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Old 10-03-2017, 01:18 PM   #1
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Travel Trailer (Bunkhouse) Recommendations

The wife and I are in our early 50s. We'd like to get out of our PUP and were pretty convinced of going to a hybrid, but after visiting an RV show, we think we're going to bypass that interim step and go right to something the 2 of us would use in retirement. Today, we mainly camp with just one daughter (10 y/o) and a friend/cousin for her. The other 3 girls are 20-25 y/o, so we figure down the road we'll camp with them and grandchildren, so why not get the TT now that we could use in retirement down the road 10-15 years.

We face the inevitable debate on tow vehicles. The TV will be my wife's vehicle as I drive 20-30,000 miles per year and need something economical. I cannot envision spending the money on a 3/4T truck, so that limits us a bit. I may have my wife convinced to drive a 1/2T truck or full-size SUV.

What bunkhouse TT's would any of you recommend given a 1/2T TV? How big can we go? We'd REALLY like to have the separate, closed off room in the rear, not just bunks closed off by a curtain, but I fear those longer models require a 3/4T truck. Recommendations are appreciated.
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Old 10-03-2017, 01:34 PM   #2
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I have a Jay Feather 22BHM. We intentionally purchased a small unit this time. It would easily be pulled by any 1/2 ton. The 2 double bunks in the back are just behind a curtain, but can easily accommodate an adult (I'm 230# and I've slept in those bunks). 2 kids fit in them without issue.

I'm sure you are looking for something a little larger, but I can't tell you how happy I am with our floorplan.
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Old 10-03-2017, 01:35 PM   #3
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That would be an easier question to answer if you had a tow vehicle already or one in mind. The payload is usually the limiting factor on what you can tow safely and this can range from less than 1000lbs to over 2500 lbs for a half ton vehicle.

If you buy something with towing in mind and get a Ford F150, max tow, and HD payload options then you can tow something pretty significant as this will have somewhere around 2500lbs of payload depending on options and trim level.

Getting a Ram Ecodiesel or something like that and you will be more limited in tow capacity.

After all that I don't think you will find a bunkhouse with a separate room that is ideally suited to a "half ton" truck. Those are usually 34 to 36+ feet long trailers. I would guess the largest bunkhouse model that you could comfortably tow with a 1/2 ton would be something like the 287BHSW.

https://www.jayco.com/products/trave...-west/287bhsw/

Maybe this...

https://www.jayco.com/products/trave...flight/29bhdb/

I would guess that anything over 9000lbs and you would be pushing the comfort limits of a very well equipped half ton. Most normal half tons would not do well with any trailer over 7000lbs or so but there are lots of people that do it.

I think we would need actual numbers from a TV to give you a better guess.

Cheers
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Old 10-03-2017, 02:32 PM   #4
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I originally had a Toyota Tundra 5.7L long bed to pull my 27 BHS. It "pulled" fine, now that I have a 3/4 ton - the biggest difference I can tell is the braking, (yes I had a quality brake control added). MUCH sturdier brakes. Also suspension is a big difference
While I am still new to RVing, I would suggest looking at the Jayflight SLX models & Jay Feathers. I think they are more 1/2 ton compatible but others with more knowledge can affirm this
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Old 10-03-2017, 02:58 PM   #5
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I had a salem 31 KQBTS that I towed with a half ton. I traded for northpoint. it does have a rear bunk room.
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Old 10-03-2017, 05:47 PM   #6
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You might want to look at the 26BH. a 1/2 ton or large SUV will pull that fine.

The one we had had the elite package with the 90 gallon water tank. It was great for when we were camping at State Parks with out water hookups. It was just a little tight with a family of 5 and the mother-in-law along. That is the reason we upgraded to the 28 BHBE
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Old 10-03-2017, 06:40 PM   #7
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We are in a similar position as you. We're in our early 50's & are looking at retirement (not as soon as I want) we have 4 kids 21 to 29 & the youngest 2 will stay with us from time to time plus we want my mother-in-law to come along from time to time. We went with the 284bhsw SLX so we would not feel cramped if someone joined us. Are tv is my wife's daily driver so we went with a 14 f150 max tow and has towed the tt with out issue including some 6% grades & are very happy with the tv. We will stay in the tt for 37 nights before we put the it away for the winter and we love the floor plan. Good luck with you decision.
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Old 10-03-2017, 09:51 PM   #8
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We towed our 314BDS with a Nissan Titan XD. It had a very similar feel to a 3/4 ton tow (similar to my 2015 Dmax), but unloaded acted like a well behaved 1/2 ton. I loved it and was so much better than any half ton Iíve ever owned.


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Old 10-03-2017, 10:24 PM   #9
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Another Jay Feather 23BHM owner here and before we upgraded our TV, we used a 2007 Nissan Titan 5.6L 2wd crewcab to tow. We did find that mountains and wind would make the Titan work.

