An Overview of Key Differences to Help You Choose Between the Keystone Montana & Grand Design Solitude
Over the past three years customers have purchased 27,349 Montana and Grand Design Solitude fifth wheels. Montana has been building fifth wheels for 21 years and is the most experienced luxury fifth wheel manufacturer in the industry with over 110,000 built. In fact, over half of the production workers in the Montana plant have been building Montanas for over a decade making the Montana plant the most experienced RV work force in the industry. This experience has resulted in Montana having the most repeat buyers, most full time RVers, and highest resell value of any fifth wheel on the market at this time. Grand Design’s Solitude is a newer product with one tenth of the production history and a growing group of dealers offering their product.
In order to compare these two different fifth wheels, this article will outline some of the key differences in chassis, construction, exterior features, and available options.
Chassis Differences between Solitude & Montana:
- Montana features patented Max-Turn Technology which allows for the best turning radius in the industry- Solitude lacks this feature
- Montana’s Hitch Vision mirror on front cap with led light allows for easy hookup to the trailer day or night- the Solitude lacks this feature
- Montana uses a 12 inch I beam chassis on all floor plans that is heavier duty, reduces the stress on the sidewalls, and supports more weight. Solitude uses a 10 inch I beam chassis on some floor plans and a 12 inch I beam on other floor plans
- Montana features a Road Armor suspension equalizer with 6 inches of axle travel, rubber shock absorbers on top and bottom, ½ inch shackle plates, and greaseable wet bolts. Solitude uses a suspension equalizer with 3 inch of axel travel, no rubber shock absorber at the top, ¼ inch shackle plates, and no wet bolts
- Montana features the Road Armor hitch pin that reduces or eliminates chucking while towing and features a pivoting roto flex head. Solitude’s hitch pin does not have a pivoting head which does not keep it in contact with the hitch pin’s rubber shear shock absorbers when there are bumps in the road
Construction and Exterior Feature Differences between Solitude and Montana:
- Montana uses one-piece roto cast holding tanks. Solitude has two piece holding tanks with a seam in the middle that can be more susceptible to leaks
- Montana uses color coded and numbered electrical wiring. Solitude uses all white wires and does not use numbers. (This makes electrical repairs significantly more difficult to trace on the Solitude and more costly to complete.)
- Montana runs its water lines on the lower deck in the floor on top of spun fiberglass insulation. Solitude runs their water lines in the underbelly which could make water lines more susceptible to freezing up.
- Montana uses an In-Line-High-Capacity heating system which means a 3-inch X 14-inch aluminum heat duct runs in the floor from the back wall to the staircase. In contrast, the Solitude splices 4-inch dryer vent hoses off the furnace to heat the lower deck. (When heat ducts are spliced multiple times with bends and turns it is typical to have hot and cold spots, heat loss, and difficulty maintaining a consistent temperature.)
- Montana comes standard with rain gutters over the slide boxes. The rain gutters on Montanas also have a track in them for slide awnings so if a customer decides to add slide awnings it is a simple addition (add less costly). Solitude does not use rain gutters.
- Montana has prep for solar to the roof. Solitude does not.
- Montana has a power channel on its exterior awnings. Solitude does not.
- Montana uses solid metal locking handles on exterior baggage doors. Solitude has plastic handles.
- Montana’s auto leveling touch pad is located on the outside of the units for easy access and does not require bending over into the pass-through to get to the touch pad. Solitude places the leveling pad in the pass-through.
- Montana has slide selector valves that allow the user to choose whether to have all the slides in or out. On Solitude there is no Slide Selector available.
- Montana has 2 attic vents to help manage moisture. Montana places one attic vent behind the main A/C and one attic vent in front of the second A/C to prevent mold and mildew. Solitude has only one attic vent at the center point of the unit, which places the only vent extremely far from the air conditioning units which are a large source of moisture in the RV attic space.
- Montana comes standard with a 16,500 BTU heat pump. This electric heat source means that a Montana owner does not have to run the furnace and burn propane to heat their unit in temperatures a little above freezing. Solitude does not offer a heat pump.
- Montana has a double laminated rear wall. In the event of an accident or a repair to the rear wall, the rear wall on the Montana can be removed without disrupting the side walls or electrical channels. Solitude on has a single laminated rear wall.
- Montana features two doors and compartments in the front bulkhead area. One door for storage or a generator and another door to access the battery and hydraulic area. Solitude has one compartment and door for these areas.
- Montana’s optional full body paint includes painted baggage door handles, fender skirting, and bulkhead. Solitude does not paint these items.
Power Options Available on Montana:
- Montana offers an optional 265-watt solar panel with a 30-amp controller and a 2000-watt inverter. In addition, this option includes inverting the living room TV outlet, refrigerator outlet, a kitchen outlet, and a bedroom outlet. This allows a customer that pulls off into a rest stop to be able to run their lights, tv, make a pot of coffee, run the refrigerator, and use a CPAP or charge a cell phone the bedroom. This option is not available on Solitude
Legacy package option on Montana fifth wheels offer additional features such as:
- Disc Brakes (not available on Solitude)
- Rear Cap (not available on Solitude)
- Hard wood framing (not available on Solitude)
- Power Cord reel (not available on Solitude)
- Side view and rear backup cameras (not available on Solitude)
- Surge Protector (not available on Solitude)
- IN – Command (not available on Solitude)
- Generator ready (optional on Solitude)
In addition to the many differences in the physical construction and features of the two units, Montana does offer a warranty for full time RVing. For those considering full-time RVing this is important and some units (like the Solitude) do not have this type of warranty available.