The Juicy Details on the Next Fit RV

Since announcing that we’re getting a new, yellow Winnebago Travato , I’ve received a number of questions through comments and email. Most of them were wondering what would be different about our build, and how this would satisfy our requirements (which we’ve never been shy about sharing). We get it. You’re curious. So I’ll go over the big changes in this post.

These changes make it not exactly a 59G, but more like a “59GX”. (That’s totally my own name – not an official Winnebago designation. But I think the “X” makes it cool.) So as you read this, please keep in mind that this is a concept vehicle. Winnebago isn’t certain that any of these things will be offered as standard options in the future. So please don’t try to order them from your local dealer. Remember – this is an experiment… We just happen to be buying the end result.

For starters, it will be a 2016, with all the latest improvements that you can find in the 2016 Travato Specs. It will include the Truma Combi heat and water unit, the Froli Sleep System, the newer Jensen RV entertainment system, and two AGM house batteries. We’re also going all the way with options, and including the ladder and rack systems. (Stef is already shopping for kayaks to put on top.) And we’ve already mentioned the yellow. Without the racks, we’ve got this basic idea of how he’ll look.

Yellow Fit RV

Bike Storage:

We’ll start with the 59G floor plan. However, the bed will be raised enough so that we’re finally getting our dream garage underneath it! If you’ve followed us at all you’ve probably heard us whine and complain that garages are standard in many European models, but non-existent over here. All our complaining has finally paid off. Winnebago is giving it a go, probably just to shut us up.

Now, if you think about this for a moment, a raised bed is obviously not for everybody. First off, we’ll have quite a climb (over 40 inches) up to get into the bed! We’ll also be closer to the ceiling when we sleep, and the cabinets over the bed will have to go away. Windows will need to change, etc. But getting the bikes inside (even while we sleep) is pretty important to us, so this is happening.

Wintertime Camping:

We’re also having all the water lines brought inside to allow us to do some wintertime camping. This will require some surface “hat” channels for water in places, like across the back, and that might not be for everyone either. (If you don’t know what a “hat channel” is, imagine a long, skinny box along the floor with the water lines inside.) To complete the cold-weather package, we’re also getting heating pads on the tanks. For the type and amount of cold-weather camping we do, this should be enough, since it’s pretty much the same thing we have now.


Oh yeah. We’re going to squeeze as much solar on the roof as we can. We’re even going to the extent of deleting the roof mounted TV antenna to allow more space for solar. We’re thinking we’ll wind up with somewhere between 200 and 300 watts of solar capacity on the roof. But this is one of those things that until they see what the space looks like and see what panels they can get, we won’t know for sure.


There WILL still be a generator and a propane system. Propane is required for the Truma, so that stays; and since there’s propane, we’re leaving the rather large 3-way refrigerator. (Trust me, Stef is thrilled!) We thought about adding lots of lithium batteries and deleting the generator, adding an inverter, BMS, etc. etc. etc. But honestly, that’s a technology leap that’s better made with a “whole system” approach. The engineering to pull that off and rework the coach would have taken time… and we’re anxious to get rolling! The balance of the coach runs off 12v anyway, so the generator will only be needed for AC/Microwave/Hair dryer.


He’s a gas coach! You might have expected us to go with a diesel, but since I found out in my analysis you might not save as much as you think, that became a lot less important. The diesel ProMaster has that unusual transmission, and – at least in the US and Canada – servicing on the gas Pentastar engine should be easier to find and not leave us stranded in Oregon for a week (ahem, Mercedes). We really like the tight and nimble driving characteristics of the Travato, so we’re completely fine with the gas powertrain. Additionally – the gas Travato comes with a gas generator; which saves the propane for other purposes. That will extend our “away” time quite a bit. But not nearly as much as the next mod…


Here’s the one that will blow minds… we’re going with a composting toilet! Yes, you read that right. The main benefit of this is that it will allow us to use both tanks for grey water (26 gallons total – more than we have now), and will extend our time in the field a lot. No black tank to deal with or dump! Strangely, even though Das Bus has a 30 gallon black tank, this always seems to be our limiting factor in how long we can stay afield. I attribute this to my black tank experiments, which have led us to use PLENTY OF WATER in the black tank. Probably it’s too much water, but I’ve also never had any kind of clog or buildup issues…

Winnebago, for their part, is installing it for us in their standard wet bath, but will be installing it in a way that we can revert to a conventional system if we choose to later. Another benefit of this type of install is that current Travato owners could emulate our install if they want to go this way themselves.

Wait – Did He Say Wet Bath?

A dry bath with separate shower was one of our original “Must Have” criteria. The Travato has a wet bath. So, what changed? A little explanation is in order here, and I think it’s easiest to start off with a picture:

Laundry bin, cycling gear, yoga mats, resistance bands, two sets of trekking poles, and a heavy video tripod.  Actually, about average.

Laundry bin, cycling gear, yoga mats, resistance bands, two sets of trekking poles, and a heavy video tripod. Actually, about average.

This is the shower in Das Bus, loaded for a trip. When we want to shower, all of those things in the shower stall have to be relocated to somewhere else in the RV. Remember that Das Bus is a true class B, and you’ll start to see the problem. Pretty much the whole van becomes temporary storage for our shower-stored items. This means that when one of us wants to take a shower, the other one has to go sit up in the cab, because there’s no place else to be. It’s sooooo inconvenient; we’ve sometimes passed on showers when we really wanted them. So, while the Travato may have a wet bath, we think the shower will actually be more useable.  (Because let’s face it, we’re not crazy enough to block our access to the toilet…)

There are other things – about the Travato specifically – that make us OK with the wet bath. The first being that the Travato wet bath is HUGE! It is in no way similar to the typical class B sit-on-the-toilet-to-shower-and-lean-to-one-side-if-you-try-to-stand-up bathrooms. We wouldn’t accept the typical Sprinter bathroom: this one is about twice that size. The other thing that makes us OK with the wet bath is that the storage we’re giving up (in our current shower) – we’ll make up for with the Travato. We won’t have to store bed linens and pillows. That’s one whole wardrobe cabinet now! And the Travato has over cab storage which we currently lack. So while we won’t be able to store things in the shower anymore, we also won’t need to.

So, all in all, we’re feeling pretty pumped about the Travato. But let’s take score.

The Score Card

If you look back to our “What are we really looking for in our next RV” post, how does the Travato stack up against Das Bus?

 Das BusTravato 59GX
Must Have Criteria
Under 24 feet longYes!Yes! (2 feet shorter than Das Bus)
Permanent BedNoYes!
4 Season CapabilityYes!Yes!
Indoor Bike StorageYes!Yes! (and more convenient)
Dry BathYes!No
Pretty Nice Features to Have
Mileage20 mpg15.2 mpg (worst) up to 20 mpg (best reported)
Tank Capacity25/24/3021/26/infinite?
No SlidesYes!Yes!
One Fuel SourceNoNo

So there you have it. On the “Must Have” list, I give the edge to the Travato – it’s shorter than Das Bus, it has a permanent bed, and the bike storage will not limit our ability to use the sliding door.   Once we deprecate the Dry Bath requirement, the Travato scores 4 out of 4. And on the secondary wants list, the gas Travato likely gets less mileage than the diesel – though I’ve had Travato owners comment here that they get 20-22 mpg, which is what we get in Das Bus. But when you consider the (nearly) infinite black tank capacity, and the fact that the generator runs off of the same fuel source as the engine; then the scales tip in favor of our new yellow friend. We couldn’t be happier.

And that’s just SOME of what’s coming. There are even more things planned for our yellow companion, but this post is getting really long, so those can wait. I’ll be writing more as Winnebago starts the build-out, but for right now, he looks like this inside:

Empty ProMaster

It’s all I can do to keep myself from heading to Forest City with a whole bunch of Dynamat…


Anyone’s first trip in their new RV is a big deal. We’d love to share that experience with you, our readers. But not just virtually. Seriously! Come along on our maiden voyage for a 4 day group tour through Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota! Winnebago Outdoor Adventures puts together trips that ANYONE can join, not just people with Winnebagos. You can read about the Driftless Adventure, our shakedown cruise in mid-July, right HERE. It should be fun – there will be canoeing and biking to satisfy our urge for “active”. But I’ll probably lead an extra ride or two, time permitting, and we’ll be bringing our fitness equipment and sharing exercises and tips for working out on the road as well. It’ll be a blast, we promise!

I’ll keep the updates coming on our new Travato.  That’s all for now.  Stay healthy and safe out there!


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.

    83 thoughts on “The Juicy Details on the Next Fit RV

    1. wes

      The one thing I did hear about the composting toilet from a couple like yourselves is that the liquid portion of the toilet can fill up within a day because they hydrate so much for some events. The couple is called “Never Home” on youtube Have you found this to be true.

      1. James - Post author

        Yes. Absolutely.
        Even when we’re not prepping for an event, the liquids container fills and needs to be emptied daily.

    2. JJVA

      Did Winnebago sell you the composting toilet directly and install it for you? Or did you have to purchase it and then pay them or a dealer to install it? From the Wynns’ videos on composting toilets, I think it cost them around a grand for the toilet, and some unstated amount to pay to get it installed. How did Winnebago calculate the costs for the composting toilet? How much more did it cost than just accepting the regular toilet? I enjoy your videos and you scientific approach to RVing issues. Keep up the great work.

      1. James - Post author

        The composting toilet was pretty easy. We had discussed it with them before, and had selected the Airhead toilet. They asked if I wanted to install it myself, or have them do it. We elected to have them do it. They ordered the toilet and installed it, and any costs for that were rolled into the final price we paid. I don’t know how Winnebago calculated costs themselves, or how that factored into the final.

