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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
I have seen you post alot on the Travato’s. I am considering purchasing one, but my main concern is how loud the generator is. At the dealership parking area they started the unit up and Wow, I could not imagine not being mobbed at a national park trying to run the AC. I have seen others review on this issue also. What are your thoughts on reducing the decibel level and vibration. Or is this the nature of the beast?
Well, when I tested generator noise levels, the Travato met the National Park standard. You can see that video here.
Others have added a resonator to reduce the noise level further.
Our final solution to the generator noise was… unique. You can read about it here.
Lovely van ~ my problem is tstill hat they are still SO LOW to the ground!! That limits areas you can go!! You want to be able to go off road into BLM land and some of the National Parks! I still think they need that message.
I am curious how you close off the cab area for privacy at night, I saw you made a curtain for the sliding door but I wondered about the windshield and door windows.
Winnebago supplies some folding shades for the cab windows. You can see the curtain I made (which also closes off the cab) in this post. https://www.thefitrv.com/blog/where-has-james-been-and-what-has-he-been-doing/
“No holes in the floor, and shower height is preserved”. Would be nice to know that preserved shower height in INCHES.
Next time I get in the shower with a measuring tape, I’ll let you know.
Just don’t expect a video! 😉
When standing inside the coach and ready to exit through the sliding door, is there any place to mount an “assist bar”?
Has anyone been able to mount permanently a masarator pump for the black tank?
I’m thinking about getting a Travato. I’m an electrical engineer and chip designer.
As such, I can’t help but think of ways to possibly make things more efficient.
I like your idea of an induction cooktop. Would be nice if Winnebago could offer that as an option.
Also, had some other suggestions,… not sure if they make sense as I’ve never had an RV, so here goes,…
1. Some RVs seem to have a water connection for flushing the black tank, others not. Would it make sense to use the gray water to flush out the black tank?
2. To save fresh water, would it make sense to be able to flush the toilet with gray water?
The only think I don’t like about the 59G is the placement of the fresh water tank. I would rather give up some storage area under the bed and have the area by the door open. What do you think?
Couple of years ago, I purchased 5.6 acres in northern CA, up by Rollins Lake. Beautiful property. Can’t afford to build a house for awhile, but wanted to be able to spend weekends up there, and use the rig for consulting in the bay area.
I first looked at the Thor Axis, but am getting the feeling that this rig is built cheaply and has a lot of cost cuts in it. I think the Travato will hold up better than a Thor Axis.
1. I’m sure some have tried flushing the black tank with grey water. I think the biggest problem there would be that you would need another pump to move the water, and that the grey water may have things like hair, food scraps, etc. which would gum up the works.
2. Same issue as #1.
We really like the fresh water tank where it is. Stef is quite fond of the “ottoman” in the door. See our “2017 Travato Updates” post to see some of how she uses it. There’s still plenty of room to get in and out.
And I’d certainly agree with you that a Travato will hold up better than the Thor Axis. We’ve used ours pretty hard, and he’s still going strong!
Thanks for reading!
Great Review! I love it. Do you know the Fiamma roof rack Winnebago installed on Travato is Maxi XL or the regular one? My travato does not have roof rack but has awning, if I installed the Fiamma roof rack myself, do I need to remount the awning with different type of bracket so it can be mount on the roof rack?
Any chance we can see your great reviews on a 2016 or 2017?
Oh, you never know… 🙂
But if you’re interested in model year differences, they’ve been mostly refining touches since the addition of the Truma.
I’m new to RVing. A dealer showed me the 59K and I was really impressed. However the “salesman” knew almost nothing about how things worked. I got home and was lucky enough to find your video. Great job! Told me all I wanted to know and more. Because of you I will be buying the 59K. Thanks for a job well done.
Right on Charlie! Welcome to the club!
Don’t forget to join the Travato Owner’s Group on Facebook. (Stef runs it.) It’s open to wannabes and gonnabes, and you’ll find answers there to any questions we didn’t put in our video review.
And thanks for digging the videos!
How is roof maintenance on the Travato? any seam issues Wanna Be RVer
Hey Bob! We haven’t had any seam issues at all. WGO does a great job ensuring everything up there is leak-proof.
