Our Newer, Awesomer RV Tour – The Tour de Lance!

Once again, we’re reviewing our own RV, and it’s probably long overdue!  We’ve had our Winnebago Travato, Lance, for over a year now.  But I kept stalling on doing an RV tour because I kept making additions and enhancements.  I wanted to wait until I was “done” to do a walkthrough video.

But Stef finally won out, and convinced me that I’d never be “done” tinkering with the RV.  So, off we went into the middle of the deepest forest we could find.  That’s where we shot this video, which we’re calling “The Tour de Lance”  (get it?):


To go through every little detail on the RV would make for a really long video that would probably bore a lot of people.  Plus, we’ve already written about a lot of the systems and modifications we’ve done.  So for those of you who are interested in the details, rather than rehash them in the video, I’ll give you this list of write-ups which will cover all the details you could possibly want.


And there are probably more posts with modifications and details that I don’t even remember right now.  Anyway, now that it’s done, I’m glad that Stef convinced me to go ahead with the RV tour.  It was time.

Hope you enjoy it!


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.

    34 thoughts on “Our Newer, Awesomer RV Tour – The Tour de Lance!

    1. James Cogill

      No we didn’t cross paths in Forest City. I ordered completely via phone/fax/emails after looking at a 2014 unit locally, then flew to Minneapolis and Lichtsinn picked me up there on Oct 5th, to take delivery (it was actually ready late Sep, but my schedule fit a 10/5 pick-up).
      I do plan to get to the “left coast” within a year or two, and as I pass near/thru Utah, I will certainly contact y’all and perhaps we could meet up then.

    2. Hal Smith

      James, We are very likely to buy K in the next 2 months but recently have been looking at a Promaster Zion with the “underhood generator”. It seems similar to your system with extra solar, inverter and power source but I’m not convinced that idling the engine for long periods to charge the house is good for the engine. I saw your comments about re the Zion but could you critique their system in a little more detail? Also my wife is convinced the workmanship of RT is better than Winnebago and seeing how easily the ends of drawers come apart with little use it’s tough to refute that. Thoughts? Thanks, Hal Smith

      1. James - Post author

        Well, if you think about it for a minute, idling a gas engine is probably not as damaging as idling a diesel engine. (No soot, no particulate filters to clog up, etc. etc. etc.)
        I really can’t comment on the Roadtrek system, as I’ve not had any experience with it first hand. I’d just be talking about brochure points.
        As to the quality, we’ve had no build quality issues with our Travato. Not sure what you’re talking about with cabinets coming apart. I haven’t owned a Roadtrek, so I can’t give them a similar endorsement either way.

    3. Eric Spritzer

      Great video and thanks for taking the time to it.

      My questions are about the curtain you made. Would you share some dimensions of the fabric and the source for the track? Also, how did you attach the track?


      1. James - Post author

        Yes. I do intend to do a post on the curtains in the near future. I still have the pattern, etc, so it should be no problem.

    4. wes

      Awesome! I love what steph has done to personlize the place it takes away the sterile nature of the euro look. Plus the unique seats add flair. The bed is great plus in cooler weather it will keep you warmer. The engineering panel is geek heaven. Well thought out and estetically pleasing to the eye. I think u guys make for a great team on camera.
      I watched this “convert a van into a off grid camper” you have probably already seen this but I will link to it anyway. He has some neat ideas just would not want to be in there when it was raining, no real vents or windows or windows that open. Propane in the cabin! But the look with the wood is awesome.

      1. James - Post author

        Glad you liked the video!
        Yes, the bed up there does stay several degrees warmer than the rest of the coach.
        The smaller the coach, the more ventilation is important. I’ll have to check out the video. Thanks!

    5. Jim

      James, Steph, love the Travato! Since Ethyl and I want to follow the weather, I don’t need so much cold protection, but still, it can get cold quickly! I hope Winnebago puts all their Travato pipes inside like on yours! And tank heat strips. And Truma thingamajigs. Then, I hope Ram makes the van with 4×4! Now we’re talking!

      1. Shayne

        For Lance, it makes sense. As for a regular Travato, I’m most owners will avoid heading out in sub freezing temperatures.

        Having the water lines inside obviously means running the risk of pipes and or fittings failing inside the coach. I don’t think risk/benefit ratio bodes well for a most Travato owners/potential owners.

    6. Bob Bedell

      Do you still have/use the propane? Are you going to compressor fridge, which seems sensible, but what about the Truma?

      1. James - Post author

        I do have my eye on a compressor fridge. I have a feeling it will happen eventually.
        That will leave us with just the Truma using Propane. We’ll be keeping that – it works too well, there’s no easy gasoline powered alternative, and electric there would be pretty expensive. So when I said “all electric”, I probably should have said “almost all electric”.

        1. Bob Bedell

          Thank you for the prompt response. Some posters over on Class B Forum were reading/hearing no propane/all electric in very, very video nice overview of Lance. Eye on a compressor fridge? Like Marlon’s mod or redo the cabinetry and get one of those Nova Kool separate fridge/freezer combos like on the new Paseo?

