A family-friendly travel trailer for the budget-minded RVer.
By Bruce W. Smith
Fifty-five years ago, the founders of Jayco Inc. set out to build affordable camping trailers so families could enjoy all the wonders of the outdoors. That first dip into the RV market was a folding camping trailer, which set the stage for the fledgling company to become one of the largest and best-known RV manufacturers of today.
In 2002, Jayco introduced the RV world to another game changer — the Jay Flight line of travel trailers. The innovative design, wide range of floor plans, light weight, quality of materials, and attractive price have made Jay Flights the top-selling travel trailer for nearly 20 years, with more than 175,000 families enjoying the camping experience in them.
A prime example of why Jayco’s Jay Flight line is so popular is the 2024 Jay Flight SLX 183RBW Baja Edition. From the Goodyear off-road tires to the optional roof air conditioner, this single-axle, 21-foot-1-inch tow-behind with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 4,350 pounds is just the ticket for RVers who want a comfortable, well-built travel trailer that can be easily towed behind most of today’s smaller pickups and midsize SUVs.
The $1,943 Baja Edition option package, which is nearly identical to the STX Edition option offered east of the Mississippi, adds special graphics, Goodyear off-road tires, a 30-pound propane tank, a wide-track axle, powder-coated fenders, four stabilizer jacks, and an enclosed underbelly. The option doesn’t come with a power tongue jack or aluminum wheels like the Eastern STX model. However, the Baja package is very beneficial to those who plan on camping off-grid.
BUILT ON STRONG BONES
As mentioned earlier, Jayco officials have always prided themselves on using high-quality materials across the line, including in the build of the smaller Jay Flight travel trailers. Underneath these units is a heavy-duty, multi-gusseted steel chassis that is custom designed with an integrated A-frame for each specific model. The axle under the Baja Edition is a leaf-sprung Dexter with Goodyear tires and galvanized steel for the inner fenders.
The floor is a multi-part structure, incorporating a moisture barrier plus rolled fiberglass on the bottom of 2-inch-by-3-inch wood floor joists set on 12-inch centers. Aluminum sheet metal is used for the heat ducting that runs beneath the 5/8-inch tongue-and-groove plywood, which is screwed to the floor joists. Vinyl flooring is then applied to top it off. It’s a stout floor design. (The larger dual-axle Jay Flight series travel trailers incorporate a thermal package with an enclosed underbelly, added insulation in the floor and roof, and heated tanks. The smaller single-axle SLX models, like the 183RBW, do not.)
Up top is the company’s Magnum Truss roof system, said to be the strongest of its type in the industry, withstanding up to 50 percent more weight than the competition. It’s constructed with wood, rolled fiberglass insulation, and 3/8-inch plywood decking screwed/glued to the wood trusses built on 16-inch centers.
In between, Jay Flight SLX units are built with 2-inch-by-2-inch wood studs on 16-inch centers, with fiberglass insulation between the lauan interior walls and the exterior aluminum siding. If you want the look of a vacuum-bonded, smooth-wall fiberglass exterior like this 183RBW model I walked through at Bish’s RV in Junction City, Oregon, tack on $1,199 to the base price.
PLENTIFUL CARGO SPACE
I also was impressed by how much storage space this little travel trailer contains. Underneath the Jay Flight 183RBW’s queen-size bed is open storage that’ll easily swallow up a lot of gear in duffle bags, backpacks, and various plastic totes. This big space is also accessible via the forward cargo door on the curb side.
More storage space can be found in the rear bathroom’s cabinets and closet, over the bed, and under the dinette seats. Despite its small footprint, the Jay Flight 183RBW can accommodate a lot of camping gear and provisions for a family of four.
REAR BATHROOM DESIGN
The RBW version of the 21-foot Jay Flight SLX has a rear bathroom, with the bedroom located in the front. The one-piece bathroom tub/shower combo is a good size that should accommodate 6-foot-tall users with ease, and it’s fed by the trailer’s tankless water heater system.
On the opposite side is the single-sink vanity, with a wood-trimmed mirror above it. The hardwood cabinet doors on the side open to two spacious closet/storage cabinets stacked one above the other. Skylights above the vanity and tub/shower add a lot of ambient light to the entire bathroom.
EFFICIENT LIVING AREA
Lounging space in a small travel trailer is always at a premium. The 183RBW floor plan places the living area in the middle with a street-side slideout that holds the convertible dinette. Converting it from dining table or seating space into a kid’s bed takes just about a minute.
Opposite the dinette is the small but efficient galley. It’s anchored by a two-burner Suburban propane stove with a range hood and a High Point microwave oven set into the overhead cabinet area. Between the range and the bathroom is an 8-cubic-foot 12-volt refrigerator. It’s included in the mandatory Customer Value Package, which adds $5,250 to the Jay Flight SLX base price.
The layout of the living area is perfectly suited for a couple or for a family with little tykes. Add in the optional roof-mounted 13,500-Btu air conditioning unit ($593), and this model Jay Flight SLX travel trailer would be good for use during three-season outings. It’s built strong, featuring a well-thought-out floor plan suitable for any RVing family looking for a tow-behind that is light in weight and comfortable at camp.
SPECIFICATIONS | JAYCO JAY FLIGHT SLX
Jayco Inc., 903 S. Main St., Middlebury, IN 46540; www.jayco.com; (574) 825-5861
2024 Jayco Jay Flight
21 feet 1 inch
9 feet 5 inches
6 feet 6 inches
GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR)
GROSS AXLE WEIGHT RATING (GAWR)
UNLOADED VEHICLE WEIGHT (UVW)
CARGO CARRYING CAPACITY (CCC)
fresh water — 30 gallons;
gray water — 19.9 gallons;
black water — 19.9 gallons
(1) 13,500-Btu, optional
2 years limited;
3 years structural
MANUFACTURER’S SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE