2017 (and a half) Winnebago Travato Updates Revealed!

We like to hope that what we do with our blog matters in some small way.  And every once in a while, we get a little validation.  Sometimes, it’s someone who emails us and says they’ve made some healthy changes in their lives a a result of something they saw here.  (You guys know who you are – and you rock.)  And sometimes, someone lets us know that they were able to make a better decision on their next rig because of our site.  But it’s pretty awesome when a ginormous RV manufacturer takes some of your suggestions and uses them to improve their product.  We review the changes to the 2017 Winnebago Travato in this video.  Check it out and you’ll see what we mean:


We’re flattered that “indoor plumbing”, running boards, and extra storage are making their way to new Winnebago Travatos.  But it’s not just us!  Winnebago has obviously been listening to other Travato owners as well, and they’re incorporating some of the more popular modifications into the core product.  Here’s a partial list of the changes in the 2017 (and a half) Winnebago Travato.

  • All fresh water plumbing is inside the rig (on the G, the K was already like that)
  • Full length running board with down-lighting  (shorty on the driver’s side)
  • New Awning with no supporting struts (arms, or legs, or whatever you call them)
  • Awning also has a wind sensor to retract in high winds
  • New bike rack!
  • New detachable ladder system that works with the roof rack (it’s brilliant – you’ve gotta see it)
  • New storage cubby in the G (not applicable to the K)
  • Adjustable bed support strap in the G (again, not applicable to the K)
  • Driver’s side exterior lighting over the service center.
  • Relocated macerator switch (G only)
  • More efficient air conditioner
  • Counter top extension


And I’ve probably forgotten a few, so you’d better watch the video to be sure you get them all.  Oh – and thanks to all the readers, viewers, and show attendees who make cameo appearances in this video!

You can bet I’ll be hard at work to keep our own Travato, Lance, the coolest one out there.  But as the improvements keep coming, it won’t be easy to stay on top!


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.

    96 thoughts on “2017 (and a half) Winnebago Travato Updates Revealed!

    1. Wayne

      I have a new K, first week A/C compressor went out, ten days for new one.
      First trip water leaks all over sparetire pump unit and jack, found behind wall
      Where outside shower hose valve is, hose connection leaking. Water leak
      under refrig., very hard to pull out to locate. TV, no power, found fuse holder
      broken behind wall, banged against steel frame. Threw away tire aid repair
      unit, hard to use, bought Fix A Flat can, smaller, better…Agree on loud
      A/C fan, will try to slow it down without overheating compressor…

    2. Nick

      Hi James and Stef,

      Is there a particular reason that you guys went with a Winnebago instead of Roadtrek? With the longer warranty and similar features, seems like the RT would be a better choice to me. Keep up the good work, your videos are great!

      1. James - Post author

        Numerous reasons why we didn’t go with a Roadtrek. Basically, they don’t have a floor plan that works for us at all. The Travato G is the only one that does.
        Also – warranties from an RV manufacturer don’t mean anything to me. I do most of my own work (faster and better than any local shop). And I pretty much void the warranty inside the first week with my mods.
        Plus, we just like the Winnebegans!

        1. Nick

          Makes sense in your case, since you’re able to do the work your self. We like the Travato G a lot also, but the bed is a little too small for us. The only thing I have seen so far that is even close to the same layout as the Travato G is the Hymer Aktiv 2.0. . . but it’s a bit pricey, and I am not real big on cassette toilets after watching your video (hopefully your cat came back LOL). Thanks for the quIck reply!

    3. Robyn Quaid

      Hi James, did WBO make any improvement to the 59G shower draining system? Chatter on the Travato Owners and Wannabees Facebook site reports issues with the drain pump filter having to be cleaned frequently and the screen in the shower not as effective as it could be. Have you made any modifications to your shower system?

    4. Steve Gillespie

      James, do you think Winnebago will switch to no Onan, Lithium batteries, and a large inverter in the Travato anytime soon? Also, why do they keep the absorption refrigerator in the 59g? How about a large grey water tank in the location the onan is in? Just dreaming out loud!

