Claerbouts Roadtrek RV

Roadtrek and me in Death Valley (bigger pic)

Why buy a small RV when bigger ones are cheaper? The answer is found in WORLD OIL: Reserves, Production, Politics and Prices.

Our RV is a '96 Roadtrek (club), (dealers), made in Canada.

With a little exaggeration and lots of good humor it is like a two bedroom apartment with a kitchen/bathroom in between. Middle can be open or closed to front or back.

21 foot length fills an American parking place with no moving space. I park adjacent to driveways, corners, or in diagonal spots. At 8.5 ft high it cannot enter most parking structures. Basically a Chevrolet, width of a standard van, like the widest cars. I averaged 13.9 miles per gallon in the first 50,000 miles.

The rear is a comfortable king-sized bed or (theoretically) a dinette. It is wide enough for us to sleep crossways (but we sleep lengthways). Fits two adults and a child. We never use it as a dinette and threw away the dinette fittings because the front works better for that.

The front has four comfortable seats which fold into two narrow beds (acceptable but not very comfortable). The four seats can be faced towards a cloverleaf pedestal table which is usually packed away to ease walking around.

The middle is a kitchen. It becomes a bathroom when you open the closet (and close the doors to the front and back.) The middle has a two burner stove, sink, microwave, refrigerator, comfortable toilet, and shower. I can stand up in the bathroom/kitchen and front dining area. Propane for fridge, hot water, and space heater. Fridge runs on either propane, 110vac, or 12vdc. (After 10 years the 12vdc gave out and we didn't fix it because the propane works just fine while driving.)

When boondocking (no 110 current) we cannot use the microwave or the roof AC. Roof exhaust fan keeps it amazingly cool inside, like under a shade tree. Coach battery adequate for lights and fans (fridge on propane). We have no TV or awning. Being careful, we seem to go about a week between attending the water tanks. (When my spouse is not along I seem to be able go a month between attending water tanks :-)

I added 110vac option to the hot water heater and another reading light. We carry a conventional 110vac toaster and small electric space heater.

I purchased an inflatable kayak (Aire Super Lynx) that rolls into a bundle 14 inches diameter and 36 inches long that fits in running board storage.

Acquired in September '95. Gone about 40,000 miles and 145 overnights. We avoid freezing conditions.


The black water shut off valve was defective and more than once left me embarrassingly soiled. Grrr. The second dealer who replaced it did the job right.

The Fedders cabin AC did not work when new. It has been repaired. It worked for a little while, then stopped working again. It seems that the refrigerant gas leaks out. Recharging it (a $600 repair) is only a temporary solution.

Unreasonably touchy propane and CO2 detectors fixed by the dealer. (Gave me cutoff switches. Later rumor this was a wiring problem.)

Coming from factory, two doors had very bad rain leaks. This was fixed under warrantee. Well fixed, I might add, at the Junction City OR dealership.

Makeshift arrangement for waste baskets.

I'd prefer a bigger black water tank and smaller grey water tank. Better yet, use grey water for toilet flushing.

We'd prefer upholstering that was suitable for kids, dogs, fishermen, etc.

Chevy seems to get worse gas mileage than Dodge (if I can believe the Dodge owners) :-) Dodge people also seem to have a lot more expensive mechanical problems, especially handling and transmission, so I hear.

Inexpensive items that should have been built in that I got in the aftermarket are (1) the electric water heater (alternate to the propane) and (2) an electric space heater.

About 2003 I realized that I wanted an electrical outlet that would recharge a computer, camera, and videocam. I hear Roadtrek includes that now. I had mine upgraded by "Happy Vans" in San Jose, CA. I now have a 12 volt DC outlet behind the driver seat that plugs into a "commonly available" 12 volt DC to 120 volt AC converter called an "inverter". Happy Vans replaced my sewage hose and gave me this wiring for the bargain price of $90 (cash).