By Tony Barthel
For whatever reason, I’m hearing from more and more of you that you like the series of “flat fifth wheel” trailers that we’ve looked at in the past. Today we have another of those in Winnebago’s newer line of “Voyage” travel trailers, specifically the Winnebago Voyage V3538BR.
The Voyage series is Winnebago’s top of the line in travel trailers and also offers fifth wheel models, if that’s your preference. In looking at the four floor plans the company offers in this series, the one that intrigued me the most was the largest, the V3538BR.
Winnebago Voyage creds
The four trailers in the Voyage line all have a few things in common, including having E-rated tires with an “L” speed rating, a large four-door gas-electric refrigerator, 30-inch microwave oven and drop frame construction.
What the drop frame construction offers is a lower front frame. That translates into additional storage in the front pass-through compartment. That compartment is completely finished inside.
All connections are in the road-side compartment
On the road-side compartment door you’ll find all your connections there, much like in a fifth wheel. That means you can run your hoses and power cords up through a hole in the floor and still close the baggage door, which keeps these connections out of the elements.
Other Voyage features include a seven-foot tall interior ceiling height and a ten-gallon water heater. If you’d prefer, there’s an optional king-sized bed if that appeals to you.
The Voyage trailers are wired for 50-amp service and include a single 15,000 BTU air conditioner whose cold air is ducted throughout the coach. You can also opt for a second AC with 13,500 BTU capacity.
Lastly, there is a washer-dryer hookup in these models. I wonder how bad an idea it would be to put my portable washing machine in this space? Probably not the best idea.
I wanted to save this fact – but the 3538BR is a two-bedroom travel trailer, meaning the original intent is for you to travel with your family in this trailer. But, hold on, you don’t have to.
I sold similar trailers to folks who then used the spare bedroom as an office or a craft room. Since we’re back here, let’s look around, shall we? On the camp side is a loft-style bed which is sitting above the outdoor kitchen, actually. There is cabinetry below this including several cubbies that also double as the stairs to get into this bed.
But I’ve seen this used for storage or office supplies as well. Some people just took out the mattress altogether and used that space for a printer or whatnot.
Of course, your children or grandchildren can certainly use the space, as well. That’s actually what it’s designed for. But I always want to remind folks that not everything has to be what others tell you it should be.
Over on the road side is a slide room in which there’s a tri-fold couch. Above that is a bunk which can flip up. This is where I’ve seen people using the space for a desk or whatnot. But, of course, this can even be a kids’ room or a separate space. Sometimes you just gotta get away from your better half, but that doesn’t mean you’re sleeping outside.
Main living area
The primary living area of this rig features a galley on the road side with your choice of a 10.3-cubic-foot all-electric refrigerator, or a 12-cubic-foot gas-electric four-door refrigerator. If you choose the smaller fridge, there’s a pantry next to it.
No matter what, there’s a counter with a three-burner flush-mount stove with 17-inch oven. I don’t mind these smaller ovens in smaller trailers. But in one designed for sleeping up to seven individuals, a larger oven would have been nice. At least there’s that 30-inch microwave.
In the middle of the floor is a galley island. This is doable since there’s a slide room on both sides of this trailer. You’ll find the sink in that island.
Down the slide is the entertainment center along with an electric fireplace. This is directly across from theater seats which are in a slide shared with a dinette.
Since this is a “flat fifth wheel,” there is a pantry and hutch at the front of this space along the rear wall of the bathroom.
Large shower with high ceiling
That bathroom shares the plentiful seven-foot ceiling space. So the larger shower also has a nice ceiling height to it.
In the bedroom I’m seeing something I see more and more in front bedroom travel trailers. That’s a space behind the closets on either side of the bed for electronics or a CPAP or whatever. I really like this. It doesn’t deter from the closet space, but it does give you another useful place for your stuff that’s also out of the way.
Those spaces are there whether you choose the king- or queen-size bed. And Winnebago says that you can get around even the king-sized bed. I guess this depends on how much water you displace in the pool.
I mentioned earlier about the ability to have a washer-dryer in here, and that’s in the main bedroom. There’s a closet with plumbing for the washer-dryer, but you can also use this for just closet space, of course.
This is only something I’m surmising based on my experience, but I wonder just how usable a washer-dryer would be if there were a king-sized bed in there. The queen is a proper 60” X 80” model, if you don’t choose the upgrade.
If you’re looking for a travel trailer that might serve as a home for all or part of the year, this is a good floor plan. It gives you and the person you’re traveling with separate spaces. If you have a few others with you, especially of the junior ranger variety, they also get their own space.
If you find a fifth wheel of the same basic floor plan, know that a portion of that trailer is going to be over the bed of your truck so you’ll actually have a shorter overall vehicle. However, fifth wheels are also taller overall and I have been to some parks where they just don’t fit for this reason. They’re few and far between, so it’s not a big concern.
If sleeping people is something that is a priority, one of the better choices I’ve seen is also in the Winnebago Voyage line, that being the Winnebago Voyage 3639BHL fifth wheel. This does give you two full bedrooms and it’s a pretty innovative floor plan.
Optional B-A-L five-point jack system is a plus
One more thing, I like the optional B-A-L five-point jack system. Essentially, this features a head unit on the tongue jack with buttons to raise and lower the tongue jack, of course, but also the stabilizer jacks individually around the trailer. While not as fancy as Odyssey’s full auto level, this is a nice central place to operate the jacks around the trailer.
Another interesting tidbit is the fact that several of the product images I saw from dealers and videos, as well, showed a second set of cabinets and a counter at the back of the main living area in addition to the one at the front. I suspect Winnebago didn’t update the floor plan on their website, which also has few pictures of this unit.
Winnebago’s website not up-to-date with images
When I was working at the dealership and was responsible for putting images on the website it might take me 10-15 minutes to shoot a larger trailer. I don’t understand how any RV manufacturer can not provide photos of their rigs. Winnebago is usually the benchmark for doing this kind of thing. Maybe they’re busy. Oddly enough, I also noticed that in some of the images and videos from “the wild” there were also not the storage spaces behind the cabinets.
While Winnebago has been making a lot of splashes with their Class B innovations of late, they also do a pretty good job with travel trailers and fifth wheels. But there are also a lot of good choices of these including similar floor plans.
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!