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I can neither confirm nor deny that Stef and I have started discussing what our next RV will look like – after Lance.
If we had started such a discussion, the new Solis 59PX would be on our short list. Watch the video below and you’ll pretty quickly see why. BIKE GARAGE!
So here’s how this whole thing went down. Winnebago contacted us earlier this summer and asked us if we’d be interested in test-camping a new Class B floor plan that had a bike garage… Well DUH!!! OF COURSE we’re interested! Unobtrusive, dedicated bike storage is hard to find in a camper van, so we jumped at the chance. And since – you know… 2020… – everyone was scratching their heads about how to reveal or announce this new RV, we offered to use our review to help out. And with that, a plan was born, and we were off camping.
We had the new Solis 59PX for about two months, and in that time we got to try out all of the major systems, and take it on a couple camping trips. Most of what we know about the new Solis is in the video, but if you’re looking for a quick summary of what we liked and didn’t, here you go.
Things We Appreciated
The Bike Garage -We might as well begin and end this list right here because dedicated, indoor bike storage in a Class B van is our holy grail in van design. Not only that, by putting the bike storage in the very back, we weren’t tripping over bikes, or bumping into greasy chains, or experiencing any loss in functionality with the bikes inside. True, the way we had them stored, we couldn’t put the bed up and down – but we really hate “puzzle beds” anyway, and would have left the thing made up all the time even without the bikes. This one feature alone gets the Solis a place on our list. And while I suppose you could store things back there besides bikes… I really wouldn’t know anything about that.
The Air Conditioning – We had the Solis on loan in June and July… and we live in the desert southwest. It was over 100 degrees pretty much any time we took the Solis out, so we were super glad that an air conditioner was included. (We’re not nice people without air conditioning.) Also, the air conditioner was the quieter Coleman Mach 10 NDQ model, so we were able to sleep with it on (and over our heads) with no problem.
The Generator – OK. We’re not huge fans of generators. But the Solis is not available with an integrated lithium system, so if you want to power the air conditioner… you need one. As far as RV generators go, this thing was pretty darn quiet. I was impressed. Not impressed enough to rip out our lithium system in Lance, but still… impressed.
The Water Service Panel – This gizmo on the back of the van really makes it easier to handle a lot of the “water based” chores inside the van. Rather than running all over the van hunting down levers for a water heater bypass, or thinking up a way to sanitize the fresh water tank, all you have to do with this panel is follow a color-coded map. It even provided a way to “gravity-fill” the fresh water tank. One caution here, the fitting did leak a tiny bit when connecting or disconnecting the hose. But I’m thinking I could take care of that with a quick-connect.
The Storage – I’ll be honest. We took this thing out for 4 and 5 day trips a couple of times, and we had trouble filling up the available storage. We found ourselves stuffing towels into the cabinets to keep things from rattling around in the mostly-empty-spaces while we were driving. I even took work stuff along on one trip and we still didn’t come close to filling up the storage. For two people, we had way more than enough room.
The Lack of an Awning – An Offbeat Look at Why I Don’t Like RV Awnings. Enough said.
Things We Were Less-Than-Thrilled With
The Cassette Toilet – It’s no secret that we don’t exactly love cassette toilets. We had a terrible and traumatic experience with one when we tried it out. But then we had one on our European RV Trip, and it was either learn to use it… or hold it for two weeks. The experience in Europe is a lot different from over here – they’re set up for the cassettes. Anyway, we probably would have preferred something else in the bathroom. BUT… we weren’t going to pass on a camper van with a bike garage just because we didn’t like the toilet! We’re all about moving things forward, and we see the bike garage as a huge step that we want to encourage. IF (and that’s a big if) the Solis was to be our next rig, we’d probably give the cassette the old college try (they work a lot better if you use eight times the recommended amount of chemicals). And if we didn’t like it after that, we’d change it out for something else. Remember who’s writing this – there’s pretty much nothing on Lance that’s unchanged from the original 59G, so I think I could handle a toilet swap. Plus, it’s a lot easier to remove a cassette than it is to remove a standard RV toilet… there’s no 3 inch poop-hole in the floor to cover up! OK. That’s enough about toilets.
The Bathroom – I found the bathroom a bit small. Stef didn’t mind it, but I was a bit cramped. But I suppose if you have to sacrifice space somewhere in the van, the Bathroom is probably the smart place to do it.
The Pop-Top – I know this feature is everything to a lot of potential buyers, but it doesn’t do anything for us personally. We deployed the pop-top only for demonstration purposes. Except that one time, I tried to put our cat Mel up there, and he tried to claw my face off. So yeah…
The Dinette Table – While we loved the dinette seats, the table was a bit small for 2 people to eat at comfortably. It was fine for one person working, but two plates were a bit tight. If we were to have the Solis, I’d probably rig up some kind of table for the cab passenger seat – that’s a pretty easy mod.
And that’s that. There’s plenty more about the Solis 59PX, but you’ll just have to watch the review for that. Any questions, sound off below!