In the world of RV owners, reputation is everything.
These dedicated travelers have strong opinions about the brands and manufacturers of motorhomes and campers, and they can be fiercely adamant on how they feel once they’ve made their minds up, especially those they don’t like.
What are the worst RV brands? Among some of the worst-rated RV brands on the market today you’ll find Coachmen, Keystone, and Hurricane.
Even once-popular names like Winnebago and Jayco have lost some of their shine, so it all depends on the specific make and model you’re looking to purchase.
What makes an RV good or bad depends on many different factors like reliability and price, but the ever-changing opinions of RV owners also have a lot to do with it.
If you want to know which manufacturers have earned a bad name for themselves and what it was that got them on the naughty list, read on for our definitive countdown of the worst RV brands.
What Makes a Bad RV Brand?
Ask any RV owner, and they’ll undoubtedly be able to tell you their favorite brand of RV and their least favorite.
Just like car fanatics, anyone that owns a motorhome will have strong opinions on the other vehicles out there on the road, and they have specific brands that they want to stay away from.
What makes an RV brand ‘bad’ depends on a few things, but they can also earn this reputation from just one crucial mistake.
Whether they released a single RV in one category, once they’ve earned a reputation it can be hard to get rid of it.
The market for RVs has grown exponentially and the competition is fierce, which can further add to the issue, and the US alone is home to over 100 manufacturers.
As so many brands are now competing to be the biggest and best in the world of RVs, losing your status as one of the best can be surprisingly easy to do with just one simple mistake.
The Worst RV Brands in the Biz
Although not a definitive list of the worst RV manufactures of all time, there are some RV brands that have managed to earn themselves a bad reputation in recent times.
These are just some of the big-name brands that have lost some of the statures that they once had and what it was that weakened their reputation.
There was once a time where the name Winnebago was all you heard when people discussed campers, but today, they have lost some of their shine.
If you ask an RV owner today what they think of the brand, they’ll tell you that their build quality isn’t what it used to be, especially when it comes to their travel trailers.
Winnebago might have lost some of their build quality, but that doesn’t mean they’ve reduced prices.
They’re consistently ranked as one of the more expensive RVs in the class which makes these issues even more frustrating, and if you’re looking for good value for money, there are other brands that deliver better.
Some of the most common issues that customers report are electrical faults, poor insulation, and even interior walls appearing warped and bent.
When you’re buying a brand new RV these are hardly faults you want to deal with, so be cautious if you have high hopes for a Winnebago.
Thor Motor Group is responsible for making one of the most prolific RVs with their Hurricane model, but this once famous RV no longer has the same reputation as it used to.
The brand seems to have lost some of its loyal customers over recent years and whoever is responsible for the design and manufacturing processes used for their campers seems to be cutting corners.
According to RV owners, the Thor Motor Group line of campers and trailers has issues with defects and construction.
Among some of the more noteworthy complaints are parts flying away while driving or falling off, and flimsy craftsmanship that looks nothing like what this brand used to create.
One major flaw that customers have noted is that the Hurricane warranty coverage is poor and if you happen to come across any issues with your camper, you’ll be fighting them tooth and nail to have it addressed.
Couple this with a seriously lacking customer service department and it seems that Thor Motor Group has lost its way in recent times.
Fleetwood has long had a solid reputation in the world of RVs and has enjoyed years of loyal customers that stay faithful to them.
However, if their online reviews are anything to go by, the company has gone in a new direction and certain changes with how they manufacture their vehicles, and they’re not as popular as they once were.
The negative reviews include issues with batteries not recharging properly, water getting inside of the cabin and damaging various components, and faulty leveling systems.
All of these problems combine to make a fairly unreliable RV, which is far from the reputation that Fleetwood used to have.
In addition to issues with the vehicle itself, their loyal customers are feeling unheard by the after-sales and customer service teams, and having issues with warranty claims.
When you combine this with the quality of their RVs, it appears that Fleetwood needs to put in some serious effort to gain back the respect of their customers.
As an RV brand with 25 years of experience servicing the US and Canadian customers, you might be surprised to see the once-favored Keystone on our list.
The brand is known for their fifth wheel and travel trailers specifically, but have always been regarded as a reliable option, no matter the type of RV you were after.
What used to set Keystone apart from others has now gone, and although they do a good job of innovating and coming out with new ideas for RV travel, they’ve lost other benefits.
Their vehicles are not made to the same high standards that they used to be, but they’re still happy to charge customers a premium price for them.
