November/December 2023
November/December 2023 cover
Preview Issue
November/December 2023
RV Enthusiast logo
November/December 2023
Volume 3, Number 8
man walking up steps to his RV
Watch Your Step
While the newer “drawbridge” type of RV entry steps has significantly improved access and egress in towables, they can sometimes be too heavy for some owners and can take up a lot of real estate outside the door. Torklift International’s Glowstep Revolution Uprising takes a good idea and makes it even better.
man opening a window in his RV
Cooling Trend
While absorption refrigerators have grown in size and capacity, they still require heat to move the cooling solution — and performance can be compromised in hot weather. Adding strategically placed blower fans and some fiberglass insulation can dramatically improve their efficiency in hot ambient temperatures.
people walking around an RV event
2024’s Hottest Parts & Accessories
Suppliers to the RV industry have long coveted facetime with the dealer-centric audience attending the Elkhart RV Open House. They’ve found a home at the Northern Indiana Event Center, where in September more than 160 companies staged displays of new-and-improved parts and accessories for the coming year.
man testing the wooden floor in his RV
Fringe Element
Now that carpeting is virtually extinct among RV builders, woven vinyl has found its way under — and on — a lot of slideout room floors. When the binding on the woven vinyl flooring in this fifth wheel began unraveling, installing a PVC transition strip hid the wear-and-tear — and improved aesthetics.
black 3D question marks, with two of them being a glowing orange
There’s no denying that apps have made RVing easier and safer — no one wants to find a too-low overpass the hard way — but have they also worked to reduce the adventure and wanderlust that used to be fueled when unfolding a map?
aerial view of solar panels at a charging station
Wondering what days the NPS has earmarked for free entry? Looking for a new alternative for staying in out-of-the-way locations? It’s all here, along with a look at THOR Industries’ EV charging-station concept for eRVs — and more.
man doing repair work on top of an RV
12-volt battery power is integral to RV enjoyment — just ask these readers having problems with the same. Meanwhile, another intrepid explorer faces difficulty tracking down a water leak, while another has a 23-year-old roof in need of repair.
November/December 2023 cover
On the Cover: A bird’s eye view of THOR Industries’ Elkhart RV Open House display. Photo by Peter Ringenberg.
Special Section!
2024’s Top RVs!
RVBusiness RV of the Year 2024
RVBusiness RV of the Year 2024
Special Section! 2024’s Top RVs!
people looking at an RV at an event
2024 RV of the Year: Forest River Ibex/No Boundaries RV Suite
The RV Suite looks to share its genes with a compact park model or even a destination trailer — but there’s no denying this unique new design pushes the envelope and stands out in a “sea of sameness” by reimagining what a travel trailer can be.
open trailer and tent stacked
2024 RV of the Year Finalists
Alliance Delta 294RK • Brinkley Model G 3950 • East To West Takoda 35TH • Heartland Corterra CT3.0 • Holiday Rambler Invicta 36Y • inTech Black Wing 828 • Modern Buggy Little Buggy 12 LRK • Storyteller Overland HILT GVX • Tiffin Midas 24MT • Winnebago Solis Pocket 36B + EcoFlow Power Kit Pro
front drivers side of an RV
2024 Top RV Debuts
Airstream Trade Wind 25FB • Aliner Amp + EcoFlow Power Kit • Coachmen Euro • Dynamax Isata 5 Explorer Extreme • Ember RV E-Series 22ETS • Entegra Coach Condor 22T • Elevation Park Model Series 7 • Forest River Impression 318RL View • Forest River River Ranch 399RL • Grand Design RV Reflection 100 Series 22RK • Jayco Greyhawk XL32U • Keystone Montana 3531 • KZ Connect Mini CM191BHK • Lance 2255 • LIV 19 • Newmar Ventana 4369 • NuCamp Cirrus 920 Truck Camper • Thor Motor Coach Talavera/Palladium • Venture SportTrek 5 Touring Edition STTF353VIK • Winnebago Access
PUBLISHER – Bob Livingston
(805) 320-6909
[email protected]

EDITOR – Bruce Hampson
(574) 584-4616
[email protected]

(805) 340-5015
[email protected]

[email protected]

Business Office
26362 Douglas ave., Elkhart, in 46514
Advertising Director
Sue Seidlitz
(805) 816-8759
[email protected]
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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
Stop and Smell… Well, Everything

here’s an App for that.

In myriad ways, the above sentence has helped to herald in innumerable new — and faster — vistas for travelers. Whether it’s programming your favorite road music or plotting the safest route, apps deliver a library’s worth of information to your smartphone at the push of a button.

And for the most part, it’s all good. There’s a lot to be said for knowing where the closest dump stations and fuel stops are — and no one wants to end up in a YouTube video by scraping off their air-conditioning units and satellite antenna while inadvertently squeezing under an overpass designed for an earlier generation of smaller vehicles.

Sometimes, though, I wonder if this reliance on technology has robbed the outdoor hospitality industry of its thirst for adventure.

No, I’m not advocating for irresponsible devil-may-care travel. With today’s crop of motorhomes stretching well beyond 40 feet and the biggest fifth wheels touching on 20,000-pound gross vehicle weight ratings, the smartest option for some RVers will always be the interstates. But with the “adventure trailer” arena showing staying power as the fastest-growing segment of RVing for the past few seasons, I am championing a return to a Jack Kerouac-esque desire for following wherever the road leads, armed with a fold-up map and a bag of Cheetos.

News & Notes

THOR Develops EV Charging Station Concept for eRVs

An overhead concept rendering with solar panel roofs over charging stations and a small building with a green plant roof, situated in the middle of a parking lot
Just a few short years ago, a battery-powered RV was the stuff dreams were made of. Today, it’s on the cusp of mainstream reality. One drawback, however, has been a dearth of EV charging stations for recreational vehicles. In late November, THOR Industries unveiled state-of-the-art 3-D renderings of an EV charging station concept designed to serve the comprehensive needs of electric recreational vehicles (eRVs), from small travel trailers towed by EVs to the largest Class A motorhomes, while enhancing an eRV traveler’s outdoor experience and mindset.

The concept illustrates THOR’s efforts to support the development of pull-through eRV-compatible chargers in destinations popular with RV owners, according to company representatives.

Sponsored Content

No Matter the Season, ODYSSEY® Batteries Can Help You Travel with Ease
With an operating range from -40°F (-40°C) to 140°F (60°C), ODYSSEY® dual-purpose 12-volt batteries will outperform conventional flooded lead acid batteries in any environment!
Odyssey Battery, RV on a road in front pine trees and tall red rock cliffs
Whether you use your Recreational Vehicle (RV) full-time, like to boondock in remote locations during the winter months or are already planning for outdoor adventures as the weather warms, virtually maintenance-free ODYSSEY® batteries from EnerSys® can get you from “Point A” to “Point B” and back again.

Manufactured with proprietary Thin Plate Pure Lead (TPPL) technology, Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) ODYSSEY® batteries deliver long-lasting, dependable performance — with twice the overall power and three times the life of conventional flooded lead acid batteries. As a result of it’s patented TPPL technology, the pure lead plates engineered inside the battery can be made thinner than traditional models, so more fit inside the ODYSSEY® battery case. This provides more surface area for massive power in any given group size and ample cranking — even at a low Depth of Discharge (DOD).

Rubber Roof Repair
man painting a rubber roof white
I have a 2000 25-foot motorhome that is showing major signs of wear on the rubber roof. More than half of the roof has turned black, which I’m assuming is because the white coating on the rubber has deteriorated. I took the motorhome to a service center and got a quote from my local dealer to replace the rubber roof and almost fell over when I heard how much the job was going to cost.

Friends of mine have suggested that I put a new coating on the existing roof, which is not that difficult. Do you agree? I’m afraid if I leave it alone, the roof is going to get much worse and I’ll have no choice but to install a new roof at a much higher cost.
— Dwayne Roberts

Dwayne, I assume you have the original EPDM roof — and after 23 years it’s, well beyond its lifespan due to age, sunlight and weather. The black color is typical for a roof that old.

If you decide to have the rubber roof membrane replaced, make sure that the service people use a high-quality TPO material; it will last much longer than the original roof. I think you’ll be okay using a long-lasting coating on the roof and you can probably do it yourself, which will save a lot of money. Just make sure there are no serious tears or missing sections of membrane. Generally, the membrane needs to be in fairly decent shape to make a coating work properly. There are products available at RV supply stores that are designed specifically this purpose. Just stay away from hardware store products that contain silicone or the petroleum distillates. Dicor ( markets products for this purpose and are DIY friendly.

Watch Your Step
Person entering RV on newly installed stairs
Getting into and exiting a fifth wheel or travel trailer seems like a simple proposition, but there’s more than meets your feet. Torklift’s Glowstep Revolution Uprising takes a good idea and makes it even better.
By Bill Gehr / Photos by Bob Livingston

here’s nothing exotic about getting into and out of a trailer or fifth wheel. Steps have been around for as long as there have been entry doors — and those used on towables have looked the same for as long as most owners can remember. Then, a few years ago, a company reimagined how to employ steps, which made for better footing and versatility. These new steps store upright in the entryway and swing out to provide uniform rungs and the ability to stabilize the landing on uneven ground. Quite novel at first and now commonplace.

The current models of these “drawbridge-type” folding steps have been tweaked over the years and provide a high level of safety and convenience. Torklift International (, a company known for its RV products, took it a step further (pun intended) with its Glowstep Revolution Uprising product. Actually, these new steps take strong cues from the company’s scissor mechanism that have changed the paradigm when it comes pickup camper entry and egress. Expanding the lineup to include models specifically designed for towables was expected and now are available for rigs with various-size doorways.

Cooling Trend
When heat zaps the efficiency of an absorption refrigerator, adding strategically placed blower fans and a dose of fiberglass insulation can overcome high ambient temperatures — and make your ice cream frozen again.
By Bill Gehr / Photos by Bob Livingston

V technicians compile a vast amount of knowledge over the years, especially when it comes to absorption refrigerators. While the cooling concept remains the same, these refrigerators have evolved into safer appliances. I can remember when I started RVing in 1972 — you actually had to light a tube with several holes that would run all the way to the burner and heat up a Klixon valve to allow the gas to flow through the burner. Today, RV refrigerators have electronic controls, which should make them more efficient. But hold that thought for a moment.

Although absorption refrigerators have grown in size and capacity, they still utilize cooling units that require heat to move the hydrogen, ammonia and water solution up through the boiler into the condenser. One of the major drawbacks to using high temperatures to make the refrigerator/freezer cold is its operation in hot weather. High ambient temperatures allow the absorber coils to get really hot, which interferes with the separation of the hydrogen, ammonia and water before it goes into the storage tank. As the ammonia vapor tries to turn back into liquid, the temperature needs to be controlled. Efficiency really suffers when the ambient temperature rises well above 100-degrees F.

The Top New RVs for 2024
Arial view of a parking lot with a lot of RVs parked in it and a big building in the middle
THOR Industries’ Open House display on the grounds of the RV/MH Hall of Fame.

op-up shops are the rage today — “flash” retailers opening short-term spaces that last for just a few days, often to feed a fad from athletic shoes to fast-dining entrees. Imagine, though, if this concept took over an entire city; as you drive down major routes, you spy location after location displaying their top designs for the coming year.

That’s kind of how Elkhart County, Indiana, looks during the Elkhart RV Open House. It’s four hectic days where virtually every major (and many smaller) manufacturers gear up to introduce their new models to literally thousands of RV dealers who fly or drive to northern Indiana from most every U.S. state and Canadian province.

During those four days, the staff of RVBusiness — the country’s premier trade magazine — views hundreds of new RVs slated for production in order to present what it considers to be the best new towable and motorized RVs. For the 2024 model year, editors of RV Enthusiast joined them in visiting dozens of RV manufacturers during this event. At each stop, we viewed new models and queried executives, product managers and engineers to learn how certain designs and products were developed — and how they were expected to impact the industry.

RVBusiness RV of the Year 2024 logo
RVBusiness 2024 RV of the Year: Forest River Ibex & No Boundaries RV Suite
RVBusiness RV of the Year 2024 logo
Forest River Ibex and No Boundaries RV Suite
The all-electric RV Suite melds comfort, conveniences, design and a good dose of technology into the ultimate base camp for adventure

he RV Suite, a new travel trailer model for the Ibex and No Boundaries brands from Forest River, is a bit of a conundrum. While technically a travel trailer, the unit looks like a compact park model or destination trailer. One observer even said it looks like a train caboose.

It is also the RVBusiness “RV of the Year”.

Why? Because it pushes the envelope. Because it’s loaded with industry-first features. Because it stands out in a “sea of sameness.” Because it successfully offers a glamping experience in a lightweight travel trailer — it’s a comfortable, functional, tech-laden, extended-stay basecamp for adventure.

RVBusiness Top 10 2024 Finalist RV of the Year
Alliance Delta 294RK
Black and white exterior of Alliance Delta 294RK RV

ith five Delta-branded floorplans already in production, Alliance RV looks to disrupt the travel trailer segment much like what it’s done to the fifth-wheel and toy hauler markets.

According to Eric Bailey, Alliance RV’s product manager overseeing the Delta brand, the line could eventually grow to as many as 10 different configurations. Lengths will range from 26 feet up to 34 feet, with dry weights starting at about 5,500 pounds and topping out at up to 8,000 pounds. MSRP will start in the low $50,000 range.

One of those models, the 294RK, debuted at the Elkhart RV Open House and earned strong consideration as a Top 10 RV of the Year Finalist. The 294RK is a rear kitchen model measuring 33 feet, 11 inches long and 7,156 pounds (UVW).

“What we’ve done here is we’ve come out with a rear kitchen layout, but we’ve done something different,” Bailey said. “It’s a floorplan that you haven’t seen on the market in a travel trailer.” Equipment includes 26 feet of awning coverage, outside TV and a 25-inch griddle; inside, RVers will find everything from a full-size, full-height pantry with a swinging door to a 50-inch TV and 40-inch fireplace. “But really,” Bailey said, “it’s the layout and the feel and the space on the inside that is just awesome.”

Interior of Alliance Delta 294RK RV
Among the differentiators Bailey pointed to was the three-way switches on the awnings and slideouts, allowing owners to simply press a button located just inside the front pass-through storage to monitor their operations and ensure it won’t hit a tree or other hinderance. Other highlights include a large amount of outside storage, two different convenience centers in the pass-through, multiple hot and cold spray ports, tall ceiling heights with a straight roof line, a pullout trashcan in the kitchen of every floorplan and a pullout pantry in most models.

RVBusiness 2024 Top RV Debut
Airstream Trade Wind 25FB
Airstream Trade Wind 25FB exterior 3/4 view

or 2024, Airstream introduces the all-new Trade Wind, a dual-axle 25-foot travel trailer designed for going way off the pavement — and with the power system to stay there for longer periods of time.

With pricing starting at $129,400 (MSRP), the Trade Wind delivers the largest battery bank, solar array and power monitoring system in any Airstream travel trailer manufactured in the company’s 92-year history.

Standard power features include:

  • Three 270-Ah heated lithium Battle Born batteries that form an 810-Ah battery bank and provide four times greater capacity over most other Airstream travel trailer models.
  • A 3,000-watt inverter/charger combination that boasts 1,000 added watts above other current Airstream models, with the ability to simultaneously run a microwave and 15,000-Btu air-conditioner.
  • A 600-watt solar system doubles energy harvesting capacity above most other Airstream models; an interior monitor is Victron-powered and app-compatible to bring more visibility to power management.
  • A SmartPlug 50-amp shore power inlet allows for connection to shore power for extended use and recharging the battery bank.

Featuring a 3-inch suspension lift that provides more ground clearance as well as 16-inch Goodyear Wrangler Workhorse tires, the Trade Wind is positioned between the brand’s International and Globetrotter model lines and available in one floorplan — the 25FB — and two interior décor packages: Terracotta and Fieldstone.

Airstream Trade Wind 25FB interior

The primary sleeping space has a queen bed (optional twin beds available in early 2024), and when combined with the convertible dinette, Trade Wind can comfortably sleep up to five travelers. When not configured into sleeping accommodations, the dinette can be used for lounge seating or personal workspace. Trade Wind also includes optional features, like a water-saving composting toilet, a convection microwave with air fryer, a rear and roadside window awning package, and rear hatch door with sliding screen.

2024’s Hottest New Parts & Accessories
Attendees on the Elkhart RV Open House floor

hen Forest River CEO Pete Liegl came up with the idea for what would eventually morph into the Elkhart RV Open House, it didn’t take long before other manufacturers recognized the wisdom of inviting their current and future dealer partners to their home turf. In the years since, the four-day event has blossomed into the largest RV trade show in North America.Not surprisingly, RV suppliers also saw the value in this audience. After numerous attempts to stage New Product Showcases around Elkhart, Indiana, the concept found a home at the Northern Indiana Event Center, part of the RV/MH Hall of Fame campus. During the most recent Open House program in late September, more than 160 suppliers of parts and accessories to the RV industry occupied 230 booths. Editors from RVBusiness and RV Enthusiast visited almost every one, talking to product design engineers about their newest components on exhibit. Some of these products are available to the aftermarket — meaning, you’ll be able to buy them at your favorite RV dealer or supply store — while others are intended for installation during the RV assembly process. All of them, along with a few others we’ve added, provide a window to the evolving technology embraced by the RV industry. And be sure to tune in next issue when we bring you Part Two of the hottest new parts and accessories for 2024!

Quick Tech

Fringe Element
When the binding on the woven vinyl flooring in this fifth wheel began unraveling and looking ugly, installing a PVC transition strip not only hid the wear and tear, but also added to the aesthetics.
By Bob Livingston / Photos by author

ow that carpeting is virtually extinct among RV builders, woven vinyl has found its way under — and on — a lot of slideout-room floors. In our fifth wheel, woven vinyl was installed in place of the carpet and we elected to have binding sewed into the edges of the material.

Big mistake.

After a few months of walking on the transition section of woven vinyl permanently adhered to the cabin floor, the binding started to wear — and just a short time later, the cloth-like material gave way entirely and presented a pretty ugly picture. To say it prematurely aged the look of the interior would be an understatement.

Quick Tech
Sidestepping Shambles
man taking a look under the cabinets in his RV
Detecting moisture in cabinets, under sinks, in storage compartments, behind the toilet and in other places that shouldn’t be wet can prevent costly, unexpected damage. Inexpensive and easy-to-install sensors provide advance warning.
By Bob Livingston / photos by author

ater may sustain life — but when allowed to leak in an RV it does just the opposite. When leaking water goes unchecked in an RV, the results can be disastrous — many RVs have been damaged beyond repair from water that was allowed to flood the interior. If you don’t find out about a leak until water drips on the ground — or pours out the entry door — it’s likely too late. Last month, neighbors who left their motorhome vacant in an RV park got a rude awakening when the interior flooded due to a leaking faucet. The damage would have been much worse if friends didn’t notice the wet ground under the motorhome and shut off the water.

You can prevent an expensive clean-up by taking a proactive stance and installing inexpensive leak detectors that can give you advance warning before things get out of control. Not only is this easy to do, but the cost is peanuts when compared to potential repair bills.

RV Enthusiast logo
Thanks for reading our November/December 2023 issue!