RV Review: Grand Design Transcend XPlor 235BH 2023



Today’s RV review is of the 2023 Grand Design Transcend XPlor 235BH, a unique travel trailer model with sleeping quarters. I think mentioning the term bunkhouse puts a certain image in our heads. I would like to encourage you to forget that for a moment. It’s very different.

Bunkhouse not dorm

Since I mentioned that this dorm is very different from what you might expect, let’s take a look at that aspect of this trailer. On the road side of this trailer is a super slide and within this super slide are theater seats and dorm space.

Essentially, think of a hope chest type arrangement that has a cushion on top for you to sleep on. Then, above, another folding berth.

What’s really neat about this is that you don’t necessarily have to use it as a dorm.

I’ve sold a lot of trailers to a lot of grandparents who had the brilliant idea of ​​taking their little ones camping with them. In their minds they imagined these wonderful getaways, showing the latest version of their family gear some of the camping experiences they cherish.

Except they didn’t take into account the teenage quotient. Teenagers have almost no interest in spending time with old people (old by their definition). So many bunkhouse trailers I’ve sold never got anyone to sleep in the bunks.

This is where something like this really comes into its own. Even if you never use the bunks for sleeping, you still have storage space or hanging space or whatever makes it a very usable trailer.

The rest of the story

There’s a lot to like about the Grand Design Transcend XPlor 235BH floor plan, even if you don’t see that flexible, usable space.

For example, the bathroom spans almost the entire width of the back of this trailer. This means you get a very decent bathroom with plenty of shower room as well as space around the toilet to accomplish what you need including paperwork.

There are also a good number of cupboards and drawers throughout, including space even for a bin. Plus, there’s even a wardrobe right at the main entrance door for you to put things like shoes and such.

Kitchen counter space is also good here.

Murphy bed in Grand Design Transcend XPlor 235BH

One of the things that stands out to me is the Murphy bed in this unit. I know many of you absolutely have Nope interest in Murphy beds. I think this design might be partly the cause of that.

Not only is it a bed that has a slit, but it’s also a petite queen. Two knocks against that… except there’s a catch.

The way this trailer is designed allows you to leave the bed all the time and put the mattress you want. Well, as long as he clears the slide room, which the queen of shorties does. So you can un-Murphy-ize this trailer if that’s something you’re interested in.

Solar now standard

The RV world is competitive, so now you’ll find these stock models with 165 watts of rooftop solar power.

I think Keystone RV really shook up the industry when they announced their SolarFlex™ package. Keystone places a minimum of 200 watts of solar power on the roof of each of its products. I’m pretty sure you’ll see more and more solar power from more and more companies, just to keep them competitive in the marketplace, frankly.

This means that with more and more large companies buying a lot of solar panels, their price may come down. So for those who want solar, it can get cheaper faster. This would be the biggest advantage for some campers.

In addition to 165 watts of rooftop solar power, the Grand Design Transcend XPlor 235BH now also features roof-mounted quick-connect outlets to add more solar power for those for whom solar power is suitable. There is also a solar charge controller. The refrigerators are all eight cubic foot 12 volt models. However, you can still get the traditional electric propane absorption RV fridge, if you prefer.

Cheaper not cheaper

Traditionally, wood-frame, aluminum-clad trailers have been the least expensive type to build. But that doesn’t mean they have to be poorly made or built cheaply.

Building trailers in this configuration is less expensive simply because there are fewer forms and processes involved in construction. This type of construction also has advantages, including the fact that if there has been damage to the outer casing, it is easy for anyone, even with moderate carpentry skills, to carry out a repair. .

The disadvantages include the fact that the uneven surface is slightly more difficult to seal. Owners should really pay attention to any places where there are holes in the wall, including windows and luggage doors and that sort of thing. But these are maintenance points on all RVs.

In fact, this is one of the areas where Grand Design is making a lot of noise for using a four-step process to seal where two main structures meet. In the sidewalls where they join the rear and roof, Grand Design has a four-step sealing process that the company says reduces the need for re-sealing.

Additionally, the company states that is why it offers a three-year structural warranty on these models. Cool.

There is also a fully enclosed and heated belly. This extends the time you can camp in this trailer by minimizing the cold on the unit’s plumbing. Basically, if the tanks are heated, they’re much less likely to freeze unless you get to where it’s ridiculously cold.

Other details in the Transcend XPlor 235BH

Speaking of heat, this unit’s furnace ducts are on the cabinets rather than in the floor. I absolutely prefer this, especially in a stacked model, because it means kids won’t drop bowling pins in floor vents all year round and Fido won’t track dog hair, so the first time the oven starts, you get “that smell.”

If you’re out there looking at the belly, you may also notice that there’s only one point for the sewer pipe.


Of course, Grand Design follows the normal practice of putting the smallest possible oven in a platform designed for a large number of people. It drives me crazy, as you all know.

Additionally, there is carpeting in the slide room under the dinette. I’m pretty sure carpeting where the kids eat is one of the worst decisions out there. Heck, I don’t even have kids and I can relate to that.

I also wish they put a better ventilation fan. These dime store fart fans really don’t do anyone any good and are nothing more than noise makers.

Those cut corners make me think this design is less than grand, frankly. Yet they go above and beyond in build quality.

Boondocking and travel access

Surprisingly, you can really use the whole trailer with the slide room, including the pull-down bed. I had mentioned that it was not absolutely necessary to raise the bed just because you wanted to bring the slide in.

In fact, if you’re traveling alone, you can use the bottom bunk as your only sleeping position and never let the Murphy bed down.

Tony’s Thoughts

I can see this design being very polarizing, but I love how Grand Design really thought outside the box about it. There are so many features and design elements that I really like about it that the boring stuff that seems ubiquitous in the VR industry bores me even more. A few easy fixes and this would truly be a trailer that a lot of people will enjoy.

Even without these changes, Grand Design does a great job with its “stick-and-tin” models. And it is one that goes off the beaten track without a doubt.

More from Tony

I’d love to read your comments and suggestions on our forums, where you can weigh in and start or join a discussion on all things VR. Here is a link to my VR reviews forum.

If you are shopping for an RV here are some tips on buying RVs from a former RV seller – me!

Tony comes to RVtravel.com after working at an RV dealership and has always been an RV enthusiast. He also wrote the syndicated Curbside column on cars. He also works closely with a number of RV manufacturers to get a taste of how things are done and is a Rockwood Mini Lite brand ambassador with his wife, Peggy.

You can also check out his VR podcast with Peggy.

These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers as well as our author’s research. They are based on information from a single unit and may not reflect your actual experience. Shop your RV and dealer carefully before making a buying decision. We do not receive any money or other financial benefit from these reviews. They are intended only as a brief overview of the vehicle, not a full review, which would require a thorough inspection and/or test drive.

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