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Author Topic: best bunkhouse travel trailer for new family on a moderate budget  (Read 2355 times)

caravanbound

  • Posts: 3
I'm sure this question has been asked 1000s of times before, but we've decided to get our first travel trailer and we almost rushed in and bought it from a dealer this week before I decided to start reading reviews online. We need help, we really want a starter travel trailer but don't want one where it's going to spend all its time in service cause we bought a lemon. We've heard horror stories.

We are looking for a less than 22' travel trailer with a queen bed and 2 bunkbed setup, so a BH model. I"d like to keep us under $25k if possible, but the ones that I am seeing at dealerships for $11-$15k I'm wondering if are just junk. Jayco SLX BH, Mallard M185 BH. These are the ones we looked at and liked, and then read reviews online about how they leaked or something quit working almost immediately.

We are a family of 4 and just plan to use this for weekend camping mostly. One, maybe two, longer road trips a year.

Please help. What are some of the good starter travel trailer BH out there? Will be towing behind a 2WD 2017 Ford F150 crew cab. Thanks in advance!

SeilerBird

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  • Posts: 15050
Re: best bunkhouse travel trailer for new family on a moderate budget
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2019, 05:38:16 PM »
First off accept the fact that most all new RVs are lemons. Many require months of warranty service. Most of that time is waiting for parts and authorization. You are much better off buy a gently use 3 to 4 year old RV. It will have taken the huge initial depreciation hit that all RVs take and most all of the bugs will have been worked out. Visit the local RV dealers and read the ads in Craigslist to see just how much more you can get for your money.

SpencerPJ

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  • Posts: 2801
Re: best bunkhouse travel trailer for new family on a moderate budget
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2019, 05:58:59 PM »
I would buy a 2-3 year old one, hands down.  Jayco has a decent reputation for these type of trailers.  You should be able to find a gently used one in the 10-15k range fairly easy.  Personally I'd stay away from Camping World as well. they make many of us cringe with there sales tactics, and after sales support.  If you are a tad handy, don't be afraid to buy off a personal sale.  A couple years old, good first impression with owner, a good look over for water damage (the worst for these trailers), but not likely on fairly new unit.  You can also have someone inspect it for a couple hundred dollars.  The big question is, since not all trucks are created equally, what type of payload # (carry capacity) do you have.  It will be on a yellow sticker in drivers door.  Next, what type of engine?  Just because these are fairly light trailers, you still have to pull a large box through the wind, and that requires a decent truck not that yours is not.  We just have seen people buy a trailer that is at the top of what the truck can do on paper, and in real life, they hate the experience and end up buying more truck.  That gets costly.
2020 F150 Lariat 502a, Max Tow, 3.5 Eco
2012 Puma 21BH TT
Paul & Julie


"Never argue with stupid people. They bring you down to their level and beat you with experience" - Mark Twain

SeilerBird

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  • Posts: 15050
Re: best bunkhouse travel trailer for new family on a moderate budget
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2019, 06:05:22 PM »
^^^^ Good advice Paul.

OP - Don't worry about a warranty, they are fairly worthless. Lots of things aren't covered and many have a high minimum. You can usually find a mobile RV mechanic who will come to you and you will save a lot of time and money. And there is not a lot to go wrong with a TT after it is broken in compared to a motorhome with an engine and a chassis.

Pugapooh

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  • Wanna buy a truck?
Re: best bunkhouse travel trailer for new family on a moderate budget
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2019, 09:30:21 PM »
Less than 22 feet for four people sounds quite crowded, in my opinion.  Trust me,camping trips gett rainy days indoors!  How did you come to the 22 foot limit?

An older,well cared for unit is a good idea.í More trailer,less money and the manufacturing Iíve have been worked out. 

There are a lot of scams on CL so it can get frustrating to look at.  RVTrader.com seems like a good site. 

Welcome and happy shopping!
2006 Dutchmen Denali 29 RL fiver
2006 Dodge 2500 Big Horn
2001 GMC Sierra 3500

SeilerBird

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  • Posts: 15050
Re: best bunkhouse travel trailer for new family on a moderate budget
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2019, 09:40:55 PM »
I missed the four people part. You will be overloaded before you leave the driveway. You not only have the weight of four people but all their stuff too. 22 feet is way too crowded for four people. My 32 foot class A was too crowded with just me and three cats. This is about the minimum I would recommend:

https://www.pplmotorhomes.com/used-rvs-for-sale/mini-motorhome/2009-four-winds-majestic_rv-41238

Ccoe1

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  • Posts: 30
Re: best bunkhouse travel trailer for new family on a moderate budget
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2019, 06:15:53 AM »
Jayco, mallard which is made by heartland, keystone are all good quality budget trailers.  Look at the Keystone bullet 243BH, great little camper for the price.  We are a family of 4 and i almost bought this one until I realized i really wanted a couch so I decided to go longer.  I wouldnt want to go any smaller than this for my needs anyway. 
But more importantly like others have asked, what are you going to be towing it with?

