We’ve talked about a Sprinter van or some other small camper for quite a while. Since we’ve lived in two RVs already, we have clear musts and must-nots.
If it’s a towable, it would have to be something small and light enough to drag behind the Audi since we don’t want to go truck shopping.
Less is more. Say it. Say it again. And say it one last time. We had to keep reminding ourselves that this is for camping and playing in, not for living in. We got spoiled by the accoutrements in our Travel Supreme Select and Tiffin Phaeton, but we realize that fit and finish give way for light and relatively inexpensive.
After much research over the few lightweight camper models that are out there, we decided that we liked the Forest River R-Pod for several reasons:
- Weight – they have 8 or so floor plans that are easily towed by the Audi.
- Slideout – add a little extra space without expanding the trailering footprint.
- Community – the R-Pods have a huge fan base and loyalty that you don’t find in the other small rigs. We enjoyed the Tiffin community and support with our last rig.
Once we knew we wanted the R-Pod, it was easy to narrow down a model:
The No-Go List
- RP-192, RP-193, RP-195, RP-196, RP-202 – longer body and weigh too much.
- RP-171, RP-172, RP-176, RP-176T, RP-177, RP-178, RP-179, RP-191 – wet baths (the entire bathroom becomes the shower).
- RP-182G – Bunk beds.
- RP-189, RP-190 – center bath breaks up the floor plan and doesn’t feel as open.
The Short List
That leaves the RP-180.
Dry bath, open living area, and a RV (short) queen bed. We’ve always preferred chairs over dinette seats, but in a small space every bit of storage helps so the dinette bases make sense.
Then the problem becomes finding one.
Order a new one from the factory?
You can take delivery in August. Neither of us are good at waiting…
Find one at a dealer?
COVID-19 created a huge jump in demand for under-30k RVs as people realized that camping lets you travel AND social distance. Not a single one to be found nationwide.
The used market?
Even the used market is crazy. We knew if we went used it had to be 2020 or newer since they changed the wall structure from luan (a thin plywood-like board) to a composite called Azdel. No chance of rot, lighter, better soundproofing and a tiny bit better insulation.
We had a perfect 2020 at a dealer in Iowa – as we were talking to the sales guy, somebody showed up and bought it off the lot. Bah!
Finally we found a 2020 that was perfect for us. Except that it was in Mississippi! Phone calls, emails, and video with the owners, and we sent a deposit through. Now just to figure out how to get it.
We decided that a long road trip with two unknowns (brand new hitch and wiring on the Audi, plus the new-to-us trailer) was a bad idea, so we rented a monster SUV to make the trek.
Long and short, after 8 days, 3200+ miles and 7 states, LIL POD is sitting in the driveway getting snow dumped on it. We have a couple weeks worth of mods and upgrades before we do a test weekend or two, then set off on a 4,000+ mile, 4 week, 9 or 10 state road trip.
Stay tuned for Pod Mods and (finally) more travel photos!
Oh – and Mr Walsh…
We told you that there was culture to be found in Kansas – and here is photographic proof!
With A View
If the sign says it’s the largest, it MUST be!
The marker for the Geographic Center of the Continential United States.