How the Coleman Lantern LT 17R Is Made

Contributor

Tucker Ballister

Favorite Trip

5 Months Solo on the Road

Home Base

Hendersonville, NC

Favorite RV

2008 Fleetwood Bounder

About Contributor

Tucker Ballister is our Technical Content Writer. He’s a lover of the open road and the proud owner of a 2021 Sunlite Classic travel trailer (his 3rd RV to date). Check out more of his RV adventures, gear reviews, and outdoor advice at thebackpackguide.com.

After hearing your feedback on the Lantern LT 17B, Coleman went to work to create a more couples-friendly travel trailer with more living space and storage capacity. The result?

Enter the Lantern LT 17R, one of Coleman’s newest lightweight travel trailers.

Here you’ll get an insider’s look at all that goes on behind the scenes to create the Coleman Lanter LT 17R. But first, let’s get an overview of this Coleman camper before we dive into how it’s made. 

The Coleman Lantern LT 17R

Travel Trailer Specs

  • Length: 21’5”
  • Height: 9’9”
  • Dry Weight: 2,970 pounds
  • Sleeping Capacity: Up to 3

The 17R boasts more floor space and 2-3 times more storage than the 17B. Coleman removed the bunks and replaced them with a more spacious bathroom that features a floor-to-ceiling wardrobe closet. 

Some of its best features include a full-size convertible dinette, powered exterior awning, electric fireplace, air conditioning, and a fully-equipped kitchen. It’s also prepped for solar panels and a backup camera.

Learn more about this Coleman trailer or check our nationwide inventory.

How the Coleman Lantern LT 17R Is Made

From frame to finish, here’s Coleman’s manufacturing process for this towable camper:

Quality Control

Quality control specialist checking Coleman Lantern LT 17R travel trailer
Photo by Dutchmen

Quality is job one.

The entire Coleman Lantern LT 17R manufacturing process consists of six main stations. Throughout these stations, 5-6 quality control specialists are dedicated exclusively to ensuring every RV is built to RVIA specifications.  

At each station, a quality control hold – QC Hold – can be placed on any unit that doesn’t meet Coleman’s standards. Specific issues must be fixed before the unit can move to the next station. And we begin with the trailer frame, the foundation for the rest of the unit’s structure and features.

Trailer Frame

Flipping a travel trailer frame
Photo by Dutchmen

This Coleman travel trailer is built on a single-axle trailer frame with full-width outriggers that support the trailer’s body. 

When it enters the manufacturing facility, the frame is flipped to install the axle, tires, suspension, and manual stabilizing jacks. Wiring is also run for the trailer lights, and the propane lines are installed while the frame is inverted.

Holding Tanks, Electrical, Plumbing, Propane, and Ducting Systems

Worker installing holding tank in Coleman Lantern LT 17R trailer frame
Photo by Dutchmen

The frame is flipped back over before the gray and black water holding tanks are installed. All holding tanks are rotomolded in the 17R, and it boasts the following holding tank capacities: 

  • Gray Water: 28 gallons
  • Black Water: 28 gallons

Color-coded wiring is run for the holding tank sensors and other electrical components before the frame moves into the flooring station. Color-coded PEX piping is also run for the RV’s plumbing systems. 

Flooring

Worker sanding floor of travel trailer
Photo by Dutchmen

At the next station, specialists install the Lantern’s no-seam flooring. It comprises ⅝” OSB topped with linoleum with a Darco underlay.

Darco is a woven material used as a moisture-resistant barrier.

The Darco underlay is the bottom-most material you see when climbing under this trailer. After the Darco is installed, 2”x2” framing is set in place and topped with a layer of ⅝” OSB decking, which is screwed into the cross members of the trailer frame. 

The floor is finished with linoleum, which is glued down and stapled around the edges, and at all points where base sets will be installed. The base sets eventually cover these staples so none are exposed when construction is complete. 

Once the floor is complete, the trailer’s 27-gallon fresh water holding tank is installed, and water lines are run at the next station.