      1. James - Post author

        Honestly, I think eventually, all RVs will wind up going that way. So eventually… yes. Tomorrow? Probably not.
        And feel free to dream out loud here – that’s what this site is for!

    5. Tom Foster Troy NY

      Howdy y’all! I’ve been looking at the Travato 59g. Is there a difference between the 59g and 259g? RVT lists both and the 259g seems to be $20000.00 less.I’ve reached out to Winnebago with no reply yet. What are your thoughts versus the Hymer Activ and the Hymer Axion(which has very little info available so far). Thanks for any help and keep up the good work.At the risk of offending one of you I like the bell!

    6. Christine & Alan LaFoy

      Our question was about the 2018 Winnebago Travato 59K.
      We did think about the Dominetic Penguin 2 air conditioner that you installed in your Travato, but they had to replace the unit with the same factory unit. We love your Fit RV articles and videos even with the bell.

      Thanks so much again,

      Christine & Alan LaFoy

    7. Christine & Alan LaFoy

      Hi guys,
      We have purchased a Winnebago Travato 59K in the middle of June. We are still waiting to take delivery because our ordered Travato had a few issues to be resolved including replacing the roof mounted air conditioner.
      One of the upgrades was a gas powered generator instead of propane powered unit. We thought that this was a great idea. The awning change to no leg supports and an automatic retraction in strong winds was also a great idea.
      Do you know or can you find out if the new Travato has a BIM, Battery Isolation Manager? This is an upgrade from the battery boost solenoid. When the chassis battery is fully charged the alternator sends current to the coach batteries to charge them.

      Thanks for your help,
      Christine and Alan LaFoy

      1. James - Post author

        I don’t believe there is a battery isolation manager. In all the Travatos I’ve seen, it’s just a simple solenoid/relay. Engine on = Batteries connected.
        Nothing more complicated than that.
        But if you really wanted a BIM, it shouldn’t be that difficult to install. There’s a metal box underneath with all the parts you’ll need to get to. Open the box, and you should be good.

        1. Christine & Alan LaFoy

          Thank you James…
          Since it is located under the vehicle we may have our dealership do the installation.
          I am thinking of installing a Battery Minder to pulse charge and stop sulfication. We find it very cool that you answer all these questions. We will give you guys a post after our first trip. Hopefully we will do our walk through and take ownership of our Travato at the end of this week.

          Thanks again,

          Christine & Alan LaFoy

    8. Art Ward

      Living in Florida we want to stay cool as much as possible (ding). Can you tell me if the new a/c on the 2017 and 1/2 is worth a $3,000 price difference to the earlier models? The other upgrades to the 59k are not that important.

      1. James - Post author

        I wouldn’t say the air conditioner upgrade alone is worth $3k.
        You’d have to look at the whole package and decide if it was right for you.

    9. mark

      They should have adopted the fold down sink in the bathroom of the 59K to the G seems like that would have saved a bit of space and created more room for showering and over all ease of movement. Great video!

    10. Perry Bressman

      Can someone tell me how to swivel the seat (where is the lever) for the 2016 Winnebago Travato 59K. For the life of me I cant find the swivel lever. Thanx

      1. James - Post author

        It’s either the front right or front left corner of each seat. Sort of on the side of the seat bottom.

    11. Paul and Mary

      You two are the icing on the cake. We kept coming back to your vids as we searched for a van/RV, getting out of a 6 month old larger A-“type” 25 footer. While it was nice, It was unwieldy. Boxy too. Years ago, we owned 5 Winnebagos over several years. Only had problems with one, and our all time favorite was the Rialta. Your talks, vids, banter and bell convinced us. We looked at a 2017 G yesterday and agreed to pick it up next Thursday! We can’t wait!

      One question: do you experience much wind or gust problems out on the road? Thanks in advance, Paul/Mary

      1. James - Post author

        First – thanks so much for letting us know, and we’re sure you’ll be happy with your new Travato.
        Also – I’m telling Stef you liked the bell.

