Would I do it again? 5 month review...

We ordered our Lance 1685 in September of 2009 and picked it up October 1, 2009. We really appreciated the opportunity to make the most out of a beautiful end of Autumn and a mild winter. Since purchase we have been out in the rain, wind, snow and deep freeze conditions. After all, we were excited to have our new trailer, and we figured that if we could survive camping in those conditions we'd have a blast in anything else.

Part 1. The downsides

Turns out snow and deep freeze isn't too bad.

In a deep freeze we were out for a week in it and went through both propane tanks in 4 days! I know they're small tanks, but that's quick!

A regional sales rep for Lance told me that the windows were all double pane or something that were made to withstand the cold and different than standard trailer windows. Not so. The windows sweat a lot. They are standard windows as far as I can tell.

When the front window cover and blinds are up it feels like the window is wide open with the amount of cold air that comes through that space.

A slide out tray in the front storage area is something that I would have definitely ordered, but didn't know it was an option. On my last blog Cactustravels posted a comment saying that they ordered the slideout tray and it takes up too much space for their needs.

I didn't order the TV or radio because I wanted to install my own from local stereo shop, etc. I still have the indoor and outdoor speakers installed in here, and I think their wires are hidden within one part of the Overhead (OH) Cabinets above the sink.

I am still very happy with the 1685 except with the Norcold fridge. Already had the microchip crack twice now. Haven't taken it back in to be fixed for the second time and since we have it plugged in to power all the time except when traveling, and don't keep food in it when not in use it's no urgent matter. I will replace it a second time in the near future, BUT, I don't want to have to replace it a third time! Warranty apparently doesn't cover labor costs?

Also, the bed being up against three sides of the trailer, I am still concerned about mold eventually taking form from moisture buildup. We have done our best to keep it dry, haven't bought a dry-z-air or similar yet, but probably will.

I feel like the dining area is too high to reach without a step stool. Something like that would be useful.

The shower area, and next to the sink cabinet is not completely caulked Like along the bottom edge of the shower between the shower pan and the surround is not caulked. The edge between the shower pan and the cabinet is not caulked. I wish the shower arrangement was different but can't see how it could be.

I wish that the entire bottom of the trailer including the black and gray water tanks was enclosed as a standard option and that tank heating pads was included as an option from the factory.

Two batteries should come standard not one. And though the battery bracket spans the width of the triangle in the front, there is only room for one battery. My local Lance dealer repair facility said that they would have to fabricate a whole new battery bracket!

The automatic awning doesn't have the ability to have a screen room. That's a bummer. But it's super easy to put out the awning!

Finally, in this day and age why are trailer companies still installing ugly, inefficient lighting fixtures. Lance could improve the look, styling and energy efficiency of their trailers by installing LED lighting, and putting those LED's in more stylish fixtures around the trailer. These tired old light fixtures have been around too long.

Well, those are just some of the negative things I've experienced with the trailer.

Part 2: The upside: If I had to make the purchase again I would!

Having this size of a trailer is really pretty great. We can pull into regular parking lots, take up a few spaces at the end of a row somewhere and be just fine. In all but the tightest of parking lots we do just fine. I can't imagine having something larger. For two of us traveling it is perfect. The space is really usable, and we dance around each other while moving about, but way better than without a slide-out.

The fridge size is great for this size of trailer. No problem for us having all the room we need for food.

The sink size has been good for this size of trailer. Still, I wonder if they couldn't put in a double-basin sink and eliminate the counter space between the oven and the current sink. With sink covers you can gain your counter space back and having a double-basin sink would be helpful in this tiny space. For our purposes we think this would work better, but I guess we'd have to try it out to see if it really is better.

We have done some aftermarket modifications in the cabinets (you can see that post here) that have improved the usability of the cabinets for our purposes.

We want to put sliding drawers in the under-the-seat dining area cabinets. I believe that since traditional cabinet sliders only come in smaller sizes than the length of the entire under-seat cabinet that a divider will need to be built to prevent other items stored in the area from interfering with the drawers we will build in. The items in the divided area will only be accessible by lifting out the cushions from the dining seats and lifting the cushion-support boards out. These items are only accessible this way now, so there is no loss of functionality, only improvement in accessibility!

We may build some kind of barrier to prevent odor from coming into the trailer from the slide-out storage area which also is part of the under-the-seat dining storage. We store our Sewer Solution in a tupperware in here, also our water hose and other outdoor supplies. Ordinarily there is only slight odor from this compartment when opening from the outside, or once cushions have been lifted off to access from the interior of the trailer. Since we really don't have a need to access these things from inside, the odor is really not a big deal. I do think when it's warmer out the odor will be a problem, so I am looking for ways to mitigate that, and seal off that one compartment completely from the interior. We currently use baking soda which helps to reduce some of the odor.

Towing is a breeze with this trailer! Even though I tow with plenty of power for this little trailer I still take it easy in the slow lane most of the time, relax and enjoy my adventure. I'm not a power camper that races to the campsite, sets everything up, pounds a half-rack, runs the quads into the ground, and races home. I tend to enjoy my camping a little more than that wanting to be relaxed rather than being in a constant state of anxiety. That's what the work week is for.

All in all I'm happy with this trailer so far, even with the little things here and there that could be improved.


  1. We ordered our 1685 yesterday. The dealer said it will take a couple of months to build.
    The dealer here had a trailer with the slideout tray and we felt like it took up too much space also. Maybe half a tray would be better.
    Can you smell the sewer hose when inside the trailer or only when the outside comparment is opened?
    I am concerned about the mattress getting wet also. I didn't think about that being a problem.

