And the Winners Are …
MotorHome readers select their favorite RV products and services
In our never-ending search for the best RV products and services, the most obvious place to start is, of course, the Internet (Isn’t it always?). Select a subject, click through to a review site and, voila!, the answers to all your queries are at your fingertips. Or are they?
True, sites like Yelp and Angie’s List are an effective measure of worldwide popularity, but do they really reflect how your specific experience is going to be? So much of what we love as RVers and about RVing is subjective; nobody knows RVs like an RVer. And when it comes down to it, how much in common do we really have with a 19-year-old college student with pink hair and a pet iguana?
In our opinion, the best way to harvest other people’s suggestions for RV-related paraphernalia is to begin with a population of similarly minded peers who at least have a common background in the subject matter. That’s why we hold our annual Readers’ Choice Awards poll, and invite you — our readers, avid enthusiasts of all things motorhome — to vote on your favorite RV products, services and destinations. As always, we list the top three positions in each category, with the winners of each awarded the coveted MotorHome Readers’ Choice Awards Gold medal.
Class A Motorhome
Gold: Tiffin Motorhomes
Tiffin is a family-run business in Red Bay, Alabama. The manufacturer is responsible for some of the top Class A motorhomes in the industry, including the Phaeton, the Zephyr and the Allegro series. The Allegro pictured here is one of Tiffin’s more popular models, featuring handcrafted cabinetry, energy-efficient lighting and a seamless windshield.
Class B Motorhome
Gold: Winnebago Industries
Winnebago’s Class B Touring Coach models include the Era and Travato, which combine many of the amenities found in larger coaches with the easy-driving, higher-mpg attributes of a family van. The Travato shown here is built on the Ram ProMaster chassis and is available in two floorplans, the 59K and 59G, with optional bike and kayak racks.
Winnebago Industries | (641)585-3535 | www.winnebagoind.com
Silver: Leisure Travel Vans
(877) 992-9906 | www.leisurevans.com
Bronze (tie): Roadtrek
(800) 537-1885 |
Bronze (tie): Winnebago
(888) ROADTREK | www.roadtrek.com
Class C Motorhome
Gold: Winnebago Industries
Winnebago offers eight families of Class C’s, from the Mercedes-Benz-based View to the larger family-friendly Spirit models. The iconic Minnie Winnie, shown above, is available in five floorplans and features flexible sleeping accommodations and larger rear-trunk storage, making it a great choice for families as well. Plus, the Minnie Winnie comes in at a friendly price.
Dinghy Auxiliary Braking System
Gold: SMI Manufacturing
Auxiliary braking systems are a must when towing a dinghy, and SMI offers three popular products — the Air Force One, Stay-IN-Play DUO and the Delta Force. All SMI systems come with a 5-year warranty and are made in the USA. 800-893-3763, www.smibrake.com.
Gold: Honda CR-V
The CR-V has been a favorite among RVers, and is the gold-medal winner for 2015 even though it is no longer dinghy-towable. Beginning with the 2015 model, Honda switched to the continuously variable automatic transmission and no longer offers a manual, flat-towable version. RVers looking to take advantage of the CR-V’s dinghy-towable prowess need to find an appropriately outfitted 2014 or earlier model. , www.automobiles.honda.com
Gold: Lucas Oil Products
Lucas Oil offers a variety of lubricants and fuel additives for motorhomes and dinghy vehicles. From fuel treatments to motor oil and everything in between, the company has been a favorite among RVers for many years. Popular products include engine-oil stop leak, oil stabilizer and injector cleaners.
Gold: Pilot Flying J
Pilot Flying J is the largest operator of travel centers and travel plazas in North America, with more than 650 retail locations, 52 Goodyear Commercial Tire and Service Centers, and 44 Boss Shops. It also has more than 4,400 diesel lanes with diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) available at the pump.
Thetford’s line of holding-tank products controls odors and keeps valves clean. Aqua-Kem offers the most powerful odor control available (100 percent biodegradable), and is designed to liquefy waste and break down tissue fast to prevent clogging. Eco-Smart products provide extended odor control and quickly break down and liquefy waste and tissue to prevent clogs.
