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Old 09-26-2017, 04:36 PM   #1
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Default Need New "Backpack!"

Hi All,
Just transitioned from long-time lurker to registered newbie. Better half and I were backpackers and the further "out" we could get, the better. But with age comes the desire for more creature comforts. And also, alas, poor health. As we were researching the myriad B models available, cancer struck and he was gone within six months. The two pups we rescued just before are grown now and I am determined that the three of us will push on with the dream. I grew up with my mom, a single parent, taking my bro and me all over the U.S. and Canada in a succession of campers, starting with a big tent, to pop-up camper, travel trailer, then two class C's. We stayed everywhere from luxury full hook-ups at the beach to newly discovered lakes with no facilities and no other people at the end of the last forest road up in the far north. Of course that last spot was our favorite kind! So I'm very familiar with the RV lifestyle and from backpacking extensively, with packing light, stretching food and supplies, conserving energy, etc. But now that I'm older, okay, let's just say it, middle-aged, and on my own, I'm ready for a new "backpack" that has four wheels and a motor, a comfortable bed, lots more storage for food, water and gear, plenty of off-grid power, a small bathroom for those times in the middle of the night, during a storm, when you just don't want to go outside and under 20' in length for parking and maneuverability. Based on my own experience and all of the great information I've read over the last few years on this forum I've significantly narrowed my choices to just a few, one of which, the new Winnie Revel, I'll be going to see at Overland Expo East in Asheville, NC this Friday. Anyway, just wanted to introduce myself, say thanks for allowing me to lurk so long and learn so much and ask in advance for your patience for all the questions I'm sure will be forthcoming!
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Old 09-27-2017, 04:48 AM   #2
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Welcome aboard..that new backpack will feel really great! Sorry for your loss,but happy to see you continuing the dream. Oh, I just read about the Revel, that will definitely get you to the backwoods, it is really a neat machine. The folks on here are always willing, ready and able to answer questions and render assistance when needed; there are some highly talented folks ready to assist you. Ron
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Old 09-27-2017, 01:45 PM   #3
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Welcome! Can't wait to hear your opinion of the Revel once you've seen it in person. Looks great for getting out into the less-populated corners.
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Old 09-27-2017, 03:17 PM   #4
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My husband and I are also "graduates" of the backcountry camping world. For similarly-minded people, I have two pieces of advice:

(1) Make sure you get a rig that supports your boondocking expectations. Our technical knowledge was insufficient when we bought our rig 3 years ago, and we quickly found out that it would not support us off-grid the way it needed to. We ended up embarking on an extensive and very expensive lithium and solar upgrade. No regrets, but it would have been nice to know about this stuff in advance.

(2) In your lay-out considerations, ask yourself whether a tent-like feel is important to you. It was a dominant consideration for us - I didn't want to lose that feeling of connection to the environment. This necessitated that we have unobstructed access out the back doors, which very few Class B models offer. Three years later, I feel doubly strong about that. I walk into other peoples Class Bs, the more-enclosed models, and I feel like I've just stepped into my own coffin (and I'm not claustrophobic). I don't want to feel like I'm camping in a suffocating vehicle that is mimicking my eventual pine box. I want to experience the likes of this, which is so very similar to life on the other side of the tent zipper doors:

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Old 10-06-2017, 02:47 AM   #5
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Hello from Katy. What RV did you finally buy InterBlog? I'm just starting my research to finalize something in about 5 years.
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Old 10-06-2017, 03:49 AM   #6
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I have a different rig than Interblog but the same configuration - however, we chose it for different reasons. While I appreciate the view from the back door (more than I thought I would), we got the twin bed configuration because it offers an open aisle in from the back doors. We can fit a kayak in there, or a couple of bikes, or lumber... or drywall sheets (we're working on our stationary house).

However, it is less comfortable or safe for passengers than the rear sofa option and has less storage than the platform bed option.

Class Bs are an exercise in compromise.
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Old 10-06-2017, 12:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carolynhansen@mac.com View Post
Hello from Katy. What RV did you finally buy InterBlog? I'm just starting my research to finalize something in about 5 years.
My husband and I have a 2007 Airstream Interstate, which we bought in late 2014.

We chose an older model for a number of reasons, the foremost of which was price - we are not within the wealth class where we can simply go out and drop $100,000 - $150,000 on a camper van.

We also were complete newbies at that time, and did not know if we'd like owning a Class B, so it was better to start with a smaller investment. That way if we decided it wasn't for us, we'd lose less money on the resale.

Well, we ended up falling in love with it -- despite having almost every Class B problem in the book. As you are doing your research, you might want to read my blog, especially the Repairs section to get a feel for what's involved with one of these rigs.

In addition to Class B Forum, there's also Air Forms Sprinter and B-van Forum, which is centered around Interstate owners mostly, but many of the predicaments discussed on those threads are common to Class Bs generally. For example, Airstream isn't the only van builder who uses Thetford toilets, Dometic appliances, and Fiamma or Carefree awnings. Interstate owners are not the only B owners who struggle to find storage solutions.

For an end-member experience of Class B ownership, there are also individual sites such as Class B Warned which can give some perspective. That owner offers an extreme example of what can go wrong with a new van purchase, but its probably safe to say that every owner will have some problems at some point in their ownership.
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Old 10-09-2017, 04:14 PM   #8
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I appreciate your insights. I actually narrowed my choices to the new Winnie Revel on the Sprinter 4x4 and the Hymer Aktiv on the Promaster. The two have virtually identical layouts, except the Revel has a power-lift platform bed in the back and the Aktiv has a split "murphy bed-type" fold-up platform bed in back. Each allows for a lot of storage under the bed, which is a must for me, and allows for an aisle way for SUP's, kayaks, etc. and also that tent-like experience of the open, screened sleeping area. I really thought the Revel would be the one because the concept adventure vehicle it arose from was a 4x4, for getting way out there, it had solar, lithium ion and an extra alternator/underhood generator and it had belted, forward-facing passenger seating, though the comfort level looked to be for short trips, which was fine with me. Alas, though, when the Revel was finally unveiled a few weeks ago, the under hood gennie and lithium ion were not included or available options and the price was about $30K higher than they indicated with the concept vehicle. The Aktiv has all of that but is on the lower-riding Promaster chassis, which is good for loading, ingress and egress, center of gravity and lower overall height but maybe doesn't have the ground clearance to give one confidence on rougher roads. It is front wheel drive, though, which may be good in snow. But after reading a lot about people's "challenges," let's call them, with the RoadTrek/Hymer (same company now) ecotrek lithium ion/solar/underhood generator electrical system, I have a feeling Winnebago is just not ready to bring such a system to market until they have more of the bugs worked out. I could get Sportsmobile to combine the best of both of these RV's on a Sprinter or Ford Transit 4x4 but probably have neither the dough nor time for that. But if I did, sleeping in a SMB penthouse bed in the pop top with the window flaps open all the way around would be just like sleeping in a tent, only with a better view and no rocks poking through your therma-rest!
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Old 10-09-2017, 04:17 PM   #9
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Phoebe3,
How do you like the ride, handling, comfort, etc., of your Ford Transit chassis on the Crossfit?
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Old 10-09-2017, 06:38 PM   #10
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I am very happy with it. In fact, I remarked to DH the other day that it is the softest riding vehicle we own - which, now that I think about it, may say more about our other cars/trucks than it does about the Crossfit.

It's a dually so it is sprung for heavy loads and we find it very stable in winds. The engine (3.7L) and transmission are paired well and it has a Tow/Haul switch that takes care of up and down shifting in the mountains. We do NOT even try to take on steep climbs at more than 60mph so if you have a lead foot, your experience may be different than ours.

Coachmen will build whatever you want so you could also get the 3.5L twin turbo or the diesel version. Both of those have more torque, but may also have more problems. I'm not sure how it works if you want 4X4 as I understand that conversion is performed by Quigley - don't know if you have to buy a single rear wheel Transit for them to do the conversion.

Note that there is a recall underway for the flexible coupling between the transmission and driveshaft. At this time, it needs to be replaced sometime around 30,000 miles (under recall/warranty). We speculate that the sudden application of high torque may cause the issue as we haven't have any trouble with ours and we are inspecting it periodically (you can plainly see if a problem is developing).

There aren't very many Crossfits out yet so if you want more info, you can always do a search in these forums and see what comes up.

In the meantime, here is my initial review. I posted it in "Manufacturers and Models" instead of in "Class B Camper Van Reviews", which is where it probably belonged.

http://www.classbforum.com/forums/f7...sfit-6750.html

If you want more data on Transits, I suggest the ford Transit forum. Some people there have increased ground clearance slightly by installing larger tires.

Ford Transit General Discussion - Ford Transit USA Forum

Good luck with your decision - please let us know what you end up buying.
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