A Detailed Review of the 2015 Leisure Travel Vans Serenity


Back at the California RV Show, in Pomona, we had the chance to get up close and personal with a brand new, 2015 Serenity before the crowds swarmed in.  We filmed this review, where we do our typical in-depth, crawl-all-over-it thing.

 

The Serenity sits at the top of the Leisure Travel Vans line.  It’s built on the Sprinter chassis, but it’s made a little differently than most other RVs.  The solid fiberglass body is put together first, and then built up inside that shell.  That’s a slower and more costly way to build an RV.  And while I’m always impressed with the cabinetry that Leisure Travel Vans puts out; even there, the Serenity is a cut above.  I know all this about the Serenity, but we’d never taken a good, close look at one, until now.

I’m happy to report, that the Serenity lives up to the hype.  If we were full-timing, this would be the kind of coach I could live with for extended periods of time.  Here are some of the things we really liked about the Serenity:

  • The little touches – things like locking drawers under the sink, and a shelf perfect for sunglasses.  You’ll find lots of these in the Serenity, and you’ll appreciate them all.
  • Waterless Traps – Not so much for Stef, but to me, these were a big deal.  With no water in a trap, you don’t have to worry about them freezing, or running dry.  They also eliminate the need for a separate air admittance valve, AND, they take up less space.  All this, and they meet code too.  Awesome.
  • Battery Capacity – You can never have too much battery, and the Serenity comes with two 6 volt batteries.  (I’d add more, but this is a good start, and more than most coaches this size.)
  • The Refrigerator – Stef spent about a minute of our video fawning over the rather large, two door refrigerator.  I have to admit, it’s nice.  (I mean, I don’t want to marry it like Stef does, but yeah, it’s cool.)

But, as with most any coach, there were a couple things that make it still not the perfect next coach for us.  The two big ones are the lack of a place to store our bikes indoors, and the fact that it’s not a four season RV.  Also, this one didn’t have a permanent bed, which we really want.  (But that is an option.)

It’s easy to see why the Serenity is the top rig at Leisure Travel Vans.  If “top of the line” sounds like you, then you really should have a look at one. Even though we won’t be getting one any time soon, it’s always fun to see what’s possible. As always, I’ve attached our checklist below.

See you on the road!

2015-Serenity-checklist



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 works for a large IT company.


    7 thoughts on “A Detailed Review of the 2015 Leisure Travel Vans Serenity

    1. Larry

      As you found, the skylight in this RV and many others requires you to open the screen before you close it. I did some research on this and found that the skylight is most likely a Dometic with the model name, “Midi Heki.” I have no idea where that name came from, but Dometic also offers an electrically powered version. The powered version is used on some Winnebagos. Instead of needing to open the screen, you just press a button on the interior frame of the skylight to open or close it. According to the manual for the powered version, the model number is MDHDOM1370XXXX. Dometic says that it’s available in the US and that you’d have to contact a dealer or distributor to purchase it. Note that if you use Google to find it, almost all of the videos and businesses it finds are either in the UK or in Australia but again, Dometic says that it’s available in the US.

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Interesting!
        If it’s available, I wonder why it’s not offered. Considering the premium nature of the Serenity, it’s tough to imagine the extra cost of the electric model is the issue…

        Reply
    2. Sally Thompson

      Hi…

      I know this post is relatively old, but I want to come back to it and share a few things.

      I have been shopping for the perfect RV – and of course, we know that probably doesn’t exist. 🙂 Especially for those of us that don’t know what we want to do when we “grow up” (and I’m 58!)

      While I was trying to make up my mind, and to serve as a bandaid “fix” to be able to enjoy RVing last year (and throughout this winter!) , I bought a new, 4 season, 30′ travel trailer back in August. It’s now April. I survived just fine. I’m writing this right now as we are socked in with 24″ of new snow in Colorado this weekend.

      Anyway, my new trailer was brought home to it’s campground on a Saturday last summer, and I installed a Nature’s head composting toilet on Sunday. I was a bit hesitant about the whole concept, but I figured it was worth a shot. I’m sooooo glad I did. I ditto everything that Wynns have said about it.

