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If you're looking to buy an RV - of pretty much any type - you may have already seen the term "bunkhouse RV" or "bunkhouse travel trailer". Here's what it actually means.
A bunkhouse travel trailer or bunkhouse RV refers to a specific type of floor plan that has a room with two or more bunk beds. That room is usually in the rear of the rig and it can have up to four bunk beds - depending on the exact layout.
But there's more to know.
If you're in the market for an RV, then keep reading - we've put together this quick guide which will tell you everything you need to know about the topic. We included examples of popular RVs - motorhomes and 5th wheels rather than just travel trailers - that are available with a bunkhouse design.
Are bunkhouse floorplans available only for travel trailers?
First, you can find true bunkhouse floorplans in both 5th wheels and travel trailers.
But you will also come across so-called bunkhouse designs in some larger motorhomes, especially Class A and Class C motorhomes.
Bunkhouse floorplans can be found in any type of RV that's large enough to support an actual room. You can find so-called bunkhouse floorplans in -
- Class A motorhomes
- Class C motorhomes
- Travel Trailers
- 5th Wheels
And if you're not sure what these mean - check out our post about the various types of RVs. We're going to share examples of bunkhouse designs in each of these categories further down the post.
Why did we use the term "so-called"? Because not all of these are true bunkhouse layouts.
Bunkhouse layouts typically divide the RV into three sections:
- The master bedroom - where the parents hang out.
- The living area - kitchen and living room.
- The bunkhouse room - where the kids sleep.
That's like three rooms and it requires enough space and the ability to divide it. That - to me - is a true bunkhouse floorplan.
What motorhomes usually have is a double bunk somewhere in the middle of the RV. It's a great place to stow your kids in but it's not a separate room.
Now, with travel trailers and 5th wheels, a bunkhouse layout usually means there's an entirely separate section to the RV with bunk beds. That section often has one or two slide outs, providing more space in that room. This is what makes the bunkhouse so popular with families - up to four kids can have their own room in the RV.
What about the cab overbed?
Sorry, that doesn't count.
For those who don't know what it is - the cab overbed is the bed that's above the cab. Most Class C and Class B+ Rv's have these. They're fantastic and useful but they're not a bunk bed in this context. If you're searching for bunkhouse RV's in Camping World, you'll actually see this:
A cab over bunk does not make a floor plan a bunk house on its own
And we agree. It doesn't. Now, a Class C can be a bunkhouse with or without a cab overbed - the two are just not related.
How many beds are there in bunkhouse RVs?
The bunkhouse usually has an entire room dedicated to bunk beds. That room usually has two walls where the bunk beds are. In principle, you can have four beds in that room - two on each side. This configuration is sometimes referred to as a quad bunk.
However, some designs use the space for other needs. In some RVs, you get only two bunk beds - a layout known as double bunk.
Many RVs have two bunk beds on one side and then just a third on the other. The space underneath that third bed is utilized for storage. Sometimes this is where the external kitchen is - accessible from outside the RV.
Even with four beds, not all of them are always utilized as bunk beds. In some designs, at least some of the beds aren't fixed so that you can swivel them to change their function. The beds that are fixed are known as "dedicated bunks."
For example, a typical design would look like this -
One side has two fixed bunk beds.
The other side has a sofa that can be switched into a bed + another top bed which can be opened and used as a bed or closed to be moved out of the way.
How long are the bunk beds and can they be used by adults?
The standard mattress for a bunk bed is measured at 39 by 75 inches which means the length of a bunk bed is about 6'2" or 1.90 meters. For many teenagers and even adults, that's long enough. But not for all.
Now, 75 inches is actually standard length for a twin bed - however, because bunk beds have "walls" in three sides, they would feel cramped for tall people, leaving them little room to stretch. For example, someone that's 6'5" tall won't fit into a bunk bed at all. Someone that's 6' tall would technically fit, but it would likely be an uncomfortable experience.
Bunk beds are designed to be used by kids and that's something you need to take into account. Not only are these beds relatively short but the overhead space is also minimal. You can't sit in a bunk bed unless you're a young child.
So, can they be used by adults?