Gold: Carefree of Colorado
Carefree of Colorado has been designing and manufacturing awnings for more than 40 years. The company focuses on the design and development of RV awnings and related comfort and convenience products, and claims that its commitment to quality, value, performance and style is what sets it apart from the competition.
Gold: Freightliner Custom Chassis
Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. combines advanced technology and engineering with premium components and exceptional workmanship to deliver some of the more popular motorhome chassis on the road today. Offerings include pairings with Allison transmissions; air suspensions, shocks and equalizer beams; a 60-degree wheel cut; and 9-inch frame construction.
Gold: 5 Star Tuning
Specializing in custom tuning for motorhomes and other RV applications, 5 Star Tuning unlocks an engine’s hidden potential with more horsepower, additional torque and increased efficiency, resulting in an improved driving experience. The family-owned business provides custom tuning products and services so RVers can tackle the latest road trip in confidence.
5 Star Tuning | (843) 536-1244 | www.5startuning.com
Silver: Banks Power
(800) 601-8072 | www.bankspower.com
Bronze (tie): Snow Performance
(866) 365-2762| www.snowperformance.net
Bronze (tie): Henderson’s Line-up Brake & RV
(541) 955-0769| www.hendersonslineup.com
Gold: Interstate Batteries
All those bells and whistles in your motorhome obviously need power to operate, from starting the engine to running the appliances with or without hookups. Interstate Batteries offers 6-volt deep-cycle, starting, dual-purpose and sealed AGM batteries. Interstate’s website features an interactive battery selector to help you find the right product for your coach.
(866) 842-5368 | www.interstatebatteries.com
Silver: Trojan Battery Company
800-423-6569 | www.trojanbattery.com
Bronze (tie): Exide Technologies
(678) 566-9000 | www.exide.com
Bronze (tie): Lifeline Batteries
Bronze (tie): Optima Batteries
(888) 867-8462| www.optimabatteries.com
Gold: Disney’s Fort Wilderness
That famous Disney magic isn’t confined to theme parks, and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort is proof that RVs and Mickey Mouse are a great match. The resort includes a pool with waterslide, archery, horseback riding and canoeing, among other opportunities. Of course, you can always venture into one or more of the nearby world-famous parks for even more fun.
RV Casino Resort
Gold: Pechanga RV Resort
Rated 10/10*/10 by the Good Sam Club, Pechanga RV Resort is just steps away from Pechanga Resort & Casino, the largest resort/casino in California. RVers staying at the resort can enjoy the amenities the entire casino/resort has to offer, including 11 restaurants, a spa and a championship golf course.
Pechanga Resort & Casino | 877-711-2946 www.pechanga.com
Silver: Seven Feathers RV Resort
(541) 839-3599 | www.sevenfeathersrvresort.com
Bronze (tie): Hollywood Casino Tunica
(800) 822-9466 | www.hollywoodcasinotunica.com
Bronze (tie): Turning Stone Resort Casino/The Villages RV Park
(800) 771-7711 | www.turningstone.com
RV Cleaning Product
A motorhome is a major investment, so it’s important to keep it clean and looking good. Meguiar’s offers cleaners for components ranging from tires and wheels to upholstery to the exterior. The Boat/RV Rinse Free Wash & Wax is a great way to restore a coach’s shine in campgrounds that don’t allow conventional washing; just spray it on and wipe clean for a high-gloss finish.
ADCO RV covers are produced in universal and custom configurations in a variety of outdoor fabrics. ADCO’s core products are what the company refers to as Designer Series RV Covers, available in SFS AquaShed and the new, wind-resistant DuPont Tyvek RV model. ADCO began making the universal-fit RV cover nearly 30 years ago and remains dedicated to providing a quality product with cutting-edge features.
(800) 541-ADCO | www.adcoprod.com
Silver: Camco Mfg.
