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Jayco Jay Feather LGT 25Z

January 1, 2006
Filed under RV & Trailer Reviews, Trailer Reviews

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Fitting nicely into the lightweight, family-friendly category of towable RVs, the Jayco Jay Feather LGT 25Z travel trailer’s 5800-pound gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) makes it easily towable by many vehicles currently sitting in residential driveways. But don’t let its trim figure fool you. The Jay Feather 25Z may be lightweight, but it’s built with a sturdy backbone. Jayco begins with twin, Torflex independent axles that feature standard 14-inch wheels and ST205/75R radial C-rated tires. The frame (rails and cross members) is built by BAL, a division of Norco Industries and an industry leader in travel-trailer chassis and frames. The longitudinal main rails are designed so that they are stronger at the center of the trailer where the axles are mounted (and where the majority of the weight is loaded) than they are at the end of the rails where less weight is placed. This cuts down on unnecessary weight without compromising structural integrity and durability. This type of chassis/frame is used throughout the Jay Feather line. To achieve the desired chassis/frame length for a specific model, frame modules are added to the front and rear in a process called huck-bolting. In this process, the bolts that secure the sections together are stretched, the nuts are screwed on and the stretched bolts are relaxed.

This creates an exceptionally strong bond. In fact, this is the same process that is used to build railroad cars and heavy-duty trucks. The underside of the chassis/frame is covered with a single sheet of industrial plastic. This rugged polyethylene provides a shield that protects the underbelly of the chassis from dust and moisture.

COACH DESIGN

A composition of strand board, 2×2-inch wood studs, cut-to-fit foam-core insulation and Luan panel is vacuum laminated, creating a strong floor. On top, vinyl flooring and optional carpeting finishes the job.

The Jay Feather’s walls (sides, front and rear) and roof are all built using tubular aluminum frames, cut foam-block insulation and vinyl-covered Luan interior panels. The exterior is dressed with Filon fiberglass. These individual parts are sandwiched together and vacuum laminated. The walls are set on the perimeter of the floor and secured from the underside using metal screws. The walls are also tied together with metal screws at the corners.

The same process is also used to set the roof in place. Once the roof is anchored to where it should be, a single sheet of marine-grade thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) is applied with adhesive over a layer of Luan panel. The TPO is then wrapped over the sides of the walls and sealed to prevent the intrusion of moisture. Drip rails are added where needed. The structural design and construction of the Jay Feather make it an extremely strong, but lightweight, towable.

The holding tanks (gray, black and fresh) are underneath the floor and are well situated for function and weight balance when the tanks are filled. The freshwater tank is located below the dinette, the waste tank below the marine-style toilet and hallway, and the gray tank below the tub/shower and hallway.

Jay Feather LGT 25Z AMENITIES

The optional air conditioning (your choice of a 13,500- or a 15,000-BTU roof unit) is centrally ducted, with ceiling registers that deliver cool, refreshing air during the warmer months. The twin LPG tanks that fuel the furnace, two-way refrigerator/freezer, 6-gallon gas/electric DSI water heater and the three-burner cooktop (an oven is optional) feature an automatic changeover device. The Jay Feather is wired for 30-amp park power. A TV antenna, 110-volt exterior receptacle, 12-volt electric system with converter and 12-volt water pump are standard. An optional outside shower is available, as is a water purifier.

The underbelly is enclosed, but the holding tanks are not heated, so this is not a rig for winter camping in snow country. However, the Jay Feather’s R-5-rated walls, R-7-rated roof and floor, and 25,000-BTU ducted forced-air furnace (with auto-ignition and a wall thermostat) help provide a warm and inviting habitat for its occupants. The floorplan of the Jay Feather 25Z is functional and livable. There are two entrances that feature pullout steps and grab handles. The rear door permits entry into the galley and living area, and the front door permits entry into the bedroom. The sizable interior (92×292 inches) is opened up even more by the living-area sofa slide-out that measures 72×42 inches. Opposite the slide-out sofa is a bench-style dinette with under-the-bench storage. Both the sofa and dinette quickly convert into beds that, along with the 60×74-inch queen bed (which can be upgraded to include an innerspring mattress), provide sleeping accommodations for up to six people.

Forward of the sofa/dinette is a private bath that includes a marine-style toilet, shower, lavy/countertop/cabinet and a medicine cabinet. Across the center aisle from the head is a large wardrobe designed to accommodate a television. The forward bedroom features a queen bed, nightstands, cabinets and reading lights. Optional carpet can be added to the bedroom area.
The full-service galley at the rear is equipped with all of the appliances and features a busy camp chef demands. In addition to the refrigerator, cooktop, optional oven, and range hood with light and fan, an optional microwave can be ordered. The white acrylic double sink in the galley sits in a nearly unit-wide countertop along the rear wall. For the warmer months, you may want to consider using the optional outside grill and patio awning.

The Jay Feather’s exterior storage is located at the front of the unit and is coach-wide and pass-through. Optional slide-out storage tubs/trays (mounted on tracks) provide added convenience by allowing easy access to gear stowed deep within the trailer.

ROAD NOTES

We liked the road manners of the Jay Feather LGT 25Z. On the highway, we experienced no negative characteristics such as trailer sway (we did not use sway control on this setup). It registered a wet hitch weight of 700 pounds, so some vehicles will require a weight-distributing hitch to best tow this trailer. The Jay Feather was almost transparent under tow, except when we checked our truck’s mirrors. And the manageable size of the 25Z, in conjunction with the Quadrasteer (four-wheel-steering) system of the Chevy Silverado tow vehicle, made maneuvering into a campsite a no-brainer. With a full tank of fresh water (36 gallons) and propane in the twin LPGs, the 25Z tipped the scales at 4680 pounds. The unit could have carried another 1120 pounds of cargo before reaching the GVWR, meaning the Jay Feather can easily carry all the gear and cargo a family may want to bring.

Optional scissors-style stabilizer jacks are available for each corner. An item that Jayco doesn’t offer for this trailer— but one you may want to find through accessory manufacturers — is an electric tongue jack. Raising and lowering the tongue with the manual hand-crank was not a big deal, but electric jacks are much easier on the back and shoulders.

The spare tire is horizontally located on the underside of the tongue. This keeps it out of the way but within relatively easy access should it be needed. However, this is our one criticism of the Jay Feather. You need to be cautious when entering or exiting a driveway, making sure that the spare tire does not bottom out on the road below. The bottom line, however, is that for a reasonable price (under $20,000), your family can enjoy all the benefits of RV camping, while, in most cases, still using your existing SUV or pickup to manage the light load implied by the Jay Feather name.

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