Meet Lance

Well, it’s official. We’re in our new RV! And now that we’ve met him, we’ve decided to name him “Lance”.

Stef sent out a first picture on our Facebook page when we first met him at the factory. If you didn’t see that picture here it is:

Lance Stef James Russ

That’s Russ with us at the Winnebago factory.   Russ is the Winnebago Product Manager (and fellow Travato ower) who has been helping us through this build.  But before that, we stopped in at Lichtsinn RV to fill out paperwork. We met Ron and his staff. They’re all super nice folks, and I’m completely envious of their RV video studio.

Stef James Ron

But at that point, there were still a few paint and touch up items to finish up. So check him out now! Here’s a few more.

Yellow Travato 2Yellow Travato 1Rear Doors OpenTravato Curb Side

We decided to paint the bumpers and grill a silver color. We’re no designers, but we think it ties in nicely with the stainless and aluminum elements on the coach. Personally, I think it looks more European – like a Vespa scooter or something.

So, as with any new rig, at this point, we’re still figuring out the best way to do things.  Where to store this and that, where to put a trash can, that kind of thing.  But I can update you on a couple items.

The Composting Toilet

We’ve survived our first experiences with the composting toilet!  We had absolutely no experience with them before, and all I can say is that it’s a non-event.  If you can use a toilet – you can use a composting toilet.   The only “maintenance” item we’ve had to do with it was to add the composting starter medium. Here I am doing just that. The toilet comes with a brick of coco coir. I just put it in a bucket with two quarts of water and waited until I could crumble it up (it puffs up kind of like a sponge).

James and Coco Coir

Then you dump it in the toilet and you’re done.

Now, we have no intention of trying to become “the other composting toilet couple.” We’re not trying to save the planet, and our reasons for getting the composting toilet are strictly practical; namely, saving tank space and conserving fresh water in a small RV.  But I can tell you that, so far at least, everything you’ve heard about composting toilets seems to be true.

It defies logic, but there’s really no odor. Not even the odor of holding tank chemicals.  None.  The only thing you might notice is from the vinegar solution you can spray down the bowl with after use. Beyond that, there’s really no news. The teak platform Winnebago made to rest the toilet on works great. The fan is installed properly as well, and runs all the time; but it’s so quiet, you don’t notice it. Not much more to say than that. It’s a toilet.

The Bike Garage

We’ve already taken Lance to his first bike race.  Stef and I participated in the Bicycle Blues & Barbeque races in Clear Lake, Iowa this past weekend.  As a race-day companion, the Travato performed wonderfully. Here I am taking my bike out of the below-bed storage area.

Bike Storage

If you want some attention at a bike race, show up in a bright yellow RV with your own bathroom.

We’ve got the room, but we’re still working out the best system for bike and wheel storage in the garage area. Eventually, we’ll get it completely dialed in. It took us a while to come up with a system in our last RV.

Rear Bike Rack

And speaking of bike storage, we’ve tried out the bike rack on the back. I don’t really intend to travel very much with the bikes up there – short rides on sunny days maybe – but it’s nice to have a place to store them that’s out of the way. (I still do lock them up – even though they’re 5 feet in the air).

The Bed

And remember, our bed is raised pretty high to make room for the bikes. How is that working out?

Penthouse Bed

Just fine.

Now, it does take a little effort to get up there. It’s not for everyone. And getting down is a leap of faith (literally).

James Jumping Down

But once you’re up there, our “penthouse” is extremely comfortable. I don’t know if it’s the mattress Winnebago uses, the Froli sleep system, or what, but we’ve both slept like rocks.  And we know it’s narrow, but we didn’t feel squashed at all.  (We still like each other… 🙂 )

Tomorrow morning, bright and early we’ll head out with Lance on the Driftless Adventure. Our first day’s itinerary features paddling and cycling. We’re looking forward to it.

I’m also hoping to conduct a few experiments over the next couple weeks – there will be other Travatos (Travatoes?  Travati?  Travatae?) around.  I won’t often have the opportunity to have similar RVs experiencing the same weather and itinerary, so I’m hoping to try a couple things.  Wish me luck.

James is a former rocket scientist, a USA Cycling certified coach, and lifelong fitness buff. When he's not driving the RV, or modifying the RV (or - that one time - doing both at once), you can find him racing bicycles, or building furniture, or making music. In his spare time, he's also an IT consultant.

    115 thoughts on “Meet Lance

    1. Paul Kaplan

      A year later, any updates on what you like and don’t like about the Travato? Is the little seat that is in front of the slider door, removable? I’ll never have a need to use that other bed and would rather have floor space for the dogs getting in and out.

      1. James - Post author

        Well, there’s not much we don’t like! I’m still making modifications (significant ones), so I’m not calling it done yet. We plan to do an “RV Tour” video sometime this summer.
        As far as that seat – it has to stay. It’s covering the fresh water tank!
        (But trust us – you’ll come to like the seat…)

    2. Steve Glaizer

      I’d like a Travato, but I’m 6’1″, barefoot, and long legged
      I can’t get comfortable in the drivers seat. It is also disappointing that the steering wheel does not tilt. Only telescope.
      Any ideas ?

      1. James - Post author

        Unfortunately, I don’t have any ideas for you. Not good ones, anyway. The cab area is pretty much standard Dodge. If you don’t fit in the Dodge, there’s not much Winnebago can do about it. Although – our plumber fits in one, and he’s pretty tall… Perhaps you could swap out the seat?

        1. James - Post author

          The bed was just one of the things Winnebago did for us – along with a bunch of others. We didn’t negotiate each item individually. So I can’t really say.

          But you’re right, in Europe, a layout like ours would be very common!

