We picked up a 2016 Trek motorhome to serve as our full-time home this past February in Florida. In some ways, it’s hard to believe these 6 months have flown by already. At the same time, it feels like it’s been much longer than half a year of adventures together – maybe because we’ve driven it from Florida to Alaska and put a whopping 10,000 miles under our tires already? That pace of travel has a tendency to skew anyone’s perception of time!

Why the Trek?

The marketing department at our Trek’s manufacturing company, Allied Recreation Group, reached out to us last fall when they heard we were selling our Airstream. It was perfect timing, because we were looking for our next home on wheels and they wanted someone who really travels to give this brand-new model (carrying the formerly-retired Trek name) a thorough real-life evaluation.

New Trek RV

It sounded like a unique experience to add to our travel repertoire, especially since we’d never driven or lived in a motorhome before this and were curious what it would be like. We wouldn’t have had that opportunity otherwise – at least not without taking the full plunge into ownership. It was a huge gamble, though: we’d never even driven a motorhome, and we were agreeing to live in one for a year? What if we hated it?

Now, before everyone starts commenting and emailing us saying “No fair, I have a travel blog – how do I get a free RV too?!” or starts scheming up ways to stalk and impress RV manufacturers, we do need to burst your bubble a bit and let you in on how it all really went down…

We’re not being sponsored. Of course we wish we were being paid to just drive around the continent and have fun adventures non-stop! No, we’re paying a fee to lease the Trek from ARG on a monthly basis, the same as you would a car lease.

We personally fund all our travel expenses, including gas and insurance, with our day jobs – the only exception being that ARG handles any routine maintenance and repairs on the RV, since they own it.

We most certainly aren’t being paid for a favorable review (a stipulation of ours when agreeing to do this), or a commission for helping them sell RVs. What follows in this review are our unfiltered-and-as-unbiased-as-possible personal experiences and opinions after using a 2016 Trek as our full-time home on wheels for half a year. We have nothing to gain or lose by giving our honest opinion here.

You might want to grab a drink and put up your feet at this point – this is going to be a long post!

The Loaner

Prior to picking up the Trek, we had a loaner motorhome from ARG for four and a half months while our Trek was being manufactured. Our loaner was a 28′ Fleetwood Storm Game Day Edition. When you combine the loaner we had from October-February and the Trek we had from February-September, we’re at one year of experience now living and traveling in a Class A motorhome.

Fleetwood Storm Game Day Edition
Our Fleetwood Storm Game Day edition loaner RV. It was a pretty tricked out tailgating machine, with a 50-inch outdoor TV, soundbar and subwoofer, electric grill, and mini fridge..but a bit too traditional looking inside and out for our style.

The Inaugural Voyage

If you know anything about us at all, you may have figured out that we’re a little crazier than most in how much ground we covered our first 2 years of nomadic road tripping, considering we’ve been moving a 26′-28′ wheeled house and our Jeep around with us the whole time. It was only natural then that we took our newfound responsibility as motorhome product testers to the extreme too – to do any less just wouldn’t be our style!

We drove our new Trek all the way from Tampa, Florida to Alaska, crossing a dream destination off the ol’ bucket list, and putting more miles on the Trek in 6 months than most people put on an RV in several years.

Trek RV in Alaska
Shhh…don’t tell anyone that we didn’t get our “Welcome to Alaska” photo until we were leaving Alaska 😉

We’d heard horror stories about the roads to Alaska destroying vehicles, so we fretted over whether we needed spare tires and breaker bars, roadside assistance, an air compressor that could handle RV tires, rock guards for our towed car – you name it, we were worried about it.

Trek RV Canada and Alaska
Trek-ing through the Canadian Rockies

As luck would have it, our worries were largely unfounded: we made it to Alaska and back with only a few minor things broken. One plastic drawer latch on our pots ‘n’ pans-filled dinette drawer, the mirror came unglued from our closet door but didn’t break, the 7-pin connector outlet stopped powering the lights on our towed vehicle (likely a loose connection somewhere that we weren’t able to find), an interior bracket on an emergency window came unglued, and we have a few new rock chips in the paint here and there from gravel roads.

Trek RV Goodyear tires
Nice job handling Alaska, Goodyear tires! They sure were dirty (there’s about a half inch of caked mud in that hubcap) but they performed great.

