Friday, June 2, 2023


RV Review: Grand Design Reflection 312BHTS—It’s big

Today’s review is of a Grand Design Reflection 312BHTS, a very large travel trailer that has the floor plan you might expect in a fifth wheel but in a travel trailer. So why not just get a fifth wheel? 

Well, there are a lot of reasons including the one a reader wrote in to share with me. In the case of the writer, knee issues would make having to go up and down stairs to the bathroom a challenge. I’ve also talked to some campers who prefer a travel trailer so they can put a cap on their truck and carry things back there like eBikes or supplies, tools, whatever. 

Of course, the disadvantage of a travel trailer of this size is simply that. It’s a big momma. Weighing in at 9,432 pounds dry with a tongue weight of more than 1,000 pounds, you’re absolutely going to need quite a capable vehicle to tow this. Further, since the entire length of the trailer is behind you, as opposed to having some of the length over the bed of the truck as in a fifth wheel, it becomes quite a long total length. There’s more than 37 feet of trailer behind however long the towing vehicle is. 

Highlights of the Grand Design Reflection

Being at the top of the line for Grand Design’s travel trailers, this is appropriately upscale in finish and features. There’s a tankless water heater, mirrored closet doors in the bedroom and an island in the kitchen. 

There’s also a closet at the foot of the bedroom that can be the space for your washer-dryer or, of course, your stuff. We all need a place for our stuff. 

I also like the retractable clothes line in the shower. This makes so much sense. 

The floor plan is very much like a fifth wheel with a counter at the bulkhead of the main living space. You could use that for a coffee station, for example. 

One of the things I really liked in the model in the video attached here was the four-door 12-volt fridge and, in particular, the latches on the doors. Seems like an odd thing to focus. However, it appears that many of the newer 12-volt fridges don’t have door latches that are well-suited to being mobile. This seems better. 

With the sudden interest in 12-volt DC compressor fridges, I’ve seen quite a few suddenly come on the market. Not surprisingly, some seem more thought-through than others. There are absolutely brands that need additional customer engineering to keep the doors closed in transit. This just provides further proof that there are a lot of things in the RV industry that exist because some management person believed some marketing person, but never went camping and actually tested it. 

That’s not this fridge, basically. 

Good, and versatile, bunk room

Another thing I like about this floor plan is that it is a bunk model and is arranged such that there’s a proper “go to” space in the bunk room. So, if you are camping with youngsters and they need to go to their room, there’s a room. 

But if you’re planning an office or a hobby room, this could also serve that purpose. The bunk room features a couch and a flip-up bunk along with a permanent bunk over the outside kitchen. You could easily take that couch out or spend a few moments with a screw gun and remove the flip-up bunk, if that serves your camping style. 

Now you have a den or an office or a craft room or whatever. Take the lousy mattress off the permanent bunk and now it’s storage. 

Outside kitchen on the Grand Design Reflection

Outside this trailer features an outdoor kitchen and, like a lot of these outdoor kitchens, it’s pretty high up. That’s because the chassis has to be high enough off the ground so that it doesn’t scrape on driveways and such. 

The kitchen outside is well-equipped, too. It has a two-burner flat-top griddle, a fully plumbed sink and a rather large refrigerator. For those who like to cook outside, this isn’t a bad choice. 

But seeing that Ember 191MSL where they effectively took the outside kitchen completely out and gave us storage instead, I wonder what your feelings are on this? If you did repurpose the back room of this large trailer for an office or den or whatnot, would you also want this space for storage? 

Frankly, if this were a trailer being used for a family outing, I would imagine that the outside kitchen would make a lot of sense. It is a bit high off the ground, by necessity. So only the adults can really reach the fridge. But depending on what you put in it, that may not be a bad thing.

 Boondocking and travel access

This is where these large trailers with opposing slides really fall short. But I suspect many of them are in permanent sites, so it’s not that big of a deal. 

But forget anything behind the bathroom in this trailer when it’s in travel mode. The camp-side slide room completely blocks access to everything behind the bathroom wall. You can get to the bathroom and bedroom, though, so that’s okay.

The odd thing about the way the slides are arranged is that the button that’s accessible in the doorway to open the slide only opens the camp-side slide. Once that’s open, then you have access to the two road-side slide rooms. Interesting.

Observations on the Grand Design Reflection

I like that Grand Design has moved to Goodyear Endurance travel trailer tires. But I really, really wish they would also upgrade their suspensions to something other than the least expensive leaf spring setup. There are so many better options, and the company pitches itself as a premium product.

I can’t tell you how many people I come across who have upgraded their suspensions on Grand Design trailers. Come on, guys. At least give us the option of something better.

In summary

This trailer would serve someone well if they wanted the space of a fifth wheel with the flat floor of a travel trailer. I also like that you get folding steps on these rather than the solid steps that are so much in vogue nowadays. But I think they are a pain in the neck, frankly. 

Would I choose this trailer?

But would I rather have this trailer, or something like the Keystone Outback 341RL, for example? I think I’d rather have the Outback only because they have a better solar package available. Also, my experience with the build quality of that brand is really good, and they don’t use as cheap of a suspension. 

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 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 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. 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.

Got an RV we need to look at? Contact us today and let us know in the form below – thank you!

Tony Barthel
Tony Barthel
Tony Barthel has been a life-long RV enthusiast and travels part-time with his wife where they also produce a podcast, write about RVs and love the RV lifestyle.


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Lisa Adcox
11 months ago

We looked at a used one of these and loved it. It was less than a year old and price was way lower. We had an accident and the trailer was a complete loss. We had a full replacement insurance and there is a clause in policy that brought have to buy an untitled rv, not a used one. We loved everything about this TT. We could not afford the new model. The one that was 1 yr old was over $20,000 cheaper than new model. It really made me be picky with what I purchased after seeing this one.

David F.
11 months ago

Just sent this to my wife for consideration. I love my current outside kitchen, use it all the time. And our current 3500 SRW can handle the hitch weight.

11 months ago

I agree with Tommy–no fan of outside kitchens. Give me one of those trailers with a door in the rear to access that “kitchen” space for storing E-bikes, kids’bikes, inflatable kayaks, or other toys. Much rather have a small garage than an outdoor kitchen that I might use once a year!

11 months ago

One thing about those stairs you find in a fifth wheel. I find them useful to help me put on my shoes in the morning, often sitting on the top step while propping up my feet on the first step. No strain at all. And that goes for any kind of foot maintenance as well.

Bob M
11 months ago

Nice outdoor kitchen.

Tommy Molnar
11 months ago

Not a fan of bunk rooms OR outside kitchens, but that’s just me. There is no 360 tour on the website either. Drat. I usually like Grand Design trailers, and this is no exception We met a couple last year that had a new Grand Design Reflection (not sure what model) and had many things wrong with it. Dealer said go ahead and use it, make a list of what was wrong, and bring it back. I’ll bet you can guess how THAT went. I chalk this all up to current lack of quality control standards with ALL brands, no matter how expensive.

Roger Gorman
11 months ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

We own this exact 2022 TT. We like it. Have had hotwater heater issues. Got a new one from Grand Design. Waiting tfor it to be i stalled. We use the bunk house for an office and it works for me and my wife. Some issues with getting things to stick to the walls without adding a nail. We added motion sensor lighting to the closets and storage above the Master. So far we love the kitchen. Only been in it 6 months so more to come.

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