Friday, October 7, 2022

MENU

RV Review: Prime Time Tracer 200BHSLE – Basic function bunkhouse

In this review we’re looking at the 2022 Prime Time Tracer 200BHSLE travel trailer. This makes me think of when I went to look at a brand-new Dodge Viper when those first came out. All the press and attention was on the Dodge Viper and there were lots of folks in our local Dodge dealer looking at it. 

What happened is that a friend and I went to look at the Viper and he ended up walking out with a Daytona. The Viper was a halo car that brought people in. But, frankly, most folks just left with a much more pedestrian model like the Spirit. That’s what I think about when I see this trailer. 

Bunkhouse 101

In a story that sounds a lot like that of a few others we’ve reported on recently, Prime Time started through the efforts of several RV industry veterans. It has grown to become a large part of the Forest River picture. Like so many other companies, this one is headquartered in Indiana. And, like other companies, their website is full of platitudes about quality and market position. 

But what we have today is the RV equivalent of the Dodge Spirit of 1992 and this is not meant as a derogatory comment at all. Essentially, while lots of folks are all gaga about some of the new, fancy and different RVs, what are selling in large volume are ones like this. 

The Tracer is essentially a basic smaller bunk model that doesn’t claim to be anything fancy but does offer some good features at a pretty reasonable price for a modern RV. Sort of the Dodge Spirit or Chevy Cavalier or Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla of RVs. 

No slides in the Tracer

What this offers is a double-over-double bunk in the back, a four-place dinette and an RV queen up front. Simple. There are no slides. Nothing fancy. 

But there is a sound bar for audio, which is more than what I would expect here. There’s also motion sensing lights above the entry door, in the bathroom and in the cargo area. Nice touch. Also, the baggage door hold-backs are magnets instead of those horrible cheap plastic clips. 

The entry steps are traditional metal folding steps. I much prefer these to those solid steps that have become ubiquitous in the industry. If you think they’re wobbly, and they can be, do as I did and put a Solid Stance step stabilizer under them. It provides the same functionality without any of the disadvantages of the other style of steps. 

What’s not – what is

There’s a lot of what’s not in this trailer, but not in a bad way. 

For example, there’s no outdoor kitchen. But there is a baggage compartment under the rear bunks which I think more people might find useful than an outdoor kitchen. Further, this trailer is light but has more than 3,000 pounds of cargo carrying capacity. That’s the kind of stuff that proves far more useful than an electric fireplace to me. 

There’s no slide, but that means that the trailer is fully useful no matter what. That’s a big plus if you’re shuttling down the road and the kids need to “go.” And you know that’s just a few miles after you just passed a rest stop and very specifically asked them if they had to go. 

Relatively large shower with a seat in the Tracer

And on the subject of the bathroom, there’s actually a seat in the relatively large shower. These are the kinds of useful things you’ll be looking for if or when you upgrade to another RV in the future. This should be the shower in all smaller trailers, frankly. 

There is ducted air, and the floor has no furnace vents in it. Again, these are things that will prove useful down the road. But that heat also extends to an enclosed underbelly. That will also be good for those shoulder season camping trips when it dips down below freezing overnight. 

Prime Time doesn’t include a TV in this trailer—and that’s also good, to me. I suspect that more and more families have split up in their content-consuming patterns such that each child has their own device that they are glued to. Then mom and dad basically watch their own things on their phones or laptops, as long as they spend at least some time reading RV Travel. 

I mean, priorities right? Gotta get your daily dose of RV information! Then go watch TikTok videos. 

In summary

One of the things I think could be improved is the counter space in the kitchen, which is essentially nonexistent. But there is a huge sink, which I like, similar to mine. In my own trailer, I just went to the kitchen supply store and bought a big plastic cutting board that we cover the whole sink with. But it would have been nice if Prime Time had done this. 

I also installed rail on the side of the kitchen cabinet and slide in the table that was included in our trailer to use outside. We’re using it inside instead and increasing kitchen counter space. 

Nowhere to sit in the Tracer except the dinette

And, possibly the biggest bummer of them all, there is absolutely nowhere to sit in this trailer except the dinette. I’ve seen others with a Murphy bed which means you’re getting a couch by day, a bed at night. In a trailer this size, that makes a lot of sense. It is the one big thing I’d like to see here. 

Otherwise, this is essentially the generic basic bunk model that families are likely to tow around with half-ton trucks or even larger SUVs. There’s not a lot to dislike about this and a few features that actually stand out. Those include that sound bar, the shower, the motion lights and magnetic hold-backs. 

