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By Tony Barthel
As families are embracing digital and remote learning, RV manufacturers are seeing this and quickly responding. With this in mine, one new travel trailer I looked at especially caught my eye: the 2021 Forest River Wildwood X-Lite 28VBXL.
Wildwood, like most brands, has several lines including a standard and “X-Lite” range. The X-Lite are lighter and slightly lower with the idea being that they can be towed by half-ton trucks.
This new 28VBXL is a two-bedroom travel trailer with a single super slide. In that slide is the “Versa Lounge,” a highly flexible seating space that allows you to reconfigure it as a sleeping surface, a U-shaped dinette, a day bed, a couch, an L-shaped dinette, and probably some other things too. This works by having a movable “partition” of sorts between the couch side and the dinette side, so that you can make each section configured to best fit your needs at the moment.
Under that Versa Lounge is 20.9 cubic feet of storage organized into plastic removable totes. This is brilliant as I can envision a parent assigning each traveler one tote to take to their room and organize before a trip. If Little Johnny only brought slingshots and BB guns and didn’t bring a jacket, that’s just a life lesson.
The other “Versa” feature of this trailer is the “Versa Bunk.” Like its cousin the Lounge, it is a highly convertible space that features a three-section folding cushion at the heart of it all. This cushion can be folded up to form a couch or folded out to form a bed. And, since it’s not attached in any way, it can literally be taken out the front door so you have a big, empty back room.
While the obvious customer for this trailer might be a family, it would do very, very well as a two-room couples’ trailer with the back room easily being transformed into an office – or a quilt room.
This room also has a folding bunk on either side, which is great for the kids since they’d get their own bedroom. If you don’t have kids, you could be like me and take a screw gun to the bunks and open up the room entirely.
This brings us to the first downside of this model, though. Someone who was never a 12-year-old boy put the fuse box in the back bedroom. If I were 12, as my wife insists that I am, I would be messing with the other campers by pulling fuses while I was unattended in that back bedroom.
The other disadvantage of these fuses being back there is that you cannot get into this room with the slide room in – and if you’ve blown a fuse, good luck getting the slide room out.
Another factor in the slide room is that, when it’s in, there’s no getting to the bathroom at all. You can get to the kitchen area but the back bedroom and bathroom are a no-go.
Speaking of that slide room, that and the whole rest of this trailer have no carpet whatsoever. There’s just vinyl flooring, which, sure, is easy to clean. And while we’re down here on the floor there are no heater vents cut into the flooring either, they’re all up in the cabinet. No having to vacuum out what your kids dropped in.
Other thoughtful touches are that there is a shoe cubby both below the fireplace as you enter the trailer and below a shelf in the main bedroom, which also has more storage containers as well.
This model doesn’t come standard with a TV (easy enough to fix) and if you put a TV in over the electric fireplace you’re going to crane your neck unless you’re using that Versa Lounge as a day bed. This trailer is so well suited for spending the day indoors when the weather gets lousy that this is more of a bummer than in some other layouts.
A few other things to note: I like that the oven door does not have glass in it. I had to cover enough warranties of ovens with glass doors that I wouldn’t want one. I also like the composite countertops, which extend to the back bedroom and even outside into the outdoor kitchen.
That outdoor kitchen has a small electric (AC only) refrigerator and a flat-top griddle. Inside, there’s a relatively large 12vdc standard refrigerator that has 11 cubic feet of capacity.
The last bits to know are that these Wildwood trailers have nice blackout shades, which are appreciated since they don’t have tinted windows. I’ve been told by people who have used them that the stabilizers on the Wildwoods are of the variety that works exceptionally well. For anyone who has had a larger trailer that wiggled when anyone walked around inside, this will be a welcome thing.
In summary, I think this trailer offers very flexible space utilization that can make it work for a lot of situations. You’ll just have to convince “that one kid” not to mess with the fuse box while they’re in that spacious back bedroom… and hope the slide room fuse doesn’t blow when the slide room’s closed.
One of the more useful videos of the Wildwood X-Lite 28VBXL was done by Josh Winters of Haylett RV in Coldwater, MI, who also provided the hero image for this article.