        I really can’t say how that would price out if it ever turned into an orderable option. (And let’s be perfectly clear: we’ve not heard that they’re considering making this an option in the future.) But you’re correct in that the toilets themselves retail for about a thousand-ish dollars.

    3. Dennis Zingler

      Love your blog. Owned a 2015 Travato 59G for eight months. 8000 miles later I saw your review of the 59K. Two weeks later I parked one in my driveway. We loved our 59G (named by our son-in-law the “K00K” mobile). The 59K is amazing. The Truma system is flawless and quiet. The Froli sleep system is very comfortable. The location of the TV mount is perfect, it allows for three viewing positions, laying in bed (with the built in chaise lounge type in incliners), sitting in the cab chairs, or even outside (I replaced the cumbersome non-tilting TV mount with. 25″ extending sleek tilting mount which allows the TV to get past the sliding door therefore allowing for outside viewing). The USB ports are everywhere, and the roof top solar panels are amazing. The down side is the smaller refrigerator, however that little thing is very deep. Also the twin beds are not as romantic as the smaller than double size bed of our 59G, but we can still hold hands across the aisle, lol. The best is no shimmying out from under the covers and crawling over my wife in the middle of the night for a potty break (we are over 50, haha). We have more kitchen counter space, but the best feature is the extreme openness of the floorplan! Needless to say I feel Winnebago hit this thing out of the park. Only 3000 miles under our belt, but plenty more to come. Also the bike and kayak/paddleboard racks are never empty. Good luck on your new rig, hope to see you on the road

      1. James - Post author

        You sound like our kind of couple! We can’t wait to get into our new rig, and hopefully we’ll see you out there while we’re in it. Cheers!

    4. Patrick Curran

      OH MY! Small world!

      I live (retired) in The Villages, FL, the pickleball capital of the world. Hey, we have more than 120 courts! For real.

      I own a silver 2015 Travato 59G. (with wife Jeanie) I have made several mods to the coach (just small projects). But I think clever. I have shop tools and experiment with solar, low voltage.

      We have an inside the RV bike storage rack, which I am still improving.

      I have done a write-up (.pdf) on cool tools/supplies for RVers (small, cheap, versatile).

      And lots more than those things of potential mutual interest. I promise never to be boring, or a become a pest.

      Please tell me how I can share my info with you.

      I stay up to date on-line and follow your channel. But somehow it took me this long to realize you are going “full 59G”
      (Your segment you did with your assistant, about the lab experiment with RV toilet paper was perhaps m the most awesome YouTube RV related clip ever. !
      The black tank analysis segment you did was also memorable.

      (The interview with Dean from Leisure Travel Vans was informative, but disappointing because I was hoping for the totally overthetop Dean. I still chuckle to myself even though I have not seen one of his videos for quite a while. (May the PGA did call him this year to go on pro tour.)

      This is not exactly a reply, and possibily not in the correct thread, but this was a quick way to make initial contact with you two

      Thanks, and best wishes.

      1. James - Post author

        Hi Patrick – thanks for checking us out.
        If you want to send something directly to us, like files or ideas or whatever, our email addresses are on the “Contact Us” page.
        Your list sounds like it might be of interest, and obviously we’d love to hear what you’ve done with your Travato!
        Feel free to contact us directly anytime.

    5. Chris

      Hey I had a couple questions about the MB Cruiser model. I have heard some people say that Dodge dealers will work on them. Is that true? I know Freightliner dealers usually will. Only being able to go to Mercedes dealers for service was a huge thing that swayed me away from Sprinter based RVs.

      How does it drive? In your Promaster Diesel video you mentioned that the transmission in that model was kind of funky, shifting like a manual. What about in the MB Cruiser? Is it more like a regular auto transmission in a gasser?

      I would still rather not have a diesel, but Ive seen a couple of these Forest River cruisers come up in the low to mid 30k range now, which makes it very appealing because I do like the floor plan.

      1. James - Post author

        Hey Chris –
        Some Dodge dealers will work on the Sprinters, and every Freightliner dealer I’ve been to will. On the Dodge dealers though, best to call and ask before showing up.
        The drive on the older Sprinters is good – much more like what we think of as an automatic. You’ll still feel like you’re driving a larger vehicle though – it’s not like driving a Ford Focus.
        When we got ours, driving in crosswinds was occasionally terrifying. The suspension improvements I made have eliminated that. It’s very manageable.
        Don’t forget, ours is still for sale (wink, wink). It’s not low-to-mid-30s, but it’s also about 5 times nicer than any other MB Cruiser you’ll find.

    6. Paul Banbury

      We await news on the composting toilet with great anticipation! Once more, thanks for leading the way, makes waiting till 2016 better.

      1. James - Post author

        I *really* hope we get the composting toilet right. (or things could get ugly…)
        Don’t worry, we plan to let everyone know how it goes.


