Today’s review is of the Chinook Dream 259RB, a “stick and tin” couple’s travel trailer that might seem pretty average at first—until you look deeper.
Wait a minute, you say. Chinook? Didn’t they build those funky little Toyota-based motorhomes? Any relation?
Actually, yes! Chinook is a small, independent RV manufacturer based out of Peru, Indiana, and they still make motorhomes. But the company is working to make a name for itself in travel trailers, too. How are they doing that?
Build quality of the Chinook Dream
There are a lot of things I noticed on this trailer that were definitely above and beyond in the build quality department.
First of all, wood-framed trailers with corrugated aluminum skins tend to be the most affordable models with the least content and features. So, building something that’s a step above might really stand out in this field.
In some ways, Chinook absolutely does.
This trailer starts with a Dexter E-Z Flex® suspension. Honestly, this is the first time I’ve ever seen this used as standard equipment in a travel trailer. That’s a surprising upgrade, indeed.
The wood base for the trailer is also very different, being a 7/8-inch sheet of plywood. This is thicker than what is used in many higher-end trailers, fifth wheels and even toy haulers. Very surprising.
The cabinetry and finish inside are also quite surprisingly upscale. Rather than everything stapled together, the cabinets are wood core, pocket screwed. The trim along the ceiling is also completely finished in, unlike any other stick-and-tin trailer I’ve seen. There are quite a few examples where Chinook has really gone above and beyond.
The cabinets are sticker wrapped, which is pretty typical, but I really like the wood look that they’re using. It’s almost more like a cabin, and this appeals to me.
What’s inside the Chinook Dream
This model is the same layout as others that we looked at a while ago. So the assumption is, same layout, same features. But nope.
The first thing that’s unusual about this trailer is the back bathroom which takes the space that the bunks use in the company’s very similar 260BH. That’s a good amount of space and they make interesting choices on how to use it.
Most notably, the bathroom here has two sinks. Not like some fifth wheels where there’s a counter with two sinks, this actually has two completely separate sink assemblies. This would be great for a couple who are both getting ready at the same time. The amount of space in the bathroom is huge for a travel trailer.
But I wonder if it would have been better for them to just make more closet space rather than plumb in a second sink? Even so, there is a good amount of closet space in the back, so it’s not like you’ll be starving for storage.
This also has a couch and a dinette in the main area. The type of galley is what you’d expect, with a three-burner stove and a gas-electric refrigerator. Also as you would expect, the couch and dinette both do double duty as beds.
The bed in this is a shortie queen. But there are interesting tables on the side of the bed with flip-up lids. This is an interesting way of doing this.
There are not many windows on the camp side. There isn’t a window in the entry door, either. Also, not sure why they don’t put cabinets above the dinette, but they don’t. That’s pretty excusable considering how much closet space there is in the bathroom.
Chinook’s website needs improvement
Sometimes I think I keep beating a dead horse, but the company’s website almost couldn’t be worse, to me. If you’re a small company working to make a name for yourself, wouldn’t a great website be part of that? Maybe with floor plans, photos, that sort of thing.
As it is, I stole stills from Josh’s video (see below) as the only way to get interior shots of this rig. Come on, Chinook. As they roll off the end of the assembly line, get your doggone iPhone and take some pictures and then go get a website with something like Squarespace. As easy as it is nowadays, there is literally no excuse for a lousy web presence. If a ding dong like me can build a good website, almost anybody can.
Good things in the Chinook Dream
Chinook has some good things to offer in this trailer, but they seriously need to get with it so more folks know what they’re up to. Wouldn’t we all love to know the MSRP for this unit, or even see a floor plan illustration? Well, we found a tiny floor plan in their online brochure, but that was it. I told you their website was lousy.
I would love to read your comments and suggestions over on our new forums, where you can weigh in and start or join a discussion about all things RV. Here’s a link to my RV Reviews Forum.
Tony comes to RVtravel.com having worked at an RV dealership and been a lifelong RV enthusiast. He also has written the syndicated Curbside column about cars. You can find his writing here and at StressLessCamping where he also has a podcast about the RV life with his wife.
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.
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