The Winnebago Boldt – In Depth with Chris


We’ve all had times in our lives where we’ve been doing something for a while, and we’ve learned a lot from the experience.   How would it be, on one of those occasions, if you were given the opportunity to do it again, with a clean slate, and you were able to pull out all the stops?  THAT’S the situation that Chris from Winnebago found himself in when he was tasked with designing the new Winnebago Boldt.

 

If you’ve been following our videos, you’ve seen Chris Bienert before.  He’s on the design team for Winnebago’s Class B products.  Over the years, through the ERA, the Travato, the Paseo, and the Revel, he’s amassed quite a bit of knowledge.  Knowledge about how people use Class Bs, and about what does and doesn’t work in a camper van.  He brought all of that experience to bear in this latest rig.  If you asked him, he’d say it was his best work yet.

We filmed this back in December, before the Boldt was known.  In fact, this isn’t even a final version of the Boldt that you’ll see in the video.  It was a prototype that Winnebago had been testing – hard – to work out any kinks.

This is NOT one of our typical RV reviews, since the RV we had wasn’t a final version.  Instead, we used the opportunity to go a little more in-depth with Chris about the rig, and about why he made some of the choices that he did in the design.

We’ll have a full review later, but until we do, we thought you would like knowing a little more about the Boldt, firsthand.

Enjoy!!



James is a former rocket scientist, a USA Cycling 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.


    49 thoughts on “The Winnebago Boldt – In Depth with Chris

    1. Other Steph

      I love the Pure3/four season setup. It’s interesting that in speaking with a dealer to potentially order one, that Winnebago has discontinued the Noce color (the only interior color shown on their Boldt website.) More disappointing is the option between brown (Macchiato) and other brown (Walnut).

      Reply
    2. Rob

      The Winnebago website says that the exterior width of the Boldt is 7’2″. That’s a full 10″ wider than the width the website provides for the Era (assuming that is still the 2019 chassis) and only 4 inches narrower than the Class C View/Navion. Did Mercedes really increase the width of the 2020 sprinter by 10 inches?

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Uh. No. That’s weird.
        Mercedes has told us on several occasions that the cargo compartment of the Sprinter was deliberately left the same so as to not cause lots of rework for all their upfitters.
        Maybe they included the mirrors one year and not another?

        Reply
    3. Patrick Broos

      The Pure3’s capabilities and simplicity will hopefully advance the cause of getting the industry to embrace lithium power systems. However, blogs and discussions on-line are rightly raising the important question of how owners will get malfunctioning Pure3 systems diagnosed and repaired.

      On the Travato site I can find very little information about the Pure3 system, who will repair it, the terms of its warranty, etc. Has Winnebago said anything publicly about this issue?

      As long as Winnebago and Volta leave the service/repair question unanswered, folks comparing Pure3 and Xantrex Freedom E-gen systems will point out that only Volta can troubleshoot and work on that Pure3 “black box” under the coach.

      I’d like to also remind Winnebago and Volta that when a Winnebago owner wants to sell their coach, the health of the used $25,000 Pure3 system will be key component of the price negotiation. How will a seller prove to a buyer the that Pure3 system is in good shape, without access to BMS internal information (fault codes, bypassed cells, current estimated capacity of the bank, etc.). Without good evidence of the used Pure3’s health, the Pure3 part of the coach’s value may depreciate very rapidly.

      Volta could really help protect the investment of Pure3 buyers by providing an inspection program that allows them to document the health of the system to potential buyers.

      Best Regards,
      P Broos

      Reply
    4. Patrick Broos

      Nice van. James, do you have any idea why Winnebago did not take the next logical step—eliminating propane from the design? With 11.6 kwh of battery capacity and with diesel fuel already on-board, wouldn’t induction cooking and diesel hydronic heating be far better than propane? Isn’t the moisture from propane cooking a huge problem in the winter, with the van closed up?

      You’ve demonstrated that induction cooking is great. The Revel already uses diesel heating, if I’m not mistaken. 20 gallons of diesel will provide heat for a long time. I’m baffled by Winnebago’s decision to retain propane.

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        One small correction to your question. The Boldt does have induction cooking – propane is used ONLY for cabin heat and hot water via the Truma Combi appliance. So, there are no condensation issues, as the Truma breathes its combustion air and exhaust outside the van.
        Having said that, I did ask Winnebago this same question. Like most things RV, there are several layers to the answer.
        First and foremost is cost. The diesel heat and water heat are actually more (thousands) than the Truma system they have installed.
        Second, the diesel heating systems are notoriously… finicky. The Truma Combi system on the other hand is dead nuts reliable.
        Third, the Truma Combi actually has a higher altitude ceiling than a diesel fired unit. Has to do with the chemistry of combustion, I suppose.
        That said, I haven’t been the only one asking them this question. I don’t speak for Winnebago, but I wouldn’t be surprised if – at some point in the future – diesel heat and hot water is an option on the Boldt.
        I just don’t expect in version 1.x. Perhaps 2.x it will be an option.
        But again – I don’t have specific product plan knowledge, so take that for what it’s worth.

