A review of the Lance Travel Trailer and the various models, including the Lance 1475 and 1575, the Lance 1685, and the Lance 1985 and 1995. Discussed is the high-quality construction of the Lance travel trailers, with a focus on durability and comfort, along with the easy towing capabilities of the Lance travel trailers, as they are designed to be lightweight and aerodynamic.
Good morning, everyone! This is Ian from Big Rock Adventure, and I’m coming at you with a travel trailer review. Now, this is not typically the content you’re going to find on my channel, but since I did my Forest River Our Pod trailer review, I got a ton of requests to follow up and do a review of the Lance trailer. Because when I did the Our Pod review, I told everyone that we decided to trade it in for a Lance.
So, it’s been a year and a half since we’ve had this. We’ve put at least seven or eight weeks of total camping time in this trailer across the western United States, from the mountains to the deserts to everywhere in between. And so I want to give you our honest review of the Lance travel trailer. My particular unit is a 1685 and it’s a model year 2019, but this review will cover Lance trailers in general.
Anyway, let’s jump in and get started. The path that led us to the Lance trailer is a pretty simple story. We’ve had a folding trailer, like an A-liner. It was actually a Forest River, I forget what the name was called, but it was one of the A-frame folding trailers. Then, we bought the Our Pod and had that for a few years, which was a great trailer. Despite a lot of the negatives I listed in my review, we really did enjoy that trailer. If you watch to the end of that review, you would see that I did say it was a good trailer, and we liked it. It was just that there were some upgrades and changes we wanted to make that pushed us towards the Lance.
So, the research and things I did to decide on the Lance over the years that we had the Our Pod, there were a lot of upgrades and changes we knew we wanted in our next trailer. I’ll talk about those later. What I did, one of the main deciding factors for me, was that I spent the entire day at the Pomona RV show a couple of years ago and looked at all the travel trailers in this size range. We wanted a 20-foot trailer because we have a very difficult driveway situation living here in the mountains, and so I like to store the trailer at our house. A long trailer doesn’t work for us.
Anyway, I went to the RV show, spent the whole day, and looked at everything. I looked at Geo Pros from Forest River, I looked at the newer Our Pods, I looked at Airstream trailers, although they were a bit out of our price range, I looked at Grand Design, I looked at Jayco, I mean all the normal ones. But, I kept coming back to the Lance area. And what I noticed immediately about all the Lance products, whether it was a truck camper or a travel trailer, was the attention to detail, the quality of construction, the quality of components, the solidity of the trailers, and just the overall it seemed like a much higher-end product than all the rest. You could absolutely tell the difference and see why it cost more.
So, let’s jump in and talk about some other things. Some of the other things that convinced us to go with the Lance, I mentioned the quality and construction methods, the durability of the perceived durability, the reputation.
I mean, how many of those old lanced truck campers do you see out on the road? It’s quite a bit, right? And also, the resale value is I noticed was really good on these trailers. We did look for used ones of what we ended up buying new. The features that we wanted after coming from our pod were a number of things. We wanted something that was higher quality that would be a longer-lasting product. We wanted more inside and outside storage. We wanted the dual axles, and in our pod review, I talked about why I don’t like single axle trailers. We wanted larger water tanks. Let’s see, we wanted dry baths. We wanted a larger fridge and freezer. We wanted an awning. Our pod actually didn’t have an awning. I know some of the new ones do. We wanted a larger slide-out for more room in the interior. We still wanted to keep the trailer under 20 feet.
Finally, and this is a big deal because not only do we live in the mountains at 6,000 feet, but when we travel in the winter over winter break because we have kind of a school schedule, we wanted to be able to camp in below freezing temperatures without worrying about the water lines and the tanks and all that kind of stuff. And so, a four-season unit was a huge deal for us, and Lance is one of the only travel trailers that gives you a four-season certified trailer, and we can talk about later what that really means.
So, those are the reasons that we really decided to go ahead and pull the trigger on a Lance. We decided on the 1685, although I will tell you at the end why I kind of regret not going up one level to the 1985 or 1995. But anyway, so why don’t we take kind of a bit of a preview around the outside and inside of the trailer just real quick, and we’ll talk about a lot of the things that we like about it. All right, starting at the front real quick, you’ll notice one thing is that the Lance’s, except for the 1475 and the 1575, all their trailers are a standard 8-foot width, which gives you much more interior room. In my Arpad review, I mentioned the width was an arrow, but then it had the wheels that stick out. So, if you notice, this is more of a regular trailer where the wheels are in line with the body of the trailer, so you get the advantage of the full eight feet width on the body.
