Keystone vs Forest River: Is Forest River Better or Keystone?

To get the most bang for your dollar and not feel like you wasted any money, you need to do some research and find the right RV and RV company for you. But that search can be difficult as companies like these two are upstanding and deliver quality.

Is Forest River better or Keystone? It is hard to say as both companies build their RVs to last and look good. They also strive to provide a lot of floor plans and other options to make sure their customers have a great RV experience. Both are owned by other companies.

To find out which company is better, just continue to read our article. It provides the information so you can decide for yourself which one you prefer. Both companies will have a lemon or two from time to time.

Is Forest River Better Than Keystone?


This will be a matter of opinion as there are people who will buy Keystone and never buy Forest River and vice versa. In customer ratings, Forest River ranked lower than Keystone. But the company is owned by Berkshire Hathaway which is known for investing in very good companies.

In other rating categories, these two companies were very close together in warranty, value for the money, and product or service quality. By close, they were within a percentage point or two of each other.

Both companies excel in floor plans and the layouts of their trailers, campers and provide a lot of selection for different models of RVs that they make. They did score low in customer service, quality of the product, and both those categories are important when deciding which one is the best.

In other words, these companies are about the same and they have their good points and their bad points. Also, the quality of RV you get from either company will be similar.

What will make their RVs better over the other will be in how you maintain the rig under your ownership. That will influence your opinion of these companies.

Keystone vs Forest River Quality

Keystone is known for keeping its prices lower than its competitors and being affordable. But as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. The company ranked low for quality by their customers especially when it came to customer service.

Forest River, on the other hand, usually has a higher price on their models which tends to lead people to think that their product is top quality and will last a long time without too much trouble.

The Forest River options seem to have better materials yet some of the complaints that have arisen is that their products are not good in extreme weather. Keystone has not had those types of complaints that we have seen.

With Forest River’s extensive list of TT models and RVs, they may have spread themselves out a little thin and cannot deliver the quality their customers expect when paying a higher price for those RVs.

Keystone, while not making that mistake, may use inferior products in order to keep their prices lower. The companies do have good points that beat the other but only in minor areas.

That means the quality you get from either company is going to be about the same. Both companies strive to make good RVs no matter their size and work hard to make sure you get your money’s worth. Sometimes, lemons do fall through the cracks and leave the showroom unnoticed.

Keystone vs Forest River Toy Hauler


In terms of model options, Forest River seems to have more model options to choose from than Keystone. The Raptor series from Keystone seems to have garnered a lot of praise from all who have owned this model. They can’t seem to say enough about it.

Yet, the Forest River models usually rank high on many top lists of toy haulers especially for performance and overall value. The unfortunate part of any comparison is when someone buys a lemon accidentally and that experience influences their view of all the products of a given company.

There will be lemons in both lines of toy haulers but their presence does not make all the models from either companies’ bad. You will find that the toy haulers from either company will not fit everybody’s lifestyle and recreational needs.

They both make good toy haulers but they cannot match those rigs up with every demand a customer may have. There are just too many variations of recreation out there. The key is to do some comparison shopping while looking at your recreational needs and get the toy hauler from the company that meets those needs.

Both companies do make good toy haulers and the best thing to do when at the dealership is to poke around thoroughly, get inside and do some tests, and see if the quality is up to your expectations.

Keystone vs Forest River Destination Trailers

If you have ever heard the phrase ‘6 of one and a half a dozen of another’ then you will understand how difficult it is to say which company is better in this or any category in this comparison. The RVs made by these companies are basically equal in quality, floor plans, livability, and so on.

In reading some reviews by owners of both TTs, the biggest difference between these trailers boiled down to the layout of the floor plan. The quality of the travel trailers was about equal.

Also, the after-care service plays an important role in how these TTs are seen. Keystone seems to have a very negative reputation when it comes to customer service and helping their customers with legitimate issues.

Those are going to be the key issues when deciding which TT is better than the other one. If you get great customer service from Keystone or Forest River, then that experience will help you say their destination trailers are better than the competition.

A lot of Keystone owners have not had any issues with their models and are quite happy with the quality. But the same can be said for satisfied Forest River customers. In other words, the quality is about the same, the difference will be in how the company treats you after you make your purchase.

Keystone Cougar vs Forest River Rockwood


The comparison between these two RVs will be the same as the destination trailers. In doing research, the issues that separated these two RVs were not about the quality of the build or the materials but the floor plans and the company behind each model.

Keystone is said to be the #1 producer of RVs and quantity doesn't always indicate great craftsmanship. Forest River is supposed to be #2 and the two companies' models seem to be about the same when it comes to the basics.

In fact, it is said that some Keystone executives migrated over to Forest River and there may be some Keystone Cougar influences in certain Forest River models. What that means is that the two RVs will be similar in almost every aspect.

The recommendation was that you just need to get the floor plan you want and be happy. Keystone is known for offering only the standard one-year warranty which may put some customers off of the Cougar.

This comparison is like comparing a Ford to a Chevy to a Dodge because the two RVs are comparable and you need to buy the one you like. Make your inspection to make sure the build quality is there and ask some tough questions about delamination or wood rot.

That will make sure you have all the information needed to make a good purchase decision.