      The way I explain the “dumping” experience is this: If dealing with a catbox stink is an 8 or a 10 on the revolting scale, dumping the box on a Nature’s head is about a 2. It’s like dumping dirt into a garbage bag.

      For my work, I would like to buy a motorhome that can truly *scoot* to locations and I would rather not have to find full hookups more than about once a week. I have had Leisure Travel Vans high on my list for the last year. And now that I have had the experience of the composting toilet, being able to install one easily into my next new rig is a deal breaker/winner now.

      My son also works at a diesel repair place – and he and his boss have really discouraged me from the Sprinter chassis because of the difficulty in finding a shop to work on it should something go wrong. A Ford would be easier to service.

      The new LTV Wonder seems to fit the bill… as well as the amount of storage that model offers, etc. I can’t say I’m wild about the interior cabinetry, but the advantage of being able to fit the toilet in that one (it looks like it should fit just fine), the amount of storage, and the use of the Ford Transit chassis scores big points with me.

      I enjoy your reviews… I just thought I’d chime in to this one. 🙂

      Happy trails…

      Sally

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        We’ve not been inside the new Wonder yet. I’m sure we’ll get to soon. Looking forward to it.
        Thanks for chiming in!

        Reply
    3. Doug Moore

      Have you guys thought of a Truck Camper.

      I love the LTV vans. Well thought out. Love Dean too. Also love the Tiffin and Newmar A’s. I almost bought a Roadtrek CS Adventurer. Love the way they are designed. No 4 season though and a bit small. I don’t want to have to winterize my rig. I do love Hydronic Heating. Especially the Dutch Star with Diesel to heat the water (no propane at all in unit). Washer and Dryer. Great for us active types. But big. Can tow a car to get around. But seriously, where is the maintenance going to be done on the rig. I’m clueless. I looked around. You can find places for Class A maintenance. But a truck, no thought. Can fix anywhere. The big A’s are great if you can park and go. Auto leveling etc. Still they don’t quite sit well with me.

      The Roadtrek CS Adventurer really designed a great solar and hydronic heat systems. I love the thought they put in their unit. Bummer no 4 season. Tight with all the water lines. Great support for my many questions.

      I use to own a Eagle Cap 850 on a short bed F350. We used it for Mtn Bike races and Dirt Bike races plus surfing at beach. A bit small for 4, but ok with 3.

      I sold it because I was burning too much cash playing.

      So I’m at the Sacramento CA RV show a couple of months ago. I go into the Northern Lite short bed camper, 8-11 Q Classic Special Edition as well as the new Adventurer 116DS Camper.

      Now I want something I can park on city streets. I don’t want to have to open slide outs for use. Not good for stealth camping. I want to go anywhere I want. I would love 4 season and 4wd. Good for skiing. I need a space for two mtn bikes, and a rack for a BMW 1200GS. What am I gonna do….

      So I walk into the Adventurer 116DS. You can use with slides in. You can use everything with slides in. Lots of fresh water (44gal). A wet bath, but well designed. Great two seat movie seats that recline. With all the slides out, we had 8 people in there watching football. Super comfy. Like a house. We were running the air conditioning too, because it was 106 outside.

      Now I walk into the non slide Norther Lite. Man it felt great. No slide and no air conditioning. You can order with air conditioning, but this unit did not have air conditioning. Felt great. Cool and comfy. Wow, 106 and no air and I’m comfortable. They use real wood and it has a nice feel like LTV or Airstream

      The Northern Lite is built better than the 116DS. They have the full block out shades. Only 33 gals of fresh, but that will do. Super lite. The 116DS weights around 4,100 with all options. Dually for sure. They say you can get by with single rear wheels

      The Northern Lite is only 2,500 lbs roughly with options. Built better. You don’t really feel cramped in the Northern Lite.

      The 116DS feels like a small 1 bedroom apartment with all slides open. Great bathroom, even though a wet bath. Both campers have wet baths.

      The Northern Lite has a nice basement sliding drawer aprox 8′ in length. Great for up to 3 pairs of skis.

