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Why We Love Our Lance 1685 Travel Trailer

Why We Love Our Lance 1685 Travel Trailer

Want this as the view out your screen door?  I loved this view from our Lance 1685 in Zion National Park.

Watchman Mountain, Zion Nat'l Park - the view out my screen door -- and kitchen window too! :)

Watchman Mountain, Zion Nat’l Park – the view out my screen door — and kitchen window too! 🙂

Or how about this for your front patio?

The view from our front porch at NC Outer Banks Ocracoke Park campground. Just over those dunes is the ocean, I love hearing waves on the beach - especially at night with the windows open!

The view from our front porch at NC Outer Banks Ocracoke Park campground. Just over those dunes is the ocean, I love hearing waves on the beach – especially at night with the windows open!

Unless you’re a gazillionaire and can afford beachfront and mountain property with these views, the ONLY way to experience the best in nature is camping.  Hotels and even park inns just aren’t the same surroundings.

Live it with a camper!

Snow Canyon State Park, Utah

Snow Canyon State Park, Utah

We spent alot of time researching RV’s and campers before we ordered our brand new 2014 Lance 1685 Travel Trailer.  We’re primarily cruisers (aka living aboard a sailboat), click here for our reasoning to add a travel trailer to our lifestyle. After 10,000 miles, let me tell you why we still love our choice …

1.  It’s a travel TRAILER!  We can disconnect from our truck and have transportation to explore the wonders around us.  After all, what’s the point of having a camper if you can’t explore!

Capitol Reef "Fruita" Campground.

Capitol Reef “Fruita” Campground.

2.  Our Lance 1685 is SMALL!  Some people might think that’s a disadvantage, but some national parks/forests and state parks have limits to the length of trailer allowed.  Even more than that, we’ve found that tight maneuvering quarters limit where we camp much more than size restrictions.   And as it turns out, although we weren’t sure at the time, 20’9″ of travel trailer is PERFECT for the two of us.

Just LOOK at all that floor space and light! Amazing for a camper only 20' long bumper to hitch.

Just LOOK at all that floor space and light! Amazing for a camper only 20′ long bumper to hitch. And yes, this is our actual camper after more than 10,000 miles.

3.  We can tow it with our 10 year old 6 cylinder Toyota 4 Runner 4 X 4.  Even with all the zillions of varieties of “ultra light” trailers these days, very few were under 4000 lbs dry weight.   Our 4 Runner is rated to tow 5000 pounds.  We figure adding all our stuff plus the extra propane, battery and solar, we’re right at that 5000 lbs limit.   The good news is that our “little engine that could” has taken us 10,000+ miles so far!  UPDATE:  Our 2014 1685 is listed at net weight under 3800 lbs – the 2017 1685’s are now listed at 4300 lbs net weight – Lance has upgraded the frame, added 2 side windows to the slideout and other upgrades that all contribute to more weight.  Of course, we’ve upgraded our tow vehicle and now tow with a Toyota Tundra, so since this was originally written, some things have updated.  🙂

Between Capitol Reef Nat'l Park and Blanding, UT

Between Capitol Reef Nat’l Park and Blanding, UT

4. STORAGE!!!  Because our plan was (and is) to spend 2-3 months a year traveling with our Lance camper, we needed STORAGE!   One of the big reasons we chose our Lance is the two forward storage compartments, one a full pass through and one under the bed, accessed from inside or outside.  Plus three hanging cabinets (one of which we converted to shelves), full size drawers under the dinette seats and more. On our long trip, we didn’t even use all our storage, primarily to try and keep the weight down!

Storage! Not one but TWO huge storage areas under the bed!

Storage! Not one but TWO huge storage areas under the bed! Using storage bins to split up the huge space makes it easier for us to access what we need.  Larger items go in the forward pass through.

Storage? No problem, we just slide it into our front pass through storage. Don't have a pass through storage? Slide it onto the floor the last thing before traveling. It's worth it to find the space!

Larger items such as our Clam Escape Screen Room (the best ever!) fit in the forward pass through storage compartment. This is also where the leveling blocks, grill and other essentials live.

5.  Construction quality.  OK, no camping trailer is going to be perfect and ultra-lights have lighter construction, so it’s important that it be REALLY strong and well constructed.  Just think, the trailer is going to undergo a magnitude 6 earthquake everytime you tow it for hours on the interstate (worse on many of the roads we’ve traveled).  We like the quality of the inside cabinetry, the comfort of the dinette, lots of extra touches, the LED lighting which saves power, the skylight, even the queen size bed (although we did add a mattress topper to the Serta mattress).  We’ve had no issues with major things falling apart, even after shaking the trailer to death on the road to Chaco Canyon.

Did we mention the washboard dirt road leading to Chaco Canyon?

Did we mention the washboard dirt road leading to Chaco Canyon, we were the only travel trailer in the Gallo campground in the national monument – maybe this is a contributing factor?

We have had minor issues with drawer latches needing re-adjusting after enduring the earthquake, electrical outlets getting loose, etc.  but we’ve been able to fix those ourselves easily.  Tighten screws regularly, that kind of stuff.

6.  Tank Size … OK, this one’s not very glamorous but it was VERY important to us when we picked our trailer.  Most small trailers have 20ish gallon black, gray and fresh water tanks.  20 gallons is NOT very much if you’re planning longer stays at campgrounds. Our Lance 1685 has 46 gallon tanks!  And so far, that’s been enough for a weeks stay without having to make a trip to a dump station – even with 4 people.  We love our big tanks!

