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RT38: Energy Self-Sufficiency is the Future of Class B RVing

| Updated Jun 3, 2015

Our trip west could have turned out much different were it not for the technology that makes RVs like ours energy self sufficient – the kind of tech that provides a look into the future of Class B RVing.

We can boondock pretty much anywhere, anytime.

Case in Point: We didn't have a reservation for one of the campgrounds near Grand Canyon and would've been stuck waiting forever to get one instead of enjoying everything this amazing landmark has to offer.

But with a Roadtrek CS Adventurous XL from the Roadtrek factory that uses the latest and greatest technology, no room in the campground meant no problem for us. We just found an “off-the-grid” place in a nearby national forest – free, by the way – and set up camp. We had all the power we needed, and then some.

In fact, we later moved on to Zion National Park – the place where we recorded this episode of the Roadtreking RV Lifestyle podcast – and though we were in a National Park campground, the lack of electric hookups there was no big deal for us because we have the ability to bring our own power, thanks to a rooftop full of solar panels and a bank of high-energy, fast-charging and high-efficiency lithium-ion batteries.

You should have seen my fellow campers scratch their heads over how I made my fresh-brewed coffee every morning and how we had enough battery power to run our air conditioner all afternoon the day the temperature soared to triple digits.

Boondocking like we so often do is exactly the kind of thing Roadtrek President Jim Hammill says represents the future of Class B RVing. He is the featured guest on this week's podcast and talked to me before we headed west about the future of the Class B small motorhome lifestyle. Among other things, Jim and I discuss:

  • Why the Class B RV market is booming
  • The role technology has in the boom
  • How  changing RVing demographics help shape the market
  • How technology like solar power is allowing people to find and camp in more places
  • How lithium-ion batteries will change the RV industry
  • Why you may someday never even need to take a power cord with you RVing
  • Why you may never have to deal with dead batteries at some point
  • Some of the new features that will be available on next model year Roadtreks
  • If green RVing products like solar-powered ovens are actually viable alternatives to the way things have always been done

Also on this week's episode we talk traveling with pets, recommend travel apps, have news about U.S. National Parks and another anti-RV law, and have a big announcement about a big Roadtreking event set for August.


Show Notes for Episode #38, June 3, 2015, of Roadtreking – The RV Lifestyle Podcast:

First Things First: Checking in from Zion National Park in Utah

Mike and Jennifer Wendland begin the show by bringing us up to speed on where they are in there tour of the western part of the United States.

Listener Question: Is It Possible to RV Solo With a Dog?

Listener Judy asks about traveling in an RV with a dog while alone. Mike and Jennifer talk about the challenges it does present – and also about how rewarding it can be to share RVing experiences with your favorite pet.

Listener Question: Best Navigation Apps?

A listener asks about what navigation apps Mike and Jennifer use while RVing around North America

Sponsoring this part of the podcast is Van City RV in St. Louis, Mo.
Van City RV only sells Class B. RVs. Owner Ray Dwyer has been in the RV business for 44 years and is considered the dean of Class B RVs. Nobody knows more about small motorhomes that Ray and his crew. They have new and used Class B motorhomes in stock from the major manufacturers. When you fly in to buy your RV from Van City, they'll arrange to have you picked up from the airport and will reimburse you $500 toward your airfare. Then, your RV will be fully prepared for travel, complete with full tanks of fuel and propane. After a complete orientation with their staff on your new RV, you can take delivery and set out for home. Dan the Van Man gives the week's specials on the podcast.


RV News of the Week: National Park Reservations, Anti-RV Laws, Roadtreking's Big NASCAR Event

National Parks Reservations: Extreme interest in U.S. National Parks – like the kind that led to a closure of Arches National Park in Utah during Memorial Day weekend – is leading to a discussion over how to handle. One option is requiring a reservation to even enter a National Park. (Read more)

Another Anti-RV Law: Blasdell, New York has enacted a law that limits on-street RV parking to four hours. (Read more)

The Roadtreking Motorsports and Music Weekend:  We just announced the Roadtreking Motorsports and Music weekend. Coming Aug. 14-16 at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich., this three-day event is jam-packed with all kinds of racing and music. But spots are limited and going fast. (Read more)

This portion of the podcast is brought to you by Alde, the only name in heat that you need to know for your RV.

. The Alde hydroponic system brings many features and benefits not found with any other product.

  1. Silent Radiant Heat – providing a warm even natural heated interior. Great for pets. (And Humans)
  2. Increased Interior Space by combining two systems in one.
  3. Efficiency. The whole system draws less than 1 amp on 12V DC and will extend the life of your propane roughly 40% over forced air.
  4. Heating on Electric or Gas.
  5. Multiple Options and Amenities: Towel Warmers, Floor Heat, Tank Heating, 4 Season Camping, Engine Heat, Driver Comfort,
  6. Modern Programable Color Touch Screen Thermostat and Interface
  7. Minimal Side-Wall Penetration. Small combined intake and exhaust eliminate big cut outs and sidewall congestion.

Traveling Tech: Breathe New Life Into Your Old Computer

Before you spring for a new computer, Mike talks about how you can breathe new life into your old one using just a few tips, including uninstalling old software and a couple of free, simple programs that really get rid of the junk you don't need. (Read more)

This podcast is brought to you by Verizon Wireless, the nation’s largest and most reliable 4G LTE network.

