We recently looked at the Coachmen Nova 20RB, a Class B RV whose layout I really liked. But, as with so many RVs, Coachmen isn’t the only one with this nifty floor plan. Winnebago, arguably one of the leaders in this space, also offers a similar floor plan in the Travato 59KL. But it has put a spin on the design for 2022 that absolutely makes it worth considering for some.
The Winnebago Travato® 59KL is a Class B motorhome that features a twin bed arrangement and also a bathroom across the back of the coach. In addition, there’s a very, very usable kitchen/dining/working area. In fact, this floor plan is so nifty, it’s the most popular in the Travato line. I’d like to thank Warren G. for pointing out the Travato after reading the Coachmen article.
Similarities between Coachmen Nova and Winnebago Travato
When you look at two floor plans in the RV space, oftentimes it seems that you have two very similar items. The beds and counters and so many factors look the same, you’d almost think that you have apples and apples. But hold on to them there apples – there are some absolutely noteworthy differences.
For example, one of my biggest complaints about the Coachmen version of this floor plan was the fact that the driver’s seat was almost completely unable to recline. This one is different in that Winnebago has two bed lengths. That’s just enough to make it possible to achieve a much more comfortable driving position for some.
But there’s more behind the driver’s seat. There’s a flip-up table that can be used as a counter extension for whoever is the cook of the day. It can also be used as a desk/table for whoever is in the driver’s seat when it’s swiveled around to face the main interior of the coach. That flip-up extension is also pretty clever in how it’s held magnetically in place.
The passenger seat, too, gets a nice table in the form of a Lagun table that can be maneuvered to essentially form a full-width table with the counter extension on the road side. But that Lagun table can also be positioned to be usable outside. It’s a slick setup.
Pedestal added between passenger-side doors
For 2022, Winnebago added a short “pedestal” between the two passenger-side doors. It not only holds the aforementioned Lagun table, but also has a grab handle and even a pop-up power station. It’s a small touch but very much appreciated – and is an example of the company’s attention to detail.
Speaking of attention to detail, the two bed sizes are pretty darned clever because, typically in a traveling partnership, one traveler is shorter than the other. The bed on the road side measures 74” long and the one on the camp side is 80” long. Further, there’s no cabinet at the foot of the camp-side bed. While you do lose some drawer space compared to the Coachmen, this also makes it more comfortable for some sleepers. For example, I like having my feet dangling off the edge of the bed.
Yes. I’m weird.
There’s also a hidden little cubby above the cab in the Winnebago. While the overhead cabinets are essentially similar in size to the ones in the Coachmen, I much prefer the positive latch in the ones here. Plus, Winnebago changed the handle and latch mechanism for 2022 to make it more user-friendly. They succeeded.
Good airflow in the Travato
If this rig is for you, one of the options is to have Winnebago fit in the Lexan dual-pane flip-up windows that incorporate both a screen and night shade in the frame. Do this. Don’t even hesitate.
These windows offer terrific airflow – which is made even more effective through the included high-performance ceiling vent fan.
But on the subject of attention to detail, there is a larger window along the lower portion of each of the beds. But then there’s a smaller square window near where the sleeper’s head would likely be. You can flip up the smaller windows on each side and slide down the bug screen and have a good amount of air flow right where you might enjoy it most. Kick on that vent fan and now you have serious air moving across your head.
In a lot of places or times of year, the fan and a couple of open windows is all you need. This is what boondocking is all about, to me. Finding a great out-of-the way place where the skies are dark, the people are few and the weather suits my clothes.
Comfortable beds in the Travato
People tend to complain about the sleep surfaces in RVs for very good reason. But this new van features a slatted bed surface that acts sort of as a boxspring. The mattresses have also been changed to being made of multiple types of foam, so they’re much more comfortable.
Looking at this rig, you notice that there are two twin beds. But you can also pull out the slats under the road-side bed, which then makes for a platform between the beds. If you’d rather have one big bed, you can. There are cushions to stuff between the beds and now you’ve got one big bed instead of two twins.
The TV is on a swivel mount such that you can watch it from the twin beds, watch it from the front seats (when they’re swiveled to face the main living space) or even swing it out so you can watch it from outside.
I also like that the audio for this camper comes courtesy of a JBL Bluetooth sound bar.
In the model designation of the Travato 59KL, the “L” is is for “lithium” and that lithium makes a big difference in the experience of some users. But it’s not just that there is a substantial power reserve – it’s how Winnebago integrated this. The system is provided by Volta.
On the “L” model there is a three-module lithium battery pack, 3,600-watt inverter and a secondary alternator on the Pentastar 3.6 liter gasoline V6 that motivates this rig. In addition, there is 215 watts of solar on the roof.
The entire system is designed so that it will run the air conditioner for a while off the grid. If you deplete the batteries to a specified point, the system can start the van’s engine in “high idle” mode. That will allow the second alternator to charge the batteries.
One engine to maintain
I like this arrangement because you only have one engine to maintain (instead of having a second generator) and, from an environmental standpoint, the V6 offers more emissions controls than a generator so you won’t be stinking up your campsite as much.
It’s not a cheap solution, adding about $30,000 to the bottom line. I can imagine there are boondockers for whom this is a no brainer, and it’s a well-integrated system. Plus the fact that it just works out of the gate and is covered by Winnebago’s warranty – and you have something that will definitely be a good answer for some campers.
And, if it’s not for you, you can get the rig without it. If you go that route, you get an Onan 2800i generator in place of the lithium batteries and save money, too.
The Travato has a puny fresh water tank
There is only an 18-gallon fresh water tank, which is pretty puny. But there is a water conservation system that allows you to redirect the water back into the tank while you’re waiting for the water to get hot at the faucet. Still, I can easily blow through 18 gallons, even being efficient, in two days at the most.
I’d say this tiny tank is probably the biggest disadvantage of this floor plan, to be honest, from a boondocking standpoint.
As part of the upgrades for 2022, Winnebago has consolidated all the water input into a control and input panel that’s inside the back door of the van. This puts everything in one place in a module that you might expect to see in a fifth wheel. It also means fewer cuts in the exterior of the Travato.
While you’re back here admiring the water station, notice, too, that Winnebago has updated the cabinet that’s back here They changed the storage to include a large drawer as well as configurable shelving in the cabinet. There’s even a wee bit of storage under the toilet here.
As RVers, we each have a configuration that really appeals to us. Some love Class A diesel pushers, some want teardrop trailers, and there is a huge swath of folks who like Class B RVs, based on the interest and growth level of this segment.
That makes sense. Class Bs are uniquely drivable and can be parked wherever a standard car can park, for the most part. The exterior shell being made by a vehicle manufacturer means that the roof and walls are steel, not some weird laminate and sketchy rubber. Carmakers also go to great lengths to integrate safety and driver aids into these vehicles, with Ram/Stellantis having upgraded those systems in the 2022 models.
In fact, one of the nifty things about this is that the rearview mirror is really a screen to look out the back camera. But it looks like a mirror, so it’s a familiar interface and something we’d naturally turn to.
I’m almost tempted to switch my allegiance
This floor plan and the way Winnebago integrated a lot of little details are almost enough to get me to switch my allegiance from travel trailers to Class B vans. I like this rig quite a bit. The one big disadvantage, to the way I camp, would be the small holding tanks. That’s one of the key disadvantages of Class B RVs in general.
Compared to the Coachmen that we looked at the other day, I would absolutely give Winnebago the nod here. The little upgrades they made throughout this coach really will make the difference in usability over the long haul. It’s easy to see why this is their top-selling Class B model. That’s saying a lot – because Winnebago is known for its Class B RVs.
Thank you, RVtravel.com readers!
Back to the fact that Warren G. pointed this Class B out. I don’t think I tell you RV Travel readers enough how much I appreciate your attention and taking the time to read these reviews and share them on your various social media outlets. Thank you, one and all.
I would love to read your comments and suggestions over on our new forums, where you can weigh in and start or join a discussion about all things RV. Here’s a link to my RV Reviews Forum.
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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