Friends Igloo at Kodachrome State Park - we let them stay inside with us where it's cozy and warm!

Friends Igloo at Kodachrome State Park was not in the plan- we invited them stay inside where it’s cozy and warm!

7.  4 Seasons Package…. we don’t plan on camping in cold weather, but sometimes it just happens.  So far we’ve had snow on every long trip we’ve taken.  And several times the temps have been down in the mid 20’s for consecutive nights.  We don’t worry, our dual pane windows (try finding THOSE on an ultra light trailer!), insulated and covered tanks beneath and other Lance innovations keep all our stuff unfrozen and working – even in just 20 feet of trailer.

Real blackout/daylight blinds on every window, plus a pull shade over the skylight to insure when it's dark, it's dark!

Real blackout/daylight blinds on every window, plus a pull shade over the skylight to insure when it’s dark, it’s dark!

8.  Lifestyle  … we spent years tent camping … these days, we want to be comfortable.  Our Lance 1685 provides every luxury we could want – a microwave, an range with oven, a bigger refrigerator than we expected, a hot shower, a fully functional kitchen, TV (we added a Winegard G2 Satellite Dish for Direct TV), space to relax (or play games) if it’s a crummy day, push button slideout, awning and even trailer hitch. Other “little” details make it better for us – dual blackout/daylight blinds – not mini-blinds except over the kitchen where fabric is not legal.

Look! Even with out slideout IN we can open the bathroom door and refrigerator!

Look! Even with out slideout IN we can open the bathroom door and refrigerator!

9.  Two axles and other stuff I care nothing about, but David does!  One axle makes for a lighter weight travel trailer.  But David thinks two axles makes a safer travel trailer.  The two axles make for a smoother towing experience.  We’ve not towed anything other than a ski boat with one axle, so we don’t have a frame of reference, but I’d believe it.

Our dueling Lance Campers in the Ocracoke Campground

Our dueling Lance Campers in the Ocracoke Campground

10.   LANCE PEOPLE!  Maybe it’s true with all brands, but somehow I don’t see the camaraderie with other brands that I see with Lance.  Of course, it could be because we live east of the Mississippi and Lance is built in California, so they’re just now making significant inroads here.  Seeing another Lance trailer or camper is a big deal.  We always go over, introduce ourselves and chat – and sometimes end up making new friends!  Lance has a committed owners group with a very helpful owners forum, Lance Owners Association or LOA (click here). 


LOA, Utah made for a perfect place for a LanceLand photo opp!

This is LanceLand!   I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!


If you’re already a Lance owner, we look forward to meeting you “out there”.

And if you’re considering a travel trailer, please give Lance a chance.  Anyone have anything to add?  Please leave a comment and share!  Cheers!  Jan


  1. My sister recently spent the night with us and she slept on our conversion table bed. She is a large women and the ‘bed’ creaked most of the night. Is there a weight limit for this bed? I cannot find this information in the manual.

    Thank you,


    • Hi Karen! I’ve never seen a weight limit listed anywhere, but in looking at the support under the bed, I would guess there should be! Our grandkids sleep on it comfortably, their parents (dad – 185#, mom – 120#) not so comfortably. I’m always worried about someone falling through! You might try calling Lance. Sorry! Cheers — Jan

      • You might want to post the question to the Lance Owners Association. There is a ton of info out there!

      • Hi Jan,

        Retiring on Dec 31, my wife and I are looking forward to becoming part-time “nomads,” wanting to explore National/State parks in U.S. and Canada; therefore, we’re researching travel trailers to pull behind our 2017 Tundra, and believe the 1685 is a good choice. Per your comments, our travel requirements seem to line up with your experiences, so a couple of questions for you.

        1)I live in Northern Virginia where the RV Dealers don’t generally stock Lance, yet they can order one. I’m concerned about buying local because getting the unit properly serviced is important. Any suggestions?

        2) Wanting to order with the right options, what are the ones that you’d say are pretty much “musts” on the new 2018?

        3) I’ve had a lot of experience haggling with car dealers over the years, but have no experience with buying a Lance, how much will a Dealer come off of “List Price?” When pricing a Coleman travel trailer, I learned the discount can be as much as 35%.

        Thanks for any guidance/info you can provide.


        • Hi Allen! We bought our Lance in Illinois – at the time there was only one Lance dealer, north of Chicago and we’re 3+ hours south of Chicago. We ordered it new and I don’t think there was much discount. It’s not like buying a Coleman or Jayco because Lance seems to be more in demand and there isn’t any need to discount. That being said, we got some concessions, and some necessary “stuff” thrown in. We’re not familiar with the newer 1685’s but when we ordered our 2014, we ordered every option except solar – which we had added at a later date by a St Louis dealer. While traveling, we’ve had no issues getting an appointment at the Lance dealer in Albuquerque for some minor adjustments. But overall, I’d say one of our frustrations is not having a convenient dealer available. That being said, we’d buy another Lance if we had it to do all over again. Hope this helps! Cheers! Jan

          • Hi Jan!

            Your comments are very helpful, confirming many conclusions, as well as illuminating pros and cons. Thank you!

            Two more question: was the decision to add a solar panel because of inability to keep the lights, microwave, plugs, etc. working when boon docking? Please elaborate.

            Thanks again,

            Have a wonderful day!


