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Today’s RV review is of the forthcoming Winnebago Solis Pocket 36B. The Solis Pocket is the most compact of Winnebago’s van-based RVs and makes a lot of sense for a lot of reasons. In fact, this might be a great choice if you have no intentions of going camping— but is also a good choice if you do.
Don’t go camping with the Winnebago Solis Pocket?
Now why would I advocate buying a motorhome if you have no intention of going camping? Simple. A lot of parents have kiddos that participate in sports or other leisure activities. I’ve been to some of these parks where these things happen and the bathrooms can be gross, if they’re even open. Plus, active youngsters eat a lot of snacks and drink a lot of water and other weird beverages.
With something that’s about the same length as a typical SUV, you get a refrigerator and toilet along with a private place to change into and out of any uniforms you might need. You also have a decent amount of storage, and you can even prepare lunches and snacks in the kitchen.
There is a two-burner propane cooktop but, oddly enough, no microwave or oven of any sort. That part’s pretty weird. I think Americans are so used to microwaves this might come as a shock to anyone under 25 who finds a microwave as important as a smartphone. Or thumbs.
Another interesting thing about this is the flexible dining/lounge/seating area can be configured to provide two forward-facing seats complete with three-point seat belts or even child seat anchor points.
I love flexible storage and seating things, and the new lounge area in the Solis Pocket 36B is pretty flexible. You can configure it with a day bed in the front or as a U-shaped dinette or even with forward-facing seating with three-point seat belts.
This is important as some states do not permit travelers under a certain age or weight threshold to ride in any position other than forward-facing. In fact, I lost at least one motorhome sale when I was at the RV dealership because the prospects had younger children that wouldn’t be permitted to ride in the back seats of the motorhome as they were side-facing.
Another interesting thing about a lot of motorized RVs is that they don’t have any provision whatsoever for child safety seats. So the fact that this does makes this van not only good for camping but also for daily driving.
Who hasn’t been traveling with youngsters, whom you just asked if they had to go to the bathroom five stinking miles ago, who now announce that a bathroom break is absolutely needed immediately!?
I can hear the conversation now.
“Dad, I have to go to the potty noooooooow!”
“I just asked you at the gas station!”
“I didn’t have to go then and the bathroom was gross but I really have to go noooooooow!!”
The good thing about this is that it has a full bathroom and, surprisingly for an RV of this size, it occupies most of the width of the rear of the rig and is actually rather spacious.
The toilet in the Winnebago Solis Pocket is actually a portable cartridge toilet which might make some of you gasp (I could hear it from here!), but it makes a tremendous amount of sense.
I reviewed a portable toilet that we use camping now and then (not when we have our travel trailer, of course). They’re easy enough to use and dump, and Europeans have this type of thing in their RVs. It’s actually almost more convenient than a big holding tank, quite frankly. I wrote almost.
The nice thing is, being portable, you can remove it from the space in the back to make the entire bathroom larger, which means you can take a shower in here and actually turn around. Not something you’d expect in a rig of this size, either.
One odd thing, to me, is that the cabinets back here are made of wood. In the shower. And, yeah, you can draw the shower curtain but wouldn’t this be much smarter if it were made of some sort of fancy composite?
Winnebago has provided some cabinets and cubbies for towels and that sort of thing, but in these wooden cabinets. I’m sure they can withstand some splashing, but still.
More flexible uses
That back shower is behind the two cargo doors at the rear of the van so you can access the shower from inside the rig or out. The nice thing about that is that you can use the shower head and onboard water supply to wash off things outside the van, like stinky dogs or stinky yourself.
Heck, if you’re really going to Grizzly Adams camp (you know, out in the middle of the woods), you could just shower outside and scare the bear with your own derrière. You could also take out the toilet and go potty where they are refuted to do the same thing, except you’ve got this fancy portable toilet.
If you do pull the toilet out of the back and still want privacy, you could also get a SylvanSport Privy Bivy, which we reviewed, and now you have a toilet in a whole separate room.
As mentioned, there is no microwave in this but there is a small bar-sized fridge and a two-burner propane cooktop.
Unlike in many Class B RVs, the propane in this unit comes from a single 20-pound bottle at the back of the rig. This is really handy to swap out—you could use those propane swap places or just have the bottle refilled easily enough.
There is no mention of any tank monitoring in this, but that’s okay. I would go and get one of these Lippert RV propane tank monitors—we really like ours.
Boondocking and travel access in the Winnebago Solis Pocket 36B
Winnebago integrated an optional system into the Solis that includes a five-in-one power management system that combines the inverter, shore power converter, battery monitor, solar charge controller and the rest of the power management.
Having all these functions in one system means a much more integrated solution, but also one that is smaller. This also provides up to 40 percent faster battery charging, including from the vehicle alternator.
So there are two solar panels up on the roof with this package, but you could also fire up the engine to recharge the battery in this rig. It sort of is like if you had a CarGenerator installed as well as the solar panels.
The solar is only 190 watts but there isn’t a tremendous amount of roof space up there.
The optional battery in this system is a 5 kWh lithium system which tucks in nicely below the dinette seats.
An app or control panel in the rig can be used to monitor and control the whole system, so it’s also convenient.
For the most part, this is a great daily driver that fits into a normal parking space and is really easy to drive around. Ram’s ProMaster vans and the company’s V6 engine make for a rather pleasant driving experience.
A lot of RVs really spend a lot of time just sitting in storage or in the driveway, so having something that you can utilize more frequently is a big plus.
Do know that there is really only sleeping for two people in here, although if you did have children, there are tents that might make their adventure more exciting.
I’m weird and I know it
If you look at a Tesla or other electric vehicle, they all have climate control systems that fit under the hood and operate with the on-board vehicle battery. They’re very, very efficient.
I know the ProMaster has an engine-driven A/C system, but I wonder if any RV companies have looked into putting in something similar to what’s in an electric car under the hood so that there doesn’t have to be that big tumor on the roof in the form of an air conditioner?
Also, with this much battery performance as an option, I would much prefer to see a single portable induction cooktop rather than the propane model, just because you could take it outside or just stow it while you’re prepping your meals so you have more counter space.
I realize I don’t think like normal people and I’ve switched to induction cooking at home because it’s so much better in so many ways.
Overall, I think this could be a rig that appeals to a lot of people for a lot of reasons and I like the really flexible seating/sleeping situation. A neat new floor plan in Winnebago’s Class B RV line.
More from Tony
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Tony comes to RVtravel.com having worked at an RV dealership and been a lifelong RV enthusiast. He also has written the syndicated Curbside column about cars. He also works closely with a number of RV manufacturers to get an inside look at how things are done and is a brand ambassador for Rockwood Mini Lite along with his wife, Peggy.
You can also check out his RV podcast with his wife, Peggy.
These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. They are based on information from a single unit and may not reflect your actual experience. Shop your RV and dealership carefully before making a buying decision. We receive no money or other financial benefits from these reviews. They are intended only as a brief overview of the vehicle, not a comprehensive critique, which would require a thorough inspection and/or test drive.
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