The Dyna Aire DA 361
February 1, 2009
Filed under Trailer Reviews
It’s always big news when a manufacturer unveils a new product. It’s even more groundbreaking when a longtime motorhome manufacturer decides to throw its hat into the towable arena. With the introduction of the Dyna Aire fifth-wheel, Dynamax has done just that. The manufacturer generally associated with large Class C and freightliner-cab-based motorhomes hopes to capitalize on RVers accustomed to the luxury of a high-end motorhome who are looking to downsize into something a bit more versatile and maneuverable – though it’s rather difficult to describe purchasing an upscale, amenity-packed fiver such as the Dyna Aire as downsizing.
The Dyna Aire features top-notch construction, beginning with a 15-inch I-beam/ box steel frame. The aluminum-framed floor, side walls and roof truss – plus the sectional fiberglass underbelly – all add up to long-term durability, and work to keep flexing to a minimum while on the road. The gelcoat fiberglass exterior – available with full-body paint and custom graphics as an option ($5,250) -adds an appreciated touch of luxury, and is a pretty good indicator that the interior will be anything but spartan.
Optional ride, handling and comfort enhancements to the Dyna Aire we tested include Monroe gas shocks ($175), hydraulic rear stabilizer jacks ($770), a Trailair suspension and pin box ($1,813) and electric over hydraulic disc brakes ($1,225).
Inside the trailer, crown molding, framed residential-style Thermopane windows ($1,785) and top-notch light-cherry woodwork make the Dyna Aire feel like an upscale home, and the travertine flooring, plush carpeting and color-matched counters further enhanced the Beverly Hills feeling.
The first thing you’ll likely notice when entering the Dyna Aire – provided the three slideouts are deployed – is the spacious galley and highly functional kitchen island. Three brushed-nickel lights are suspended over the polished Corian countertop, providing the relaxed atmosphere that rules when entertaining guests at the campground. A dual-basin stainless-steel sink sits in the center of the island, and easily handles the clean-up chores. The island is packed with drawers and cabinets for storage, including one for a garbage can and a cabinet on the living-room side that includes cut-outs for wine-bottle storage. Across from the island is the optional ($1,805) stainless-steel 12-cu-ft refrigerator with icemaker, which shares the streetside slide with the three-burner range ($217), a storage cabinet and an entertainment center we’ll describe in a moment. The galley also features a large pantry that’s divided into four doors, all of which are lined with shelves for easy food storage. The curbside dining table features freestanding chairs, and fits four adults rather comfortably.
Moving into the living-room area, the focus is clearly on the optional 42-inch LCD HDTV with DVD player and surround sound ($3,213) housed in the entertainment center on the streetside slide. The entertainment center also cleverly doubles as a desk, as there’s plenty of workspace, drawers and cabinets to swallow most of your workaday paperwork, and a nearby phone outlet enables Internet connectivity when Wi-Fi isn’t available. Though the trailer we tested wasn’t so equipped, an optional built-in fireplace ($819) would also be housed in this slide.
A comfortable sofa bed sits at the rear of the trailer, and the large window behind it – coupled with several windows throughout the area – offers a fantastic view of the outdoors. A curbside loveseat is standard across from the TV, though the Dyna Aire we tested features the optional ($1,365) leather recliners for a cozy movie-viewing area.
Lighting throughout is handled via multiplexed buttons with illuminated backgrounds along the wall, which even in the dark makes it easy to tell which light(s) you’re controlling. The living-room area also includes a ceiling fan, a nice alternative to the loud whoosh of the air conditioner when trying to strike up a conversation or watch your latest video rental.
A trip up the stairs toward the master bedroom reveals an eye-catching radiused glass shower enclosure, which was rather spacious and tall enough for my 6-foot 2-inch height. The shower included the optional ($154) flip-down shower seat, which – though a
nice addition – didn’t seem quite stable enough to handle, ahem, larger users. Next to the shower is the sink, with a mirrored medicine cabinet above and storage below for sundries and such. The toilet is housed across the aisle, in a closet-like alcove with little room other than to get the job done. Another closet-type door reveals a good-sized storage area, or buyers can opt for a stackable washer/dryer ($2,093) or washer/dryer combo ($1,813). Either choice adds to the long-term livability of the Dyna Aire.
The master bedroom features the third and final slideout, curbside, which contains a 26-inch LCD HDTV with surround sound ($1,583), in addition to a dresser/ vanity area with a laundry bin and a large amount of drawer space.
The large mirrored closet houses built-in cabinets for shoes, as well as ample room to hang clothes. A small light in the closet allows users to see the far reaches of the closet’s corners.
The king-size bed was comfortable, though the lack of a nightstand necessitated reaching up to the cabinets above the bed to store reading glasses, books and TV remotes. Also, the ceiling height in the Dynamax is impressive; I never once felt the familiar “walls-closing-in” sensation often associate with fifth-wheel bedrooms.
With the luxurious appointments of the Dyna Aire, it’s clear that Dynamax means business with its new fiver. A few oversights – including the lack of four-point leveling jacks and electric steps – are mere nitpicks when compared to the amount of style and substance provided by the new kid on the fifth-wheel block.
Dynamax Corporation, (888) 295-7859, www.dynamaxcorp.com.