Resurrecting Dinosaurs – Influencing RV Design Changes
We all have different styles that reflect our individual ways. To me, style is a continuous visual representation of our personalities. It’s shown in the way we dress, how we wear our hair, which car we drive, how we decorate our home and even in the technology that we use. In general I feel we have a wide variety of style choices with most things in life.
However, when it comes to RV designs and technology the options are extremely limited and have been for a long time. To me everything seems the same, no matter who the manufacturer is. The big question is, how do we as consumers influence the manufacturers to create more variety?
We feel communication is the key and we started this Resurrecting Dinosaurs project hoping to get the conversation started.
If you were to head over to an RV dealership right now and look at 4 different class A motorhomes, it would be hard to tell one manufacturer apart from another. Below in no particular order are the Fleetwood Excursion, Thor Palazzo, Tiffin Allegro RED and Newmar Ventana. With the branding removed, I think they all look like they came from the same factory and the same design team.
Why is there no variety? Why are the styles essentially all the same? Why only market to one style of buyer?
Variety is the spice of life and right now, vanilla is the only RV style option, or as we like to say Beige on Beige. This infographic represents five popular design styles and if you ask me, most RV’s on the market fall into the traditional category, especially class A motorhomes.
At the beginning of our Resurrecting Dinosaurs project we posted basic (and somewhat random) RV design questions to see how others felt and to make sure we weren’t the only ones craving a change. The results are below and they aren’t the least bit surprising to us, sadly the traditional style that’s currently available in the RV market isn’t what everyone wants:
Freedom is a word often associated with the RV lifestyle and yet RV technology is set up is to be plugged in at an RV park. The standard RV park is the absolute last place we want to be. Sure the occasional full service resort or campground can be a welcome change, but we got into this lifestyle so that we could be off the cord and in the wild! Which is exactly how we set up our RV Technology and Modifications.
To us, RVing is a way to travel where we want…when we want, with no reservations required and doing it with all the comforts of home! It was no surprise we weren’t alone in this desire either. We believe the modern day RV’er wants a more nimble and versatile coach under 35ft that is a minimum pre-wired for off the cord use. Things like solar power, better batteries, big freshwater tanks and connectivity shouldn’t be aftermarket…they should be options.
Our Design Experience
We started this project by going through the custom order process on a new 2016 Bounder 33C. While the coach is a test unit that we temporarily lease, Fleetwood allowed us to go through the full process and film a fair amount of it.
From the moment we drove off the lot we started providing feedback on not only our designs and technology but the overall performance and livability of the coach. Fleetwood took the feedback seriously and started implementing changes right away. A few months later they let us know we should see a fair amount of our feedback show up on the 30th Anniversary Bounder. Sweet! Here is what we found:
Big Kudos to them for being sincerely interested in the feedback and making upgrades and adjustments so quickly! There are other additional upgrades and design changes we didn’t feature in the video, but the ones we touched on were our favorites and ones we voiced opinions about.
As for our modern design desires…I don’t think you’ll be seeing any major changes from Fleetwood (or any other manufacturer) on interior or exterior looks anytime soon.
The most exciting part of building this test coach for us was the technology they allowed us to put in it. It was a risk for them as most of it is all new and nothing they had ever tested before. We are happy to report that all of our technology has worked out brilliantly and Fleetwood has taken note. I don’t think you will start to see many offerings right away, but the design and engineering team is working on ways to implement some of our technology. However, I do see solar pre-wire as a standard option in the (very) near future and possibly much more impressive battery options on the high end coaches that should slowly trickle down to the rest of their RVs.
Did we want to see more change? Of course! Did we expect it? No way. While we feel they value the feedback we give I don’t believe it is enough to make a big impact, at least not for the about to launch 2017 models. I do feel we have helped create small meaningful changes with Fleetwood, and we can only hope other RV manufacturers have been keeping an eye on this project and taking note. If we want the big changes…we are all going to have to get incredibly vocal.
Voice Your Opinion!
We believe the best way to influence change is to voice your opinion. Making your voice heard without a clear place to do so is a challenge, but it’s not impossible. Contact your manufacturer of choice with your opinions, and then for the biggest impact, contact a dealer with similar requests! The dealer is the most important one of all to communicate with. Why? The dealer is the manufacturer’s customer. The dealer is also who makes the requests and buys the RVs from the manufacturer. If the dealer requests specific changes, technology and a wider variety of styles, we are much more likely to see those changes out on the showroom floor! Does that make sense? The dealer is the one that orders from the Mfr so they are the ones with the most “design power”.
