In writing this review of the 2022 Grand Design Transcend XPLOR 240ML, I was really taken aback by how very nice this trailer is. You see, typically wood-framed, aluminum-skinned trailers are the most affordable in an RV company’s portfolio. That’s because they’re the easiest and least expensive to build.
This has also been a very traditional way to build trailers. While many feel it’s inferior, it actually can be better. More on that later.
What’s inside the Grand Design Transcend XPLOR 240ML
Since so many RV companies consider these trailers to be the entry level models, you tend to forgo a lot of the nicer things that some trailers have. For example, I’ve seen wood-framed trailers where the AC systems are not ducted, even on larger models. Or maybe you don’t get both gas and electric water heater systems. Black tank flushes, too, are things that I’ve seen omitted for price.
None of that is true here. I would call this trailer as well-outfitted as many more expensive models but with the benefit of the less expensive wood-framed, aluminum-skinned construction.
There were also a few real keynote features to this design, the first of which is the shoe cubbies right inside the door. I’m starting to see a few RV companies acknowledge that we wear shoes. But this is the best implementation of shoe storage I have seen in an RV. Period.
There is also a ridiculous number of cabinets in the kitchen. They’re over the “L”-shaped countertop, on either side of the stove, under and next to the stove, and more. Grand Design builds good cabinets with pocket screwed and glued hardware with plywood drawer boxes.
Potty like a rock star
The bathroom in this occupies the camp side and while these “side” bathrooms aren’t always that spacious, this one certainly offers plenty of space to do everything you came to do—including the paperwork. Again with the cabinetry, there is more in here including a countertop extension that would be more than sufficient to hold toothbrushes and shavers and hairbrushes. Not that I know anything about hairbrushes.
Actually, that’s not true. My beard has gotten so unruly I now have to brush it. Yes, for the first time in several decades, I had to go out and get a new hairbrush.
Have a seat in the Transcend XPLOR
You have two choices of road-side seating in this model: either a tri-fold sofa or theater seating. Either of these is directly opposite the TV, which sits above the dinette and is surrounded by more cabinetry.
That dinette is spacious enough, but the table is supported by the old-fashioned knee-knocker poles. Oh, well.
Once you’re partially rested, you can complete the resting process in the bedroom. There you’ll find a true 60” X 80” queen bed.
On either side of that bed you’ll see what looks like a closet, but on the road side it’s actually divided into cubbies. Below these there is a cavity, but I’d much rather see a drawer or, perhaps, a flip-top night stand. I can see stuff getting lost at the back of that cavity. Easily.
Also, there are plugs on the camp side of the bed but not on the road side. Weird.
Stick and tin
There are two schools of thought about this type of construction. Wood-framed trailers with aluminum or metal skins are a design method that’s quite traditional. In fact, my own vintage trailer is a 1970 Aristocrat—and that’s exactly how it’s made.
The advantages of this type of build is that anybody who’s even moderately handy or has basic home construction tools can usually work on these, should there be an “incident.” In other words, if you back into something, these are really easy to fix compared to their laminated competitors.
Walls aren’t laminated
Since the walls aren’t laminated, RV companies can place recessed plugs and switches in the walls like you do in your home. This isn’t always possible with laminated trailers unless someone really plans ahead and, well, this is the RV industry.
The disadvantage of this type of build, generically, is that the corrugated surface of the metal means that windows and edges don’t seal with the same crisp edges, so there has to be some material used to fill those gaps. Often this is something called butyl tape or butyl putty—but this is a point of maintenance.
On plenty of these types of trailers you can see where this flexible putty was used to fill the gaps in the corners and where holes were cut for things like windows and baggage doors. For those who aren’t diligent about maintenance, this can become a problem. Water seeping into the walls of a trailer means that there will ultimately be damage, including mold. Not good.
Grand Design has a system called Quad Seal
Grand Design did something different with these seals in that they have a system they call Quad Seal. This method uses a base of mylar, then PVC foam, then a PVC corner seal and then a mylar tape material.
According to the company, this seal is good for from -60° F all the way up to 212° F, which means temperatures none of us humans should be in. The company also claims this type of build can outlast the owners in many cases.
While lots of RVs are using fiberglass nose caps, this one uses a single sheet of aluminum. However, it’s a considerably thicker piece than on the sidewalls.
Build features in the Grand Design Transcend XPLOR 240ML
There are some other factors in the build of this trailer that are absolutely worth noting.
First of all, there is no walkable carpet in the slide room although there is a tiny bit under the theater seats, but this almost doesn’t count. Grand Design also doesn’t put registers for the heaters in the floor of this trailer, so no gathering stinky dust all season.
Like it or not (everything always has two sides), Grand Design has placed the water connections inside the forward baggage compartment so they’re sealed off from the elements. But some of you have also commented that a leaky spigot or hose, which is something I’ve dealt with, translates into potentially soaking the baggage bay. There is a recessed floor under the attachments so I wouldn’t say that would be likely. Also, having them inside means they’re less exposed to the elements.
Lastly, this trailer has a heated and enclosed underbelly.
If boondocking’s your thing and you want a travel trailer, this could be a great choice. There is 62 gallons of fresh water storage aboard, and then 57 gallons of gray water. I suspect that’s in two tanks divided between the kitchen and the bathroom. Finally, there is 39 gallons of black water capacity.
You have two choices of refrigerators: a traditional gas-electric RV-style absorption fridge or a 12-volt DC compressor fridge. Should you choose the compressor model, you get 165 watts of solar on the roof with a provision to simply plug in more should you choose to do so. Not bad.
I’m going to start including information on “road mode” in my articles, as many of you have specifically commented and emailed me about this. So, I will say this trailer is outstanding in road mode. Even though the slide room takes up a large portion of the road side of this rig, you can access everything with that slide in.
Kudos to Grand Design on this. This is a perfect rig for those who like to stealthdock or who just want to use the bathroom or get to the fridge while on the road.
What’s not in the Grand Design Transcend XPLOR 240ML
There were only a few things I didn’t like about this trailer, and they’re things I’ve kvetched about in the past. That includes the smaller oven, the low-performance vent fan and things like that. Though, I’m less bothered about the smaller ovens in couples’ trailers as opposed to models designed to accommodate more campers.
Combining the large holding tanks with the interior design and packaging of this trailer and the way they’re putting them together, along with novel features like the ability to run the tongue jack with an electric drill, and you have one of my absolute favorite couples’ campers.
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.com having worked at an RV dealership and been a lifelong 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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