Palomino Campers Buying Guide

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The River Ranch Palomino Camper

In the RV industry, you may not know which company owns certain brands or where they make their RVs. There are endless options, and the search can feel overwhelming.

Forest River is one of the leading manufacturers of RVs in the country and has acquired the rights to dozens of brands. One of those brands is Palomino RV. This company produces a wealth of RVs and floorplans.

Let’s look at the Palomino campers, and maybe you’ll find the one that’s right for you!

About Palomino Campers 

Vern Landey began designing Palomino pop-up campers in Minnesota in 1968 and started Vanguard Industries.

In 1972, he relocated to Michigan to get closer to the “RV Capital of the World,” Elkhart, Ind.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Vanguard Industries added individual divisions.

By 1998, Vanguard Industries had a new 75,000 sq ft production facility, which enabled the company to begin production of an ultra-lightweight line of travel trailers.

In 2002, Forest River purchased Vanguard Industries.

Rapid growth ensued, and they started manufacturing two new towable lines: Puma and Sabre by Palomino.

Goshen, Ind., became home to two 100,000 sq ft facilities where they produced these travel trailers and fifth wheels.

Who Makes Palomino Campers? 

Forest River purchased Vanguard Industries in 2002.

Three years later, Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway company purchased Forest River.

Currently, Palomino RV operates as its division of Forest River. The brand manufactures truck campers, travel trailers, and fifth wheels.

About Forest River Inc.

In 1996, Peter Liegl began Forest River. His first purchase was the assets of Cobra Industries.

Over the last 25 years, Forest River has grown to be one of the leading manufacturers in the RV industry.

It has multiple manufacturing facilities and produces Class A, B, and C motorhomes, travel trailers, fifth wheels, toy haulers, pop-up tent campers, truck campers, park model trailers, destination trailers, and cargo trailers, commercial vehicles, buses, pontoons, and mobile restroom trailers.

Currently, Forest River owns Coachmen, Dynamax, Palomino, Prime Time, Shasta, and East to West in its RV division.

In addition, Forest River owns nine cargo trailer brands, three pontoon boat brands, nine transit bus or shuttle bus brands, and Rockport Commercial Vehicles, a commercial truck company.

Keep in Mind: Want to learn more about Forest River RV? This article will teach you everything you need to know!

Where Are Palomino Campers Built?

The manufacturer still makes tent campers and truck campers in Colon, Mich. Palomini and Solaire travel trailers also come from Colon.

The Puma factory is in Goshen, and the Columbus and River Ranch products are from Middlebury, Ind.

The move to Indiana was probably a smart one considering the easy access to RV parts and laborers.

Indiana produces more RVs than any other state. Two of every three RVs come from Indiana.

The Palomino RV Lineup 

Palomino campers include three truck camper brands, five travel trailer brands, and three fifth wheel brands.

Some brands overlap and manufacture travel trailers and fifth wheels.

When you purchase a new Palomino camper, you receive a one-year complimentary roadside assistance membership, free membership into the Forest River Owners’ Group, and a one-year limited warranty.

Truck Campers

Palomino RV manufactures three truck camper brands: Backpack, Real Lite, and Rogue.

Recently, Backpack was the 2022 Top RV Debut by RV Business. This line offers three hard-side truck campers, four hard-side MAX truck campers, and six soft-side truck campers.

They all feature a bed over the cab, a booth dinette, and a stove and sink.

With various floorplans, you can also find a truck camper with a bathroom or fold-down patio or a passenger-side slide-out for additional interior space.

The options range from 0.5 ton towable to one ton towable and are for short bed and long bed trucks.

The Real Lite line also features soft-side and hard-side options.

The floorplans and features are similar to the Backpack truck campers.

The Rogue truck campers are for adventurers who seek off-grid camping opportunities.

These four floorplans are much simpler and for the rugged outdoors.

An electric roof lift system, 20,000BTU furnace, two-burner stove, and dome skylight are standard.

They measure 12’2” to 12’5” in length and weigh less than 1,400lbs.

Travel Trailers 

Palomini, Revolve, Solaire, Puma, and Real-Lite Mini make up the travel trailer line of Palomino RV.

There are dozens of floorplans to suit the needs of every camper.

The Puma line features 23 floorplans ranging from models with bunkhouses for the kids to models with double queen beds for two couples.

You’ll find models with kitchen islands and models with two bathrooms.

