Nearing Completion on the Next Fit RV

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At Winnebago, they’re finishing up on our shiny new yellow Travato, which I’m calling the 59GX.  Here in Salt Lake City, we couldn’t be more excited!  I’m told he’s going to paint this week.  It’s a short week with the holiday, so paint and final inspections will finish up next week just before we get there to pick him up.

So, if he’s gone to paint (for the black striping, I would imagine), then he must be mostly finished inside. I’ve got a few pictures to share, so let’s get going.

But before we get started – again – remember that this just a concept RV. Winnebago has not decided to make any of these features standard or optional on new Travatos. So please, look at our new RV as an experiment. A very, very, cool experiment.  But not one that’s necessarily on the menu.

So first, here you can see our new friend suspended up in the air a bit.

Roof Rack On

You can see that the roof rack and awning have been installed already. We’re assuming this raising of the vehicle was done to facilitate the installation of the running boards. Winnebago is installing tubular running boards with accent lighting in our coach. We won’t have an electric step. To me, this makes a lot more sense (and it’s what we have in Das Bus now). We won’t have to wait for the step to extend before entering or leaving or driving away, and it’s one less thing to maintain.

OK, but what do the running boards look like? Well, they’ve got them wrapped up right now to keep them protected, but here’s a shot that might give you an idea.

Running Board

Next up is this metal stripe in the floor. (We love the flooring, BTW.)

Floor Channel

This metal plate sits flush with the floor, and is covering a channel that water lines run through. One of our “must haves” for a new coach was water lines run inside. This is how Winnebago addressed it. We’re completely OK with this solution. Before you ask, I don’t know if the lines are sitting on the bare metal floor of the van or not, but either way, it’s OK. The cover, as you can see, is just screwed down. If I find it necessary later, I can open it up to add insulation, or heat tape, or whatever might be required.

The additional galley window is in. Last time, we showed you where it would go over the galley. Well now, it’s done. Check it out

Window Finished Interior

That should let a good bit of additional light into the coach. And here’s what it looks like from the outside.

Window Finished Exterior

Remember that center section of the side wall will be painted black. So the window won’t stand out as much. Looks good to me.

And speaking of windows, they completed the installation of the acrylic European window up in the penthouse. Here it is from the outside.

The Porthole

I’m actually calling the penthouse window a “porthole”.

Next up is something that I threw at Winnebago as a last-minute change, and I’m stoked that they got it done.

WeBoost Drive 4G-X

That’s a WeBoost Drive 4G-X cell signal booster. It’s supposed to boost the signal up to 50 dB for all cellular devices inside the coach. Our roof is metal, so we didn’t have to install a giant metal plate to put the antenna on. If this thing works as advertised, I’m a bit worried that people will start congregating around our coach to get the boosted signal!  Initial reports from Winnebago are that it seems to work: When they switch it on, they have more bars. Expect a more detailed test once I’ve got my hands on it.

In this next shot, you can see some of the upholstery, and some bits (the subwoofer mainly) of the upgraded JBL sound system.

Upholstery & Subwoofer

Believe it or not, we weren’t too picky with Winnebago about colors. So we didn’t know what we were getting! We had met their design team though, and trusted their judgment. They didn’t disappoint us. When we saw it for the first time, Stef and I both liked it, and both were relieved. And I CAN’T WAIT to fire up that sub…

Now for the big part – the raised bed. Here it is, complete and installed, taken from behind the van.

Rear View Elevated Bed

They’ve got the bed stowed in that picture, but you can see a few little things. Like, the Froli Sleep System is installed; and it looks like they were able to get us one cabinet in the overhead area after all (I think that’s what I’m seeing to the left). The gooseneck lights on the driver’s side rear door have also been removed, because they would have been sitting on our heads. I don’t know if those white lenses are covering up smaller lights or not, but I can’t wait to find out.

Here’s another picture of the penthouse area, closer up.

Froli Lights and Bed

In this picture, I think I see switches on those two white circles, but I’m not completely certain. Either way, it’s OK with us. And you can also see the shades have been drawn on the porthole window up top.