          • Hi Allen! We decided to add the solar panel to help keep the batteries topped off when boondocking/dry camping. Solar has nothing to do with operation of microwave & plugs – to use those, you’ll need a/c power, not DC. Solar merely charges the batteries (DC power). To use the microwave and A/C plugs when without electricity, you’ll either have to run a generator (we have a Honda 2000) or have an inverter installed (with sufficient battery power). This gets complicated, but if you assume your microwave is a 1000 watt microwave and your coffee pot is a 1400 watt coffee pot, you’ll need at least a 1500 watt inverter (converts battery power to A/C for the plugs and other A/C applicances). Solar alone won’t do it. Cheers! Jan

          • Honda 2000 is your best bet. But that is ~ 50 lbs to lug around.

  2. How do I get in touch with you I got a 2018 lance trailer 1685 Got major major problem with the propane lines

  3. I have a 2015 Toyota Tacoma and am planning on purchasing a Lance 1685. What type of brake controller system (if any) did you have with your 4runner? It sounds like your Tundra came with a brake control system already installed. Thanks, Sandi

    • Hi Sandi! When we bought our Lance 1685, the dealer installed the brake controller system he thought was right for our combination. We never had any issues, but I don’t know specifically what it was. Yes, the Tundra had one installed. Are you sure your Tacoma doesn’t? If it had a factory tow package, I would guess the brake controller is already there. Worth checking! Cheers! Jan

    • Did you get your lance 1685 I have a 2018 only 5 months new if you are interested Hal 6618109265

  4. I have been looking for specs on the actual measurements of the queen bed in the 1685. Is it a true queen 60×80?

    • Hi Maureen! Our queen bed in our 1685 (2014) is an actual queen 60 X 80. We know because we’re looking to upgrade it – it was fine with a mattress topper for the first three years – but now that we’re spending 6 months a year in it, we’d like a original Tempur-pedic like at home. Spoiled? Guilty!!! 🙂 Cheers! Jan

      • Hi Jan – I’m happy I found your blog, it’s a great source of info since we just bought a used Lance 2285. The only issue I have with it so far is the bed. It’s a Serta 60 x 78 queen and is as hard as a rock! We are looking for a mattress topper and saw the one you ordered from amazon. Now I see that you’re ready to buy a new mattress. Do you still recommend the topper? Is it enough improvement or do you think it’s better to go for a new mattress? Any tips on mattresses would be great too. Thank you, Kathy

        • Hi Kathy! David loves our mattress topper, I HATE it – it’s just too soft for my comfort. But David’s is a “happy camper” so all is well in paradise. I sleep better on our original Tempur-pedic at the lake. But the price tag for a Tempur-pedic is out of this world … so the dilemma continues…. Sorry I can’t be more specific. In my mind, we went from ROCK hard to WAY too soft. But David feels differently…. Cheers! J&D

          • Lol we have differing opinions on firmness vs softness here too! I like a soft bed and husband not as much. Tempurpedic beds are expensive but I’ve slept on them and they’re comfy. I think I’ll order the topper to try and return if need be. It has to be better than what we have now. Good luck on your decision!

  5. I am glad to hear that you have driven many miles with a Toyota Tacoma and Lance 1685. I am in the same situation (2004 V6 with trans cooler). We have not made a challenging trip yet. But it is coming up (Los Angeles to Kern and then Mammoth Lakes). My question is how exactly did you drive the truck? Did you stay in D or did you shift down sometimes and just go slower. I also know to turn off the overdrive. Thanks for what help you can give me.

    • Hi Larry! We honestly can’t remember how we drove our 2006 4 Runner 6 cyl. We know we didn’t have it in overdrive and did not have it in “D”. We also never used the cruise control. We downshifted going downhill. On our 2016 Tundra, we shift it out of D, turn on the Tow/Haul, shift it in manual and run it in whatever position gets the lowest RPM’s with a balance of pulling power. Sorry I can’t be more help, when we sold the 4 Runner last year, we should have made some notes! Anyone else help Larry please? Thanks! Jan

  6. Hi Jan,
    My wife and I are looking to get into rving as we are now empty nesters. Do you know of anyone with a 1475? We have a 2016 4Runner with tow package so not worried about towing weight, Anyone we could find to ask about a 1475 would be great. Thanks.

    • Hi Joe! Unfortunately I don’t know anyone with a 1475 and have never seen one in person. I’d ask your question over on the Lance Owners Association Trailer Talk board, I know some folks over there have the 1475. Sounds like a good combination – have fun! Cheers! Jan

  7. Hi Jan!

    So we found your post several months ago and after careful comparing of all Lance models we went with 1685. We have a 2016 4runner Limited with Eco boost, which gives us an ability to tow up to 6,500 lbs. We also went ahead and invested in sway control bars – what a huge difference. We have a super steep driveway and getting down it was great but going up 4runner struggled.

    We have plans to drive from Santa Cruz, CA to Grand Tetons NP in Wyoming this summer, and driven that route once before just with the car I suddenly remembered Teton Pass. My question to you is, have you taken your 4runner and Lance through that way, or if you know of a better way to get to yellowstone. We are new to RV, had a boat before, and towing a boat seems like an easy task after towing 1685 up and down California hills… We are having a major issue with mirrors. We added extensions and still hard to see behind. Any recommendation on that?

    Space-wise we LOVE the trailer. It’s is like a treat to go camping now! Love the slide-out, and all the cool features. Pulling into any campsite there are always Lancers that come up to us and make friends. It’s like having a secret club – everyone is so sweet and open to share their knowledge on towing, and features inside the trailer. It’s been a great experience so far and all thanks to your post 🙂

    • Hi Olga! Unfortunately I don’t think we came that way – we came down from Yellowstone to Grand Tetons on Hwy 191. It appears that Teton Pass is on 22? We didn’t have any trouble driving 191, but keep in mind, that was Sept 2016 – and we traded our 4 Runner in on our Tundra Summer 2016. That 4 Runner was our 2nd and we would have loved having a 3rd, but they were SO much more expensive than the Tundra … and didn’t tow as much, so we opted for the Tundra. Here’s our comparison FYI.
      4 Runner vs Tundra as a Travel Trailer Tow Vehicle.