Keystone Cougar vs Forest River Surveyor

The issues here will be between the quality of materials used to make both RV models. Forest River is known for charging more and the materials they use should be top-notch. But there have been complaints about extreme weather issues.

It seems that the seals are not up to par on their RVs and many owners have had to do extra work to upgrade those seals. The main complaints from Keystone owners is more about how they were treated after they purchased than about the Cougar itself.

The reports that we read had nothing but good to say about the Cougar but then, you can say that Keystone is a Chevy and Forest River is a Ford. That is the level of comparison as there will be people who love their Forest River Surveyor and those people who prefer the Keystone Cougar.

Overall the Cougar offers more storage space and has better power outlets but the Surveyor sleeps 6 and has storage space in the bathroom and the doors. It is going to be the minor points that will convince you to buy one model over the other.

The Surveyor may also be shorter, lighter, and very comfortable but those are minor points that appeal to only certain people.

Forest River Cardinal vs Keystone Montana


The main issue with the Cardinal is the problem with the slide-out’s bottom flooring. It seems that the company uses a Darco Wrap and that material is causing them a lot of problems.

Also, the Cardinal is a bit pin-heavy as the company has moved the axles back on their newer models. Montana owners are reporting few problems with their RVs and those problems are targeting parts not made by Keystone.

This is not to say that all RVs made in these models have bad features or no problems. The situation is case by case and as we have said some lemons do slip through quality control and customers have bought them. This is the same situation that happens with car companies all the time.

The key to which is better will depend on which features you like and which floor plans appeal the most to you. Plus, the experience you have will determine which RV you will like. One owner liked the Cardinal so much that he is very biased in his opinion.

Better is subjective and many Montana owners are very satisfied with their choice.

Forest River Wildcat vs. Keystone Cougar

While some RVs need to be towed with a 1 ton, these two options can be towed by a 1/2 ton truck. That may help those who do not want to spend any money and upgrade to a 1 ton just to pull their RV.

In looks, the two 5th wheel trailers are similar but the Cougar has a larger window at the front than the Wildcat has. Then the Cougar comes with 12 floor plans approx., while the Wildcat has only 8.

Then the Wildcat is 33 feet long and the Cougar is only 30 but the Cougar is 2000 pounds lighter making it the easier rig to pull. Then the minor features vary as the Wildcat has a back up camera, 12v LED lights, a queen-sized sleeper sofa, 39-inch tv, dual recliners, and an outside kitchen.

The Cougar comes with 2 30 pound propane tanks, double-paned windows, 2 recliners, a large window to let the light in, a tri-fold sleeper sofa, and a table that converts into a bed.

The drawback to the Cougar would be its $43,000 price tag which can’t really compete with the $25,000 starting price of the Wildcat. If money is the biggest factor, then the Wildcat would win here.

If the floor plan is the most influential factor, then the Cougar has the edge. It will be the features and the floor plan, along with the price that will help you decide which one is better.

Keystone Hideout vs Forest River Grey Wolf


The Hideout looks more like a traditional trailer that has been built for over 60 years. The Grey Wolf has a little bubble at the front which should help fight off wind resistance. Those are the obvious differences between these two trailers.

Both rigs come with 2 bedrooms with queen-sized beds in them while the Hideout has 1 1/2 baths to the 1 bathroom in the Grey Wolf. Also, the Hideout has 2 slide-outs to the Grey Wolf’s one.

The lack of amenities in the Grey Wolf makes it the smaller trailer by 3 feet approx., and the lighter one by about 3,000 pounds. The Grey Wolf does have a double-entry system but the front door looks like it enters through the bathroom which seems odd.

The Hideout also has a dual entrance system with the front door entering into the hallway instead of the front bathroom. The back entry is for the master bedroom which will help in times of emergencies.

In looking at the floor plans available for both rigs, it seems that the Hideout is better designed, more open, and has a lot of extra room that the Grey Wolf does not have. As to which is better, that decision may boil down to price.

Forest River Wildwood vs Salem

These two RVs are both made by the same company. Forest River is well known for producing a wide array of RV models and probably have more series to choose from than their competitors.

Don’t be fooled by the different names. The Wildwood may have smooth fiberglass siding and the Salem only wavy aluminum, plus the Salem adds a few extra pillows inside but other than those few differences, the two RVs are exactly the same.

Also, Salem’s interior may be more upscale than the Wildwood’s but they are still the same rig. It is possible that the Wildwood is the newer version of the Salem and the biggest upgrade was the name change.

Since they are made by the same company, you will get the same quality of build, the same customer service, and the same type of warranty whether you buy one or the other. Both will have flaws.

Most people are happy with either model and some prefer the Salem to the Wildwood just because it suits their lifestyle, not because of any amenities, features, or build quality. Others think that the Wildwood’s interior is very inferior and would not buy it for that reason.

Some Final Words

Better is subjective. That is why the world is so interesting. You get different products that look similar but have different features that fit different lifestyles. That attitude is part of the RV world as most RVs are similar in build quality, materials used and the only difference between them will be the floor plan and the features offered.

The price will be different as well. All that means is that you buy the one you like with the floor plan that fits how you want to live and at the price you can afford.

Leave a Comment: