Based on your responses, I perceive that there are a few of you out there that, like me, would prefer an RV without a slide. While some of you might be shocked and appalled by the idea, every Airstream owner is likely thinking, “Well, duh.”
For a variety of reasons I think that slide rooms can be a detriment to some camping styles including stealthdocking. That is how I describe those stops in unofficial places that might be between two destinations. For example, I’ve spent a few hours at freeway rest stops just taking a short nap when the day’s drive was more taxing than I had anticipated and I wouldn’t have been able to put out a slide room lest I consume part of the parking space next to me, which is decidedly uncool.
Let’s look at the Cherokee Grey Wolf 24JS
Anyhow, since quite a few of you have responded positively when I mention this, I thought we’d take a gander at a travel trailer that really offers a lot of usability and doesn’t have a slide room. This is certainly what I would describe as a couples’ camper, but the Cherokee Grey Wolf 24JS, seen today in the fancier Black Label edition, might be a worthy consideration for some.
Cherokee outsells other travel trailers
Since a lot of Cherokee models have appeared here recently, there’s not a lot of value in repeating what makes the brand stand out. However, it may be worth noting that the company claims to be the most popular travel trailer brand in the U.S. – and I don’t doubt that.
Every time someone claims to be the most, best, biggest or whatever, I always look for the asterisks first. But Cherokee is saying they outsell everyone else building travel trailers.
What’s the reason, as there are a lot of choices out there and a lot of brands that have bragging rights on specific features and build methodologies?
I think Cherokee is really unique in offering a lot of usable features in a price-attractive package that will make a difference long-term. For example, the painted sides instead of being covered in decals, high-performance vent fans standard, and 15,000 BTU air conditioners standard. But the company has also made very appealing products at a price that’s attractive.
I can say that, when the Cherokee brand arrived on the lot that I worked at, they immediately became our most popular line simply because they offered features people wanted in a price-competitive package.
But these are by no means high-end trailers. Essentially, they’re more affordable wood-framed, aluminum-skinned models with simple leaf spring suspensions and solid but not exemplary features.
Except now that we’ve established that Cherokee and their Grey Wolf line are more affordable models, then we have to also look at the Black Label upgrade.
Black Label is essentially an option package for specific Cherokee and Grey Wolf models that changes the outer skin from a corrugated aluminum to a smooth fiberglass. But these aren’t fiberglass laminated trailers, as you might expect with this appearance.
Instead, that fiberglass is laminated to a Luan base which is then attached to the wood framing. So these are actually heavier by a bit than their aluminum-skinned cousins.
But you get more than smooth skin. There are frameless windows, which I really like.
Inside, the fixtures and hardware are upgraded as well. The biggest upgrade, to my way of thinking, is the shower head. It is one of those shower heads with four areas of spray that really screams high-end. This is typical of Cherokee. They tend to offer you features that will make you smile that you wouldn’t otherwise expect in this price category.
Another feature like this is the Bluetooth backup camera that works with the Lippert OneControl® app on a smartphone. This standard camera lets you see what’s behind you. And uUnlike almost every other RV where the backup camera is an option, this one’s standard.
I have heard from a few readers who haven’t been thrilled with this solution just because the phone has to be able to communicate with the trailer via Bluetooth, and that’s not always possible in larger rigs. Apparently Lippert has made some improvements to the operation of this whole setup to address these issues.
Using that OneControl app, you can also control things like lights and other functions in the trailer. But there are also buttons if you prefer to use those. To me, having both buttons and an app is better than only one choice.
Features and facts
There are a few aspects of this floor plan that are either going to float your boat or not. Those include a permanent bed in the front flanked by wardrobes and cabinets, but that bed is a “camp queen.” So taller campers might find their feet dangling off the edge.
There is a couch in this unit and a dinette which is pretty nifty. But that couch isn’t going to win awards as couch of the year. But, still, it’s there and I could see just taking the couch out and putting a desk there instead. Or a breakfast bar. But even as it is, I like that you can have a good number of people in here just sitting and chatting.
One of Cherokee’s signature features is the ridiculously long drawers under the dinette. However, they’re not in this unit because, due to there not being a slide room, there just wouldn’t be space to open them.
In fact, for some reason, they didn’t provide access to the space under the dinette seats, but it’s quite possible to facilitate your own access. But, still, it’s strange that you can’t at least flip up the seats to gain access.
Spacious bathroom in the Cherokee Grey Wolf 24JS
I also like that the bathroom is spacious in this floor plan. I mentioned that super fancy shower head. However, on the flip side, the toilet is a plastic model. So figure a couple hundred bucks and an afternoon if you want to upgrade that. It’s pretty easy, and I did it in my own trailer. There is a decent amount of cabinet space above where the outside kitchen is located, though.
Surprisingly there isn’t a lot of cabinet space in this trailer. That could be remedied by putting some sort of a bureau in the largish open space to the left of the main entry door. That’s a surprisingly open space there. considering how much RV companies love to cram a drawer or cabinet into any halfway decent-sized open space. Oh, well. That just means you can configure this area however you’d like.
There were a few things outside that should be noted. We’ll start with the drop-down storage rack in the back. which also means a center high-mounted stop light. While I still think Jayco’s JaySMART lighting is the leader in safety lighting in the travel trailer world, this is a good feature.
I know the light is there if you’ve blocked the other taillights with cargo. But I remember when the government was studying center high-mounted brake lights in passenger vehicles and saw what a reduction in rear-end collisions had resulted from them being there.
But that was before we all got smartphones that were more interesting than anything out the windshield.
There’s also an outside kitchen here that has a two-burner stove, small refrigerator and Cherokee’s signature ice maker. There’s also a hot and cold shower head here and, with a tub or bucket, there you have provision for an outdoor sink.
Lastly, all Cherokee trailers now have a 50-watt “Juice Pack” solar panel on the roof that is essentially a battery maintainer. But they also include an inverter that is lithium battery-friendly which is an unexpected bonus.
I like this floor plan a lot as it is pretty usable without a slide room. I’ve kvetched before about Cherokee’s black cabinets with gold handles. But when I was talking about that with Josh Winters from Haylett RV in Coldwater, Michigan, from whom I got the photos for this article, I realized that I may not be the expert on good interior design taste that I think I am.
There are a few missteps in this rig from the standpoint of interior storage, but none of them would disqualify the trailer, from my point of view. I am surprised by them, nonetheless, as it’s not typical of Cherokee.
A decent trailer with good interior space
But for those who want a decent trailer that doesn’t have slides and offers good interior space, this might be a good choice.
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 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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