Finally, in that picture, you can see the wardrobes better. I have to tell you, the wardrobe cabinets are even cooler than you think. They’re built with removable shelves. This means Stef has freedom to hang her stuff, or fold it, or wad it up in the bottom of the wardrobe, or whatever. I can guarantee that I’ll be using the shelves in mine. When I go on vacation, I really try not to bring stuff that needs to go on a hanger. The other thing this means is that I can toy with the idea of adding shelves to the other wardrobe by the galley. That would make one mega-pantry! I don’t think we’re going to be hurting for storage space in this rig. Here’s another angle of the wardrobe cabinets just because they’re awesome.

His N Hers Wardrobes

And you probably saw the toilet peeking in on that last picture. Yep, the Airhead composting toilet is installed, as well as the teak shower step. Here’s a full shot of that.

Airhead Toilet Installed

Check out that platform! No little kiddie stool in front of the toilet for us. When we’re there, I’m going to have to hunt down the person who made the teak platform and talk shop with them. It looks great. Of course, neither Stef nor I has a clue how to USE this toilet yet – but I do have instructions.

And that’s going to just about do it for construction pictures. As I said, he’s pretty much done but paint and final inspections and prep at this point. Stef and I have already started piling stuff up to take with us to meet him in Iowa for the first time.

We will be doing a detailed walk-through video at some point, but that takes some planning and prep. You can expect more than a few pictures from us in the meanwhile.




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.

    45 thoughts on “Nearing Completion on the Next Fit RV

    1. Steve Judge

      How do you like your penthouse bed platform? Where do you store your mattress? Lynn and I are planning to buy a 15G and modify the single bed in the rear to have 30 inch wide bunk beds.

      1. James - Post author

        In all honesty, it is a bit close to the ceiling, but we love the bike storage it gives us.
        We don’t store the mattress anywhere, it folds up with the bed.
        Interesting idea on the twin beds back there. My wheels are turning…

    2. Diane

      Is the antenna for the signal booster the antenna that you have in the middle of the roof above the windshield or is it somewhere else?

      1. James - Post author

        No, the “front and center” antenna is factory Dodge.
        Our Signal booster antenna is much smaller, mounted midship on the roof. You can’t see it from the ground.

    3. Jon and Susan

      I’d love to buy a new RV, but it seems most argue its best to go used due to depreciation. Of course, it certainly depends on how long-term a person intends to be RVing.

      Q: How long does it take to get a new Travato built…and what is the ‘wait’ time if one orders one?

      Congrats by the way, I agree that the Travato should come with a high bed, with more storage…as you have designed, which also accommodates bikes, etc. Great stuff

      1. James - Post author

        Hey guys!
        I don’t know exactly what the lead time is if you order your own unit. But I know someone I can ask… I’ll see if I can get an answer.
        If you are happy with a standard offering, you can probably find dealers with them on their lots now. (At least the older models. Not sure about 2016s yet.)
        Always glad to hear another vote for the high bed! (Makes us feel less crazy…)

    4. Eric

      Congrats. It’s beautiful.

      I know you mentioned it before, but when you figure out how to get a kayak on the roof, please let us know. I stare longingly at the racks on my Travato because they’re 9 feet off the ground and I’m only 5’6″. All I’ve been able to come up with is using 2 very expensive telescoping ladders leaned up against the coach (shudder) for my wife and I to scale. And then we have to find room for them.

      1. James - Post author

        I’m trying to think of some rope and pulley system? I don’t know. First – I have to take Stef kayak shopping!

        1. Jon and Susan

          I heard of folks using telescoping poles with hooks that would allow two people to lift and bring to the ground…a kayak. It would be interesting to see how that could be done safely, to person, vehicle, and boat!