My girlfriend and I are looking at buying a class B soon and traveling full time. I foresee a lot of dry camping in our future as we both are young and prefer the flexibility of just parking at trail heads or where ever we plan on exploring in the morning. After extensive research, two of the three models we are looking at are the Travato 59g and the Roadtrek Zion. We love the Travato floorpan although we are concerned with the smaller fresh water and gray tanks compared to the zion, as well as having to be plugged in or running the generator to have hot water. How have you guys dealt with the hot water problem when dry camping and what is your opinion on the size of the tanks?
Sounds like you’ve definitely picked the right type of RV for what you want to do.
I can tell you that with the 2016 models, you no longer have to be plugged in or running the generator for hot water. Both models of Travato now use the Truma Combi for heating and hot water. So that concern should at least be alleviated.
We’ve never had an issue with the sizes of the tanks in our Travato, for what it’s worth. But… we have a composting toilet (uses no fresh water, doesn’t fill the black tank), and our shower drains to the former black tank. But others with the standard tank setup don’t seem to have any issues.
Stef runs a Travato Owners Group on Facebook. There are lots of owners there (with the regular tank setup) who are happy to share their experiences. The group is open to “wannabes” as well – they’d love to have you!
If you two could do a review of your Travato now that you have had it for a while, it would be appreciated. Maybe you could let us know what you like and dislike about it. Thanks
We actually have plans to do an “RV Tour” of Lance this year. I wanted to be mostly done with modifications before doing that.
The shower drain is really not that unusual. Almost every boat in the world has this set up as the drain is always below the water line. I had a bunch of them. Only real problem was when they were installed where you can’t get at them.
I’m a bit late to the game commenting on this post. But one comment and one question:
– We have a 2016 59K – I know everyone worries about the generator being mounted low. But we recently took our Travato up Mt Evans road in Colorado (highest paved road in north america), up to the top, 14000 ft. It’s a paved road, but not that flat, with lots of dips and low spots from settlement. The Travato did great, and we never once heard the generator/battery scrape on the ground, despite lots of front-back and side-side swaying the whole trip. The best part was seeing the faces of people in oncoming traffic trying to get past our unit – yikes.
– Question: has anyone had experience with loading kayaks on the top roof racks yet? We are about ready to purchase a couple kayaks. Any tips on loading them topside? Do you bring a ladder with you and where to you store it? Help…
We’ll echo your thoughts on the generator. Stef recently put some pictures up on our Facebook of our Travato on some Forest Service roads in Northwest Nebraska. We never had any issues. We don’t expect to go rock crawling with it, but Lance meets our remote camping needs just fine.
As far as kayaks – everyone I’ve seen load kayaks on the roof racks has done so with the aid of ladders. In a K, I think most would store a telescoping ladder in the large compartment under the bed. I had an idea for a pulley system, and I even have a test kayak sitting in our driveway, but I haven’t gotten around to testing it out yet. Right now, Stef is obsessed with Stand Up Paddleboarding! So I may be modifying the rack on top to carry something more like a surfboard than a kayak.
We’ve had several glitches with our new 2015 Travato: fridge hinge broke twice,
awning was torn by open sliding door when dealer was demoing it, and the sliding door “screen” is so flimsy and difficult to close properly. The dealer has removed the screen and we are awaiting- for a very long time- a replacement.
The service manager at Mike Thompson RV in Fountain Valley,CA admitted he really didn’t know how to install the screen! Help!
Well I’m sure they’ll figure out how to install the screen. It didn’t seem that complicated when we were looking at it. They can always ask Winnebago for support if they need to.
There was a definite right way to open and close it though – you have to grab near the middle of the door (which is lower than natural if you’re standing inside the RV, but just right if you’re standing outside).
The fridge hinge isn’t necessarily a Winnebago part, I believe it’s a Dometic. They (Dometic) should stand behind that for you.
Sorry you’ve had a couple glitches, but hope you’re enjoying the Travato all the same.
Looked at your Travato vid and may have noticed a slight design element that maybe you could address or comment on. If you are standing outside the side door ready to step up into the coach, it seems to me the bug screen should be mounted on right side of the door frame slid to left when closing. This way the screen only has to be opened and can remain half closed to edge of the bench seat each time you enter and when you exit since the bench seat blocks half the opening anyway. This will give much faster entry and less reach to close screen, less wear and tear on glide and reduce the opening for bugs too. I know, no big deal but wondering if track could be reversed?