        Yes the composting toilet is a must!!!!!!!! Winnebago is awesome! I have a low roof 2014 136 wheelbase promaster right now. I have a composting toilet and wouldn’t do it any other way!

        1. James - Post author

          All Right!
          We don’t know how to use one yet. Can we call you with questions? lol.
          But in all seriousness, it does give us way more tank space.

    7. Chris

      On those rear windows….they dont seem to be all that tinted and also dont have blinds. Are they darker then they appear to be in videos?

      1. James - Post author

        The rear windows are what comes from Ram. Winnebago doesn’t install their own there. You could certainly add tint to them.
        Winnebago does provide a privacy option for people to put in them while camping. It’s opaque, and it’s completely removed in the videos. You’d want to remove it all the way for driving.

    8. Chris

      You know I didnt care all that much for this model at first but its grown on me. We are 1-2 years out from buying so I really want to wait and see whats done with the Transit. The 59G seems like maybe the best value going in the B class right now tho. And with how that bed folds up could act as a useful 2nd vehicle for picking up things from the Hardware store or something.

      Our favorite B floor plan is actually what Das Bus has. Two center twin beds that also act as seating with a rear dry bath. But maybe in practice its not as nice as it would seem to be?

      Do you know if they plan to have the engine generator as a option in the future? Would love that with batteries. I dont want propane on board or a traditional generator if I can help it.

      1. James - Post author

        I think a lot of folks would agree that the Travato is the best value going right now in a Class B. That’s one of the things we like about it!
        But if your favorite floor plan is what Das Bus has, you know she’s for sale… right?

        I don’t know about Winnebago’s plans for a second alternator/battery bank option. In the future, I think every manufacturer will get there, but they’ll all arrive at different times. But we haven’t heard from WGO about this yet. On the Travato 59G – that refrigerator only comes in a 3-way propane model. And the Truma Combi unit requires propane as well. So even with the battery bank and second alternator, you’d still have the propane on board. So it’s not quite as dramatic an option as it might seem at first.

        1. Chris

          Das Bus is great. But I want gas. And I want a Ford or Dodge because of the amount of places that can service them across the country.

          Did not think about propane for that Truma, darn. Guess I could deal. We will see if anything changes on the 2017. And see what new models come up. Hoping there is a few new Transits in time for the Hersey RV Show.

          How is the bed on the 59G? Is that memory foam? Would it be comfortable for someone to lay down there while going down the road, not that anyone should ever do that…… Is it a fairly smooth ride in the rear?

          Im also curious how thick of a mattress that setup could accommodate if I wanted to invest in a new memory foam mattress.

        2. James - Post author

          I would expect you’ll see at least a couple Transit conversions at Hershey. 😉

          We’ll have better answers for you on the 59G bed in about a month! We were only on it for a few minutes, but I didn’t notice anything odd in that time.
          I don’t believe it’s a memory foam mattress. I hope not – Stef and I are anti-memory-foam. We’d prefer a natural latex.
          But, with the standard height bed, you should be able to add a topper or whatever suits you. It IS a strange shape though – one of the sides is trimmed at a diagonal. And you’d want to get something that hinged where the bed folds up. So don’t expect to find a ready-made replacement.

          But if the layout of Das Bus interests you, then have a look at the Travato 59K! The layout is similar to Das Bus with a rear bath. And it is available in gas or diesel.

          Stef thought the ride in the back was better than a Sprinter.

    9. Dan

      Hi James. I’ve enjoyed your systematic analysis and detailed posts. I have a couple of questions. I’m pretty ignorant about this stuff, so please bear with me.

      1. I really like the idea of the composting toilet. The one down side seems to be the constant need to dump the liquids. My question is, since urine is sterile, could it just be routed into your grey tank? Since you will already have the plumbing in place, that seems like it wouldn’t be that hard to figure out as long as it didn’t turn the grey into black (if you know what I mean).

      2. I know you’ve mentioned that the concept of something similar to the eTrek is appealing to you (it is to me as well). I believe that some conversions (like Advanced RV?) simply use the coach motor as the generator by automatically starting it up and increasing the idle speed. Is that a feature that could be easily added if you were to get a diesel Travato? It seems that the ability to eliminate an extra generator would be a big plus. If I understand correctly, one of the things that swayed you towards the gas Travato was eliminating the need for the LP generator and being able to draw from the coach fuel tank. Using the coach motor for the generator seems like an even better option to me (although I’m sure there are factors that I’m not aware of.

      Thanks again.