        2. James - Post author

          We’re on an RV trip with a sponsored kayaking family (you can find them on the Winnebago Life blog). They’ve got tons of experience getting kayaks on vehicles. When we get some down time, I’m going to pick his brain about getting kayaks safely up top. The leading candidate right now is some kind of catwalks on both sides of the roof that would enable you to walk up there safely without denting the roof. We’d probably also need some kind of roller or something to keep the kayak from scraping the sides of the RV. Just a thought experiment at this point, but that’s where my mind is right now.

    5. AL

      Really enjoyed watching your videos…ding! You guys work really well together and probably on your way to pick up your new ride. I ordered a 59g, but won’t be built til Sept. However, I did ask if they could put in the galley window…great idea and should be standard. Looking forward to your walk around and review.

      1. James - Post author

        I think a couple of things we asked for may make it into the standard offerings. Here’s hoping the months pass quickly for you!

      2. Seamus

        Hello, sorry to reply to this comment almost a year later, but did they put in the galley window in for you? That’s something I would be interested in getting on the 59G I’m in the process of ordering.


        1. James - Post author

          We do have a galley window, but it is not an orderable option from Winnebago at this time.

        2. Seamus

          I did mean that question for the original commenter, but thanks for the quick reply. Any chance they would be able to put it in if I asked? It seems like a really nice addition. Also, I really like the mid-2016 changes they made which adds a second battery and the new heating system. A part of that was the addition of ‘heated drainage’, any idea what that is?

          I love the website, the stuff you put on here really helps when one is looking to buy a 59G.

        3. James - Post author

          I think a couple people have asked them to add that window, but they’ve declined. They have a reason, I’m just not sure what it is.
          The “heated drainage” would be heated holding tanks and piping/macerator underneath the van. It helps if you’re going to be doing cold weather camping. You wouldn’t use it in the summer.
          Glad you like our site!

    6. Andy & Kim

      If our timing is right it’s 10:30 am Friday in Iowa and you should be looking at your brand new yellow miles of smiles happiness transport.
      Enjoy it to the fullest, and thanks for all you do here at The Fit RV

      Andy & Kim

    7. Randy Ochsenbein

      I am so excited for you guys! You’ve been on my mind all week. You will definitely have to swing by KSL when you get back to Salt Lake!

      1. James - Post author

        Absolutely, Randy! You’ll be able to see us coming for miles in that thing!
        Let’s touch base later on.

      1. James - Post author

        Our coach will have the Onan.
        We talked initially about deleting it, but that would have required a whole electrical system re-think, and we wanted to get rolling.

      1. James - Post author

        We don’t know exactly yet. Stef is dying to get some kayaks, or a stand up paddleboard.
        Me, I’m envisioning putting some kind of fairing across the front like I have on my Subaru (only bigger).
        I don’t think we’d want to cover up much of the top because of the solar, but a cargo carrier might be do-able on rare occasions.

    8. Mark

      Awesome job !! great upgrades especially the bed ! I’m a windsurfer/mtb-roady-cyclist and the additional room you’ve created is AWESOME ! Many trips to Hood River..the outer banks and various mtb endurance races in friends old sprinter 2500 gave me the courage to buy my 2015 travato last August… LOVE it !!! I look forward to maybe implementing some of your design in the future !! GREAT JOB !! Can’t wait to see the finished GX !!

      1. James - Post author

        Yes, there is a “black” tank. For us, it’s now the “shower” tank, and the former grey tank is now the “sinks” tank.

        1. Highlander

          Would a “knife valve” at the outlet allow you to combine (mix) the two? I believe this is what the Wynn’s did when they switched to a composting toilet.

    9. JP


      Do you know what water lines are on the outside of the standard 2016 59g? I do a lot of winter camping in the desert, so warmer days, with freezing nights. Hasn’t been in a problem in my Eurovan, and when it does freeze, it doesn’t do any damage.

      1. James - Post author

        I’d have to look again to be certain, but I believe the “city water” and “tank fill” lines run outside. I told Winnebago that these didn’t matter, as we wouldn’t use either of them in cold weather anyway.
        Also. the line from the fresh tank to supply the entire rest of the coach runs outside. That’s the big one, and they solved that with the channel.
        There may be some drain lines running outside as well. Don’t remember exactly.

    10. Davydd

      After the paint shop black paint highlights do you go from Das Bus to Da Bee? 🙂

      I was tempted at one time after seeing an Airstream trailer near Homer, Alaska with the yellow and black treatment. They put antenna on theirs.

      1. James - Post author

        We still haven’t decided on a name. Need to meet him first. But the bee theme is an idea…

    11. Shawn

      So exciting. You two came up with some great modifications. How wide, tall, and long is the bike hallway?

      1. James - Post author

        I know the height is at least 40 inches (I gave Winnebago the specs on bikes). And the bed itself is 77 inches long.
        Don’t know about the width, but it is wide enough for two bikes. We tried that in our Travato 59G review.
        I can give more exact measurements once we’ve picked it up.

      1. James - Post author

        Yes, Lichtsinn is handling the paperwork – though we’re going to the factory to pick him up.

    12. Highlander

      Pro and Cons. First off, could easily see this as a 3rd model in the Travato lineup.

      Pros, love the “in back V-berth” with the porthole. Cabinetry looks beautiful and functional. The addition of the teak in the bathroom solved that step issue perfectly. Looks like Geoff did some upgrades to the Airhead toilet since our 1st Gen, nice. Window in the galley is great! That was the deal breaker for us between the 59G and 59K.

      Cons, why didn’t they put the hose for the Airhead behind the wall? Concerning the placement of the air-conditioner when you’re sleeping, you’ll be awfully close to those vents. Maybe the low setting dial on it will be enough. Very happy for you guys!

      1. James - Post author

        On a personal level, few things sound better to me than sleeping inches away from an air conditioner.
        (Stef may have another opinion.)
        I don’t know why the hose is run where it is. Inside the wall I don’t think would work – the walls aren’t that thick. Out the back wouldn’t work – doors. I would have tried down through the floor, but there may be something below preventing that option. Out the side would just be… weird. At least by going out the top, they maybe tied it in to the existing vent. Don’t know all the details, but I’ll find out soon enough.

    13. Janey

      This is very cool. I am excited for you guys. Question, I know you are more of “roadies” but would you take the Travato in a more 4-wheel environment? Like say on logging roads in a national forest to get to some awesome single track? Or in your opinion is the Travato best kept on concrete?

      1. James - Post author

        Well, we don’t intend to take the Travato 4-wheeling, but we do intend to take it off the beaten path on occasion. Clearance – below AND above – is something we’d keep in mind when we do. While I wouldn’t call the Travato an off-road machine (it IS a house-on-wheels, after all), we do fully expect it to be a capable “base camp” wherever our adventures take us.

    14. Steve

      This looks really nice. I have been following your project. Really looking forward to seeing a completed RV. You used a different heating system? Is the fridge the same size as the standard model? MY wife and I are retired. We full timed for over 8 years in a 40 MH. MH gone and now live in a condo in Maine. Have been looking at something like this. You think one could spend 2 or 3 months in one for the winter? Thanks and good luck. Steve

      1. James - Post author

        Hi Steve. We used the same heating system and the same refrigerator as are in the 2016 Travato. The 2016 models do use the Truma Combi heat and water heater, so that’s different from what was in our 59G review – but the same as the 59K review.
        If you’re used to full-timing in a 40 footer, a class B would certainly be a big adjustment! Do I think you could do it? Of course it’s possible. You’d have to pack light, and like each other pretty well! Stef and I are going to do several weeks in our new Travato right off the bat. But I like Stef a lot 🙂
        So yes, it’s very possible, but only you could say how well it would work for you and your wife.

    15. Shawn

      Looks great my man! Hopefully Winnebago incorporates some of these changes, or at least offers them as options. Enjoy your travels!

    16. Andy & Kim

      Absolutely spectacular !!!!!
      Any chance you’ll be bring him to the Pomona,Ca RV show in October?
      I have to sign off, I’m drooling all over my keyboard!

      Andy & Kim


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