Most of the horror stories we’d heard about the roads up there weren’t as bad as we anticipated. There were still a few really bad sections, where there were enormous frost heaves and/or crazy dirt and gravel sections. This usually happened where the road was actively under construction, like this part:

Alaska road frost heaves

and this part…

The good:

We’ve been impressed overall with the quality of the Trek’s materials, given its price point at the lower end of the motorized RV spectrum (low $100’s), the general state of the RV industry’s building quality nowadays, and the rigorous test we’ve put it through.

Exterior

The engine: We really put it through its paces, and the gas 362 horsepower Ford V-10 Triton stood up to the test. We trucked it up many long 8-14% grades with no overheating. We towed our Jeep Grand Cherokee the entire time that’s almost at the RV’s towing limit, but never experienced a significant loss of power. We went slow and steady, like all motorhomes, but not exceptionally so.

On our way home to the lower 48, we drove an insane 1,500 miles in three days to get back to internet connectivity as soon as possible for work. That amounted to three consecutive ten- to twelve-hour driving days. The Trek’s mighty Ford engine never missed a beat, even after those long days of mountains and rough roads.

Paint: The automotive-grade, full-body paint held up surprisingly well, considering the hundreds of miles of gravel and dirt road we drove on this summer. Twice, we drove by right when oil trucks were spraying down the roads, and got a good layer of oil+grime caked on the Trek. It was a week or so before we could find a place to wash it off, but once we did, the exterior still looked great. We had a couple decent chips on the front grille at the end of our drive back from Alaska, but no signs of the paint fading or peeling. The fiberglass roof is still looking great too, despite being in the elements 24/7.

Leveling: One of our hydraulic leveling jacks started leaking oil pretty early on. It looked to be a bad seal, but we weren’t qualified to diagnose that and we were afraid if it leaked too much, we’d lose pressure and it would get stuck up or down. We had it replaced with a new one under warranty, no questions asked. Other than that, the leveling system worked fine. It did a good job of keeping the RV level, though it was hard to tell when one of our wheels might end up completely off the ground. It took some practice to learn how to raise one wheel higher, put blocks under it, and lower it back down. We had more luck manually leveling one jack at a time when we were on really uneven terrain, rather than using the auto-level, but auto worked great for flatter ground. We sure didn’t miss getting out there and manually cranking stabilizers like we did with our trailer!

Storage: The Trek’s exterior storage compartments have bus-style aluminum doors that swing to the side and stay open using hydraulics, and they have functioned great – they stay open and feel nice and solid when you close them. The two rear-most side compartment doors and the large rear Trek Trunk have plastic instead of metal latches. They worked fine and never came open, even on the bumpiest drives. We wish they could have used the same lockset on all the doors, or at least had them keyed the same. It was annoying at times having so many different keys to manage – one for the ignition, one for the metal latch doors, one for the plastic latch doors, one for the entertainment center and water fill doors, and another for the main entry door.

The compartments’ rubber seals seemed to hold up well, and we didn’t have an excess of dust in any of the bays – unlike our car the day we forgot to roll our windows up that last couple inches while driving a long stretch of the Alaska Highway..oops.

Trek storage trunk
No junk in our Trek trunk

We didn’t end up using the awesome Trek Trunk very much, but only because we kept our bikes on the back of the RV, effectively blocking our access to that storage area. The only drawback of the Trek Trunk is that it has to be completely emptied before the bed can be lowered (the closet lowers into this space when you’re using the bed). We do quite a few quick overnight stops, and don’t always drive to a location where we can unpack our outdoor gear, so the benefits of having that huge storage space were largely lost on us. For vacationers, or people who go from one campsite to another and stay a while, it would be very useful!

Solar Panels: Our 480 watt GoPower Extreme RV Solar Kit with inverter (and two extra 6V house batteries) was an option that we had the factory service center add on for us aftermarket, and it was by far the best addition we made to the motorhome, just like with our Airstream. We went 6 consecutive weeks this summer without plugging in to electrical at an RV park, and could have gone even longer if we hadn’t wanted to be near the center of town in Valdez, Alaska. We paid for that campground mostly because we were yearning for some long showers, and a week to catch up on work with the campground’s wi-fi!