This is actually something I asked about some time ago. Winnebago had thought this through, and their answer made sense to me at the time.
I’m not 100% sure this was it, but I *think* the reasons it opens as it does are:
1: If the screen slid the other way, and bunched up toward the front, behind the passenger seat, it would block the door handle, and you wouldn’t be able to open the sliding door from the inside.
2: If the screen slid the other way, you wouldn’t be able to use the backrest on the ottoman seat.
Again, I’m not absolutely sure those are the reasons, but they did think it through, and there are solid reasons why it works as it does.
Putting a definite answer here for people who find this through Google (as I did) down through the years:
The screen cannot be on the right side of the door because the door slides forward and then in to meet and seal to the van body. As it is, the screen door must be open at least 4″ before you can close the sliding door. If it’s not, you’ll smash the sliding door into the frame of the screen door.
There’s not really a way to place the screen door on the right side of the door *and* have the sliding door close all the way and lock.
Exactly! Thanks, Jon.
This is from Fran Karnazes- after much complaining, including postings on social media site Yelp and finally reporting dealership to BBB, we got some action. Fridge door still a problem. Hinges are plastic, and they break! We now need door #3. Have talked with other Travato owners as well as renters and they’ve had same problem. We dread taking coach into dealership, they put us on back burner and last time kept vehicle an extraordinary length of time claiming factory was slow sending new door.New plan is to ask dealership to order door and keep coach with us until it’s in and ready to install.
Sorry to hear about your problems with the fridge door! But do remember that for everyone you hear from who has broken their fridge door, there are 20 who have not. It’s that way with any RV problem you hear about.
We had our fridge for nearly two years and had never had an issue with the door. If you ask in the Travato Owner’s Group on Facebook, you will find some who are on their third Travato with no issues. You’ll also find some who have made door modifications to keep accidents from happening.
But still. None of that helps you right now…
Have you tried contacting Dometic customer service? It’s a Dometic part – Winnebago just installs it. Dometic may have a solution or suggestions.
Hi James and Stef 🙂
Just wanted to say, LOVE your videos !! Tons of useful information and it’s nice to have the perspective of real RV’ers instead of (or in addition to) a manufacturer’s company employee !!
Keep them coming, please !
Oh and BTW … James, you want Stef to give you the bell back ?? GET A GONG !! 😛 he he
Hey Dan – Glad you like the videos!
But between you and me – I think I’m a long way from Stef allowing me to use that bell in a video again…
One of the big proponents of the Travato 59G, Wincrasher, just traded in his early 2014 Travato for a new updated 2015 59G and posted a long video going over all the improvements and changes to the coach (and yes, he spent a lot of time filming stuff underneath the chassis….probably thanks to FitRV).
His measurements for the axle clearance were a little different from yours for the 59K, so there’s probably some variation between coaches.
You also might find his blog on his “Four Season” Oliver trailer an interesting reference for picking a Class B for winter camping.
Interesting. I know Wincrasher had posted our 59K video to some forums, I’ll have to check that out.
I hope the domestic rv manufacturers using the promaster platform will copy some of the layout/materials used in their counterparts in europe like the benimar mileo 201/202.
If the 59k is destined for two people only, they might want to look into a east/west bunk bed at the end of the van which will free up a lot of space, unless the width of the van is not there to support a bed in that orientation. I’m not sure the snapping curtain for the wet bath is good solution, the squeegee style soft plastic door maybe a better solution but what do I know
I’ve always wonder in a class b (or b+, c for that matter) where space is at a premium, do you really need another sink in the bathroom where most people will only use twice a day?
anyways, that’s my rant and I enjoy your thorough reviews very much and keep up the good work!
Glad you like our stuff!
Slowly but surely, the Euro ideas are working their way in. The 59G is actually a very European feeling coach when you’re standing inside of it. And most of the appliances in it (sink, cooktop, refrigerator, and the Truma in the later models) all have European roots. We’re excited to see innovations like this.
You’re not the first one to wonder about the extra sink in the bathroom. Personally, I like it, and I think Stef likes it too. But I can see how some might want to delete it.
Anyway, thanks for checking us out!
YES, having the separate sink in bath HAS saved many a marriage!
I agree the styling won’t win any prizes, but for me the practical side can offset some of that downside. Take for instance the high mounted headlamps that are placed out of harms way saving $$ in case of a fender bender, or the three piece bumper design that enjoys the same benefit. I tend to look for features like that and appreciate them being highlighted by a bell, horn, siren , explosion or whatever James comes up with. I envy those who can afford to choose their ride based on styling, color scheme’s and such, so I consider you a lucky man. On the other hand if enough complaints reach the styling studio who knows what the next version will look like.
Thanks for the terrific video. I think this is the camper many new to camping are looking for. I owned a 1990 VW Westfalia Camper in the past and always wished for a shower and toilet (and reliability.) the outdoor “base camp” crowd will love this. I like to ability to park in an urban setting. What’s the point of paying $40-50 dollars a night in an RV park when you can boondoggle in a Walmart parking lot? I travel on business and would love to use the Travato for trips to Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Denver. We’re spending time in FL and UT. When we visited a Winnebago dealer, the vehicle seemed like a perfect fit. After owning a VW with a diesel, we’re holding out for the diesel version. I love the economy, longevity and torque of diesels. And I’d expect the ability to count on hundreds of thousands of reliable miles and probably better resale value. How many days could you be off the grid with a vehicle like this, assuming light water use?
I think the Travato would make a great road-tripping vehicle. If you’re looking to make the haul from Florida to Utah, then the fuel economy of the diesel is something you’ll want to consider. You’re right in that you’ll get more longevity and resale value with the diesel, but you’ll also pay more for it up front (and, in our experience, the maintenance – though less frequent – is more expensive. You should check out our gas vs. diesel calculator to get a head start on your own analysis.
But back to the Travato. I think water is going to be the limiting factor in how long you could stay out with it. Stef and I need to get better with our water usage ourselves, so we’re not the best ones to ask. So depending on how conservatively you use the water, I think a week or more on the other systems is not out of the question. The base camp crowd is pretty accustomed to roughing it, so even conserving water, this would be a huge step up from sleeping on the ground with that rock in your back…
Glad you liked the review!
Regarding diesel – not sure this is the case for the Ram Pro but the MB Sprinter require Ultra Low Sulfur Fuel which is difficult if not impossible to get in MX of point south. So if you thinking of going down to Mexico you might want to consider this. We probably would have done with a MB if it weren’t for this issue. We considered a 2007 or earlier unit which has the 2.7 diesel. These unit do not have the emission control system that run amuck with dirty diesel feul
I’m so excited to see the 59k. And hopefully photos/video that aren’t gloomy/dark. I’d change the rear walls and put something creamy white colored on the ‘sofas’. I really like it but the fridge looks tiny. I like the openness of it. For me it’s between the 59k, SVO Embassy (love the rear deck/screen room/tent they’re working on, and Navion 24j LOL Yes – all over the place still.
Uh oh… Was our video gloomy and dark??
The fridge in the 59k may be small, but it’s still bigger than the one we have now! It would be a step up for us anyway.
I looked at that SVO, and I applaud them for thinking outside the box. But I just don’t know how often we would bother with the back porch thingy. We never even put our our awning! And that porch seems even more involved to set up and level and take down… But it could be really cool if you were parked backed up to the Grand Canyon or something.
Navion is a known entity, and they’ve probably worked most of the kinks out by now.
3 good choices. Whichever way you decide, do it quick – Spring is coming! Woot!
Thanks for a very entertaining and informative video on the Travato. There are others on the ‘net but all are either from the manufacturer or dealer so you earn some creds from your lack of conflicting interest.
I purchased a 2015 (1st generation) in early January and will be able to de-winterize and use it starting next week (it’s still been freezing here in MO). We are new to RV’s so we didn’t realize that, unlike cars, the models seem to be works in progress so even though we have a 2015 it doesn’t have all of the 2015 improvements. (We don’t have the raised bed with the drawers underneath. The bath still has the soap/shampoo dispenser on the back wall instead of the cabinet. There is no entry assist handle on the water tank.
Not to be critical but I can’t help but note that at one point you indicated that you would show the improvement/fix for the shower drain issue but forgot to come back and do that. It is EXTREMELY helpful though that you did show the shower pump with THAT filter attached under the galley sink – since ours was in the drawer of our winterized vehicle when it was delivered and we weren’t sure which side of the pump to re-install it.
Also, we are hoping if we bring it up enough Winne will make three more fixes.
First, it was nice that they added the assist handle. However, the seat back on the water tank at the entry is useless when the sliding door is open. They should have incorporated a backrest into the design of the assist handle.
Second, the sliding screen door slides from rear to front just as the vehicle door. Unfortunately, due to the location of the water tank, entry/egress is at the “back” side of the opening so when you have the sliding door open and are using the screen to keep the outdoors out, you have to open the screen all the way for access. It should be able to open/close from either end.
Finally, the mandatory optional screen door they provide for the rear of the vehicle only has the zipper pull on the outside and it only goes straight up and down so when it’s in place and you have the doors closed you can’t access the neat LED reading lights on the rear door unless you have planned ahead and unzipped the screen or if you go through the trouble of unsnapping it.
We can’t wait to get on the road with our new toy. Your review leaves us tingling with anticipation.
Hey! Glad you liked the video!
The improvement they made for the shower drain was to put another filter in the shower itself. Think of it like a faucet aerator underneath that plastic strainer that sits over the shower drain. Hope I’m explaining that right. It seems like something easy enough to retrofit if your Travato doesn’t have one.
On your other observations: I get what you’re saying about the backrest on the water tank seat. I obviously haven’t taken the Travato out and actually used it, but if I did, and that was something I wanted, I might try to build one myself. More likely though, it would usually be only two of us, and we wouldn’t even bring that backrest cushion along in the first place. A backrest mount would – for us anyway – just be in the way and I’d probably remove it. If I have the chance though, I’ll pass the suggestion along. The opposite direction sliding screen seems like a bigger deal. I get it – and I do hope they are working on that – again, I’ll convey. The rear screen was something I saw the snaps for, but didn’t try out. I think I visualize the issue you’re describing. If I’ve got it right, all it would take to fix is a zipper with pulls on both sides, right? That seems easy enough – and again, I’ll pass it on.
I appreciate your stopping by and leaving some observations from a real owner! I hope, when it warms up and you start using it, you’ll stop back by and let us know how its working out. Thanks!
Best review of the Travato I have see to date, great work. I have been looking at a Class B RV for a while now. The Travato has lots of good features. The size is just about perfect since some parks limit RV to 22 feet. The price is much nicer than the Sprinter. 2 things that im not sure about are:
1. transmission –can a minivan transmission hold up in a RV.
2. Water tanks size (any idea how many quick showers you could get before needing to dump and fill back up)? we are plaining to go out for 3 to 4 days, would be nice if the water supply lasted that long.
Something that I have not thought of before reading the comments is the noise from the generator, I wonder what is going on with that
Hi John. Glad you liked the review.
I wouldn’t worry too much about the transmission. The ProMaster is rated to over 9000 pounds, and the Travato is almost 2000 pounds less than that. If you were really worried, you could opt for the diesel, which has the “automated manual” transmission. That would also get you a propane generator. I’ve never heard the gas generator on the Travato, but our propane model on Das Bus is acceptably quiet (for a generator, anyway).
We’re probably not the best people to ask about stretching the water supply though. Das Bus has pretty big tanks for a class B (we have a 30 gallon black tank!), so we don’t worry too much about conserving. But our fresh tank is not too much bigger than the Travato’s (25 vs 21 for the Travato). We’ve gotten 3 showers out of a tank before. But again, we’re not good at conserving. At all.
Nice to see that they addressed the bed strap and shower drain issues. The new strap should avoid the bed dropping down during travel sounding like a bomb going off in the back. Hopefully they anchored it into the chassis frame so the screw doesn’t come loose.
The two other issues I’m hoping they will address soon are the loud generator and trouble getting the fridge to switch onto propane.
I checked out a 2015 model at a show this weekend and the shower door was off the track (which is another issue mentioned for 2014 models)
I like the “separate living space” layout but did think the unit was a little dark inside with no windows in the bathroom, or over the kitchen area. I also appreciate that they raised the dinette table 2.5 inches so it isn’t sitting on your lap.
One issue for us is we have a dog and would have to open the sliding door completely to let her out at night because of the positioning of the fresh water tank.
I’m not too sure about the roof top kayak mount, how do you get a heavy kayak up that high?
The Safari Condo also has some nice features, but they seem to require U.S. customers to drive a new Promaster up to them in Quebec to be outfitted.
Hi Ted. Interesting comments!
