Forest River Salem Review – 2020 Buyer’s Guide

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Built to maximize efficiency, The Salem 22RBS offers functional usage of even an inch of space. It has proved to be the perfect couple's coach by including flexible common spaces and multifunctional storage options. 

It has been a popular option amongst couples because of its unswerving views and ease of use. Apart from this, affordability is perhaps its most attractive feature. 

Below, we have discussed its specifications, unique features, and usage in detail so you can make the best decision for yourself by taking all the factors into account. 

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Large front queen bedroom is included
  • Large 8 feet lounge and living area
  • Surround walk-in shower and large bath
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Forest River Salem Specs and Dimensions 

  • Height: 11’2”

  • Weight: 8,283 lbs

  • How Many Does it Sleep: 4 people

  • Chassis: 910 lbs

  • Exterior Material Used: Wood

  • Towing Capacity: 783/355.2 lbs

  • GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating): 11,070 lbs

  • GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating): 8455 lbs

Forest River Salem Layout 

The Forest River Salem is known for its compact and extremely functional layout. Here is a division of the interior spaces, expanding on its unique features and benefits. 

  • Lounging Area

The common space is the lounging area, set in a comfortable L-shaped manner and a removable table that just clips off and can be stored underneath the couch when not in use. The couch also has sufficient storage underneath it. The jackknife sofa can be turned into a large bed for more number of people. The window is huge and lets in a lot of light and air, and users can choose to cover it with blinds. 

Along with this, there is a 12-volt fridge that does not require an inverter and uses only three amps of power. It also has a lock on it to keep the doors from popping open when in transit. The herringbone pattern on the carpet floor makes this common space aesthetically pleasing and homely. There is a pantry that has lips, so your stuff does not fall off under transit with a light inside for better visibility. 

  • Kitchen

The kitchen has a spacious countertop with four outlets and a thermostat for ducted heat. There is also a 15000 BTU main AC unit. There is a microwave, an automatic ignition stove, and an oven included with a double sink. There is TV mounting space, along with a soundbar and a 30-inch built-in fireplace beneath. 

  • Room

On both sides of the 60-by-70-inch bed, there are household outlets and hanging stores. Along the roof, there are overhead cabinets with see-through glass. There is storage underneath the bed too.

  • Bathroom

The shower space is 30-by-36 inches, and the height is good enough for tall people. There is a skylight present atop, which brings in light. In the main sink space, there is a power vent atop for ventilation purposes. Behind the shower, there is a linen closet, which is usually absent at this price point. 

It also has a window located at a good height with a pull-down shade for privacy. The dresser space alongside the sink has an open cabinet with a hanging bar. Along with this, a medicine cabinet atop the thermo-foil countertop complements the accent wall.    

Who is the Forest River Salem Best For? 

Owing to its lightweight nature and compactness, it is most suitable for young couples who wish to go off the grid once a while. Overall, it has a livable and well-designed space, which makes it suitable for long trips. However, the furniture's flexibility, such as the sofa-bed in the lounge, makes it suitable for a family of four as well. Since it has super user-friendly features, it is a perfect choice for first-timers. 

In relation to the ergonomics, it has an extra few inches of the roof compared to competitor models and extra features such as a skylight over the shower space, which makes it suitable for tall people. It has been used over the years for local weekend camping. Because of its name in the industry, owners are able to re-sell it at a good price, which makes it great for taking a one-time trip. 

Popular Features 

This trailer by Forest River is known for its unique features, some of which have been expanded on below; 

Designer Furniture 

This brand could easily have gotten away with giving standard furniture, especially because it comes under the affordable price range, but instead, every corner has been paid attention to in terms of aesthetics. The kitchen cabinet glass has a honeycomb pattern on it, and the carpet has a Herringbone pattern, and these small prints make it seem like home. 

Versa Lounge 

It has a flexible common space of eight feet, which gives out an unswerving view of the entertainment and fireplace spot. It has additional built-in features that do not make you feel far from home, like the soundbar, which has FM, Bluetooth, HDMI, and USB cable for easy connectivity with your devices. 

Extra-Large Panoramic Window 

Most brands would try to cut corners by providing little or no windows at this price point, but Forest River pays attention to the livability features. Thus, this trailer comes with a huge window in the lounging area, which lets in enormous amounts of natural light that eradicates any need for artificial lighting. This way, the user also gets to really enjoy the surrounding along the way.

20.3 Cubic Feet of Stow N Go Storage 

There is ample storage in the bedroom, dinette, and underneath the sofa. This takes away the need for any additional storage that could eat up the walkable space. The spaciousness makes this trailer great for going off the grid for a long period of time.

Included Safety Features 

The Forest River Salem comes with multiple safety features so that you can be at ease while you travel, cook, or sleep in your trailer. The most prominent safety features have been expanded on below;

Propane Leak Detector 

This sounds like an alarm so that the occupants of the trailer can get time beforehand to leave. Having this in the trailer is super convenient as some gases can prove to be dangerous to the health of the occupant or their pets. 

Fuse Panel 

A fuse panel protects the wiring inside the trailer. It has a compact size, and it sits near to the electric works. It ensures the balance of the power supply to and from the device so that the excess may not lead to the device blowing up altogether. 

Smoke Detector 

A smoke detector is crucial for the premature discovery of any potential hazardous fire in the trailer and could help save the occupants' life. In case of a fire, smoke and gases can be a life-threatening combination and spread really fast, so having this can help protect occupants from smoke inhalation and burns.

Aspects to Improve

Like any other trailer, this one might also go through some temporary issues that need your attention. These are usually minor and fixable issues, which can be dealt with using on-hand equipment and prior technical knowledge. Some of these have been highlighted below to better prepare you for traveling in the Forest River Salem; 

Space Utilization 

Even though this trailer has a lot of storage and walkable space, some users have reported that they could use more flexibility in the furniture so that it could cater to more family members. For example, the bed could use a slide-out mattress underneath instead of the storage space so that it could better fit a family of five or six. So thinking more about these aspects, the overall space utilization could be improved. 

Build Quality

The overall quality of this trailer is pretty astonishing at this price point. However, some materials can be upgraded to eradicate any potential issues. For example, using plywood in the kitchen cabinets instead of aluminum can cause molding issues, especially in rainy areas. But users can prevent this situation altogether by properly sealing off the trailer when the wind is too humid or during rainfall. 

The corners of the countertop are also edgy, so if you have kids coming in the trailer, you need to put safety foam on the corners to avoid any accidents. 

Sturdiness

Some furniture in this trailer is not made to withstand a lot of pressure. For example, the dinette table cannot be leaned on, or it will come off/break. The blinds are also hung in a delicate manner so they cannot withstand strong winds, or they will come off the rail. Half of the flooring in the lounge is of carpet, and that might not suit everyone as it requires more maintenance. 

Comparison Overview 

Forest River designs multiple trailers, and each has its set of unique features and the benefits that come along with it. To have a better overview of how Salem compares to its twin models, you can refer to the comparison below. 

Forest River Salem vs. Rockwood

Built by the same manufacturer, the Salem and Rockwood do not have many differences when it comes to the overall build quality and aesthetics. Some ways in which they can be compared further have been expanded on below; 

Floor Plans

Both brands are made in the same factory using similar components for furniture and interior construction details. The overall planning is very similar, which leads to consistency in both designs. 

Color Scheme

This is perhaps the only difference between the two; Salem offers a whitewash for interiors and has various interior fabrics and designed countertops to make the trailer feel homely, while Rockwood has more of a subtle wood finish throughout its interiors. People who like minimalism in the design are likely to opt for Rockwood, while people who enjoy textures and customizations will find Salem a better choice. 

Flexibility

Both have ample shower space and outdoor features, which make them equally good options for going out on a short trip with the family. In Salem, the walkability is a bit less around the bed, but that is because there are more storage options. The Rockwood also has a queen-size bed, but there is more space to walk around it. 

Forest River Salem vs. Wildwood

Wildwood also belongs to Forest River like Salem and consists of a similar floor plan. The price point is also nearly the same. Some other ways they can be compared have been highlighted below;

Equipment

Items such as the furnace, refrigerator, and tires are exactly the same in both models. They require very little energy in both models, which makes them equally efficient for making long trips. 

Interior

Even though the floor plans are the same, the interior finishes differ in terms of color and furniture. Salem is relatively more deeply rooted in customer preferences because it came before Wildwood, and its interior is deemed to be the preferred layout for most potential buyers.

Build

Wildwood is lighter and more compact. It has slides that are thin and not as deep as Salem’s, measuring only 18 inches rather than the 36 inches in Salem. The sidewalls of the Salem are 6’9” as compared to the 6’6” in the Wildwood. Users can really benefit from the extra three inches for taller cabinet space, shower space, and bunks. So, it seems more open overall.  

They are so similar that normally a retailer either has Salem or Wildwood to sell, never both in the same place. So if you are a newbie to trailers, it might get tricky to differentiate between the two, but you can refer to the comparison above to make the final decision. 

How to Winterize a Salem Travel Trailer 

Winterizing a Salem is super easy. All you have to do is follow these four steps below, and you will be all set for winter;

1. The first step is to clean the grey and black water tanks and drain them. For this, you should leave both gate valves open so you know they are completely clean before you put them away for winter. Now, drain the water heater. For this, open the pressure relief valve, which is made to relieve any pressure in the system. Now the water is disconnected; there will be no water going to the coach.

2. Close the relief valve while you take the drain plug out so it doesn’t blow back at you. Now, use Atwood and locate the plastic plug-in. If you have a suburban, it will have a brass plug or steel plug with an anode rod attached to it. You will notice water coming out by this time, so reopen the pressure relief valve to get it to come out at a quicker speed. When it is almost empty, close the pressure relief valve and go over to the freshwater city fill to connect the air. 

3. Underneath, one of the slides has the city water connection. Use the little plug with the compressed air fitting to screw into the hose outlet and connect the compressor to it. You shouldn’t need any tape because it has an in-built washer. The air compressor can be set to 30 psi, which is more than enough to blow the air out. As soon as you connect it, it is going to start blowing the air out. At this point, the heater and faucets will be closed.

4. Alongside, wait for the hot water heater to push out all the excess water. Once done, disconnect the outlet from the rig. Locate the heater underneath the bottom kitchen cabinets. Turn the blue water pipe valve off to disconnect the cold water supply and turn on the red valve to allow hot water supply. 

Now the rig is in bypass mode. The last step is to close the grey and black water tank in the sewer gate valve. For visual guidance on how to go about this, you can refer to the video below. 

Bottom Line

Forest River Salem is perhaps the most efficient investment you can make if you have a small family of four or just a single partner to travel with. It has all the functional requirements that you might need for going off the grid while having decorative elements that would make you feel at home. 

If you are on a tight budget but cannot compromise on any space or accessories, this will be a great choice for you. Not to mention the facilities of grilling, skylight, and outdoor shower it comes with, adding flexibility and options for all the occupants of the trailer.

People Also Ask

Investing in a good trailer requires a lot of background research. To save your time and get you covered on all aspects, we have answered some of the frequently asked questions below; 

Is Forest River a Good Brand?

Forest River holds a reputation in the RV industry, known for its ability to provide trailers for the most functional needs at an affordable price point. Ever since its initiation, it has been able to offer an endless variety of trailers consisting of tiny pop-ups for camping to huge fifth-wheels designed for longer trips. 

It has recently introduced flagship Class A coaches, innovating frequently and learning from its setbacks to come up with even better, updated designs. It is one of the largest trailer dealers in America, having multiple subsidiaries operating under its name.  

Is Forest River Owned by Thor?

No, Forest River is currently owned by Berkshire Hathaway, a huge firm with multiple manufacturing facilities and dealerships running under its brand name throughout America. It has its headquarters in Elkhart, Indiana. Peter Liegl found it in 1996, and today, it prides on employing about 8,000 people. 

Where is the Multifunction Board on a Salem Travel Trailer?

The multifunctional board in Salem is in the bathroom linen closet behind a false panel. Sometimes locating it is essential in case the remote fails to work or send signals. Users can program the remote on their own, but they can operate the electrical system directly from the remote in case that does not work. 

How to Lift the Antenna on a Salem By Forest River

In order to lift the antenna on a Salem, make sure to raise it before you go on rotating it in all directions to catch the best signal. The antenna looks like a Frisbee and can be located on the roof, elevated for about 12 inches off the surface. This will probably be an omnidirectional antenna that doesn’t extend or contract. 

What Size Battery Does a Forest River Salem Come With From the Factory?

There are two main types of batteries that are installed in Salem from the factory; chassis batteries, used for starting the engine, and deep-cycle batteries, used for household power in the travel trailer. The Forest River Salem comes with a 12-volts deep cycle battery that helps smoothly run more appliances. 

Which is Better, Evo or Salem Travel Trailer?

Evo and Salem both come under the same brand name, which is why their framework does not differ much, but in the former, the interior has been paid more attention to. It has a crowned roof feature for water drainage and black frame safety glass windows along with exterior speakers, all of which are amiss in the Salem. However, when it comes to functionality and affordability, then overall, Salem remains the better choice. 

How Do I Light the Hot Water Tank on a Salem Travel Trailer?

In order to allow water to flow, make sure your water pump is on, or you are hooked up to the city water connection, depending on which system you intend to use. Turn the water heater switch to the on position. The switch is located on the milder panel. You should hear the water heater start to click and light. 

You should also go outside and open the door to the water heater and check for a flame. If the water heater does not light, you may need to blow out the burn tube located on the exterior water heater access to clear out any debris. 

 What Warranty Does the Forest River Salem Come With?

Forest River ensures a warranty of interior and exterior when it comes to Salem. This means that not only will you get repairs for unforeseen damage for the body, electrical systems, or the plumbing of the trailer, but also for the furniture and other interior appliances that are built-in. 

The time limit is one-year and only applies to pre-defects or workmanship issues caused directly by Forest River. Users can go to any one of the 2400 service centers for Salem in America and Canada.