Winnovation: Upgrading to a New-to-Us Winnebago View
Like espresso drinks, Netflix shows, and shoes, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to RVs. The RV that makes a perfect home for you may not suit the next person, whether due to vehicle length, floorplan, or integrated technology.
But what about the ways we change over time as individuals? The RV that was right for me five years ago may not suit my needs and travel goals today. It may sound hypothetical, but this really happened. After living and traveling full-time in a 2004 Tiffin Phaeton, my husband and I changed. We desperately wanted to escape private campgrounds and head into the wild. We wanted an RV that was smaller and more maneuverable.
So, we sold our first RV. After walking through virtually every Winnebago model on the market, we chose a 2016 Winnebago View 24J for our new home on wheels. Today I'm excited to compare the two RVs we've owned, with a focus on the "Winnovations" that caused us to make the big switch.
As far as total basement storage, it's unfair to pit a 40-foot Class A diesel against a 25-foot Class C! Having said that, my favorite innovation in our View 24J is the storage design underneath our corner bed. This large bay is actually accessible from inside and outside.
The irregular shape of the bay gives us tons of options for what we want to store there. And whatever we put there, we don't have to go outside to get it in bad weather. While its basement may have been the size of a clubhouse, our 2004 Tiffin lacked an innovative storage bay like this.
As far as our utility connections, Winnebago has incorporated thoughtful design to make connecting, disconnecting, and emptying more intuitive. I'm embarrassed to admit that we never flushed the black tank in our Tiffin in almost five years of travel. It was something we always meant to do, but never got to because it felt like such an involved chore.
Winnebago's product team had us in mind. Our View 24J comes with a black tank flush. Open the valve on the side of the RV, connect a hose (not your potable water hose!), and clean your black tank with fresh water. It doesn't get much easier than that - a simple way to avoid buildup in your black tank.
There are two ways to refill your fresh water tank in the View. There's the traditional spigot inside the wet bay (we bought a $25 extension that makes the connection easier in the confined space). But there's also a second fill location on the side of the View, which doesn't require bending down or shifting items around inside the wet bay.
We find this second water valve especially handy when we're filling up with water between dry camping locations. All in all, two valves gives double the options -- a design that gives us as owners the ability to choose what works best for us.
If you're a regular WinnebagoLife reader, then you're familiar with dual-pane acrylic windows. Where have these windows been all my life? In our Tiffin, the tracks were a monster to clean. In fact, it didn't matter how hard I tried, I never could keep the debris away. And dry camping in Moab with the windows open? It was grindy business to get the windows opened and closed over the grains of red sand.
While dirt can still get into our View, the finer mesh of the screen does keep the dust down. And since the windows open from the top, there's no track to keep clean. Add to all of this the incredible insulation and security from the latching system, and this window design is far superior to what we've experienced before.
I'm driving a spaceship.
Okay, a little backstory...By the time we sold our 40-foot Tiffin, I was the only one who drove it. While I was comfortable after nearly five years, the keen observer would've noticed me hopping a curb every now and then.
I can't even express the excitement I felt when I drove our View for the first time. We'd been living in this new home for a few days, but putting it in motion gave me the most excited butterflies I'd had since we purchased it.
It's SO easy to drive. And what do all these buttons do? In a passenger vehicle, that auxiliary cord to my cell phone has been around a long time. But being able to connect my phone to an RV is a magical treat. And really, that method is so 2010. The Winnebago View has Bluetooth capability now (and even an artificial intelligence voice interface in the newest 2020 View).
Beyond the dynamic audio system (also Sirius XM-equipped, by the way), I oddly love the "speed warning" alarm. It's not just a dash light or beep. My RV actually talks to me, kindly chiding me for exceeding the speed limit in that sleepy town I'm passing through.
I'm not gonna lie: I'm still getting used to downsizing from a queen bed to a full-size. But the corner bed in our Winnebago View 24J has two industry-leading advances worth pointing out.
The first is the FROLI sleep system (note: not available on all models/floorplans). This under-mattress design gives the illusion of a boxspring, while taking up a fraction of the space and weight.
The second advance is the adjustable height of the mattress, allowing you and/or your partner to sit up in bed to read or watch television. While we don't find ourselves using this feature much, it's a nice option to have.
I love the View's stainless-steel double sink, energy-efficient fridge, and impressively tall cabinets. But the most noticeable innovation over our Tiffin is the Dometic stove. When they aren't in use, the two propane burners hide under a cover that lies flush with the rest of the countertop.
At mealtime, the lifted cover acts as an easy-clean splatter shield. The recessed burner area, also stainless steel, avoids unnecessary grooves. So, wiping it all down is a breeze.
Layout and Livability
We live in a 25-foot RV with a two-year-old boy. From the outside, it looks impossible. But on the inside, the space in the Winnebago View 24J is a work of genius. With only one retractable slide, we're given tons of floor space for Legos and race cars. The large table is often covered with Play-Doh and coloring books.
In our Tiffin, we could access the fridge, kitchen, and cabinets with the slide in. But it wasn't fun - a constant traffic jam and fairly stressful to deal with when we were camping in parking lots. The View 24J is a different story. Sure, we lose floor space when the slide is in. But there's still some room to play, and we aren't constantly tripping over each other. The huge U-shaped dinette helps a lot.
2004 Tiffin Phaeton interior (left), 2016 Winnebago View interior (right)
Dry Camping Setup
The real life changer between our two RVs has been the dry camping setup. The 2016 Winnebago View 24J comes standard with a 100-watt Zamp solar system. Thanks to Zamp's pre-wired plug, our View was maxed out by the previous owners at 420 watts of solar power. We also have upgraded AGM batteries to capture the upgraded power coming from the roof.
The world has opened up to us, allowing us the freedom to explore wild spaces, like Coconino National Forest outside Sedona, AZ.
As our style of travel changed, we outgrew our 40-foot Class A diesel RV. Downsizing to the Winnebago View 24J and its technological advances has been a game-changer for us. Everywhere we turn, during the most mundane daily tasks, our quality of life is improved by innovations like dual-pane acrylic windows and the FROLI sleep system.
Parts of RV life that used to be stressful, like moving day and conserving power while dry camping, are now fun and empowering. With each Winnebago View model that's released, we get more and more excited about how Winnebago is leading the industry.
While our 2016 View is new to us, Winnebago has made even more innovative changes to the most recent models. For example, the 2020 View includes the new infotainment system with an AI voice interface and advanced safety features (like brake assist and active lane keeping assist), and a new, innovative SuperShell™ Sleeper Deck that provides premium thermal and acoustic insulation for a lighter and more comfortable front bunk. Plus, added storage options, improved kitchen appliances, and increased livability.
What innovations do you love the most in your Winnebago?