If you’re considering a solar install but are scared to piece together a system yourself (especially if you plan on DIY), GoPower makes it very easy with their solar kits. We self-installed the one our Airstream and with no experience and very little difficulty – and most of that was related to it being a 50-year-old trailer! In full disclosure, GoPower did provide us with some complimentary products to test out on our Airstream. The panels they installed on our Trek are property of ARG and stay with the Trek, but we’d happily buy these panels for a future RV. The only thing we’d change about our system is adding a true battery monitor, for a better understanding of where battery power is being used and what remains. We never knew exactly how much draw our appliances and inverter had on our batteries.

Trek RV slide out
Our only campsite where we hooked up to utilities the entire time we were in Alaska: Eagles Rest RV Park in Valdez.

Interior

Fabrics: We spilled an entire glass of red wine on one of the light gray fabric and vinyl dinette cushions. I told you we took our testing responsibility seriously! Before you jump to conclusions, this was before we started drinking any – as tends to happen with most of our drinking mishaps. After immediately removing the cushion covers, rinsing them in cold water, and letting them air dry, they still look as good as new! A huge pat on the back to ARG for planning ahead for the klutzes of the world and making the covers so easy to remove in a hurry.

_DSF4306Having light gray upholstery and three dogs, being able to wash these in a washing machine (on a very gentle setting) has been a huge convenience for full-time RV living. We don’t have time to send things to a dry cleaner when we use the dinette every day as part of our our office and a dining area. The leather-like vinyl on the captain’s chairs and recliner has been easy to spot-clean as needed with some water and a soft towel. I’m sure the optional couch would be as well, if we had that instead of a dinette.

Flooring: The Trek has a hard vinyl tile flooring with all the tiles individually laid, so single tiles can be cut out and replaced if damaged. For the most part, ours still looks really good for the amount of wear they’ve had – the dogs are always running around on it playing like fools, we’ve had heavy objects-turned-projectiles come out of cabinets and the fridge while in motion, and there’s that whole klutz thing again, where we drop things pretty regularly. It’s an easy material to to clean too – use a Swiffer, or just a towel and your cleaner of choice.

The only place the tile appears damaged is where the slide-out rollers have scuffed and scratched it up a bit, mostly from vibration when it’s pulled in and we’re driving. We were told this is pretty typical for RVs with slides on tile floors, and it’s not that noticeable unless you look for it, but it’s the only gripe we have with the flooring.

Trek flooring
A few of the scratches from our slide rollers

Kitchen counters, sink, faucet, stove: We’ve been so thankful for the durability and ease of cleaning the Trek’s solid surface kitchen counters. Having the stainless under-mount sink to wipe spills into is fantastic – though we’d have preferred a larger single bowl to a double bowl, as that makes it much more difficult when washing larger pots and pans. Believe it or not, people do cook actual meals in these things – it’s not all hot dogs and s’mores over a campfire!

Other aspects we loved are the real residential faucet with a pull-out sprayer, easy-to-clean tile backsplash, and a propane cooktop with a cover to catch splatters and increase counter space when not in use.

_DSF4324

Even after nearly daily cooking in our RV, we haven’t had any gripes about the materials – we’ve left dripped wine (sensing a trend here?) and tomato sauce on the white counters overnight, and it wiped right up without any stains the next day. The kitchen cabinets are all holding up really well with the exception of a couple cabinet latches. The drawer holding our heavy silverware and knife block seems to be staying sturdy, as is the pull-out pantry full of wine bottles (I promise it’s just a hobby).

_DSF4312
The tall top pantry drawer was perfect for wine bottles!

We’ve probably gone through the equivalent of a dozen simulated earthquakes (and we even rode out two real earthquakes!) on the way to and from Alaska, so we’re impressed that we never broke a single drinking glass, plate, or bottled beverage (most importantly)! The upper cabinet doors and microwave door have also held up very well to our foreheads frequently making impact with them while doing dishes. I wish I could say the same about our skulls’ durability…ow.

