You would never marry someone after the first date. Well, you shouldn’t, anyway. Likewise, rating a travel trailer such as our Rockwood Geo Pro after a single use, or single season, doesn’t make for the most accurate assessment of its suitability as a mate.
Much like dates, new trailers put on a good show a first. On the dealer lot, they’re all gussied up at their finest. Even when you bring them home the first time to meet the family, masks of perfection remain fully in place.
Not until the first year has passed, the infamous honeymoon period, does the true self emerge, and you finally realize what the hell you’ve gotten yourself into.
It’s now been more than a full year since we purchased our 2019 Rockwood Geo Pro 16BH. During that period, we have taken it on seven camping trips. That doesn’t seem like many. Certainly not enough to justify the expenditure in the first place. But as I explained in my original review, we purchased at a peculiar time and didn’t end up using it as much as expected last year. And already this year, already we have had to cancel two camping trips due to terrible weather. The joys of Alberta camping.
Of those seven trips, none have been extended vacations but rather two or three night getaways. And all have been a four-hour or less drive from our home. We certainly anticipate longer trips with our Rockwood Geo Pro 16BH in the future, but thus far we’ve kept it modest.
With one exception, all the trip destinations were National or Provincial Parks and accessed by smooth, paved highways. The lone exception was a recent adventure to Ya Ha Tinda, an isolated Government of Canada working horse ranch on crown land along the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains.
A remarkably beautiful place, Ya Ha Tinda is targeted to equestrian campers (we went with family who have horses). It’s also way out in the boonies. The final third of the drive was along gravel roads. In far too many places, a wildly unkempt gravel road at that. We gave the suspension of our Geo Pro, not to mention our SUV, a nasty workout.
These seven camping trips have allowed us to thoroughly assess our first-ever, brand-new trailer purchase. So, what is the verdict? We are very happy with our Rockwood Geo Pro 16BH, but not perfectly happy.
For the style of camping we enjoy, as a family of four with two kids now into their tween years, the Geo Pro 16BH has proven to be the perfect layout for us. It is exactly what we were looking for and we couldn’t be happier with its functionality. It affords us some comforts and security while still offering a sense of authenticity in our camping. It’s an ideal compromise between tenting and a second home on wheels.
Still, there have been issues. Some of these we recognized immediately and reported on them in my first review. Others have come to light in the months since. None, however, are grievous enough for us to regret our decision.
Annoyances that still bother us
There were four issues we discovered almost immediately after our purchase and all remain a nuisance.
- The squeaky fridge door which is most pronounced when the door is loaded with food items.
- The squeaky bathroom door which seems to be a result of lightweight hinge hardware.
- The single pillar kitchen table which remains dangerously unstable should anyone lean on it. It works fine as a table, but you must be careful not to rest your elbows on it and be careful when cutting items like veggies or cheese that require downward pressure.
- The ridiculous audio speaker setup continues to frustrate me. There is no balance function nor any means of turning only the interior speaker on or only the exterior speaker on. Both are on all the time, no matter where you are situated when listening to music. I can’t fathom how such a stupid electronic device was ever created, let alone chosen for installation into anything.
MEA CULPA! I have figured out where the balance function is on this frustrating stereo system. After posting many readers responded to inform me about using the balance to direct sound to one or the other speaker. They were correct and after some digging I got it to work. And yes, it does work.
BUT, I still maintain that this is a poorly designed stereo. Here’s why. The two speakers do not operate at the same decibel level. The outdoor speaker is much quieter than the indoor speaker. As such, the volume must be up substantially to hear the music outdoors. Then, when you return inside and alter the balance to direct the sound to the indoor speaker, you will blast your eardrums out if you forget to decrease the volume first. Any way you look at it, this is a chinsy, silly stereo setup.
Newly discovered annoyances that aren’t a huge deal
With time, we discovered five additional issues that are nuisances, but minor ones.
- The exterior fridge compartment door latch was installed 90 degrees askew to all the other exterior storage door compartments. It still works. And is easy to fix. But if you hate when the gas pump clicks to $58.01 while filling you’ll hate this incongruity too.
