In the story of The Three Bears, Goldilocks invests a fair amount of time and effort in trying to find items that were “just right.” Well, let me just say I know how our blond-haired heroine must have felt.
You see, when my wife Christina and I began making plans to hit the road for a year on this Scenic Route adventure, we spent many hours searching for a trailer that we could call home during our year-long quest to travel as many of the 150 National Scenic Byways as possible. While I lost count of the actual number, it’s safe to say we looked at more than 100 contenders during a six-week period last spring.
Because life in confined spaces offers untold opportunities to get on each other’s nerves, our primary goal was to find a trailer with a two bedroom layout that would allow us and our teenage son to each have our own space. While we found this floorplan was common in a number of fifth-wheel models, we wanted a traditional travel trailer in order to take advantage of the extra storage provided by the all-aluminum ARE truck cap atop the bed of our Dodge pickup.
Our search came to an end when we saw the Kodiak 300BHSL by Dutchmen Manufacturing. In addition to separate bedrooms at either end of this 36-foot trailer, this floorplan had a surprisingly open feel thanks to three separate slide-outs in the kitchen, living room and rear bedroom. Add a handsome, comfortable interior and a long list of amenities and you have a setup that’s proven to be everything we hoped for over the past 7,000 miles.
Considering the fact that we’ve racked up as many miles in several months as many Trailer Life readers do in several years, we thought we’d offer some feedback on the 300 BHSL, a unit which has the distinction of being the largest model in the Kodiak lineup:
Kodiak 300BHSL PROS
Crowd Pleaser: From the distinctive brown and black color scheme to the sharp-looking alloy wheels, this trailer tends to stand out in a crowd. In fact, we’ve been surprised by the number of people who’ve gone out of their way to comment positively on the trailer’s appearance. Granted looks may not be everything, but being on the receiving end of all these compliments is still kind of fun.
The Great Indoors: In addition to being handsomely finished using high-quality materials like rich-looking wood cabinets and solid surface countertops, our Kodiak’s interior combines an upscale atmosphere and a number of well thought-out practical details with plenty room for the three of us to spread out.
Surprising Storage: While travel trailers generally lack the huge storage bays commonly found on fifth-wheels, the front “Bear Cave” storage compartment that spans the width of the trailer swallows all our campsite necessities with room to spare. Add lots of interior cabinets and the storage cubbies underneath both the front and rear dinettes and we had no shortage of places to stash everything we need for this extended trip.
Cooking Alfresco: When it’s hot out, the last thing we want to do is heat up the interior by whipping up dinner on the stove. Fortunately our Kodiak’s outdoor kitchen, which includes a two-burner stove top and a mini refrigerator perfect for stashing frosty beverages, makes a great alternative to the admittedly more complete indoor version.
That’s Entertainment: With the 26-inch flat-screen TV, wall-mounted AM/FM/CD/DVD media center and six speakers in three selectable zones, we have all the entertainment options we have and home and then some. This, my friends, is my idea of roughing it.
Kodiak 300BHSL CONS
Size Matters: There’s just no way around the fact that, at nearly 37 feet, this is one big honkin’ trailer. On the open road this is a non-issue—in fact, the big Kodiak tows beautifully behind our Dodge Ram 2500 pickup. But with a rig that’s nearly 60 feet long, we’ve learned never to pull into tight places like gas stations without thinking through how we’re going to get out! In short, buy a trailer like this and RV parks with long pull-through sites are your friend.
Slide-Outs Slid In: While we love the extra room offered by the Kodiak 300 BHSL’s three slide-outs, accessing the trailer’s rear bedroom and living room with them pulled in is virtually impossible. While we’ve taken to opening at least the kitchen slide when we stop for lunch at scenic view points, the trailer’s wide footprint makes overnighting in parking lots and rest areas a somewhat trickier proposition.
Details, Details: The Kodiak 300BHSL comes very nicely equipped, but there are a couple of details we think designers overlooked. First, we’d like to see powered roof vents added to the living area and rear bedroom to help better vent the heat when we pull into the campground du jour. Second, we wish they’d found a way to route both gray water tanks out through the same drain so we could dump everything without moving the hose from one outlet to the next.
Those nitpicks aside, add it all up and we think even someone as picky as our friend Goldilocks would find a lot to like with this big bear.