We didn’t run the generator, so I can’t comment on the volume. But I know Onan makes a generator muffler (I installed one on Das Bus) that helps. I also know that fridge is kind of special – it’s very narrow, and I think only the Travato uses it here in the states. But again, we didn’t try to fire it up either. The RVs that you see at shows can get some pretty rough treatment. At Pomona this past year, we saw one of the Leisure Travel Vans that someone had RUN INTO in the parking lot! And we’ve seen a Pleasure-Way model at a Dallas show where someone had yanked off a panel and ripped out electrical components! The shower door on the Travato we saw seemed fine, so I hope what you saw reflects more on the harsh treatment at an RV show. But I wasn’t there, so I’m just speculating.
Your comment about the Safari Condo had me laughing! NO WONDER I’ve never seen one here in person in the States! LOL. I’m sure there’s some import paperwork to deal with, but other manufacturers (LTV, PleasureWay, RoadTrek…) seem to have figured it out. Until Safari Condo gets a US dealer network, I think it’s unlikely we’ll get a chance to see one.
Thanks for having a look and we appreciate the comments!
Early Travato owners describe avoiding using the generator unless there isn’t anybody within earshot to embarrass them. There have been attempts to add the muffler, but there are issues with the angle of the exhaust meeting regulations. One person said the muffler only changed the tone of the noise without lowering the volume. Getting the fridge to run on propane was described as a “two man” job, pulling off the outside fridge panel and yelling to the person inside the cabin to let them know you lit the pilot light for them. The fittings for the shower door runner are made from plastic and a few owners have mentioned them breaking and coming off track. The bed strap was probably the biggest complaint, so it’s great that has been addressed. Winnebago may have already addressed these issues, but I have yet to hear anybody report or confirm this.
One thing I like about the Travato is the high cargo capacity (OCCC). I’ve seen reports of 1850, 1950, and even 2020 lbs. That seems pretty generous compared to the Zion (1250 lbs), Navion (1250 lbs), and even the Dynamax REV (1150 lbs for the twin bed model I saw at the RV Show). I heard the Promaster Lexor is at 1650 lbs so that’s nice, but a lot of us are griping about them leaving out the rotating passenger seats.
I hear you on the generator. We don’t like running ours either, and there are a lot of times (National Parks) where it just isn’t permitted most of the time. I’ve been happy with the muffler on ours, but obviously didn’t try to fit one to the Travato. We did hear Russ say they were going to offer a diesel chassis. I assume on that version you would get a propane generator instead of gasoline. That may change the noise and exhaust situation somewhat. I wouldn’t think they would try a diesel generator because those are physically larger.
The fridge seems to be a Dometic RML 8330. There may be some help available through Dometic for the lighting issues. We didn’t discuss this with Winnebago so I can’t say if they may have come up with a solution of their own. (Between us, we prefer the 12v compressor fridges, and I believe that’s what they are going to include in the 59K.)
You’re absolutely right on the OCCC! On the one we looked at, the OCCC was listed as 1872 pounds. You could pack the RV with rocks, and still not hit that. 🙂
With thoughts wondering how I’d wrestle a heavy kayak way up high on the Travato rack without risking my neck still fresh on my mind, I stumbled upon these videos for levered ladder roof rack systems that I’ve never heard anybody on the B-forums mentioning or using. This looks like it would be a lot easier to manage and brings up thoughts of adapting it to handle a yakima cargo carrier, or maybe a spare tire.
Since you’re thinking of doing your own build I thought these might be handy to add to your bookmark list.
Thanks for the links.
I wonder if some of those systems would interfere with the roof vents / AC / and so forth.
Certainly seems to be an easy way to get a ladder up though, that’s for sure!
I just spoke with Safari about their new Sprinter conversion because I have seen their trailer in the US,but there is not a single one in the US yet
They actually exist? I thought they only existed as pictures on the internet. lol.
I heard from someone interested in this that the generator is 6.5″ from the ground. She worried to the point of passing on it for that reason. I like your current RV. This model Travato seems so cramped to me. IDK
Have you seen the Safari Condo version with the bed on a lift to be able to keep the bikes under it and adjust the bed where you want? http://www.safaricondo.com/en/motorises_Promaster_FLEX
Well, I can’t lie, the ProMaster is low to the ground. That’s part of what makes it drive so well.