(800) 334-2004 | www.camco.net
Bronze (tie): CalMark Cover Company
(800) 838-7236 | www.calmarkcovers.com
Bronze (tie): Empire Covers
888-872-6855 | www.empirecovers.com
RV Engine Oil
Gold: Mobil 1
Mobil 1 advanced full synthetic motor oils are designed to deliver performance and protection for all driving conditions. Mobil 1 oils help keep engines running like new by combating sludge and deposit buildup, reducing wear and controlling oil breakdown.
Gold: Cummins Onan
Cummins Onan RV generators have been powering the RV industry for more than 50 years. The Cummins Onan RV QG 5500 generator shown above features smooth operation and is the quietest in its class. The QG 5500 generates enough juice to power two air conditioners, with power to spare, according to the company.
Bronze (tie): Kohler
(800) 544-2444| www.kohlerpower.com
Norcold refrigerators are designed to handle the demands and rigors of the road. Manufactured in a variety of sizes, these models are made specifically for the RV lifestyle, and feature covered crispers with pop-up lids, full-width food and freezer compartments and full-width shelves.
800-543-1219 | www.thetford.com/products/refrigerators
Gold: Camping World
From interior cleaners to exterior waxes, and from RV add-ons to campsite decor, Camping World is the No. 1 destination for RVers. With locations across the country, chances are there’s a store near you. The fact that many also include an RV dealership makes Camping World a one-stop RV shopping destination.
(888) 626-7576 | www.campingworld.com
The Michelin XRV is an all-position radial tire designed specifically for RVs. This tire has a shallow, stable tread engineered with a cool running compound that generates lower heat for greater durability and improved handling. The wide grooves promote drainage efficiency to combat hydroplaning and help improve traction on wet surfaces.
Each Thetford model, from the finest porcelain to the most economical, has thoughtful ergonomic features designed to assure RVers a comfortable, elegant and trouble-free toilet. They’re built to last while on the road, along with water-saving features and ease of use.
Bring your favorite shows on the road with you using satellite hardware from Winegard. With antennas of every style — stationary, roof-mounted and portable — and compatibility with all the major players — DirecTV, DISH Network, Shaw Direct and Bell TV — Winegard takes home the gold in this category.
DirecTV offers services for RVs that allow subscribers to enjoy satellite programming on the road. With specialty mobile equipment you can receive most of the same programming you would at home. That includes all your favorite channels, premiums and basic, and high-definition and DVR services. You even have the option of in-motion service with the proper equipment.
Gold: Cracker Barrel
If you’re looking for a hot, home-cooked meal without the messy post-meal cleanup, Cracker Barrel has just the thing. Serving breakfast (try the apple and cinnamon oatmeal), lunch (half-pound hamburger, anyone?) and dinner (savory meatloaf or a 10-ounce rib-eye), Cracker Barrel is a favorite stopover for RVers. Be sure to check out the adjoining Old Country store for an eclectic mix of souvenirs.
State in Which to RV
RVing affords the freedom to travel anywhere, but more MotorHome readers prefer to RV in the Sunshine State than any other. And why not? In addition to the well-known theme parks and white, sandy beaches, Florida offers adventure in a variety of ecosystems, from swamplands to forests, in addition to boating, swimming and world-class golfing destinations.
Tire-Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS)
Minder Research has introduced two new models of its popular TireMinder TPMS, the TM66 and the A1A. Each is designed with a 3.25-inch screen, making it easy to determine where a pressure or temperature issue is occurring at a glance. TireMinder also offers single-tire control, meaning users can control and manipulate the system on a tire-to-tire basis. The TireMinder can monitor up to 22 sensors.
Gold: Blue Ox
Blue Ox offers a number of tow bars to make the dinghy-towing process easier. The Avail provides an improved turning radius for better cornering. Its nonbinding latch design releases easily under any conditions. The Avail features a no-interference, low-profile handle design, allowing RVers to maneuver around gas station pumps with greater ease, while keeping the dinghy safely away from the motorhome in tight turns.
Gold: Demco Kar Kaddy
Demco pioneered car dollies in the RV market in the early 1980s, and today continues to add to its well-respected legacy of popular car dollies. Dollies such as the Kar Kaddy offer features such as steerable axles, sealed hubs and galvanized or painted frames.