      1. James - Post author

        Hi Dan. Let me see if I can answer your questions.
        1. I suppose that could be done, but then you would have to modify the toilet in addition to the plumbing (at least with the toilet we chose). There are some composting toilets that have a built in drain connection for the liquids, but I’m not certain of their suitability for a wet-bath install. Personally, I rather like the idea of not having anything but soapy water in the tanks. I’d rather just not deal with getting pee on my hands when I dump. But your idea would be feasible, technically. As far as turning “grey into black”, I’m not really sure what the regulations are, but I’ve *never* seen separate dumps for grey and black water (except in Europe). I suppose, back in the day, some places may have let you dump grey water on the ground? I’ve never seen this allowed either, to be honest. Kind of makes you wonder why the grey and black tanks are separate in the first place…
        2. That “engine generator” setup could be added – but not “easily”. It does not require a diesel engine, you could do it with a gas engine if you don’t mind idling it. But there’s more to it than just adding a second alternator. You’d also want a hefty battery capacity so you wouldn’t be starting your vehicle every time you wanted to run the microwave, for example. Then you need an adequately sized inverter as well. Wires need to be up-sized, and you need some intelligence to know when to draw from the batteries vs. start the vehicle. Advanced RV does all this with their Silverleaf system, and that system does a lot to make everything seem integrated and seamless. I may eventually try some of these things, but to do it right, you have to start with the end goal in mind and work from there to redesign the electrical system. It requires some thought and isn’t something I’d approach off-the-cuff.

    10. Jim Miner

      Congratulations on your new to be RV. I have a 2015 Travato 59G, bought March of this year, and so far I love it.

      However there a few irritations, principally involving the generator.
      On my first extended trip, I was testing the air conditioner and heat strip when the generator AC circuit breaker tripped.

      Due to the low clearance of the body and generator, I was unable to reset the circuit breaker, so the remainder of my trip was without hot water or microwave. At home with the rear tires on blocks I was still unable to maneuver my fingers inside the generator access opening to reset the circuit breaker. Ended up taking it back to the dealer just to reset the circuit breaker. The tech guy said it was a real struggle for him to get his finger on the reset switch.

      I do not look forward to changing the generator oil.

      1. James - Post author

        Interesting. I’ll have to check that out when we get ours. There’s got to be an easier way…

    11. Chilly

      James we are excited to see how your Travato build develops. We will purchase our first RV in 2 years. We are bikers MTN/RD and ultra light backpackers, we will also mix in more kayaking. We will need to find room for yoga mats and a TRX. We both love your reviews because you find the products that fit most of our needs. I really appreciate the R&D you are putting into this project. I think you and Winnebago are on the right track.

      1. James - Post author

        Glad you like our stuff! We hope this project turns out to be pretty popular, and encourages Winnebago (and others) to offer more RVs and features feared towards the active crowd. You can bet we’ll be bringing the mats and TRX – and I’m already thinking about how to use the rear door hinges with the resistance bands…

    12. Scott B Out

      Too cool. I’m envious. I’ve been pondering the composting toilet, or even some sort of porta potti in the travato, and then thought a person might figure out a way to use the black water tank as a FRESH water tank (instead of gray). 21 gal of fresh water is not much, and you can usually find a place to dispose of gray water…
      Is the two battery set up standard in the 2016 or was that one of your mods?

      1. James - Post author

        Two batteries are standard for 2016 – I can’t take the credit for that one…
        I wouldn’t have thought about using the black tank as a fresh tank. It just seems… I don’t know… wrong? Having seen the tanks, I know the black and fresh tanks are made of a different kind of plastic (at least in appearance, if not chemically). Now, if you were to remove the black tank and put a separate fresh tank down there, I might get on board.
        In our travels, we’ve only had a few more gallons than 21, but we’ve never had a problem. We usually hit civilization every few days, and a lot of our fresh water went down the toilet anyway! I’m counting on the fresh water lasting quite a bit longer once we’re no longer using it to flush.

    13. Dillon

      It all looks great. The Wynns from Gone with the Wynns recommend the composting toilet and their full timers… heck that’s probably where you heard about it.

      The travato seems to be a good pick for ya’ll, congrats and have fun

      1. James - Post author

        Actually, it was us NOT being full timers that had me a little hesitant on the composting toilet. (Wondering what it would do when it sat un-used…)
        The manufacturer assures me it will all be OK, so we’re going with it.

        We think the Travato “fits” us as well. Excited for July!

    14. Andy & Kim

      July is just around the corner … you ready?!?!?!

      Have you driven the gas Pro Master yet? In your review of the diesel you mentioned the slow shifting “automatic manual” transmission. Just wondering if the gas version is smoother.

      Happy Trails
      Andy & Kim

      1. James - Post author

        Well, we didn’t drive an empty ProMaster, but we did drive the gas version of the Travato 59g in our review.
        It’s much more what we North Americans think of as a “regular” automatic transmission. It doesn’t have the shift lag that the diesel did.

    15. Gordon Vanus

      I have a 2014 Travato. We like traveling in it and the gas milage is very good. I’ve averaged 17.4 mpg on long trips and 19 mpg on short trips. I interested in the bike rack in your video. Who is the manufacturer?

