Stratus Travel Trailers Flawlessly Balance Low-Cost and Fulfilling Outdoor Living

Stratus SR281VFD 24 photos
Photo: Venture RV / Thor Industries
Stratus SR281VFDStratus SR281VFDStratus SR281VFDStratus SR281VFDStratus SR281VFDStratus SR281VFDStratus SR281VFDStratus SR281VFDStratus SR281VFDStratus SR281VFDStratus SR261VRBStratus SR261VRBStratus SR261VRBStratus SR261VRBStratus SR261VRBStratus SR261VRBStratus SR261VRBStratus SR261VRBStratus SR261VRBStratus SR261VRBStratus SR261VRBStratus SR261VRBStratus SR261VRB
Everybody wants to get into the RV game, but where to begin? The list of manufacturers is massive! Well, in the spirit of helping you find some footing, I've chosen to bring to light the Stratus travel trailers from Venture RV. Whip out your checkbooks and get ready for these "ultra-lite" mobile habitats.
Folks, back in 1972, KZ RV, a company operating under Thor Industries, started whipping up truck campers. Over the years, this brand has grown to employ 600 hard-working souls and operates out of a facility that expands over 530,000 sq ft.

But, alongside these hands and square footage, something beautiful kept happening, model after model of mobile habitats tuned to the needs and wants of the public. In time, the Venture RV brand was added to KZ RV's lineup, and they haven't looked back since.

Now, the Stratus lineup of travel trailers is designed with a few goals in mind: it has to be light, roomy, and equipped with the things outdoor seekers need and want. Oh, and there are seven available floorplans to choose from, so I'll be pointing out a few key elements that you think about if you love the outdoors.

I mentioned that these buggers are meant to be light, and that's true; the heaviest unit comes in with a weight of 6,830 lbs (3,098 kg), and the lightest at 5,210 lbs (2,363 kg). As light as that is, the longest of the seven units is 1 in under 34 ft (10.4 m). Best of all, in that space, hides everything you and your family need to live a full on-road life.

Stratus SR261VRB
Photo: Venture RV / Thor Industries
Beyond the sizes and weights of these units, it's important to note that they're filled with the whole farmhouse feel, made up of maple cabinetry and faux leather furnishings. This also defines the sort of features found inside, like the deep-bowl sinks, high-rise faucets, lighting, all of it. If you haven't seen the images in the gallery, now's the time to do so.

Overall, I've chosen to bring to light two units, the SR261VRB and SR281VFD. Why? They come across as two of the more presentable units in the lineup. For example, the 261 is prepared with a queen bedroom with a walk-around, a residential-worthy kitchen, a modular dinette and sofa, and a bathroom worthy of a two-bedroom apartment.

However, my favorite aspect of the 261 is its ability to taper toward those of us who like to spend as much time outdoors as possible. For example, there's a "campfire cafe" in place, which is basically an outdoor galley setup fit with a griddle, fridge, sink, and TV. An 18 ft (5.5 m) awning is in place too.

As for the 281, it's more a unit aimed at the social humans among us. At the rear of the unit, a queen bed with a walk-around is once again in place, but at the front, a massive U-shaped dinette is in place. There's also plenty of space to even dance if you'd like, made possible by a slideout that houses part of the galley (fridge and pantry) and another sofa.

However, the whole outdoor living setup the 261 includes is missing in this unit. Still, this shouldn't stop you from bringing along everything you need to create your own outdoor cafe; the massive pass-through storage is the system to aid in this need, a feature found in all units from this lineup.

Stratus SR261VRB
Photo: Venture RV / Thor Industries
The remainder of the lineup isn't any less attractive, either. Sure, the units are smaller and aimed at smaller families or groups, but queen beds, complete kitchens, and even some outdoor living features are in place. Not to mention systems like AC, heating, and even solar power, the latter of which you'll need to explore with Venture as it's going to be extra.

Speaking of customizing your unit, I personally enjoyed the interior decor options this lineup offers. My favorite stands as the Blake displayed in the 261 and the Dune option featured in the 281, but others do exist, so take the time to dive deeper.

For the next few minutes or so, I want you to take everything we talked about and place yourself in the center of the action. Imagine yourself cooking a meal for your family and friends or just for yourself and your significant other. See yourself enjoying that meal under the stars or the light of a new day and then kicking back and digesting while listening to the sounds of the natural world around you. Grab a kayak or an e-bike, and off you go. Maybe you just like hiking; off you go.

As for the all-important question on everyone's mind, how much is this going to cost us? Well, it comes down to a few aspects, including the features found in your unit, what year it may have been constructed, and how deep your dealership's pockets may be. However, I've come across new 2023 units priced as low as $34K (€31,500 at current exchange rates). If that's not worth thinking about, I don't know what is.
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Editor's note: Images in the gallery include an array of Stratus travel trailer layouts and interior decor.

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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