When searching for a new trailer, there are generally some sacrifices to be made. If you want a lightweight floorplan that is easy and fuel-efficient to tow, you usually sacrifice a bit of living space; if you want a budget-friendly trailer, there might have to be some concessions in the quality of components like furniture, bedding, countertops, etc. It truly is a difficult proposition to ask that a travel trailer be all things to all people. CrossRoads RV seems willing to tackle that challenge head on, and the result is the Sunset Trail Reserve trailer series. It toes the line between kid-friendly and luxury and does so in convincing fashion.
At less than 6,000 pounds dry, the Sunset Trail 26BH is quite easy to tow, and can likely be pulled by the midsize truck or SUV you already have in your driveway. The Secure Stance EZ Lube wide axles, part of the required Sunset Package ($5,068), stand 15 inches apart and help stabilize the ride, and ensure that the tail will have a tough time wagging the dog. The sleek trailer will also likely garner looks from other drivers; the Champagne filon exterior and Moulded Chocolate front cap (part of the Reserve package) are a striking departure from the standard white fiberglass outer shell. It’s refreshing to see that there was a good amount of planning by CrossRoads to come up with such a sharp-looking combination.
Setting up in camp is made even easier with the electric A-frame jack and electric stabilizers (again, thanks to the Reserve package). While not necessities, such conveniences are extremely helpful when setting up in the intense heat or in the middle of a fierce downpour; the weather at Southern California’s Ventura Ranch KOA we stayed in was perfect, but the devices were much appreciated nonetheless.
Exterior storage is plentiful, with a lighted front pass-through compartment to handle some of your bulkier items. The rest can be tamed using the large rear curbside storage hatch, which opens directly to the area below the bottom bunk. This is a nice concept, but whatever is stored there has to come out for the bunk to be used, so plan accordingly. Other models in the Reserve line use this space for an exterior kitchen. A rear-bumper-mounted barbecue is a fun family inclusion.
Based on the overall impression of the trailer’s interior, your first guess wouldn’t necessarily be that the 26BH is for a family, until you spot the bunks in the back. The solid-surface countertops, upscale cabinetry, faux leather sofa and dinette cushions seem to have all been lifted from a high-end fifth-wheel, yet they work so well with the décor and flow of the floorplan that they fit right in. The bunks are located rear curbside, and featured the most comfortable bunk mattresses our 8-year-old tester has ever experienced. Each bunk also features its own light, which is a thoughtful addition that makes reading before bed easy for the kiddies. The bunks can be sectioned off from the rest of the trailer via the included curtain, which gives the younger RVers their own “fort.” The wardrobe in this area should more than handle the children’s duffles and stuffed animals.
Directly across from the bunk area is the bathroom, which appears small but is just big enough to do the trick. We were grateful for the full-size RV tub that allows owners to give the kids a proper bath, and we really liked the shower enclosure that bows out, maximizing shower space in the abbreviated area. The sliding hard-side/vinyl hybrid curtain was also a nice touch.
In the galley, food storage is via a four-shelf pantry, in which three of the shelves can be adjusted to suit your needs. The usual suspects — three-burner stove, oven, microwave and refrigerator — are available for your culinary efforts, and the counterspace is just what you’d expect from a trailer this size. This unfortunately results in a smallish dual-basin sink, which made washing large pots and pans a true adventure for the test crew. Our desire for a larger sink is a direct result of the trailer’s overall feel; it seems larger and upgraded, so we expect a larger and upgraded sink. But that’s a gripe we can live with.
The living room is housed in the trailer’s only slide, located streetside. The aptly named Super Dinette is quite large, and managed to seat our family of five with no trouble. The solid-surface table can easily be retracted when the sun goes down using the strutted arm below. Both dinette benches are equipped with cabinets featuring plastic removable drawers for storing odds and ends. The leather sofa bed is big and comfortable, but the mattress was merely average when it came time to turn in.
Both the sofa and the dinette are great seating areas for viewing the 32-inch LCD TV located in the entertainment-center pillar. Movies are played via the standard Jensen stereo/CD/DVD player. But the large TV is definitely not the first thing to catch your eye here; that would be the electric fireplace, which can be strictly ornamental, or functional, keeping you toasty on a chilly autumn evening. The great thing about both the TV and the fireplace is they can be swiveled around to be enjoyed in either the living area or the master bedroom.
The master bedroom can be sectioned off using the accordion curtains flanking each side of the pillar. This type of layout usually means taller RVers will have to pull their legs up and sleep in a semi-cramped posture, but the slightly recessed paneling on the pillar enabled me to sleep in a straight, natural position. The mattress, like those on the bunks, was downright comfortable. There are his and hers wardrobes in the bedroom, and a small nightstand surface for glasses, books and the like. The corner shelves above the bed seemed like a great idea until I smacked my head on them for the eleventh time. Perhaps RVers who learn lessons quicker than me will appreciate them. Cabinets above the bed will hold most any leftover luggage you have on hand.
The Reserve 26BH is a nice floorplan for a family of four or five. It is a 30-foot, 11-inch trailer, so although there may not be room for the whole neighborhood, it could definitely accommodate another one or two friends or family members before things begin feeling too cramped. The upscale look of the interior belies the fact that this is a solid family trailer, and one that is surely worthy of your consideration.
Ext Length: 30’ 11”
Ext Width: 8’
Ext Height: 11’ 2”
Int Width: 7’ 8”
Construction: One-piece rubber roof, I-beam frame, aluminum floor joists, fiberglass exterior
Freshwater Cap: 40 gal.
Black/Gray Water Cap: 40 gal./40 gal.
LP-gas Cap: 10 gal.
Water-Heater Cap: 6 gal.
Refrigerator: 6 cu.-ft.
Furnace: 25,000 Btu
Air Conditioner: 13,500 Btu
Converter: 55 amps
Tires: ST 205/75R15 C
Suspension: Leaf Spring
Dry Weight: 5,760 lbs.
Hitch Weight: 726 lbs.
Axle Weight: 5,048 lbs.
GVWR: 7,726 lbs.
GAWR: 2 @ 3,500 ea.
MSRP: base $29,115
MSRP: as tested $34,331
Basic warranty: 24 mo.
CrossRoads RV, (260) 593-3850, www.crossroadsrv.com
Thanks to Family RV (909) 622-3003, www.familyrvusa.com, for loaning the trailer for this review. Special thanks to Ventura Ranch KOA, (877) 779-8080, www.koa.com, for its hospitality during our photo shoot and review.