Base Set

Worker carrying cabinet for travel trailer
Photo by Dutchmen

With the floor in place, it’s time for the interior base sets to go into place. This includes the framing for the bathroom, kitchen, bed, dinette, and overhead cabinetry framing. Valances, interior lights, and interior vents are also installed. 

Setting the interior base also includes the installation of the water heater, shower basin and surround, plumbing vents, and toilet. With the initial base set in place, the front, rear, and side exterior walls are next in the manufacturing process.  

These walls are constructed from the main line using 2” x 2” framing and a sheet of paneling on the interior. They are then installed and screwed down to the floor and to each other for structural integrity.

Specialists then glue insulation between the vertical wall studs before the exterior is finished with 024 corrugated metal, providing excellent weather resistance and durability. When complete, the walls are installed on top of the floor and screwed into place. 

Roof Set

Installing roof on Coleman Lantern LT 17R
Photo by Dutchmen

Then it’s time to install the Coleman trailer’s fully walkable TPO roof. The roof framing is built off the main line in sections using 2” x 2” framing and ⅜” OSB decking.

TPO stands for thermoplastic olefin, which is a single-ply, heat-resistant roofing membrane.

These roof sections are set on top of the exterior walls and nailed into place. Wiring is run for the roof vent fans, Winegard antenna, and other roof-mounted RV accessories, such as your air conditioning unit and the prep for a solar panel installation. 

Insulation is added between the horizontal framing studs before the ⅜” OSB decking sheets are laid on top of the framing and nailed down. Additional openings are cut for the roof vents, septic vents, and A/C unit before the edges are sanded, and the seams are taped.

Glue is spread on certain areas of the roof decking before the rubber membrane is stretched and pulled tight, allowing for proper expansion and contraction in certain climates. A squeegee helps to remove air bubbles and ensure complete adhesion. 

The seam rails are then nailed into place, and the roof-mounted accessories are installed. With all the rails and accessories in place, the final step for the roof set is the liberal application around all accessories and along each roof seam. 

Once complete, Coleman’s roof set boasts an 18-year warranty.

Pre-Final

Workers installing awning on Coleman Lantern LT 17R
Photo by Dutchmen

In the pre-final station, the trailer’s furniture and appliances are installed. All working appliances, such as the microwave, refrigerator, and air conditioner, are bar-coded for easier recall service and warranty replacement.

Finishing touches also occur on the interior cabinetry, and the doors, framed windows, and decals are installed. The bed, dinette table, and cushions are also installed in this station. 

This station is also where the control systems and safety equipment for the 17R are installed. That includes the fire extinguisher, fire alarm, carbon monoxide, and LP gas alarm

Outside, a lap sealant is applied along the wall seams and around all compartment and entry doors, windows, and appropriate appliance installations. The Lantern LT 17R’s powered outside awning is installed at this station. 

The unit’s electrical systems are tested in the pre-final station to ensure all interior and exterior lights function properly. Other tests in this station include operating all working appliances and safety alarms. 

Final

Pushing Coleman Lantern LT 17R for final checks
Photo by Dutchmen

In the final station, the propane and plumbing systems are tested using the same tests that Camping World technicians conduct during a post-delivery inspection. This includes an LP leak-down test on the propane system and a leak test on the plumbing system. 

In addition to those tests, quality control specialists check all exterior seams, look for loose or missing screws, ensure the base set covers all flooring staples, and much more. They look over every inch of the trailer from top to bottom and address outstanding items before it leaves the production line. 

Shine Bay

Working cleaning Coleman Lantern LT 17R
Photo by Dutchmen

Now it’s time to make the Coleman Lantern LT 17R shine. The interior is washed from roof to frame, and the same is done inside. The shine bay preps each unit to ensure it arrives at the dealership tour-ready and in fine shape for its debut trip.  

Stress Testing

One unit per day goes into their rain bay, which sprays hundreds of gallons of water from different angles to stress-test all exterior seams and seals. This ensures each batch of 17R trailers that come off the line is ready for whatever nature throws at them. 

If leaks are found, the entire batch may be re-evaluated to ensure a production error wasn’t more widespread on that day. Additionally, every unit is backed by a three-year structural manufacturer warranty.


Interested in learning more about Coleman RVs? 

Check out our article on what real RV owners love about their Coleman RV. 

What else do you want to know about the Coleman manufacturing process? Share in the comments below.

  • Comment (24)
  • Mike Buren says:

    What’s the interior height?

  • Steven says:

    Does the gas stove top have an exhaust fan?

  • Joshua Donathan says:

    Why on earth did yall put the main water line on the outside of the camper exposed to the weather!!!!??? Everything is frozen!!!!! I have to live in this thing!!!!

    • Carl Corder says:

      Hi Joshua!

      We’re sorry to hear about this. We recommend contacting the manufacturer directly with any constructive feedback you’d like to share. In our experience, these manufacturers make annual changes to their designs and floorplans, so your feedback could be vital to helping them improve next year’s model.

  • Nathan Pryor says:

    Does the 17R come with a RVIA sticker?
    We want to travel and I’m wondering about what the lowest cool temperature is for camping in this model.

    • Hi Nathan,

      Yes, the 17R is built to RVIA standards and slapped with that sticker.

      Coleman hasn’t given this unit a particular rating. But it’s not intended for winter camping and you’ll certainly want to avoid temperatures at or below freezing if you intend to use the water. You’ll need to be plugged into a 30-amp AC power source to run the 5200-BTU electric fireplace. They do state that it’s thermostatically controlled for 42-99 degrees, if that helps!

  • johnny says:

    how far apart are the framing studs ? i want to hang a small tv mount..

    • Hi Johnny,

      The 17R is built with a TV backer at the foot of the queen bed. You’ll see the power, cable, and antenna connections on that wall in this video by Chris, starting around the 2:30 mark: https://youtu.be/mNl52BWIA6c

      That said, I reached out to the manufacturer and the studs are 16″ apart on this model. Hope that helps!

  • George L Mason says:

    The units leak in heavy rain

    • johnny says:

      mine did too until i re tightened the AC hold down bolts…now its good no more leaks

    • Hi George!

      I’d highly recommend contacting the manufacturer if you’ve noticed leaks and your unit is still under warranty. Otherwise, you’ll likely need to find a service center that can complete a thorough roof inspection and seal any areas that are allowing water ingress. Sorry to hear you’ve had this experience!

  • Alan says:

    Is the 2”X2” framing in the walls/roof wood or metal?

  • Bradford Wallis McLeod says:

    Would to order a 17R w/o bed and dining area.

  • Lori West says:

    On a 2023 coleman lt 17b how many btus is the air conditioner..I live in a hot area and would like to be able to use it in the summer

  • Chase says:

    Is it possible to order a stripped down version of the Lantern LT 178 so I don’t have to pay for items I will never use or will remove anyway?

    • Raul says:

      Hi
      As an owner here’s my feedback.
      1. The door warps with the sun and constantly gets stuck.
      2. Flimsy cheap plastic holding the door gets broken after the first trip.
      3. The solar panel prep is useless as it’s just basically a direct connection to the battery with no charge control or even specific details on what volt or amps is needed.
      4. I wouldn’t mind paying for the scissor Jack’s that can stabilize the front. I have to buy them anyway as the only come in the rear.

      Hope this helps.

    • Hi Chase,

      This particular model is already one of the more base RVs in terms of appliances or extra amenities.

      What would you get rid of from the standard floorplan? I can see if any other floorplans might be a better fit for you based on your reply.

      You can also always contact the manufacturer (Dutchmen) directly to inquire about that kind of availability.

      Hope that helps!

  • G.miller says:

    How thick are the walls

    • Hi there!

      Coleman has used 2″x2″ framing for the exterior walls with a sheet of paneling on the interior and 024 corrugated metal on the exterior. Insulation is also glued between the interior paneling and exterior corrugated metal. Let me know if you have any other questions!

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