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Old 06-11-2014, 05:05 PM   #1
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Best BunkHouse Layouts/Brands???

We're planning to leave our work-a-day lifestyle for a year and head out on the road with a 5th wheel trailer. We've spent some time searching around, visiting dealers and 1 show here in Washington. We've found a couple of options we like but want to know more from everyone else of the best options for a bunkhouse.

We have 2 small children, 4 and 2, and I'm 6 foot 3 so need a full queen bed. We're looking for a layout with external access to the bathroom and external storage. Also looking for well insulated options. Any thoughts? Any help or suggestions are much appreciated!

We do have a blog going as well so check it out if you're interested.

Thanks and looking forward to participating in this community!
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Old 06-12-2014, 01:04 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by RvingForLife View Post
We're planning to leave our work-a-day lifestyle for a year and head out on the road with a 5th wheel trailer. We've spent some time searching around, visiting dealers and 1 show here in Washington. We've found a couple of options we like but want to know more from everyone else of the best options for a bunkhouse.

We have 2 small children, 4 and 2, and I'm 6 foot 3 so need a full queen bed. We're looking for a layout with external access to the bathroom and external storage. Also looking for well insulated options. Any thoughts? Any help or suggestions are much appreciated!

We do have a blog going as well so check it out if you're interested.

Thanks and looking forward to participating in this community!
Are you dead set on a 5th wheel? We have a 2014 Jayco white Hawk 28 DSBH travel trailer And love it. It's light weight at 5300 lbs and has what you're looking for. Double bed bunks a nice bathroom with access from the outside. A queen bed up front, large slide with sofa and dinette. There is plenty of storage.
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Old 06-13-2014, 08:34 PM   #3
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We have the Sprinter 311BHS by Keystone. Ours is a travel trailer but they have the same layout in a fifth wheel. We have two small children and love this trailer. We camped for 6 days in 20 degree weather just fine. Sealed underside and the heater works great. The second door is great for taking Sandy/Wet kids directly into the bathroom.
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Old 06-13-2014, 10:47 PM   #4
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We had looked at travel trailer but given we're planning on being out for a year and don't know what to expect, a lot of people have suggested a 5th wheel will be sturdier, a little more spacious, and easier to handle on the road. I figure also in windy situations (maybe down south or the mid-west) a 5th wheel will present better handling. I will, however, take a look at both of those models! I didn't know they made an Excursion in a Diesel model. We're also going to be "fitting a truck to the trailer" we buy. I have a Toyota Tacoma now, and love it and suits all our needs well, but it definitely is not the right truck for hauling any trailer 25+ feel long over long distances. We're looking at Diesels for the torque/hauling power and reasonable miles per gallon improvement over Gas. Any suggestions on good, 2000-2010 model diesel rigs, probably at least 3/4 ton or 1 ton?
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Old 06-13-2014, 10:47 PM   #5
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Oh ya, thank you both for your replies! More models that fit these criteria the better I think! Choices are always a good thing!
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Old 06-14-2014, 09:17 AM   #6
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I didn't know they made an Excursion in a Diesel model. We're also going to be "fitting a truck to the trailer" we buy. I have a Toyota Tacoma now, and love it and suits all our needs well, but it definitely is not the right truck for hauling any trailer 25+ feel long over long distances. We're looking at Diesels for the torque/hauling power and reasonable miles per gallon improvement over Gas. Any suggestions on good, 2000-2010 model diesel rigs, probably at least 3/4 ton or 1 ton?
Yes, yes I do.

I will preface this by saying that it is only my opinion and my experiences as a truck driver and former commercial camper hauler.
I'm a GM guy through and through so I'll try and be as fair as I can.

There are a lot of good diesels made for the years you are looking at and not to mention the new technology that has been rolled out since then. Each brand has several good point and several bad so it is at this point that you weigh your options and make the best pic you can.

Dodge/Cummins; Great truck without a doubt and its very hard to beat the cummins in terms of reliability and mileage. It might also make you feel a little better to know that you can stop at a lot of 24hr semi truck garages and get service for this motor. The down side to it is there transmissions(although improved greatly in later years) is a little behind and more prone to failures unless you consider finding one with a manual transmission.

