….yes-sir-ee, Bob, that brand new Shadow Cruiser S260BHS was not planned!
I was in Tucson, Arizona visiting my brother, minding my own business when I saw a sign for ‘Free Hotdogs’ at an RV show. Now, I’m not one to pass up a free hot dog, let alone a free RV show but, perhaps, in the future, I’ll think twice. It’s not because we don’t really enjoy our Shadow Cruiser S260BHS travel trailer, because, well, we do. But, it was sort of a more expensive day than I had envisioned.
I bought our travel trailer at that very trailer show in Tucson after a rushed call to my boyfriend in May 2013. We’ve been on the go and enjoying the camper since.
My total experience with camping in a trailer was watching my parents yell at each other when Dad tried to back in his camper to our driveway. Anyone who has watched this display will be familiar with the yells of ‘Turn the wheel the OTHER way – no, wait, you were right….’
So, our maiden voyage in our travel trailer was to take it cross-country (yes, we’re nuts) from the purchase spot in Mesa, AZ to Boyds, MD. We came through it relatively unscathed albeit with a few less camper parts than we started off with. We definitely had some fun (and a few painful….) experiences with our new Shadow Cruiser S260BHS trailer.
Kitchen of the Shadow Cruiser
As you can see, it’s a pretty typical set up for a travel trailer kitchen, including very some nicely laminated countertops.
The full kitchen includes an over-the-stove microwave, refrigerator, 3 burner gas stove and a double sink. There’s even a wee oven which is perfect to make cupcakes on a rainy day – ok, my cupcakes don’t come out so good as the oven doesn’t appear to heat evenly, but I’ve learned to live with it.
There’s also a vent fan above the stove – note to readers: when you use the vent fan, you need to go outside and unclip the cover that protects the open vet from becoming nests for birds, etc. Always remember to clip the cover back on before heading out on the road. Yep, you guessed the reason for that bold type – ours blew off on day 2 on the road. Live and learn.
There’s only two 110 plugs in the kitchen, one overhead and one of the side cabinet, so make sure to bring along an extension cord if you plan on doing more than making a pot of coffee and toasting some bread.
The Shadow Cruiser takes camping to a new level! With a beautiful interior that is more modern than country as most travel trailers and campers seem to be, this cozy home on wheels is quite the showplace. It’s also a very functional camper as we’ve quickly discovered. So, below are some of our favorite things about the Shadow Cruiser S260BHS.
- The refrigerator/freezer is actually very nice size. We were pleasantly surprised to see the size of the fridge and even more surprised to see how well it works. Once the trailer is unhooked from electric, the refrigerator moves over to be powered by the propane tanks on the Shadow Cruiser so our food stays icy cold all day, even when traveling. Also, we were cautioned that the camper fridge/freezer would take about 24 hours to cool – it actually works much quicker than that. In fact, it seems to cool faster on the propane while we’re on the road.When we’re on the road and the refrigerator is cooling on propane, we just have to make sure to switch off the propane before we pull in to gas up the truck. Never forget that!The freezer may be fast in freezing but it doesn’t have an ice maker – this is roughing it! So, John bought me a portable 26-lb per day ice maker which I will spotlight later.
- The little bathtub is just too cute. Ok, so maybe adults wouldn’t be so comfortable in this itsy bitsy bathtub but, when it came to picking a travel trailer, we preferred one with a smaller tub and bigger living area. The bathtub is fine for kids or dog though. The shower has nice pressure also – we stayed in one state park where the shower was totally disgusting so we broke in the shower in the Shadow Cruiser. Not bad at all.We were leery of putting bolts in the walls to hold shower towels so we bought these 3M hooks which work perfectly to secure towels or a hanging makeup bag.
- The bunk beds are the perfect place to stash a few dogs. The S260BHS comes with 2 bunk beds which are, if not the most comfortable beds around, are perfectly serviceable as dog beds or storage for suit cases, or beds for small children. Additionally, I love that this area is accessible from outside the trailer so, if the bottom bunk is not being used, it can be folded up and additional items stored. This is the perfect place to stash the BBQ grill. We plan on putting a small gate across the front to keep the dogs in at night.
