For the camping children of the 1950s through the 1980s, many remember their RV sleeping experience based on fold-out furniture. The first thing they had to do when they woke up was to convert their bed back to the sofa or dinette for its day purposes. Finding a quiet place usually was in a nearby wooded area.
In the post-modern era, RV manufacturers have created travel trailers and fifth wheels with separate rooms where kids can have their interior areas. These bunkhouse RVs have fixed bunks where kids can claim their space. These separate rooms also offer additional features that are designed for indoor activities.
For this article, we’ll learn what bunkhouse travel trailers and RVs are and the many uses of this separate room. The appeal to different audiences is making these floorplans very popular beyond family campers. While popular, this type of coach does have its sacrifices that our discussion will identify.
The Many Perspectives of a Bunkhouse RV
When you’re thinking of getting a bunkhouse travel trailer, here are some things to consider.
- Average Lengths: These RVs range from 25-40 feet in length. Shorter units have less space so that they can feel a little tight. The planners do their best to make the most of every inch to make your RV living experience as comfortable as possible.
Slideouts are common in bunkhouse RVs. You’ll see them in both the living room and bunkhouse to open tight spaces. Slideouts also allow for bigger appliance and storage space in smaller units.
- Average Weights: Generally, they are heavy. Even the ultra-lite travel trailers can weigh over 5,000 pounds. The designers make these units with the understanding that many families are using full-size SUVs that can tow 6,500- 8,500 pounds.
Research the specifics of your actual tow vehicle to understand what your SUV can or can’t tow. Part of choosing the right RV for your family has the one that can be safely towed by your vehicle. Enjoying the journey to your destination is just as important as the destination itself, so don’t risk overweight problems.
- Different Bunkhouse Configurations: The traditional configuration is two twin-sized bunks on the door side and two on the off-door side. Manufacturers have played around with this layout to add more features inside the room. The designers add these components without sacrificing their sleeping capacity.
Some bunkhouse designs have a bottom bunk replaced with cabinetry for storage and TV mounting. Other added features include loveseat sofas and two-person dinettes that fold out. Some layout the bunks in an L-shaped arrangement and others only have two bunks that are full-sized instead of twins.
- Increased Storage: With this family-focused floorplan, storage is more of a premium priority. Deeper overhead cabinetry, wardrobes, and other solutions are added in creative ways to make sure everyone can store their things. Pantries and refrigerators are maxed out in size.
You’ll find some of the biggest exterior storage bays on these units for their size too. Some of these RVs can sleep up to 10 people, so they need as much storage space as possible. The engineers understand these things, being RVers themselves.
- Multiple Uses: The bunkhouse space can be used for more than sleeping. As full-time families continue their journeys on the open road, the bunkhouse has also become the schoolroom.
The two-person dinette is useful for homeschooling desks. TVs act as presentation monitors for lessons. When the lesson is done, the sofa is a great sitting place to blast aliens for game console time.
Bunkhouses and Autism
Under the right conditions, the RV lifestyle with Autistic children can be a great family experience. With proper planning and the right RV, your child can have a rewarding experience. Please consult your child’s medical and special needs professionals during the planning process.
Bunkhouse RVs can give your child that safe place to cool down when things become overwhelming. Additional equipment may be needed, but having a mobile safe place can be ideal. Most of these bunkhouses come prewired with cable/satellite hookups and other A/V sourcing.
To make the room safe, your RV dealer can help you remove/adjust furniture. Most have their own separate door if you need to get them safe quickly. All RV windows come standard with privacy shades that can darken the room to control light.
There are websites where people talk about their camping experience with their autistic children. They give tips and advice about how they planned their child’s RV trip. While each child is different, finding the right RV and the correct plan can make RVing possible.[end border]
Bunkhouse RVs Worth Looking At
KZ Sportsmen LE 332BHKLE
- 37.7 feet in length
- 7,350 pounds UVW
- Sleeps up to 10 or more
KZ RV started in 1972 and is now owned by Thor Industries. They now produce travel trailers, fifth wheels, and toy haulers. They offer family-friendly, off-road, and offer other specialized RVs to appeal to many different audiences.
The Sportsmen LE offers 12 floorplans, and half of them have bunk beds included in the floorplans. This series is the most popular of KZ’s products due to its family focus. The features and amenities offer value both inside and outside of the coaches.
The 332BHKLE is ideal for larger families. The bunkhouse has a set of two double-sized bunk beds on the door side. On the off door side is a fold-out sofa with an overhead twin bunk that sits within a slide-out.
The master suite has a king-size bed with plenty of walk around room. For additional guest sleeping, the U-shaped dinette and sofa in the living room fold down. Large families won’t have a problem finding space for everyone to be comfortable.
The kids will have plenty of room in the bunkhouse to hang out both night and day. Besides the fold-out sofa, there is also a full sofa where everyone can sit and watch their own TV. With the bathroom being next to the bunkhouse, parents won’t be disturbed if kids need to use the facilities.
The bathroom has its own exterior door that makes it a convenient mudroom. The exterior shower with hot and cold water also acts as your first line of defense to keep the dirt from tracking into your RV. The 20-foot awning can give you and your family a dry place to take off shoes and jackets that are covered in mud before you go inside.
To tow this travel trailer with a bunkhouse floorplan, you’ll want something like a GMC Yukon to tow it safely. There are other family-friendly SUVs that have the towing capacity if you only look at the dry weight. Keep in mind that you’ll have additional things and people you’re bringing with you that add weight.
