Bunkhouse travel trailers are extremely popular with families for obvious reasons. Take our family for example: We purchased a bunkhouse model Keystone Passport Ultralite travel trailer in 2017 and used it to travel all over the continent. Its 26 feet of living space accommodated our family of five and helped keep the peace on the road, providing some private space for the kids.
If you are looking for a bunkhouse travel trailer either for weekend getaways or to fully experience the RV lifestyle by taking the family on the road, I believe I can help you out. I want to point you in the right direction, help you understand some terminology related to travel trailers, and make sure you don’t miss the perfect travel trailer option for your family. I know, it’s a big decision! And for me, it was a very tough one that did not come easily.
Bunkhouse Travel Trailer Models: Top 7 You Can’t Miss In 2020
Now, I want to make sure you understand from the beginning that the term “bunkhouse” can refer to at least a few different types of layouts. As RV newbies just starting our shopping process, this whole thing had us confused for a bit.
Essentially, when RV manufacturers use the term “bunkhouse” it simply means that the floorplan includes bunk beds of some sort. It does not mean that those bunk beds are in their own separate space, closed off by a door.
- Bunkhouse: Any RV floorplan that includes dedicated bunk beds. Bunk beds can be of various sizes, from 28″ wide to 51″ wide or more. These bunk beds are not necessarily separated from the other living space, but can include a curtain for added privacy.
- Bunkroom: Normally this refers to a separate living space, normally for kids, that is closed off by a door from the rest of the RV. A bunkroom will normally have 3-4 bunk beds depending on the specific floorplan. It will also often include a sofa that converts into an additional bed.
As you can imagine, there is not truly “standard” language used in the RV industry to indicate different functions and features. Each RV manufacturer can choose to use their own terminology, which can be very confusing for the consumer. The important thing is to pay attention to the details and ask questions if you are unclear about anything related to floorplans or features.
The worst thing in the world is making a loooong trip to tour “the perfect bunkhouse travel trailer”…only to arrive and realize it was not at all what you expected. Hopefully, this can help you avoid some wasted miles and frustration.
At what length can you expect to find a bunkhouse included in a travel trailer?
One last point I want to make before we get started with specific travel trailer models for you to look at: If you are looking for a bunkhouse with wider bunks (like a double size bunk, around 51″ wide) or with more than two bunks, the smallest you can expect to go is a 24-foot travel trailer. Below that length, most manufacturers can only squeeze in the standard two skinny bunks (usually 28″ wide). If you find something different, feel free to let me know!
Now, let’s dive into some fantastic travel trailer options that you can explore. I think there’s a good chance you will find exactly what you were looking for in this list.
Keystone Passport Bunkhouse Travel Trailer Models
Yes, I had to start here. The fact that we traveled for 17 months in a Keystone Passport Ultralite travel trailer makes me a little bit biased. That doesn’t mean that I’m telling you they are the absolute best options on the market. It just means that we had a great experience in one and I can speak to the overall quality first-hand. Your specific situation, family needs and desired price point will determine what is best for you.
I will say that I believe the Passport series is an excellent blend of features, quality and pricing. No, it is definitely not in the “luxury” category. It doesn’t feel like an “apartment on wheels” like some of the high end travel trailers and fifth wheels out there might. But for us, it was the right price for a livable space with the features we needed. (Note: Sale price on our travel trailer was $23,995, to give you a reference point.)
Our Passport did not have the “bunkroom” as I described above. It did have nice wide bunks (approx. 51″) that were comfortable for our two boys, and they had a curtain across the bunks to close it off for some privacy.
Our Passport experience
Overall, we had only very minor issues with our Keystone Passport 2670BH model while visiting 36 states and five Canadian provinces. They were almost all covered by our 1-year full warranty (one $15 part was not covered…I can live with that) when we took it in for service in Florida. By just about any standard, that’s pretty dang good.
