If you’ve spent any time in an RV campground, or even just seen travel trailers on the road, chances are you’ve seen a Jayco trailer. Jayco is a top-selling, popular brand of RVs, easily spotted by their bluebird logo.
Jayco trailers are known for high quality, a huge choice of layouts, and affordability. A Bronze award winner for the 2016 Trailer Life Readers’ Choice Awards, Jayco prioritizes the customer experience and focuses on quality craftsmanship.
If you’re actively considering a new travel trailer purchase, or just planning for a future investment, Jayco is a great company to investigate.
We’ll outline for you a little about Jayco’s philosophy and what goes into making its travel trailers. We’ll also look at the travel trailers Jayco manufactures and give a quick rundown on what separates the different models in their line of travel trailers.
All About the Company
In 1968, husband and wife team Lloyd and Bertha Bontrager started the Jayco company in northern Indiana with a prototype folding camping trailer. The pop-up camping trailer had a unique lifter system that they began to successfully market.
At Bertha’s suggestion, they adopted Lloyd’s middle name, Jay, along with Lloyd’s philosophy of being “free as a bird” to name the company Jayco. They also named the company logo and mascot, a blue jay in flight, J. Jay.
Though Lloyd Bontrager died in a plane crash in 1985, the company continued to thrive by focusing on connectivity, technology, and affordability.
In 2011, Jayco became the world’s largest privately-held RV manufacturer, and in 2012, they introduced a new tagline, “Generations of family fun,” in their marketing.
Though Jayco was sold to RV conglomerate Thor Industries in 2016 (whose other brands include Airstream, Dutchmen, Highland Ridge, and Keystone), the company is still family-run.
Derald Bontrager, son of Lloyd and Bertha, is the current CEO and was awarded the Distinguished Service to the RV Industry award in 2017. But Jayco’s family-first philosophy doesn’t just stop at the Bontragers who remain on the payroll.
In an interview with Huffington Post, Derald Bontrager says the secret to Jayco’s success is that they consider their employees, dealers, and customers to be part of an extended family.
Jayco travel trailers are distinguished by several manufacturing processes. These include the Magnum Truss and Magnum Truss XL6 roof systems, Jayco Climate Shield, strong foundations, and an industry-leading warranty that includes a two-year limited and three-year structural warranty.
Jayco’s Magnum Truss roof system is designed to withstand up to 4,500 lbs, which is 50% more than most other travel trailer roofs. Part of the roof strength comes from the use of screws rather than staples to hold the decking in place.
The use of oversized nail plate joint fasteners to join the roof trusses on both sides. This makes for a tighter fit which means less movement and greater strength.
The roof also uses 2 x 2 vertical studs to allow more room for wiring. Using wooden studs helps reduce the risk of electrical shorts when compared to the use of 1-inch aluminum pieces used in other travel trailers.
Jayco’s Climate Shield helps protect your travel trailer against weather extremes whether extremely hot or insanely cold. This gives you four-season camping protection whether the temperature is 0 or 100.
In the company’s temperature testing, Jayco Climate Shield helped the trailer maintain an interior temperature of 71 degrees when the outside temperature was 100. When the outside temperature was reduced to 0 degrees, no plumbing systems were affected and the interior temperature remained an average 68 degrees.
Climate Shield includes a fully enclosed and heated underbelly, double-sided flex-foil insulation, dark tinted windows, and PEX plumbing.
Every Jayco product is built on a customized frame rather than using stock frames and stretching or manipulating that frame to accommodate an RV.
Jayco uses two types of frames, an I-class structural I-beam frame and a Norco NextGen frame. The I class I-beam frame is a one-piece molded design, eliminating seams that can bend and warp over time.
The Norco NextGen frame is used in Jayco’s ultra-light models because of their strength-to-weight ratio. These frames are made with high-strength, low-alloy steel that is also coated to prevent rust.
Each Jayco product is built on a custom one-piece laser-sheared frame which gives the best weight distribution for the RV that goes on top. This construction helps reduce vibration damage or sagging that can age your travel trailer prematurely.
Jayco claims to have the best warranty in the RV business, and the full text of their warranty can be found on their website. That way, customers know exactly what Jayco pledges to protect, repair, and restore before purchasing a travel trailer.
