Friday, September 17, 2021
Friday, September 17, 2021

RV Review: 2022 Cherokee 274BRB Bunkhouse Travel Trailer

There are a few brands of RVs that keep coming up in your requests for review. That makes me think that they’re doing something that keeps them at the forefront of people’s imagination when they’re out shopping. One of those brands is Cherokee, which is Forest River’s very popular “stick and tin” trailer line. 

When I was selling these trailers we just couldn’t keep them in stock – and that was before the current market situation. The combination of value and features was a magical mix that just had these things flying out of the lot. 

Case in point, the 2022 Cherokee 274BRB travel trailer. This is a larger bunk model travel trailer with a single road-side super slide. The trailer may seem pretty self-evident at first but, as they say in late-night television: Wait, there’s more. 

Cherokee

Cherokee includes a lot of “plus” features that were options on even some more expensive competitors. Things like a 15,000btu air conditioner (many trailers only include a 13,500btu AC), ice maker, space heating fireplace and the loooooooong drawers under the dinette. 

But one of the more telling things about them was something I got from our rep, Norm. He would invite people to jump up and down in the shower/tub. Why? He was quite proud of the sturdy framing under the tubs and wanted people to experience this for themselves. 

Zebra shades are slick

There are also Zebra shades which sort of alternate between black and white. As you raise them, they can let it more or less light depending on which panel is in front of the other. Pretty slick. 

Another thing I like is that the Cherokee line doesn’t use seam tape, which is a common product used in the RV industry to hide the seams between the wall boards. Instead they use a plastic filler strip that is far, far less likely to come unglued when the interior of the trailer gets moist. I can’t tell you how much seam tape we used to have on hand to repair these common failures. 

Furthermore, they use a vinyl wall board rather than some of the common materials in other trailers. This is also less likely to get damaged by water. 

Unusual entry door

The entry door, too, is really unusual in that the entire exterior panel is now glass. The interior window features an accordion-folding shade. The door is on a friction hinge so it won’t fly open in the wind. 

While I’m no fan of the standard Castle Rock tires on Cherokees, I really, really like the fact that the valve stems incorporate a tip that will show if the tire pressure isn’t where it should be. While there are digital pressure monitors, of course, these very simple tips are really convenient. 

Backup camera is standard on Cherokee

Another thing that’s new on the Cherokee is the standard backup camera. While it’s common to offer backup camera prep, the 2022 Cherokees offer backup cameras as standard. There’s also a center high-mounted third brake light which I think should be a requirement. Cherokee is the only trailer company that offers this at all, and it’s a standard feature. 

Cherokee also uses a technology called Total Control, which is their interpretation of the Lippert OneControl system. If you walk into a trailer, you’ll see the buttons and switches you might be otherwise familiar with. But if you’re a techie, you can also sync your phone or tablet with your phone and control functions on the trailer with your phone. You can open the awnings or slide rooms with the phone so you could be standing outside the trailer keeping an eye on what’s happening while you open these. 

Interestingly, it might be worth the time to look at this video about Lippert’s long-term plans for this system. There will be an article forthcoming on this system. 

Alternatives

Watching Josh Winters’ video about this model, he suggested the possibility of removing the bunks altogether if one is looking for an office trailer. That’s a really good idea. It wouldn’t be difficult to spend a bit of time with a screw gun and have these bunks out in an afternoon’s time. 

Then you’ve got all that space where the bunks were to use as an office or gear closet or whatever you want. 

As Josh suggested, if you modify the trailer in this respect you’ll want to keep all those pieces to put back when it’s back on the market. 

I’ve also seen people just remove the mattresses from these trailers and use them as storage. This trailer’s not lacking in cargo carrying capacity, with 3,602 pounds available. That’s more than some toy haulers. 

What’s not

I like that Cherokee trailers come with the ice maker, outdoor refrigerator and a Greystone griddle that also doubles as a barbecue grill with grates. However, that griddle is right in front of the outdoor refrigerator and, if you have the griddle top on you can’t open the outdoor fridge. That’s just dumb. 

There is a door to the bathroom in the Cherokee 274BRB Bunkhouse, which is a great idea. You can go directly into the bathroom from outside. However, there is only a provision to add a shade to the window in the door. Yeah, yeah. It’s a smoked glass, but you can definitely see past this at night when the lights are on in the bathroom. C’mon, Cherokee. This should have the shade as standard. Or just a door with no window whatsoever. 

Lastly while I appreciate the heated and enclosed underbelly of this trailer, I’m not a big fan of the floor vents in a bunkhouse trailer. This is where kids and dogs often run and the overwhelming temptation to shove a crayon down the vent just means a stinky winter. Plus you’ll be cooking all of summer’s dirt and grime the first few times the furnace comes on in the winter. 

Boondocking

If boondocking is your thing, the Cherokee 274BRB Bunkhouse might not be the best choice out there. There are only 40 gallons of fresh water. You’ll blow through that in the first day with the right mix of adults and teenagers. While I’m a big fan of the newer 12-volt compressor refrigerators, that 50-watt solar panel on the roof will not keep up with that fridge’s demand. 

In summary

The Cherokee 274BRB Bunkhouse would be a great trailer “as is” if you spend your time in RV parks. The layout with the sofa opposite the U-shaped dinette makes for a good rainy day place to spend time, especially if it’s a colder rainy day and you’ve got that electric fireplace running. 

There are also a lot of traveling professionals who might be able to convert that bunk space into an office or work space. Hobbyists could use it for craft rooms and such. 

The Cherokee 274BRB Bunkhouse is a worthy contender

Or, of course, if you’re traveling with a bunch of folks, then this could also work for you. However, I wish they put in a 22” oven instead of the smaller 17” model in that case. At any rate, for the money and floor plan this is a worthy contender for a lot of buyers. 

My thanks to Josh Winters of Haylett RV in Coldwater, Michigan, for use of the photographs.

Tony comes to RVTravel having worked at an RV dealership and been a life long 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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REVIEW OVERVIEW

Third high-mounted brake light
Buttons and app control
Outdoor griddle placement

SUMMARY

The Forest River Cherokee 274BRB offers an unusual but really usable floor plan that also offers some options for DIYers.

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Shon
23 days ago

I believe it’s called a Greystone griddle not Gravestone

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RV Staff (@rvstaff)
23 days ago
Reply to  Shon

Thanks, Shon! It’s been corrected. Take care. 🙂 –Diane

Tommy Molnar
24 days ago

Wind resistant doors are alright, but do not replace the hook. No door, no matter how “wind resistant” it is, resists real wind.
The pictures show very little food prep area, and this could be a problem with a trailer obviously aimed at families. Kids gotta eat – and eat – and eat! I see two pictures that seem to suggest that you take the sink cover and lay it on the open oven door – for meal prep? C’mon . . .

Not to be totally negative on this unit, I do like the old fashioned stairs at the rear door.

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