SpencerPJ

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  • Posts: 2801
Re: best bunkhouse travel trailer for new family on a moderate budget
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2019, 08:08:23 AM »
Length and comfort varies in the eye of the beholder.  If you are indeed looking at mostly weekend stuff, local, younger family who will be spending most of the time outside the trailer, 18-23 ft is do-able.  Beats the heck out of sleeping in a tent, and has a bathroom to keep you from walking to a bath house.  Rain, it is what it is.  We always would head to town for a different adventure part of that day, rent a few redbox movies for the eve.  Longer trips, well more room sure is nicer, but comes at a cost.  If thinking traveling weeks away, more room is no longer nicer, it is a requirement if you want all family members to come home alive  :o ;D ;D ;D
2020 F150 Lariat 502a, Max Tow, 3.5 Eco
2012 Puma 21BH TT
Paul & Julie


"Never argue with stupid people. They bring you down to their level and beat you with experience" - Mark Twain

PapaJerry69

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  • NINETEEN69 changed my life forever
Re: best bunkhouse travel trailer for new family on a moderate budget
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2019, 10:31:33 AM »
My son just bought the Coachmen Catalina, 221 STX and is quite happy with it, even though it is 'smallish'. It has 3 single bunks in the back, queen bed in front and dinette slide-out. His theory is they hope to spend more time 'camping' and less time inside the camper, except evening time and sleeping.  He paid about $14k for it, from Kamper World in Akron, Ohio and we pulled it back to SE Virginia (600 miles) without any problems.
The space you need may be different than the next family, but walk around inside a few before you dismiss one that is 2-4 feet shorter than what some folks feel is best.
Just my $0.02
Jerry
Husband and Wife enjoying nature and neighbors

JudyJB

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Re: best bunkhouse travel trailer for new family on a moderate budget
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2019, 10:44:07 PM »
The four people will be riding in the pickup truck when the trailer leaves the driveway, not in the trailer, so their weight does not count in the carrying capacity of the trailer.  Need to be careful not to compare the living size of a motorhome with the weekend camping size of a trailer. 

Also, even larger families do camp in popups and even smaller trailers, so it is up to the individual family how much space they need.  Plus, he did not mention the age of the children. 
Full-timing for over eight years and 145,000 miles in a
2012 Fleetwood Tioga Ranger 31N.
http://grandmajjb.blogspot.com/

caravanbound

  • Posts: 3
Re: best bunkhouse travel trailer for new family on a moderate budget
« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2019, 05:41:57 PM »
Thanks for all the helpful tips everyone. Our kids are 12 and 5, and we do a lot of camping already, so we're really looking at a trailer as just a place to lay our heads at night, and will enable us to feel safe with our kids in bear country as we explore more places to camp. We'll be pulling this behind a 2017 v8 Ford F150.

caravanbound

  • Posts: 3
Re: best bunkhouse travel trailer for new family on a moderate budget
« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2019, 05:42:59 PM »
We're ideally trying to pick a smaller trailer so that we can park it in our driveway, or along the side of our house. Trying to avoid paying $100 month to park it in storage somewhere. Thanks again!

mudisfun

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  • Posts: 18
Re: best bunkhouse travel trailer for new family on a moderate budget
« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2019, 12:44:40 PM »
We jumped into travel trailer camping this year as well, and most of my concerns were the same as yours.

* Room for 4, Mom/Dad, 15 year old son, 9 year old daughter.
* Weight within the limits of our tow vehicle.
* Size - needed to be able to store on property... not looking forward to paying for storage.
* Cost
* Condition

Knowing that I wanted to be under $5,000 for acquisition which would leave funds for outfitting (generator, ground tackle, etc) I started searching locally. Craigslist, RV trader, etc...

What we found: 2006 Skyline Weekender in really good shape.

Full size mattress, single bunk above the full, dinette which sleeps 2, jack knife couch which sleeps 2 (not really, but that is what the manual says). Sleeping wise, fits us just fine. Space is roughly 20', hitch to bumper is +/- 26' which fits on the side of our house. Cost was under $5k, so cost was good... weight is good...

What have I had to fix? Found the water supply tube clamp was loose and dripped some H2O... Two turns with a screw driver fixed that. Awning was trash, so for $200 and a beer to my neighbor, replaced that in under 2 hours. Decals are trash... but that is just cosmetic. Repainted the roof with Henry's Tropicool a month back, cost under $200. Added an inverter, but that was not required, just something we wanted to do.

Bottom line... look for something in good shape. Unlike a car, age is a little less important than condition. I looked at much newer ones which were trashed in comparison to the unit we grabbed. If you meet the owner and get the feeling they are hiding stuff, walk away... If not, then you might be on to something.

Larry N.

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  • Westminster, CO
Re: best bunkhouse travel trailer for new family on a moderate budget
« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2019, 01:25:55 PM »
For those looking at small trailers, a less well known option is Trailmanor, a hard-sided folding travel trailer which folds down into about the size of a pop-up for traveling but unfolds into a trailer that's larger. They have several sizes, but a unit that is about 20 feet for storage is about 27 feet for camping.

I had one for four years and it was great, but as we aged we decided that more comfort/convenience/amenities would be welcome, so we went to a motorhome.
Larry and Mary Ann N.
2016 Newmar Ventana 3709 -ISB6.7 XT 360HP
2015 Wrangler Sahara Unlimited toad
Formerly: Trailmanor 2720SL, Bounder, Beaver
  de N8GGG

UTTransplant

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  • Cedar Falls, Iowa
Re: best bunkhouse travel trailer for new family on a moderate budget
« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2019, 02:04:30 PM »
We camped all over the western US for years with four kids and a pop up being pulled by either a SUV or a minivan. We put a porta potty with a privacy curtain in for night time convenience, but that is about the only modification we made. We also had a TrailManor like Larry. Lovely little thing with lots of bed space, but a bit heavier than a pop up. Weekends and a vacation or two donít need tons of space if you like to camp.
Pam and Kevin plus Lily the cat
2018 Tiffin 37PA
2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk toad
https://toobusyforwork.com