The two-year limited warranty covers your travel trailer for 24 months or 24,000 miles. Beginning with the company’s 2020 models, Jayco RVs also include a three-year structural warranty that includes structure components in areas like the roof, walls, and floors.
A Jayco warranty also includes 15 additional warranties from Jayco suppliers. This means that your Congoleum designer flooring is covered for three years. If your travel trailer includes a Samsung refrigerator, that’s covered for five years, and Goodyear Endurance tires are covered for six.
Jayco’s owner’s manuals, warranty information, and maintenance checklists are also provided in print and online to be easily accessible and for your peace of mind.
If a rock-solid foundation, roof, and warranty to match are just a good beginning to you, it’s also important to note that Jayco has an uncompromising commitment to sustainability as well.
Jayco understands that the allure of RV products is the chance for families to spend time enjoying the outdoors, and the company is dedicated to preserving that enjoyment of nature by protecting the environment for generations.
Jayco’s EcoAdvantage means that the company is dedicated to reducing its carbon footprint by using smarter manufacturing. This includes working with suppliers to eliminate waste and packaging.
Jayco uses only recycled water in its quality control testing, builds lightweight products for better on-road fuel economy, and standardized its processes to reduce waste and energy usage.
Jayco also uses an aggressive education campaign that offers tips to consumers for ways to save on gas, employ conservation methods, and employ eco-friendly travel and driving practices.
Jayco’s Travel Trailers
With 77 Dealer Satisfaction Index awards under its belt and being America’s best-selling travel trailer for 14 years running, Jayco offers a stellar reputation for high quality.
Jayco’s commitment to the family also means that they have a wide variety of family-friendly floorplans and travel trailer models for everyone, no matter what your family looks like.
Jayco makes nine different lines of travel trailers. We’ll give a brief rundown on the model lines available and what makes each line distinctive.
The Hummingbird is Jayco’s smallest line of travel trailers. These range between 1,545 and 3,015 lbs and vary in length from 13′ to 20′.
There are seven-floor plans available in this line. The smallest, the 10RK comes with a 54 x 74 bed, lots of overhead storage, and a rear exterior kitchen that comes standard with a quick-connect faucet, microwave, TV, and refrigerator.
Another cool model in this line is the 17MBS which has a 60 x 75 Murphy bed in the front, a corner entertainment center, large wardrobe/pantry, and a kitchen with seamless residential-style kitchen countertops.
The Jay Feather line is a series of lightweight travel trailers between 3,195 and 6,425 lbs with 18 floor plans to choose from. These models include hybrid models with pop-out tent sleeping spaces, bunkhouses, Murphy bed models, and even couples coaches.
For a bunkhouse model without a slide, check out the 28’9″ long 23BHM. This has a Murphy bed up front and 50 x 76 bunk beds in the rear. This model also has a bathroom with a linen closet and corner shower and an optional outside kitchen.
The heavier White Hawk line is a luxury lightweight travel trailer with 16 floor plans that run from 5,385 lbs to 7,575 lbs.
Every kitchen in the White Hawk line has a three-burner range, stainless steel microwave and oven, and solid surface countertops. Also standard is the extra-deep, 8 cubic foot stainless steel paneled refrigerator.
This line also has lots of handy storage areas, beautiful woodwork, and designer touches in the fabrics and window treatments.
Jay Flight SLX 7
The Jay Flight SLX 7 is super light, weighing from 2,380 to 3,210, somewhere between the Hummingbird and Jay Feather. This is meant to be a fun, easy to tow trailer that is both economical and functional.
This line has six floor plans, only one of which has a slide-out. This is a great choice of travel trailer for those who are new to camping with enough floor plan variety to match your camping needs.
Jay Flight SLX 8
A heavier model than the SLX 7, the Jay Flight SLX ranges from 4,215 lbs to 7,625 lbs. The queen beds in these models come with a Simmons mattress, and there are 13-floor plans to choose from.
These varied floor plans include four models with no slides and a bunkhouse model with multiple slides ideal for a family-friendly travel trailer. The 81-inch ceiling height also makes for a spacious interior feel.