Some of the more common complaints about the brand today are that their quality control has seriously suffered and the interior fixtures are poorly made, along with other technical issues throughout the vehicle.
Worse still, customers found that when they tried to contact after-sales support at Keystone, they were unresponsive, which is another huge letdown.
You might be shocked to see Jayco on our list as they’ve always been a favorite among RV owners, but in recent years, they have lost some of their status.
The brand was once known as one of the most reliable RV makers in the country and they had mainly positive reviews, but the quality of their vehicles appears to be lacking.
A lot of the issues with Jayco’s vehicles have to do with plumbing which is never a good thing when you’re miles away from home and relying on your RV bathroom to provide you with everything you need.
Common complaints include water leaking, poor installation of bathroom fixtures, plumbing problems, and a lack of ventilation throughout the cabin, all of which can be a nightmare to rectify.
Jayco still makes a functional vehicle and when you compare them to other brands out there, they do a lot better.
But considering their once stellar reputation, seeing areas like plumbing and fixtures be reported as faulty makes it even more disappointing that they’re now on our list of the worst.
As one of the oldest names on our list, it saddens us to see that Coachmen has lost some of its sparkles.
The 1964 brand, now owned by Forest River, Inc, was once the go-to name with fifth wheels and travel trailers, and during its tenure has sold over 600,000 RV units, which makes it one of the biggest.
What used to set Coachmen apart was how simplistic their vehicles were while still being functional and reliable.
Today, customers are noting that the vehicles have become even more simplistic, but not in a good way, and that their production quality has taken a serious dive.
Among some of the more recent complaints made about Coachmen are the poor build quality and the various flimsy parts used to put the campers together.
Others have witnessed electrical failures and water leakages, and even loose screws, which shows that the quality control of this brand has decreased significantly.
Gulfstream might have found their way onto the worst RV list, but it’s not entirely true.
The brand has always been at the forefront of design and exceptional construction, however, in the last few years, people have found more to complain about them than ever.
The difference with Gulfstream is that there aren’t lots of issues to write about, just one that happens to have a huge impact on the rest of the vehicle.
The rust builds up quickly on these RVs and it’s hard to get a handle of, which means it spreads to some of the most crucial parts of the camper and causes other issues.
If you’re able to get a handle on the rust, you can still enjoy the best parts of Gulfstreams.
Their comfort levels, quality of materials, and customer service still make them one of the better brands but if they’re not able to rectify the issues that their campers have had with rust, they could find themselves falling further from the top.
#8 Forest River
The name Forest River is better known as the manufacturer of the Coachmen RVs, which also found their way onto our list.
Although they still have a pretty solid reputation as a reliable RV, they also have many of the problems that the Coachmen has, including leaking water and flimsy materials being used to build them.
One bonus of Forest River is that their warranty department appears to handle issues better than others, but it’s not really something you want to be dealing with when you’re out on the road.
If you do decide to buy one of these campers, be extra vigilant about rust, leaks, and cracks, and get straight onto their customer support team if you notice anything amiss.
With thousands of potential RV brands and manufacturers to choose from, you need to do your homework before you decide.
If you’re in the market for a brand new RV and still have questions about which one to buy, let us help out with the answers to some FAQs that can lead the way.
What is the Most Luxurious RV Brand?
There are luxury RVs on the market today that cost well over the $1million mark, including Marchi Mobile Marathon, Newell, Prevost, and Newmar.
These vehicles cost between $1million and $2million for a standard length and come with all of the luxury fixtures, appliances, and design elements that you could ever dream of.
What’s the Difference Between an RV and a Motorhome?
The term ‘RV’ is an umbrella term that can be used to describe all kinds of vehicles including motorhomes, campers, trailers, and more.
When looking for a specific type of camper, the best way to categorize them is by their class, with Class A, B, and C being the prominent types.
What is a Small RV Called?
The smallest category of the motorhome is called a Class B, and these range from 18 to 24 feet long, with their size making them quite popular.
Although smaller, they can still sleep up to four adults at a time and are generally priced upwards of $50,000 for a newer model with all of the modern features.
George Cummings enjoys connecting with nature, meeting new people, and making friends from all over the world. RVing and camping create the perfect opportunity for [him/her] to take part in these activities. After spending several years on the road and exploring the great outdoors, George Cummings shares some of his best pieces of advice on how to make the most of your time while camping. TourTheOutdoors is his way of helping outdoorsy individuals like [him/her] start on a right footing with amazing recommendations and buying guides.