Bunkhouse Queen Camping Trailer Review
The choices motorcyclists have among on-the-road lodgings differ as much as their choices in motorcycles. Many prefer comfort and choose a motel or bed-and-breakfast; others opt for rustic pleasure and pitch a tent in some idyllic setting. We recently evaluated a product that allows you to combine the best of both worlds.
Bunkhouse began manufacturing motorcycle camping trailers in 1974 and was recently acquired by Bushtec Manufacturing. Both lines are now produced in Bushtec’s Jacksboro, Tennessee, factory. The Bunkhouse line consists of two camper models: the LX and the more compact Bunkhouse Queen. The Queen model was our tester. It has a queen-sized bed (naturally) that is comfortable for one or two adults. Zippered tent-type access leads to a 4- by 5-foot stand-up dressing area. Access to a 17-cubic-foot storage area can be gained when inside the dressing area, or from an exterior door. The lockable compartment is large enough to hold the camping gear two people would normally take on a weeklong trip.
Much thought was involved in designing this unit to be compact as a trailer, but as spacious as a sleeper. Just shy of 9 feet in total length and just over 4 feet in width, the folded trailer stands 38 inches tall on 12-inch wheels.
Before evaluating the Bunkhouse’s camping comforts, I gave it a good wringing out as a trailer. Jacksboro is located in the beautiful Smoky Mountain region, real Crockett and Boone country, with great motorcycle roads that on any given ride can easily take you across the Tennessee border into Kentucky, North Carolina or Virginia. My mount was a Honda GL1800 Gold Wing, which didn’t breathe hard pulling the Bunkhouse at 80 mph up Jellico Mountain on nearby Interstate 75. The trailer’s torsion bar suspension kept its standard 285 pounds level and tracking true.
Descending the mountains at speed and riding the curvy adjacent roads presented no braking problem for the Gold Wing—and the Queen tester did not have the optional ($1,225) electric hydraulic brakes. Those who load heavily or ride in extremely mountainous areas might find the trailer brake option worthwhile.
One Bunkhouse option worth consideration is Bushtec’s swivel-joint pin hitch ($149). A regular ball coupler with twin safety chains is standard and works exactly as designed. But the swiveling pin coupler enables a rig to really stay planted in the twisties.
According to the website usacampgrounds.info there are over 12,000 public campgrounds in the USA and Canada. One of the most beautiful must be Cove Lake State Park, not far from Jacksboro. There I found the Bunkhouse setup and takedown quick and easy. It might have taken this rookie 12-15 minutes to unhook, properly place, level, unzip, unfold and stake out the access door. Faster than a hotel check in.
The Bunkhouse Queen camper’s MSRP is $3,699; the larger LX is $4,299. Many factory accessories are available, from air conditioner vents to fully screened dens and storage spaces. With the prices of today’s other lodging choices, it doesn’t take long for a Bunkhouse camper to pay for itself, and think of all of the opportunities to commune with nature!
For more information, call (888) 321-2516 or visit bunkhousecamper.com.
(This Gearlab review was published in the January 2014 issue of Rider magazine.)