By Tony Barthel
Bunk model travel trailers are popular sellers with folks wanting sleeping space for their family and perhaps even some additional adults, such as in-laws. Or outlaws. One option is the Jayco Jay Flight SLX 8 264BHW. But wait, there’s more. There’s also Jayco’s cousin, the Autumn Ridge, where you’ll find the same floor plan in the Starcraft Autumn Ridge 26BH.
What’s the difference between the Jayco Jay Flight SLX 8 264BHW and the Stacraft Autumn Ridge 26BH? Which should you choose? That’s what we’ll look at here.
The Jayco Jay Flight SLX 8 can sleep nine people
The name itself is almost longer than the trailer which, at about 4,550 pounds, is a very towable trailer by most half-ton pickups and even some SUVs. You’re going to need a lot of passenger-carrying space if you want to make the most of that trailer you’re towing. I calculated sleeping for nine people when everything’s maxed out.
The Jayco Jay Flight SLX 8 is a fairly affordable model but definitely not cheap. Jayco is very proud of the fact that they have a number of class-leading features. These include the use of U.S.-made Goodyear Endurance tires and their famous Magnum Truss roofing system. There are videos showing this roof holding several tons of weight without seriously deflecting.
More features to appreciate
There are many other features in the Jayco Jay Flight SLX 8 which owners will appreciate in a trailer that can be found for under $20,000. These include things like a black tank flush, an outside shower and a well-made frame. Inside, there is not only the dinette but also a jackknife sofa facing the interior. This model features a queen-sized main bed in a bedroom separated from the rest of the trailer by a blackout curtain.
There are double-sized bunks in the back that each have their own curtain. The upper bunk has two USB charging ports and the lower bunk has a 120vac outlet in it. So you would probably want to put the more well-behaved occupants in the bottom lest you find pennies in the outlets. Not that I did this when I was a child or anything…
The bathroom in the Jayco Jay Flight SLX 8 is interesting in that it’s what’s referred to as a “split bath.” That means the toilet and tub are inside the bathroom itself but the sink is outside the bathroom. In a trailer like this with the potential for so many occupants, this makes a lot of sense. One of the kids can be brushing their hair or teeth in the bathroom sink and mirror while dad spends alone time in the proper bathroom.
The kitchen in the Jayco Jay Flight SLX 8
Of course, there’s still a kitchen sink. Jayco has followed the industry trend of offering a 12-volt DC compressor-based fridge. However, you can still get the traditional RV two-way propane/electric fridge if you’d prefer.
The stove and oven are a mixed bag. The oven features a spark-ignition so you don’t have to light a pilot with a separate lighter. However, this is only a 17” oven so I can’t see using it for anything more than cookies or pizza. I guess kids like pizza, so maybe this makes sense. But I would likely never use the oven in this trailer if it were mine.
What the Jayco Jay Flight SLX 8 doesn’t have is a slide out, so what you get space-wise is always accessible. That’s a bonus. What this trailer also lacks in terms of width, with no slide, it somewhat makes up for in height with an interior ceiling height of 6’9”.
Lots of outside storage in the Jayco Jay Flight SLX 8
One thing to note: There is a lot of storage accessible from the outside of this trailer. This includes a large pass-through storage under the bed in the front, as well as a large compartment in the back under the bed. There’s more outside storage in this than in some much larger trailers that I’ve reviewed.
Another big plus for the Jayco Jay Flight SLX 8 is their warranty. This is a two-year limited comprehensive warranty and three-year structural warranty.
So how does the Starcraft fit into all of this? Like a puzzle piece. You see, it’s not uncommon that RV companies have separate brands that make virtually identical products. Rockwood has their Flagstaff sister brand, and Jayco has Starcraft. Why?
An RV dealer generally gets a guaranteed territory yet it may make sense that someone else can sell within that territory. For example, the dealership I worked at was well within the 100-mile radius of a Rockwood dealer but, from the customer standpoint, it was a significant distance due to the terrain. So we got Flagstaff. And Rockwood-Flagstaff won, and so did the customers, and so did we.
A Starcraft trailer is essentially the same as a Jayco trailer
You can shop for a Starcraft trailer and essentially get almost the same product as a Jayco, but with less name recognition. However, if you’re concerned about trade-in value, then it may make sense to go with the brand with better name recognition.
One thing I don’t like about this design is the corrugated front. I believe that this adds significant aerodynamic drag compared with a smooth front in something like a Cherokee trailer.
I can see the Jayco Jay Flight SLX 8 making a lot of sense for a lot of people. It’s affordable, it carries Jayco’s reputation and warranty, and it can be towed by a wide range of vehicles, assuming they’re not at capacity hauling all those people. While some might see this as a “starter” trailer, I think it makes sense for a lot of people as a simple yet complete trailer that isn’t going to break the bank – or the tow vehicle.
These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. We receive no money or other financial benefits from these reviews. They are intended only as a brief overview of the vehicle, not a comprehensive critique, which would require a thorough inspection and/or test drive.
Got an RV we need to look at? Contact us today and let us know in the form below – thank you!