Winnebago Minnie Plus 31BHDS
- 35.6 feet in length
- 7,444 pounds UVW
- Sleeps up to 8
Winnebago has been an industry leader since its founding in 1958. They are named after the Iowa county they are located in. They are the parent company of other great brands like Newmar and Grand Design.
After Winnebago purchased Grand Design, the two companies worked together to create the current Minnie towable lines. Winnie’s quality and non-traditional styling have made their travel trailers hot items in the RV market.
A bunkhouse travel trailer RV in their current line up is the Minnie Plus 31BHDS. What makes this unit appealing is the massive storage components within the coach. With a slide-out in the bunkhouse and the living room, there is a lot of walking space through the coach.
The master suite has wardrobes on each side of the queen-size bed. The eight cubic foot refrigerator and closet-sized pantry allow for weeks of supplies. Just outside the bunkhouse is a massively large wardrobe that will give the bunkhouse sleepers plenty of space for clothing and other personal items.
The kitchen cabinetry has full extension drawer guides to maximize cooking gear or other things. The entertainment centers have nets and drawers to hold your stuff as well. Don’t forget the storage under your master bed too.
The front exterior pass-through storage bay is so big, a six-year-old child could walk through it standing straight up. All this room will have space for your outdoor equipment and plastic bins. The 50-gallon fresh water tank, 69-gallon gray water tank, and 28-gallon black water tank can keep you on the road for weeks before they’ll need attention.
This is another travel trailer that will need a strong SUV. The Ford Expedition with the tow package (9,300 pounds tow capacity) could easily pull this unit with all of your gear. The only time the Expedition would have an issue is if you loaded the RV to its GVWR 9,995-pound weight, so keep your packing reasonable.
Starcraft Super Light 311BH
- 36.1 feet in length
- 7,325 pounds UVW
- Sleeps up to 10
Starcraft started in 1903 making farm equipment and jumped into the recreational boat industry. In 1964 they joined the RV industry with their revolutionary crank up system used on pop-up campers. They were bought by Jayco in 1990 and continue to share in their parent company’s mission of building exemplary RVs.
This manufacturer offers six major lines of RV that come in both fiberglass and corrugated aluminum shells. The Super Lite series offers many essential features with all family members in mind. All of their products are kid/pet-friendly by using all laminated flooring and keeping the heat registers on the walls to prevent toes from getting stuck.
The 311BH has a multi-use bunkhouse with its two-person dinette and TV station that’s prewired for most inputs. The dual slideouts give the interior space plenty of room to move around in. The master suite has an open feel with its wide walk-around design around the bed.
Starcraft also places the exterior shower on the door side under the 20-foot awning for muddy kid spray downs. With the outdoor kitchen next to the exterior shower, the kids can grab a quick lunch and return to their outdoor fun too. While the kids are at the playground, you can grab your laundry basket from the exterior storage bay due to the chute in the master bedroom.
Once you wrangle the kids inside, the U-shaped dinette has room for the whole family. The closet-sized pantry and eight cubic foot refrigerator hold plenty of food for the entire trip. The separate dresser and wardrobe also give the kids enough clothing space so you won’t have to do laundry as a daily routine.
A Toyota Land Cruiser could handle this RV. Now that 2018 and newer vehicles require backup cameras, many of these systems have the ability to connect the trailer camera to the tow vehicle’s monitor. Check out our discussion on how travel trailer backup cameras can make the towing experience easier.
Keystone Outback Ultra-Lite 261UBH
- 30.11 feet in length
- 6,045 pounds UVW
- Sleeps up to 6
Once Keystone RV opened its doors in 1996, its successful growth was rapid. It all started with their Sprinter line but now incorporates almost 30 different production series. One of the ways they stay so popular are the many lights and super lite RVs they lead the industry with.
The Outback series comes with details many customers don’t think about until they see it. Most of these units now come with pet kennels that are built-in under the master bed. Larger windows allow natural light to keep the RV bright and airy.
The Ultra-Lite 261UBH is one of the best bunkhouse travel trailers under 7,000 pounds. Using your Audi Q7 would be a great option with its 7,700-pound towing capacity. You want to allow plenty of margin between the dry weight and the tow vehicle’s max capacity to make sure you can bring everything you need for everyone in your family.
The bunkhouse feature in this RV has two twin-size bunks on a rear slide out. There are two extra-wide drawers underneath the bottom bunk for storage. The interior wall is prewired and braced for an LED TV.
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The U-shaped dinette can act as an extra sleeping space or a sofa to enjoy the big LED TV. Keystone does a great job of giving walking space by putting the dinette and refrigerator on a slideout. The kitchen setup also has plenty of storage for everything you need to bring with you.
The pass-through bathroom between the bunkhouse and living room gives the user enough space to take care of their morning ritual without feeling closed in. This RV gives you features that are seen in heavier and longer units that don’t feel like they were crammed into a small coach.
The exterior space has an outdoor kitchen and entertainment center mid-coach. This places it under the 20-foot awning, so you can enjoy it even if it starts raining. All of your video entertainment can be enjoyed through the cable/ satellite prewire or 4G LTE wifi prewire connectivity.
Charles Joseph is one of the original authors of Camper Smarts from when it first started.
Product data was last updated on 2023-06-03 at 17:58.