      1. James - Post author

        17.4 is pretty good – better than what I planned on. Thanks for the data point.
        The bike rack (and roof rack) on the Travato are made by Fiamma.


        I need a wheelchair for extended walking and would really look forward to a system like the bike rack so door will open with wheelchair attached to the rack. That would be a fantastic space saver and not take up my hitch or impede on the back door opening. : )

    16. Big Al

      Great article. I have been waiting for the US Class B’s to approach the design quality of the European ones. Your changes, specially the compost toilet narrow that gap.
      What I am uncomfortable with however is the Travato. I have had Dodge/Jeep products and am not a fan at all, having lived (barely) through a complete electrical failure on a busy freeway with a Jeep Cherokee packed with little kids. That, combined with the fact that the Travato is a Fiat, which when brought to the US, is highly problematic. I’m not sure if we are past the Fix It Again Tony joke, just take a look at the Consumer Reports quality ratings for Fiats. On top of that, they now stick in a Dodge engine. It just seems that the potential issues grow geometrically.
      Help me out here. I would love to go the route you have chosen with the Travato, but can’t help feeling more secure with a Mercedes. Please walk me through your analysis.

      1. James - Post author

        Well, honestly, it’s not always easy to find someplace to get our Sprinter serviced…
        When we were in Europe, about 90% of the RVs we saw were based on the Ducato. They have to be doing something right to capture that much of the market. I remember the Fix It Again Tony phase – but I think most modern auto makers have moved past that kind of thing (generally).

        A good place to hang out would be in the ProMaster forum. There, you can hear from actual owners about the problems they’re having with their ProMasters. (Squeaky doors, what mileage do they really get, stuff like that). It’s a pretty active forum, so if you have questions, you should get a response.

      2. Ron

        Just a few years in the automotive business is an eternity. Both Chrylser and Fiat have come a long way since the recession.

        My first Travato I had a year and it never needed a single return to a dealer for a problem. It had absolutely zero problems. It didn’t need any “adjustments” either. It’s a high quality product, both chassis and coach.

    17. Travis

      I like the Travato and I am excited to see the new g will have a Truma. My one concern remains the comfort of the driver seat. I am 6’2 and it feels a bit cramped. Has anyone seen any good solutions to this problem?

        1. Travis

          Tried to swing by and sit in one again but they are all sold out at the local dealers here in Utah! Appears the word on the Travato is out. It may be some time before they get another one in.

      1. Travis

        I haven’t tried a stock van. Are they different?

        Another question. with your use of the black tank as a grey tank can you eliminate thn pump for the shower drain?

        1. James - Post author

          I don’t think they’re different in the cab. But my thought was – if the stock van feels cramped to you, there’s probably not much Winnebago (or any other company) could do to fix that. Except maybe remove the headliner/shelf?

          But I was waiting for someone to ask about the tanks. The pump for the shower drain will still be there. (The shower will stay low to the floor.) But it will pump into the (former) black tank instead of the grey. So, we’ll have a “sink” tank and a “shower” tank.

    18. Ron Merritt

      A few suggestions – since your are deleting the King antenna, consider a Winegard Rayzar mounted inside the air conditioner shroud (that is what ARV is doing now and works well). You may want to consider a Stowaway2 box on the back. It holds alot and swings out so you can open the doors. Would love to know how you intend to load and offload kayaks up top. I haven’t figured it out with my van. I thought only drain lines were outside the van – with just alittle antifreeze in the tanks, you should be OK in the cold as-is? What kind of bike mount hardware are you going to screw into the floor?

      1. James - Post author

        Getting the kayaks up top will take some figuring out… I will probably make a video once I figure out how to do it properly. There was a Fiamma branded roller that another reader suggested. I don’t know if that would work with the AC up there, but it may be worth checking out.
        I’ll have another post in a while with some more details (racks and other things) but I like your thinking on the Rayzar. We don’t watch much TV, so it’s really not a big deal for us anyway.

        1. Ron

          I think some kind of strap system would enable you to hoist it up while you stand on the roof of the van. Key is some kind of way to manage it by yourself, as not everyone has someone to help them.

        2. James - Post author

          I fully expect to fall off the ladder a couple of times figuring this all out…

    19. Dan Beaton

      We added a cell phone booster (Wilson Sleek) to our Roadtrek last year, and found it quite useful, even in less than remote areas. However, it takes a 12 volt outlet and you have to route the cable somehow. It would be nice to have this kind of thing built-in.

      1. James - Post author

        Ya know, that’s not a bad idea…
        I might want to see the completed coach before I decide where I want it though. Ideally, since it’s a cradle mount, it would be up near the dash – but still run off the house battery system so we can use it without the vehicle being on.
        If it’s not part of the build, I could add it later. Might make an interesting video.