        To answer your question about wind gusts – NO! None. Not at all. It’s the physics of front wheel drive: it’s always trying to pull itself straight.
        Anyone who says they have wind issues with a ProMaster probably hasn’t driven anything else.

    12. Pete herrick

      Not trying to be controversial, but you don’t show how to swivel front seat in 59k ! We spent to much time trying to swivel seat in 2018. Saleman said lever on right side of seat, could not locate. Please demo. Thanks

      1. James - Post author

        The levers are on opposite sides of the seat for the driver and passenger. I believe the seat swivel lever is on the inside front corner of the seats.
        (If that doesn’t work, then try the outside lever.)

    13. Celia Kupersmjit

      Hi! Seriously considering buying 59K this summer. Need to know more about the Nova Kool frig though. With the two batteries and the 100 amp solar option, can the frig work effectively for a two night dry camping experience in 90 degree weather? We tend to pull in, stay for two nights, and then move on. Love our current propane powered frig as it causes no trouble in such circumstances but really love the Travato 59K and want to go in this new direction.


      1. James - Post author

        I wouldn’t worry about the fridge.
        I think it was a couple years ago, Lictsinn the RV dealer did an experiment with the 59K where they left the fridge on for about a week without moving or running the vehicle. Well more than the two days you need.
        If you still have doubts, you can ask in the Travato Owner’s Group on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/travatoowners
        Personally, we hope we will never again own another RV with a propane fridge. We hate them.

      2. ron lehr

        Nova kool works great. Let my.R V sit 4 days on a parking lot at 90 and above in trip out west. Temp. was still 42 when I returned. My 7th RV. Best frig. I have seen.

    14. candace

      Any hint of a galley window coming? Maybe that would be worth holding out for… And I like the bell!

      1. James - Post author

        Well, if you’re talking about the Travato, it doesn’t really matter anymore. It’s currently only offered in gas.

      2. Don furness

        Is the toilet shower combo on the g built by Winnebago or made by a vender? Can the unit be purchased?

        1. James - Post author

          It’s made by Winnebago, for Winnebago. Not available for purchase as far as I know.

    15. Stephanie Calkins

      Hi, curious about the newest bike rack. Will it hold two e-bikes, each weighing about 50 lbs? Would prefer to have bikes on a rack that allows use of rear door vs. one attached to the receiver which would prevent that without offloading bikes.

    16. dahappycamper

      Were looking t the 59g for a family of 4. We know it will e cramped – but are backpackers – and used to sleeping in small tents 🙂 Only challenge with the 59G is that the bench seat is small for 2 teens for long distances – and looks uncomfortable. Anyone know if the water tank could be made into a seat (add lapbelt and enforce the back?) Or, could the water tank be moved to the back walkway and a capt chair be installed, or perhaps add a removable / fold down capt chair in the back walkway? Would love any guidance 🙂

      1. James - Post author

        Unfortunately, I’d advise against any of those options.
        Moving the water tank would be a modification so consuming, that you might as well just build a motorhome from scratch.
        The tank does work as a seat, but it lacks the necessary reinforcements to properly hold a seat belt. You could probably work something up, but would it be safe?
        Sounds like you’re trying to make something work that just might not. I suggest you read my post on the 8 Step Program for Choosing Your First RV.

        1. Billy McFarlane

          Great videos, Great legs Stef, U both r in great shape Would be interested in your comments on a comparable Sprinter 170A Thinking resale and maintenance and overall issues. How is the second Alt working out, A generator 2 me is an important issue when boon-docking,. Thanks again for very enjoyable (less the bell .. lol ) and informative videos.

        2. Stefany

          Hi Billy! I’m not sure I can comment much on a 170A since I haven’t had the pleasure to take one out and actually use it, sorry! But I can tell you our 2nd alternator’s been great so far. James loves how quickly our lithium battery recharges!

      1. Kate

        Hi James,
        I was wondering, is there any difference with this 2017 and a half and previous models with respect to ground clearance? And have you run into any more ways, other than the springs you did, to increase clearance without sacrificing the ride? Thanks a lot. Appreciate all the information you guys impart.

