We had been searching for a camper for a few months before we found one that fit our budget and needs. We went to RV dealerships and shows trying to find the perfect camper for us. First thing we found out was that we were limited on what we could get because of towing capability of the truck we had at the time. A seventeen foot camper was the biggest we could go and it couldn’t have a lot of options. The second thing we found out was how hard is was going to be to find a camper that size with a bunkbeds for the boys. As soon was they were on the dealership’s lot they were already sold.
We were so frustrated. We had expanded our search to different outlets. We browsed Ebay, dealerships in different states and personal want ads. Then my husband happen to see a Craigslist post that jumped out at him. A 17′ Jayco BH. BH is for, you guessed it, bunkhouse! With a little bit trepidation it was ours.
As you can see it is a pretty basic camper. It doesn’t have the flash and flair of an Airstream, but it is economical and has the basics we need. This is the type of camper for families with rambunctious kids. To put it fairly, a camper that you are not too worried about the kids being kids in.
The main reason we bought this was because of the bunkbeds. We wanted the boys to have their own space. I don’t know if it is because they are boys, the age difference or general sibling rivalry but they cannot get along. The thought of them sharing a bed would be torture for everyone.
It is not much space, but it separates them for the night. They only fight about who gets the top bunk at bedtime instead of who is touching who.
This camper also comes with a small, and I mean small bathroom.
It only has room for the toilet and a small shower. The one thing I don’t like about it besides the size would be the small light on the ceiling. My boys think it is hilarious to push the light off when I’m in the shower and hear me scream. There is just enough space to reach their scrawny arms through the crack on top of door when they are in the top bunk to push the light off. Definitely a design flaw there.
The kitchen area is minuscule as well, but has a lot packed into that small space. It has a mini fridge, microwave and a stovetop with gas burners. There is also plenty of cabinet space to store kitchen supplies and food. We really don’t use the kitchen much for cooking. We tend to grill outside more, but it is convenient to make pancakes first thing in the morning without having to start up a fire.
The dinning area is literally a step away. We haven’t tried it, but I believe the table somehow turns into a bed. There is also more storage above the table and a radio with speakers outside. The boys love to turn it up full blast and see how long it takes their Dad to notice outside. Not long.
Now to the master bedroom. This is a queen size short RV mattress. It is not comfortable. I am trying to find something to make it bearable. I tried to put an air mattress underneath the RV mattress, thinking it would cushion the plywood . This did not work. The air mattress shifted at night because it is not the correct size and I ended up in a hole between the mattress and the camper wall. I think a memory foam mattress topper like this one on Amazon might might work better.
There is also more storage above the bed and underneath as well. The air conditioner is also an important feature when camping in or around Florida. The heater, not so much currently, but will come in handy when we camp farther north.
After taking the camper out few times we noticed that our Honda Ridgeline was starting to struggle towing the camper. So even if your vehicle says it can pull a certain type of trailer make sure the towing capacity is well above what is recommended. My husband’s solution to the problem of course was to buy a new truck. So after a quick trip to Iowa to find the perfect truck, we can now pull the camper with ease. Not quite sure why a truck topper was needed though.
This is the perfect camper for us for now. It has everything we need. It is small, but keep in mind we spend a lot of time outdoors when camping. We put the awning out, set up our chairs and just enjoy the outdoors. It is nice to have a familiar place to sleep close by after hiking and exploring the campgrounds we stay at. Our hotel on wheels.
UPDATE: We recently found out that the warranty on our camper was not transferable when we bought it from the gentleman off of Craigslist. It stays with the original owner. This something to consider when purchasing a camper. Also find out what the warranty covers and when it ends before an issue arises.
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