On January 16th and 17th 2016 we visited the Florida RV Supershow, which takes place in Tampa every January. It is allegedly the largest RV show in the United States, although the Hershey Show in Pennsylvania also claims that title. Regardless of who wins, if you want to see a particular brand, model or floor plan this is the show for you.
This year we decided to concentrate in class B and B+ motorhomes although we did visit some of our current trailer’s cousins, and uncles, the other Winnebago travel trailers to see where they are innovating, or not.
The B+ motorhomes, as I explain in the video, are more closely related to the C class than the B. They are built on a cutaway chassis, and our favorite is still the Leisure Travel Vans, by Triple E, particularly the Serenity model. They are made in Canada and they just feel right inside. Yeah, there’s a subjective quality to Rving, which is very much intuition and what feels right. You are in reality buying a home after all, so it has to feel “homy”, whatever that is. We also liked the Phoenix Cruisers, which are sold directly from the factory. The Coach House is another high quality product with a lot of storage for the size but it fell into that subjective category of “just didn’t feel right”.
Enter the pure class B’s. We started with the Roadtreks and Pleasure Way’s. We really wanted to like those, because they are innovating in many ways, mainly battery technology. But one place where they don’t seem to be innovating much is in the floor plans. They all have a sofa bed in the back, some bigger some smaller, but the same concept. On either side there’s the galley, fridge, wet bath, closet, pantry, etcetera, and a very narrow hallway in the middle. In the front, two or four non movable chairs with a removable table. That is most of them in a nut shell.
Enter the Grand Canyon and the Travato, in my opinion the two winners this time around. They are both built on Ram Promaster Van, recently introduced in North America. It is our version of the European motorhome favorite Fiat Ducato. The Grand Canyon by Hymer is a mere 19.5 feet long, which means it will fit into almost any parking space. It does have an expandable dinette in the front, a wet bath with a folding sink and movable toilet which makes it feel larger than it really is and a compressor based refrigerator, which is very small. You sleep transversally on a bed you have to make every day if you want access to some of the storage. It is equipped with a Truma heater, which packs the latest on demand technology.
Then there is the Travato by Winnebago, a little longer than the Hymer at 21 feet, but substantially shorter than most of the other class B’s. The 59G was out favorite floor plan, which comes with a corner bed, collapsible almost like a murphy bed. There is also another floor plan, the 59K, which offers dual twin beds and a rear bath. The Travato feels sporty, agile, and practical, even though it lacks in counter space, but I hope they will address that in the future. The wet bath feels spacious because of its rectangular shape on the rear passenger side corner. And the set up at the front can sit up to 5 people at the dinner table. It also comes with a Truma heater and other innovations such as a power control center. By the way, most of the units I’ve mentioned come with the optional solar panel system, a must if you plan of boondocking like us.
As a conclusion I have come to the epiphany that everything in RVing is a compromise. The B+ may be relative comfortable to live in but you will have to look for that oversized parking or eventually get a second vehicle, which is what we are trying to avoid. The longer traditional B’s, I feel could have more innovative floor plans, but the ones that do have the potential of reaching that fragile balance between comfort and urban practicality.
Enjoy the video. Click on the image below to watch.