Hide-a-loft guest bed: A lot of people don’t attempt to have guests in their RV, but we invite friends and family to stay with us pretty often, so this was a big selling point. The front guest bed that lowers from the ceiling above the cab area is a standard-size queen, so even the taller folks or two adults can fit up there comfortably. Our friends Cherie and Chris of Technomadia crashed with us in Alaska – not once, but twice! It must not have been too bad. We generally advise against picking up hitchhikers though. 😉

We added a custom “mattress” – a 4″ thick piece of foam from an upholstery store, with a memory foam topper – and just left the bed lowered those few inches all the time to accommodate the mattress’ height (it’s okay to do this and drive that way) instead of using the supplied air mattress. If you don’t want guests, or don’t want them to stay long, feel free to offer them the air mattress instead!

Multi-purpose bedroom/office (with a solid door): The true separation of the bedroom/multi-purpose room from the rest of the RV proved to be more useful than we anticipated. In Alaska, the floor-to-ceiling sliding solid bedroom door plus room darkening roller shades kept it surprisingly dark while we slept, even on the nights when the sun didn’t ever set. Ditto for places with security lights on all night.

The door also creates a nice separator when we have guests, or lets one person sleep or work without as much disturbance while the other is up doing things in the rest of the RV. The walls don’t block any sound though, so don’t get any fancy ideas about being able to watch tv or make noise in one room and not hear it in the other. Privacy is an illusion in most any RV, though – don’t expect miracles!

 

We loved having this room as an office by day, a dressing room, and a space to put things so they’re out of the way (including spouses).

Jason working in our RV office
Jason working in our RV office

The bathroom: We’ve loved having the across-the-hall expansion option for the bathroom – swing the door to the toilet/sink area all the way open, and it latches securely by the shower, closing the bath and bedroom off from the front of the RV. This gives you a bigger room consisting of the shower, hallway, sink/toilet area, and the ability to walk right into the bedroom to get dressed. In some RV’s, and in our Airstream, you’d have to close many of the front blinds for privacy to come out of the shower and into the bedroom without being dressed, but in the Trek all you have to do is swing that door open and close the two blinds in the bedroom.

Alternatively, if you need privacy in the toilet/sink area and someone else is moving around the RV, you can just close that door and make it a smaller room with the hallway still accessible. This comes in handy when you wake up in the morning and need to use the bathroom and brush your teeth, but other family members are insistent that you’ve forgotten to feed them breakfast first.

Dogs staring at door
Umm..we think you’re forgetting something!

Places for pets to sleep out of the way: Fellow pet owners, you know the struggle – they’re always underfoot, not matter how much room there is. In the Trek, we counteract this by keeping our big dog’s bed in the “cave” that’s formed when the bed is lowered at night, and our smaller dog sleeps in her bed on the step that’s next to the bed. The Chihuahua of course sleeps in the bed with us, under the covers. Because he’s always cold. At night and anytime we need them out of the way, we send them back there. We speculate that it might work for human children too, but we have no real-world evidence of this and cannot recommend it for legal reasons. 😉

Chloe the Shar Pei mix sleeping in our RV
Chloe in her dog cave – may also work for human children? 🙂

Our two littlest dogs also love sleeping under the dash in the passenger’s foot area, especially while we’re driving, so we’ve left a dog bed tucked under there.

_DSF9464
One out of two dogs in focus is actually a good photo for us.

Like most peoples’ pets, they also adore laying on the dash and looking out the giant windshield, so we’ve protected the soft vinyl dash with some rubber-backed rugs, topped with a thick blanket. If we were keeping the Trek we’d consider ordering a custom carpet dash cover instead, since this still tends to slip around some.

Dogs on RV dashboard
Yes, we know this isn’t the safest place for them, but it was a long driving day, they don’t move around, and they love watching out the big front windshield.

The not as good:

The position of the bed in the bedroom: There’s a lot more walk-around space on one side of the bed than the other. It’s not easy for people who aren’t tiny to get into the bed on the narrower side and it’s a big leap up there from the floor at the foot of the bed. It would be nice if both sides were equally wide, or if there were a step/ladder at the foot of the bed, or even if the bed was all the way against one side of the RV. We used the narrower access side for pillow storage by day, and a place for our folding office chair to be stowed at night.

