2007 CrossRoads Sunset Trail Review

Low-budget trailer aimed at young families

By Howard J Elmer, May. 13, 2008, Photography by Howard J Elmer
CrossRoads, having started up in 1996, is still a young company; but interestingly it enjoyed enough success to attract the attention of RV giant Thor Industries which acquired CrossRoads in 2004. Since then, with its history of lean manufacturing, coupled with Thorís marketing acumen the brand has been rapidly expanding.

While CrossRoads carries a wide variety of towable product, it was the Sunset Trail line of trailers that I opted to test recently. These light-weight trailers range in length from 23 to 34-feet with the heaviest still scaling in at less than 6,000 lb. This is accomplished with an aluminum frame, roof, walls and deck. The roof is a one-piece rubber over plywood on 16Ē aluminum tube rafters. Exterior covering is a light Lamilux fiberglass; and itís all these components that help keep the weight down. But, underneath I noted, the frame is a full six-inch steel I-beam construction.

My test unit, at 27-feet, was also relatively lightweight, in fact less than 5,000 lb (dry weight) well within the towing capabilities of a large cross-section of cars, trucks and vans. And, being that this is very much a family trailer (as it can sleep up to nine) being able to tow with the main family vehicle is part of its attraction. That and space. Itís this second feature that the Sunset Trail pulls off nicely with space-saving bunk beds, deep full-wall slides and a very fresh design in hard-wall pop-outs.

This is the real unique feature of this trailer; (and the thing that caught my attention at the National RV Show in Louisville, KY last December) the hard-sided pop-out. Situated at the rear of the trailer, when open itís the master bedroom featuring a queen-size bed. When closed Ė itís simply out of the way and cuts the overall length of the trailer down by around five feet.  The benefits to a hardwall pop-out vs. tent material are obvious (heating and cooling for one) but what youíll want to know is that it can be opened or closed by just one person in about thirty seconds. It also has an opening screened window as well as a skylight. Crossroads was also smart enough to aim an AC roof duct into this space; so even if the privacy curtain is closed it should stay cool. With most of this pop-out situated behind the walls of the bathroom this is about as private as you can get in a 25-foot trailer. Certainly a consideration for younger parents in the market for a family trailer.

As you enter the unit, you face the fold-out couch, but youíll notice the trailer nose immediately as itís dominated by the bunks, a double on the bottom and a single on top. Kids will love these; but note the thickness of the foam. At two inches, older children may not find them very soft. On each side is a hanging clothes cabinet that frames the bunks and offers a sense of privacy. A spot on top of one is the optimal site for a TV. All the necessary pre-wired connectors are flush mounted in the ceiling. A nice feature is the storage access under the bottom bunk. A large panel under the mattress lifts giving inside access to the space that is also accessible from outside.

All the cabinet doors are hardwood throughout and a nice touch is the small wall-mounted cabinet on the right as you enter that houses the switches for the slideout, hot water and pump. Itís also a natural for storing keys and just below the door are hooks for hats and jackets.

The slide in this trailer is electrically actuated, large and deep. It runs off the house battery if you arenít plugged into shore power.  It holds the Hide-A-Bed couch and the dinette in its 37.5-inch depth. It also has four windows, all of which open. Overhead, in the slide, are a full row of hardwood fronted cabinets for storage.

The dinette benches have the usual storage underneath but with a twist Ė full-length drawers that pull out from the bench ends. These are part of an optional package and are a nice feature Ė though the finish quality of the cuts and edges is poor. There is also a wall-plug just below the table, handy to plug in a coffee maker or toaster. And, this balances the fact that this model has zero counter space. In fact without the sink covers and fold-down stove cover there would be no counter space at all.

Flooring in the unit is mostly one-piece pattern Linoleum. Carpet is found only in the slideout. That is actually an advantage. This unit will see a lot of foot traffic and keeping it clean will be challenge. 

The day of my test it was near freezing outside and I was lucky enough to have a test unit with propane onboard (twin tanks which are situated inside a locking front compartment at waist height) so I fired up the furnace as I worked inside. It took only about 30 minutes to heat the interior to a comfortable 68F. Consider this fact along with the knowledge that this is a three-season trailer with single-pane windows.  But the heater also does other work. First it heats the holding tanks and second the dump valves are also situated inside the enclosed underbelly of the trailer to keep them from freezing shut.

The standard insulation is R7 and this material is glued into place so it wonít slide down inside the walls over time.  Itís nice to see that CrossRoads offers an upgraded insulation package which for just over 300 bucks effectively doubles the R-rating in the floor, roof and walls.

The bathroom is another surprise on this unit. Not just the large size but also the layout that accommodates a corner shower stall with a very nice one-piece surround with no seams (note this tub surround is also part of the option package) and two mirrored medicine cabinets. The sink is on one side of the glass shower and the foot-flush toilet on the other side. Overhead the shower has a domed skylight and a powered-vent.

The kitchen has all the necessary amenities with a double sink, three-burner stove and oven Ė as well as a microwave above the range hood. The refrigerator-freezer is built-in and the freezer door has a unique erasable white message board as a surface. Write notes to each other, keep track of needed groceries or let the kids draw Ė itís a cute feature.

With the emphasis on family-oriented trailers in this lineup I can understand the Crossroads pricing policy of keeping the frills to a minimum.  Simply put, if you want it, you can have it but itís an extra. Thatís good for families on a budget Ė but I donít get how they figure that stabilizer jacks are a frill. At $208 you will have to have these Ė I canít imagine a couple of kids in this trailer without them Ė I mean, they might enjoy the carnival-like bouncing but I know I wouldnít. These should be standard.

If there is one option I would certainly get on a trailer like this itís the outdoor shower. Thatís where Iíd want to hose down my kids. Otherwise, for the money (MSRP starting under $25,000), and the ease of towing Iíd say that the Sunset Trail has done a good job of meeting the needs of the family.

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