      P.S. No, the 4 Runner did not get significantly better gas mileage than the Tundra – surprisingly to us, we were in the 10-11 range with the Tundra and 10-12 range with the 4 Runner. Go figure! 🙂

      Enjoy your trip! Sounds great! Cheers! Jan

  8. HI Jan…Have you had any water leaks? we live the 1685 but are hesitant due to comments regarding water leaks.

    • Hi Julia! No water leaks here – are you talking inside (like the water heater) or outside leaks getting inside? The first year we had our 1685, we had the hot water heater plastic valve replaced with brass – while the trailer was in the shop getting solar added, we asked them to change out the plastic check valve for brass. No leaks so far – ours is a 2014. Cheers! Jan

  9. HI Jan..Thanks for all your wisdom. We are thinking of a Lance 1685 but have heard of some water leak issues. Have you had any water leaks?

  10. I was so happy to find this post. I am looking to buy a 1685. I was planning on pulling it with my 4Runner. I posted questions on a few forums about this combo (4Runner and 1685) and got some pretty rude replies about how this was a horrible combination. I am pleasantly surprised to read your blog and look forward to purchasing my new trailer. Thank you!

    • Hi Karen! Be sure your 4 Runner has the factory tow package with the transmission cooler. Also be sure you have a good weight distribution hitch and sway bars. Towing the 1685 with a 4 Runner is doable, but not ideal. Go slow, be safe and have fun! Cheers — Jan

      • Thank you for your blog. I am considering a 1685 to tow with my 2017 Ridgeline with a 5k limit. Seems doable. In my research I find the older 1685’s weigh in at 3400 lbs and the newer at 3800 lbs. I’m not sure why and hope there were no significant structural changes.. my truck would prefer the lower weight, Any ideas why the difference?

        • Interesting Joni! Let us see what we can find out … our 1685 was mid-range of what you mention — keep in mind, options affect the net weight — and that never reflects the weight the trailer will weigh with propane, batteries & your stuff — add approx 1000# or a bit more to get a “realistic” weight for the 1685 — we always figure ours is right at 5000 pounds with all the stuff — maybe a bit more with the bike rack and bikes. But we’ve upgraded to the Tundra so we no longer worry. I’ll see what I can find out & reply when I hear back. Cheers! Jan

        • Hi there!
          I tow a new 1685 with a 2006 Ridgeline. No problems. Get a good WDH. We purchased the Equilizer and it is great. You’re not going to win any races but if you use good common sense you shouldn’t have any problems. We typically turn 1800-2000 RPM’s doing about 60 on I-5. I must add that gas mileage does suffer…we average about 10 MPG!
          Pay attention to your load, primarily how MUCH you load. We try to run with our water tank dry and then fill it close to our destination if you don’t have city water at your campsite. We love the trailer and are very pleased with the entire package.

          • Hi Scot, thank you so much for the information! I like the 1685 so much better than the 1575 but was worried about it being so much heavier. The newer Ridgelines have bit more horsepower and a different transmission, still it sounds like there won’t be any issues. And you do use a WDH…manual says no, wondering why.. the truck has some sort of built internal anti sway but would rather have. WDH..the truck has no traditional frame, wonder where the stress is disseminated to..Either way, Thank You, you have calmed my fears!

          • From talking to people who I trust, Honda doesn’t recommend it because of liability. My Ridgeline came with the factory receiver hitch and everyone I talked to said it was fine for a WDH setup. What I like about the Equalizer is that it is both weight distributing and anti-sway, which makes for a very stable package.

          • Hi Scot, my Ridgeline came all set up as well, just need to have a brake controller installed. Like you I wouldn’t think if towing without a WDH and sway bar. Thank you So much for your info, I knew I wouldn’t be happy with a 1575, you have reassured me my truck can safely handle the 1685… IF I am careful don’t pack too much and leave the kitchen sink at home!

          • We love our 1685. Lots of room as the extra foot makes a big difference and we like the floorplan better.

        • Hi Joni! After a bit of research I found that Lance started using a heavier frame in the 2017.5 trailers and in 2015 (I think) they added the sloping front with the window that opens – a different configuration than our 2014. Some rave about the extra ventilation they get from the opening front window, but we’ve always had plenty of ventilation with our older 1685 that doesn’t have the opening front window – the side windows open & the fantastic fan above the bed keeps it nice most days. When you buy your 1685 (or any Lance) be sure to head over to the Lance Owners Association Forum and sign up for a lifetime membership ($25 one time) for an abundance of information from experienced Lance owners. They can answer almost any question.

          • Thank you SO Much for the information on the weight differences on the Lance 1685. I feel now I can go ahead and eliminate the smaller 1575 in favor of the 1685 with more storage and dual axles. Will likely go with the older style to save the extra 400 lbs , but I now know where the weight difference comes from. Again, Thank you for the info!

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  12. Hello,

    I just found your site today. Love it. Thanks. Are you running solo or is your wife with you. The reason I ask is my wife and I are looking at Lance and are trying to figure out if it is big enough for two plus a Golden Retriever.