On the front under this cover, you’ve got three propane tanks. They call it the tri-5 propane tanks, and that’s a nice feature when you’re doing longer trips and you’re gonna run your furnace a lot to have three propane tanks actually, because they’re kind of heavy, and I’m conscious of the tongue weight on my truck. Sometimes, I take the third tank off and leave it at home if it’s a shorter trip because you don’t really need three tanks.
It has the Smart Jack, which I think is an optional upgrade, but most of the glances I see have it. What I like about the Smart Jack is that it’s auto up and down, and you can program memory settings, and it’s just better than sitting there cranking a handle. So, that’s something I really do like.
Okay, moving around the side here, some of the other things I wanted to mention. We really like the frameless windows. So, you can see that they don’t have their rubber or frame around them. It just looks higher-end, and I think over time it holds up better because the seals are kind of protected by the glass. That’s something we like.
Talking about the storage, this trailer has a lot of storage for a small trailer. You’ve got a very large storage under here, a big pass-through storage there, and a big storage here under the dinette. It gives you plenty of room for all your stuff. On the outside, the other thing is the design of how these storage doors work. So, when closed, most cheaper trailers have these latches, and you have to open it every time. This is much easier, just to grab it, and then it’s a slam latch, so it’s just shut for you. That’s a nice feature.
I talked about dual wheels, so towing for us. We really prefer the dual wheels. It’s just so much more stable, and it’s also easier to back up because it doesn’t jackknife and turn as quickly. It’s more predictable when you’re backing up because it responds more slowly to input, so it makes it a bit easier to do that.
Okay, talking about the slide-out. I’ve gone ahead and put out the slide all the way, so you guys can see just how large the slide is on a Lance. They call it a super slide, and it really comes out far compared to most travel trailers. If you remember on the Arpad, the slide was maybe half the length of this, so this expands your interior much more. They even give you windows on the slide-out, so when you’re in the dinette, you get much nicer light coming through. So, a big slide-out is a great thing to have.
You can see here just how big it really is, and on a 20-foot travel trailer, this makes all the difference in the world for space. Not too much to talk about on the back. You can see I did add a backup camera, which I highly recommend for any travel trailer. That’s something I added myself. I bought it on Amazon and put it on. I wired it into the running lights.
One thing I will say is the ladder is very, very sturdy. Our Lance didn’t have a walkable roof, and the Lance does. I love being able to walk up on the roof and clean it or do maintenance or deal with your caulking and seals. I also like this extremely sturdy ladder to climb up on the roof. So, those are really good things about it. Of course, in your bumper, it’s a good quality bumper and it’s plenty big to store. I actually have two sewer hoses in there, so that’s a nice thing.
This isn’t really part of the review, but these are just some of the places we’ve already been to with the Lance. We’ve had some great adventures with it so far.
So, finishing up the outside stuff. Talking about the awning, it’s called “Carefree Awning,” I believe it’s a brand name. And the reason that I like it, you, I only have it about halfway out because obviously, I’m gonna hit this tree here. There’s two things about it that I love. One is that it doesn’t have the bars that you know go down here that you like smash your head into if you have normal awning on most trailers. And the other thing is that it has a wind sensor so that if when the wind starts to shake it and you’re out hiking or out doing whatever, it’ll automatically retract. No, I’ve tested that a few times by accident. I was in Death Valley one night and I forgot to put the awning in and the wind came up, and I woke up in the middle of the night and heard the awning retracting by itself, which saves you from braking like a $1500 awning or whatever the hell this thing cost. It’s really expensive.
So, well great feature there and a great choice by Lance to include that higher quality awning, which honestly, you should get for the price of what this thing cost. It also comes with the keyless entry. I really do like the keyless entry because you can program a code in, and then instead of getting your key every time or if your wife once again then you have the key, you just punch in your code and you get in and out, and it’s nice. I have had issues with this, though, to be honest with. I think I got water in in the mechanism or something. We were camping a lot in the rain and it would in the middle of the night, it just started going off. It would just keep beeping, and the lock was sliding in and out, in and out. And I had to take the batteries out, and then the next day when it was dry, put everything back together, and it was fine. But these, this is made by RV lock, so it’s a you know, a third-party company.