- The plastic grate covering the furnace beneath the front bench is frail and installed quite weakly. It was only a matter of time before someone dislodged it with a foot. It also remains only a matter of time before someone breaks it entirely with a foot. Poor location. Poor installation. Probably not much that can be done about it in the world of lightweight travel trailer design.
- Likewise, the thermostat is not installed very well. It works. It hasn’t fallen off the wall or malfunctioned. But when you attempt to adjust the temperature, the entire unit will twist on the wall. I am unsure if this affects the functionality of the thermostat, but I do believe, if left crooked, accuracy suffers. So, I dutifully re-level it each time I touch it.
- The electric water heater is nowhere near as efficient as the propane water heater. Not a huge deal, I suppose, but worth noting. I’ve never had anything but a propane water heater in a trailer so I’m not sure what is the appeal of the electric heater. Regardless, be aware it takes significantly longer to heat up the water compared to using propane.
- The blue digit lights on the microwave and the stereo control panel are bloody bright at night. We have resorted to covering them while we sleep to eliminate the blue glow that engulfed the trailer. I have no idea why they need to be so bright. A dimming function would be wonderful but understandably impossible with third-party equipment.
Newly discovered annoyances that tick us off
Alas, no relationship is perfect. The Geo Pro 16Bh is no exception, despite our love of it. Three issues have arisen that are genuine frustrations and disappointments.
- The metal “pulls” along the bottom of the blinds are poorly affixed to the blinds themselves. The rear bunk blind had this bar come completely off. The blind is inserted into a groove along the bar with only a weak, sticky plastic tape attaching it to the pull. I am unsure how to reattach this or what to use that would be more durable in keeping the pull in place. Krazy Glue, perhaps. The other blinds have not yet met this fate, but I anticipate them doing likewise. For an item that receives constant pulling to lower or raise the blind, it should be attached much better.
- Perhaps our biggest disappointment, this one has only come to light during our last two camping trips. Two weeks ago, while filling up our water tank at a campground, I noticed that one of the two waste drains appeared to be hanging closer to the ground than usual. Upon closer inspection, I discovered that the metal bracket holding up the sewage (black water) outlet had broken right next to the bolt holding it to the pipe. I suspected that this break resulted from vibrational weakening while driving. The bracket metal is thin and presumably too weak to withstand the constant vibration. My suspicion was confirmed when, not kidding, one week later the exact same thing happened to the galley (grey water) drain pipe. In the exact same spot. There is no doubt in my mind that the bracket is simply not thick enough for this application. Twice it wore out in seven drives or less. I recognize that engineers play a cat and mouse game with weight on these units, but this is simply a poor choice of materials. I can likely rig up something as a replacement; bungie cords do the job for now.
- My final grievance, and one that is as much my fault as trailer’s, the water valve to the toilet was damaged over the winter. I winterized. I blew out all the lines. I did what I’ve done with every trailer I’ve ever had resulting in no previous problems. This was not sufficient to protect this surprisingly fickle, plastic valve on the rear of the toilet. I now know to completely detach the water line over winter and will do so moving forward. We don’t use our toilet at all, so accidentally finding it full one day while camping was quite a shock. I fixed the valve with the expectedly overpriced replacement. There isn’t much space to maneuver in the bathroom so removing the entire toilet, which was required to replace the valve, was no simple task. An unpleasant nuisance, but one, thankfully, I can avoid in the future.
There you have it. A one-year-later review of our Rockwood Geo Pro 16BH. Nothing major has gone wrong. We have encountered no leaks … yet. The slide mechanism and the awning mechanism both work splendidly. All the appliances work. The a/c unit works, but we’ve yet to really use it much. Nights out here are always cool. Future trips to southerly places will test this better.
We are very happy with our Rockwood Geo Pro 16BH despite the stuff mentioned above. It’s not perfect, but close enough for us. I have no regrets with our purchase and look forward to many more years of camping fun.