    • Hi Daniel! There are two of us. We love our little Lance and it’s plenty big enough for us (remember we used to live in a 37′ sailboat with far less room than our Lance). For two of us and a golden retriever? Maybe not. The best way to know is go sit inside various models and figure out how much space you need (and the best configuration for you). Enjoy! Jan

      • Hi Jan,
        We just bought our lance and are still learning. We are trying to figure out how to hook up to cable TV available at the park we are at. Are there any tricks? We have coaxial cable hooked up from parks cable to the side of trailer but we get a “no signal” on tv.

        • Hi Nancy! Try going to your remote and change the Source – choices are Air or Cable, switch it to Cable. On ours up where the cable comes out of the wall, there’s a blue button. David thinks he turns it off for cable or on for the antenna. The manual actually has pretty good instructions – sadly, our 1685 is now in storage until later this summer and we’re trying to remember offhand. 🙂 ENJOY YOUR LANCE!!! Cheers! Jan

          • Thanks, Jan. I will try that. We didn’t get a manual, so maybe I should go online and print one up.

          • Jan, your suggestion worked! Thanks so much!

          • Great news! When we get our Lance out of storage this fall, hopefully we’ll remember and not have to look it up! 🙂 Happy camping! Jan

          • If you have trouble, let me know. I wrote it down for next time. So where did you get a manual? Did you get it online? I wasn’t given one when we bought the trailer.

          • Hi Nancy! The manual was in our 1685 when we picked it up. Sorry, I’m not much help! Cheers — Jan

    • 1685 is plenty big for us two too

      • And fits around tight corners and into tight campsites better than lots of bigger trailers! ENJOY Carlyn! Cheers! Jan

    • Hello,

      We just ordered a 1685 at the Portland RV show. I inquired about the rear bumper and the bumper on the 2017 model is being revised to support more weight. I plan on hooking up my bike rack and bikes and they assured me that it would not be a problem.
      BTW: We plan on towing with a 2006 Honda Ridgeline. It has the same towing capacity as the MDX above. Any thoughts on whether I need load leveler, or should an anti-sway be good enough?


      • Hi Scot! Lucky you! Our back bumper on our 2014 won’t support a bike rack, but we have the Arvika bike rack on the front that we love. Not sure about the specs on the Ridgeline or MDX – we always error on the side of being conservative, so we’d add the WDH (weight distribution hitch) – and our sway bars integrate with the WDH. I’m sure you’ll LOVE your 1685 – I’m writing this from our 1685 in Gulf State Park (where there’s a freeze warning tonight) while watching Thursday night football. Cheers! Jan & David

      • I too just inquired about adding a 4 inch square bumper for carrying bikes. Was told there is none available and they don’t recommend one be added.
        Lance’s website picture plainly shows one. What gives?

        • Hi Paul! I think the back bumper question revolves around the year of the Lance. Our 2014 1685 was plainly labeled as NOT having the capacity to hold ANY extra weight. I understand the 2017 Lance trailer bumpers are different and I do not know if they’ll support more weight. I do know we just talked to another Lance 1885 owner that told us he added his spare tire to the back bumper of his 1885 (2013?) and had several thousand dollars in damages to the trailer frame as a direct result. Be careful! Be very very careful! Jan

          • Hi Jan.thanks for responding. The bumper itself is the week part it looks like. Did a bunch of measurements and the actual trailer frame itself is plenty strong. The concern would just be the bumper itself or its brackets.
            Will continue to research and let you know what i come up with.
            We are in rainy Oregon. Take care.

  13. Hi, I am wondering if the Lance camper has a4 inch bumper? Our bike rack and clothesline both attach to the bumper

    • Hi Barbara! We’ve been told the Lance rear bumper will not support a bike rack or anything else. It’s heavyweight plastic & at least 4″, but …. Our bike rack is mounted on the front of the trailer. Brand is Arvika, canadian and we love it. I’m sorry that our bumper doesn’t seem to support more. Hope to see you “out there” in whatever trailer you have! Cheers! Jan

  14. Love your blog. I’m seriously considering a Lance travel trailer. They seem well made, offer all season option, lots of storage and ability to boondock. Can you address the pros and cons of slideouts? I hear a lot of conflicting things and your long term ownership perspective would be helpful. Thanks!

    • Hi Phil! The Lance 1685 we have was made shortly after Lance switched to a different slideout mechanism. There was a problem with the rollers on the mechanism chewing up the bottom under the slideout. For those of us affected, Lance sent stainless “liner” plates to be added under each roller under the slidout. So we now have 3 stainless slideout strips under our plates. Other than that, we’ve had no issues with the slideout and wouldn’t be without it – it adds SO much living space to the trailer. Lance paid for all the fixes under their 2 year warranty, so it was merely an inconvenience for us since the closest dealer is 3 hours away – we used it as an excuse to have the dealer add solar to our trailer (our nickel, of course). 🙂 Cheers! Jan

      • Hi There!

        I was just looking at this post about you adding solar to your 1685. We ordered our 1685 in November and received it in late March. One of the options that we wanted was solar. I’ve seen a lot of trailers with the connections located on the body of the trailer, up front and about waist high. So, I was somewhat surprised to see that the connections are on the roof! Did you get portable panels, or did you get the ones that are permanently mounted on the roof? If you have a configuration like mine and you purchased the portable panels, how are you making the roof connection? I haven’t purchased the panels yet. Thanks for your insight!

