Highlights of the Solis Pocket on a Road Test Out West
Highlights of the Solis Pocket on a Road Test Out West
Full-time van lifer shares how this new Solis model compares to other Class Bs.
By: Jenny Shaver
As a prelude to my Solis testing, I lived full-time in a 2018 Travato K for six months, and have also been living full-time in a 2019 Revel for over two years. Each RV has its pros and cons, which can vary, based on one’s needs and likes. In my personal opinion, the Travato K has one of the best and roomiest layouts in a Class B, while the Revel has some of the greatest off-road capabilities. In this article, I’ll be sharing some highlights of the Solis Pocket.
(Editor’s Note: When Jenny tested this Solis, it wasn’t yet named the ‘Pocket.’ However, the Winnebago team adopted the name because this little van was so unique. Lots of ideas were tossed around for a name that would best suit something fun/small/versatile/accessible, but the team kept coming back to Pocket. Anyone can have a pocket. Pockets hold a lot of “stuff.” And ‘pocket’ as an adjective denotes something small).
Solis Road Testing Out West
Over the last few years, I have spent a little time getting to know part of the team that makes up Winnebago. While meeting up at various Overland Expo events (East, West, and everywhere in between) and Revel Rallies, I’ve had the joy of getting to know the familiar faces of Chris, Russ, Emily, and others. Being stuck in freezing mud at the REEB Ranch together helps to form tight bonds! This led the team to think of me when needing to test a new Class B product.
I was fortunate enough to be able to squeeze in a little road testing of the Solis Pocket while on a recent road trip of my own. The Solis met me at a secret location in Albuquerque and, from there, the three of us (the Solis, my elderly dog Coco, and myself) headed to the heights of Red River in Northern New Mexico. We stayed our first night there, at an altitude of 8,671 feet, and temps down into the teens with snow overnight. The heater kept us plenty toasty and happy! After figuring out the order of the pillows on the Murphy bed, I was fast asleep on a comfortable mattress.
Over the five days and four nights of testing, I ventured into southern Colorado and Southern Utah, before heading back into New Mexico. It was early spring with nighttime temps below freezing.
Highlights of the Solis Pocket
Coming from a cramped Revel interior, the Solis Pocket seemed like a spacious mansion, with plenty of storage: from overhead cabinets to roomy drawers, extra cubby spaces by the dinette, and plenty of storage in the back (under where the Murphy bed would lay). Storage for sporting equipment such as bikes and skis is possible in the back also. If crating dogs, there is plenty of space in the back for that, as well as the convenience of the MOLLE gate to keep them confined to the back area, when necessary.
The storage space next to the dinette came in handy to store just about any small thing. A box of tissue, charging cords, snacks within easy reach, dog leash, or anything that needs an out-of-the-way home.
Galley & Kitchen Functionality
I really enjoyed the galley (love the convenience and superiority of cooking with gas), found the placement of the fridge at the end of the galley next to the slider door brilliant, and if I hadn’t been so lazy and would have put the Murphy bed up and away more often, I would have loved utilizing the extra-long counter space under where the foot of the Murphy bed lies.
Having only the cold-water option for doing dishes was not a deal-breaker for me. With running the heater in the winter, the water actually got somewhat warm and was never icy cold. In the summer months, the ambient warm air temps would also keep the water from being too cold for it to be an issue. However, a longer faucet head that pulls out would be a great addition.
The outside table that folds down behind the galley when the slider door is open is very convenient and easy to use. On those warm summer nights, entertaining and outdoor cooking will be so much easier!
See more product photography and watch the video tour here.
Easy System Usage
The control panels are all easy to use and relatively straightforward. The sight glass for the freshwater tank is a great concept. To be able to tell “exactly” how much water is in the tank at all times is truly helpful. I skipped using the portable toilet simply for cleanliness sake, but being familiar with the use and care of a cassette toilet, this setup would suit me well. If traveling as a couple or more, then obviously privacy would be an issue, with no proper ‘bathroom.’
Comfy Murphy Bed
The Murphy bed is a great design and is relatively easy to use (unfolding and storing). It is more difficult to have to store it on a daily basis if you set it up like a proper bed with sheets (which is what I like to do). Popping up into the bed using the dinette bench and shimmying back down via the same route is easy enough if you have the agility to do so. The mattress was plenty comfortable and even the sitting-up headspace while the bed is made is perfectly fine and not claustrophobia-inducing. The lighting throughout is pleasant with light switches located conveniently.
The versatile dinette is a nice feature. It can be used as a great seating area at the table for two - or even four people if you wanted to get cozy. The table mounts are easy enough to loosen, tighten, remove, or replace. I enjoyed always having a place to sit, even if the other seat was occupied with “stuff.” I always had a table available to me when it was set up in this mode. So, even if I wasn’t eating, I could have a table available for scouring my road atlas (a favorite pastime while on the road), or perhaps working with a laptop or a tablet (especially for those who want to work from the road), writing my memoir, or fancying a card or a board game.
The dinette is quite easy to convert to a sofa or an extra bed. As a side sleeper and someone who is under six feet tall, I think I wouldn’t mind spending a night or two sleeping on this extra bed. I mostly preferred the dinette mode, with access to the table, which easily shifted to the side to create more space if needed. I also found a place under the table to “seatbelt” my Berkey water filter onto the metal grid that serves as a wall to one of the cubby areas. Mostly out of the way and secure for travel.
The short wheelbase and maneuverability of the shorty Promaster (1500) is a dream and is great to drive! The backup camera provides great visibility, especially with my trick of cleaning it off with a water squirt bottle with the nozzle set on ‘stream’ vs. ‘spray.’ Works great for removing road grime that can hinder your ability to see the backup camera screen well, without you having to break your neck to get up there and physically clean it off.
Overall, in a van chassis, I would appreciate more clearance, allowing more access and explorability (I reserve the right to make up my own words) for those dirt roads to the unknown that are beckoning us in the great outdoors - that’s what drew me to the Revel! An engine with a little more oomph would also put me more at ease. But on pavement and gentle dirt roads, the Solis Pocket handles like a champ.
Off-Grid Power Options
As someone who camps off-grid and away from campgrounds 98% of the time, without the need to plug in, the Solis Pocket fits the bill pretty well. Personally, I have no use for the A/C, which would require either a separate generator or an outlet to plug into. I find these units noisy and excessive. If it’s too hot for me, then I’m in the wrong place and need to move! Being used to having an inverter at my fingertips, and also almost never plugging in, I would be at a loss for being able to charge and use appliances that require a 110V outlet. However, USB outlets are well-supplied in this van.
Final Thoughts on My Road Test of the Solis Pocket
This would be a perfect van for a single person or a couple, or even a small family. From full-time living to use as a weekend camper: taking the kids to soccer games, a day at the ski resort (warm up in the van for an inexpensive lunch away from the lodge), tailgating, or any type of outdoor sport and gear-hauling. There is nothing I love more than coming back to my warm van after a day of skiing, hiking, snowshoeing, and being able to change into warm, dry clothing, and having a hot meal. It’s so comforting! Top it all off with a nap, and the van has paid for itself!
As a full-time van dweller, I loved the layout of this van, enjoyed the spaciousness of it, and found all of its systems easy to use.
Learn more about the Solis Pocket here (including a video tour).