2008 Sunnybrook Bristol Bay Review

Bristol Bay a good choice for two full-timers

By Howard J Elmer, Jun. 19, 2008, Photography by Howard J Elmer
Not everyone drives a truck and some RVers dont care for the height and stairs that come with fifth-wheel trailers this is the market niche that the Bristol Bay travel trailer (3204 RE) is aimed at. As for tow vehicles you can certainly use a truck (as I did) to pull this trailer but because it is bumper towed it also offers the possibility of using an SUV such as a Suburban or Expedition.

Still this will be a limited market, but at first glance its nice to see that Sunnybrook has offered as much attention to this unit as it does to its fifth-wheels. The first example of that is the open concept style salon. The two opposing slides create a room almost 15-feet across which, at its center, houses the entertainment system complete with 26-inch flat screen TV, stereo and DVD player; under all of which an electric fireplace insert can be installed. On either side of this stack are two small desk height shelves with windows behind them. Completing the set is a Surround Sound system consisting of five ceiling mounted speakers.

One of the slides holds two leather swivel chairs complete with ottomans in what could be called a sunroom space (because of the three floor to ceiling window panes) while on the other side the slideout houses the wood-fronted refrigerator and a couch that converts to a blow-up bed. This one is called a Flair hide-a-bed and is a $428 dollar option.

Its worth noting that all the cupboard doors are hardwood and the glass inserts are actually etched thats nice detail. Where SunnyBrook has elected to save money is on light fixtures theres one. The rest are of the plastic 12V variety except for several flush mounted plastic-lens pot lights. What I did like is that many of these can be turned on with wall switches. On the other hand there are plenty of AC wall outlets all where you need them.

The kitchen is setup with a two-person dining table which does have a flip-up extension for guests. (The other two folding chairs are under the bed up front). This gives away the designers idea that this unit is meant to be a full-timers unit for two. And, frankly, for two people you have everything you need expect storage space. The only real bulk storage is under the queen-sized bed which can be accessed from inside or through a locking exterior door.  So, forget the bikes or the full-size bar-b-que. 

Still in a nod to the invariable overnight guests the bathroom does have two hard doors. The bath is spacious and the corner shower in particular is a very attractive one-piece colored unit with a skylight and glass enclosure.

The full-service kitchen comes with microwave and also a 21-inch oven below the three-burner range. The one and a half sinks come with hard plastic covers and the faucet pulls out for spraying. Over the stove a power vent hood exhausts steam and cooking odors. Ample cupboard space over and under the counter is well finished with a single shelf dividing the space underneath but no shelf in the cupboards above. These are tall enough to easily support a shelf. Id put some in anyway.

Underneath the belly of the trailer is completely sealed and heated (this includes the tanks) the only section pipe exposed is the sewage drain and the main propane line. I was happy to see that the drain pipe was ahead of the tandem wheels rather than behind where it is continually sandblasted with road grit.  Other systems such as heating and cooling follow single ducts along the length of the trailer with vents in the middle of the floor (heat) and ceiling (A/C). Here I have a beef one heat vent in the bedroom and only one A/C diffuser in the ceiling. Thats not enough particularly if the doors are closed because I have guests. 

On the subject of cooling the unit comes with one standard power vent in the bathroom pretty standard. But in my test unit there were two more one in the bedroom and the other in the kitchen. These are optional but cost should be easily off-set by the savings in electricity over time (cutting down on A/C use).

Speaking of the bedroom its a nice simple layout with ample drawers and cupboards around the queen-bed whose head is fixed into the third slideout. Overhead, directable reading lights are nice, but where do I put my book there are no night stands.

Well, you can always watch TV I guess. A nicely finished cabinet that holds the tube TV pulls out to a 45 degree angle for watching and pushes back and locks for transport. Mirrored closet doors across the full width of the trailer nose offer good access to this space and also make the space look larger with its reflection. 

Switches in the Bristol Bay are illuminated when on and very well marked. Also each of the slideouts has its own separate switch (some now work all the slides off one switch). Lighting also extends outside with a porch light and two bright scare lights one on each side of the trailer forward. These will also serve to light up a nighttime arrival at a campsite.   

Outside the unit is finished in a high gloss gel coat finish with front and rear fiberglass caps. It has standard front and rear manually operated stab jacks and a rear ladder to the walk-on roof. The bumper mounted spare tire is an option as is the power hitch jack this is money Id spend though as this is a heavy trailer.  Also outside there are A/C plugs and prewired plug-in for campground cable and phone.