Why I bought a Winnebago Revel?
Updated: Nov 16, 2019
Stars. I bought a Winnebago Revel because of the stars. No, not some interpretation of my zodiac sign and the alignment of the moons. It's much simpler than that, I most like camping when it's under the stars, in remote places, UN-tainted by too many people, or city lights. The rest of my decision process cascades from this single truth.
You see, several years ago I decided to get out and enjoy the outdoors more. I bought a tiny shiny Airstream trailer and began finding my way around the state of Washington. I explored the Olympic Peninsula, the Cascade mountains, and the Oregon beaches. All the time I sought out the comfort of established campgrounds where I had to make my reservations months in advance.
With each trip, I began to enjoy the campgrounds less and less. Tight campsites with little privacy from your neighbors, early morning children crying right next to your window, late night drunkards getting rowdy till 4am with no rangers in sight. It's all part of the campground experience, and for me, started to erode my enjoyment of the outdoors.
I started to research boon-docking, aka dispersed camping, as an alternative to the established state-run campgrounds. The tiny-shiny trailer was perfect for remote camping. It had everything I needed, even for an extended stay. I had water, a restroom, a shower, a kitchen, it really wasn't roughing it at all. I changed up the systems to rely on solar power and a generator, and I was all set to give it a try.
Now, I have to admit that I was intimidated at first by the thought of just going out on my own to some desolate piece of land and setting up camp. But I did it. The first time out I found myself in the Wenatchee Forest half way up a hillside just off a forest service road overlooking a mountain with view of a glacier. That night I found my happy place. Simply sitting out under the stars, a fire burning, my dog by my side, and a cool beverage in my hand.
I was hooked and I sought out more and more places to boon-dock and loved it. I carefully planned each location, I made sure the roads were good enough for my rig and trailer. You see, the Airstream has minimal clearance and there is a lot to damage under there if you aren't careful.
As I started getting more comfortable with boondocking, I quickly started to reach the limits of the SUV pulling the Airstream. Many of the roads we just couldn't navigate due to deep ruts, protruding rocks and the shallowest of puddles. And the 35'+ vehicle combination length made it difficult to turn around if you did find yourself in a bind.
After a multi-month trip down to Southern California and finding the magic of places like Blair Valley in Azna Borrego park (pic above), I wanted more. I wanted more opportunities to go beyond the developed campground (and still be in comfort of course!).
So I sold the Airstream and began looking for a new setup that would meet my requirements to camp under the stars in remote places. Here is what become my must have list...
* Ability to get off the beaten path to explore dispersed camping (meaning high clearance)
* Ability to dry camp for up to 5 days at a time, completely self contained (for 2 people)
* Ability to take a shower at least twice during a 5 day outing (for 2 people)
* Ability to easily navigate parking lots in urban areas as well as the twists and turns of back-country unimproved roads.
* Plenty of space for gear, bikes, firewood, and dogs of course.
I looked at many different options including teardrop off road trailers, a wide variety of Class Bs and bunch of custom outfitters. The Revel started to grab my interest. I joined an amazing Facebook group (Winnebago Revel 4x4) and watched the conversations of others. It was inspiring. I saw that others doing exactly what I aspired to do. And it's real owners talking about real challenges, so I saw the good, the bad, and the usual with RVs. The group was tremendously helpful in setting my expectations.
So then I got serious and the Revel easily checked off all the items on my list. Yet, the price tag definitely made me do a double take. So I ventured to a dealer to have a gander in person. And when I got to experience the Winnebago Revel in person, I felt connected to it. It felt like it was the right rig for my truth. And with that I justified the cost to myself and made a deal to buy one. It's not an appreciating investment, but it's an investment in my soul, and it's an investment that will enable me to be the explorer I want to be.
So that's my journey on getting to the Revel decision. I choose the Revel to get me out into the wild where I can get lost in the stars, and explore this amazing country around us, off the beaten path of course.
Get out. Get Muddy.