Ford/Powerstroke (International Navistar/Ford); Its complicated. There is the 7.3 liter until part way through 2003 which is one of the most solid day in and day out V8 diesels every built. The later renditions that include the Navistar International 6.0 liter were plagued by problems mainly due to emissions equipment and occasional head gasket problems so look for 6.0's that have an egr delete kit and a head stud kit, this was a really good motor after these repairs were made. The Navistar Internatinal 6.4 liter motor was a compound (twin) turbo motor and was slightly less plagued that the 6.0 but the mileage was less that great for some reason. If you have to pick one, find a 7.3 liter truck with a good body, the motor will out last the truck if it has been cared for. If your handy it is not too bad a motor to work on, and fuel mileage is decent. Incidentally this is the motor I have in my current 2002 F-350 Super Duty with nearly 290,000 miles. The 6.7 liter designed and built by Ford didn't arrive till 2011 so I won't waste your time being your request up to 2010

GMC/Chevy(Duramax) The Silverado/Sierra is one of the better riding vehicles of the heavy duty segment and is decent to ride in even when empty and in a dual rear wheel configuration. The Duramax motor has been around since 2002 and truly reflects there experience in the industrial diesel area and is in no way connected to the old 5.7,6.2 or 6.5 liter diesels that stared them into the consumer diesel market. There motor is very robust with good power and torque. I think that in time this will be considered as one of the best V8 diesels on the market with having the best balance of power and fuel mileage. Most of the GM trucks you look at are going to be built with an Allison transmission with less than 5% of GM trucks having manuals. The Allison is one of the best transmissions on the market and is my favorite by far, it's just tough to beat. One outstanding feature of this transmission is its external, spin on oil filter, which really adds to its serviceablity. I personally owned a 2003 Duramax/Allison combo and can't wait to go back to one.


A few other things to mention. If you never have owned a diesel be very sure to spend lots of time reading and learning about them. Its a big learning curve and there are some does and don't to know about but its nothing too scary or any thing like that, so have a little fun with it. If you have a brand preference go with it just do your home work and research the vehicle history. Find a reputable diesel mechanic for your brand that you can lean on for information and repair. Then join a good web group to follow up and learn some more.

Sorry for being so long on this but I hope it gives you some insight as to what you need. Let me know if there is any thing I can answer for you.
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Old 06-15-2014, 12:00 AM   #7
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If you're still considering a travel trailer then take a look at the Nash 25C (not a full queen though) . In a fith wheel, the Artic Fox 31d has loads of space.
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Old 06-15-2014, 08:40 PM   #8
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Just recently traded in our class A for a Winnebago 31BHDS TT. We also have 2 young ones, and looked at a lot of different bunkhouses. This one worked best for us. Mostly for all the room. It does lack exterior storage especially compared to our MH. Making the switch to the TT required me to trade in the Tacoma for a Tundra. So far with the sway bar & WDH combo it tows great.
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Old 06-15-2014, 09:02 PM   #9
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Just recently traded in our class A for a Winnebago 31BHDS TT. We also have 2 young ones, and looked at a lot of different bunkhouses. This one worked best for us. Mostly for all the room. It does lack exterior storage especially compared to our MH. Making the switch to the TT required me to trade in the Tacoma for a Tundra. So far with the sway bar & WDH combo it tows great.
How does a Tundra do with 1000lb tongue wt and 4 in the truck? Have you taken it to a scale?
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Old 06-16-2014, 10:15 PM   #10
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Thanks fbh3118, marcham and 10isola for your comments and feedback. I recently spoke to someone who suggested perhaps to take another look at Travel Trailers but with solid electric braking systems. The main concern I still have is maneuverability of a larger TT vs. a 5th wheel at all the diverse campgrounds and other such terrain we'll come in contact with...anyone had any dicey situations they've seen or heard of to lend more info to this question? I think I will take a closer look at more of the TT bunkhouse models as they are often several grand cheaper and I could certainly use the trucks bed space for extra storage if needed (with a canopy of course!).
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Old 06-27-2014, 12:33 PM   #11
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If I were doing what you are intending to do I would put a washer and dryer on my must have list. I've seen those available on some of the 5ers.
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