        1. James - Post author

          No differences on ground clearance that I am aware of.
          Haven’t really come up with anything to change the clearance picture besides the springs we added, or possibly adding an extra leaf to the rear springs.
          The ground clearance really hasn’t been an issue for us though.
          Now that we have a second alternator – our main ground clearance worry is protecting that.

    17. Gail Staton

      How is the cab area closed off at night for privacy? I saw you made a curtain for the sliding door window but what do you do for the windshield and door windows?

        1. Art Martens

          James and Stef: we will be retiring next year and are planning to purchase an RV. We bike/surf/ski and want to tour the USA each year for 1-2 months at a time. Your thoughts on our getting a B/B+ or C RV?
          I think from your Blog that we might want a gas(not Diesel) and will want ours with many of your upgrade options(like in your Travato and the Mercedes Sprinter you added!)

    18. Skip Anderson

      Is the new 59G water heater electric only? Do you or your readers find this a nuisance or ok to live with? My concern is that some campgrounds might prohibit generator usage.

      1. Stefany

        No, Skip, all Travatos switched to the Truma Combi heating and hot water system as of 2016MY. The Truma can run on propane or electric or both!

        1. Richard Kilbride

          Oh dear, sorry James. Must be a different link system here on YouTube. Shame as its an impressive use of space.

        2. James - Post author

          Yes, that one worked. Rather unusual fridge, to be sure. The sliding toilet is an interesting idea as well.

    19. James TACKETT

      The biggest thing holding us back from a Travato is the smallish bed in the rear. I get the impression that the width of the bed has increased slightly with the new models. Can you two give us an honest assessment of the ability to get a good night’s sleep in the Travato? Does it require fairly rigid sleeping routines, body positions or other tradeoffs? Love your videos.

      1. James - Post author

        Well, I can’t lie to you. The bed is on the smaller side.
        That said, Stef and I are able to get a good night’s sleep (for weeks in a row) in the bed. And ours is higher up than normal.
        One person will sleep on the side of the bed that is “open” at the bottom, that should be the more claustrophobic one.
        We’re able to change positions, etc. But you do have to like your bed-mate pretty well. And you’ll probably wake one another if you get up in the night.
        We know of at least one couple who use the second bed in the Travato G and sleep in separate quarters. That’s always an option.
        But overall, we’re happy with our situation, and wouldn’t go back to the significantly larger, but you-have-to-put-it-together-from-cushions-every-night bed we used to have.

    20. Jim Heaton

      A couple of questions/observations:

      WE have an ‘”early” (delivered end of Apr.) 59K. One of the mods I’ve done was adding 2 x 80w ZAMP panels to the OE 100w. One of the CARE-FREE awning anchoring brackets had to be moved a bit to fit the long narrow 80w ZAMP next to awning. I believe you said, James, that support arm free awning had a much length of the awning anchoring bracket. It would’ve made panel mount problematic. I’ve also reservations about the no support arms with regard to an extreme downpour, unexpected wet heavy overnight snow, and that the awning might be rolled back in while wet and debris covered. Better to do due diligence on not leaving awning out when possibility inclement conditions.

      Second, do the longer running-boards/step eliminate the power step we like so much? I don’t routinely use the step but my wife always does. Will the power step still be available or does the running boards pre-empt?

      1. James - Post author

        Interesting question on the running boards. I don’t know. There are a few people who actually like the step, so perhaps it will stick around as an option?
        Don’t know for sure though.

    21. Steve Bartolucci

      James abd Stef,
      Were you able to get any info on whether the new ladder and rack system can be retrofitted to a “non-ladder/non-rack” T with the Carefree awning?

      1. James - Post author

        Well, if all you have is the mounts on the roof and no rack, I see no reason why it wouldn’t fit.
        The awning, however, may be a different story. You may have to also purchase a new awning, as I don’t know if the old awning would mount to the new bracket.

        1. Stefan

          Hi James, great video. I love the new ladder and bike rack. I was wondering if you guys know the manufacturer? Is it fiamma again or another one? It looks like the new bike rack trays could fit on the old rack. I am tempted to get the new ladder and just side mount it to my G as additional ladder.

