America's Shasta Is Reborn With Capable and Affordable Phoenix Fifth Wheels

Phoenix Fifth Wheel 14 photos
Photo: Shasta / Forest River Inc.
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Over the years, countless RV manufacturers have risen to steal the spotlight. Many have burned out in the process, but one team, Shasta, is still alive and kicking today. It's kind of a miracle if you ask me, especially since they've been around since 1941.
Yes, Shasta is a manufacturer of RVs, motorhomes, and travel trailers of every kind, and they've been in this business since 1941. Considering this crew is still alive today, there's something they've been doing right all these years. Sure, a few years ago, this manufacturer shook hands with Forest River to be assimilated into one of America's largest RVing conglomerates, but until that point, they had amassed over 70 years of knowledge and know-how.

It's in this spirit that we explore some of the machines they offer to current generations, their Phoenix lineup, a family of fifth wheel trailers designed to be light, affordable, and "luxurious." So, pack your bags, strap in, and let's explore a life lived out of a Phoenix.

According to Shasta's website, the Phoenix family of campers is designed for owners that have a ½ ton or ¾ ton truck at their disposal. And before you go off the rails about how something so big can't be towed by trucks of that capacity, the secret lies in the way these habitats are built. For example, one of the largest available floorplans, and a new one at that, is the 373MBRB, a 42.5-foot (13-meter) RV with the ability to accommodate extended families, which features a GVWR of 15,000 pounds (6,804 kilograms).

This is made possible because Shasta uses Azdel sidewall panels to construct every unit in the family and because an aluminum frame is in place to hold everything up. A TPO roof is thrown on to continue keeping things on the light side while offering the necessary protection to keep the elements out of your living room. Best of all, you can grab a Phoenix and even venture into the colder months, made possible by an enclosed, insulated, and heated underbelly and R-15 rating in the walls. Couple it with a serious heating system, and ski and snowboard trips should be doable. Sure, there's a bit more to it than that, but for now, that's all we need to dream a little.

Phoenix Fifth Wheel
Photo: Shasta / Forest River Inc.
Now, let's say you come from a large family like myself - I have around 30 or so first cousins – if that's the case, then a Shasta might now do you any good, but if 2/3 of them are busy, leaving only ten or so to go on some outdoor adventure, then you should comb the Phoenix lineup because there are definitely a couple of units suitable for such large groups. Think about what your extended weekends may look like with you, your spouse, your two or three kids, your in-laws, and your brother and his spouse too? Something like this.

There you all are, pulling into some local campgrounds or possibly the middle of nowhere if you've readied your RV for off-grid living. Once legs and backs are stretched and shoulders rubbed, it's time for your Phoenix to spread its wings. By this, I'm referring to the fact that every floorplan available on the manufacturer's website includes one, two, three, four, or five slideouts. Starting to understand why everyone has a place to lay their head?

Once that stage of the process is over, on to the next one, unpacking. Throw out that outdoor dining set you brought along, fire up the outdoor grill, unfurl the awnings, and get comfortable. Since it's winter, a fire pit should be just what the doctor ordered. Make sure some sunlight is hitting your roof-mounted solar array, and with a check of your control panel, you realize that everything is running smoothly.

Phoenix Fifth Wheel Bedroom
Photo: Shasta / Forest River Inc.
It's here that you could head to the living room to catch a break on the couch while watching the game, but this is outdoor living we're talking about, so you head for the door. Whoever is cooking outside shouts to bring the links and burgers on your way out, and with the fridge door open, a cold one winks at you. What, you've never seen anyone drinking a beer on a ski trip? You should try it; refreshing! Make sure to close the door on your way out.

Back outside, you take in that cold mountain air and peer into the white landscape. The only patch of color are you and your family, your truck, and your gear scattered all around the Phoenix; we all know how colorful winter gear can be. Winter fun, not your cup of tea? Replace the snowy landscape with green treetops, grass, and local fauna, and skis and snowboards for kayaks, e-bikes, and hiking gear.

Now that you have some idea of what sort of lifestyle is in store for you, how much is it going to cost? Well, it all depends on the unit you choose and if there are any extra goodies you ask for. Now, hold on to your hats for this one, but some dealers showcase the new 373MBRB floorplan for around $75,000 (€69,000 at current exchange rates), and that alone means this lineup is worth your consideration as your subsequent glamping machine, especially if you have larger families.
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Editor's note: Images in the gallery showcase an array of Phoenix model years, interiors and floorplans.

About the author: Cristian Curmei
Cristian Curmei profile photo

A bit of a nomad at heart (being born in Europe and raised in several places in the USA), Cristian is enamored with travel trailers, campers and bikes. He also tests and writes about urban means of transportation like scooters, mopeds and e-bikes (when he's not busy hosting our video stories and guides).
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