Today’s review is of a Forest River No Boundaries 19.8 travel trailer, a smaller single-axle bunkhouse that’s got an option some folks might really be intrigued by. The No Boundaries line of trailers already is an adventure-focused line of trailers from Forest River that has some nice features whether you’re into boondocking or not.
Highlights of the NoBo 19.8
The NoBo 19.8 is a single-axle bunk model with a slide room. It features a true queen-sized bed, although that bed is an east-west configuration. There’s also an unusual U-shaped dinette in the slide that has storage under the legs of the “U”, plus there’s storage behind the backrest cushion.
In fact, for a trailer of this size, NoBo has really done a great job with storage. There’s a large cabinet in the bathroom that also affords space, plus storage above the dinette and the bed as well.
Obviously, we’re not talking diesel pusher storage—but it’s still good, all things considered.
I also like how NoBo trailers are built with torsion axles, Goodyear tires, Azdel substrates and many of the other components that I think are the better way to do things in a travel trailer. In fact, while many RV companies might have a single layer of Azdel in their build, NoBo is even using Azdel in their slide box construction along with a PVC roof membrane.
Another nifty thing is the included vacuum, which has a kick on feature. You can brush dust to this vacuum and kick it on and it’ll suck it up. Buttercup. There’s also the ShowerMiser, which redirects water back into the fresh tank while you’re waiting for it to get hot in the shower. So it extends how long you can stay out on a 30-gallon fresh water tank.
Interestingly, there’s a propane stovetop but a convection microwave. I guess this is a good enough substitute for an oven, especially in a smaller space.
A “secret” option
Something that I saw on the No Boundaries YouTube channel was this video about their forthcoming Unplugged Package. We’ve already seen something comparable in the Winnebago Micro Minnie FLX. And we have already looked at the Rockwood Geo Pro with their Power Package.
The No Boundaries’ package is, by my observation, something built by a company called Mastervolt. If you happen to own a sailing vessel and want a really good way of harnessing the sun’s energy, Mastervolt is a company you would very likely turn to to accomplish this.
This package is cleverly harnessed under the front bed and features 400 amp-hours of lithium energy, a 3,000-watt inverter, and a lot of smarts to make everything work together. Another aspect of this package is the same Truma Aventa air conditioner we saw in the Micro Minnie.
What can you do with this much power?
So what can you do with this much power? Everything, would be the answer. You literally can run that air conditioner for several hours on battery. You can run the microwave, you can plug things into the electrical outlets. And you can do all this when you’re miles from shore power.
Which is sort of how things work in boats.
But this Mastervolt system is extraordinarily well-designed, from what I’ve seen. A single simple control surface/touch screen allows you to set some parameters of the system to optimize conditions.
For example, let’s say you’re staying at a friend’s house and they offer you power through an extension cord in the garage. Let’s say that it’s a 14-gauge extension cord and, likely, their garage fridge is on the same circuit.
You can set the system to only draw a specific amount of power from shore power. So, in the case of the friend’s garage, you could set it to draw no more than 5 or 10 amps. In this case, it would continuously draw this voltage to replenish the batteries, or operate whatever you have operating in the trailer.
What happens, in this circumstance, is the system then draws whatever else it needs from the battery on board the trailer. Of course, there are also 600 watts of solar panels on the roof to replenish the battery. You could also add a suitcase solar system such as the Go Power! DuraLite system I wrote about recently.
Systems like the Mastervolt are good for boondocking
It has been sort of a holy grail to be able to operate microwaves and air conditioners off the grid. Systems like this can absolutely do that. For how long depends on how the air conditioner is set and the demand. But the answer can be from a few to several hours.
There are a lot of campers who have already accomplished systems like this on their own through knowledge, research and putting bits together. But this is a complete system that’s very well-made and integrated. Plus, it just works right out of the box.
It’s not cheap, at an estimated (by me) $8,000 MSRP. But for those who want something like this, this is a great answer. I call this a “secret” option because it doesn’t appear to be listed on the No Boundaries website.
One of the things there’s no denying is that meal prep space on the NoBo 19.8 is very limited. I wish the free-standing dinette table had the option of a higher position to be part of the food prep solution, but it doesn’t.
I do like that this is a true queen-sized bed. However, it’s an east-west bed. Those seem to have a limited appeal, depending on your age.
Boondocking and travel access
Boondocking is the implication when you look at these trailers. I’ve already shared about the ShowerMiser and, with the Unplugged Package, you could stay out indefinitely, depending on the weather and such.
Your biggest limitation could be holding tanks in the NoBo 19.8. However, there are ways around these obstacles with something like a Thetford Titan Tote and using portable water storage to replenish the fresh water tank.
As for travel access, it seems that you can get to the fridge and bathroom, but you’ll be stepping over the legs of the “u” in the dinette. But this isn’t that big of a deal, really.
Of course, there are absolutely going to be two things I know people will comment on. Those are the fact that this is a single-axle trailer, and that it doesn’t use trailer-specific tires. But this is okay in a single-axle trailer as there is not the scrubbing that two-axle trailers experience in tight turns. That is a big part of the reasoning for choosing ST or “special trailer” tires.
Otherwise, I like the way they build these things. I also think they’ve done a good job with the storage. The biggest downside is the very limited kitchen counterspace. But I think that could be fixed by changing the table legs to ones that would extend the dining table to counter height.
Options for power in the NoBo 19.8
Even without the Unplugged Package option, you could drop a single lithium battery on the tongue and that might be plenty for many, many applications. There’s already a 1,000-watt inverter in the standard model along with a 190-watt solar panel. Again, a solar suitcase could be a great supplement and serve many travelers well.
But I also like that I’m seeing more and more very advanced solar and battery systems available as options. More systems like this Mastervolt are going to be built such that there will be fewer headaches than something one can cobble together themselves.
As my friend and electrical guru Mike Sokol will attest to, there are a lot of very important considerations when working with this much power, including connectors, cabling and more. The way MasterVolt has put this system together, I think those headaches won’t come up.
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 an RV podcast with his wife, Peggy.
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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