Post on their social media pages (share this post), write letters, email, call or chat with them at RV Shows. Remember to be kind, brief, realistic and to the point. Nobody wants to read, much less pass along, a negative three page report to a high level executive. We’d recommend starting with a compliment and going from there: We like your design and floorplans best but we’d really like to see xxxxxx because it will allow us to xxxxxx. You get the point 🙂
What are your thoughts? Do you have any ideas on how to influence design changes? What’s your dream RV look like and what technology would you have? Share in the comments below.
I cannot believe that not one person here, even mentioned the one thing that drives me completely up the wall…the added weight & wasted space of these long sofas? I haven’t even purchased my 1st RV yet, but this is one of the things I see in almost all the classes of RV’s…I have to ask, “Why?” I don’t want to have to rearrange the furniture on the inside, because you really can’t, because of the placement of windows in them. Ditch the big sofa & either give me one recliner or a loveseat. It amazes me that even on most class B’s they still had a huge sofa…I mean it isn’t like most RVer’s are going to be entertaining that many people inside their RV’s; most of that happens around a campfire. That is my biggest beef. These are the things I really want, besides the LED lighting, solar options, etc…I want a bed that doesn’t have to be put away during the day; give me enough drawers in the kitchen & Bedroom area; a small slide-out pantry; enough closet space, so if I decide to go full-time; NO WET BATH, but rather a shower, with a built-in seat; stove & oven (not convection, whatever); a small microwave, all already built-in; NO skylights anywhere, as eventually they will leak; a roof that doesn’t leak. Like a lot of other people asked for, a neutral color when it comes to furnishings window covers, etc. I suppose I’ll never own an RV, because I don’t think anyone can get the idea to ditch that huge sofa idea!!
we ditched ours in our fifth wheel and hubby is putting a double computer area across the rear wall, also ditched the dinette and lowered the folding counter at the end of kitchen counter, just big enough for 2. we bought used and older for these reasons. 1. everything had to be usable on the road and if we had to bring slides in (weather, etc) 2. had to have good size tanks. 3. not a deal breaker but we wanted a heavy frame. we travel blackhills a lot. fifthwheel has massive 21″ I-beams and a completely enclosed belly. also our ac is house type underneath heat pump, so no ac on roof. so far I am loving it as it is our “forever” home.
THANK YOU for trying to convince the industry that with the popularity of RV (or, non-traditional) lifestyles that us younger gen will eventually DEMAND that they make more sleek, modern, and simple exterior and interior design! The industry is changing, and getting younger, so hoping your influence – and all of our influence – will make this change happen sooner rather than later! Thanks for all you do!
Jason the Saj
I’ve been looking at RVs as of late, and a number of issues stand out to me.
Firstly, as RV’s age, it seems that the roof is the area of most issue. Particularly, on Class C RVs. I look at the roofs of RVs and there are like half a dozen puncture items in the roof. AC/Heater, etc. And I am left wondering why the roofs are not entirely single piece unpunctured roofs? It would reduce leaking dramatically. Much of what RVs utilize the top of the roof for could be accomplished via internal ducting out the back, mounting the AC units on the rear of the vehicle and venting.
Second, I am looking at it for a possible lifestyle of a divorced dad. Where I may go from 1 person to 4 people. I really like the bunkhouse models, and the overhead bunks, as these would let my son be able to sleep in the overhead bunk and my girls in the bunkhouse portion. But what I don’t understand is why there are so few designs that are multi-use? Space is dedicated to a single use and I often wonder why.
Check out this and several other companies that make amazing furniture that transforms.
Third, wasted space. TV’s, TV’s and more TV’s. These waste so much space. Now hear me out. I have an old conversion van. I recently bought an LG cell phone when I switched to T-Mobile. It came with a rebate for a free minibeam projector (bluetooth, wifi phone mirroring, battery, and more). I mounted the projector in my van and now have a 65″ screen.
Some of these new short-throw LED projectors are amazing. Seriously, ditch the TVs. These projectors could provide a much bigger and better movie experience for RVs. Heck, a whole side blind could become like a 120″ movie screen. With a little implementation, the awning could be modified to have a drop down screen. One’s RV could become a giant movie theater experience. These new LED projectors are tiny, have 30,000 hour bulbs. I literally have one mounted on my bedroom door using a curtain rod holder. It’s about the size of two coke cans side by side.
Fourth, us younger gen, and the next few gens are more and more about self-sufficiency. Why so long to convert over to 12-volt LED lighting, solar panels, etc?