        • Hi Scot! We didn’t want to fiddle with portable panels, although at times I can see an advantage. We had the dealer install the panels and controller Lance recommended and supplied (at a cost, of course) on the roof of the trailer. We’re happy with our solar and never have to think about it, it just works. 🙂 Cheers! Jan

  15. Thanks for this great post! I am considering buying a Lance 1685 and loved looking at all your photos. I’m wondering if you did some sort of modification to your table. I’m not crazy about that U-shaped seating area and am trying to figure out how to modify it to work for me. Any suggestions/tips would be so appreciated!

    • Hi Kat! We didn’t do anything to modify our dinette, it’s the normal U shape. We only use the two sides though, even when it’s 4 of us. Sorry! Cheers! Jan

  16. what did you use to make the suspension drawers under the table?

    • Hi Mark! Camping World, although they’re also on Amazon. Here’s the link to ours on Camping World …Camping World: Add A Drawer We like them, but be careful when you install them – David originally didn’t have the tracks quite right and they kept falling out while we traveled. He redid them and now we don’t have any trouble. Cheers! Jan

      • thanks a bunch!

        • We love them. We have them in our Lance model 1995.

      • Can you please provide me with the name of the bike rack used?

        • Hi Mark! Our bike rack is an Arvika – we bought ours through our Lance dealer, but google Arvika online & you’ll see a bunch of info. Enjoy! Cheers — Jan

  17. It’s because of your testimonial in the Lance brochure that we felt secure in our Tow Vehicle [a 2016 Acura MDX with SH-AWD with a bit more wheelbase than your 4-Runner (1.8″ more) as well as about 50 more HP but just about the same torque] being qualified to pull a 2017 Lance 1995! We compared weight with the options we want and the 1995 is only 200 pounds heavier than the 1685, We really wanted the walk around bed with couch bed option! We also corresponded with several MDX owners pulling even heavier trailers! On guy pulled a 6000 lbs Airsteam all over North America with his MDX! Based on the quality, low profile and aerodynamic profile of Lance we should be fine! Thanks for sharing! We can’t wait to tour the North American continent with our beautiful Lance 1995 travel trailer!!

    • Thanks Ron! ENJOY your new Lance 1995! We like that trailer too, who knows, someday we might trade up! 🙂 Looking forward to sharing a campground somewhere! Cheers! Jan & David

  18. Love your blog and ideas! My husband and I purchased our Lance 1685 in January of 2015. We have been on at least 14 trips and are enjoying every moment. Your idea for the clear storage bins is a great one and something we are going to look into. We’re packing her today for a 2 1/2 week trip to the Sierras. Happy camping!

    • Hi Tish! Jealous! Wish we were packing for a trip ANYWHERE! But our time will come. We have a long weekend in August, then the month of September headed west (revised “plan” in jello includes SD – Custer State Park: ND – Theodore Roosevelt Nat’l Park; MT – Glacier Nat’l Park; CO – Rocky Mtn Nat’l Park; KS – Wichita with friends… then later in the fall is wandering the southern coast of the USA for 4-5 months. One of these days we’ll get to CA, but probably not this year. ENJOY! Cheers — Jan

  19. Thanks for the blog information. We are debating between purchasing the 1685 or the 1995. Not having towed a trailer we are not sure if the extra 3 foot length will be a problem. We have a truck that can handle the extra weight and the idea of not waking each other up to get up at night is appealing. However.I also like the extra storage above the bed in the 1685 that looks a little person could sleep in. Has anyone used that for sleeping? Would be nice when taking out grandkids.

    • Hi Tamara! We have small grandkids but we’ve never let them sleep above in that storage area. I understand you can get a ladder for it, but we use it for storage and let the grandkids sleep on the dropdown dinette (their parents sleep in their tent when we camp together). Not sure I’d be comfortable putting a little person up there and when they get old enough I’d be comfortable, I’m not sure much weight it would support. If I were you, I’d ask your question over on the Lance Owners Assn forum — Lance Owners Forum. We have friends with the walk around queen, but we don’t mind the sideways queen and we like the extra storage. Cheers! Jan

  20. Hi, Jan

    Thanks for sharing your experiences.
    One question, did you install any rear view camera?
    If you did, please let us know the brand and the model number?


    • Hi Gil! No rear view camera. David thinks it’s an interesting idea, but so far I’m the rear view camera. 🙂 Cheers! Jan

  21. Love your blog! Thanks for sharing! We are looking at a Lance 1575 to buy as our first trailer. We can’t find any where what size bed the dinette turns into? Full size? Anyone know?

    • The Lance literature says the dinette is 49.5 inches deep and 76 inches wide. A full size mattress is 54 X 74 and a queen is 60 X 80. So it’s a bit smaller than a full, but 2″ longer. Our two grandchildren (ages 5 & 3) sleep on it with no issues with pillows in between them to keep them apart. We also had 2 adults sleep on in when we were camping in Utah last spring. The guy is 5’11”-ish and the girl is 5’3″ and had no issues for a few nights. I assume the 1575 is the same as our 1685, but I guess they could be different. Maybe check with Lance to make sure. Great trailer, you’ll love it! Cheers! Jan

    • We have a 1575. I’m not sure of the exact dimensions off the top of my head but I believe it’s close to a full. It’s tight with two adults but it fits two kids well. For adults I’d plan on only one adult being able to sleep there.

    • My husband and I purchased a 1575 used it once and traded it for the Lance 1985. First reason is the way the bed was set up. We like being able to get in from either side of the bed. My husband did not like the idea of one axle. We were told we could not tow anything bigger with our vehicle but that was not true. We Love our 1985. Just need to figure out how we can take our bikes with us. One is a Terra trike and one a regular bike.

