Today’s guest blog is from Heath Padgett, who is currently traveling across Canada in a 2019 Wonder RTB.
Three years ago I was indulging in my go-to procrastination activity—browsing RVs on RV Trader even though we weren’t in the market to buy one—when I stumbled upon this gorgeous looking unit called a Leisure Travel Van.
Up until that point, most of the RV interiors we’d seen were brown and lacked imagination. This Leisure Travel Van had a Murphy bed that came out of the wall like Harry Potter wizardry. It had a large rear bathroom, and an overall aesthetic that resembled a first-class airline lounge than what you typically see in the RV industry.
I fell in love.
I carried out my minor obsession over the past few years by casually stalking Leisure Travel Vans on social media. I’d check them out at RV shows when they released a new unit, and of course whenever one occasionally pulled into our campground (sorry if I ever creeped you out and stared too long).
And then, this summer, it finally happened. We convinced them to let us test drive one.
As fate would have it, this summer LTV came out with a new model of the Wonder with a rear twin bed layout we love. We’d been wanting to travel in a smaller rig, so we were stoked that the LTV team was open to letting us test drive the Wonder for our three month trip across Canada.
I wanted to write this blog to share what it’s been like traveling in the 2019 Wonder RTB.
Disclaimer: We are friends with the team over at LTV and did not buy the Wonder, so as much as I’d like to say this is a 100% impartial review — I can’t do so in good faith. That being said, I still do my best to provide & share our honest experience so far using the Wonder RTB.
The Wonder RTB (at a glance)
First, the Wonder RTB is 24 feet, 9 inches of pure beautifulness (don’t think that is an actual word). This rig comes with 400 watts of pre-installed solar panels, a Winegard Connect Wi-Fi + 4G LTE on the roof (#givemealltheinternet) and the largest galley offered in the LTV lineup (check out all the specs here).
The RTB stands for “Rear Twin Bed”. Here’s a nice photo of the rear twin bed provided by the LTV team (I would show you what it looks like currently, but that would involve cleaning up all of my dirty laundry).
It’s a diesel rig and unlike the Serenity and the Unity (which are built on a Mercedes), the Wonder is built on a Ford Chassis. When talking with other LTV owners, it seems one of the major pros to owning a Ford over a Mercedes is the larger network of dealerships and service shops, making easier to find someone to work on the coach in the event of a breakdown.
The feature that is unique to the new 2019 Wonder RTB—and that I’ve never seen on any RV before—is a built-in covered bike rack that slides out of the rear storage compartment.
Cue dramatic music:
While Alyssa and I aren’t hardcore bikers, we’ve used the bike rack on a fairly regular basis over the past month. A few weeks ago we drove into downtown Calgary, parked the Wonder at a brewery and then grabbed our bikes for a day of riding around the city. It was awesome being able to slide out the rack, grab the bikes, and go explore.
And for people who buy their bikes at somewhere other than Walmart (we call them our beginner bikes), the interior bike rack a gem for keeping an expensive purchase safe and out of the elements.
The first few times I used the bike rack it took me a little of shuffling things around in order to get the pedals just right, but now I can have both bikes removed in less than a minute. You do have to remove the two front tires in order to get both of your bikes into the rig.
The added benefit of this large storage compartment is that on the side opposite of the bike rack we have a roomy storage compartment. Currently, we have a grill, a suitcase and a variety of other random things tossed about in there (with room to spare).
Other than the bike rack, here are a few of my personal highlights from traveling in the 2019 Wonder so far:
The flexible table.
When I first saw the table option for the Wonder, I really didn’t know what to think. It’s unlike anything I’ve seen before in an RV. First, it folds on top of itself to make additional room and it actually has three different points where it can be ratcheted in.
My gut reaction was that I wouldn’t like it. I thought it was too long for eating dinner and Alyssa & I would feel an awkward distance away from each other. I was also hesitant because we do a lot of video editing and I was concerned that the table would move too much and a hard drive could fall off and crash (hasn’t happened yet).
However, I’ve actually grown to really like the table (especially what you can do with it when you’re not using it).
What I like about the table:
- I can slide it out of the way to make more room in the galley area.
- There’s plenty of room for both Alyssa and me to sit on opposite ends with our computers (and multiple cups of coffee).
- It’s easy to move. Once you get the hang of the ratchet, it takes 30 seconds to move the table from the front to the back of the RV (we’ve eaten dinner in the back of the rig while watching a movie).
What I dislike about the table:
- My main complaint with the table is that when we are both working on our computers, it’s a bit challenging to get up without disrupting the other person (i.e moving the table/shaking it). If we were much bigger in size, it would be even more of a challenge. However, we work full-time on the road so this may not be an issue for most RVers.
Sliding the table into the back of the Wonder
Overall, the table has turned out to be incredibly useful. I love that it slides away when we’re not using it and the overall flexibility. I can tell a lot of intentionality went into making this table versatile for LTV owners and it shows.
The galley space.
I’ve noticed that over the past few years when I’ve occasionally cursed living in a small space, it’s often been when dishes pile up and I start feeling cramped (or when I stub my toe or hit my head on something). That being said, the deep sink in the Wonder is an RV kitchen dream.
Alyssa’s favorite thing about the kitchen is the large window that brings in a lot of light for cooking. There’s also something about being able to look out the window while making a meal and see a mountain.
However, the real winning feature of the kitchen in the Wonder is the additional fold down counter space.
We use this counter space everyday as an additional area to food prep or place to let the dishes dry while also using the two burners.
The fold-down countertop is very sturdy and easily doubles available counter space. It should be standard on every single RV kitchen ever made.
The nimble size.
If I had to pick my favorite feature, I would guess it’s probably a similar answer most Class B owners would say: the ability to go almost anywhere.
Since picking up the rig in Winkler we’ve driven all the way west, through the Canadian Rockies and now out to Vancouver. We’ve taken the Wonder through mountain passes, parked downtown in cities and ventured on backroads where I wouldn’t (and literally couldn’t) have taken our Class A RV.
We just finished up the drive from Kamloops to Whistler, which consisted of a period of 11% grades for miles at a time, a road that would have stressed me out to my core if we’d been in a bigger rig. Instead, it’s been fun to go on mountain roads.
Over the past four years of full-time RVing, Alyssa and I have lived in both a 29 ft Class C Motorhome and a 33 ft Class A motorhome. We’ve driven both of these rigs across North America and while I enjoy the space of a bigger RV, I often find myself stressed out on drive days. When I see a mountain pass or construction cones with a bumpy road, I wonder about how tight of a squeeze it will be.
I thought it was just in my nature to be a stressed driver, but a lot of those feelings have gone away being in a smaller coach. I look forward to mountainous, windy roads with epic views because I no longer have to worry about our brakes overheating on the way down or having to actually use the runaway truck ramp (never have, thank goodness).
While living in a much smaller space does come with it’s downsides (sleeping on a twin bed apart from Alyssa), the upside is the accessibility we experience on a daily basis.