Fifth, and one of the BIGGEST problems I see with RV’ing. RV’s are big, they don’t fit in most parking spots. Sure, you can have a tow-behind vehicle. How does that affect ride and handling? Fuel efficiency? Aerodynamics? I’ve joked that I am amazed an RV company hasn’t partnered with Smart Cars and built mini garage mounts on the back. Lower ramp. Hook a secure line. Back up Smart Car on to ramps. Lift and lock. Then one could feel that they could travel and camp out somewhere, but be able to ride into town easily. No more renting or dragging a car. But even that is outdated thought. With EV’s, range extenders, etc. Imagine a hybrid RV in which the generator and electric drive assist can simply disconnect and off go a few passengers. One day…
But back to ideas…
Lost count, I am rambling….guess I should buy a Rambler. But anyways, PRIVACY. Why do so few RV’s feature pocket doors?
Another space saving concept. Daytime/Nighttime mode. Daytime, we need stoves, couches, tables, etc. Nighttime we need beds, sleeping spaces, etc. While yes, couches fold into beds, and tables too. But what if all that could be condensed. And then the RV could transform almost into a 2-bedroom unit, or even 3-bedrooms?
These are just the thoughts that pop into my head as an outsider looking in….
Yes it’s totally frustrating, but there are improvements out there if you look long enough. Some smaller Class B motorhomes make very clever use of space using Murphy beds and other convertible furniture. Safari Treks and a few other Class A models have beds that lower from the living room ceiling, giving you much more living space during the day without making you “convert” a dinette to a bed in the evening. And there are some really clever bunkhouse RV conversions where people have figured out how to fold the bunks up during the day or convert part of the space to office or desk space, etc. By and large manufacturers are beginning to switch over to LED lights and more USB ports. They’ve been slow to respond but we’re getting there.
Hi guys I just found your site and I am truly enjoying your videos. My husband and I have just started looking for our first RV. We are only goingto be part timers for now. I am looking forward to trips that include the grandson. I agree with how dated the RVs we have seen are. There is not much difference in newer vs models a few years old. The one thing I would like to see is some safety upgrades like rear passenger seating that would be safe for kids.
I look forward to following your sea adventurers –
How did you guys become RV “testers” & “reviewers”? I would have quite a few suggestions for the RV manufacturers if they would listen. Many RV’s in the US haven’t really changed all that much in their interior styles since the 80’s. People often appear as if they’re wowed by a new gadget or item in RV’s even though the same exact items or options have been in cars and commercial vehicles for over 10 to 20 years.
In any case, I would love to travel the US in a nice RV like you do. I just don’t think I could afford to get the class standard of RV’s I’ve seen you driving.
Good luck in your transition to the boat.
I just discovered your site this morning. Love it! My husband and I began our Airstream journey in November (2015) and are committed to a one year adventure. We have had the same conversation so many times…what is with the dated styles available in the class A motorhomes. We had a class A when our kids, now grown, were in bands, and showing horses. We were looking for practicality not aesthetics. Now, I love the cool, modern sleek vibe of our 2013 Airstream International Sterling. It really seems that Airstream is the only one to really get the idea. I love this topic and am very interested in opinion about it.
Literally, they are the only ones on a corporate scale making tasteful designs. Its sad to say that, but it’s how I feel too.
I just watched your finished Bounder design video. You guys did a great job. It seems that change in the industry will be slow. Maybe as the younger generation ages they will finally be forced to cater to a hipper demographic. Full discloser: I’m not an ageist I’m 52, but like yourself, love the simple design choices. I long to see IkEA step into the inside of a class A.
I’m curious about your choice of a class A versus a travel trailer such as an Airstream? The reason I ask is that I have found myself having wine with camping neighbors, and sitting in their coaches, thinking to myself that our Airstream could fit inside their class A. It is definitely a conscious decision to give up space for aesthetics. As I study the neighbors rigs, I can’t help but think that I am okay with the sacrifice. The smooth, modern lines and the fishbowl windows, make it all worth it to me. Have you guys ever been tempted to go the Airstream route? After having a class A years ago and now towing a trailer, I don’t think I feel that it is much easier towing a car behind a big coach or a trailer behind a truck. I am curious, is size of the interior your main concern?
I find myself obsessed with the iconic, and consistent shape of the AS. I completely geeked out when we had a tour of the factory while our camper was being serviced. I am inspired by the efforts to go green and source local parts etc. that AS is committed to. Have you ever toured the AS factory?
Hey guys, as a European follower of the Wynns and hopefully (=soon-to-be) owner of a US 36ft motorhome, I’d like to voice my opinion on the praise for European models that’s been voiced here.
