There is a certain kind of joy that comes from experiencing the open road. Even if you have taken a road trip in the past, making the journey in a well-appointed RV is worth cherishing.
While not everyone is ready to commit to buying a fully decked-out rig, the next best option is the 5th wheel bunkhouse trailer. It is also great for larger families who need a bit of extra space.
This will allow your family the space and the opportunity to travel in both comfort and style. So, now that we have you hooked on the idea, you may be wondering which 5th wheel bunkhouse trailer is the best for your family.
There are several popular 5th wheel bunkhouse trailers on the market to choose from. Here’s a list of the 5 best bunkhouse models for families:
- Grand Design Solitude 3740BH
- Keystone RV Hideout 301DBS
- Jayco North Point 377RLBH
- Coachmen Chaparral Lite 30BHS
- Forest River Sandpiper C-Class
If you are ready to take your family on a road trip or just explore the country at a leisurely pace, we can help.
For those looking to add more length to their RV for their travels, our suggestions and reviews are a great place to start. Keep on reading to find out why these 5 are the best fifth wheel bunkhouses of 2022.
What is a Fifth Wheel Bunkhouse?
RVs are already spacious homes that you can take on the road. When you hear about a fifth-wheel bunkhouse it is natural to be confused.
A fifth-wheel bunkhouse is a type of recreational vehicle that utilizes a 5th wheel hitch. This specialized hitch allows you to extend the size of your RV and typically includes bunk beds.
Most fifth-wheel bunkhouse models have the beds in an area that can be separated or closed off from the remaining RV area. Depending on the specific model, the beds will either be always set or can fold in when not in use.
It is an ideal option for families that have older kids who need their space or want to house another couple during their travels.
What To Look For When Buying a Used Fifth Wheel?
5th Wheel bunkhouses can run a pretty penny, so buying one second-hand can help you save money.
Most second-hand 5th wheels are sold by their previous owners, but you can also find them pre-owned from an RV dealership.
Before jumping on the first good deal, you see, there are a few things to consider.
Checking these six points on your potential used 5th wheel purchase will save you a lot of headaches down the line.
1. Check The Hitch
First, start by checking the hitch on the 5th wheel. This part is a very specific piece of the 5th wheel that needs very careful maintenance. Checking it for damage and proper maintenance will ensure that the hitch will attach to your truck properly and securely.
2. Check the RV Wheels
The next thing you should check are the wheels. Pay attention to the structural alignment and the actual treads on the wheels themselves. You may be better off buying new wheels for your used 5th wheel unless they were replaced within the last 1 year.
3. Leveler or Legs
Always look at the leveler or the legs of the 5th wheel. They will need the legs in order to stand up on the back of the struck. Look at how stable they are so that you don’t have problems hitching your truck and keeping the bunkhouse level. If there is a problem unfolding the legs or if they are unstable, you might be better off choosing another unit.
4. Check Everything Is In Working Order
Most people buy a 5th wheel to expand on their amenities while they are on the road. Make sure that the model you are purchasing actually has the features you are looking for. Some have sleeping arrangements, showers, and a kitchen for example. Check to make sure that everything including all appliances are in working order and up to date.
5. Check for Mold and Rust
Mold and rust are two of the most common problems found in used RVs or 5h wheelers. Check the entire unit for both rust and mold in critical areas. Look over the exterior as well to ensure there are no problems lurking under the surface that will trigger costly repairs down the road.
6. Check the Hookups
Lastly, make sure that all of the hookups such as sewage, electricity, and water are working properly. If there are problems, you will either need to ask them to be fixed before the sale or have the repairs built into the price.
Getting a second opinion from a certified mechanic that specializes in RVs is worth the effort.
Fifth Wheel Bunkhouse vs. Travel Trailer
Considering the price of a 5th wheel, many people wonder what differences there are from travel trailers.
There are enough differences that you will need to consider which travel style fits your lifestyle before making a purchase.
Let’s start with the main difference.
5th wheels are generally larger RVs and hitch in the truck bed as opposed to the bumper.
Travel trailers on the other hand, hitches to the tow vehicle’s bumper. Depending on the size and weight of a travel trailer, you can pull a travel trailer with a truck, an SUV or a car.
The other key difference, is that 5th wheels are best used with trailers 28 feet and up while travel trailers are best for all sizes below 28 feet.
Travel trailers can only be used when in a parked position which means that everyone will need to have a seat in your tow vehicle. 5th wheels can carry passengers which instantly expands the travel space. 5th wheels utilize all of your truck bed which means you can’t use it for storage. However, you can hook up an ATV tow or storage trailer if needed.
The cost is one of the biggest differences between the two. A 5th wheel is drastically more expensive than a travel trailer. If you only RV occasionally, a travel trailer may be the best option. 5th wheels have a lot of living space without adding too much to your total length.
Travel trailers have a generous amount of length, but not as much space inside the unit. The height inside of a 5th wheel is dramatically larger than a travel trailer as well.
Another aspect to consider before making a purchase is the overall weight. Travel trailers are much smaller and weigh less. 5th wheel bunkhouses are much larger and drastically heavier.
What is the Shortest 5th wheel with a Bunkhouse?
There are quite a few 5th wheels with bunkhouses on the market. They are made to give families more room to stretch out during their road adventures, but some prefer a more compact option.