      With a LTV van you need to put bikes outside. With a Truck Camper and a Crew Cab truck, you can take the rear seat out of truck and put at least 2 bikes in back seat, skis under truck camper, diving gear in back seat with bikes or mixed in truck camper storage. You can get truck serviced anywhere. Ford is best for this in my opinion. Easily put a motorcycle on back. You can easily upgrade hitch. You can disconnect truck from camper to have more maneuverability. You have 4wd for snow. 4 season.

      I want this rig to explore the mtn biking in US and Canada. I want the motorcycle to travel around town (park anywhere). I can camp out of town and use motorcycle to go into town. No parking issues. I want to do some skiing here and there. I can camp in town and look like a truck with camper parked on street. I don’t have to deal with crowded RV parks. RV parks fill up like crazy in summer. I can go and dump and add water most places. I can park right next to a restaurant for dinner and then not have to drive home. I hate to cook. I’d rather just eat out. Breakfast I usually make. Granola, yogurt and fruit. Easy. Pro Bars for when I’m active and salads when not for lunch.

      I have been watching the Sprinter Life couple with a kid. They sold their Sportsmobile van and now bought a used Fleetwood Bounder gas. Buying a used A makes sense. You can get cheap. They will be towing a 1988 Nissan Trooper. Now they have no loans. They have really no stress. They need little to live on. They use to travel in South American in Sprinter Van and then for long stays rent f a small apartment. (3 to 6 months at a time). He hauled everything in this van. So this is another thought. More room.

      My goal is to get someone to run my small business. This will give me a monthly allowance that I can afford to explore my life. I may go for a year and then settle down and use the rig on weekends and week trips. I have been working on my Yoga and may teach for my new career. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. Lafayette, CA. Love Marin County as well as Bend Oregon and San Diego for now.

      Anyways, a truck camper sounds good. Maybe gas instead of diesel. Allow for Mexico travels. I don’t know yet. Will wait til this summer or next. I need to milk my business for a bit, do some more yoga teacher training and find and train a person to run my business. It is a Pool and Spa service business. We don’t have a store front. Phone in for repairs and monthly service accounts.

      doug

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Wow Doug, you’ve really put some thought into things. We’ve not really looked at truck campers before, but this one sentence right here:

        “With a Truck Camper and a Crew Cab truck, you can take the rear seat out of truck and put at least 2 bikes in back seat”

        is something I never considered. The biggest problem we would have with a truck camper is that we would have to stop driving for Stef to go to the bathroom! That’s a bigger deal than you think, and one of the reasons that Stef puts up with as much driving as she does.

        Either way, we’re interested in what you wind up with. Let us know!

        Reply
        1. Doug Moore

          Thanks James

          When I have my other Truck Camper, I would have the kids sit in the back and read and watch movies. I would ride in the truck and listen to music. Nice break.

          Also it only takes a few minutes to stop to take a break. And Stef can ride in back if she wants.

          The advantage of carrying bikes in rear seat out weight taking a break. I liked your Fleetwood small C a while ago. However, they are built poorly. The LTV are built great, but for bikes and such, really no place. I did think of the twin bed Serenity. One bed would be a place for the bikes and the other for me.

          Then we get to the cost of maintaining the Sprinter, The special shops the sprinter sometimes require, No 4 season, No 4wd. To many no’s. I had told Dean about the Wynn’s and their Composting Toilet. I love the idea that instead of dumping the black, you can just dump a garbage bag wherever and pour the jar into any toilet or who knows where. More convenient and way less water use.

          The campers with slides are nice, but you need to move around on them with them closed and they weight a ton. However look at the two I mentioned. Your bed is ready when you are, places to sit, Large frig that Stef would like. They both use the same size the LTV uses. The Northern Lite is more expensive than the larger 116DS. Built better and really insulated. The bed is memory foam. Super comfy. Has a small 95W solar. I told them they should have at least 300 W of solar and 1,000 Pure Sine Wave Inverter with 4 batteries. They disagree. Running computers would be nice

          Anyhow, New Truck and Camper would be around 120K. 50 for Camper and 70 for truck.

          doug

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