We traveled with our grandsons (6 & 4) this summer and they liked the double bunks. Plenty of room for myself & the DW to nap as well otherwise it offers another space for storage.

We looked at the WhiteHawk 25BHS but decided that would be too much TT even though the numbers were within the limits of the Titan.

Best of Luck with your decision.
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Old 10-03-2017, 10:44 PM   #10
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Travel Trailer (Bunkhouse) Recommendations

We love our Jayflight 23MBH and can easily sleep 5-6 with no comfort issues. I am disappointed to see that Jayco doesnít offer the 23MBH in the Jay Flight series anymore. Itís now only offered on the lines that use the Norco Nextgen frame which isnít nearly as robust as the cambered I-Beam on the Jay Flights. Not sure what kind of camping you will do but the Norco frame would be a deal killer for me.

I too drive about 30-40,000 miles per year and have tried going down to a 1/2 ton truck only to find they didnít get any better economy than my 3/4 ton.


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Old 10-04-2017, 07:28 AM   #11
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As mentioned, the biggest obstacle with a 1509/150 is the payload of the truck. Seriously consider the F150 with max tow AND the hd payload package, or one of the GM Twins with the max tow package (I believe that package still adds some additional payload).

Maybe the 26 BH, or similar model. Unfortunately any of the rigs with a seperate bunk room are truly 2500/250+ territory, unless a new model has come out that’s lighter!!! The tw of those rigs are at if not over the trucks receiver hitch tw rating. Plus the majority of the 1500/150 trucks just don’t have payload either.

Do not be sold by the “brochure” dry weights!!! The dry tw does not even include the weight of the propane tanks or a battery on the tongue. That adds ~120lbs for 2-20lb tanks and a battery, or ~160lbs for 2-30lb tanks and a battery. That’s before you load anything else in the rig!!!

Go with a good wdh with intagrated sway control also!!! And get the correct rated wd bars for your loaded tw, not based on the dry tw!!!
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Old 10-04-2017, 08:07 AM   #12
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We towed our 314BDS with a Nissan Titan XD. It had a very similar feel to a 3/4 ton tow (similar to my 2015 Dmax), but unloaded acted like a well behaved 1/2 ton. I loved it and was so much better than any half ton Iíve ever owned.


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My 2011 Toyota Tundra (long bed 4x4) felt the same way, except for the braking
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Old 10-04-2017, 08:16 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by kayakterp View Post
My 2011 Toyota Tundra (long bed 4x4) felt the same way, except for the braking


Nice! Cool thing about the Titan XD is itís brakes are 3/4 ton size. Theyíre actually bigger than my Ď15 Duramax were!


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Old 10-04-2017, 09:22 AM   #14
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My Sierra 1500 pulls our 32BHDS just fine.
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Old 10-04-2017, 02:39 PM   #15
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We are in a similar position as you. We're in our early 50's & are looking at retirement (not as soon as I want) we have 4 kids 21 to 29 & the youngest 2 will stay with us from time to time plus we want my mother-in-law to come along from time to time. We went with the 284bhsw SLX so we would not feel cramped if someone joined us. Are tv is my wife's daily driver so we went with a 14 f150 max tow and has towed the tt with out issue including some 6% grades & are very happy with the tv. We will stay in the tt for 37 nights before we put the it away for the winter and we love the floor plan. Good luck with you decision.
Thanks for taking the time to respond. Good feedback. Much appreciated. Yes, your situation is very similar to ours. I like that TV as an option, though 2 of my neighbors work for GM, so I'm already getting pressure to get the Silverado/Sierra as you might guess. That max tow seems like it's in the cards.

I will definitely look at that as an option. We were thinking about waiting for a rear-living version, but the more we thought about it, the more we realized we'll probably always have some guests along and ought to just get a bunkhouse. Heck, we had 6 in our PUP for a week this summer as two nieces and nephews extended their 2 night way to the whole week. It was actually fun.....thankfully the weather was good.
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Old 10-04-2017, 02:44 PM   #16
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My Sierra 1500 pulls our 32BHDS just fine.
Do you have any extra options like max towing package?
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Old 10-06-2017, 08:59 AM   #17
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Do you have any extra options like max towing package?
Depends on how you define 'options'. It's a fully loaded SLT, sans max tow. So, it's an 8 spd. w/3.23 gears. However, it has been fully dyno tuned (engine and trans) with HPTuners. And I threw on a CAI so it could breathe a little better.
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Old 10-11-2017, 06:40 AM   #18
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I've found that half-ton trucks are extremely capable when they are set up right, the load is distributed between the truck bed, front of trailer and back of trailer right, and then the weight distributing hitch is right.

Problem is a lot of people either can't get it figured out, or don't really try, and they end up with some scary handling. A 3/4 ton truck is just so much more forgiving and easy to set up.

In previous years I haven't spent that much time towing compared to driving around empty, so I don't mind messing around to get the setup right, and I've been happy with the handling results. (except that one trip where the trailer brakes weren't working . . .)
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