January 2022
January 2022 cover
Preview Issue
January 2022
QUALITY =
Stressless
Freedom!
Lance 1475
Trailer Life Readers' Choice Awards 2020 Gold Award Winner
Travel Trailer
Trailer Life Readers' Choice Awards 2020 Gold Award Winner
Small Camping Trailer
Trailer Life Readers' Choice Awards 2020 Gold Award Winner
Truck Camper
Trailer Life Readers' Choice Awards 2020 Gold Award Winner
Travel Trailer
Trailer Life Readers' Choice Awards 2020 Gold Award Winner
Small Camping Trailer
Trailer Life Readers' Choice Awards 2020 Gold Award Winner
Truck Camper
Trailer Life Readers' Choice Awards 2020 Gold Award Winner
Travel Trailer
Trailer Life Readers' Choice Awards 2020 Gold Award Winner
Small Camping Trailer
Trailer Life Readers' Choice Awards 2020 Gold Award Winner
Truck Camper
Ford truck driving in the desert with a Lance Camper
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Built to Last | Lightweight

Off-grid Capable

Heated Enclosed Holding Tanks

Ready to Roll Anytime & Anywhere

Lance Campers, social distancing since 1965. Visit lancecamper.com to locate your nearest Lance dealer and the RV of your dreams.
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January 2022
Volume 2, Number 1
Inside
men rolling out a tarp
Let There Be Shade — Again
If you own an RV it probably came equipped with a patio awning — an addition that undoubtedly makes lounging outside much more pleasant. Unfortunately, time, the sun and the wind will eventually combine to destroy the majority of awning fabrics. If yours has seen better days, here’s how to replace the fabric.
man on ladder working on RV
Drawing to a Close
Ever set up camp, take a walk to explore your new surroundings — and return to discover you’d forgotten to retract the patio awning, now thrashed by sudden wind? You probably longed for an electronic motion sensor upgrade. Well, do it. They aren’t expensive — or tough to install, as you’ll see.
man working on the roof of an RV
Roof Water Incursion?
Skylights have been part of the RV’s roof landscape for many years, offering additional height in showers and natural lighting. For the most part, these plastic domes have a good lifespan (unless, of course, you collide with a low structure or tree limb), but the seal that ensures a tight fit on the roof can deteriorate over time — and leak.
person installing an air conditioning unit in their RV
Cold Again
Today’s RVers have a multitude of choices when it comes to keeping food cold and fresh, from 120-volt AC-powered residential units to a growing number of 12-volt DC-powered refrigerator/freezers. Sometimes, though, the best choice for replacing a bad unit is to simply opt for absorption refrigeration.
Departments
3D black question marks scattered everywhere with two bright orange question marks
Change is in the air — from the possibilities of electrified (battery-powered) RVs to new inroads being made to RV service and technicians.
black RV with two boats on the side
NPS “fee free” days for 2022, a look at some far-reaching new RVs, award-winning products from Lippert, and a lot more.
man working on locks on RV door
Readers are stymied by freezing refrigerators, “perpetual” roof leaks and “fussy” tumblers in RV entry locks and baggage doors.
Northwestern British Columbia, Canada
Touring Northwestern British Columbia, Canada, will bring you back in time when the Aboriginal culture ruled this vast region.
January 2022 cover
Janelle Payne and her sons, Maxwell and Rexton, relax on the patio and within the former garage of the 2006 Jayco Octane toy hauler travel trailer extensively renovated by Janelle and her husband, Chad. Photo by Chad Payne.
Inside
two men standing in an RV
Top RVs for 2022
RV Enthusiast editors were invited by the staff of RVBusiness, the industry’s premier trade magazine, to participate in its annual selection of the “Top Debuts” for 2022 — including the selection of the magazine’s prestigious “RV of the Year.” Here are our selections.
Special Section!
clipart of coins with the words Design Cents located to the right of it
family sitting on top of an RV
The Ideal Project
Inspiration for RV renovation can come from just about anywhere — and in the case of DIY fanatics Janelle and Chad Payne, that just happened to be the next-door neighbor who gave them an old 1974 Ideal travel trailer. To say it was made new again would be an understatement.
RV living room
Toy Hauler Haven
We went back to the Paynes a second time — because we couldn’t believe what they accomplished with this 2006 Jayco Octane toy hauler travel trailer. The former garage (now a masculine, woodsy “den”) and galley are amazing — but the bathroom pushes this well into the “Wow!” category.
RV living room
Family Time
For Kelsey and Sebastian Paz, the decision to remodel their damaged 2017 Jayco Eagle fifth wheel before touring the country with their two children was an easy one. Whether they intended to go as far as they did with their now “boho chic” RV is anyone’s guess — but there’s no arguing with the results.
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BILL GEHR
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Correspondence is invited from subscribers and readers of RV Enthusiast. Technical inquiries relating to RV function, maintenance, repairs and/or upgrades should be directed to Technical Director Bill Gehr at the above email addresses. Letters to the Editor should be directed to Editor Bruce Hampson at the above email address. Personal replies cannot be sent due to the volume of mail received. By forwarding letters to RV Enthusiast magazine, the author consents to allow letters to be published at the discretion of RV Enthusiast editors. Letters may be edited for brevity and clarification.
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On The Road
By Bruce Hampson
Changes Are in the Air
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t’s been hypothesized by folks a lot smarter than me that “the only constant in life is change.” Actually, the maxim is first credited to the Greek philosopher Heraclitus — I know, I had to search it. Amazing, when you think about it, that some guy who passed away almost 2,500 years ago could so succinctly sum up contemporary life.