The way Hymer and other European manufactures build their RVs is fundamentally different from the American ones. Here in Europe a normal drivers license is limited to vehicles with a GVWR below 3.5tons. So the manufactures need to focus on building vehicles lighter than that. And this results in very low payloads, weak engines and frames. The reason you don’t find many European models older than 10 years here is because they just don’t last that long.
Of course the insides do feature lots of usefull features and practical design, however if you look closer you find low quality materials and cheap (but light) plastics that are not made to last. If you wanted to get a real high quality European RV you’ll have to go to Concorde or Niesmann+Bischof and be prepared to pay more than 200.000USD for a brandnew one. For that price you can get a US RV that features slideouts and probably double the room…
Look at the used US RVs… sure they need double the fuel, but even 15 to 20 years at age they are strong and durable, featuring real truck chassis and truck tires that can handle the load easily…
just my opinion… cheers, Matt
We are about to go the custom trailer route because of all of the design and tech issues you have mentioned. We can’t find a motorhome the right size that suits our needs. We boondock and work on the road, and while we are in our early 60s, we want sleek modern style too! We want a small, cleverly designed space that is light and bright without those heavy dark wood cabinets! How about about 16″ of space between the cooktop and the sink?
T C Spencer
Wynns – What is the manufacter and the model of your smart tow car? Thanks!
Jason & Nikki; I took a look at your Smart car and thought, not a bad idea for a tow behind an RV. However, I find that flat towing is not recommend on this vehicle. I also heard of the problems with wheel shake and that two bungee cords would fix that problem. So, what is the real story?
We love our smart car and it has been a great toad! You can see how we tow our car and more on the RVin page (click the tow car button): https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/rvin
You guys are great. Very helpful. One thing I can’t stand about RVs are the massive swirling graphics on the exteriors. What is up with that? Does it hide flaws or something? It looks ridiculous.
I agree, Michele. They started with one swoop, like Nike tennis shoes, and have now gone into total over-swoop insanity. Hideous. Give me a nice classic one color with a contrasting stripe, or a one color on top, different color on the bottom, like an old bus.
The largest RV company in the world, Erwin Hymer Group, has just purchased Roadtrek, the Canadian Class B company, and will be expanding production in Kitchener, Ontario in order to enter the North American market with European Class A, B, and C motorhomes and small camping trailers adapted for North America. I think this is where you might find some of the changes you desire in terms of design. I am skeptical that very much change will come soon from current manufacturers to address your desires. I am not someone associated with this, just a current Roadtrek owner…
Take a look at their European brands and various model RVs and see if they are something you are looking for…
I LOVE Hymer RVs. Can’t wait to see what they build for the US market.
I fully agree with you and so many of your readers that RV design should be more varied and updated. It’s interesting to see commenters name the Winnebago as having a newer design. I had just noticed the same thing when we attended an RV show recently!
Thanks for trying, but American Class A RV are pathetically prehistoric even with major cosmetic makeovers. Even if there’s hope that Hymer, which recently acquired Roadtrek, will introduce more design-oriented Class A vehicles, it will take a quantum leap for North Americans customers to understand that they are still in the Flintstone era. See the Niesmann+Bischoff (part of the Hymer group) vehicles http://www.niesmann-bischoff.com/en/158/139
Went to the Denver RV Show today. We were shocked by the advancements we saw in the interior design of the Winnebago View. It was sleek with clean lines–a first for me to see in an American RV other than Airstream (which I own). Kudos to them for FINALLY getting outside the “grandma’s house” box.
I am new to the whole RV experience and recently bought a 21 ft travel trailer that I refurbished myself. During this experience I too noticed the granny design interior and I took down the awful valances and border wallpaper. I also recovered the dinette cushions. I will eventually move up to a motor home and after much study I have the following questions about the interior design.
1. How can anyone prepare a meal in the kitchen on such little counter space?
2. Does anybody really use the RV shower. How can a woman wash her hair thoroughly?
1. Question for the Wynn”s: where do you keep your litter box.
I also like the idea of a desk with a roll top design so you c an hide your clutter.
These questions might seem silly, but I am considering retiring and traveling the country in a Motor home.
Thanks for your good work.
Thank you so much for continuing to work on this project, and others. Putting all these opinions and information out in the open, constructively instead of as a rant, is much more enjoyable to read through and I get to learn useful stuff in the process.
You know, all you have to do is look at the offerings the aftermarket market RV equipment folks have in their catalogues and you get an idea of where the RV manufacturing industry could look for a laundry list of ways to improve their products to more closely match the needs and desires of the consumer.
The (my) rant – I live in the Pacific Northwest, not far from the Ocean. I bought my 2010 C, (23 foot) locally.
It was promoted as being up to the task of long trips, 3 season operation with small changes making it suitable for 4 seasons. My wife and I wanted the smaller rig so we could easily travel back roads, transport the kayaks, camp in smaller no service sites, store it more easily at home, visit places where larger rigs wouldn’t fit, etc. In many respects this rig has been just fine. Well, we did learn to never ever purchase a new rig just coming out of a financial recession. 2010 rig with sub components from all the way back to ’05 according to date codes!
The “fail” part has been what seems to be typical with the industry since the ’80’s when we transitioned from tenting to hard side RVing….moss grows in the marker lights, water leaks due to workmanship issues, tires and suspension inadequate for long distance or off pavement travel, ground clearance inadequate, designed more as a tailgate party rig than something to live in and use as a base camp, carrying capacities ridiculessly small considering intended usage (650 pounds), factory headlights poor – self leveling headlights would be better suited to a vehicle with lots of rear overhand and a changing load profile (don’t say older folks don’t drive at night – in December we only have 6 hours of daylight and it’s overcast alot of the year too), water systems that freeze up in fall and spring (I expect and plan for this in winter), window designs from the 1970’s for sealing and insulation, using putty tape to seal joints and seams during construction (not practical in the NW), converters that boil batteries, house battery charge rates too low for the batteries supplied, under hook-ups dispersed throughout the coach instead of concentrated in one area, unsecure plastic laden door locks, door strikes that don’t engage if the coach is on uneven ground….I’m sure your list is even longer. I would have thought the industry would plan to address all these little things by now.
In my mind, why should I have to search out and purchase a purpose built expedition rig when a very nice import car delivers many of the above items for a very reasonable price? I know, size presents it’s problems for determining price. But, why continue to use components that aren’t up to the task or performance expectation standards? My point is, even the economy auto models have successfully addressed the fit and finish issues – why can’t the RV industry do the same.
I am glad that you did point out the answer to this question in your video. For the RV industry to address these issues the consumer has to ask for resolution and vote with their dollars and feet. This is a point that is often lost on our culture as we seek out the best value in our purchases. Unfortunately, if we want innovative vehicles we have to look abroad. Hmmm, sounds like another call for a great road trip!
Oh, great they took you up on the power driver seat and cup holder BTW. Now, why can’t they incorporate the smart dash module with GPS, TPM, MPG, miles to empty, system operating information, compass, inside and outside temps, a trip odometer that registers more than 999 miles, and all the other goodies that go in the mid level cars and trucks?
So, how about you set up a “design your own” RV page, big pick and choose list, poll the page every so often and see how people have been voting, then sell this info to the manufacturers…
Hello, we haven’t even taken delivery of our new motorhome yet (2 more weeks to go), but I have been making suggestions to the manufacturer already. One feature that I thought would be an easy one for a manufacturer to include is to provide a valve manifold that would allow the connection of a water softener to the water supply line. I am sure that once we get on the road we will come up with lots of other ideas. Your website is a great way to foster innovation for this industry. You will be missed when you set sail for distant shores, starting on your next adventure!
I agree wholeheartedly. I think the reason is the perception that all manufacturers are competing for the same market. Also, so many RV’s are spec’d by dealers, putting what THEY think will sell on their lots. Option choices are pretty narrow. Tiffin claims that they build no rigs without an order but, the problem is that Dealers order most of them. If by some change they were all custom, there would be a lot more variables.
Thanks for all you have and are doing for the RV customer. I live near an RV dealer that handles a well known, high quality manufacturer. A competitor has what I consider to be a perfect floor plan, with innovative interior design and features, not found on the models at my local dealer. I stopped in one day with a printed floor plan from the competitor. Their manufacturer’s district rep, was visiting the dealer and I got to talk him for quite some time. He bragged about their product line, quality and the dealer’s reputation for best customer service etc. I showed him the competitor’s floor plan and pointed out the features his models did not have i.e. dual pane windows, double hidden bunk above drivers area, sliding doors on in living room (to close off for use as a second bedroom when needed), dining table with large windows on passenger side (look out onto YOUR campsite, not your neighbors), full fiberglass roof, windows on two walls of bedroom for better ventilation, two entries to the bathroom (from bedroom and hall), remote control for leveling jacks, slides, awning and exterior lights, to name a few. I wrote notes on the competitors floor plan print out and gave it to the district sales manager. He said he would bring it up to the design team when he got back to the factory. At least he understood my requests and reasons for them, and was willing to bring them back to “headquarters”. Since it will be a 2-4 years before I purchase, I hope they will have incorporated some of the competitors designs into the next generation of their motorhomes. So I have voiced my opinions, wants, desires and needs. Hopefully we will have an influence!
1000000% we agree with you!
Why not offering more useful options? That’s sounds crazy… We hope changes come as our plans is to upgrade our 2012 Bounder around 2019…. But only if we can find useful items on the new model otherwise why change?
Also about what you said to talk to the dealers…. We tried…. Many times but at least for us they always looks like to be much more interested in selling what they have on their lot than listen our needs. Apparently saying to a dealer Sales person about ordering a “special order coach” is something like booking a trip to Mars!! They find millions of problems and give you the most absurd prices if compared with the units they have “in stock”…. This battle will be not easy my friends but united we will succeed!!!!
Wow how do you guys find the time to kick out these articles so quickly? Excellent work also. I wonder how hard it would be to make an RV that separates from the body so you drive just the front end around instead of needing a tow car. I love the incinerating idea with the waste option, with filtration on the exhaust no fumes or stink, you would dump a pile of ashes once every 6 months maybe. Such great ideas you guys have. i wonder what it would cost to start a RV company and be Wynns RV’s, I’m sure millions but i bet you would easily get some some investors if you set your minds to it and was something you wanted. That would change the entire industry.
You guys are doing a great service to many people. Thanks for all your hard work.
William (Bill) Weaver
The RV industry, like the auto industry, has to design, build, and price to sell popups to pushers to the demographics that they serve. A camel is a horse designed by committee. The people that are designing off-grid, small, multipurpose spaces and efficient RVs are and will continue to make an impact on what we want and buy. So far as interior and exterior colors and design, I prefer earth tones and not fancy. When I’m camping, I don’t want to be inside the Trump penthouse and the outside looking like a modern art painting. I must be in the minority because it was hard to find a Class A that didn’t look like that. We should let the RV makers know what we want. If they hear it enough, they will build it. Remember when cars didn’t have cup holders?
This would be great f the RV industry cared about customers. They should have questionnaires when you buy new, what do you like / dislike. Use that great resource! We have talked to many dealers and they say the same thing when we ask the question , ” why do they do . . .” The manufactures don’t listen to customer concerns. They rely on our love for the lifestyle and the fact that what choice do we have!
Been watching your videos and reading your blogs for awhile. They are all well done very informative.
The ‘technology’ part above with the options list is just great. I’m thinking that the rv manufacturers are going to take that information and run with it. I’ll bet that some of them are in the board rooms with their R&D folks discussing tooling right now. Two years…you’re going to see a “Wild Camping Package” option. No doubt. Maybe even next summer. I’m surprised that the toy-haulers aren’t set up like that already. Those folks seem to get ‘out in the wild’ much more.
The 2016 TT we just purchased is built in the Pacific Northwest for the Pacific Northwest. It is pretty much set up out of the factory for “Wild Camping”. Beefed up suspension and chassis, shocks on all four wheels, pre-wired for solar, solar panel mounted of roof for batteries, wood filled aircraft aluminum framing and VERY well insulated.. It just didn’t have a generator. Don’t know why it wasn’t an option for our model but that was easily resolved by purchasing a 4k.
Thanks for what you folks do, especially sharing your information and experience with solar. I’m running with that!!!
I hate that garbage that they plaster on the sides of all the A’s
Thank God for Airstream and a few others.
Want good style? Go to Europe.
I think your coach looks 100% better then the standard coaches designed for the public. My husband and I looked for 20 years every year at our local RV shows. My biggest turn off was what I call the Granny look. I admit RV manufactures have come a long way taking out the coloured plastic inserts and wild flower patterns etc.. That said I have never understood the contrast extra fabric on the valances, for that matter why have a Valance in fabric. In the end every year we looked and almost bought, then I was seeing myself changing so much of the interior I realized I had not found the right RV for us. We live in BC Canada, and ended up purchasing our first RV in the Seattle Wa. area. Our choice was an Airstream because of the sleek plain look inside and out. We have an International 25′ FB. The outside look is as important to us as the interior is. We like the silver colour with nothing else on it. We won’t even put the red numbers on. We pull our trailer with a black ram and it looks great. Inside we have dark cabinets, chocolate brown leather upholstery, silver walls, and light wood grain floor. Very simple clean lines which makes the inside of our trailer look huge. I love the fact we do not have valances. In fact a huge factor in design that seems to be missed by all manufactures including Airstream is design, function and cleaning. It just so happened we have ended up living in our Airstream while we build our dream home and have been on the road this winter to California and Arizona. The dust we have encountered in the desert areas is not just on the floors, so having the aluminium walls inside has made wiiping down the ceilings and walls a breeze. If you have fabric walls and valances and carpet can you really get them clean? Did I mention we are also traveling with three dogs which also creates a cleaning nightmare if you have fabric upholstery or light colour upholstery and carpet. My complain to Airstream would be the light wood grain vinyl floor they use on almost all the styles. The vinyl has grains in it which require a scrub brush and a lot of elbow grease to get the dirt out of the grooves, plus the vinyl is so soft our floor is full o holes that look like black spots. It’s too bad you did not get the floor in your bedroom and surely they can find a way to have floor on the slide outs. I also agree the cabinets should be much plainer in design. Simple shaker cabinets would look much better, and a more modern colour choice or go dark rich brown tones. A modern colour like painted grey would look great as an alternative to white. Love reading all you have learned and all about your adventures. It’s possible when we get in our 80’s we will be switching to a small motor home rather then towing if my husband who is older can’t manage the long drives. I hope by then we can find a smaller motor home that has the couch and fireplace layout you have in a motor home between 26 and 30 feet that also has no valances and very clean lines and plainer decor.
I’m a big fan of what Winnebago has done with the Tribute/Brave. It may be Retro, but it hits many nice styling notes for me. Throw in all of the cool things like hidden TV’s and foldable couches. I wish the quality issues plaguing Winnebago didn’t exist, but I really hope that coach does well.. it’ll be huge for steering the industry in a much better direction.
Oh, yeah. I forgot some things (does that ever happen to you?). An option for diesel everything*. I realize that it may not be for everyone, but it sure works for me….
*There are kerosene fridges, but no diesel fridges. I haven’t researched this, but one would think if any old fuel would work, then the manufacturers would mention it. Also, there are incinerating toilets that are diesel fuelled, but not really optimized for RV use. This, to me, seems to be an excellent possible solution.
Interesting to see that what I want is what most folks that filled out this survey want. Just to reiterate a few of the things on my list: as small as possible, white outside (how on earth did we ever get to these dark, dark heat absorbing designs?), desk, opening back to accept cargo such as kayaks, bikes, junior’s stuff for college etc., desk, lots of seating with seatbelts for taking visitors out the see the Kinsol Trestle (insert your excuse for carrying lots of folks around from time to time), designs with very cold and very hot weather in mind, and modern (Scandanavian in my case) interiors. Did I mention a desk?
Thanks so much for All you do for us RVer types . So sorry to see it come to an end for you
when do you have to turn in your rig ?
We have been looking for a Class A RV that is under 29′ and want a queen size bed that you can walk around that does not have the corner of the bed cut off. We do not care for the RVs where the bed folds on itself when the bedroom slide is put back in. We went to the RV show a few weeks back and the manufacturer’s are putting KING size beds in most of the smaller RVs. A small RV needs the all the storage space you can get and a King size bed is a waste of space. I asked the sales person why it does not have a queen size bed because that would give more room for storage. Being a typical sales person the reply was “because people want the king beds.” I find that hard to believe when storage is a premium in a small RV! Hopefully, someone in the RV industry will read your comments as well as other people’s comments and take them to heart.
I have been trying to catch up on your adventures and want to thank you for making them so enjoyable!
Nikki and Jason you have been doing a great job looking at all aspects of Rving. I cannot wait to see what you will do on the sea. A little play on words.
Robert "Smitty" Smith
Oops, you don’t say ” nailed it” sorry ! Tee hee!
Robert "Smitty" Smith
One more note, all of your responses are most excellent! Just saying, you have a great group of people. Just hope I can gleen from them and you as well, before I buy!
Robert "Smitty" Smith
So far, you are headed in the right direction. We are looking hard for our first purchase betwixt a Class C and a Super C Ford/Dodge diesel,( because there are plenty of mechanics to work on either) and with some really good changes coming down the pike, we are excited in the prospects. Our best idea has been addressed in solar power. I think Nexus and Thor are also headed in the right direction, besides observing everyone seems to like LED lighting, which brings them into the 21st century, best part is the lighting in the canopies! Next, the solid and profound way they are stabilizing the roof as one piece and the top, bending over the edges. Rather than having a seam, ie: a squared edges, so leaking is stopped or limited into the walls. Coating the under carriage is another idea I have noticed, if not on all, it should be. Also better insulation and double paned windows along with plenty of back up power, the Conan, 3000 up to 12000 gens., I am not into towing though I like the idea of a licensed four wheeled golf cart. Charging its battery by Solar, (my idea,) as you go towing it, down the road. Light weight, no gas, even a trailer would be unnoticed. I love your wife, especially when you guys close with ” Nailed It”. Can you discuss insurance, who does and doesn’t? Best type of financing. Of course cash rules. What to expect on pricing discount. I read, listen too, that discounts start at the msrp, from 25-30% off pricing, which really helps, also better discounts at trade shows! What have you found?
We got our 30th anniversary Bounder in Nov and the primary reason was following your feedback. We were lucky to order directly from Fleetwood so got the table with the buffet style cabinets. Still wish they could get rid of those bulky decorative pillows in the bedroom but overall we live it. We are now full-time living on the coast in Half Moon Bay?
Thank you for all your work and efforts on this, I think it is awesome! As we plan for our retirement we are having a heck of a time finding something that we like and think would work for us. We would like better unplugged performance, simpler design and a shorter coach. And why can’t I have one that is all black on the outside; I always wanted to be a rock star! Next week we will be in Texas at that really big dealer and although they have a huge selection it does not take long before they all start to look alike. We will miss you two greatly when you start your next grand adventure!
Not sure if you guys noticed, but in your earlier video you spoke about upgrading the water pump on your 2015 Bounder. The 2016 has the newer style pump so you don’t get the stop-start water flow.
We have been living in a camper for 3 years. First a 38 foot Newmar, now a 40 foot fifth wheel. As part of the minimalist experience, I have learned to live with a few things that I can’t stand – like fabric shades, ornate decorative wood, chunky wood tables and fabric covered window valences. Gah! Any time we visit a showroom or an RV show I tell the sales people that they need pass along to the designers that changes are in order! They all say the same thing – you will be happy to know that now we have a woman on our design team…Hmmm. Well, she either she has bad taste too, or you are not listening to her.
I would love to use more solar and wind power. I wish I had a small dishwasher and I will be adding a washer/dryer soon.
I don’t care so much about the outside but the inside needs a lot of style update. Funeral home decor is out. Hunting. Fishing. Beach. More likely to attract young and middle aged RV users. Gas and electricity options. Two toilets. All season package for those who work on the road.
Wow. We thought we were the only ones who wanted desk space, and to keep gas options for fridge and stove (based on two 2016 RV shows, everyone else wants electric only — for both), and to keep length under 40′. So thankful to hear we are not alone, and inspired to let our voices be heard. Thanks for setting up the soapbox for us!
Nice work! I have installed a marine grade Dickenson fire place in my motor coach about a year ago. It is the biggest improvement for off the grid living I have made & I have made many. The marine fire place is safe, saves a huge amount of propane over traditional heaters and uses only the slightest amount of 12v to run the fan. This should be an option on all RV’s. If you have not checked into this heating method you should.
Thanks for helping to make changes in the way motor coaches are being mass produced.
I really enjoyed this and I can’t agree more.
There is simply no excuse for there not being some far reaching design options – these things are not rocket science.
If you need a real desk space, lets say for two 28inch monitors so you can travel work, travel, edit and so one then there is simply no reason for anyone to be able to design that in, it’s only a truck at the end of the day and the floor plan designs are simple to do – the fit, finish and detail is where their work should really shine.
But these days unless you do that work yourself, you have to go to the very high end to get what you want.
Your work on the Solar power has been fantastic!! and again I cannot believe the makers don’t offer a stunning array of options in this regard. You can but solar solutions right off the shelf most places now and not just RV specialists.
The work you’ve done, the things you’ve shown have been outstanding and with fun thrown in.
I for one wish you weren’t leaving to go sailing!!!!!!!!
PS I hate the paint and decal options – I’d respray the thing straight out of the factory. Your coach, your paint!!
I enjoyed the article regarding design and innovation. I rented a motorhome in France and while very small they are offer more modern design than the traditional old school raised oak , wall / windows and floor coverings. I searched for something with that broke with tradition and found the Coachman Avant Gard and they made only one of them and I am the lucky owner. The front engine diesel (Fred) 34 Ft unit was built as a 2010 and like being in a luxury yacht with curved cabinets , two bathrooms , fantastic bedroom and great use of space. Unfortunately when forest river purchased coachman they did not want to be that innovative and unique and elected done to built this unit. Sad as I can’t find anything to replace it.