Moving on to the inside, one of the things you notice immediately when you go and really start looking at a Lance, is the quality of everything. It helps solid its built, how precise the gaps are. You notice like on cabinets and the wood that you don’t see cocking, you don’t see gaps, everything is the latches are like residential grade, the faucet is what you’d have in your house. It’s not like the cheap RV stuff. I mean, the oven, the way, sorry, the cover is the fridge latches don’t break. Like to even like if you look at how the LA, how the lights are attached into the ceiling or just everything on the inside, it’s just a step up in quality and and durability and just attention to detail that you don’t find in the average, you know, cheaper lower end travel trailer. So, real quickly going to the things we like. The sink is pretty large for a 20-foot trailer. We like that storage. I mentioned that storage was a big deal for us, and alliances really have really great storage solutions. So, like you’ve got a huge closet here. We use, we put clothes, we put drinking water, we put shoes, whatever. There’s another smaller closet here which we hang jackets and we also store more food in. And then you’ve got different drawers here. One of the big storage places is below the dinette. You’ve got these giant sliding…
Oh, there’s my shorts. Never mind. You got these giant sliding storage bins we keep when we go out for like a week or two. I keep all my clothes on this side, and Maggie keeps her clothes on that side. That’s a really nice thing to have. Sorry, finally found my shorts that I’ve been missing. Let’s see what else do we like about the inside.
They give you more storage up here. This actually, you see these, these latches here. This whole thing folds down, and so technically the 1685 is a five person or sleeps five, but this bed up here, it cut, does come with a small mattress. It’s really for like a small kid. It’s not an adult-rated bad. It’s not big enough for that, but it’s cool that they give you that option. Honestly, we’re never going to have anyone sleep up there. We just use it for storing all of our crap on a long trip.
The TV in these is on a hinge mount that slides out and comes out here so you can watch it from the dinette or from the TV, so that’s a nice thing. I mentioned the large fridge and freezer, and it really is. I mean, for a 20-foot trailer, it’s hard to find this much room. I don’t know what the total cubic feet is. I can’t remember, but we go on two-week trips, and this thing is fine for us, about twice the size of the one we had in our pod, which was also a 20-foot trailer.
Okay, I’m gonna move into things that we would change about it, or that we would recommend Lantz kind of think about when they redesign it. Not terrible things, and just like in my our pot review, I’m extremely honest. So, if there’s things I don’t like, we’re gonna tell you because that’s what this is about. This is not a commercial review. This, I’m not affiliated with a dealership, so you’re just getting my unbiased opinion.
The bathroom on this unit is a little bit small, and I don’t really like shower curtains. They just seem kind of low-end to me, and they’re harder to clean than like a glass or a plastic door. Also, the shower is a little bit on the small side. I guess, if you’re a larger person, it could be an issue. We did really want the my bath after coming from a wet bath, which is terrible on our pod, so we did get that, but the showers are that’s a little bit small, but I think they’re doing what they can with you know, only 20 feet trailer. It’s impressive that they have as much room as they do. At least they do give you good storage under the sink and medicine cabinet here, so that’s a great thing.
Another thing on the shower, this is really nit-picking, but if you put your soap and shampoo here, it just falls off when you’re showering, so I wish they had like we’re trying to figure out some sort of like a way to secure our soaps and stuff when we’re showering. So, that’s that’s kind of a minor thing, but there’s still something I wanted to note. Also, the factory showerhead was kind of crappy, so of course we put on the oxygen X our head, which is a big upgrade, but I think every trailer you end up doing that.
Another thing that I recommend is to think about changing the way the lights are controlled. The lights and the trailer are all LED, which is great, but turning them on can be a fiasco.
For instance, you’ve got mood and courtesy lights here, but all your other ones are on different switches. To turn those two on, you have to go here, which I guess makes sense because if you’re coming into the trailer at night, you’ve got your switches right there. But then, these two lights have a switch here, and these lights don’t have any switches on the light itself. These ones have a button here and a dimmer here. So, you see what I’m saying? And then, these reading lights, I guess this one makes sense that it’s separate, but the lights are all over the place. So when you want to go to bed, you’re going everywhere to find all the different lights. I’m not sure what the thinking is about coordinating all the lights, but it’s something I wanted to point out.