The LG G4 is coming to Verizon! Last week, Verizon announced customers can begin pre-ordering LG’s newest flagship before it arrives in stores this tomorrow, June 4.

Mark your calendars and make sure to visit your local Verizon retailer to take the LG G4 for a test drive. Here’s a preview of what you can expect:

  • Stay social. The LG G4’s camera comes complete with powerful features and contains everything you need to create stunning, share-worthy images.
  • Enhance your mobile experience: Streaming videos on an HD display or uploading selfies to social media works best on a phone that’s connected to a network with both speed and The LG G4 is XLTE-ready with the benefits of faster peak speeds and greater network capacity than ever before.
  • Stay charged longer: Stay charged with the long-lasting, removable 3,000 mAh battery, and a battery saving function that helps to extend the life of your phone.
  • Stream more, share more, store more. Experience quick multitasking, smooth graphics and fast app performance with the optimized 1.8 GHz hexa-core processor. And, get more storage with a microSD slot for up to 200 GB of extra space.For a limited time, customers who purchase the LG G4 can get a $100 bill credit, applied within 2-3 billing cycles when you bring your number to Verizon and activate a new smartphone on Verizon Edge.

Visit for stories about how technology can enhance and improve your life.


The Grandest of RV Bucket List Destinations: Grand Canyon

GC12 (1 of 1)Mike and Jennifer report from the north rim of the Grand Canyon, where they say it's now clear why Grand Canyon is at or near the top of most RV bucket list destinations. They talk about camping near Grand Canyon, offer some thoughts on hiking, and provide detail about taking a dog. To read Mike's blog post – and to see many great photos he took – check out this post on the Roadtreking website:


This part of the podcast is brought to you by Leisure Time RV, serving central Florida and the Internet from Winter Garden, Fla.

  • One of the oldest Roadtrek dealers in U.S – Family-owned and 45 years in business;
  • Selling Roadtreks over 25 years;
  • Consistently among top 10 Roadtrek dealers in U.S.;
  • Fully-stocked parts store- Factory-preferred parts dealership for Roadtrek (see Maureen!);
  • Knowledgeable staff /sales/service. (general sales manager and one of top salespersons both own Roadtreks).
  • Convenient location – Destination location in Florida;
  • Full-line Roadtrek inventory;
  • Leisure Time RV supports Roadtrek Rallys;
  • Pet friendly dealership;
  • Member, Route 66 RV Network – National Service Network;
  • Accessible Management / Friendly Staff;
  • Factory-trained staff;
  • Free overnight camping available;
  • Free WiFi;
  • Comfortable customer lounge;
  • Free airport shuttles;
  • Thorough product demonstrations;
  • Two convenient camping resorts within minutes of Leisure Time RV.
  • Convenient dining and shopping options nearby;
  • Dealerships specializes in fuel-efficient RVs;
  • Air-conditioned showroom.

Interview: Jim Hammill, President, Roadtrek Motorhomes

Alternative green products like these solar panels will change the RVing industry.
Alternative green products like these solar panels will change the RVing industry.

Mike talks to Roadtreking President Jim Hammill about the future of Class B RVing and the way technology will change the entire motorhome industry.


Please Subscribe and Give Us a Rating and Review!

Many listeners are asking how they can subscribe, review and rate the Roadtreking Podcast on iTunes. With a new podcast like this, those reviews and ratings are really important to be able to show well in the iTunes listings. So if you can, I’d sure appreciate it if you’d subscribe and leave me your review.

Here’s how:

How to subscribe, rate and review a podcast

First, open up the iTunes app on your computer or mobile device. Click on Podcasts up on the top
> From the iTunes Podcasts page, use the “Search Store” field up at the top right corner of the page. Type in Mike Wendland or Roadtreking RV Podcast.
> Click on the logo image of the Roadtreking RV Podcast on the search return page
> From there (see photo above), you can…

1) Subscribe

2) Choose and Click on a star (1-5) that reflects your rating. Five stars means you really like it, one star not so much.

3) Leave a written review.

Thanks to all for the kind reviews we’ve received so far. That got us noticed by Apple/iTunes as “New and Noteworthy.” I appreciate every review!

And remember, you can appear in future episodes. Ask a question or voice your comments about RV topics by clicking the Leave Voicemail tab on the right side of this page here at You can then use the microphone on your computer to record your words.


Mike Wendland

Published on 2015-06-03

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

2 Responses to “RT38: Energy Self-Sufficiency is the Future of Class B RVing”

June 14, 2015at5:15 pm, Michael R. Reynolds said:

Hi Mike,
We are planning on purchasing a 2016 CS with the etrek up-grade. Based on what you said in this podcast, the lithium batteries make sense, even if they are pricy. But how many amp hours do we really need, particularly if the batteries are so quickly recharged, using 650 watts of solar charging capacity? If I understand what you were saying, you have 16,000 amp hours in your set up. Do I really need that much? Is there a good way to calculate how much I need? Also, Jim was talking about your rig’s batteries having 20,000 watt hours, which I assume means storage capacity – is that different from amp hours?
Enjoying working my way through all of your podcasts. Thanks for all of the advice and interesting info. Best Regards,

June 10, 2015at6:32 pm, Roger Bohnke said:

Outstanding podcast! One of the best yet!

Comments are closed.

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