The ProMaster by itself has a 6.9 inch ground clearance (according to Automobile magazine – I didn’t actually measure it). In our video, at about 19:24, you can see the rear axle. When I was under there, that seemed to be the lowest point. Behind that rear axle is the green box that is the generator. It doesn’t protrude below that axle. To me, that says that Winnebago hasn’t put anything any lower than Dodge did – and if the vehicle will clear an obstacle, so will the generator.
But yes, this RV is low to the ground. (I know, I was under there on that creeper, and I had to watch where I turned my head.) But I don’t think it’s so low as to be a danger. Look at it this way – it’s higher up than my Subaru, and I take that thing everywhere!
And about the Safari Condo – I’ve only ever been able to see them online. The adjustable height bed is a neat concept. If I ever see one “in the wild” I’ll take a closer look.
Thanks for reading!
We own a 2014 Travato and it has been great. Sure there are compromises but it was super affordable and we can drive it and park it anywhere. We actually lived in it full time for almost 6 months last year after we sold our east coast home and headed west to look for a place to retire. It was tight at times with 2 of us and a big dog, but it was worth it to be able to travel without a tow vehicle and park anywhere. The rear bed gives separation when one person gets up early. We haven’t had any problems with it and would recommend this van to anyone who wants an easy way to travel.
The floorplan with separate sleeping and dining/living areas is what intrigues us most about it. Thanks for reading!
I’ve been corresponding with dealers for information about the Travato and this is one of the most thorough and entertaining reviews of any Class-B I’ve seen. You knocked this one out of the park, James and Steph!
The detailed investigation of the roof, electrical connections, and the underneath chassis answered several questions I had about the suitability of the Travato to our anticipated use. Our particular interest is in finding the perfect adventure RV for year round use with our dogs in the Rocky Mountains where we’re often traveling on unimproved roads and in sub-freezing temperatures. The low batteries and the exposed water hose is particularly concerning. It looks like there is only about an 8 inch clearance. Can the vehicle be used year round, if winterized, and if not, I’m wondering under what conditions the exposed water hose could be problematic? Well, on second thought, maybe it’s not much of an issue since climate change may be reducing Western winters to the month of January. As for the bike problem, our travel bikes fold up and look like they will fit nicely under the bed without the need for the outside bike rack.
Do you know if Russ Garfin will be posting videos of how Winnebago marketed the Travato at the Outdoor Retailers Association meeting? It may not be perfect, but I give credit to manufacturers now designing RVs at price points affordable to a new market of outdoor enthusiasts.
Hey there – Glad you liked the review! Like you, Stef and I were just remarking that we seemed to have skipped over winter in the Rockies this year… Kind of disappointing.
But anyway, let me try to answer some of your questions. First, if you’re willing to travel in a winterized coach (meaning – don’t use the fresh water), then there is no problem with the lines being outside. That’s actually quite common (as in, ours is the only class B I know of with all the water lines inside). The ones I saw on the Travato were all protected with split plastic covering.
And I wouldn’t worry too much about the battery and other mechanicals underneath. The battery sits higher than the rear axle. So if the vehicle will clear, so will the battery. You could also add some plates or something around the battery if you were concerned. There was also some skid-plating type metal underneath. You can see some of it protecting the LP tank. This is not to say the Travato is a 4wd vehicle – it isn’t. But you should be good for most gravel and the occasional Forest Service road.
I didn’t see that Russ had video equipment with him, so I don’t know if they will be posting any video of their own. If I had to guess, I would look for features on the Travato in other outdoor publications – backpacking magazines, that kind of thing. Those guys were all there. In fact, pretty much the whole outdoor industry is at that show – and we did bump into Chad from Winnebago on the show floor later on, so we know they made their meeting!
We just returned from our second 5000 mile trip through the mountains and desert southwest in our 2014 Travato. I have driven a Chevy Avalance for 12 years and thought it was the most comfortable traveling vehicle I had ever driven – until the Travato. We returned better rested than when we left. We chose the front wheel drive Travato since we leave Wisconsin to start our trips which often means snow covered roads.
We stay in national forests nearly every night which means driving on forest roads. The vehicle handles the dips quite well. Clearance is part of it, but what proceeds and follows the axles is critical. We have yet to bottom out on dips, but we are careful. I guess we think of it like canoeing with a fully loaded canoe in a wilderness environment. We’re as interested in surviving the rocks as we are getting everything in the boat.