  22. I have a 2009 Toyota Tacoma double cab with The Firestone airbag system. Proefx towing mirrors and the Fastway E2 wdh. I tow a1685 as well and it does a great job. I assume that you have the tow package with the 4.0 liter engine.

  23. My husband and I purchased our 2016 Lance 1995 in February, After being tent campers we absolutely LOVE our travel trailer. We have already been on three camping trips and leave June 9th for the summer.

    I have a question, did you mount your satellite antenna on your roof or do you set it up at each campsite? We have one and haven’t decided whether to mount it or not. We also plan to have an extra battery installed before we depart for the summer.

    I recently discovered your site and am so glad I did. Thanks for all the info.

    • Hi MaryAnn! We chose not to mount our satellite antenna on the roof or on the ladder. When we camp in the midwest or east coast mountains, we’re often in trees, so we like to move it around to pick a “clear” view to the sky. It’s not been a problem. It just rides on the floor under the dinette while we’re underway. Easy access to move it out and it doesn’t take up storage space. We’ve never had it move around, although we wrap a beach towel around it just in case.

      We’re tentatively planning an Illinois to Bow Valley/Alberta CA to Glacier Nat’l Park to Denver and back to IL sometime in August-September. Then this winter we’ll take the trailer for the winter along the US southern coastline, seeking somewhere my husband can wear his shorts. May take some moving around! 🙂 Hope we see you “out there”! Cheers! Jan

  24. Hi Jan,
    I was wondering if there were any modifications needed to attach the Fastway E-2 such as moving the propane or battery mounts? Thanks. Bill Drew

  25. We bought a Lance 1685 today and am super excited about it! I would love to see any storage hacks that you may have done to your trailer! Thanks! Diane in California

    • Hi Diane! CONGRATULATIONS! I hope you love your 1685 as much as we love ours! Check out For some tips. And please leave comments and share any ideas you have for your new 1685! Hope someday we’ll meet in a campground somewhere! Cheers! Jan

  26. Just read more of the posts and found my answer!
    Thanks for the forum.

    • Welcome Bill! Thanks for stopping by! If you have any other questions, please ask! Cheers — Jan & David

  27. Love the forum! We are buying a 1685 this spring and were wondering what kind of hitch do you tow with.

  28. Great 1685 forum and always good to hear about the experiences of others who own this Travel Trailer. We have traveled from Texas to Glacier Park and last year to Colorado for 9 days. I pull the 1685 with a 2013 Ram 1500 Laramie 4×4. Plenty of power but a thirsty combination (8-9 mpg). My wife and I have a 2011 1685 and I have just purchased the Stromberg Carlson cc-275 Bike Bunk. Can you tell me if you mounted the brackets on the frame just forward and then just aft of the rear battery bracket on the A-Frame? I also have a Thule Apex 4 Bike Rack and hope that set-up will work. I will include photo’s when complete.
    Thanks Ken and Sandy

    • Our bike rack is the Arvika – we started with it in front of the batteries, then we backed it up and placed it right outside of our batteries. We just had to play around with ours to see where it fit best. Good Luck & enjoy your bikes! Cheers — Jan

  29. Jan,
    I was wondering how you organized your two long storage areas under the dinette seating. What has worked for you? I’m getting ready to buy some clear storage bins for the two big areas under the bed and the forward storage. Do you remember what sizes you bought? Any other suggestions? I like the idea of them being clear, I was also wondering if you have had any problem with the cabinet above the sink opening up while traveling on those bumpy roads, as that is where we will be doing most of our camping. It doesn’t seem to be all that secure. I did put the 4″ foam pad on the mattress. It was a little hard for me without it. A granddaughter and I slept out there last weekend. It wasn’t my regular bed, but definitely better than my old trailer.

    • Hi Carlyn! Unfortunately, we’re on the boat and our Lance 1685 is still in storage – I don’t remember what sizes we bought for the clear storage under the bed. I remember carefully measuring overall dimensions, then going to The Container Store (in St Louis – a several hour drive for us to find storage containers!) and looking at dimensions on hundreds of containers until we found the perfect ones for our space. We won’t get the trailer out of storage until May so I can’t even offer to measure them in a timely manner. 🙁

      We have not had problems with the cabinet over the sink opening while traveling bumpy roads – HOWEVER, I have had trouble (a black eye) when I opened the cabinet AFTER traveling on those bumpy roads. Ugh – the teapot fell out and hit me square on the corner of my eye. The airlines aren’t kidding when they say “caution opening overhead bins because items may have shifted during flight”. These days the teapot lives under the sink.

      The two long drawers under the dinette are filled with “light” stuff – although all the “light” stuff still ends up being heavier than I’d like. One contains several clear plastic bins and electronics stuff – laptop computers, modem, cords, phone chargers, etc. The other contains cooking stuff I access daily – excess spices that don’t fit in the rack & drawers, misc stuff. Pots & pans are overhead as are dishes. We may reconfigure for this summer’s trip west, but we haven’t thought about it yet.


  30. Great info on the Lance 1685. My wife and I are looking at one and she loves it for many of the features you mentioned, especialy the storage. I have concerns about the hitch. Do you have a weight distibution hitch or a weight carrying hitch?

    • Hi Bill! Yes, we have the Fastway E-2 WDH and a brake controller separate from the factory tow package on our 2006 4Runner. 🙂 Enjoy!

  31. We just purchased a 1685 and haven’t even taken it out yet. I’m retiring come May 27th from teaching. We are excited to take our new trailer out. What have you all done to secure your batteries when you are not around. I’m worried about them being stolen while we are fishing or hiking.