It depends on the adult. A relatively short person could get away with using one of these bunk beds for a while but a taller person would need a bed that does not restrict her or him as much.
What else is available in a bunkhouse design?
A lot depends on the floor plan. In motorhomes, we're usually talking just about a couple of bunks next to the master bedroom. However, where you get a real bunkhouse room with slideouts - the sky is the limit.
Many bunkhouse rooms with their own half bath (toilets and sink) and they all usually have some storage available - either under the beds, in additional cabinets or employing both systems.
The bunks themselves are anything but spacious but many models make up for that with tons of features in the bunk area. Modern RVs usually have USB charge outlets for every bunk, and many also have their own tv screens right in there too.
Bunks often have their own curtains for additional privacy - especially those double bunk beds in motorhomes where there's no wall separating the beds from the rest of the RV space.
Should you get a bunkhouse?
Here are the pros and cons of owning a bunkhouse RV.
- You can fit more kids into the RV - making great use of space.
- Parents and kids are separated by the living space in the middle - for more privacy for all.
- The bunks may be too cramped for teenagers - especially tall ones.
- When the kids leave the nest, the bunkhouse room may become useless and you'll have to change to a different RV.
Bunkhouse floorplans in popular RVs
Class A Bunkhouse
The 2020 Thor Ace 30.2
With a double bunk right next to the master bedroom, the Thor Ace 30.2 is a popular Class A RV for families. In addition to the two bunk beds, both the dinette and the couch turn into beds, so overall this model can sleep up to six people.
Here's a tour of the Thor Ace 30.2 -
Forest River Georgetown 3 31B3
The Georgetown 3 is a popular Class A series by Forest River and the 31B3 is their bunkhouse layout. Here too, we're talking about a double bunk near the master bedroom (rather than a full bunkhouse room as the trailers and 5th wheels often have). We linked the video directly to where they show the two bunk beds.
The Winnebago Sunstar 31BE
Winnebago offers another option for a Class A with a double bunk with the Sunstar 31BE. Here as well, the bunk beds are located near the master bedroom, across from the bathroom. Additional sleeping space is available on the couch and dinette - both of which can be converted to beds overnight. A family of four could easily use this RV without having to "lose" the dinette and living space - relying only on the bunk beds.
Here's the official walkthrough of the Sunstar 31BE
Winnebago fans have other options for bunkhouse layouts. For example, the Vista also comes with a bunkhouse floorplan.
Class C with Bunkhouse Floorplans
2019 Thor Freedom Elite 30FE
This Class C Motorhome can easily impress you with how space is maximized to its full potential. It can sleep not just four (4), but up to seven (7) people. The 2020 Thor Freedom Elite 30FE shares the same floor plan with the previous model.
The bunk beds can easily fit teenagers, even adults, as tall as 6 ft. The top bunk can support up to a 250lb person and both bunks have their own flat-screen TV. Further, the lower bunk can convert into a dinette – perfect for kids who’d want to do their own things like play cards, etc.
The magic of more capacity is brought by the cab-over bunk that can support up to 500lbs (others can only support around 300-350lb weight) which is ideal for 2 people. Lastly, the seventh passenger can sleep in the jack-knife sofa that can fold down into a bed.
Take a good look at the bunk beds in the video below:
2019 Jayco Redhawk 31XL
Another competitive Class C RV is the all-new 2019 Jayco Redhawk 31XL that can comfortably sleep a family of six. Moreover, it can impressively sleep up to 10 people according to the manufacturer.
The bunk beds are located just beside the master’s bedroom, facing the toilet and bath. Both the top and lower bunk has their own respective wide windows. Further, the lower bunk can’t be converted into a secondary dinette, but it does have drawers for more storage.
Now you can start thinking of all the places you and your family can travel while driving with this Class C Motorhome. This Jayco Redhawk has a similar floorplan layout with the Thor Freedom Elite, but the former is a thousand dollars more expensive than the latter.
2019 Thor Chateau 31E
You can see some similarities between the Thor Chateau and the Thor Freedom Elite. When compared to the Freedom Elite layout, the double bunk bed and the toilet have exchanged spots – which basically puts the Chateau into an advantage.
