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RV Review: Winnebago Micro Minnie 2018DS FLX – Boondocker’s dream?

The RV industry is seeing that boondocking and off-grid camping are really growth areas for all of us as campgrounds become more and more full. I’ve talked about Keystone’s Solar Flex package endlessly but now I want to look at Winnebago’s 2022 Micro Minnie FLX line, specifically the 2108DS.

FLX is Flex

Winnebago has taken a solid-selling model and “plussed” it, as Walt Disney used to say. The new FLX series incorporates a number of features that are significant game changers when it comes to off-grid usability. 

The company’s goal is to be able to extend the time someone spends off grid to five days. So how did they do? Simply put – they almost nailed it. 

Advanced features in the Micro Minnie FLX

While many smaller travel trailers seem to source the most low-end features, that’s not true here. In fact, Winnebago is using a number of components from Truma that are really exciting. 

There’s the Truma Vario heating system, which is quite efficient. Also the Truma AquaGo hot water system that is, effectively, a tankless water heating system. You could easily blow through your entire tank of water and have it all be hot. That would be silly. But doable. 

The FLX also features 380 watts of solar on the roof via two 190-watt solar panels feeding 320 watts of lithium batteries. There’s a 3,000-watt Xantrex inverter so, essentially, you can run anything. 

Including the air conditioner. 

AC on batteries

One of the goals of so, so many RVers is to be able to run their rattle trap Coleman Mach air conditioners on batteries – but they’re approaching the problem from the wrong side. Rather than trying to keep adding resources to feed these antiquated contraptions so many of us have on the roof, a smarter solution would be to simply employ an AC system that’s actually efficient and modern. 

Enter the German-engineered Truma Aventa air conditioner. The Aventa is an extremely quiet and very efficient air conditioner. Based on specs on the Truma site, that unit consumes just 4.2 amps in cooling mode. That is literally less than one-third the power consumption of a Coleman Mach 13,500 BTU air conditioner. 

This isn’t such a revolutionary concept, though. Anyone who has installed a modern AC unit, such as a mini split, in their homes know that there are ways to cool a space very efficiently. 

Besides being very quiet, like a modern home AC unit, the Aventa is also low-profile. 

You operate the AC and heating system from a single control panel, which also operates the water heating system. 

Other stuff in the Micro Minnie FLX

The rest of the Micro Minnie FLX is pretty straightforward – but well thought through. There’s a three-burner propane cook top and a convection microwave. There is no oven, per se, but you can run the microwave off the batteries. The fridge is a 12-volt DC model. 

While this is a relatively compact trailer at just 22’ 7” long and seven feet wide, Winnebago gets the most out of the interior by incorporating a single slide room and a Murphy bed system. 

That slide room can be outfitted with a dinette or a jackknife sofa with a portable table. 

This means you get a surprisingly large bathroom that covers the entire back of the trailer and makes for a very usable space. As Matt Foxcroft of Matt’s RV Reviews would say, this has a prime pooping position. 

It’s ain’t easy (or inexpensive) being green

One thing to know: This package isn’t cheap. Winnebago estimates that the package alone will add about $14,000 to the MSRP. 

I can already anticipate the comments: “I can throw a couple of lithium batteries on my RV for $1500.” Yes, you can. 

But you don’t get that Truma AC unit, nor do you get the 3,000-watt Xantrex inverter, nor the total integration of all those systems. And, one more big thing. It’s all installed, working, and covered under Winnebago’s warranty. 

Also, talking to a few RV companies about future product, this price is about in line with other systems, many of which are far less capable. 

One catch in the Micro Minnie FLX

While Winnebago says that their goal was five days off the grid before having to come in, I will take umbrage with that in one area – the fresh water tank. My own trailer carries 42 gallons of fresh water and three days is all we can do. That’s simply because the gray tank is full after six Navy showers. That’s one shower per traveler per day, and I travel with my wife.

This does have a Showermiser system whereby the water that you’re using while waiting for hot water to reach the shower is actually diverted back into the fresh water tank. That’s a brilliant feature that Rockwood and Flagstaff have been using for years. But I don’t know if that would compensate for two more days of showering. 

What would do this is to plumb the system so you flush the toilet with gray water. This would take some additional plumbing and a second water pump. I do intend to do this on a cargo trailer I’m building. I’ll let you all know how effectively, or not, this works. 

In summary

Winnebago is the first company I’ve seen to make a truly off-grid trailer that lives up to the promise. Why do I write that? I’m friends with Robert Morales (Traveling Robert), who has one of these and has been testing it for some time. He has been very happy with it and he spends a great deal of time on the road – including lots of boondocking. 

I think Winnebago’s approach to the problems boondockers have, by employing more energy-efficient components, means it can get by with less expensive battery systems and still deliver the experience we off-grid campers are looking for. 

Yesterday I looked at Winnebago’s new Hike 100. I wrote that I think you’re doing yourself a disservice by not at least considering it if you’re looking for a small adventure-focused trailer. I think they’ve done the same thing with this new Minnie FLX series. 

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.

Got an RV we need to look at? Contact us today and let us know in the form below – thank you!

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REVIEW OVERVIEW

Truma climate systems
Solar/battery system
Tank sizes

SUMMARY

The popular Winnebago Micro Minnie now has a new package called FLX that is designed to keep you off grid for five days but does so by employing modern, highly efficient German-engineered components that are absolute game changing pieces

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Beachcamper
1 month ago

What about the suspension and frame? Capable of surviving some of those “unimproved roads” and forest service roads to best boondocking spots? One thing is to have a self sufficient unit but to only be on pavement is fruitless if it will fall apart to get there.

Justin
1 month ago

Tony,

I called 2 dealers about FLX before reading your article b/c I was already looking at the Micro Minnies.  Neither dealer knew what about these 😀 finally got 2 answers back: $14k add-on – so same $ you heard – but that dealer had no ETA, and another said $9k add-on and “we could install Li batts for cheaper”. Basically, dealers haven’t trained yet & can’t take orders.

RE: 12V _compressor_ fridge – so we can finally get a factory built RV fridge that won’t eat through batteries, but what nobody says is a compressor means no propane backup for the fridge.

RE: Truma Varioheat is variable BTU furnace. RVers finally get out of the stone age (Atwood) full-blast-or-nothing heaters that cause hot/cold spots, and we save on propane. I wish Winnie went with Truma Combi though b/c that can heat with shoreline power too.

FLX is $$$ but folks don’t realize it’s hard to get efficient + compact appliances in.

Jp

Keith
1 month ago

We’re starting to look at trailers to buy next year and had zeroed our favorites down to Rockwood Mini Lite 2509S and Micro Minnie 2306bhs, then I saw this FLX package and was stoked: better battery, 2nd panel warrantied, and inverter, but 14K is a huge chunk, especially with the same lackluster tank capacities. I suppose that’s due to 7’ width? Still intrigued by this package, but was hoping for a bit more affordability.

Justin
1 month ago
Reply to  Keith

Winnie probably decided to intro FLX on Micro Minnie 1st to see how it goes, and then offer this on larger models. That’s my guess and it would solve the tank size limit.

One dealer told me the factory will only be making 1,000 FLX units for this 1st run, so it’s also not a high volume option where Winnebago can spread out their profit.

I’m also stoked about this. Not really for the battery + panels but for the appliances. Truma is near impossible to get optioned onto RVs or DIY in aftermarket.

Keith
1 month ago
Reply to  Tony Barthel

Good to know. Now just to test my patience with the popular brand

George Sears
1 month ago

I used to make comments on this site. Chuck seemed to discourage my comments, and finally he just removed one. I gave up on the site. In the spirit of ‘bygones’ and for old time sake:

No, the price is not fair. I can get 300 AH of LFP from Battery Hookup for $700. If I buy 4 of their modules, I can just go 48v. Inverters? Wow, who knows. Pick a price, but hopefully $500 would get you a decent unit at 48v, and it would be much more reasonable to use that voltage. Moving on… Why don’t these bastards give us 12v fridges? Realistically, the standard 120v fridge is now quite efficient. Should you go to Home Depot and buy a fridge? Can you fit it? Pay a premium and get a 12v fridge. No big deal. Now you have the A/C. I don’t know if the Truma can heat. You can get heat pumps for $1200. Again, all over Home Depot and Amazon, YT. People don’t want to do homework. I’ve been doing LFP for 6 years. I make ebike packs. I guess I’d buy/outfit a 16 foot utility trailer with my $14k. Thanks.

George Sears
1 month ago
Reply to  Tony Barthel

Thanks. I think the YouTube ‘send-people-free-stuff’ model is broken. There’s a lot of room for discussion. There is certainly room for analysis of pricing, margins, marketing schemes. I’ll try to keep an eye out for your articles.

Dave
1 month ago

Tony, I think you missed a zero on the lithium battery capacity or meant to use the term “amps”. 320 watts equates to just 26 amp hours of 12 volt power.

Dan
1 month ago

A buncha thumbs up to using the 12 volt refrigerator, Truma A/C,Showermiser, and demand water heater. Too bad all the manufacturers dont offer more systems like that instead doing it the same way they have always done it. And another big thumbs up to you, Tony, for promoting gray water flushing.

Don
1 month ago

Another review with no price! Come ON, Tony. What is the point??