      1. Josh

        I have this. Please do yourself a favor and take a hard look at Separett before going the Airhead/Nature’s Head route. Don’t kid yourself into thinking These are composting toilets. You put in all the effort only to just throw the bag out. What am I saying this for…you are getting it for free anyway.

        1. James - Post author

          Well, I can assure you, we’re not getting it for free. I wish we were, but we’re not.
          But anyway – the point of the composting toilet for us is not to get the compost. (I’ve already got more of that than we need.)
          For us, it’s about extra grey tank space, and extra time before needing to dump. And the Airhead delivers what we need there.

      1. James - Post author

        Ya know, I’d been wondering how to best load stuff up top…
        When I get it figured out, that’s definitely a video.

        Thanks for the link!

        1. Highlander

          Ditto! Although, that roller from Fiamma looks like it’s just the ticket. Gonna have to dance around the 100 Watt solar panel though on the 59K.

    20. Ken

      I’m glad I’ll will have just a cheap bike that I can put outside:-) Good luck on your mods. I thought you would do something with the crowded front area. No way can that water tank be relocated. If they could move that water tank, I would consider the 59G. Seems to me Winnebago could creatively put the water tank.

      Still waiting to see if the 59K is as roomy as it appears in videos. All these Class Bs seem to shrink when you see them in person. 🙂

      1. James - Post author

        I dunno – the front area really doesn’t seem to bug us. I’m actually looking forward to sitting on that water tank and hanging my legs outside.
        But on the 59K, I can tell you, when you compare it to the other Class Bs out there, it DOES seem roomy.
        Good luck with your hunt!

        1. Bob

          Kind of agree with Ken on water tank. While it does not bother me either, when you look at the Hymer Grand Canyon and the Safari Condo XL21, both on ProMaster chassis, not having an immovable object there makes it all feel a bit more open and roomy up front. And they each have 26 gallon fresh water tanks, not the 59g’s 21 gallon.

          If you see either one on your travels check them out. Cannot find drawings of either on the web – a big plus for Winnebago who seem to set the standard on making parts and drawings available.

        2. James - Post author

          As someone who likes to think about modifying his RV, I very much appreciate how thorough Winnebago is with their online materials.
          I’ll definitely check out the Safari and Hymer, if I ever see one. One thing about the Hymer – I believe it had a cassette toilet – so while it had a big fresh water tank, it had no black tank.
          The Safari also likely has the fresh tank underneath (just a guess, but like you said – they don’t post diagrams). We needed that fresh tank inside for the wintertime thing.

        3. Ken

          I finally saw a 59K and compared it the the 59G. The 59K is the most spacious feeling RV I have seen so far by a wide margin. The 59G still felt very cramped up front but is still workable. Not overly thrilled about the 59K front tables or the smaller fridge. I think something portable can be worked out regarding a table. Like you and the 59X, the 59K hits my checkpoints. Looks like one bed for me and one bed for my 85 lb dog.

          Thanks for the great video review. I hardly looked at it as all I need to see was how roomy was it.

        4. James - Post author

          Glad our review was that helpful!
          (I wonder which of you will get the slightly larger bed???) 🙂

        5. Ron Merritt

          Bingo! I sit there all the time. People complain about that tank, but it’s a really handy seat as well as a place to stage things either to go in, or out, of the van. There is nothing like a roadside stop with a terrific view and you can sit there and enjoy a snack and a beverage.

    21. Andy & Kim

      How exciting!!!
      We are in the same market too hoping to make the right choice.
      We’re coming out of 20 years in an 8′ pop-top truck camper so one like your’s will feel like a mansion. We are new to the class B world and your reviews and articles have been valuable eye openers for us.

      What other B’s were on your short list and why did the Travato eventually win out in the end?
      So far our short list –
      Pleasure-Way Plateau FL
      Roadtrek Zion
      The Travato’s G & K

      Looking forward to your updates!
      Andy & Kim

      1. James - Post author

        To tell you the truth, we really didn’t have it narrowed down very much. The 59G was the ONLY thing out there that had a permanent bed AND the ability to store bikes inside.
        The main other contender was the “James builds it” option. I really had been locating suppliers and materials.
        Your list looks pretty good. I haven’t seen the Zion in person yet, so can’t comment much on that one.
        But on the Pleasure-Way, you picked their true class B model that feels the most spacious to me.
        If “spaciousness” is important to you, you really need to see the 59K in person (if you haven’t already).

        Hope you find the one that’s the best fit for you – then we’ll see you out there!

        1. Ken

          Quite a bit of price difference ($40K+) between the Pleasure Way and the Travato although the quality is much higher. I’m also not sold or the Sprinter chassis reliability and maintenance and would like to stay with gas for the price difference.

    22. Bob

      Congrats! Looking forward to more photos.

      FYI – Links on Winnebago’s website are flaky. If you click on the link in your article it takes you to the 2015 specs not the 2016. If you go to the specs by first clicking the Winnebago home page and making your way to the specs, you get the 2016. Quick way to tell? 2015 has laminate counters; 2016 has Corian.

