Many people have asked us why we traded in our Lance 650 truck camper for the Winnebago Revel, so we thought we'd make a blog post about it!
First off, we absolutely LOVED our truck camper. We purchased the Lance in November 2016 -- just in time for ski season. We already had the F-150, so we figured that would be the best way to have the convenience of a hotel on wheels while also maintaining the 4WD for our winter activities. We spent three amazing years traveling California and some other western states (eventually upgrading to an F-250 to better handle the weight), and while some of our best memories were made in the camper we dubbed the 'Beasom Bungalow,' there were a few issues we discovered along the way (I'll get to those).
After taking a few international trips in which we rented a variety of camper vans, we fell in love with the convenience of the #vanlife. We did a LOT of research, and we decided to pull the trigger in April 2020 on 'Rudi' -- a 4WD 2020 Winnebago Revel. Here's why:
Camper: We are mainly weekend warriors, and the truck was Robbie's everyday vehicle. So during the week we'd keep the camper off of the truck, then we'd have to dedicate some time before every weekend trip to load the camper back on. We had to take the tailgate off of the truck (which requires two people) and the backflip we had covering the bed -- which meant we had to have a space to store the tailgate and back-flip when the camper was on the truck. For the first year, we had to pay for a parking space at a storage unit when the camper wasn't being used, which meant we couldn't keep our things loaded in it 24/7 (plus there was an added monthly cost).
Revel: The van sits in our driveway fully stocked with the fridge on so we can go at a moment's notice. Robbie uses the van as his everyday vehicle as-is.
Camper: Because the camper sits in the bed of the truck, you lose space the truck provides. Our skis, backpacking gear, the steps to get in and out, leveling blocks, etc. had to go on the floor of the camper which made it difficult to get in and out. Due to the model Lance we had, we couldn’t put a rack on the roof, so we crammed everything inside. If we wanted to pull over and have lunch or use the bathroom, we had to pull everything out and reorganize.
Revel: The bed goes up and down, leaving plenty of room in the 'garage' space in the back for all of our gear. We also added the Owl Vans B2 Box to exterior door, which houses some of our loose items (grill top, leveling blocks, hoses, etc.). It is SO easy to pull over and eat a meal or grab a drink -- you can even access the kitchen area and the bathroom while driving since there is a pass-though.
Camper: We had to make sure the small 5-gallon propane take was full before every trip. Propane ran the fridge, stove and heater, and the tank would only last about three days. It's a special tank which required going to a refilling station, and we quickly learned most gas stations stop refilling after 8PM (which left us spending many nights in the cold, without heat). The camper also only had one house battery, so we had to be very power conscious. It did have one solar panel, but it wasn’t enough (especially on the cloudy wintery days). More often than not, we found ourselves just eating out unless we were parked somewhere for the night , but if we didn't have enough propane, we were toast (pun intended)!
Revel: In the Revel, there is NO propane tank, and most of the power comes from the lithium battery/solar upgrade we added from Agile Off-Road. The heater runs on diesel, which is ALWAYS easy to find (unlike a propane filling station). We added a secondary fuel tank, so now we get about 700 miles on two full tanks. We seriously never eat out anymore, and since we have an induction cooktop, as long as we have battery/solar, we are good to go!
Camper: We are big skiers and do most of our camping in the winter months. The Lance was a four-season insulated camper, but we couldn’t have fresh water in the tank in the winter. We did use the toilet in the colder months, we just added anti-freeze and that seemed to keep the septic tank from freezing. To empty the tanks we had to find a dump station (which run about $10 per dump), but they aren’t always easy to find.
Revel: In the van we have a removable cassette toilet, which means we can empty it in our home bathroom, or in any public restroom. It's so much easier than having to find and stop at an RV dumping station (and saves you time)!
In the end, while we had a blast making memories in the camper, it just wasn’t as easy to be spontaneous. We have already logged more than 50 nights in our first year in the van, and we didn't come close to that in three years with the truck camper. Plus, with the pandemic hindering international travel for a while, it's been wonderful having this epic adventure rig to explore our beautiful backyard that is California.
Everyone’s needs are unique, but for us, the Revel meets or exceeds them! Yes -- the Revel is a financial investment and our loan term on the van is much longer than the truck + camper; however, our monthly payments are actually less than the truck + camper when you factor in registration and insurance.
If you're in the market for a new adventure rig, do your research. Go visit your local RV dealer and walk inside of the unit you're considering purchasing. It really helps to physically see the space and picture yourself living inside! Happy adventuring, friends!