I can’t say exactly how many miles that travel trailer traveled, but in our travels we put about 48,000 miles on our truck. I would estimate that the travel trailer was in tow for at least two-thirds of those miles, so 32,000+ miles. That makes it a winner in my book!
Passport bunkhouse models
In 2019, that specific model that we had is no longer available. But there are a couple similar floorplans that I can point you to, plus a spacious bunkroom model:
- Passport 2820BH GT Series – Total length of 32′ 11″ (including tongue). This is probably the closest floorplan to what we traveled in, but this model comes with a second entry door by the bunks. We would have loved this feature, actually, but could not find it when we were purchasing. I also would have loved having an entrance directly into the master bedroom. Very handy!
- Passport 240BH SL Series – Total length of 27′ 4″ (including tongue). Very similar layout to the 2670BH, except that there is no couch included. You have only the dinette for seating in the main living area. Includes the same 51″ wide bunks that our boys enjoyed.
- Passport 3221BH GT Series – If you are looking for a really spacious Passport option, you’re going to love this 3221BH. With a total length of 36′ 11″, it is definitely a beast…although its dry weight is only a shocking 6,795 lbs. For this many features and this amount of living space, that gross weight is really impressive. And if you don’t need the larger bunks like you see in the first two models, this bunkroom option may be the perfect travel trailer for the privacy needs of your family. (These bunks appear to be about 4″ wider than the narrowest bunks out there. If you need to avoid those tiny 28″ wide bunks, these 32″ options may excite you.)
Of course, Keystone RV has plenty more to offer than just these few bunkhouse models. The Passport is one of their “affordable, lightweight, and easy-to-tow” models, but they also have travel trailer options that are “feature-rich and ready to camp” (such as the Laredo and Cougar lines). And if you are more interested in “stand-out luxury” for your bunkhouse, the impressive Outback and Sprinter options may be right up your alley. Have fun checking them all out!
What About ‘Trying Before You Buy’ with Bunkhouse Travel Trailer Rentals?
Pardon the interruption, but I think at this point you should be aware of our plan when it comes to finding the next RV that will be perfect for our needs. It might be exactly the idea you’re looking for.
The worst thing any of us can imagine is making the wrong choice when it comes time to purchase an RV. That is especially true if you plan to live in it full-time! (Our most likely path.) So we are trying several different RVs on for size, from small camper vans to spacious travel trailers to adventurous driveables.
So far, we have used Outdoorsy as our rental platform of choice. And we have been very pleased. Here are a couple of bunkhouse travel trailers (see images below) in our area that rent for $100-$150 per night. A weekend in one of these will be money well-spent and will give you a much better idea of whether this is a realistic RV option for your particular situation. Not to mention it will be a blast to just get away!
So, maybe it’s time for you to try before you buy. At least consider it as one reasonable option on your path to your next bunkhouse travel trailer purchase!
Forest River Vibe Bunkhouse Travel Trailer Models
Forest River RV manufacturers have a great reputation in the industry, with pluses such as 100% pre-delivery inspection, vacuum-bonded walls, and aluminum framed laminated floors. From everything that I have researched about Forest River, I would feel extremely comfortable purchasing any of their models (fifth wheels, class As, class Cs, toy haulers, etc.).
But we are specifically looking at the travel trailers right now, and I want to point out that you also need to pay attention to the region you are searching in on the Forest River website. The links I am using are for the Midwest region of the U.S., so adjust as necessary before doing your own searching.
Vibe bunkhouse models
So let’s get started with a look at a couple floor plans in one of their lightweight travel trailer lines: The Vibe.
- Vibe 26BH – Just like we started off with in the Passports, this model is the closest to what we traveled in with our family, with only a couple of minor differences. It includes the two oversized double bunks in the corner (probably close to the 51″ wide version we had), the separate master bedroom (highly recommended), and also boasts both a second entry door (into the bathroom) as well as a small outdoor kitchen. When we were shopping, we had a very hard time in our local area finding that combo of a second entry door with an outdoor kitchen. We ended up going with the outdoor kitchen, and I think that was the right choice. This Vibe is worth a long, hard look.
