RV Brands To Avoid (What RVs Not To Buy)

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If you’re in the market for a new RV, 5th wheel or travel trailer, then you already know that it’s an expensive purchase. 

With such a big commitment, it’s understandable that you want to make sure you’re not buying a lemon from some poor quality RV manufacturers.

And just like when you buy a car, there are some RV brands out there that are not worth the money. 

So, if you’re looking for tips on which RV brands are the worst and should be avoided, then keep reading for our opinions.

What are the worst RV brands?

There are a lot of RV brands on the market, and finding one to meet your travel needs can be overwhelming.

Especially when you consider the high cost of an RV or travel trailer.

Based on our experience and research, these are the worst RV brands (and travel trailer brands) that you should avoid.

1. Gulf Stream

When I was growing up, my family has a 5th wheel that we took on vacations. But before we got it, I remember going with my dad to look at what seemed like a million new RVs.

gulf stream rv

Back then, one of the popular brands was Gulf Stream. And they used to have a great reputation.

But these days, you’re better off avoiding the Gulf Stream brand because they’ve had a lot of quality issues in recent years.

Problems Gulf Stream owners have reported include everything from thermostats that don’t work properly to leaks. And you certainly don’t want to find yourself at a campground in a leaky RV.

2. Winnebago

This is another one of those brands that used to have an awesome reputation, but just no longer delivers the same quality that consumers are used to from them.

winnebago rv

Man, I remember as a kid that the Winnebago brand was like THE brand for RV owners. 

So, it’s kinda sad to see that their reputation has suffered in recent years.

Like with the Gulf Stream, owners of Winnebago brand RVs are reporting leaks and other issues with their new RVs. Some owners are even seeing their walls peel and bend.

That’s definitely not something you want to deal with on a cross country trip.

3. Fleetwood

It should come as no surprise that this is another brand that was popular and with a good reputation during my childhood.

fleetwood travel trailer

What you might not know is that the Fleetwood brand has been the parent company of a lot of other RV brands. This includes:

  • Holiday Rambler
  • Monaco
  • American Coach

Of those, you’re likely most familiar with the Holiday Rambler as I remember it being quite popular.

Unfortunately for the owners of Fleetwood RVs, the problems that have been reported are numerous. Some complaints we’ve seen include:

  • the jack leveling system breaking
  • switches and control panels being awkwardly placed so they’re hard to reach
  • battery charging not being as efficient as it should be
  • peeling of walls and fake leather on upholstery

And that’s just a sample of what people are complaining about who own a Fleetwood RV.

4. Hurricane

If you spend any time on RV owner forums or groups, then the most often mentioned brand as a the worst RV brand on the market is Hurricane.

hurricane rv

Honestly, this brand was new to me, which is not surprising because they haven’t been around all that long.

But man, in the short time that they’ve been in existence, they have amassed a LOT of complaints from RVers. So, why do so many people own them?

They’re really cheap and look really high end. So, it seems like you’re getting a steal of a deal when you buy one.

But man oh man, all of the Hurricane owners I’ve talked to have serious regrets. Common complaints include:

  • seems to fall apart not too long after you get it home
  • parts seem like they were repurposed from the scrap yard
  • leaks
  • faulty parking breaks
  • peeling of walls/surfaces
  • poorly fitted/installed components

I bet if you were to survey RVers and ask, what RV brand not to buy? Hurricane would be the most common answer based on my experience and observations.

5. Jayco

This is another brand that has been popular for as long as I can remember. And it’s no surprise because the Jayco travel trailers that I’ve been in look really nice.

jayco 5th wheel

But, I found plenty of Jayco owners who have lots of complaints and regrets about their purchase.

The biggest complaint? They’re just not dependable.

So, what fails on Jayco travel trailers? Pretty much the whole interior from what I’m told. 

I found complaints about:

  • fixtures failing
  • plumbing problems
  • ventilation problems

That being said, there were still plenty of Jayco owners who were happy despite some failures.

Final Thoughts

There are a lot of RV brands on the market, and finding one to meet your travel needs can be overwhelming.

Especially when you consider the high cost of an RV or travel trailer.

Based on our experience and research, these are the worst RV brands (and travel trailer brands) that you should avoid.

We suggest finding an RV owner forum or group to join before you make your purchase so that you can talk with people who own the brand that you’re considering buying.

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3 thoughts on “RV Brands To Avoid (What RVs Not To Buy)”

  1. Adam, I would not dispute your research, but in consideration of your list of failures that put these brand names on your list I would not have used Thermostat operation, Jack system failure, or faulty Parking brakes as supporting evidence to a manufactures poor quality. The thermostat is made by a sublet vendor usually Suburban or Duo-Therm. The coach/trailer just removes these parts from a box and puts them in the unit. The jack system is the same way, supplied by a secondary party and installed, if they ever worked properly once chances are the failure was not caused by the installing manufacture. Parking brakes are part of the chassis, all the products you mentioned, purchase the chassis from a secondary party and build their coach on it, they had nothing to do with the parking brake.
    The other items you mentioned are absolutely the coach manufactures failure to properly assemble their coach. In the last year, the pandemic has caused an unprecedented demand for RVs and some manufactures have put their production into hyper-drive thus causing their quality to go down. You are correct in pointing this out but I would expect the quality to improve as soon as demand normalizes. Everything is cyclical in my 25 years as an RV service manager I have seen many manufacturers go through problems that affects many of the same units in the same time span. Once they Identify the problem they go to the assembly area identify the cause of the problem and correct it. Check your sources in the next 6 months and see if the same brands have the same problems.
    Respectfully, Bill

  2. Yes quality has been a BIG problem, one must remember,most RV are built in the same town,unskilled labour ,guility is not important, just #’s,most good RV have been merged with the big manufacturers, like Thor,Keystone,Forest river, & Yes quality has dropped $$ gone up ,they all have their problems,some more than others,your 1’st year warrants looks after most ,after that ,it’s the owners problems,some manufacturers care ,most do not ,it’s supply & demand

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