Before I jump into our Grand Design Transcend 29TBS review, let me start by saying that we love RV travel. Love it. Our interest in RV’ing began when my brother purchased a toy hauler. We were tent camping. This sparked our conversation of purchasing our own RV for weekend trips. Fast forward to the next spring and we were proud owners of an RV. The first RV we purchased was a toy hauler to haul our ATV’s up to the Colorado mountains to ride the trails. Fast forward two months later and we were traveling in the toy hauler across Colorado through Utah, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.
Our cross country trip made us realize how much we truly did love traveling in the RV and that we did not just want to settle for a weekend trip to ride the ATV’s. However, we also realized that the toy hauler was not the best fit for our family for longer distance traveling (Click here if you want more information on our toy hauler). Our search began for a bunk house.
As we did not want to lose a bunch of money by trading in the toy hauler, we decided to keep it and rent it out on RV Share. The new rig had to be within our tighter budget but still fit our needs. I scoured every single RV dealer in our area and made a pro and con list of all my favorites. Making this decision was tough!
The Good – Transcend 29TBS Review
We ultimately chose the 2020 Grand Design Transcend 29TBS and are happy with our decision. Now, not everything is perfect, however, you have to decide what features are most important to you. This rig met our needs and we have enjoyed our travels thus far. And when we are not on the road, we are planning and looking forward to the next trip. Now let’s get into our detailed review of the Grand Design Transcend 29TBS. (P.S. We also offer a video version of the tour. It is linked at the bottom so once you are done reading, you can hop over to see what we are chatting about here.)
This bunkhouse travel trailer features a lot of “good” to list. As part-time travelers, we have already traveled over 4,200 miles in the Transcend and have had no issues. Knock on wood!
Our Favorite Grand Design Accessory
I don’t know why they don’t make these standard in RVs, but we love the addition of our shampoo, conditioner and body wash holder. It was easy and safe to mount and saves a ton of space. Check out the model we purchased from Amazon here.
The quality of all the finishes is superb. Any Grand Design review you read will likely mention their amazing attention to detail and quality of finishes. This holds true for the Transcend line, and even the Transcend Xplor models we saw. The cabinets and drawers are made of thick wood and they close tightly. On the exterior, the storage doors have a magnet. As soon as you lift the door, it will attach to the magnet and stay open. This may be a little thing but is a great convenience. Its these little details that make a Grand Design great.
On the interior, we love having a bunkhouse with the ability to close the door. A bunkhouse or dedicated area for our three boys was top on our list of priorities. Its great to be able to close the door if we are awake in the morning before them. They can also close the door when they are changing clothes or if they need some quiet time. While the door does not block all the noise from the bunkhouse to kitchen/living area, it helps.
The top bunks form an ‘L’ shape and are a bit more narrow than a twin bed. We worried that we would have feet kicking arguments. (He’s touching me!) However, fortunately, this has not happened yet. The true issue comes with the brother on the bottom bunk and the other two boys using the bottom bunk to jump into their bed. The bottom bed is wider so one of our older two boys sleep there. Its a ‘cubby’ feeling with part of the bed being covered by the top bunk which is fun for them.
There are six dresser drawers in the bunkhouse which works perfect for our boys. Each boy has two drawers. There are also five open spaces which do form a ladder to climb onto the bunks. I purchased three large baskets that fit perfectly into the open space cubbies to give each boy another place for clothes. They are able to fit books and other small items in each of their cubbies. While there is no place for hanging clothes in the bunkhouse, folding their clothes has worked for us. If we did need to hang items for them, we could make extra space in the wardrobe in the master bedroom.
One small feature that I love is that there are three hooks that were installed on the wall. It works perfectly for their coats or bags. Each boys has a hook. Again, this a small detail that Grand Design added but it makes a great use of the space.
The draw in the Transcend 29TBS kitchen is the counter space. There is nice space in the corner between the sink and stove that is perfect for prepping food and for drying dishes. In addition, there is a long (but narrow) counter on the other side of the stove to the door. I love this counter space for any extras. It can be used for serving food or to accumulate all the junk that you don’t know where else to set when you walk in the door. However, its there for use!
There is an RV oven which I was terrified to use. While I don’t use it often, we did figure out the secret to making it work better for us. Check out that tip in this RV Cooking Accessories article. The drawer under the oven is perfect for pots, pans and cutting boards. The cupboards above the sink is great for glasses but its narrow so you have to carefully select what will fit. The second set of kitchen cupboards are deep and easily store our plates, bowls, mixing bowls while the top shelf is used as a pantry.
While u-shaped dinettes get mixed reviews, I was excited about having one. In the toy hauler, we had to move the beds in order to have a dinette. We are still debating whether or not to keep the dinette or replace it with another couch. We will definitely leave it for our next long 8-week trip and decide after that.
Four of us can fit into the dinette comfortably. I also like to sit there with the laptop. The storage under the seats is wonderful. We all need storage in the RV!. This space is perfect for our life jackets, hiking backpacks and other supplies that we do not use daily. There are a door at the end of each bench but in order to get to the back, you need to lift the couch cushion and wood.