- The Shadow Cruiser S260BSH has a nice slide out which adds about 3.5′. Few 28′ travel trailers have as nice a slide as this one has. The slide out slides the dining table and sofa out quite a bit so that the 4 dogs underfoot are not necessarily underfoot.Another nice thing about this slide out is that you don’t have to slide it all the way out. In other words, see that tree over there? The one that is about a foot from the side of your trailer? Just move the slide out 8″ or so to give yourself a little more room. Not necessary to expand it to its full glory.And, even when slid in, when traveling for example, one can still get to the bathroom, bedroom and fridge, albeit, the bathroom is a bit of a squeeze. What more can you ask for? As a note, if the slide out is not all the way out, it may not be water tight so do not expand it in wet weather unless you can expand it all the way.
- Outdoor, waterproof speakers mean that we always have tunes available. When camping, trailer or not, we prefer to be outside so we usually set up an outside camping living room that contains a rug, camping chairs, and the little red propane fireplace. iTunes are never far away. With outdoor speakers, my music equipment can remain inside, high and dry, even on rainy days. The Shadow Cruiser radio has an auxiliary jack where we plug in any music player, including our phones.
- I love the entertainment center!. OK, perhaps ‘entertainment center’ is a bit of a fancy way to say the recessed cabinet for the TV. But the cabinet is not only recessed, it also swivels between the living room area of the camper and the bedroom, so, if you want to look into a mirror instead, you can do that too. The cabinet takes a 24″ TV which is perfectly fine by us.
- Comparing the S260BHS to other travel trailers, the cabinet space is immense. We’re used to being out overnight on a 26′ boat, so we at least have an idea about how to store items in small spaces but, with our new Shadow Cruiser, we needn’t have worried. There’s cabinet space all over – including a large closet by the bathroom that’s perfect as a linen closet or to store taller kitchen items. In fact, I think what I’ll have to remember is not to fill the cabinets with items we don’t need so as to keep the weight down!
- Speaking of storage, the Shadow Cruiser gives you plenty. The foot of the bed lifts up to give you storage under there and both dinette ends lift off for larger storage areas perfect for additional kitchen items or larger bedding such as comforters. There’s also a full pass through storage area in the front of the camper perfect for storing those camping chairs and rug.
- The interior decor of our Shadow Cruiser seems, at least to us, to be a bit less ‘country’ than others. There’s not as much oak work and, in fact, most of the Shadow Cruiser is covered in a pretty, very neutral wall paper. We’ve enlivened the look of our travel trailer camper with decorative bed pillows that double as couch pillows for guests who stay over.
And the things we’d change about the Shadow Cruiser travel trailer camper
The Shadow Cruiser has a very reasonable price (we paid 20K for a new 2013 Shadow Cruiser) so there are some shortcuts taken either by the manufacturer or the people who put it together. Here’s some of the problems.
- The plastic shower nozzle has a little knob that you push to turn the nozzle on and off when you shower. Since water is at a premium when RVing and has to be stored in the gray water tank, showers are quickly done – no 20 minute showers in this camper. But, when one turns off the water to conserve it while soaping up, the nozzle leaks everywhere. So plumbers tape or even a nicer nozzle will fix this.
- The back bumper is hollow and designed to hold the sewer hose which is a great idea. What isn’t such a good idea is putting bumper end caps on that easily come off. As a result, we lost both bumper end caps and our brand-new, never used sewer hose on the first leg of our journey out. We had to stop at a Camping World on the road the very first day to replace it.John’s response to this problem was to drill a 6″ screw from top to bottom through the ends of the bumper. A wing nut holds the screw in place and prevents the sewer hose from escaping again.
- Every time we opened a door after being on the road on our first camping trip, there were screws lying around on the floor. After we determined where the screws came from, we secured them back up and added a bit of glue to hold them in place. A tube of Gorilla Glue will hold anything in place and is a good investment before you even hit the road in the camper.
Summary of our purchase of the Shadow Cruiser S260BHS travel trailer
Would we buy this same camper again? The answer is probably yes. It’s not made any better nor any worse than any other travel trailer in its class. And, unless you go with the Airstream for about 80K more, this is about what you’ll get for 20-25K.