As the namesake for this #1 best-selling line of travel trailers, Jay Flight ranges in weight from 4,455 lbs to 8,835 lbs. There are also a dozen floor plans to choose from, three of which have the option for a king-size bed in the master suite.
Jay Flight also has a choice of models with an outdoor kitchen, patio door, table and chairs instead of a dinette, and even a few bunkhouse models.
Jay Flight Bungalow
The much larger Jay Flight Bungalow models weight between 10,690 lbs to 11,725 lbs and are meant to feel like a vacation or second home for you and your family.
The Bungalows have an atrium-style front wall and a residential-style sliding patio door that makes your travel trailer feel like a luxury condominium.
The six available floor plans include options for front or rear bedrooms, a bunkhouse, and a loft model (40LOFT) that has room for everyone.
Eagle HT Travel Trailers
The Eagle HT travel trailers are half-ton trailers that are one of the longest-running, most successful RV brands on the market, having been around for more than 25 years.
This is a great choice for full-time campers because the interior feels just like home. The bathroom includes a stone and glass tile backsplash, porcelain foot flush toilet, and an LED nightlight.
Other residential features include the Shaw carpeting and IVC Trekk vinyl flooring that looks just like real wood. The farmhouse interior decor is stunning and keeps the seven-floor plans feeling airy and light.
Eagle Travel Trailers
The largest model of travel trailer that Jayco makes is the Eagle travel trailer, weighing between 9,575 lbs and 9,780 lbs. These luxury travel trailers are constructed with premium materials like porcelain, stone, glass, and wood.
The kitchens in the four-floor plans are incredible with residential features like either a 13 or 21 cubic foot double-door refrigerator, tons of storage, lovely woodwork, rustic hardware, and deep sinks.
You can also opt for a king-sized bed that features a Simmons BeautyRest mattress, and with multiple slides in the sleeping and living areas, these trailers are incredibly spacious.
Jayco travel trailers are best-selling trailers for a reason, people love these! With a huge range of available lengths, weights, prices, and features, Jayco makes something for everyone.
Pros and Cons
While a lot of Jayco customers are loyal repeat customers, not everyone loves everything about the blue jay. After seeing what Jayco customers had to say, we compiled a few of the pros and cons that seemed to come up the most.
We’ll start with the negatives here. The biggest and most frequent issue that came up was the hassle of getting warranty work completed in a timely manner.
Jayco’s warranty is a good selling point for its travel trailers, but though the warranty approval comes from the manufacturer, warranty repairs go through the individual RV dealerships.
That makes it hard to see just where the breakdown in warranty issues occurs, but many customers reported that dealers told them to expect to have 5-6 warranty issues in the first year of ownership.
Some customers reported that Jayco is fine (easy to deal with and responsive to concerns) but that the dealerships and RV repair places are frustrating to deal with and tend to have poor customer service.
Be aware when purchasing any RV that interactions directly with the manufacturer are going to be limited at best and look for dealerships and repair shops that have a good reputation since that’s who you’ll end up dealing with the most.
Lots of campers are surprised at just how liveable Jayco’s travel trailers are. A few customers mentioned that they unexpectedly ended up living full-time in a Jayco travel trailer and loved the experience.
One couple who lived in their travel trailer while their home was remodeled said they considered selling the house and living in the RV.
Most people find that Jayco travel trailers tow well, sleep comfortably, and have plenty of room for families. They also found the construction and interior features to be of excellent quality and appreciated how homey these travel trailers feel.
Customers return to Jayco again and again for the great floor plans and find that the interior is luxurious with a small note that despite the outstanding interior, perhaps the exterior is just average by comparison.
Jayco is a great company with a stellar reputation in the RV world. For those who appreciate the appeal of purchasing from a family-run company with the support and security of dealing with a large company, Jayco hits all the right buttons.
With nine models of travel trailers and a total of more than 80-floor plans to choose from, Jayco offers an unmatched selection of travel trailers that can meet nearly every camper’s needs.
But the variety of Jayco’s products comes second to its commitment to quality construction in a product they are happy to stand behind. If you’re in the market for a travel trailer in the near future, don’t miss a chance to check out this high-quality brand.