Forest River 34WBH Silverback fifth wheel
Forest River 34WBH Silverback fifth wheel. Click image to enlarge

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Review and photos by Howard Elmer

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2009 Forest River 34WBH Silverback

The Silverback name has been found on fifth wheels from Cedar Creek for a number of years now, and while 2009 could have been just a re-issue of the same-old, it isn’t – change has come even to this old timer.

Outside design changes have to do with the flattening of the roofline, a new moulded rear cap with LED taillights and the adoption of a new “Aeronose” – which is strangely square and not aerodynamically rounded as the name implies, though it is said to have improved air shedding ability. The body of the new trailer has smooth sidewalls, and auto-style “frameless windows” that are also tinted offer an overall slippery look to the unit.

Right off the top, a key change, for those of you who own (or want to buy) short bed pickups to tow with is an extended pin design that does not require any special sliding hitch. Instead, with the pin arm reaching forward, a standard fifth wheel hitch placed over the axle of a short bed pickup will still offer up to 90-degrees of turning radius. This feature can save you a whack of cash, and frankly, it is the direction the whole industry should be taking.

Along with this new look; this three-slide unit comes with two floorplans – one for empty-nesters and the other a bunkhouse setup for folks with kids at home. I took out the kid-friendly design.

Forest River 34WBH Silverback fifth wheel
Forest River 34WBH Silverback fifth wheel
Forest River 34WBH Silverback fifth wheel. Click image to enlarge

The key difference is the bunkhouse adds a second hard-door bedroom to the rear of the trailer, while the empty-nester unit is completely open with a picture window and recliners in place of the bunks.

This bunkhouse, though, is a bit different than most. For one thing, one set of bunks folds flat onto the rear wall, while the other set are built into the slideout. With the bunks left folded up, this creates a large open space – with a door – where kids can get away by themselves. Here, a large built-in wardrobe is flanked by a spot for a TV and other entertainment devices, and cable and power outlets are conveniently placed for setting up electronic distractions.

What really emphasizes the design direction of the Silverback are the kitchen counters that have radius corners, and the overhead cabinets match this detail. Pot lights are also new, illuminating this updated kitchen look – this detail was what struck me first. But, some things remain the same, like an old-school dinette table that is supported by two legs that have to be removed before the table top can be dropped to seat height to form the bed frame. On the other hand, the fold-out couch is of the new inflatable type, with the bag stowed behind the couch leaving a full-length pull-out drawer underneath.

The kitchen in this unit is nicely designed – pleasant to look at and efficient to use. As mentioned, the L-shaped counter has rounded radius corners with cabinets above that mimic the shape – nice. Note, these cabinets do not go all the way to ceiling – they’d be a bit hard to use anyway because of the height. Appliances include a three-burner stove with an oven and a rangehood and microwave overhead. The fridge/freezer is a built-in and the pantry makes use of the available height by going floor to ceiling. The twin sinks have a tall goose-neck swivel faucet and a separate pull-out hand sprayer. One of the sinks has a cover that doubles as a cutting board.

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