    • Carlyn – we haven’t done anything special to secure out batteries – the dealer added a 2nd battery at our request and they’re just sitting there. We have seen others make a bracket to hold them in place better. So far, we’ve been lucky and no missing batteries! Enjoy your 1685! You might want to ask this question over on the Lance Owners Forum bulletin board – do a forum search first – I think there are other threads asking the same question. And there’s more information on lots of topics if you’re a Lifetime Member – it’s a deal for $25! Cheers! Jan

  32. Hi. Just for clarification, the bed is a standard queen size bed or is it a modified queen for the trailer?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Ely! I’m not sure what “full queen” dimensions are & unfortunately with the trailer in storage in Illinois and us on the sailboat in Key West, I can’t go measure. I know the 1685 queen is 60″ X 80″ according to their online brochure – link here: The bed size has never been an issue. We chose the smaller 1685 for it’s weight to tow with our 4 Runner. Having said that, our friends have the 1885 (now 1985) with the walk around queen (and a couple feet longer & heavier) and that would have been nice. But not necessary. 🙂 Cheers! Jan

      • Thanks for the quick reply. I’ve read a few places that the bed is a “standard home size queen” which I deduce means the same size as a bed you’d buy for your home.

        I have two other questions regarding the windows. How do they open? It looks like maybe some windows open from the bottom and maybe others open by sliding, but I can’t tell. The other question is do the windows that open have screens?

        I’d like to be able to leave a window open, but I will need a screen in the window to keep the biting bugs out and I want to make sure the window I leave open is not one that allows rain to come into the TT if I’m not there. I hope that makes sense. 🙂

        I appreciate your help. I don’t have a Lance dealer close to me so all the info you’ve made available is super helpful.

        Thanks again and I hope you’re enjoying the Keys. 🙂

        • Hi Ely! Sorry it’s been a few days! The windows on our Lance slide and yes, there are screens. Unfortunately, if it rains, I think the rain could blow in. We solve this issue by leaving the kitchen window open, as well as the vents – we have a Fantastic Fan over the bed with a MaxxAir cover to keep out the rain and a regular fan in the bathroom, also with a MaxxAir cover. That way we can always have 3 windows open when we leave. Often we just use the two fans on the roof – set one to incoming and one to outgoing – there’s plenty of ventilation while we’re gone and we don’t have to worry about someone putting a hand through a screen to gain access. Not that we’ve noticed there would be any problem where we’ve camped, just being careful. Cheers! Jan

        • Ely – also, be sure to check out the Lance Owners Association forum — here’s the LOA link: — lots of friendly folks and a map showing where some are located. If you’re near someone, maybe you could take a tour of a Lance without having to drive to a dealer. We had the same issue, the nearest dealer to us is 2 1/2 – 3 hours minimum (and one is through downtown Chicago, not somewhere we choose to drive often!). 🙂

  33. Thanks for the post! My wife and I are looking at a Lance 1575. I was curious what kind of mileage you get towing the 1685? We have a similarly sized tow vehicle to yours.

    • Hi Bobby! Mileage varied, obviously, but overall maybe 11-13 –depending on the terrain. Not good, but we didn’t have to buy a new truck. Luckily gas prices are down. 🙂 I liked the 1575 too – it would most likely get better gas mileage than our 1685. Enjoy! It’s a wonderful lifestyle! Cheers — Jan

  34. My husband and I have a Lance trailer as well, and I have noticed the same thing about other Lance owners. Good people! And a great trailer! Have fun out there!

  35. Good stuff…..keep it coming.

  36. Hi! Very informative article! I can see why you love your trailer. I followed the link from your instagram account.
    Happy trails!

    • Hi Jan and David,
      We do not have a lance yet but the plan is to get one in the near future. We also did tent camping for years with our children until I turned 65 and decided it was time to treat ourselves. We bought a Starcraft Launch of 2800 pounds. We purchased an FJ Cruiser which tows 5000 pounds. Off we went all over Texas. We cruise at 70mph. At one of our last trips I saw a Lance. Started my research and found our new dream home away from home. I was excited read you blog. Thank you for sharing. Ruth and Joe. Happy Trails.

    • We have s 1685 Lance and love it. We travel all over the USA and parts of canads. We are in north Alabama

      • Hi Pride! Thanks for adding a comment! We’re storing our Lance during the holidays this year at a relatives house in Brewton AL — probably south of you if you’re in N AL. 🙂 Cheers! Jan

        • Good info. I agree with much of what you are saying about size of this camper. We are interested in Lance, just don’t know which one is best for us. We are a couple but sometimes our daughter (who is tall like us) comes along, perhaps someday with a soon-to-be son-in-law, and we want to have room for them too.

          I have asked dealers in Phoenix and they say the bed in 1675 is almost 60×80 while the u-dinette is one of the largest in the industry (and big enough for us).

          Right now we have an Aliner. Lance are hard to find used.

          • Hi Jonathan! Thanks for commenting! I would recommend you see the Lance models in person. We love our 1685, and the sideways bed is a full queen size. However the dinette bed, despite being “the largest in the industry” is not big enough for my son-in-law to sleep comfortably – he’s 6’2″. We generally put the two grandsons (6 & 4) on the dinette bed and my daughter & son in law sleep outside in a tent. Two more factors: the headroom in the Lance trailers is less than some others I’ve seen and the 1685 corner shower is tiny even for me. David and I are 5’10” & 5’3″, so we don’t have any issues with headroom or bed size. We have friends with an A-Liner – they love their trailer too! 🙂 Cheers! Jan

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