Today’s RV review is of a small, affordable bunkhouse trailer—the Coachmen Catalina Summit Series 7 model 184BHS. This is a trailer that’s closer to the affordable end of the price spectrum that has some really good features. However, for some campers, it may have some deal breakers.
Really good features
The Catalina Summit Series trailers are wood-framed, aluminum-skinned offerings from Coachmen that incorporate a decent amount of value into the equation. This model is 90” wide, which is 6″ narrower than many trailers which often come in at eight feet in width.
The narrower profile means less drag on the tow vehicle and, at 4,202 pounds average dry weight, this might be more in line with the towing capability of some smaller vehicles such as SUVs and mid-sized pickups.
With sleeping for up to eight, this might also appeal to younger families whose offspring absolutely have to bring along a friend or they’ll just die. Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard it. Heck, I’ve been it.
One of the things I’ve learned from a lot of you is how critical having a full-sized queen bed is, and know that the Coachmen Catalina Summit Series 7 model 184BHS does not have that. In fact, this unit features a Murphy bed that bends in the middle. But wait.
The mattress doesn’t occupy the entire width of the space so you can literally slide it back and forth. If you want to stuff one side with pillows, that might solve the short queen situation for some.
However, this is an east-west bed. If you don’t want someone crawling over you in the night, that may be another deal breaker. But if you’re at the age where you’re in the process of adding to the family, that may not be an issue.
There’s never just one answer is there?
If that midnight trip is to the bathroom, know that you’ll be utilizing a plastic toilet. That isn’t my favorite but, heck, it works just fine.
However, in the morning when it’s time to take a shower, I was really surprised that there’s no skylight in this. So the ceiling height in the shower is pretty low.
Exterior storage in the Catalina Summit Series 7 model 184BHS
One of the big surprises in this camper is how much exterior storage there is. I wish outside kitchens were options on most models. I bet there are plenty of buyers who would prefer that be storage space.
Well, this is an unusual situation where that is the case—you can get an optional outside kitchen, but you don’t have to. As such, there is a really large outside storage compartment in the back beneath the lower bunk.
This shows how much space goes to those outdoor kitchens.
Further, there’s additional storage in a full pass-through in the front of this camper. Storage on the outside is an absolute strong suit for this rig.
Some of the things I saw that I really didn’t like about the Catalina Summit Series 7 model 184BHS start with the storage inside, which is pretty minimal. There is storage under the u-shaped dinette and a bit of closet space, but that’s it. This is not one of those rigs where storage inside is abundant.
A part of making anything affordable is the process of eliminating some equipment or standard features. But sometimes those standard features really can diminish the usability. I’m talking, in this case, about the front stabilizer jacks, or lack thereof.
You can put front stabilizer jacks on here, but they’re not standard. Neither is a power tongue jack.
Now, some might consider the power tongue jack a luxury item. But it’s really not if you’re using many kinds of weight distribution hitch. With those you can use the jacks to raise the entire back of the vehicle so the weight distribution bars are easier to put in.
Lastly, I’m happy they used a door that incorporates a window. But since the front Murphy bed is right there, I really wish a shade were part of this picture. It’s easy enough to install one, but it doesn’t really seem like an option in this case.
Boondocking and travel access
For the most part, the Coachmen Catalina Summit Series 7 model 184BHS is fully functional with the slide in—with the distinct exception of the front Murphy bed. The slide blocks the couch from folding out, so you can’t drop the bed.
Otherwise, you can get to everything else with a wee bit of shimmying. Considering that this is a narrow-body trailer, that’s not a bad thing.
No solar comes with this, but there is wiring on the roof to incorporate it if you wish to do so.
The whole idea here is to create a relatively affordable offering that will sleep up to eight campers. Frankly, if you’re bringing that many people you’re likely going to be doing meal prep more outside than in, but that’s sort of the whole idea of camping.
I can see this model being looked back on fondly by campers who used it as children as their young family spent time on the road whenever possible. And, in many ways, isn’t that what it’s really all about?
More from Tony
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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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