    3. Alvaro

      Hey! Congratulations on your new travato, is pretty darn nice, I’m so envy. Your page is so fun and fresh like summer nights.

      By the way, I was fooling around in YouTube recently and found a video called Airstream Interstate lemon, about a person who had every kind of troubles with his Interstate since day one, so I want to ask you about your opinion of the quality of Airstream couches versus roadtrek and winnebagos (I know, now you will be baised hahaha) in class b segment, who aré the best or least worst, and if you aré aware of quality issues to consider in the purchase.

      I’m worried because I’m from Mexico City and will be a major trouble to go to the dealership once in a while. I mean, when I buy my RV basically I’ll be on my own so it will be great to buy the best quality product.

      Best regrets and felicidades por su nuevo Travato! Saludos amigos

      1. James - Post author

        I’ve heard about the Airstream Interstate Lemon guy. But I’ve also heard from several folks who are completely happy with their Airstream coaches. I think anyone could make a bad product occasionally.

        We have not done a detailed review of an Airstream, so I can’t really say much about their level of quality versus other coaches. We try to focus on things that are positives in our reviews, so if something was a complete lemon, we probably just wouldn’t review it. Sorry we can’t be more help on the Airstreams!

    4. Ted

      I just watched this video of people experiencing staying in a “tiny house” for the 1st time.

      What’s interesting, is that although the dimensions would seem gargantuan compared with “Lance”, it feels tight because they kept bumping into each other. The sleeping loft seemed pretty claustrophobic as well (even with a big skylight next to it).

      I must admit, the composting toilet looked pretty intimidating to use

      It just shows everybody’s comfort zone differs.

      1. Donald P Wolf

        Hi It was great to see Stef, you and your new R V Lance. I love the color and the R V. I am not wild about the sleeping quarters. I was following
        you on the planning stage and would of did that just the opposite. I would of put the bed on the bottom, Then I would of built a rack on the top with tracks or lay the bikes down in the opposite direction on a platform being that you take the wheel off anyway and then sleeping would seem normal. Sorry just a thought.

        Thanks Don Wolf
        Thanks I really like you and Stef and your website.

        1. Stefany

          Hey Donald! Great to hear from you. Interesting ideas on other ways to make space for bikes. And yeah, our sleeping quarters definitely aren’t for everybody, lol, we aren’t offended at all that you’re not wild about them. Many others agree with you. 🙂 Anyways, thanks so much for following us, we appreciate it!

    5. Brad Thayer

      Your videos and posts are very informative and entertaining. I’m a prospective 59G buyer and an avid kayak sailor. . The racks and a practical way of loading is the one area with virtually no mention. From user comments and those from Winnebago it appears the design team Missed The Boat! Did Bruce or any other kayakers post their loading/unloading methods? I very much would like to move up from my van conversion but can’t purchase an RV that doesn’t have a well thought out, easy to use kayak rack system.

      1. James - Post author

        We haven’t gotten around to working out a kayak solution yet. I have some ideas, and even have a test boat sitting in the back yard. But I just haven’t had the time.
        Others have gotten them up there, but it requires a ladder or two – which you would have to bring along. I haven’t heard of any “Eureka” type ideas yet.
        Although, on one of the forums, I saw an upright kayak carrier that mounted on the rear hitch. Certainly seems an easier solution than going up.

        1. Brad Thayer

          I’m still mulling over ways to adapt these kayak racks to a simple/practical loading system. To know if back loading is a possible option I would need to have these dimensions.
          1.Could you tell me the L/H/W measurements of the AC unit
          2.The distance from the AC unit to the side of the RV .
          3. The distance from the AC to the back railing.
          4. The distance from the back railing to the end of the RV.

          After decades of kayak club involvement and usage on my vans I have ideas which might be helpful . Maybe we could discuss these offline.

        2. James - Post author

          Fiamma actually makes a roller accessory that attaches to the rear of the roof rack to facilitate back loading. Unfortunately, in the Travato, I don’t think it will work because the air conditioner is right there. But if you’ve got experience, I’m willing to take a few measurements for you. Give me a few days and I’ll get out there with a tape. Ping you by email when I’ve got something.

    6. Michael

      I am learning a lot from your videos and blog, and appreciate how much care you put into them. Further, I have been looking into the Travato for the near future and am intrigued by the composting toilet. While no one expects you and Stef to become the second couple of composting, it would be interesting to read or watch your reflections on the strengths and weaknesses of a composting toilet. Consider that a request for a future video. If you could share the name of the toilet’s manufacturer, it would be appreciated. Thanks for everything you and Stef share.

      Safe travels.

      1. James - Post author

        “The second couple of composting” LOL!! Just don’t start calling us couple number two…
        Our toilet is an Airhead. Believe me, you’re not the only one requesting a video about it.
        We do plan to make a video on our learnings with it, but I just haven’t had the time!

    7. Rob

      I am a 59 yr old extremely athletic and flexible (yoga) person. I find the 59G somewhat claustrophobic and going to bed is like climbing into a closed MRI…not cool….The 59K has such potential for a couple of cyclists but Winnedigo missed a beat. It is fundamentally a great layout but they messed up the rear. Who uses a wardrobe except an old fart. They should remove it and set a U hooks to hang 2 rode bike or purpose it for other gear. They should also get ride of the antiquated toilet with black tank and use a compost toilet. Make the shower indoor/outdoor..Other infrastructure modifications would be advisable but I am only addressing the functional layout. I called Winnadingo to see what they can do to modify and they said work with your dealer and pay them over the purchase price to modify.Looks likes I have to DIY. Wish me luck! Of course these are just my thoughts..

      1. James - Post author

        You’ll have to stay tuned for our video on the composting toilet. It’s not like you suddenly start pooping rainbows and puppy dogs because you’ve got a composting toilet… It works great in some respects, but like anything, it has its constraints.
        You might be able to remove the wardrobe yourself – although you’d also lose some drawer storage.
        We liked the K layout, but ultimately went with the G for the large “garage” area.

        1. Rob

          Rainbows. Ahhh…Wish I could…Its about eliminating the black tank, keeping a lighter vehicle, eliminating the macerator pump & hose and not needing an RV park to dispose and getting as much clearance as possible for BLM roads. I like boondocking..I am test driving the Transit because it has a higher clearance.

          BTW: How often do you use the roof AC when parked?..

        2. James - Post author

          Some of that you could do with the Travato. You could eliminate the black tank, for example, but we found it made more sense to use it for additional grey water. The tanks are not all that big – 13 gallons or so. So eliminating them altogether (even full) doesn’t save that much weight. 150 pounds, max, if you traveled with it full, which nobody does. In the Travato, there is no macerator pump on the black tank, and you’d still want the 3″ hose to discharge your grey water somewhere, even if you don’t use an RV dump. And even if you remove the black tank altogether, it won’t improve your ground clearance at all. On the ProMaster, the clearance is limited by the rear axle.

          Having driven a Transit, I prefer the driving characteristics of the ProMaster. But that’s a whole ‘nother topic…

          As far as the roof AC, we try not to use it very much. Even if you’re not running the generator, it’s really loud. And it doesn’t make much sense to us to deliberately go somewhere where we’re going to sit inside and run the AC. We can do that at home. We try to be “out”, and we try to go places where the temperatures cooperate. (We’ll never go to Arizona in the summer, for example…)

    8. Mike Hall

      Hi, enjoy your blog, and youtube channel. I was wondering how winnebago routed the required vent for your composting toilet? does it run off the house battery, or independent batt/solar?

      1. James - Post author

        The composting toilet vent runs right up to the roof behind the toilet. You can probably see the grey hose in some of the pictures. It’s running off the house 12v battery. But we have the solar option as well, so I’m not concerned with the fan running all the time.

    9. Diane

      We’ve been following your build of “Lance”. What a great looking RV. We just bought a 2016 Travato 59K. We are seniors who bicycle the Rails-to-Trails and are also square dancers. We preferred the open layout of the 59K to give us plenty of room to change clothes and it offers just enough storage. More than we thought actually. We are very interested in the running boards that you had installed. That is what we have been looking for. What brand did Winnebago install on yours? Is it possible to install a long one down both sides?

      1. James - Post author

        Congratulations on your new RV! You’ll love it.
        The running boards on Lance are a Winnebago production. I’ve heard they are going to make them available later this year, but I don’t have any more specifics than that. Once they make them available, it should be just a bolt-on item for you.
        And – now that you’re owners – stop on by the Travato Owner’s Group on Facebook where you can pick up some tips from other owners.

    10. Ted

      The Wynn’s recently posted their observations for the performance of their current Ford V10 gas rig vrs diesel Class A’s they drove in the past. They noted the V10 isn’t as refined or quiet as the diesels and the gearing is awkwardly spaced. It will be interesting to hear more detailed observations from you on the performance of the Dodge Pentastar engine for a Class B vrs the Mercedes diesel in DaBus under a variety of driving conditions. This will add more fuel to the fire for the “endless” debate over gas vrs diesel.

      1. James - Post author

        Interesting. I think things are a bit different in a B. We find the gas engine to be generally quieter than the diesel was (except when climbing). And on the ProMaster anyway, it was the diesel version that had the weird transmission with oddly-spaced gears. It’s tough to put into words, but we also appreciate the “clean and quiet” aspect – particularly at gas stations. Not to say that the gas engine is perfect – I wish it climbed hills without revving way up, for example. But in general, I think a Class B is light enough that the differences are going to be less pronounced than with a 10 ton square box.
        But you’re absolutely right – the debate will be ENDLESS!

      2. Ted

        The same roaring revs happen with the V10 engine RV’s climbing hills. Some folks are using tuner kits to adjust the gear shift timing for RV’s with Ford V10 engines and are making claims of great gains in mileage and performance. This is because the engines come in stock condition tuned to work in pick up trucks. Unfortunately, there are fewer options for doing to same with the Pentastar V6 engines because Dodge has “locked down” the electronics chip making is tough to crack with tuner kits. I’ve only seen one available kit which is expensive and works with Hemi Pentastar engines in Dodge Chargers. Perhaps you can keep an eye out for new tuners coming out and consider if it’s worth changing how your engine shifts while climbing hills.

        1. James - Post author

          Absolutely. I’ve been wondering if there was a tuner kit available, and if I find one that looks like a match for RV driving, I’ll give it a whirl.
          In the meantime though, I’ve been trying to learn better driving technique for Lance. If I keep working at it, I may eventually hit 16mpg one of these days. lol.

    11. Pam

      Congrats on the new rig! I’ve recently discovered your blog and as a potential 59G buyer it has been very informative and helpful (not to mention entertaining) in my evaluation. If you would indulge a fellow Utahn (Bountiful), I’m hung up on two issues: low ground clearance and exposed water lines. In your opinion, how problematic will these be for dispersed camping in unpaved and sometimes cooler (but not officially winter) weather? Kindest regards – Pam

      1. James - Post author

        As far as the exterior water lines: if you don’t plan to be out in below freezing temperatures, they’re not a problem. And even if you are, you can always just winterize the coach, and use bottled water.
        The low ground clearance is not an issue. It looks like it would be an issue, but it’s not. I have never heard any reports of users bottoming out, etc. You’re not going to go on any Jeep trails with it, but it should be fine for unpaved roads. Stef has started a Travato Owners Group where you can ask other owners if they have had issues. And if the clearance really bugs you, you can always add Sumo Springs like I did in this post.
        Hope this helps!

    12. Ted

      Looks like Fiat is not content letting the new Sprinter 4×4 steal the show. I doubt a Ducato 4×4 will work with Stef’s motion sickness, but it is fun to look over how they did the interior. Looks like the track door for the bath claims some of the aisle space, but I can’t figure how the rear bed folds and stores away. The big light bar and roof rack are new features I haven’t seen on other rigs yet either.×4-ducato-camper-show-van/39182/

    13. joe oconnor

      Hey James, just picked up my new 2016 granite grey Travato G two weeks ago. Your insights here clinched the deal for us and we couldn’t be happier with it.

      Has the Froli bed system given you any trouble when you lift to stow the bed? My mattress gets caught on the “springs” making it bit of a pain to raise out of the way easily.

      1. James - Post author

        Hey there. Glad we helped in your decision. And even more glad that you’re happy with it!
        Yes, the Froli can catch the bed when you put it up. What we’re doing is folding up the mattress first, then flipping the platform up. It seems to help. We’re even able to cram our pillows up there. Stef actually seems to be better at folding up the bed than I am.

    14. frank gochnour

      lance your travato looks great. the yellow color really makes it stand out. hope you enjoy your new r.v. and hopefully someday i will be able to own one of it’s brothers or sisters. i really like the winnebago touring coach line. just can’t afford one yet. you both take care and have a great day.

      1. James - Post author

        We think he’s pretty sharp looking too. Stef and I hope you’re able to make the leap one day and join us!

    15. Gary

      Congrats on the new rig, really nice! My wife and I are in a pop-up truck camper now but have decided that a Travato 59G is what we need. It would give us the maneuverability we have now but with so much more comfort and convenience. Being a do it yourself kind of guy, I’m wondering how difficult it will be to lower or remove the batteries. Is it something that should be left to the dealer service department? A couple of AGM’s could be pushing a hundred pounds and I’m not getting any younger! Just wondering if that is something you have looked at or thought about.

      1. James - Post author

        Gary – you know I’ve thought about it…
        I think it would work something like this: Drive the RV onto some home made ramps and chock the wheels. Lower the battery with the help of a jack. Reverse the process to reinstall.
        But I think by the time those AGM batteries give up the ghost, we’ll all be running lithium batteries, and those are quite a bit lighter.
        So yes, replacing the batteries is something I think folks could to themselves. But I don’t think they should be too eager to do it.
        I plan to run the AGMs until they give up or Winnebago comes up with something better.

        1. Gary

          Thanks for the reply, James – sounds like a good approach. I meant to ask you another question before clicking the “post comment” button. Perhaps I missed it in previous posts, but I’ve been wondering why you chose the gas engine over the diesel. Having come from a diesel class B, and now owning a gas class B, your decision making process would be of interest to me. I’m on the fence, but then, I haven’t driven either of them yet.

        2. James - Post author

          Well, the main reason we went with the gas engine was because that’s what was in the yellow van when we saw it on the Winnebago lot!!
          If it had been diesel, we’d be in a diesel coach now.
          In the end, I kind of figured it was a wash. If you check out my post on gas vs. diesel, you’ll see the fuel savings aren’t all that huge. The diesel would have powered up hills better, but it has a weird transmission. The gas engine is quieter overall, but needs guidance to shift properly on hills. Diesel has better resale, gas is cheaper up front. Gas engines are cheaper to service, diesel requires less frequent service. You can get gas at any station, but diesels need to fill up less frequently. You could go on and on.
          In the end, I decided not to get too hung up about it, and we’re just enjoying what a gas engine brings us for now.

    16. Alexandra

      Hi guys! Love your videos and blog. Fab. You’ve got me really interested in the Travato. But I have 3 boys that I want to “Wild Camping” or “Boondocking” or whichever term you prefer.

      1) Is there enough space for twin 10-year-olds and a 14 year old?
      2) Will we have to pitch a tent, too?
      3) Can you please do a vlog more in depth on your solar upgrades?

      Keep up the great work. And congrats on Lance. I’m hooked!


      1. James - Post author

        Hi Alex. Well, of the two Travato models, you’d definitely want the 59G. You can make up a second bed area in that one. The second bed might be big enough for twin ten year olds, or one 14 year old, but I think you’d still be pitching a tent. I suppose you could get really creative, and put a sleeping bag on the floor under the main bed? Then you could all fit. Realistically though, for that many, a tent might be more spacious.
        I’m not sure if I’m done with the solar yet. But when I am, a video is a great idea.

        1. Alexandra

          Thanks for the speedy reply. Can’t wait to see how much solar you can cram on the roof (and will you need to add more batteries / have room for more)? So many questions!

        2. James - Post author

          I’m actually running short of room on the roof! I think I could maybe get one more 80 watt panel up there, but that’s about it.
          Haven’t spent much time underneath yet.

    17. Elvis Quezada

      James and Stef , Congrats and hope you have many , many and many years of joy and fun with Lance . I am looking to buy an RV by next year and need advice of where to start . I like very much the Winnibago Travato , my plans are to live in my RV and enjoy life at the fullest .
      Your guidance and advice will be very much appreciated .
      Respectfully ,

      Elvis Q.

      1. James - Post author

        Hi Elvis – thanks for the kind words.
        Buying an RV should be a very individualize process. If you’ve got a year to make this happen, I’d suggest the best place to start would be to attend an RV Show! It’s one thing to see us online, but it’s very informative to step into a coach for yourself. Just be sure to call the participating dealers ahead of time and make sure the models you are interested in will be displayed. Attending an RV show also gives you the opportunity to see coaches from different manufacturers side-by-side.
        If you have specific questions that might apply to how YOU want to use your RV, you can contact us via email and we’ll try to get back to you as soon as we can.
        Thanks for reaching out!

    18. Dennis

      James, I’ve posted once before but had to jump in on Lance. First off totally jealous of the yellow, it looks great! I owned a 2015 59G, then traded for the 2016 59K. Love the Travatos (obviously). Two ideas for you, I bought a trailer hitch step to put into the receiver to help reaching the turn knob to tighten the bikes down. Helped quite a bit, I’m 6′ but still had a hard time reaching the inside knob. I was thinking about your dismount from the penthouse. If you used some plates for backing, what about mounting a undermounted marine/boat type ladder under the bed platform? At night you could leave it down, during the day it would fold up and out of the way. Just a thought. Also another idea that worked well in both was a magnetic knife holder from IKEA. Attached over the sink with command strips. Hope to see you on the road.

      1. James - Post author

        The yellow is even cooler in person. Hope we get a chance to meet up so you can see it.
        Trailer hitch step is not a bad idea. Honestly, we’re still getting the bike storage dialed in.
        Some sort of fold down ladder is certainly in the works. Honestly, Stef and I need only one step – maybe two – to get up there easily. The tricky part with any ladder system will be using it to get down in the night in the dark. We kind of like the mesh bags under there, so I’m trying to think of something that won’t interfere with them. I was thinking of maybe some kind of pole with one step on each side?
        And +100 on the Command strips. We don’t travel with a ton of knives, but we’ve got command strips all over this thing already!

        1. Dennis

 Check this out, may be the perfect solution. You have the option of 2,3 or 4 rungs, plus the way it angles out might be perfect. A little pricey but…..One other of my “bright” ideas was the stowage for my BBQ table. I bought a cheap but relatively stable folding table for our small propane BBQ we take with us. The table sits perfectly against the back wall of your bathroom and easily clears the rear door when shut. I used another IKEA stainless steel magnetic bar attached to the rear wall. The feet of the table rest on the small lip of the floor. The magnet holds the table securely in place with no rattles. Sorry for all the suggestions, kinda type “A” that way. Lol. Enjoy the road.

        2. James - Post author

          Good find on the ladder. That’s sort of what I was thinking. Although we’re adapting, and may eventually decide we just don’t want anything there at all.
          And I was all set to build a roll-up table – but your table storage location is pretty sweet. We would need a pretty low table to go with our chairs, which are super-compact backpacking chairs. Which table do you use, if you don’t mind me asking? (Our current junk table is aluminum, so it won’t respond to a magnet.)

        3. Bruce

          James, love the cool color scheme and all you mods– congratulations! Your review of the 59G was very instructive for my fiancee and I in deciding to buy. We found we were so familiar with the van from your video that we were showing the sales guy around the unit, instead of the other way around. We love our Flame Red van and get out into the mountains almost every weekend.

          BTW, we’ve worked out a fairly simple way to mount/dismount kayaks on the Fiamma roof rack. If you or anyone else are interested, I’m happy to post some of the details.

          Thanks again for being both informative and entertaining!

        4. James - Post author

          Bruce – that’s great to hear. Thanks!
          We’re very interested in kayak mounting strategies. I’ve picked up a couple tips from some pro kayakers this past week, but ones from actual owners would be awesome! Post them here, or email them to us. When we’ve decided on something, I’m going to make a video.

        5. Dennis

          James, couldn’t find a name on the table. Bought it at a True Value hardware store. It was available in dark brown or ivory. The table top is hollow core plastic (think Costco style plastic picnic bench on a small scale) and is 18″X26″. The cool thing is it has a metal powder coated frame that has three sliding height adjustments. The highest is great for standing and BBQing, the lowest would probably be great for your lower chairs. Upside is it was under $20.00 and is very stable. The magnetic mount is on my 59K. On my 59G I held in place with 1″ nylon strap with a snap closure. Since there were already male snaps in place for the removeable screen I only had to add one more snap to hold it in place. However the magnet is way easier and more quiet. Good luck.

        6. James - Post author

          OK. Wow. I just clicked through and read the reviews on the table. Apparently, it’s everything you say… and more!
          Off to measure my GX! Thanks for the tip – that area behind the bathroom is dead space right now.

        7. JD

          Really hoping that Bruce (post from 7/22 a.m.) will post his “fairly simple way to mount/dismount kayaks on the Fiamma roof rack”! Very interested in that. Could make all the difference in a decision about whether we go with the rack and without . . .Just do it, Bruce!

        8. James - Post author

          I’ve heard of a method with ropes on the bow and stern, and a telescoping ladder in the middle. Don’t know if that’s Bruce’s method, but hopefully he responds.

        9. Dennis

          James, I have one more tip you might like. I wasn’t thrilled with the magnetic window covers supplied by winnebago for the back and side doors. Plus it was just one more thing I had to store. So I spoke with the folks at MCD. They made the original blinds on the other windows of the Travato. I ended up ordering their “bottom up” blinds. These are intended for use as chassis door window blinds. Also, they are always under tension and require a J-hook to keep them closed. The awesome part is they come in a black metal housing and you can pick the fabric. I chose the night shade color that perfectly matched the other blinds. I mounted them on top of the two rear door windows and the side sliding door window. The housing protects the blind, negating the need for a valence and looks very clean. Also they are rattle free! (I HATE rattles). They have worked flawlessly and now I have three less pieces of fabric to deal with. Now if someone would build a built in cabin blind system like they have in Europe for the Ducato I’d be really happy. Told you I was type A. Lol.

        10. James - Post author

          I’m with you on waiting for the cabin blind system to come over from Europe. Apparently, the hangup is the airbags in the cab pillars. The very minute they have something for us, we’re on it.
          Anyway – I actually kind of like the look of the fabric once it’s up, and I have plans to put an insulating liner inside them. BUT – “quicker” and “nothing to store” are definitely getting my attention. Do you have pictures of your install you could send? I’m very curious.

    19. James

      I’m so glad I stumbled upon your site and your youtube videos. You folks are both entertaining and quite informative, with your reviews and observations. You really have me wanting a Travato, now. I think the gas engine is a no-brainer, as the the additional cost of the diesel, the forced LP-depleting generator, that weird hokey auto/manual diesel transmission, increased service cost (although perhaps longer intervals between service), probable scarcity of who knows how to work on Fiat diesel in the U.S., and not-that-big-of-a-difference in mileage anyway. The Pentastar V6 appears to be a very good engine in its own right. TWO QUESTIONS: (1) Is the generator as loud as the one on Das Bus, or louder, and do you plan to figure out some way to quiet it? (2) How much hot water do you get with the Truma? 6 gallons? Unlimited? I wouldn’t think on electric that it could get hot enough to provide “unlimited” water like a hot gas-burning on-demand hot water heater. Please keep up your good work and report on your adventures! I’ll really be looking forward to your future updates and progress! 🙂

      1. James - Post author

        James – you’re reading my mind.
        Just this past week, I was doing some experimenting on generator noise. The generator in the Travato seems about as loud (to the ear) as the old one in Das Bus. But I’ll have numbers to back things up in the video. I can try to edit it on the road, but it will come out better if I wait and do it at home. It will be up soon.
        I don’t know how much hot water we get from the Truma in terms of gallons. But I know it’s enough for Stef and I to shower one after the other and nobody complains about cold water. I did have it on electric (2) plus gas when we did that. But for just hand washing and dishes, electric only is fine. Maybe that’s an idea for another test. Run nonstop hot water from the Truma until it gets below 104 degrees or something.
        But apart from all that… we’re glad to have you aboard!

    20. Maggie

      This question is for both James and Stef please. I am trying to get a guy’s perspective as well as a woman’s —- Never used a wet bath and I am curious to know how it works out. For example, when you need to use the toilet and you have shoes on, should you take them off before you go in the bathroom so as not to soil the shower floor? Does the toilet get wet also? If so, then every time someone showers, everything needs to be dried up, right? In your experience what is the best way to utilize the wet bath. Thank you and happy camping!!! 🙂

      1. James - Post author

        OK. I’ll give you my perspective on it.
        First off, we generally remove our shoes when we get in the RV, so the shoes in the shower thing isn’t really an issue for us. Our RV is a small space, so removing the shoes makes sense. It would get filthy in a hurry if we didn’t.
        We’ve showered in Lance a few times now. Yes, the toilet does get wet on the outside, but not soaking wet. Our wet bath is pretty big – the biggest we’ve ever seen in a class B – so the toilet is a ways away from the shower head and pretty much out of the way. Also, in an RV, you generally take a pretty water-thrifty shower. Wet down; water off; soap up; water on; rinse off. So the water isn’t running the whole time.
        When I’m done showering, I’ll generally squeegee the walls down, and spray a bit of that “spray and walk away” shower cleaner on things. In Utah and the west, the walls are generally dry in less than an hour. East of that, after an hour or so I’ll dry things down with the towel that we kept on the floor to step on. It’s a bit different than in a sticks and bricks house, but you adapt pretty quickly.

        1. Char

          Hello – we also have a 2015 Travato. We always have shoes off inside when parked, we picked up some small plastic trays (Amazon) for shoes and keep one under the dining table. We found the Shamwow brand towel works great to dry down the shower after using, it absorbs a lot and dries quickly. We’re still adding little things like hooks, towel bars, a weather station, etc. We mostly use the 3M Command system to attach hooks and such. We just finished making Reflectix silver foil insulated window coverings for sun, they will reduce heat inside and prevent our MCD shades from discoloring in the sun. And our new project is a flip down counter extension for some more counter top work room. We added a chain door lock on the inside back doors for extra security. We also got one of the little fold up stools which works for lots of things and folds flat. The tweaks are unending but major
          fun. Enjoy Lance!

        2. James - Post author

          Love having tips from other owners. Thanks! We’ve gone a bit nuts with command hooks too, although I did hang up my favorite paper towel holder today with screws (I was pretty sure I was going into solid wood, and fortunately, I was right).
          I’ve got some ideas about window coverings too, but I hadn’t thought much about the MCD window. Thanks for the idea.
          And while a fold up stool is one option, I’m going to need something heavy duty for getting into and out of that bed in the middle of the night! That one will have to wait until I get back in my shop.
          Oh. And a weather station too. We definitely want one of those… 🙂

        3. Maggie

          Thank you James for your reply. Can’t wait to see how you guys get Lance all situated on the interior. Can’t wait for more videos. You guys are GREAT! Hubby and I just found you guys recently and really enjoy watching the videos. Please keep up the wonderful work you both do! Truly appreciate it!!! Wishing you many, many, many years of happy camping with Lance. 🙂

        4. James - Post author

          You’re too kind.
          Lots of folks are waiting for a walk-through video. But I’ve got a few projects I want to complete on Lance first!
          We did get some towels and rugs settled out though. Slowly but surely, he’s coming together!
          Thanks for reading, Maggie. I mean that.

    21. Marshal

      Congratulations! Can’t wait for a more in-depth tour (especially the interior). Glad to hear that the toilet is essentially a non-issue ….. But look forward to more of the “dirty” details (e.g., does it really accept stand-up deliveries? …. Inquiring minds want to know).

      1. James - Post author

        I don’t really want to post much about the toilet, but it’ll be good for one more. We’ve learned a thing or two in our first week. 😉

    22. stephan

      Congrats on your new yellow-home-on-wheels. Looks great.
      I have an odd question: Do you think there is enough height to have bunk beds installed (and lose the bike storage)? I like the layout, but there there is no way my wife and I can fit in the bed. Just a thought.

      1. James - Post author

        I think you could do bunk beds in that space. The problem would be that they probably both wouldn’t be able to fold-up. So they’d have to be permanent, which would kill off most of the storage there. How do you feel about the twin bed layout of the Travato 59K? That may work better for you.

    23. Ron

      Welcome to the Winnebago family! Not all your choices are my cup of tea, but I think you’ll be happy with the G and the Travato in general. Nothing comes close to the value it offers.

      I’d be really interested to hear how the Truma system does on the LP consumption. Supposedly they use alot less gas for both furnace and water heating than the traditional units.

      Another thing I’d like you to talk about is the energy management system. I suspect, under certain circumstances, that this coach could exceed 30 amps in total load – the Truma itself is 1950 watts – so that could be 16-18 amps by itself. So they added this system to manage that. A review of what information it gives, and how it works would be interesting.

      1. James - Post author

        Happy to be aboard, Ron!
        So far, we’ve been mostly plugged in, so I’ve not used the Truma much on gas (And certainly not for heat! It’s been atrocious here!). A Truma efficiency test may need to wait until winter.
        But I like your idea on the energy management system post. You’re correct in that the Truma uses 16 amps when you crank it on electric. I’ve had the system run and I’ve seen it go up over 30 and shut things off. A more detailed post is certainly in order. Thanks for the idea!

    24. Noel matos

      Looks great James!

      I will be flying to Iowa to pick up my new travato in sept from Litchen RV. Trying to get Winnebago to install another 100 watt panel up top. My three day power consumption calculations for 12 volt supply suggest 200 amps of solar will do the trick. I am glad to hear you are satisfied with the quality as this was my primary concern since all the boxes where checked for me as well. My travato will be granite gray with off road tires and rims can’t wait to see it. My kids are graciously calling our travato the scooby doo II after a conversion can we had when they where kids. Lol


      1. James - Post author

        Off Road Tires? Hmmmmm….
        If Winnebago won’t install the second solar panel for you, I’m pretty sure Lichtsinn will. It’s a pretty simple install, and they seemed to have some there for sale.
        (I’m picturing “The Mystery Machine” now.)

    25. AL

      Really like the look of the yellow and silver. Looks like you decided on the two tone when you got to Winnebago….great job. I keep seeing a yellow Travato now! Does the ladder help in loading the bikes on the rack? We are roadies, but for some travels a mtn bike may be better and those are quite heavy to lift the 5 ft. Do you have room now in your “garage” to store bikes with wheels on now? We enjoy cycling and going to watch the Tour of California, and now when my Travato comes to go to watch the Utah races. How about a pic of your solar panels when you get a chance. Looking forward to your future blogs and see on the road in the future! Cheers!

      1. James - Post author

        Glad you like it. We like it too. We had wanted all yellow initially, but changed our minds and we’re glad we did.
        The ladder does help a little in loading bikes, but I’m thinking of how I can modify the rack to move the platform lower – look for that post soon.
        Haven’t tried storing the bikes with wheels on – I like them in fork mounts because they’re more stable that way. I think they might fit with wheels on in a pinch. It’s pretty big back there. I’ll post more info, including some on the solar, when I get a chance. Thanks!

    26. Jeff & Dorie

      Love the new “Lance”!! Seriously planning on ordering one our selves. We are 70 years young but Travato is just what I’ve been looking for.

      Does Lance have a Solar panel on the roof and If so how much solar and do you feel it is adequate? Love the composting toilet. Do you think that something Winnebago is considering offering?

      Enjoy and thanks for your wonderful site!

      1. James - Post author

        Lance has TWO solar panels on the roof, and I’m trying to figure out if I can fit one more up there. Two have been fine so far, but we’ve been plugged in a lot. I’ve seen as much as 13 amps going into the batteries from the solar. It seems to be managing itself, and so far, seems adequate.
        About the toilet: We like it, but I don’t know if Winnebago is going to offer it as an option. It seems like you could install it yourself though. Just showered in the wet bath and the composting toilet seemed to be just fine – the Airhead has gaskets under the seat and lid.

    27. Andy & Kim

      Lance is a work of art inside and out, he’s giving us Travato fever!!!!
      Did the two white dots in the door behind the bed turn out to be reading lights?
      To get out of bed, how about mounting a Tarzan rope in the roof just in front of Stef’s fridge to swing into action every morning?!?!?
      We’ll be looking forward to a full video review.
      Hope we run into the 3 of you at Pomona in October.
      Happy Trails,
      Andy & Kim

      1. James - Post author

        Yes! Those two discs above the bed ARE LED reading lights. How cool!
        The “down” is actually easier than the up. But I like the rope swing idea. 🙂
        We are planning on being at Pomona, so look out for us there.

    28. Simply Cid & Peaches

      Hooray for James & Stef! And for Winnebago, and the future of the Travato brand.

      We live in Orlando area, and own a 2015 59G. Most def happy with it. We have sensed that Winnebago had found the right combination of design, features, size, and cost. And felt that Travato popularity would be soon be sweeping across the Class B landscape.

      Now with FIT ‘riding along’ WinInd has a marketing Dream Team.

      We are really excited about purchasing a 2016 59G to replace our 2015 that we bought less than a year ago..

      The main new features (Truma hot water, 2 batteries with solar, Maxxair all-weather vent fan, Froli sleep system) are very exciting and perfect for our planned travels.

      Hopefully Winnebago can keep up with the expected increase in consumer sales. And hopefully we won’t have to wait another year to upgrade.

      When we began our quest to buy our first ever RV, we thought for sure that we were “going Canadian”.

      First time I was ever sooo wrong. And she does not let me forget it either.

      Is this a great country, or what! 

      1. AL

        Agree with you completely about the 2016 59g. The dealer had several 2015s on hand, but the features of the 2016 were too much to resist. On top of the features you listed, I ordered my Travato with 2 solar panels. I looked Canadiens too, but they were always a compromise of bedding or shower, not to mention cost. Can’t wait for delivery in Sept!

      2. James - Post author

        It’s only been a few days, but so far, we are totally enjoying all the 2016 upgrades. Good luck in your quest to upgrade. We’ll see you on the road!

    29. Doug

      Really good look with the gray accent color. I didn’t think yellow could look so good. I think it looks much better than black. Have you thought about connecting the in-line water filer at the coach rather than at the hydrant? If you do so you’ll be filtering less water volume and the filter may last longer.

      Congrats on the new coach!

      1. James - Post author

        Never thought about connecting it up that way, but I guess I could. I had it downstream of my pressure regulator as per the instructions, and was thinking to avoid it banging against the side of the coach.
        That water filter is just a secondary filter. Our galley cold water has its own filter for drinking. I was using that one as a precaution when filling the tank.

        But more importantly – Glad you like the yellow!! We dig it too! Woo Hoo!

    30. Highlander

      Maybe now that it’s coming from a former Rocket Scientist, people will realize composting toilets aren’t rocket science! 🙂

      1. James - Post author

        It’s funny – the only way I can get any odor from the toilet at all is to crank on our Maxx Air exhaust fan with no other windows open. Duh!

    31. Dan

      Looks cool James. I have very similar needs for my first class B (dry bath, bike/ski storage – see email address, ideally separate sleeping and living areas, and affordability). Like what I see, though the bed arrangement seems a bit challenging.

      I might breakdown with some sort of external bike rack that can perhaps cover as well as lock-up 2 bikes. Glad this project has come to fruition for you and Stef.

      Enjoy the road and perhaps I will see you in a riding event someday.

      1. James - Post author

        Your needs were very similar to ours. Besides the Travato – there’s nothing else out there that comes close to checking all the boxes.
        The standard bed height is no challenge at all. I know there are some hitch mount bike locker type devices out there – readers have suggested them to us before. But if I was going to go that route, I’d probably just get a very small cargo trailer. (I haven’t tried towing anything yet with the Travato, but I think it could handle a small Wells Cargo or something.)

    32. Kim Oslund

      Nice rig. Just watch out for children running to the street, thinking your the bus. LOL. Hope you both have many years of enjoyment and make many good memories camping in it.

      1. James - Post author

        Thanks, Kim!
        (We had several varieties of “bus” themed names that we ultimately decided against.)

      1. James - Post author

        Well Scott, if you’ve followed me for a while, you know I can be pretty picky.
        That said, I’m very satisfied with the quality of this coach. And even though ours is a special unit, I think the value received for the dollars spent is higher with the Travato than for most other Class B vans.

    33. Rob

      That looks awesome. I hope ya’ll will enjoy it. We have been looking for the best RV for us for about two years and followed your blog and others over the last year and we ordered a 2016 silver Travato. We are suppose to get it the first week in August and the wife and daughter can’t wait any longer I should have you looked for it in the Winnebago factory and grabbed some pics. We will be touring the east coast mainly the southeast but we’ll keep an eye out for the “Yellow Travato”

      1. James - Post author

        Another Travato owner (to be). Welcome aboard!
        As far as I know, there are no plans for any further yellow ones. So if you see us… you’ll know it’s us!
        I have family in the Southeast (I grew up in Georgia), so it’s not entirely out of the question.

    34. Ted

      Beats sleeping in a yellow Penske truck!

      I think the true test will be pulling the bike out of the garage and setting it up early in the morning with Stef still sleeping upstairs.

      I wonder if you could mount a monkey bar or handle on the ceiling to grab onto to lower yourself out of the sleeping area.

      I’ll be interested to hear how to Truma Combi unit works out.

      1. James - Post author

        I like the monkey bar idea… UP is proving to be the bigger challenge right now. I’m going to have to think about it for a while and I’ll work something up when I get back to the shop.
        As far as the Truma – we’re only using it to heat water right now – and since we’re plugged in, only on electric – which it seems to be doing with no trouble at all. Which reminds me – we’re loving the water pump in this thing… smooth, quiet, and strong.
        Stef might sleep through me getting the bikes out, but there’s no way she’d sleep through me slamming the door when I was done…

        1. James - Post author

          We saw one of those at Lichtsinn’s. I thought about getting one, but Winnebago worked so hard on the teak platform so we didn’t need it in the bathroom, it seems kind of wrong to get one for the bedroom. lol.

        2. Ted

          I was browsing amazon thinking that instead of the monkey bar maybe mounting climbing holds on the ceiling (those fake rocks they use for climbing walls) might stay closer with your outdoor fitness theme. However, most of them come in bright Play Doh colors that would make your ceiling look like your grand kids were playing up there and it looks like most of them come in large sets that are expensive. Maybe you’ll spot something at a fitness show or gathering where you can pick up just 1 or 2 to use.

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