The double bunk bed now doesn’t face the bathroom entrance – only the hallway – which gives the users more privacy. At the same time, the bathroom now can be accessed both from the master’s bedroom and the dinette, making the floorplan more efficient.
Take a quick look at the bunk beds here:
Travel Trailer with Bunkhouse Floorplans
2019 Jayco Jay Flight SLX 174BH
With 4-inch thick bunk mats, the 2019 Jayco Jay Flight SLX 174BH is an appealing choice for a family of four. If you’re looking for an ideal queen bed bunkhouse model, this travel trailer might be the solution.
The double bunk bed is placed at the rear end in parallel with the trailer length. The top bed can support up to 300lbs of weight. That’s a great advantage considering a lot of bunks only support around 150lbs. Moreover, you’ll easily love the 4-inch thick bed foam – a lot thicker than any competitor.
There’s an emergency exit located at the wall of the lower bunk which also serves as a window for its respective user. You can also get extra storage below the lower bunk bed which you can access by lifting the mattress.
You can see how the bunk bed is maximized here:
2019 Heartland Pioneer BH175
For starters, you’ll appreciate how the top bunk has no wall on one side. A person whose height is a bit longer than the bed length won’t feel cramped as he can extend his feet a bit. Another good thing is both bunks have their own window and they’re wide – unlike the previous Jayco where the upper bunk has no window.
You also have the toilet and bath at the rear end; its most impressive feature is you actually have a tub in the bath – for kids at least.
Its floorplan layout is optimized in such a way the users have a long hallway while having all the standard features to live on the road.
Watch the 2019 Heartland Pioneer BH175 double bunk bed here:
2019 Keystone Hideout 175LHS
Now this one’s got a little bit longer bunk bed at 74 inches; that’s about 6.2 feet in length. Any user would surely appreciate every inch he can stretch no matter how small it is.
The 2019 Keystone Hideout 175LHS is one of the most popular travel trailers today. This bunkhouse floorplan sleeps a family of four (4) comfortably; plus one (1) guest thanks to the extra bed.
Overall, this Keystone Hideout is the bunkhouse travel trailer ideal for any family camping. You’ll surely love the dinette that can actually sit four (4) people; other trailers of the same size can only sit two (2). The brand new model is the solution if want to bring your whole family without towing a 30-foot trailer.
See the bunk beds here:
5th Wheels with Bunkhouse Floorplans
2019 Keystone Hideout 281DBS
If you need more space, you can opt for a fifth wheel RV. This type is guaranteed longer and wider than conventional travel trailers. The 2019 Keystone Hideout 281DBS offers more luxury and living space and has got everything you can think of the trailer of your dreams.
For starters, it has a “double over double bunk” – large bunk beds that can fit two (2) people in each layer for a total of four (4) on this area alone. Equipped with lighting, windows, and ample storage below.
Overall, the 2019 Keystone Hideout 281DBS has got what it takes to be the ideal home on the road for the whole family – big space, upgraded features, and modern finishes.
See how large the bunk beds are here:
Crossroads Volante 270BH
With a sleeping space for ten (10) people, the Crossroads Volante 270BH is the solution for a family who enjoys camping with additional people onboard.
The rear bunkhouse design can sleep four people comfortably. You’ll also appreciate how the bed stretches to 74 inches; enough for most teenagers or kids.
The bunk beds are strategically located on the rear side beside the toilet and bath. With all the premium furniture and space, the 2019 Crossroads Volante 270 BH is anything but the ordinary.
See how spacious the bunk beds are here:
2019 Keystone Springdale 300FWBH
The brand new 2019 Keystone Springdale 300FWBH offers a bunkhouse floorplan solution for a large family in camping. This fifth-wheel features rear bunk beds that are large enough for four people to sleep in.
You can easily notice how the bunk beds have thick foams – which adds to the comfort factor. Both the top and lower bunk have their own large window for natural light and ventilation. Further, you also get to have ample storage right below the lower bunk.
See the strategically located bunk beds here:
Before you go, check out these other helpful posts about travel trailers -