A lot of cargo carrying capacity in the Tracer

There’s also a lot of cargo carrying capacity. The holding tanks are pretty average in size, although I suspect this style of rig is going to see more campgrounds than boondocking, though I could be wrong. 

I’m seeing more and more RV companies start to go with one brand of supplier for appliances. That’s what Prime Time has done here, choosing Furrion for the three-burner stove with 17” oven, vent hood and air conditioner. Interestingly, Furrion’s AC unit claims to offer better performance with lower consumption and reduced noise over the typical RV AC. What I like is their thermostat. Plus, this AC unit is ducted—which isn’t what you typically find in smaller, affordable trailers.

Not a bad little trailer

Not a bad little trailer at a price that’s probably going to end up being in the low $20K range once it gets to a dealership. Considering how long finance terms are nowadays, this trailer will likely be just a blip in the budget of a family and could be a great rig to bring to all those soccer games and other events kids get involved with. You’ll have that 12-volt, 10-cubic-foot fridge and a bathroom inside. Plus, there’s enough space to store the various chairs you’ll need since there’s no real place to sit inside other than the dinette. 

But, really, if you’re going to use this like that, perhaps it’s better that everybody’s outside staring at their devices rather than inside. So long as at least one of you is reading RV Travel!

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.

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

##RVDT1805

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Seat in shower
Cargo carrying
Small oven
Dinette is only seating

SUMMARY

The Forest River Prime Time Tracer 200BHSE is a simple, basic trailer that offers several upgraded features that make it definitely worth considering and a price tag that's on the lower end of the spectrum as RV prices skyrocket.

Comments

Subscribe
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

6 Comments
Newest
Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Les
7 months ago

I’m impressed with the idea of a no-frills trailer, fewer things to break and less weight. I’m wondering how to justify sleeping for 8 (2 adults, 6 kids sharing 3 beds?). “He’s touching me!” Seating for 8 come meal-time when it’s raining outside and cold? Clothes storage for 2 adults and 6 kids? Hard to see clothes storage for just the 2 adults. How about counter space for meal prep for 8? Don’t think so, not even for 2. How about changing out the double bunks for single bunks and using the extra space for clothes storage and advertise it as sleeping for 4? How about adding a retractable countertop on the side of the sink?

It would be nice to know if the designers actually tried using their product as advertised.

Tony, do you ever pass these comments on to the manufacturer?

Steve
7 months ago

You mentioned the nice, big 10 cf fridge, which would be great for a family of four. However, you didn’t mention it having any solar panels, which are absolutely needed for powering that fridge. If it has solar, those tanks would at least last that family of four for a boondocking weekend away from civilization (like a national park).

And no TV would only be a problem on Super Bowl weekend! But most folks with kids in school don’t camp in February anyway.

Steve
7 months ago
Reply to  Tony Barthel

Yep, I’m about to spring for a couple of portable 100W panels too. The Winnebago View/Navion twins are equipped with an exterior solar connector in the utility bay. I will use that to supplement the 400W of panels on the roof, especially in shaded campsites. More is better when powering not only our 12v fridge, but a 2000W inverter-charger that runs everything 120v except the heat pump-AC. And that includes the convection-microwave and factory-installed induction cooktop. Thanks to 300 days of sunshine annually in the SW US, that means we can save the propane for the furnace on those 30-40 degree nights of spring and fall camping. We may even be able to camp for years without running the generator!

I am also planning to replace the cheap, completely inadequate Zamp 12v, 30A PMW solar controller that every manufacturer uses with a 24v, 50A MPPT controller. I can then wire the 100w panels into three pairs in series and parallel the pairs in a much more efficient 24v system.

Tommy Molnar
7 months ago

This trailer sort of reminds me of our old 97 Nash 25S that we kept for 16 years. No slide, big lav that was as wide as the trailer in the rear, queen bed, dinette, etc.
I like that there is no outdoor kitchen in this one. No TV supplied, no fireplace, no gaudy anything. Old fashioned stairs (like our current trailer), covered underbelly. A nice beginner RV. I would have no need for the bunks of course but that could be remedied easily by removing them.

RV Review: Prime Time Tracer 200BHSLE – Basic function bunkhouseThe Forest River Prime Time Tracer 200BHSE is a simple, basic trailer that offers several upgraded features that make it definitely worth considering and a price tag that's on the lower end of the spectrum as RV prices skyrocket.