The bed is a crawl-over bed, and that’s a whole nother issue. I would suggest getting the 1985 instead of the 1685, but the mattress is okay. I think it’s pretty decent for a standard RV mattress that comes from the factory, but I think a lot of people will still want to upgrade it, which is an added cost. We have not found the need to upgrade it, but on the Arpad, the mattress was bad enough that we didn’t need to upgrade. On the Lance, it’s good enough for us, but it’s still not great.
Another thing that I’m kind of annoyed by is that the door doesn’t have the friction hinge. The door swings free, and on the Arpad and many modern trailers, the hinges have friction so that when you leave the door partway open and there’s the slightest breeze, it doesn’t slam the door in. On this door, you have to use a latch thing on the outside, which is annoying. I don’t understand why they can’t give you a friction hinge.
The dinette is really large. You can have four or five people sitting around here comfortably, and it folds down into a bed as well. The cushions are pretty decent for what they are. I also recommend getting the model with the vinyl, which almost looks like leather but is actually some sort of vinyl. It’s easier to clean versus the cloth cushions.
So, in trying to wrap up this review, one of the big questions is really whether the Lance is worth all this extra money over a normal trailer. To give you an idea, the sticker price on this trailer, which is a 20-foot travel trailer, is loaded with features.
I think the sticker price was like 36,000 or something like that. We paid a lot less than that because it’s an RV, and that’s how the RV industry works. But compared to a comparable like Geo Pro or our pod or all the other apex nano or all the other competitors you might think of, is it worth another 10 to $15,000 sticker price over those trailers? Well, you’re gonna have to decide on your own.
I would recommend going and checking out the quality of the Lance for yourself, seeing if the features make a difference for you. Do you camp in extreme cold weather, and do you need the four-season capability, and are all the nicer quality things a worthwhile investment for you? For us, they definitely are. For us because we camp usually at least six weeks every year, that the added features for us are really a must-have, and the quality and long-lasting ability of the Lance is a worthwhile investment for us in the long term.
So this is something we see ourselves keeping 10, 15, 20 years versus a lot of the other products, which quite frankly seemed to wear out faster than that and don’t maintain their value. So I think, if you camp a lot like we do, and you appreciate all the benefits and the increased quality, the CNC machining, I mean go watch the video of the Lance factory tour on YouTube or read their website. I mean, there’s so many things that set these apart, and I really do believe that they are, it’s not just hype, it is worth the extra money at least for us.
So, if you camp a lot and you have high expectations and you like the finer things in life, then it is worth it. And because of the higher resale value, your cost of ownership may not be that much higher than you think. And here’s what I mean. Yeah, you have to look at the price of the trailers what you’re paying, but what is your cost to own the trailer? Your cost to own it is depreciation, insurance, registration, maintenance, things like that. So, if it depreciates much less than a cheaper trailer, then is it really costing you more to own it? You really need to look at that and think that one through.
I know the higher initial investment is an issue for some people, and it just is, but for us, it was worth it. So my closing thoughts are that we’ve been extremely happy with this trailer. We’ve spent two or three months total time in it, we’ve been lucky to be able to do that, we’ve enjoyed every minute of it, we’ve had very little issues. The only thing that had to go wrong on the Dometic water heater, I had the circuit board go out. Honestly, it was easier and cheaper and faster for me to replace it myself then go to the dealer for warranty, so I just eighty bucks or 100 bucks ordered a dinosaur electronics board which is an upgrade and fix that myself here in the driveway, and was done, and it was better for me than going to the dealer and dealing with their service department.
So, I never take my stuff into the service departments. So many people have terrible experiences with RV service, and we just avoid it altogether. If there was a huge problem with it, we would be forced to do that and use the warranty, but knock on wood, we’ve never had to do that with any of our trailers.
So, on my closing thought, if you’re looking at the Lantz units, go and really check them all out, and decide what which one is best for you. The most popular model seems to be like the 1985 or 1995 and I think that’s probably for good reason. The 1685 has a lot of the features of the 1900 but it’s a couple feet shorter. But what you lose is, you lose the walk-around bed of the larger unit.
Honestly, even though I have a very challenging back-end situation, if I was doing this again I would just go ahead and get the 1900 series and get that walk-around bed. Because I hate having to crawl over my, you know, my wife in the middle of the night or her crawling over me to use the restroom or do whatever. So that’s something to look at.
But if you really do have to have a 20-foot trailer, then I don’t think there’s a better 20-foot trailer on the market than this unit right here. So I hope this review was useful. I hope you guys have a great time camping and we’ll see you next time.
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