Winnebagans. Is that the correct term for “people from Winnebago”? We’re not quite sure, but that’s what we’ve been calling them ever since they stopped by Salt Lake City with the 2015 Travato. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to spend time with them, and to put together this detailed review of the Travato 59G. So first, have a look at the video:
It’s no accident that they were here in Salt Lake City to spend some time at the big Outdoor Retailer (OR) show. The Travato is a nimble motorhome aimed squarely at the active outdoor RV consumer – the same kind of consumer that’s the focus of the OR show. This is also the same kind of RVer we’ve been talking to manufacturers about for two years now! Given that, we were excited to get to know the Travato a little better. Helping us in that regard was Russ Garfin, Product Manager for Winnebago’s Touring Coach division. He was there to help answer any questions we had, and spent so much time with us, we were worried he would be late for his next meeting.
So, how did we like it?
We found a lot to like about the Travato. Chief among these things was the floor plan. The Travato is a true Class B motorhome; and as far as I can recall, it’s the only Class B motorhome with completely separate sleeping and dining areas. This means NO CONVERTING from bed to dinette! This means I can get up and get ready for a bike race while Stef sleeps in! This means someone can stay up late and work while someone else turns in for the night! Genius! Not only that, if you actually do want to convert it – the dinette area becomes a second bed – separate from the main bed. Since it’s based on the ProMaster, people up to 6 foot 2 inches can sleep “cross-coach”.
We also liked the size of the Travato. It’s only 20 feet 11 inches long. That’s shorter than our current Sprinter based motorhome. And being front-wheel drive, this thing drove like a dream. We would have no problem getting the Travato from downtown traffic to remote trail heads – without bothering with a tow vehicle (although, as equipped, the Travato can tow up to 3500 pounds).
And though we don’t usually like the wet baths in Class Bs, both Stef and I felt the wet bath in the Travato was very well done. For starters, it’s huge, so even though there is a toilet in there, you don’t have to sit on it to shower (in fact, they provide a curtain to separate the toilet off if you like). There was adequate dry-storage in the bathroom as well, and height in the shower was outstanding.
Some things are a little… different
With the Travato, Winnebago really packs a lot into a small space. When you try to do so much in tight quarters, there are bound to be some compromises. One of these has to do with the water heater. The model we saw was equipped with an electric-only water heater. That means you’ll need to be either plugged into shore power, or running the generator to get hot water. That might take some getting used to. (The reason for this is lengthy to explain, but it has to do with locating a fuel burning appliance close to the fuel fill for the coach.)
The shower was also a bit different. The Travato drives really well because the ProMaster chassis is close to the ground. This means there’s not a lot of room underneath for a regular P-trap. The other alternative would be to raise the shower up off the floor, but that would really eat into the standing height in the shower. Winnebago’s solution to this dilemma is cleverly unconventional. They provide a powered shower drain, with a pump to remove water from the shower. No holes in the floor, and shower height is preserved – but you’ll need to run a pump to drain the shower.
And speaking of pumps, there’s another one to drain the grey water tank when you dump. Again, unusual, but it works. You might forget about this until the first time you pull the lever to drain the grey tank and nothing happens…
They’re always improving
When I learned that we were going to get to look at the Travato, I read up on some of the blogs and other reviews out there. After reading them, and then seeing the 2015 model, it’s obvious that Winnebago is listening to its customers. Some of the items that were pain points to early adopters have obviously been addressed. I’m talking here about the bed retaining strap, which is significantly beefed up; and the shower drain, which (due to the pump situation) now has a second filter. In talking with Russ about the Travato, we learned that there are several other areas of the coach where they are looking to make improvements as well.
And that responsiveness is what has us most interested here. As it is today, the Travato is cool, but still not quite the perfect next coach for us. For example, some of the water lines are outside (although the fresh water tank is, thankfully, inside). And though our fancy bikes can ride inside, they can’t be kept there with the bed down. We let Russ know about these things. Given the rapid evolution of this coach, and the fact that Winnebago is obviously taking feedback seriously – we’re excited to see what future versions of the Travato will bring.
As always, you can find my review checklist attached here: 2015 Winnebago Travato 59G checklist