The mattress: We did a lengthy write-up about our mattress fail here. Basically, don’t ever buy an RV and expect to keep the mattress unless you find the rare RV that comes with a top-quality one. This means you also probably paid a lot of money for your RV! 😉

The Denver Mattress we replaced our factory one with was so far superior, we couldn’t believe we’d slept on the original one for the first four months we traveled in it.

Right after unrolling it, our Denver Mattress was ready to use!
Right after unrolling it, our new Denver Mattress was ready to enjoy!

Cabinet latches: We wish more manufacturers used higher strength-rated latches on doors – they do know that people, like, put stuff in drawers and cabinets, right? The TV cabinet, closet doors, and certain drawers did not stay closed well when we made a sharp turn. The best ones we’ve seen have taken a page from boat design and used metal positive latches instead of magnets or plastic catches.

These did not hold up well to rough roads
No surprise: these did not hold up well to rough roads

Ventilation and fans: We so wished there was a fan in the bedroom. There’s no air flow in there with the floor-to-ceiling door closed. With the windows open and the shades down, you don’t get any air from them either. A ceiling vent with an in/out setting would help a ton. It would have to be flush with or recessed in the ceiling, though, to allow the bed to be stored against it. We had to run a tabletop fan continuously next to our bed most nights, even in cold weather, to avoid the bedroom becoming too hot and stuffy to sleep.

You might say “Just open the bedroom door then, dummies!” but the skylight over the shower basically creates a shining beacon in your eyes if there’s any light overhead from nearby street lights, if it’s not dark at night (Alaska all summer), or at first light in the morning. We would sometimes leave the bedroom door open out of desperation and throw a towel over the shower door to reduce the glow. Without a curtain that went to the ceiling, though, a lot of light still came in over the top of the shower door.

If you’re like Jason and even the tiny LED on the refrigerator can keep you up at night, this is not ideal. If you’re me and have to listen to Jason complain and feel him toss and turn all night, it’s really not ideal. 😉

Trek RV bedroom
See where the shower door is? Above that is a translucent skylight that lights up the entire shower. Great when you’re in the shower, but from the bed it’s like having a lamp shining in your eyes if there’s any ambient light outside.

Kitchen layout and space: If it were our RV to permanently to install things in, we’d add a flip-up countertop extension at the side of the stove, to fix some of our counter space issues that we utilize the dinette table for. We love to cook together, and it’s nearly impossible with a corner kitchen. That’s probably our biggest complaint, but not one we were willing to add another couple feet to the RV’s length to fix. Another option would be to add a flip-up table/counter behind the recliner next to the entry door, or remove that chair entirely in favor of a table/desk area, more storage, etc.

Microwave: We wish the Trek had a full convection microwave instead of just a regular microwave, since there’s no built-in oven. We remedied this with a toaster oven we stored under the dinette, but that’s obviously not ideal. If we were keeping the Trek long-term, we’d replace the microwave with a convection model. The corner cabinet next to the microwave is too deep and dark inside to utilize very well for storage, so losing that space to a bigger microwave wouldn’t be a big deal.

Trek RV microwave
Room to the left for expansion without a lot of effort

Bathroom sink/faucet: We HATE the white plastic sinks that they put in nearly all lower-end RVs. As soon as you get one little scratch in them (wearing rings on your fingers while you wash your hands does a good job of this), the scratch collects dirt and it looks terrible. White plastic can also stain from makeup, minerals in the water, hair dye, using the bathroom sink to rinse out something like a wine glass, and it can melt very easily if a flat iron is left next to it. The faucet in the bathroom is plastic too, and we would replace that with a residential one with a water-saving aerator.

Trek RV bathroom
We wish the sink was a step up to porcelain or stainless. The toilet is porcelain, though, which is very nice!

 

The dash: We heard this is possibly being redesigned in newer models, but the vertical screen of the backup camera and radio on the dash, as well as the instrument panel itself, are nearly impossible to see from the driver’s seat, especially on a sunny day. You have to actually crane your head down and to the side to get a good view of it – which of course is not safe while driving. It would be much better if the LCD display could be tilted up toward the driver instead of completely flat against the dash.