Change is definitely a constant in the RV industry. Innovation has always ruled, but if I had to choose a time where such advancements really took center stage in the RV arena I’d probably look to the Great Recession. Consider: this year, the industry is expected to ship more than 600,000 RVs to North American dealers; in 2009, as the recession was cresting, it shipped just 165,700. With time on their hands, OEMs went about redesigning many of the products they were selling. In fact, an argument could probably be made that the industry went from producing units it wanted to build to manufacturing RVs the public wanted to buy.

And it has never looked back. If you want a glimpse into the current state of RV technology, read “Top Debuts for 2022” in this issue. Put together in conjunction with the editors of RVBusiness, it highlights more than two dozen top towable and motorized RVs for the new year.

News & Notes
Sylvansport, Zeus Partner on All-Electric RV
All Electric RV by Sylvansport and Zeus
Most RVers — especially those with a sense of adventure — are familiar with the innovative camping trailers and gear manufactured by Sylvansport (sylvansport.com), including the company’s Go and Go Easy trailers. However, the Brevard, North Carolina-based company has also entered into a partnership with Zeus Electric Chassis Inc. (zeuselectricchassis.com) to collaborate on new-product development aimed at their shared vision of a “more sustainable outdoor adventure experience.”

Zeus already builds the electric chassis, and it can be configured to a broad range of applications with limited customization. Zeus has prioritized the vocational work truck market, but significant opportunities exist for vehicle electrification across other niche markets, including motorized recreational vehicles. The collaboration with Sylvansport marks the next potential strategic market niche within the broader markets that Zeus is targeting.

TECHNICALLY SPEAKING – Q & A
Fussy Doorlock
Combination Doorlock

We bought used 2010 Forest River Wildwood several years ago and absolutely enjoy it. My biggest complaint so far is that the entry-door locks are very difficult to use — the tumblers on the front and rear doors are difficult to lock and unlock because of the quality of the lock itself. The baggage door locks are not much better. In fact, there were a couple of times when I thought I was going to need a pry bar to get into the main baggage door. Who makes a good lock and where can I pick up the two locks and the baggage door locks? — Jeff Heale

Jeff, I feel your pain. There’s nothing worse than being out on a camping trip and getting the feeling that you’re going to get locked out. There are several decent RV entry-door locks out there that will match yours. Bauer (bauerproducts.com) makes a high-quality replacement lock for your trailer, as does Creative Products Group (rvlocksandmore.com).

Beach icon
Let There Be Shade — Again
Putting up a new awning
When the patio awning has seen better days, replacing fabric with product from Tough Top takes a few hours to accomplish and makes financial sense
By Bill Gehr / Photos by the author
I

f you own an RV it probably came equipped with a patio awning, an addition that undoubtedly makes lounging outside much more pleasant. Patio awnings provide shade — and protection from the rain — when going in and out of your RV. Unfortunately, time, the sun and the wind (without a system to retract automatically) will eventually combine to destroy the majority of awning fabrics, especially the section that’s exposed constantly to the sun when retracted.