The Living Room
The couch is fairly comfortable. I’ve taken a nap or two there if you are wondering. You will need a pillow as the arm rest is too high for a comfortable neck. The bed also easily folds out into another bed. We thought it would be great for one of the boys to sleep on it if they did not like the bunk room. However, we folded it out for a week straight and the use was for a dog bed. Because of our lovable fur babies, we did purchase an RV sofa cover to try to prolong the sofa life. Plus, with three boys, there are plenty of spilled drinks and food everywhere. RV Sofa Cover by Sofa Shield – Check Price on Amazon
The cupboards above the couch are also great storage. There are three cupboards which are fairly high. This is a perfect spot for an 8-quart Instant Pot, (Check Price on Amazon) one of the RV must have kitchen accessories. These cupboards are tall enough that I may add a storage shelf to efficiently use the space.
My other favorite part of the Living Room (or kitchen) is the six drawers that are under the TV next to the door. These drawers are great storage! We keep one with our dog leashes, harnesses and dog bags. One is for snacks for the boys. One drawer is filled with our walkie-talkies, flashlights and other RV gadgets. They are perfect for those things that you need as you walk out the door or walk in.
The Master Bedroom
I would consider the master bedroom similar to many that we considered. The selling point for me was the additional closet in addition to a wardrobe on each side of the bed. There are also two drawers under the additional closet and a small open cubbie space. This extra closet space makes a large difference in packing! Now, instead of having clothes in the storage above our heads, we can use that for other items including a few extra blankets. I like to fold my tanktops and t-shirts and have more pants than one drawer. In order to solve this, I found a perfect organization solution that you can find in my RV Organization blog post here.
The bed is a queen and has under the bed storage. There is a light above each of our heads which makes it convenient to flip on the light without getting out of bed (although they can be slightly blinding). On each side of the bed, there are nightstands. Again, its a little feature that makes a difference. (Our toy hauler did not have this so its something we can appreciate more now.) Its great to have a place for your book, phone or drink when going to bed. There is only a plug-in on one side so when boondocking, my phone has to be plugged in on Ryan’s side (the side closest to the hallway) using the USB in order to charge.
There is a long cubbie hole under the wardrobe and behind the nightstand. I will put my laptop and charger in this cubbie but beware that if something slides to the back, you need a really long arm to reach back there. I am still working on finding the perfect basket to slide in this cubbie to prevent chap-stick being lost into the abyss.
The bathroom is small. You can sit on the toilet and reach into the sink. Again, small. This does not leave much room for drying off when you get out of the shower (unless you stand in the shower and dry off which is what I prefer to do). In addition, the bathroom sink is small. And the faucet is small. At some point, we will need to replace the bathroom faucet with a taller one but that is an easy fix.
However, the benefit of the smaller bathroom is that it doesn’t take away space from the main living area. That’s good! Weighing the pros and cons in any rig is what must be done when making your decision.
There is a cabinet above the toilet that is great for towels. It is narrow so the towels have to be rolled but I appreciate having the space in the bathroom. Make sure to watch our RV organization vlog to show you a couple great ways to organize the bathroom including toothbrushes, shampoo, conditioner, body wash and the toilet paper holder.
There is only one door into the bathroom from the hallway. In many rigs, there is also a door into the master bedroom. This means that you cannot slip from the bathroom into the bedroom after a shower without clothes (when you have three boys in the rig…) When you are used to an attached bath in our sticks and bricks house, its an adjustment but one I have happily made to be traveling.
Sliding doors. Let me tell you that this is a feature that I love in the Grand Design Transcend 29TBS. No more fighting to open the door while in a small space. Its a simple slide instead. However, while we love the sliding doors, there are no doorknobs on the bedroom or bathroom doors. This also means no locks. While we are okay with this thus far, we will see if it creates an issues in the future. We could probably add a lock without a doorknob if necessary.
The Transcend 29TBS has only one slide. This could be a positive if you don’t prefer slides. (Our toy hauler does not have any slide outs as we were worried about extra maintenance.) However, we are now well aware of how much additional room a slide can add in the space. More slides would add even more room.
The Bad – Travel Trailers?
When we were considering moving from a 5th wheel toy hauler to a travel trailer, we wondered if we would be making a terrible decision. The opinions were overwhelming when we shared our interest with family and friends. Going from a fifth wheel to a travel trailer was surely a huge mistake. However, our actual experience has been quite a bit different. Part of that could be due to our Pro Pride 3P Hitch. There is ZERO trailer sway.
This rig is approximately 10 feet longer than our fifth wheel, at least in terms of length behind the truck. That being said, I do think turning in a travel trailer is especially hard when compared to the fifth wheel. Its not a major difference thanks to the Pro Pride, but it is noticeable so it is worth mentioning. We enjoy this rig so much that we have adjusted and make it work!
The Ugly – Gone thanks to Grand Design
What’s a good Transcend 29TBS review without a little bashing on the competition? The stick and tin construction style is back, and it is sexy. Seriously, have you seen the new Transcend in person? This thing takes what has historically been perceived as “ugly” stick and tin and turned it into a smooth looking camper that looks like it belongs in the Twenty-First Century.
I recommend renting a Transcend 29TBS to try before you buy. While this travel trailer is considerably less than most 5th wheels, it is still an expensive (but well worth it) investment. Check out Grand Design’s website for other models available.
Thank you for taking the time to read our Grand Design Transcend 29TBS review. As promised, check out our video review for a better look! Let us know in the comments below if you have any questions. We love chatting RV travel and would love to help you!