There are lots of little things to learn and most of the reviews and comments concerned us at first. We’re tent campers normally. We have come to realize most of the complaints and concerns about the functionality of the Travato are similar to the comments you read about fabric sticking in the zippers on tent reviews. That doesn’t make it a bad tent. it just means you have to watch to make sure the fabric doesn’t get in the zipper.
We slept 4 in our vehicle this trip so we know about the beds. Try doing that in a Roadtrek. Nope we don’t work for Winnebago. We’re value hunters. This is an amazing value. Buy a van and try to accomplish what Winnebago has done in the space provided.
We don’t allow ourselves to dream of the diesel. We didn’t have that option. I do like the fact that we could drop in a new gas engine at a reasonable price after 250k if we needed too.
We love our vehicle. Never thought I’d drink a cold beer watching the NCAA tournament while playing cribbage with my wife on a mountain top after a day of trail running in Bryce Canyon. Showered of course.
Bingo! You’re EXACTLY the kind of customer the Travato is aimed at. It sounds like you met your perfect match of an RV. And your trip sounds absolutely incredible!
Glad to hear that the clearance has turned out to be a non-issue for you. Some of the other commenters were worried about that, so I appreciate the first-hand experience. And one good thing about the gas engine is that you get the gas generator – which means less draw on your propane reserves and more time you can stay “out there”.
Great to hear from an actual owner. Thanks for stopping by!
Thanks James and Steph for your awesome, thorough review of the Travato. It will help us a lot as we try to decide on our next class B. We love the bell and your sense of humor. Any chance you will do a review of the Winnebago ERA 70c?
Well, I’m glad someone likes the bell! We may have the opportunity to do a thorough review of an ERA in the future – but I don’t think it would be up before April.
Glad we could help!
Just saw your review of the Travato. The only thing I liked was the bike rack and roof rack. Styling and design is poor in my opinion. Hate the color red and that bell you were using :-). For me Leisure Travel Vans are the best in design and layout than the Airstream is my second choice. Only thing Leisure Vans are lacking is storage for bikes or kayaks. I am sure the price point of the Travato is much lower than Leisure products.. I just think Winnebago needs to think outside the box when it comes to designs, layout and fabrics. Even with their larger RV their designs are dated. I was at the last big show at the LA Fairgrounds and I was not impressed with the Winnebago line. I am into more modern designs and even mid century modern looks. Winnebago is still stuck in the 80’s. Maybe they are after an older Midwest market for their clients.
Well, at least you found something to like in the rack system!
As you pointed out, the Travato is priced lower than a LTV. A good bit of that is due to the ProMaster being a less expensive chassis than a Sprinter. Beyond that though, we think the Travato provides a good value for the dollars you do spend. Yes, you can spend twice as much and get a nicer coach. But will it be twice as nice? I guess that’s up to the tastes and sensibilities of the end user.
I do want to point out a couple things on the style and design though. The cabinets in the Travato are actually made by Technoform, from Italy (I have footage somewhere of their logo on one of the cabinets). The cabinet doors have a slight curvature, metallic inlay, and recessing latches. This is actually very similar to what Leisure Travel Vans and others are doing with their cabinets. So at least in this area, if Winnebago is behind in design, they’re catching up quickly. And also the “murphy” bed floorplan is – as far as I know – unique to the Travato among all Class B designs in North America. So I don’t think the problem is that the Winnebagans aren’t trying to use the right side of their brains. This is just my guess, but maybe some of the design elements you were objecting to – laminate counter tops instead of solid surface, the “paneling” look of some of the composites instead of dark stained solid wood – stem from Winnebago trying to keep the Travato affordable. It would be easy (and fun!) to design a super-premium and drool-worthy Travato… but then very few could actually afford one. (I haven’t seriously looked at their Class As, so I really can’t comment there.)
Anyway Dale, thanks for commenting. I really mean that. Everyone’s got their own opinions and things that are important to them. We appreciate you sharing yours – it would be a boring world if we all thought the same. 🙂
(And I’ll tell Stef you didn’t like the bell…)
Dale, check their video on the 59K. At the end of it, they have some video of a new interior being offered on the 2016 models. The black corian kitchen countertop along with an upholstery color named “Rave” is what sold my wife and I on on the 2016’s.