accessory hitch; and a 4-inch bumper made of steel tubing, which makes a mess-free place to store hoses. The Stratus is prepped for a backup camera. And walking around to the street side, one finds the docking station, which puts all utility connections in one place.
Other standard items include a detachable marine-grade power cord, a battery disconnect, LED exterior lights, a universal key system, and an exterior shower offering hot and cold water. An off-the-grid solar package with a 100-watt panel and controller is optional.
One noteworthy system is the LevelMatePRO, which enables users to level a towable RV via their smartphone. This software calculates and displays the correct height needed for leveling, and an indicator arrow changes color when that level has been reached. Users can check the vehicle level from inside or outside the RV; level the vehicle in low light and/or at night; and save the hitch position for easy reconnection to the tow vehicle. Plus, the system can be used without interrupting the Bluetooth connection.
The Stratus is also equipped to provide more efficient cooling with technology from RV Airflow Systems. A specially designed module installed in a plenum catches all the airflow that emanates from the A/C unit, reportedly increasing airflow into the RV by 40 percent on average. Other advantages include faster cooling, noise reduction, and reduced electrical consumption. The SR261VRB comes standard with one 13,500-Btu A/C unit. It can be switched to an optional 15,000-Btu low-profile unit, or an optional second 13,500-Btu unit can be added.
The interior décor package, called Dune, dresses this RV in the modern farmhouse style. A combination of glazed antique-white woodwork and dark heirloom maple is used. Countertops feature a live-edge design. Beauflor plank-look vinyl dresses the floor, while high-efficiency LED lighting and large, panoramic windows brighten the interior. The overall effect is clean, uncomplicated, and contemporary.
The front bedroom houses a 60-inch-by-80-inch queen-size bed. Behind it, the large windshield-type window lets in abundant natural light. At its foot, gas struts lift up the mattress for access to a sizable storage area. Shirt-length wardrobes and overhead cabinets fill other available spaces. Flanking the bed are Venture’s Stor-More nightstands, a nearby spot to place eyeglasses, a phone, a water bottle, or a CPAP machine. Each has a USB port and 110-volt outlet for charging devices.
The RV chef should find everything within easy reach in the SR261VRB’s U-shaped galley, on the curb side. The galley is outfitted with the antique-white cabinetry, which visually separates it from the darker wood elsewhere. A generous number of drawers and cabinets store utensils and provisions, including one suitable for pots and pans. A particularly convenient storage feature is Venture’s Safe-Tek storage box, a hidden charging station in an upper galley cabinet that also makes a handy place to stash keys, wallets, etc.
The deep, undermounted galley sink is paired with a high-rise metal faucet/sprayer and comes with a roll-up cover/drying rack and food strainer. Appliances include a three-burner cooktop with illuminated controls and a glass cover, a conventional oven, and a microwave oven. A 10-cubic-foot 12-volt refrigerator-freezer is standard, with an 8-cubic-foot propane-electric model offered as an option. An additional fun feature is the cutting board adorned with the Venture RV logo, which fits into the farm sink.
Across the aisle, a 42-inch dinette and a 70-inch sofa share space in the slideout. Two 36-inch storage bins are concealed beneath the dinette bench seats; they can be removed and packed with food, gear, clothes, etc. The dinette also converts to a bed.
The sofa comes standard. Theater seats that feature heat, massage, individual recline, and USB ports on both arms are available as an option. Regardless of which seating style is included, they face the 40-inch smart TV in the entertainment center. The Bluetooth stereo also resides there, along with cubbies and cabinets for stowing DVDs, books, electronic devices, etc. Occupants also can enjoy a 30-inch wide-view fireplace, equipped with controls to change the colors of the flames and crystals, and to warm the room. An open space below the fireplace makes an out-of-the-way home for shoes and pet bowls.
Families will appreciate even more storage possibilities in the SR261VRB’s huge bathroom, which stretches across the rear of the RV. Perhaps its most outstanding feature is a three-door linen closet, large enough to accommodate all sorts of towels and toiletries. An additional cabinet is prepped for a washer and dryer — not typically seen in a travel trailer of this size. The bathroom contains a 30-inch-by-36-inch shower, a porcelain toilet with foot flush, and an angled sink and vanity.
As Venture RV begins a new decade, the path seems clear as the company continues to design new models, such as the Stratus SR261VRB: “Our goal is to continue developing innovative features, driving the industry forward, and providing our customers with the best camping experience possible,” noted Aram Koltookian, Venture RV president.
SPECIFICATIONS | 2023 STRATUS SR261VRB
Venture RV, 985 N. 900 W., Shipshewana, IN 46565; www.venture-rv.com; (888) 829-6320
31 feet 11 inches
10 feet 11 inches (with A/C)
6 feet 6 inches
GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR)
UNLOADED VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING
CARGO CARRYING CAPACITY (CCC)
FRESH WATER CAPACITY
HOLDING TANK CAPACITIES
gray water — 64 gallons; black water — 32 gallons
6 gallons; propane/electric with direct spark ignition
(1) 13,500-Btu, standard; (1) 15,000-Btu, optional; second 13,500-Btu unit, optional
Full-size residential with ice maker and 1,800-watt pure sine wave inverter
porcelain with foot flush
1 year, limited
MANUFACTURER’S BASE SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE