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Family Retreat: Coleman Lantern

Originally Published in Trailer Life Magazine

A triple-slide bunkhouse with an outdoor kitchen and an affordable sticker price, the Coleman Lantern 337BH rolls out comfy quarters for two-day getaways and longer stays

Little did we know that our world was changing as we tested Dutchmen’s Coleman Lantern 337BH last February at Clerbrook Golf and RV Resort in Clermont, Florida. Such is the nature of escaping reality at a lovely spot. Still, as we conducted the test, COVID-19 was starting to affect the country, not to mention the region, with the first airline passenger to Florida testing positive for it. With the spread of the virus becoming clear, photographer Shawn Spence and I returned the travel trailer to the Kissimmee Camping World and made tracks to our respective homes in Melbourne, Florida, and Massachusetts.

As the pandemic grew and the world closed down, our lives were changing. In the coming months, RVing would become the go-to solution for social-distanced vacation travel. For many who would have gone to beach resorts, sailed on cruises or hopped a flight to Orlando, the road trip was the new escape. While we may be biased, there’s no better way to take a road trip than with an RV. And for families looking to get a comfortable start in RVing at an affordable price point, the Coleman Lantern 337BH fits the bill. 

The Inside Story

Stepping into Coleman’s flagship Lantern 337BH reveals a spacious great room adorned in modern blacks, grays and browns, which fills out the Ironwood interior, the only one offered in the Coleman line. Gray-vinyl flooring has a marblelike appearance, and gray low-pile carpet lines the slideouts. This floor, we found, does a remarkable job of hiding dirt and grime, which is undoubtedly helpful with the young ’uns aboard.

The seating and layout of the living room, galley, and U-shaped dinette are conducive to family time, provided some of the family doesn’t mind sitting at the dinette to watch TV. The kids might be more interested in watching their own TV in the rear bunkroom, though.

The galley has counter and storage space aplenty for family meal prep, with the kitchen slide adding to the overall footprint. A Norcold Polar 7-cubic-foot RV refrigerator keeps plenty of vittles cold, and the Furrion microwave and range — with three burners, a 17-inch oven, and a range vent — do a nice job of heating everything back up, or even cooking a feast for the crew. Between the kitchen island and slideout cabinets, there’s plenty of cupboard and drawer space, and you can tell the kids how good they have it when they get to wash the dishes in the big stainless-steel farmhouse sink.

The U-shaped front dinette is 84 by 48 inches, with cushions clad in an attractive mix of black soft-touch vinyl and diamond-pattern sewn vinyl below, separated by white piping. The table is mounted on dual pedestals and is of a good size to accommodate up to six hungry campers. A second dinette in the bunk room is similarly clad. Utilizing all the fixed dining spaces, 10 can eat comfortably inside this trailer.

The great-room living area features a three-person jackknife sofa, also clad in black vinyl, with a sizable floor-level storage cabinet underneath. Additionally, a small cubby below the electric fireplace offers a spot for shoes and such. While the 337BH doesn’t come with a TV, it’s prepped for three flat screens: one in the living room, one in the master bedroom, and one in the bunk room.

The bunk room is a great space for the kids to get away and stay entertained or be homeschooled. The dinette, which folds down into the lower of two bunks on that side, provides lighting, and 120-volt AC and USB electrical connections. The room has ample storage with a closet, drawers, and three cubbies. There’s a spot for a smaller size TV monitor under the opposite side bunk. 

A cubby built into the rear wall adds a little more storage; however, since the back wall of a travel trailer has the most movement, care should be taken to secure items stored within. It’s a good spot for non-fragile things such as clothing, blankets, and the like. But if things fall out and tangle with the slideout room, there’s no way to access that part of the room to clear the jam. 

Moving forward from the living area is the roomy but no-frills side-aisle bathroom. It features a curtained-off corner shower, a corner vanity, a mirrored medicine cabinet, and a Thetford standard foot-flush commode. 

The master bedroom offers a residential queen bed with lift-up storage underneath, flanked by bedside tables with drawers, a shirt wardrobe on each side, and a shelf between those on the front wall. The front wall is adorned with a washed-wood

wallpaper that contrasts nicely with the walnut-colored cabinetry. Each side has USB and AC power outlets, two ceiling lights, and one reading light in the center underside of the cross-bed shelf.

The Outside Story

Call me old-fashioned, but I like the look of aluminum RV siding over fiberglass in some circumstances, and travel trailers are one such case. The Lantern has clean exterior lines and three colors: white, silver, and black. The Coleman logo in maroon stands out and helps to give that outdoor and camping feeling.

Given that this is a triple-slide trailer, the galley slide intrudes into the patio awning space, but not a huge amount. Three-quarters of the trailer’s length is shaded by a Lippert Components Solera power awning, which ends just before the exterior kitchen. Beyond the galley slide, the water heater and furnace are just inside the rear awning arm, which, considering the slide, keeps their venting out of the way unless you use a screen room.

For good times with family and friends, tailgating with a well-equipped outdoor kitchen is the monkey’s bananas, and this one ranks pretty high, with plenty of storage, counter space, a sink, and an electric refrigerator. A propane grill folds out from the rear bumper to complete the ensemble. A long folding table set up in front of the outside kitchen would make the ultimate outdoor wet bar for entertaining.

Exterior storage is limited to one sizable cross-front compartment with full access from both sides. The compartment doors are large enough for most chairs and fold-up grills, plus an array of other “stuff” we all like to take along on a trip.

Measuring just shy of 38 feet and with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 11,176 pounds, the Lantern comes with a bunch of conveniences and technology that RVers will no doubt find useful. While the chores of leveling remain, the drudgery of cranking down the stabilizer jacks is replaced with the touch of a finger with Lippert’s PSx1 power stabilizer system. The 50-amp electrical service includes a prewire for a second air conditioner. 

Winegard’s Connect 2.0 takes mobile internet connectivity to the next level, and the Lantern is prewired for it from the factory, making the already easy-to-install system a snap. Likewise, the Furrion DVD stereo makes entertainment a snap, and features HDMI audio return channel, or ARC, for use with Furrion, LED TVs to have sound from the TV play through the stereo speakers. For ease in backing, Furrion’s rear-camera bracket and prewire are included.

The Final Word

That said, trailer manufacturers like to cut corners in places most inexperienced RVers won’t notice to keep the price point competitive. There’s not a lot of that in the Lantern in comparison with some other weekender rigs. Built-in a mostly Amish-staffed plant in Middlebury, Indiana, the Coleman Lantern is as traditional a stick-built trailer as you can get, and is a comfortable and serviceable RV for family outings and vacations. 

Dutchmen RV

Chris Dougherty is the technical editor of Trailer Life and MotorHome. Chris is an RVDA/RVIA certified technician and a lifelong RVer, including 10 years living full time in an RV. He and his wife make their home in Massachusetts and hit the road in their heavy-duty truck towing their 5th wheel every chance they get.

337BHClerbrook RV and Golf ResortColemanFord F-350RV Test

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