Some might argue that acrylic fabric will last longer than vinyl, but the fact remains that at some point all awning fabric replacement may be necessary, especially when the RV is used frequently or full time. Complete awnings can be an expensive proposition, but if the hardware is still in good shape you can replace the fabric at a much-reduced cost — and end up with an awning that looks good as new. In some cases the roller tube assembly will also have to be replaced, but adding that cost is still lower than the amount of cash needed to replace the entire awning.

Drawing to a Close
When routing the wires, make sure the bend is identical to the existing cable so that it will flex properly as the awning opens and retracts.
When routing the wires, make sure the bend is identical to the existing cable so that it will flex properly as the awning opens and retracts
When routing the wires, make sure the bend is identical to the existing cable so that it will flex properly as the awning opens and retracts.
Carefree of Colorado’s Direct Response upgrade kit for Traveler or Eclipse awnings will automatically retract an awning before the winds have their way with the fabric
By Bill Gehr / Photos by the author
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n extended patio awning is a wonderful thing to have when you’re camping; one that’s ravaged by the wind is not. Strong, unpredictable winds can literally destroy your patio awning in a matter of seconds. Extreme weather is probably the Number One reason patio awnings are ruined, which likely also results in collateral damage to the RV, not to mention impacting your entire vacation. If you happen to be in the RV at the time of a wind event you can quickly retract the awning, but if you forget to retract it before leaving the site for a while, you have two choices: hope for the best in the event of an unexpected storm — or rely on an automatic closure system that retracts the awning at the first sign of trouble. We prefer the latter.

Carefree of Colorado, a leading manufacturer of RV awnings, offers a solution to this dilemma with its Direct Response electronic motion sensor upgrade, which will automatically retract the awning in strong winds. The device mounts in the vicinity of the motor/head assembly and has a preset sensitivity, which can be turned on or off when washing the awning fabric. The first hint of strong winds or a sudden gust will signal the system to retract the fabric. Many awnings are fitted with such a device, but it is typically reserved for more expensive RVs; most older rigs aren’t equipped with an automatic retraction system. The kit for the Carefree Traveler, part number SR0093, retails around $98, while the kit for the Eclipse model (SR0036) is $350. Most handy owners are capable of installing either kit.

Design Cents typography
DIY RV renovations are kind of a big deal. Here are a few RVs which families have transformed on a budget — and inspire others to do the same
By Chris Hemer / Photos courtesy Janelle and Chad Payne, Kelsey and Sebastian Paz
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s RVers, we’re accustomed to following rules. Check your tire pressure. Don’t overload. Take short showers. Quiet hours are from 10 PM to 7 AM. We slowly get used to the idea that living in an RV is much different from our homes — not only is it a comparatively small space to live in, but “the freedom of the open road” has its limitations.

Along with that, trying to personalize your RV can be difficult. The floorplan can’t easily be re-arranged and furniture choices are, for the most part, limited to…well, RV furniture. Most of us make the space our own with a few pictures, some throw pillows and cutesy signs that say things like, “Home Sweet Home,” or “A bad day fishing is better than a good day working.”

The Ideal Project
Photos by Sefra Escobar
It took five months and about $7,000 for Janelle and Chad Payne to completely renovate their 1974 Ideal travel trailer.
Janelle and Chad Payne
Instagram: nailgun_nelly
1974 Ideal travel trailer
Janelle and Chad Payne
Instagram: nailgun_nelly
1974 Ideal travel trailer
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nspiration for RV renovation can come from just about anywhere — and in the case of DIY fanatics Janelle and Chad Payne of Nipomo, California, that just happened to be the next-door neighbor.

“She had this old 1974 Ideal travel trailer sitting on her property,” Janelle explained, “and I thought maybe she’d make me a deal. When I approached her, she said, ‘Thank God, I’ve been praying that someone would just come and take this.’ She just gave it to us. The funny part is, they had originally purchased it from the people that had owned our property. Now it’s back.”

Getting the trailer for free allowed Janelle to fearlessly pursue her creative vision. “I don’t have a plan when I go into something,” she told RV Enthusiast. “I just knew that I wanted it white and bright. Everything was wood, and that was common, but it had oak — and, I don’t know, it’s not my thing. I wanted it to feel more open. I just wanted everything gone. There were so many closets in it, a huge TV opening, two full-size closets on the right of the bed, plus a cabinet above the master bed. In the bathroom next to the toilet, there was a huge enclosed closet…I think the furnace used to be there. I ripped it all out. My husband would come by and say, ‘Okay, what else is going to be gone?’”

Toy Hauler Haven
rv with Green cabinets, a black ceiling, luxury vinyl plank flooring, residential furnishings and carpet runner
Dirty motorcycles and beer-drinking bros? Not in this toy hauler. Green cabinets, a black ceiling, luxury vinyl plank flooring, residential furnishings and carpet runner give the interior a whole new look.
Janelle and Chad Payne
Instagram: nailgun_nelly
2006 Jayco Octane toy hauler
Janelle and Chad Payne
Instagram: nailgun_nelly
2006 Jayco Octane toy hauler
R

Vers may have a multitude of reasons for buying a toy hauler — and they don’t always include toys. “I wanted to be able to open up that big back door and sleep by the ocean,” said Janelle. “We found a 2006 Jayco Octane travel trailer toy hauler with no water damage for $10,000. That’s expensive for us, but it was worth it.”

For this project, Janelle decided on a dark, masculine ‘loungy look.’

“The toy hauler wasn’t my style at all, and creating a darker, moody vibe…it’s very hard to find and to shop for.” As with the Ideal travel trailer, Janelle started by painting everything, then added decorative features you’re unlikely to find on any other toy hauler, like wood beams on the ceiling and (drum roll please) chandeliers. She also turned the kitchen TV enclosure into a plate holder, restyled the wheel wells and painted the tub. But by far the biggest achievement, in her estimation, are the unique countertops in the kitchen and bath area. “I found a product called Stonecoat countertops (stonecoatcountertops.com/home),” she said. “They are so awesome for DIY; they lay it all out for you and you can’t mess it up. It’s a super lightweight epoxy resin and you just pour it on — it’s crazy how easy it is. You can swirl it, do straight patterns, whatever you want.”

Family Time
inside of RV with boho decorations
Kelsey and Sebastian Paz
Instagram: our.rv.adventures
2017 Jayco Eagle fifth wheel
Kelsey and Sebastian Paz
Instagram: our.rv.adventures
2017 Jayco Eagle fifth wheel
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or Kelsey and Sebastian Paz, the decision to remodel their 2017 Jayco Eagle fifth wheel was an easy one. Having served in the Air Force for several years, Sebastian was finally returning home — and the couple saw full-time RVing as a perfect opportunity to spend more time with their two children and see the country. “We sold our home and most of our belongings in the summer of 2020,” Kelsey recalled. “I thought, now that this RV is our home, I’m going to make it feel like one.”

Kelsey and Sebastian are both travel nurses, who fill in at short-staffed hospitals when needed — so while patching up people is something they’re both familiar with, fixing up an RV was alien to them. “We had never even been camping in a trailer, let alone lived in one,” said Kelsey. “YouTube was my best friend…I watched a lot of videos, and started following remodeling accounts on Instagram. I drew pictures of what I wanted to do and my husband made it happen.”

That Rusty Bus
rusty 2014 Fleetwood Discovery 40G diesel pusher
Underneath all that “rust” is a well-cared-for 2014 Fleetwood Discovery 40G diesel pusher.
T.J. and Heather Bedacht
FaceBook: GciDigitalImaging/
2014 Fleetwood Discovery 40G
T.J. and Heather Bedacht
FaceBook: GciDigitalImaging/
2014 Fleetwood Discovery 40G
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t’s become something of a tradition to watch Christmas-themed movies during the holidays — and “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” ranks right up there with the best of them. Especially when it comes to the travails of “Cousin Eddie” (Randy Quaid) and his much-rusted 1972 Ford Condor motorhome.

Well, here’s the contemporary version.

Granted, this isn’t an “RV renovation” in the strictest sense. Owners T.J. and Heather Bedacht have pretty much left the interior of the 2014 Fleetwood Discovery original. “It’s actually a beautiful coach underneath the skin, and was very well taken care of,” said T.J.

But oh, that skin.

Top RVs for 2022
By the staffs of RVBusiness & RV Enthusiast magazines
RV Business 2022 Top RV Debut badge
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mong the small army of engineers, designers and product managers within the RV industry who are enlisted with the task of developing new concepts for each model year, there’s probably no phrase that has more impact than “What if?

They hold late-night meetings and challenge one another with possible innovations, concepts and other ideas that might never see the light of day — but nonetheless ask “What if we tried this?”

They attend home and garden shows, picking up on emerging trends in colors, textures and fabrics, and ask “What if this could be adapted to RV use?”

And then they take those ideas, build pre-production prototypes and invite their associates, dealers and consumer groups to tour them — and listen with a critical ear as they again ask “What if we changed this just so?

Roof Water Intrusion? Not on My Watch typography
mechanic atop an RV, scraping an old skylight sealant
When an annual inspection reveals that the skylight seal has been compromised, fixing the problem before it leads to costly repairs requires patience, care — and the right tools
By Bob Livingston / Photos by author
S

kylights have been part of the RV’s roof landscape for many years, offering additional height in showers and natural lighting. For the most part, these plastic domes have a good lifespan (unless, of course, you collide with a low structure or tree limb), but the seal that ensures a tight fit on the roof can deteriorate over time, requiring attention to prevent moisture intrusion. Hence, skilled service technicians recommend inspecting the roof seals annually, or immediately after any driving mishap.

When we aided a friend in examining the roof of his five-year-old fifth wheel, it was plain that the seal around his skylight was weathered, dried out — and a prime candidate for creating problems inside the rig. Allowing water to penetrate the roof, or any other place in an RV, leads to costly dry-rot damage and long downtimes — usually at the most inopportune times.

Cold Again
Fridge through the window of RV
When the original absorption-gas RV refrigerator stops functioning, the easiest fix may be a factory replacement
By Chris Hemer / Photos by the author
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t wasn’t so long ago that the absorption refrigerator was pretty much the only choice when it came to keeping food cold. I remember my first RV trip, and our own Bob Livingston told me, “Now, remember: Start the refrigerator the day before your trip and only put cold food in it, or it won’t be cold when you get there.” That one took some consideration. It made no sense to me why I couldn’t just turn it on when I needed it — or for that matter, why I had to turn it off at gas stations or in tunnels, or why some people recommended not traveling with it on, ever. What is the point of having a refrigerator at all, then?

Today, of course, technologies have made it easier than ever to install a residential 120-volt AC compressor refrigerator in an RV, and there are growing numbers of 12-volt DC compressor models available, as well. But if you’re faced with an absorption-gas refrigerator that no longer works, one of the easiest ways to get going again is still with a direct replacement model. This may not seem as glamourous as upgrading to a larger model, a unit with an icemaker or a compressor-equipped model, but if you’re doing the job yourself, direct replacement is a pretty attractive option. There’s usually no need for fabrication, electrical work or LP-gas line re-routing/modification, which saves a lot of time and aggravation.

Making Memories
By Sue Strauss photos by author
Reliving Ancient History
A tour through Northwestern British Columbia, Canada, will bring you back in time when the Aboriginal culture ruled this vast and beautiful region.
a re-created Gitxsan village
This re-created Gitxsan village will take visitors through three longhouses providing an insight into traditional village life.
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itwanga is a historical village and living museum of the Gitxsan indigenous people on the Skeena River in Northwestern British Columbia, Canada. Many consider this area to be one of the best places in B.C. to learn about the Aboriginal culture that has existed here for more than 8,000 years. Additionally, the many parks in the area offer scenic hiking and fishing that showcase the beauty of the region.

Kitwanga means “place of rabbits” and is located within the Gitwangak Indian Reserve No. 1. This tour takes you to the starting point of the Steward Cassiar Highway at the junction of Highways 16 and 37.

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Thanks for reading our January 2022 issue!