          By the way, you do great video. Most “take” videos, i.e. walk around with their phone, talking. FitRV “makes” videos – staged, scripted, shot, edited. Very professional. It does take time, though.

        2. James - Post author

          I haven’t decided on a fridge yet. I could do almost anything I wanted to with that space, so the sky’s the limit, really.
          First things first though, and that’s to get the induction cooktop in.

          Glad you appreciate the work that goes into our videos!

        3. Alain

          Here’s food for thought on the compressor fridge. In the Safari Condo we have on order, they put two smaller compressor fridges at different locations instead of one bigger unit. That way one is situated under the counter next to the sliding door, so you can access from it from the outside for grabbing drinks and such when lounging outdoors under the awning. Not having to enter the RV to grab a bottle of water means less sand dragged in..Ha Ha.

          I didn’t do the math, so I not sure if this has any advantages on the cost and energy use. Probably not, so it’s more for the convenience. Although if you often do weekend outing, it might be possible to run just one fridge for the required food.

          If you’re going to modify the counter to integrate the induction cooktop, this is the right time to consider this possibility.

    7. Dan

      There were several units in production at the Lake Mills plant with the running boards. New Travatos are being offered (maybe all of them?) with the running board instead of the motorized step. This is a good change.

    8. Rocky

      Loved your video tour. I cast it to my regular TV and watched it (twice) instead of my regularly scheduled viewing. You should produce a DVD box set “The Complete Works of Stefany and James”

      Two questions:
      1) Did you use the magnetic mount external antennae for the WeBoost, or something different.

      2) Any particular reason you used the Victron battery monitor instead of the Trimetric

      1. James - Post author

        Lol. Well, regular TV really has gone down hill…
        Quick answers:
        1. Yes, we just used the regular magnetic mount antenna that came in the box.
        2. I’ve used a Trimetric before. The Victron does all the same things (and more) plus it’s about half the size. The wall of controls was getting pretty crowded.

    9. Alain

      When does it cross the line and is no longer a Travato?

      Admit it James, you really wanted to build one from the ground up, and now you are getting even….Ha Ha

      Being a rocket scientist, I expect it to fly eventually (or blow up …LOL)

      PS: You guys are really keeping the suspense going on that composting toilet blog. Can I “smell” dissension between the two of you?

      1. James - Post author

        Well, the badges on the side still say “Travato”, and I’m sure Winnebago would still claim it. So I don’t think I’ve crossed the line yet.

        There’s no dissension about the toilet between Stef and I. The delay in the video is just a matter of motivation more than anything else. By now, we’ve put it off so long, we wonder if anyone is still interested!

        1. Shayne

          I for one am! I’ve seen some pretty passionate opinions either way. I am extremely interested in an objective first-hand analysis.

          You do that well sir.

        2. James - Post author

          I don’t know if I’d say I’m “passionate” about the toilet, but we have had it long enough to form some pretty good opinions.

        3. Shayne

          Should have qualified- the “passionate opinions” were from others I’ve seen online. I am curious to see what your objective firsthand analysis offers on the subject.

    10. Aaron

      James, did you swap the usb chargers, remove the blue LEDs, or paint them? I’m assuming Winnebago uses the same insanely bright chargers in the Travato as our Trend.

      1. James - Post author

        We have the same USB chargers. In the dinette, we left them alone. By the bed, I cut a piece of electrical tape to go over the LED.

    11. Ian

      So many of your changes seem like they should be something that WBO should be doing by default. Others seem like they’d be great options for folks if they could order them from WBO. Either way though, the price would go up, probably significantly; and one of the great things about the Travato is its relatively low cost.

      Overall though, very cool… I’ve been following all the updates to Lance since he first showed up, but its nice to see it all together in one bit.

    12. Ted

      You might want to look into the new GE induction cooktop that can be used for sous vide cooking. This involves using a thermocouple to precisely control a water bath (pot of water) within a few degrees to achieve restaurant quality cooking results like perfectly cooked steaks, vegetables, and those Japanese soft cooked eggs garnishing bowls of ramen.



      1. James Cogill

        Hi! Regarding the bull bar, is the source http://www.bullbar-praguri.ro ? I see a model FDB 12 there (Romania) for about $312. Did you merely contact them through the online order? About how much was shipping (Maybe I’ll be less to ship to Delaware).
        PS- I am curious about the clear bra- Are you concerned with future discoloration or high cost to replace?
        PPS- My Travato is the dark gray one (btw- I ordered it on the same day you where picking yours up!).

        Also, thanks for the continuing information on all you do. I especially follow the M/E/P etc. changes, and also the fitness ideas and the “RV meals” ideas. Thanks for being such a great team!


        1. James - Post author

          Glad you like our stuff! $300 seems about right. Don’t remember how much shipping was, but yes, I just contacted them through the form on their site. They will eventually get back in touch with you, but the process seemed really long.

          Not at all worried about the clear bra. I’ve had it on every car I’ve owned for the last 15 years with no real issues.

          Did we see you at Lichtsinn?

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