Tuesday, March 21, 2023


RV Review: 2023 Salem 29VBUD—bunkhouse bonus

Today’s RV review is of the Salem 29VBUD travel trailer, which is identical to the Wildwood 29VBUD travel trailer. Both of these names are for a trailer that features a really usable rear bunk room that can be much more than a bunk room. But there’s a lot of flexibility in this floor plan that makes it worth a second look. 

Bunk room

To call the space in the back a bunk room is almost a disservice. What’s back here is a folding couch and then a bunk along the rear wall and camp-side wall. When they’re folded flat they form an “L”-shaped bed, essentially. 

When the bunks are folded up against the wall, the bottoms of them are chalkboards, also pretty cool. Throw in a folding table or, what I’ve done, small folding tables, and now you have an office or a place to become a classroom. 

As if this space weren’t useful enough, there’s also a short door on the road side which turns this into a cargo bay. There is enough open space in this room that you could easily put bikes or other stuff back here while in transit. 

There’s also almost a ton of cargo carrying capacity in this trailer, but don’t consider that a challenge. Just a capability. This is a really useful space. 

The size of the beds means you could also have adults sleeping back here. So this could be a camper that has an office and a second bedroom for guests, or grandchildren. 

One strange thing that I’ve seen frequently—the converter box with all the fuses is in the bunk room, where the littles can get to it. However, you won’t be able to with the slide room in unless you wiggle your way through that cargo door in the back. That would be fun if there’s an issue with the slide room. 

More flexibility

Another thing I’ve liked quite a bit in the past is Salem/Wildwood’s Versa-Lounge in the main living space. 

What this is is a long sofa with a dog leg at the end and a movable backrest. You can take that backrest and place it such that you form a “U”-shaped dinette and a three-butt couch. Or, move it to the other side and now you have an “L”-shaped couch. 

Further, the space under the couch incorporates totes. This is ideal as you can have different containers for different things and use these to easily get the camper ready for a journey. You could even have seasonal totes such that you have winter gear in a tote that you bring at that time of year or summer gear in another. 

There is a cover to hide the totes under the couch so it looks good, but this is a really usable idea. You could say it’s “totes” usable. I can hear the groans now. 

In addition to the totes, there is also a larger pantry at the back and a decent kitchen with a 12-volt fridge and an “L” shaped counter top. Of course, in true RV fashion, they create a rig for lots of people and then festoon the darned thing with a worthless 16” oven. 

RV decision-makers and 16″ ovens—Aargh!

Sometimes I think I need to go to Elkhart and put a bunch of decision-makers on time out. Or make them eat what got burned in these lousy things. A week of casseroles with portions that are burned and others that are raw might finally ring the death knell for these worthless ovens. 

As an homage to all that burned food, at least there are dimmers on the lights in the main living space. I also like the implementation where the dimmer and the actual on-off switch are separate so you can set the dimmer where you want it and leave it at that setting. 

This also has something I haven’t seen before—a mirrored fireplace. If I ever doubted the usefulness of these electric fireplaces, now that I have one, I really like them. The mirrored front on this one is interesting as it enables you to do a full inspection of your knees and shoes when it’s off. 

A big change for 2023 is the lack of any carpeting in here whatsoever. Instead, they’re using a marine-grade woven flooring in the slide. You can spill on it to your heart’s content and then just easily wipe it clean. The day the last RV rolls off the assembly line with carpet under a dinette meant for younger campers, and me, we should all have a celebration. 

Being up front with you

The front of this trailer features an interesting bed that measures 66” X 78” but has the corners cut to clear the bedroom door. To me, this mattress is shaped like a monument, sort of. I’d rather have it be a more normal shape and incorporate a sliding bedroom door, if you ask me. 

However, I do like that the closets on either side of the bed have holes cut into the walls and there are household and USB outlets there. That means you could put a CPAP machine or hide your noisy gadgets at night and let them charge in there. 

Unlike many bunk model trailers, the bathroom is up front adjacent to the bedroom of this unit. Often we see the bathroom in the back by the bunks. 

This trailer has a higher ceiling at 6’9”. So, obviously, that means there’s more headroom in the shower. Another thing I noted in the shower was a step. That’s going to appeal to people who shower in a Napoleonic stance, or probably also women who might use it to shave their legs. I’m going with the Napoleon thing. 


This model comes with a 13,500 BTU ducted air conditioner, with a 15,000 BTU unit as an option. Further, there is an upgrade available to 50-amp service, so you could have two AC units in here. This is a pretty big rig for just a single 13,500 BTU air conditioner—except in the Pacific Northwest, maybe. 

Another thing I caught was that the stabilizer jacks are at a 45° angle to the frame, which I’m told makes them more stable. And, even better, the rear jacks include JT’s Strong Arm additional brace, further stabilizing the trailer. Outstanding!

Also outstanding is the Accessibelly on these, where you can drop just one section of the underbelly enclosure should you need to address a maintenance issue. 

Salem/Wildwood are going with the trend of not having a window in the door. It’s funny, you see entire doors made of glass like in the Cherokee and r·pod lines and then no glass in doors in other campers like this one. Maybe we should meet in the middle and just put a stinking window in the door with a shade already. 

Just a thought

In looking at this floor plan, I really like it for so many reasons. But the flexibility of use is the primary one. 

I wonder if it would be possible to reorganize the bathroom such that the door was adjacent to the entry door of the trailer? This would put the shower against the bedroom wall and squeeze the toilet over a bit more, but I think this would be nifty. 

It would also mean that you could easily get into and out of the bathroom without having to walk through the camper. But, even better, you could get to the bathroom with the slide room in. That would make a huge difference to some campers. 

But that’s just an idea, and this camper is fine without that. 


More from Tony

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.

If you’re RV shopping here are some tips on RV shopping from a former RV salesperson—me!

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. He also works closely with a number of RV manufacturers to get an inside look at how things are done and is a brand ambassador for Rockwood Mini Lite with his wife, Peggy.

You can also check out his RV podcast with Peggy.

These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. They are based on information from a single unit and may not reflect your actual experience. Shop your RV and dealership carefully before making a buying decision. 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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Steve H
6 months ago

Where do RV manufacturers think you can buy sheets to fit a 66″ x 78″ bed with the corners cut off? Or a 30″ x 74″ twin bed for that matter? Do their designers sleep on weirdly shaped RV beds at home? I’d bet not!

And to actually plug “panoramic windows” on the road side as a benefit? Yea, I really want a panoramic view of my neighbor’s picnic table and fire pit and no view of my own!

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