        Reply
        1. Patrick Broos

          Thank you for the information about diesel vs. propane heating. I never imagined there were altitude limits—-that’s really important to know.

    5. Ralf Jaeger

      Nice talk. Nice details…
      Can one buy a Bolt factory direct by chance?
      If through dealers only, how to Best Buy a new RV like the Bolt such that:
      – One does not pay too much.
      – One gets it indeed in the best winter useable version (i.e. all available double windows)
      – One gets it such that load capacity as well as trailer towing capacity are „maximized“ and clearly understood. (If you load this many lbs into the RV you can still tow yeah much.
      – One does not end up with the RV dealership from hell?
      – One indeed gets the supposedly longer warranty (which is how long & on what?) such that one is covered near wherever one ihappens to be with the RV when an issue arises?

      – What is the roof rack Maximum load capacity (with extra cross bars if need be? capacity (with extra cross bars if need be?

      – If one wants the ground clearance of a 4WD sprinter (or even a tad more) but not necessarily the costly 4WD and makes do with 2WD, what are the options?

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Glad you liked the video. Answers to the questions:
        No, you can only buy through dealers.
        We don’t generally review dealers on The Fit RV. It’s kind of like buying a car. Some are good. Some not so good. You’d use the same kind of intuition to figure out which kind of dealer you were dealing with.
        Don’t know the maximum capacity of the roof rack.
        The clearance on the 2wd models we saw was pretty amazing. If you wanted more clearance than that, you’d be looking at any of the regular “off road” customization shops. I’ve never seen a lift kit for a Sprinter, but I’m sure someone makes one!

        Reply
    6. Chris

      Hi James, another great video review! I’m looking at travel nursing in the near future and have been researching class B coaches that would hold up well in the colder climates, since this will be my home on the road. When will this model be available to be purchased? Also, is there another class B I should consider that would meet my needs? Thanks!

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        I know people are ordering the Boldt now. Call your local Winnebago dealer to find out when they could get you one.

        Reply
    7. Bob E

      Looking at the spare tire rack is it a part of the standard hitch or some type of modification. would ordering the part work for those of us wanting to change tire location and keep main towing receiver. Nice looking unit.

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        That’s one you’d have to take a look at the tire unit and your particular hitch to figure out if it would work.

        Reply
    8. Robert Chandler

      I wonder why neither the Winnebago Boldt Q70BL or the Revel have microwave ovens. Maybe Winnebago is going senile.

      Reply
    9. Shaun Simpkins

      Oogh…jealous. All of the Pure 3 control panels have been moved to the entrance of the coach. Absolutely an improvement over the Travato’s present placement of the Dimensions panel at the back of the coach, where you keep forgetting to turn off (or turn on) the inverter.

      Note also that the additional insulation increases the wall thickness a full 1.5″ over the T…you can see that the cassette blinds are below the wall surface.

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Nope.
        As far as we know, the gas Sprinter will be limited to the single-rear-wheel version.
        That doesn’t have the cargo capacity of the dual rear wheel version, and will not likely be used for many RVs.

        Reply
    10. Shaun Simpkins

      So James….the Pure 3 Power Pack is inside the cabin, so no need for the forced air heating and cooling of the Travato KL, but how about cold-soaking recovery? You might be away from your rig for a day…or several…and the entire coach can become cold-soaked, including the battery. How does the Boldt power pack warm itself up to accept a charge?

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        This version of the battery pack has heating pads to keep the battery at temperature. If the system is left on, it will be fine. Throw it a shore line and it will be fine indefinitely. If you couldn’t arrange a shore power cord, the large propane tank would keep the Truma running for days.
        I’ll add that we’ve had a lithium coach through years of Utah winters – without heating pads – and this isn’t as big of an issue as people who don’t have one think it is.

        Reply
    11. Michael Yates

      Love the direction Winnebago is going. If the Boldt was around a year ago when we bought out ERA 70B it would have been a very hard decision. I love the MB factory safety features, the lithium batteries and 4 season capability. With a list price of over $180K that is a real big number. I really appreciate Winnebago trying to reduce the noise level inside the “down the road” sound level inside the coach. Nice work and thanks for sharing

      Reply
    12. Kathryn Lanier

      I am interested in the tracks. Do you happen to have a link to them- I searched but couldn’t find. Thanks for these updates! I think these will be great and glad to see four season!!!!!