- Vibe 28BH – Here’s a great Forest River option if you are really set on that separate bunkroom to keep things operating well in your RV. This model gives you that separation plus four moderately-sized (32″ to 36″ wide) bunks to fit the whole crew for an adventure. I’ll be honest with you here: This layout is totally new to me…and quite unique. It appears that the only entrance/exit to the master bedroom is through the bathroom! Meaning that is someone is occupying that restroom, you get trapped in your bedroom. Maybe I’m missing something here, so correct me if I’m wrong. Either way, this bunkroom layout may still be the perfect option for you and your family. Just remember there are always trade-offs when you are dealing with such a tiny space.
You should know that it is truly astounding how many different RVs fall under the Forest River name! They actually have 24 different lines of travel trailers that you can explore…enough that your head will be truly spinning. I don’t think anyone else in the industry has such a wide selection, so spend some time on their site and I’m fairly sure you will find exactly what you need.
Mesa Ridge Limited Bunkhouse Travel Trailer Models
Highland Ridge RV, which has only been around since 2014, is the proud manufacturer of the Mesa Ridge line of travel trailers, along with several other impressive travel trailer options. It is actually a subsidiary of Jayco, one of the most popular brands in the industry. We will wrap up this exploration with a couple of Mesa Ridge bunkhouse models, one of them that adds another nice feature you might be interested in: a kitchen island!
It’s not very common to find travel trailers with both a bunkroom and a kitchen island included, but it is a really handy added feature for overall livability…not to mention great meals.
- Mesa Ridge Limited 312BHS – And here she is…the fantastic kitchen island/bunkroom combo that may just be the perfect fit for you. I know when we were shopping, that kitchen island was a feature that really tempted us. Not only did it add plenty of functionality to the kitchen, but it also really opened up the living space with that second slide on the kitchen side of the RV. (Our Passport model had only one slide that bumped out the sofa and dinette, and that simplicity worked well for our purposes.) I think you will really enjoy taking a closer look at this unique travel trailer model.
- Mesa Ridge Limited 331BHS – With this innovative bunkroom model, you do give up the kitchen island. At the same time, this takes you down to only two slides to deal with: one in the living area and one in the bunkroom. (Did I mention I’m all about keeping things as simple as possible?) BUT, by giving up the kitchen island you gain something else with this floorplan that may be pure gold for your family: an additional half bathroom! Yup, just outside the bunkroom there is a small bathroom with toilet and sink. Meaning the kids are able to stay at “their end” of the travel trailer and not coming trudging all the way down to your end to potentially disturb your sleep in the middle of the night. I am all for less disturbed sleep! How about you? (It also appears to have a separate entrance into that half bathroom, so the kids can jump in and take care of business without tracking dirt through the whole RV. Genius.)
Which Bunkhouse Travel Trailer Model Really Has Your Attention?
We’ve barely scratched the surface of the travel trailer models with bunkhouses that are currently on the market. There are plenty of other brands with great bunkhouse options, including Starcraft RV, Jayco and Coachmen RV. By the time you finish examining all of these options I’ve mentioned, I’m fairly certain you will have narrowed down your choices to the ones that will work best for your family.
One last word of warning if this is your first time shopping for travel trailers: Don’t get yourself too attached to one of these floorplans that you find online, because availability in your area may be limited or non-existent. Now, if you are willing to travel wherever you need to in the country to pick up your perfect travel trailer, then just disregard that.
Either way, I wish you the absolute best in your quest for the perfect bunkhouse travel trailer! And if you have any questions we might be able to help with, leave a comment below and we will get back to you ASAP.
Keep on TREKKN!
Todd Bonner is the slightly quieter half of the dynamic TREKKN duo. He spends most of his time sharing information about RV travel and safety, RV accessories and tips, and the National Parks he has visited and still desperately craves. When he’s not busy working on TREKKN, you will often find him staring at breathtaking pictures of Glacier National Park, probably his favorite spot on earth.