  2. The sewer hose can't be smelled inside, I'm just wanting to future proof it, to make sure I can never smell it. The only time it can be smelled is when I take the cushions off the dinette seating and take off the wooden panels below them to gain access to that compartment.

    I'm thinking about lining that compartment with something, and sealing all the corners so that no moisture or anything else can get into the trailer from there. As it is now it's just a wooden frame for the dining area, so it's possible for anything liquids or otherwise to penetrate eventually into the main cabin of the trailer. Not that it's a design fault, but just taking precautions I think since there's not much storage space and that's where I keep our sewer stuff.

  3. Not sure if you want me to post issues like this, but if it is a problem, let me know and I won't post any others. Do appreciate your blog though!

    The soft spot in the floor was bugging me, so I contacted the dealer who in turn contacted Lance. Lance wanted the trailer sent back to the factory. Keep in mind I haven't even used it yet. So, back to the manufacturer it went. Being concerned about quality control, I sent several Lance management personnel e-mails thinking I would get a response regarding my concerns about the floor and their over all quality control (including the president of Lance). No answer. So, I sent them a 2nd time along with an individual e-mail to the service manager. No answer. So, I wrote the dealer an e-mail and told them that I really felt that if this is the type of service I could expect, I have to question my purchase! I was having 2nd thoughts and wanted to know their resolve? Well, of course I received an answer from the dealer right away, who was very evasive about my concerns, and at which point I was informed that Lance would be calling me.

    They did so today. They told me that they had to cut out a portion of the floor as it is a laminated floor that became de-laminated. I indicated my appreciation for taking care of this, but once again voiced my concern, this time specifically about "cutting the floor in a brand new trailer and repairing it better than new" (I hope it will be better than new!). From the dealer to my driveway to the manufacturer and it has lamination problems? Maybe I should take a more active approach with my dealer and ask them to replace the unit with a unit that has been thoroughly inspected and hopefully built better? I think this is wishful thinking, but????

  4. Hello,

    We were looking at the 1685 Lance Trailer today. We currently tow a 2000lb Chalet pop-up with a 2008 V8 toyota 4runner. I was wondering how the Lance would tow? Even though the 4Runner is rated to tow 7,000 pounds, I feel that a 4000 lb trailer might be a bit much. What do you tow yours with?


    San Diego, CA

  5. @ Athena - I am glad you posted your experience here. That is what these types of forums are for! Blogs, Forums, Groups, are all here for people to communicate with each other. If other consumers find your experience helpful, that is great! I can only hope that Lance will take notice of these types of forums and use them to better their service and products.

    @ Mike - I tow with a F150, rated for around 7500. It tows fine. It's the reason I bought this trailer, because it is light (although made heavier with the slideout), but still light enough for my truck.

  6. Our 5 Month Review

    Would we do it again, absolutely! We love the Lance 1685. We have spent the last 5 months camping in AZ about 2-3 times per month, usually weekends but did have a full week vacation at the Lake. Our only warranty issue is a small drip on the water spicket to drain fresh water from tank.

    We have done some after market additions on our Lance and I will take pictures to add shortly.
    1. Add shelves in the small niche area in bathroom.
    2. Changed shower head to off/on button type and added metal bendable hose.
    3. Added Shelves in closet space by door
    4. Use plastic tote bins to organize linens and food in closets near door.
    5. Changed bed to Queen pillow top and added 4 inch support on side of bed.
    6. Plan to add window tint "film" to the front window to minimize sun & heat exposure.
    7. Installed a battery disconnect switch which cuts electricity to the coach and saves the battery even if we accidentally leave something turned on like a light or water pump.
    8. Purchased a very sturdy portable flat metal step (approx 4") so I, being short, can reach the dinette.

    We have not had any odor problem in the storage area under dinette. We store our sewage connectors in totes in the under dinette compartment. The connectors are rinsed after each use. The actual odor solutions are stored in the bathroom in containers they come in.

    We do not have any soft spots on the floor.

    Our first trip we had a screw in the tire. Discovered that getting the spare off of the rack at the front of the trailer is a real bear. Putting it back on was even harder. This involved laying on the ground and praying that the tire wouldn't fall on your face while you were unscrewing it from the brackets.

    We purchased the Prodigy brake controller, equalizer hitch w/sway bar. Highly recommend this for ease and safety when towing.

    We also installed the electric tongue jack, which as a woman I wanted rather than hand cranking the tongue all of the time. (DH (Dear Husband) loves it!)

    We use a water pressure gauge attachment whenever we connect to water supply. Also use a portable electrical power surge protector when we connect to electric, guards against under/over power surges and polarity. For added protection I also use a portable surge protector inside the coach whenever I plug in my laptop or Iphone for charging. Maybe not necessary, but gives me piece of mind for my electronics.

    We just purchased 2 Honda generators, two are needed in order to run the A/C. They weigh 40 lbs so a woman can lift them. To thwart thieves, we chain the generators together and to the trailer frame with heavy duty chain. They are quiet and power the coach no matter where we are camping.

    Moisture usually isn't a problem in Arizona, but heat is. We purchased special double stick tape from U-Line to attach items since the regular "command hooks" fall off when it gets hot in the summer (found this out when we had a motorhome).

    We are having great fun with our Lance and hope these comments are helpful to everyone.


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