    23. Highlander

      Thank you! They had been looking at us like we had three heads when we said we wanted a composting toilet installed on our 59K (we’ll have the Dealer do it, I guess). A Tech at Winnebago I talked to said he thought it would never catch on in the RV community.

      We had one on our 32 foot sailboat for 12 years down in the BVI’s, and loved it (it allowed us to get rid of the smelly holding tank). With you guys getting one installed (along with the Wynn’s and their videos on the subject), maybe now the concept will catch on. I mean come on, you get to double your grey water capacity, what’s not to like?

      Oh, and thank you for not waiting till Monday to post this!

      1. James - Post author

        You’re welcome!
        I just hope it works as well as everyone says it does!
        I had some concerns about the way we would use it (cold weather, shorter weekend trips, in a wet bath, etc.), but Geoff at Airhead Toilets has been great at answering questions.

        1. Highlander

          Geoff’s a great guy. 16 years ago he did the same for us. Yeah, cold weather will slow the composting down way down. Opt for the extra liquids container too (trust me on that one). Did you factor in for height, as far as sitting? When we were looking at the 59G, I noticed one could put their right foot on that little ledge along the wall but, the left leg will be dangling. One thought is a step stool like the Wynn’s use, and have it do double duty by using it to crawl into bed. Just a thought.

          Some thoughts on solar panels on top later, when I’ve got more time to write. I assume Winnebago is going with the Zamp lineup? Damn, we’re almost as excited for you guys as we are for ourselves! Trying to put the spurs to them, so we can make that run with you guys, with both of us rocking new Travatos. Us in the 59K and you in the 59GX. Although i do like the G-Fit name too! 🙂

        2. James - Post author

          We did factor in the height. Winnebago has some ideas on how to handle that for us.
          We haven’t discussed particular solar components with them, but I would assume the same components as in the 59k, which were Zamp.

          That would be AWESOME if you can make it and join us on our maiden voyage! Who do I need to talk to to make that happen? 😉

        3. LISA MOLITOR

          Zero odor with a properly used composting toilet. A perfect system : ) I am thrilled your posting this information because others will listen to your thoughts and eventually composting toilets will be much more popular in the RV community. You guys are so awesome! Thanks for all you do to educate people and share your journey!

    24. Ted

      Perhaps you can recover some of the lost storage space, from the over the bed cabinets, by mounting storage pouches, similar to the one under the bed, against the bathroom wall next to the bed. You’d probably have it high enough so it wouldn’t interfere with the sleeping width, and raising the bed.

      The high step into the bed might be solved by building a chest/step to place in the aisle at the foot of the bed to aid climbing into the bed and add an extra storage space. Maybe it could be moved and stored under the dinette during the day to prevent it from blocking the fridge and access to the bathroom from the front.

      As for the composting toilet…. You’ll probably be watching the “Gone with the Wynn’s” video over and over for the next couple months for reassurance. Stef has probably stipulated that you’ll be the one emptying the contents.

      1. James - Post author

        The storage under the bed should be huge once they’ve moved it up that high. I’m not too worried about that. (Haven’t figured out a step yet.)
        The exterior storage is actually what I’m more concerned about. That bump-out on the back of Das Bus actually holds quire a bit. It’ll be hard to give up.

    25. JP Jespersen

      I am excited about your composting toilet details. Having used one in the past I know its the way to go. I am blown away that some RV bloggers say that composting toilets will be stinky therefore they would’t consider one. There is absolutely no smell, and you don’t have to deal with a stinky slinky and the stink hole.

      1. James - Post author

        We hope you’re right!
        We haven’t used them before. We’re just going for it!
        It seemed like the best way to get the most mileage out of the tank space in the Travato.

        1. James - Post author

          It was three things really.
          First – the Airhead claims that men don’t necessarily have to sit down to use it. I’m hopeful this is true. It’s not really a big deal for me as a man… it’s a big deal for me as a cyclist wearing bib shorts! It means I won’t have to completely undress in order to use the toilet.
          The second one is that the Airhead has gaskets under the seat and under the lid. Since we’re going to be installing it in a wet bath, I think it’s pretty important to keep water out. The Nature’s Head doesn’t have gaskets.
          The third thing may not be a big deal, but here it is: The Airhead places the vent fan on the outboard end of the vent hose. The Nature’s head has it on the toilet end. So it seems like the Airhead would be quieter. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t (I didn’t exactly do a sound-off). But it makes more sense to me to put the fan as close to outside as possible – since it has to run 24×7. Also seems like the fan pressure (to keep bugs out) would be greater in the Airhead.
          Those three, basically. Plus, when I’ve had questions, Geoff has been great at answering them. That sealed the deal.


        You are so right JP no odor! People are afraid of their own waste and that’s the jest of it. Once they see one in action it would totally change minds!


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