We bought our Leisure Travel Van (also known as an LTV) a few years ago and called him “Wally” and we recently traded him in (sob, sob) for a much larger Class A motorhome. We miss Wally dearly so I thought I should dedicate a post to him and highlight the pros and cons about owning a Class B.
And seeing that this is 10 October 2010, i.e., 10/10/10, I felt it was appropriate to be writing up a review/rating. Kind of like “Trailer Life” does for rating their RV Parks and campgrounds. Yes, in our hearts and minds Wally rated a 10/10/10 but like everything in life you use different items for different activities. There is never a perfect motorhome as it all depends on your lifestyle and your activities at the time.
Our “Wally” was a 22′ Class B built on a German Daimler Chrysler Sprinter 2500. It was a 2006 chassis and converted by Leisure Travel Van in Manitoba in 2007 therefore it was referred to as a 2006/2007 year LTV.
Pros or “What We Love About Wally”
– Economical (relative to other motorhomes/trailers/campers). We got about 22 MPG. Yay!
– A real comfy bed.It had a sofa that folded down electronically into a comfy 68″x75″ bed (60″x80″ is a queen). We purchased a Travasak (sleeping-bag-like for a queen bed) which worked out perfectly. I would lay it out flat on the bed and roll it from toe to head for storage. I made a cover for it out of a shower curtain on the outside and a canvas lining on the inside. I could put the cover around the roll I made and velco it together and store it just under the front of the sofa (behind where our legs are when sitting on the sofa). It was easy to store there and the cover kept the bedding from getting dirty or wet. If it was in our way we while sitting on the sofa we could place it on top of the back of the sofa. But if we forgot it was there and the back doors were opened it could potentially fall onto the ground, hence the shower curtain material to protect the bedding from mud, dirt, puddles, etc. Note that the Travasak comes in quite handy now in our Class A for use on the pull out couch for when we have house guests.
– We could park Wally just about anywhere which made it easy for touring, shopping, camping, etc. This meant we could stop along the way when traveling from one place to another and stop and sight see. And there was never a campsite we could not fit into.
– We could store it in our garage (10′ garage doors) as Wally was just under 10′ tall. This allowed for ease of maintenance, ease of loading/unloading, and also allowed for quick departures, we could decide at the last minute to get up and go and we often did that.
– It had all the comforts of home with a bathroom, bed, TV/DVD/Stereo, on board generator, A/C, two burner stove, fridge/freezer, microwave, storage space. I mean what more do you need besides bed, bath, food, and entertainment?
– We could boondock/drycamp for about 3-5 days at a time without the need for dumping and re-filling. Of course, we were very careful with our resources and used water sparingly.
– It had a nice cozy feel like you were camping yet you were all tucked away safe and secure inside. Who cares about that rain or wind as we are sleeping on a nice comfy bed with a nice selection of TV, movies, music, games, etc.
– Quick to load. I could have our clothes and food with fresh bedding and towels loaded up in no time at all. We could sit at dinner one night at home and say let’s head to Canada or the coast tomorrow morning and in a few hours we were ready to go and off we went.
– The fridge and freezer were small but amazingly I could pack enough food in there (not too tight to ensure air circulation) to feed us great meals for a week. I would buy lots of meat and fish and re-package it into individual servings and pack the freezer just right.
– The inside storage for kitchen, pantry, clothes, bath products, books, movies, games, cameras, and such was perfect. I didn’t complain about the inside space but this is coming from a woman who used to be given 1 saddlebag for a few weeks of traveling on a motorcycle or who would travel around Europe with a small rollerboard, so compared to that, the inside of a Class B is perfect for me.
Cons or “What We Would Like to Have Had Different”
– No screen on the entry/side door. For those hot days when dry camping/boondocking and not using the a/c we like to keep the door open. You learn quickly that if you are in a mosquito/black fly infested area, you WILL be sorry. Add a screen door.
– Wet bath. While we don’t mind taking a shower in the wet bath, after all it does work perfectly well, it is the drying of that area that bothers us. It can take 12-24 hours, depending on the climate you are in, for the shower curtain and floor to dry whereby making use of the other facilities (toilet and sink) in the wet bath awkward and uncomfortable to use.
– No toad but we did/can haul our bicycles on the back. I believe the specs say the towing capacity is 5,000 lbs so you could tow something but we never did since we enjoyed the smallness of the vehicle and towing something would take away from that.
– The sofa makes into a bed which is great and very comfortable (see Pros above), but this means your sitting area becomes your bed and you need to make up your bed every night. Of course, you DON”T have to make up your bed as you can keep it in the bed configuration but then your sitting/dining area is limited. You can use the passenger/drivers seat to sit in as they do swivel and face the rear but it is difficult and awkward to swivel them. Some Class Bs with slides require the bed to be unmade to shut the slide and drive away. With our Class B that wasn’t the case so we could have keep the bed made up but we liked to have it as a living area during the day or evening so we assembled it every night and disassembled it every day even on those days when we were spending the majority of the time outside.
– The only real storage for “outside gear” is under the sofa/bed. The back doors open up so you can access the “under the sofa/bed storage”. This was the only area to store firewood, BBQ’s, chairs, hoses, etc. Which meant if anything was wet from being outside and we packed up then the wet stuff is under your couch/bed. To access this storage you had to open the back doors whereby allowing tons of insects to enter and also reduced privacy. For example, if the other person was showering or changing clothes then the back doors open provided zero privacy. You might as well run around outside naked. Believe me, it happened a few times (the back doors being opened not the running around outside naked, at least I don’t remember that happening). There was also a spare tire storage area under the sofa, which was referred to as the basement, and so we choose the option to put the spare tire on the back which allowed us to use this area for additional tool storage.
– Nowhere to store bedding.
– Expensive to purchase. Class Bs, while small, still cost more than you would think yet the maintenance can be less than a Class A/C, of course depending on what the problem is. New tires, tune-ups, towing, etc. can be less expensive only because it is smaller and it takes less of everything.
But, all in all, we still loved our little Wally. It was great memories, it was freedom, it was pick up and go, whenever, wherever, it was quick to load, could stop anywhere and so much fun. As long as you are organized and keep the place tidy then it was perfect.
But for our next Class B (I am hoping there will be one in our future) I want the following changes:
1) Screen door
2) Dry bath
3) Separate living area from bed area so bed can always be made up
4) Outside storage (not shared indoors so privacy can be had and outdoors items can be stored separate from our living quarters). And, enough room in the outside storage to store two folding chairs (not umbrella chairs) and two foldable bikes.
Now that would be a perfect Class B!
We love Leisure Travel Van, the company, and their products and I could definitely see us getting another of their Class Bs in the future, but maybe a 25′ or so.
We really, really miss Wally but now we are in our Class A and loving that. Like we said, no motorhome is perfect, each type just allows for different features and different lifestyles. Our goal is to try them all!