More and more travelers are considering RVing. The good news is that the industry continuest to diversify to meet the different needs of various travelers. Paul J. Heney recently got to see some of the newest models of RVs and campers and finds new innovations particularly in three areas: all electric and solar models, wheelchair accessible models, and luxury luxury luxury. Here we share seven of our favorites.
Winnebago Industries’ e-RV concept vehicle is an entirely new, all-electric, zero emission RV that the company says incorporates an advanced drive train and battery package — that also powers all of the living area systems of the coach. It’s a compact but smartly designed package; almost the tiny home version of an RV, and perfect for those who want to pare down to the basics. Winnebago provides plenty of eco-friendly and sustainable options, such as sustainable, recycled cork-rubber flooring and woolen wall appliques to enhance thermal and wall insulation. The chassis is based on a readily available (although modified) Ford Transit platform. Currently, an industry standard, 86-kWh battery configuration provides a range of 125 miles while powering on-board systems. The company says this range will meet the needs of a majority (54 percent) of new RV buyers who prefer to make trips under 200 miles
The all-new accessibility enhanced Winnebago Roam blends the freedom of independent mobility with the privacy and comforts of home. This compact, easy-driving package works for use around town or for longer journeys. It’s built on the proven Ram chassis, to deliver ample power, fuel efficiency and agile handling. Roam incorporates safety features such as blind-spot monitoring, rear camera, and cross-wind assist. A Braun UVL wheelchair lift has a wireless remote and 750-lb. capacity, providing easy access into and out of the vehicle. Integrated tie-downs secure the wheelchair and allow it to be used as another seat while traveling. The private bathroom features an integrated shower and a cassette-style toilet and eliminates the inconvenience and stress of trying to find a clean, accessible restroom while away from home. A powered sofa/bed converts into a comfortable sleeping space for overnight camping — or for taking a rest between the day’s activities. There is also an optional pop-top, which comfortably sleeps two. Cabinets and storage compartments are designed to provide easy access while seated. The galley is also designed with accessibility in mind, and includes a refrigerator, microwave, and sink, plus an outlet for an induction cooktop.
Airstream’s eStream Concept Travel Trailer is another fully electric concept looking toward at the future of electrified travel. It includes multiple innovations from Airstream’s parent company THOR Industries, such as advanced aerodynamics and a new power system with advanced batteries, motors, and control systems. This towable trailer also has an expansive solar rooftop — and advanced electronic systems provide an on-grid experience even when camping far from local power sources. Campers can connect to an integrated Wi-Fi hotspot, fire up the all-electric appliances, and leave the loud generators behind. Interestingly, normal rooftop features have been relocated inside the body to reduce drag, resulting in one of the most aerodynamic travel trailers that the company has ever produced.
Airstream’s Classic 30RB is designed with luxury and style in mind. This floor plan has dedicated cooking, dining, full bathroom, and master bedroom areas providing a luxurious, homey, and roomy feel — including a lounging area right inside the main entry door. Features such as the company’s Smart Control Technology give campers the ability to control and monitor the most important features from anywhere — as well as and stay connected to the internet.
DRV Luxury Suites
DRV Luxury Suites are part of a class of towables that the industry calls “5th Wheels” — they are towed by a pickup truck, but part of the trailer hangs over the truck’s bed. These larger RVs offer many comforts of home, such as a residential kitchen, a master suite complete with a king-sized bed and large bathroom, full washer and dryer connections in every floor plan, and high-quality construction. Complete with large slide outs, the interior of these felt more like a small home to us instead of a large RV!
DRV Luxury Suites
Hampton by Crossroads describes itself as a destination trailer, designed and engineered to feel like home. Complete with stainless steel residential style appliances, eight-foot ceilings, hardwood raised panel cabinetry, and abundant storage, these are another luxury option for RV campers. Wherever your adventure takes you the Hampton will allow you to make your home where you want it to be.
Perhaps our favorite model was Keystone RV’s prototype of the 2023 Cougar 5th Wheel! This all-new model (set for debut around August in the $50k range) is equipped with the company’s patented Solar Flex solar panels, allowing users to camp off the grid or — boondocking as many in the industry call it. This model felt spacious but not ridiculously huge, with a smart, elegant design. The layout felt well thought out and comfortable. I could see us sitting with friends in there, laughing into the late evening over a few glasses of red wine. It kind of immediately felt like … home.