Many people get a 5th wheel only to be turned away at campsites because their RV length surpasses the length limits.
If you are looking for a compact 5th wheel, then the Keystone Montana 3121Rl or the Dutchmen Astoria 3173RLP will be worth your consideration.
The Keystone Montana 3121Rl is a compact 35 feet long and only 13.4 feet tall. Sleeping 4, this RV has 3 slide outs, island kitchen, plenty of sitting room in the main living area, spacious bedrooms and toilet areas.
The Dutchmen Astoria 3173RLP is also 35 feet long, but only 12.2 feet tall, sleeps 4 with a king bed in the master bedroom and a trifold sofa in the main living area. There’s a very spacious bathroom equipped with a walk-in shower and dual vanity. The island kitchen offers plenty of counter space.
Both are great options for smaller 5th wheel RV bunkhouses.
What are the Best 5fth Wheel Bunkhouse RVs for Families in 2022?
Here is our lineup and short reviews of some of the top 5th wheels on the market this year.
Grand Design Solitude 3740BH Bunk House Luxury Fifth Wheel
For those traveling with 7-9 people, the Grand Design Solitude 3740BH is going to be a great 5th wheel option for you.
This specific model of Grand Design 5th wheels offers a generous 40 feet of length for those long trips with a medium to large family.
The living room features a hide-a-bed option and there is also a bunkhouse in the rear of the rig. The half bathroom and storage space make it easy to stay stylish and fresh every day on the road.
The walk-in closet in the master bedroom is only upstaged by the queen-sized bed. Instead of waiting in line for a camp laundry, you can even do your own on board with the pre-installed washer dryer hookups.
Off the lot, you can choose to add a super sofa if you want to swap out the dinette for extra seating or sleeping space.
Keystone Hideout 301DBS Bunk House Fifth Wheel
This 5th wheel is a conservative 34’2” that weighs just under 14,000 pounds.
Keystone RV Hideout 301DBS is an ideal choice for families or groups of 8 or less.
The exterior is solidly built and features electric stabilizer jacks which will ensure a level camp when set up. You can upgrade the unit to include solar panels for off-grid travel, and it even has extra storage areas for tables and chairs.
At just over $40K, it also makes for an affordable choice for regular or casual RVers.
Jayco North Point 377RLBH
King-sized beds may be common in homes, but on the road, there are few 5th wheels that offer this particular feature and the Jayco North Point 377RLBH model is one of them.
This mammoth 5th wheel offers a queen or king-sized bed, room for 9 people to sleep, and 42 feet of luxury.
The hidden bed can be tucked away to allow for more space and the walk in closet is a traveler’s dream.
The desk is perfect for catching up on work or schoolwork depending on when you happen to travel.
The giant fridge allows you to pack enough food for the whole family and including washer, dryer hookups make laundry a breeze.
Coachmen Chaparral Lite 30BHS
The Coachmen Chaparral Lite 30BHS is 73 feet long and starts out around $70K.
Although the word lite is in its name, its features are anything but. The rig features a spacious private bedroom that has an under-storage bed for extra travelers.
The hanging storage and large wardrobe ensure that you will be dressed in style regardless of where you decide to travel.
Just because you are on the road doesn’t mean you have to miss your favorite shows.
There is built-in space for a flat-screen TV, and the kitchen is well appointed to support delicious meals.
You can comfortably fit a family of seven with plenty of space to roam.
Forest River Sandpiper Class-C 3330BH Bunkhouse With Loft
If you are in the market for a more affordable, and a bit more compact rig, the Forest River Sandpiper C-Class 3330BH is worth considering.
It has a well-appointed private bunkhouse, two entry doors, an outdoor refrigerator, two full bathrooms, and even a spacious pantry for food storage.
This model is perfect for small and mid-sized families who love to enjoy the open road. The exterior is worth a mention with its reinforced underbelly that helps repel rust, erosion, and road damage.
The compartments are easy to fold out and the extra-large awning makes lounging in the sun a breeze.
There is a wide assortment of floor plans available for this model so you have the option to customize your rig in a way that will fit your family’s travel style.
Is a Fifth Wheel Easier to Pull than a Travel Trailer?
5th wheel trailers have a lot of advantages.
One of those is that in most cases they are much easier than travel trailers to pull.
They are highly drivable, safer to tow, and much easier to maneuver than your typical travel trailer.
It is worth mentioning that while they are easier to drive, they do reduce fuel economy due to their higher profile and heavier size.
To help balance out that negative, you would be delighted to know that it is easier to tow a boat or ATV behind a 5th wheel over a travel trailer.
You are also able to have passengers riding in the 5th while you are on the road, unlike travel trailers where it is banned due to safety issues.
Make the Most of Your Travel Time with a Well Appointed 5th Wheel
Traveling can be hectic but with the right 5th wheel bunkhouse RV, it doesn’t have to be.
The right 5th wheel model will give your family and guest plenty of room to lounge, play, explore and enjoy themselves during your cross-country trip.
Boondocking and offroad camping are much easier when you take your home on the road.
5th Wheels are not only easier to pull, you also get the added advantage of parking them in one place and detaching for solo exploration.
Let us know which 5th wheel model you prefer in the comments below.