      Reply
    13. Chris Mack

      Another great video. Winnebago is advancing quickly. Being such a large company allows them to do things, like CNC cutting foam and cabinets and molds for bathrooms and walls, that other manufacturers just don’t have the size to accomplish. I like some of the other Winnebagos, but this Boldt seems like the first class b that they truly are getting right. Of course I would like a few changes, but beggars…

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        I haven’t seen or heard anything on the Paseo for a while. For now, the Transit seems to be only used in Winnebago Cs.
        (This is NOT an official Winnebago announcement. Just what I’ve seen… or rather *not* seen.)

        Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Don’t know that there was an explanation given. We didn’t touch on the ERA, which is still in production.
        In my opinion, the ERA seems a bit more like a traditional coach, and the Boldt seems more like a “more padded” Revel…

        Reply
    14. NavyDoc

      Thank you for a great introductory video. Quick question: on the Winnebago website, it states the length of Boldt is 24’3″. But I thought I read 22’8″ in the Youtube reveal. Do you know the exact spec?

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        OK.
        The vehicle itself is 22’8″. BUT… with the spare tire mounted on the back, it’s 24″3″!

        Reply
        1. Chris Mack

          For me, it would have made more sense just to use the extended 170 which is the same length as the Boldt. You could have left the spare under the vehicle and side mounted the ladder. It costs about $2000 for the extended version, but you wouldn’t have to buy a swing out spare and you could have used the extra interior room to put a larger fresh water tank on the inside saving on a fancy insulated box with heating pads etc. under the van. Probably would cost about the same and you’d have more interior space for the same length vehicle. I’m sure there is a reason they did it this way though.

    15. Tom M

      Lots of nice things about the Boldt. Russ and Chris are doing a great job. I got to talk to Russ a bit in Tampa and he was very generous with his time, listening to me going on about wanting blind spot monitoring.

      I do hope that more Boldt floorplans are coming; I’ve always thought the Era 70A was one of the greatest Class B floorplans out there; big bedroom, long galley, pull out cargo slide, and that nice little couch on the side.

      re: the gasoline Sprinter: Mercedes is making them only in single-rear-wheel form, so they would only work on short Class Bs like the Pleasure-Way Ascent.

      Reply
    16. Ray Brown

      Was there any mention at all of the new gasoline Sprinter being used by Winnebago in the future? We attended the Tampa show and looked at the new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis and were shocked to see that the 3L Turbo is still limited to Diesel #2 and B5 biodiesel (B20 emergency only!). We have an earlier iteration of a Winnebago MB Sprinter and with many of the truck stops now exclusively B20 we are having trouble finding suitable diesel away from population centers – not to mention the entire state of Minnesota. Congratulations on your new test Boldt, but get ready to do some long-distance fuel-stop planning!

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        We’ve heard no mention of a gasoline sprinter RV – in either cutaway chassis or full vans.
        Mercedes has come out with a statement specifically about Minnesota and the B20 requirement.
        I’ve uploaded it to our site for now. You can find it here.

        Reply
        1. mathew k

          The 2019 sprinter is offered with a 2.0 liter 4 cylinder gas engine paired with a 9 speed auto but anything larger then the 2500 mid length van only comes in diesel. I really don’t see much appeal for it you are losing some of the biggest strengths of the sprinter. For the same price as a 2500 high top 170 inch wheel base gas sprinter you can get a promaster 3500 159 inch wheel base with the extended body. The promaster will have nearly a 100 more horsepower and 400 more pounds of cargo. If you are building an rv the diesel sprinter makes way more sense as it can carry over 6000 pounds of weight and is available with the extended body.

    17. Carl Rice

      I can’t believe he didn’t show you the dovetail drawer construction first thing! He would’ve won James over in the first 30 seconds.

      Reply
    18. David San Gabriel

      It seemed very difficult start of this video, making it tough to watch. Usually that is NOT the case with the prior reviews. I would have liked more information on the type of fridge, and it showed (not by discussion) an electrical stove top with one burner.

      I look forward to a more complete video addressing all the amenities of this coach. I think it would have been better to NOT have this video out because it asks more questions than answers.

      Reply
    19. David Huff

      OK, so lithium, four season capable, well-insulated, better cabinet construction, quieter A/C, and that COOL roof antenna wire port… This is ticking all the boxes. Good for Winnebago!

      Reply
    20. Gordon and Miki

      Thank you! This coach includes so much of what is on our wish list! Now if they could something similar on a Promaster chassis it would be complete! Nicely done! Always enjoy the shorter style reviews, but rarely ever get the details and thoughts behind the build. The latter was especially helpful. One correction, I think Chris meant to say ’winter aficionado’ instead of ‘weirdo’.

      Reply

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