If you’ve been watching some DIYers, you’ll see all kinds of changes being made to travel trailers. More and more you’re seeing folks upgrading converters, batteries and solar systems to the point where many RVs of all sorts, and travel trailers in particular, can spend an almost unlimited time without any shore power connection at all, i.e., boondocking.
In fact, there are many folks who have made it so the only reason to return to some sort of infrastructure is to dump holding tanks and replenish fresh water tanks. The RV industry isn’t ignoring this trend. Instead, you’re going to see a lot of travel trailers and fifth wheels with really significant power options.
A short time ago we looked at the Palomino Revolve EV1, an all-electric travel trailer right down to the water heater and space heater.
Our next stop on this journey is the new Venture RV Sonic X, a new variant on the Venture Sonic line of trailers that sports two floor plans and one heck of a battery/solar system. The first of these that I have seen is the Venture RV Sonic X SN220VRBX.
Venture RV Sonic
The Venture RV Sonic line is a series of smaller trailers that sport a single slide room. Inside there’s a Murphy bed and a pretty decent two-place couch beneath that. The Murphy bed in this model has a mattress that folds in two places, and it’s a firm mattress. The bed platform sits atop the couch when it’s down and also has a little flip-out edge to extend the platform to support the mattress.
Owning a Rockwood Mini Lite myself with a Murphy bed, I don’t like this mechanism. I really dislike folding mattresses, especially one that folds in two places. It’s only a 60” X 75” mattress, to boot. Of course, the advantage of a folding mattress is that you maintain your pass-through storage. But the disadvantage is – it’s a folding mattress.
Otherwise, this is a nice compromise between exterior size and interior proportions. There’s a 88” X 48” U-shaped dinette that also makes into an uncomfortable bed. But there is space underneath the dinette for totes, which is pretty slick.
Power to the people
What makes the Venture RV Sonic X SN220VRBX different than the normal Venture RV Sonic travel trailer is the power it comes with.
Up on the roof, Venture has installed four 100-watt solar panels. These panels recharge a 250 amp-hour LiFePO4 battery that, in turn, feeds a 2,000-watt inverter.
The air conditioner in this unit is specifically designed to work on less power and is rated at 11,500 BTU. But, more importantly, the batteries aboard the unit will operate that air conditioner up to a claimed five hours.
The propane aboard makes sense
At first when I saw the Venture RV Sonic X I was surprised by the fact that there was propane aboard and that Sonic spec’d a gas-electric absorption-style refrigerator. But then, the more I thought about it, the more this makes sense.
If the things that require electricity such as lighting and air conditioning have to compete with fewer other items that draw power, in theory those electric-only devices will be able to run longer on a given amount of power.
While the Palomino mentioned above is all-electric, this makes far more sense. Changing interior temperature is far easier with liquid fuels such as propane than it is with electricity. While the AC unit has to be electric, you can use the propane for the fridge and heater and be better off.
Boondocking in the Venture RV Sonic X
Venture has almost completely eliminated the need to come in and connect to the grid for power (depending on the sun and that sort of thing). In addition, they’ve also looked at the water situation, and have two 45-gallon fresh water tanks aboard.
Now, something doesn’t make sense to me as they claim two 45-gallon tanks but also claim 78 gallons of fresh water. When I was a kid we didn’t do that fancy new math so 2 X 45 equals 90 where I come from. They did not respond to the question in time for me to get it in this article.
There are a number of interesting features not related to the solar package on the Venture RV Sonic X, including metal nerf bars (like running boards) that encircle the lower portion of the trailer. This will help protect against damage by brush and such.
The rear bumper is comprised of three of these bars and seems far more sturdy than what you’d typically expect in the rear bumper of a travel trailer. Above that is a very solid drop-down cargo rack mechanism capable of holding 200 pounds. It could easily hold a generator, although what would you really need that for? But you could put just general camping stuff here.
The suspension on this is raised up so there’s more ground clearance than on many travel trailers. In the front and back are really bright LED light bars – as you might expect in an off-road vehicle.
I also like that the front is a smooth cap with no windshield.
Interesting garage area in the Venture RV Sonic X
There’s an interesting garage area that has a rack system for things like cords or hoses or whatnot. It’s in a spot you might otherwise expect an outdoor kitchen. Instead, it’s some storage space and all your fancy electrical bits.
I like that Sonic includes the LevelMatePRO®, which is a leveling tool that connects to your smartphone. This is something you can get in the aftermarket, but it’s included in this trailer.
The Venture RV Sonic X has a good amount of interior storage, including a pantry opposite the galley that’s pretty deep. Additionally, there’s a large wardrobe in the bathroom where you can hang some clothes. Interestingly, there’s a gun safe in there, as well. This is only the second travel trailer I’ve seen where you can actually lock-up rifles or shotguns.
The only other trailer I’ve seen with a gun safe is the Outdoors RV Back Country 20BD.
Oddly enough, the outside shower, water fill and black tank flush fitting are on the back wall of the Venture RV Sonic X. That would make more sense if there weren’t a cargo rack back there. It is an odd placement, all things considered.
Also rather odd is a compartment just above the entry door with a plug, but Sonic chose to put some of the solar controls in the bathroom. Seems an odd placement to me.
As someone who has added solar and upgraded battery systems to my own travel trailer, I can attest to how useful I think these things are. I like the packaging Venture RV used on this rig. I think that the solar plus battery isn’t so ridiculously extreme that it’ll price this out of the market.
All of those power features aren’t cheap
But you will see that, compared to a regular Venture Sonic travel trailer of the same floor plan, there is a decided increase in price. Solar, advanced batteries, inverters and all of those features aren’t cheap. Furthermore, this model has been fitted with off-road capable suspension and tires, and those brush guards, all of which I really like.
It remains to be seen how many of you place a similar value on these kinds of features. And I hope Venture RV gets enough interest to continue to produce something like this that makes financial sense for the company, as I like this direction. Is it for everybody? Of course not. But this would be the way I would want to outfit my next trailer, as I live where we can do a lot of boondocking.
Tony comes to RVTravel having worked at an RV dealership and been a life long RV enthusiast. He also has written the syndicated Curbside column about cars. You can find his writing here and at StressLessCamping where he also has a podcast about the RV life with his wife.
These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. 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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