2007 SunnyBrook Sunset Creek Review

Affordable travel trailer sleeps 10

By Howard J Elmer, Apr. 29, 2008, Photography by Howard J Elmer
The SunnyBrook brand is becoming well known for its quality high-end fifth wheel trailers – so when I had a chance to test out one of its value-priced travel trailers I jumped a the chance. SunnyBrook’s value line is called Sunset Creek and it features travel trailers in sizes from 26 to 34.2-feet. Primarily aimed at families on a budget these trailers are built in the same factory as the SunnyBrook line, by the same people and with the attention to detail that I’ve seen the company’s more expensive units.

As I went through the test unit I was struck by the obvious dilemma of how to adequately describe what I was calling value-priced in the case of the Sunset. If value for your money can be described simply as “you get what you pay for” then value-priced applies to any unit, be it a $5,000 or $50,000 trailer. Everyone wants value, no matter how much they spend. So, I decided to determine value by seeing what the manufacturer decided to include vs. what they left out of this trailer. Focusing on those items should tell the story I figured, because, frankly some things are more important than others.

A common practice (though less prevalent than it used to be) among the cheaper trailer lines was to emphasize all the features that could be seen and to save money on the base structure and systems in the trailer, which of course were all hidden. That’s where I started looking at the Sunset Creek; under the skin. 

These units are all built as AX5 trailers (aluminum framed walls and floor); only the roof is still wood trussed; as well before the exterior aluminum skin is applied the entire trailer is wrapped in Fome-Cor and an R7 batt insulation. These materials act as a moisture barrier, sound and wind insulation. The underbelly is also enclosed and the holding tanks are heated. This wraps the unit up nicely for three-season camping and the Fome-Cor should prevent inner wall condensation. The roof is wood but it’s built with 3/8” decking that can be walked on and covered with a rubber membrane. This strength and the ladder option offer another dimension to this trailer – one hard to keep the kids off of.

The test unit is currently the largest and newest of the Sunset floorplans. It was equipped with two slideouts and was 34 feet long. The main salon slideout (electric gear driven type) held a four-place dinette and a foldout sofa while a slideout in the rear bedroom housed another foldout sofa and a convertible overhead bunkbed.

The most unique design feature in this trailer had to be the twin pocket doors to the front master bedroom. Apart from the convenience of direct access to each side of the double bed the wall was drawn right up to the foot of the bed. This saved space was then used on the salon side of the wall in the construction of a floor to ceiling TV cabinet. This is a deep wall unit that will hold at least a 27” TV; as well as a VCR/DVD player. On the bedroom side there is also a smaller recessed space that could hold another TV. But, the entertainment doesn’t stop there. There is a built-in AM/FM/CD player with six flush-mounted ceiling speakers, while in the kids bedroom there is another cabinet suitable for a TV with all the prewired hookups included. This bedroom is a nicely setup for kids -  kind of a clubhouse feel - with a deep cushioned couch in the slideout that faces a desk and cabinet system (that would easily house some kind of Nintendo) and a bunkbed that folds up when not in use. A curtain can be drawn to separate the inmates from their parents. Sharing the rear of the trailer is a full use bathroom, with a half-tub, shower and sliding glass doors next to a well placed porcelain toilet. The sink is offset for easy access.

Where the Sunset saves money is in keeping light fixtures to a minimum, using aluminum mini-blinds, linoleum in most of the trailer, single pane windows and a choice of just three decors and very few options. Clear height in the unit is just 6’5” and less in the slides. These are all concessions to price; but I also noted that as primarily a trailer aimed at families they have not omitted those features that moms and dads need most. These include an oven and a microwave, double door refrigerator, a large kitchen counter with six electrical outlets, a large 20-foot awning, oversized dinette booth, lots of cupboards, a six-shelf pantry and a 60 gallon fresh water tank and an outside shower.    

Heating and cooling in the trailer are separate with a 35,000 BTU furnace pushing heat through floor vents and a roof mounted 15,000 BTU A/C ducted through the ceiling. In addition there are vents over the master bed and a powered vent in the bathroom.  Out side there is one pass-thru storage with large access doors on either side at the head of the trailer. I’d like to see more storage on a trailer this size, but that is partially made up for with the amount of interior cupboards and closets.

I did have a chance to tow the Sunset with a 2500-series diesel Ram Mega Cab pickup. It seemed appropriate particularly considering the fact the Sunset says you can sleep 10 in this trailer. Built on a pair of power-coated I-beams this trailer sits quite high. That’s a benefit when it comes to avoiding tail dragging in and out of driveways, but I wonder how it will be in crosswinds.  On my drive I wound through the hilly countryside of Southern Ontario on paved and gravel roads and found the trailer towed nicely. Of course that is in no small part thanks to the HD Ram chassis and the power of the Cummins diesel. Overall I think the Sunset strikes a good balance between features and price; and if you’re a family with eight kids you’ll most definitely want to check it out.