          Think you are right on the awning. I had not been able yet to fit the Carefree on the fiamma rack brackets.

          One adjustment I miss that they have not taken over from your lance is the window at the kitchen. I think its a great idea. Still working on how I can get a window in my G without cutting through anything that might be hidden in the side wall.

        2. James - Post author

          The new ladder and rack is most definitely NOT Fiamma. I don’t know the name of the manufacturer (though I do know they are U.S. Made).
          Everyone wants our galley window! Perhaps some day…

    22. Sally

      I noticed in your intro to the Paseo video from this show, the 100 W solar panel is mounted on the roof rack. Do you know if WBO is now mounting the panel on the rack in the Travato (if optioned)? I think there would be fewer roof holes that way, and they freak me out. Could one successfully beg WBO to do it that way on a special order? Thanks so much for demo-ing the 2017.5 Travato changes.

    23. Larry

      Some really great changes to the Travato, especially the running boards, the water lines and the moveable ladder. I just wish that there was a way to make the bed in the G wider.

      P.S. The old bell, IMHO, sounded better so I’m starting a “Let James Bring Back the Old Bell if He Promises to Tolerate Sand” campaign.

    24. Dan

      Diner seats are not very comfortable to sit, looks like they did not improve them, any good suggestion on modification?


      1. James - Post author

        We didn’t detect any changes to the dinette seats. I’ve never really thought about modifying ours, so I don’t have any good suggestions. Sorry!

    25. Other Steph

      You guys are SO entertaining! I’ve been doing my research now for a Class B for when I retire in 5 years and I know I want something small enough to adventure in regardless of the weather (I’m also a big snowboarder and cross country skier…) But it should also be nice enough for some extended living! The new Travato seems like the way to go! Keep up the good work!

      1. James - Post author

        If you think we’re entertaining in the finished video, you should see the comedy of errors that is *making* the video!

      2. Other Steph

        I’ve been eyeing a 2016 in my local dealer’s lot – so I’m wondering if the 2017 is worth springing for rather than the 2016 which is now quite a bit less expensive? And did I read that right – the Ks already have “indoor” plumbing, so that wouldn’t be a concern with a 2016? I can’t say the dealer pointed that out to me!

        1. James - Post author

          Well, on the K – yes, it does already have the fresh lines inside. Other reasons to wait for the 2017 would be the new roof and bike racks and legless awning. Don’t know how big of a deal those are for you, but that would be the main things you’d be missing with a 2016.

        2. ron lehr

          In door plumbing 2018 travato.1st time out water leak fresh water .can’t locate. Dealer will have to tear all apart to fix. Want to keep R V for weeks.Let’s keep plumbing in to where we can repair.

    26. Mike Fisher

      fantastic clip! You give some of us who are still on the fence what is out there and how practical it can be. You both did a real good job. I almost busted a gut when you started ringing the bell and sat there waiting for the bride to jump up and do something with your bell and ssh did not let me down. The bell being taken to it’s final resting place and now being called a dead ringer…ha!
      The bride returns only to find you have a spare. Now that’s funny and to learn you survived it all…wow! You have to remember two things sir…1- Heaven knows no fury like a woman scorned and 2-Happy Wife means Happy Life..go it my friend? You are a braver man than I sir…ha!

        1. Doug

          Great video. Love your content. My first thought when Steph took the bell to the woods and buried it was … I’ve got $2 to pledge for a new bell. Then James pulls out the new bell and I did a major belly laugh. Thanks!

    27. Marian

      Love your videos, they are so infornative. I would like to see Winnebago make models without generators like yours or make it easily modifyable with the right converter. I would prefer solar, amp and propane backup. With todays batteries that should be quite doable. Marian

      1. James - Post author

        Well, I know they don’t ever really consider themselves “done”. They may move slower than a custom shop, but they are always looking ahead.

        1. Jim Heaton

          I would think the cost of what James did in eliminating his genset and going to Li-ion batteries would be a very very costly change for WGO. I don’t want to give up on my genset…would like to have more then then 3 hr. out of roof AC from Li-ion batteries, and find the cold sensitivity of them problematic. We’ve been on the road when a intolerably hot humid night in a rest area…or Walmart, church lot, fire station lot, hosp. parking lot, etc, etc…would ean no sleep w/o genset running all night. Done so for years in our RIALTA and intend to with ‘K’ TRAVATO. Just be very sure about integrity of exhaust system.

    28. Don Pfaffl

      No matter how many sites I look at I never find any prices on the RVs. It would be good to know the starting points for prices. I know you don’t price these but maybe make a suggestion to the dealers. By the way I love your videos even the bell.

      1. James - Post author

        See, Stef – someone else likes the bell!

        We don’t generally talk price because they vary so much. Last year’s model on a dealer lot will sell for a lot less than a custom order. It’s different in different parts of the country too, and for different manufacturers. It’s just easier for us to stay away from price talk.

    29. Bob

      Great video and I’m so happy about most of the changes, especially the awning. We’re planning to buy a new 59K in a couple years and those are great improvements. And since you obviously have Winnebago’s ear, how about passing this one along.

      On the newer 59K the twin beds can be made into a “queen” by filling the space in between. Seems like it should be possible to change the design so that one of the twin platforms could be moved over (slide maybe) to meet the other platform, then fill in the space on the outside instead of the middle. That way, the “spring support” would be more like a regular bed.

    30. Steve Larson

      Would it be possible to move the fresh water tank to the back left? Then that space could be used for a removable storage cabinet, removable passenger seat, or removable laptop work surface.

      1. James - Post author

        Eek! I’m sure it *could* be done, but even I wouldn’t tackle that as a DIY project.
        Don’t know if Winnebago has ever considered that, but it would eat up a lot of the space back behind the wheel well which is currently storage. Also – it might mess with the weight distribution of the vehicle (front wheel drive).
        But once you’ve had it, that water tank kind of grows on you!

    31. Gary

      Loved the video! I must say, I called it the moment you cut away to the bell. “Steph is going to steal it, and James will have another one.” Even though I saw it coming down fifth avenue, I laughed. Great news on the changes too.

      1. James - Post author

        The Office Depot down the street is closing that location. I’m going to get a dozen at closeout prices!

    32. Maggie Graeber

      Great video you guys! Thank you so much for posting all the new goodies on the G. Is it possible to add/replace all these goodies in the 2016 G? Do you know if Winnebago sells the counter tops to match the Corian in our G’s? Winnebago is an awesome company that truly listens to their customers. Kuddos to them and to you guys for all you do to keep us informed. Stef, I loved your attempt regarding getting rid of the bell but James is so prepared! The bell kinda grows on you! You guys are so entertaining!

      1. James - Post author

        I think you probably could order a replacement counter top from Winnebago. It would probably be pretty expensive – but I bet it *could* be done.
        As for the rest of the modifications – many of the ideas came from owners who had made these mods themselves. So a good number of them are possible.
        Something like bringing the water lines inside though – not for the inexperienced.

        1. Char OConnor

          Yes ! Some modifications we made were to add the counter top extension in our original Travato G. Also the hanging bed strap – we put a command hook on the back panel of the upper storage cabinets and hooked a stretchy hair tie on the strap to hook onto that command hook. Worked great for us at the time. Glad they added the running board step all the way to the front passenger seat. I’m short and had a tough time getting in and out of that passenger seat, it was like stepping into an abyss. Winnebago listens…………..

    33. wes

      Nice to see that they have seen your improvement and added them. That is definitely a bell ringer in my book! So how is the prodex insulation holding up? Highly controversial stuff, I have read. Have you noticed that most of the power of the pentarstar is above 4k rotation per minute? Depending on your axle ratio that is where it lives on a caravan. Keep those informative and light hearted video’s coming. Love’m

      1. James - Post author

        Yes, we’ve definitely noticed that Lance climbs with cadence, not torque.
        The Pro-Dex is still hanging in there. The claims they make are a bit outlandish though.


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