The smallest options, the Palomini 186RBS and Real-Lite RL86 are 21’9” in length and have a GVWR of less than 5,000lbs.

The two Evolved models are 100% powered by solar, which means you can camp anywhere.

The second-largest line after Puma is the Solaire, with eight floorplans. All units have a GVWR of less than 9,000lbs except one, the 320TSBH. It’s also the longest at 36’3”.

Toy Haulers

The Puma line of Palomino campers features a toy hauler model, the 33THDS.

It’s 38’6” in length and has a GVWR of 11,700lbs. It features a queen bed electric lift in the 12’ garage space.

There’s also a half bath in the garage. The two slides in the living space create more interior room for lounging, cooking, and eating.

The Puma Ultra Lite line has the 187TH toy hauler unit.

It’s 22’9” in length and has a GVWR of 4,935lbs.

This unit has no slides and isn’t as spacious as the 33THDS unit but perfect for campers who need to tow with an SUV or smaller truck.

The Puma XLE Lite line has five toy hauler travel trailers available. They range from 29’9” to 37’6” in length and have a GVWR range of 7,775lbs to 11,435lbs.

The garage space ranges from 6’4” to 13’ in size. Some of the models feature two swivel chairs in the living space.

The only fifth wheel toy hauler is the Puma Unleashed line.

These two floorplans have a front queen bed with an adjacent bathroom.

The 383DSS features a kitchen island, a half bath in the garage, and a 13’ garage space.

The 382THS features a separate sofa and booth dinette and a 12’1” garage space.

Both units are 39’10” and have a GVWR of around 13,900lbs.

Fifth Wheels

The Columbus and Columbus-C series features seven floorplans. The difference between the two lines is that the Columbus-C features residential finishes.

Only one floorplan has a rear bedroom and front kitchen. The other units have either the bedroom or bathroom in the front.

Five of the floorplans feature a kitchen island with rear living space.

These fifth wheels range from 36’1” to 42’2” and have a GVWR range of 14,900lbs to 16,700lbs.

The Puma fifth wheel line has eight floorplans.

The shortest unit is 28’ while the most extended unit is 36’4”. There are several bunkhouse options.

The Puma fifth wheels feature slide-outs on the driver’s side, while the 315BHTS has slide-outs on both sides.

It’s also the only model with a kitchen island and mid-bunk room.

The River Ranch line is Palomino RV’s luxury fifth wheel line of campers.

A Top 10 RV in 2021 by RV Business, the River Ranch has two floorplans. The 390RL features a front bedroom with wardrobe storage, kitchen island, fireplace, free-standing dinette, theater seating, and a tri-fold sofa. It’s 42’ and has a GVWR of 18,000lbs.

The 392MB has a similar layout in the front and rear but features a mid-bunk room with a tri-fold sofa, flip-up bunk, and desk. It’s the same length and weight.

Keep in Mind: Are you a first-time RV buyer? Check out how to know which one Is best for you

One of the Palomino Campers

Destination Trailers

Finally, the Puma line has destination trailers for folks who want to remain stationary.

These eight floorplans vary from 39’9” to 42’4” in length.

Some models have the king bed in the front while others have it in the rear.

A couple have a kitchen island, one has a rear bunkhouse, and one has a mid-bunk room.

The 39DBT features two bedrooms and two bathrooms. The front has a king bed and closet, while the rear has a queen bed, vanity, and adjoining bathroom.

The living room inside one of the Palomino Campers

How Much Do Palomino Campers Cost?

The truck campers will start at around $20,000. The Backpack MAX editions will be a bit more expensive at $40,000. A Real-Lite Mini travel trailer will cost approximately $20,000, while the larger Puma bunkhouse models will have an MSRP of around $60,000. The Palomino Puma fifth wheels will start at about $40,000 for the 265RDS or 255RKS to over $140,000 for a River Ranch luxury model. This is a huge price range for the Palomino campers because there are diverse options within the product lines.

The bedroom inside one of the Palomino Campers

Palomino Campers: Serving Campers Since 1968

Palomino campers have been around for decades. What started as a personal venture to create better pop-up campers has become a large-scale operation across Michigan and Indiana. Whatever your price range, floorplan needs, or level of luxury, Palomino RV has something for you. From truck campers to fifth wheels and everything in between, you’ll find the perfect match at Palomino. The hardest part may be narrowing down your choices.

Which Palomino camper caught your eye?

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