RV Dashboard
We leave our backup camera on all the time to keep an eye on our Jeep

Curtains in the cab: The curtains at the driver and passenger windows in the Trek were one of our most major annoyances. They were cool looking at least, being orange, and quite fitting with our east Tennessee (good ol’ Rocky Top!), but the backs of the curtains were white and they’re dry-clean only. Quite impractical for RVing! They also get sucked out the window if you open the screen, or they blow around and hit the driver and passenger in the face if the window is open, unless you tie them to an upper cabinet and out of the way of the window completely.

Trek motorhome curtains
It’s not pretty, but it does the trick while driving.

Windows: Similarly, we didn’t love the windows in the cab area. They rattled while we drove on bumpy roads, if we drove with them open they rattled even worse, the locks didn’t work well so they sometimes creeped open on us, and having two layers of glass creating glare when they’re open obstructs your view of the side mirrors. There’s got to be a better way to design these!

We also really don’t love the tilt-out windows throughout the RV. We like the idea of them – you can leave them open in the rain, and the frameless design looks sleek, but they just don’t open far enough for adequate air flow. Our Airstream windows tilted, but we could open them to almost 90 degrees horizontal and really get a nice cross-breeze. These open about 4 inches, and air can only come in around the sides and bottom. Many people who tend to stay at campgrounds or don’t camp in warm weather wouldn’t be bothered by this, but since we don’t plug in very often to run our air conditioning and hate using a generator, it became problematic on warm days. In Alaska, the temperatures reached the mid-to-upper-80s a few times when we were camping off-grid, and inside the RV it was in the mid-90s.

The interior bracket that holds one of the emergency windows closed in the bedroom also came unglued and fell off, leaving our window swinging open in the wind as we drove on the interstate. The bracket was only attached to the inside of the glass with double sided adhesive tape, and with the sun beating down on the window, it loosened and came off. We spent the rest of the summer with it taped shut from the outside, since there’s no other way to hold it closed from inside. This was the fault of the window manufacturer, Hehr, and we hope they change the design in the future.

Trek RV frameless window

Carpet: The carpet in the RV held up okay for our six months, but I wouldn’t put it past a year of use before it would start to look worn. Sure, there’s only a little bit of carpet – in the cab area and under the dinette – but it’s a weird shaggy length that got matted down really quickly and collected hair and dirt like crazy. The cab area is too tight to get an upright vacuum in there to clean it, and our Dyson hand vac doesn’t have a beater brush, so it couldn’t make much headway on the dirt embedded in it. I wish there was something else they could use in those areas, where there’s so much foot traffic. Maybe an automotive style, heavy-duty carpet instead of residential grade?

The TVs: Both the bedroom and living room tv are mounted a touch too high, and don’t have a tilt adjustment. When you try to watch from bed or the dinette, the TV is too dark. An LED TV would fix the viewing angle problem, or a mount that allows you to tilt it down just a few degrees. Similarly, the outdoor TV was only viewable from sitting at its level, directly in front of it – not from either side, or while standing. Not the most practical for a TV meant to use while gathered around the RV outside. We aren’t big TV watchers, but these flaws made us even less so the last few months. We tended to use our laptops instead.

The okay:

The driving experience and handling: There’s usually a handling trade-off when you decrease a class A RV’s size to gain maneuverability, especially considering a gas chassis with such a short wheelbase. It’s not that we felt unsafe driving it though, save for a couple very windy days when there was some white-knuckle steering to stay on the road – which is true for most RVs. One thing that really helped was installing a steering control bar, which we talked about in detail in our RV modifications article.

RV Safe-T-Plus Steering ControlYou’re not going to get the same comfy ride in this type of RV that you would in a diesel pusher that has a nice long wheelbase, air suspension and a lower center of gravity. If those things matter more to you than a lower entry cost, fitting into small campsites, or maneuvering easily in tight spaces, then go for something with a longer wheelbase, especially if you do a lot of driving.

The gas mileage: We’ve averaged all over the board on gas mileage so far, but at the same time, none of our driving has really been routine yet – we’ve done a mix of interstate, secondary roads, flat, wind, mountains – you name it. We also tow a heavy car (4,800 lbs), keep our fresh water at least half full almost all the time (and our gray and black somewhat full at times too between dumps), and carry a lot of personal items since we’re living in the RV full-time. A vacationer likely wouldn’t have nearly as much on board. During relatively flat, no headwind trips we’ve seen 7.2 mpg. On hilly, windy days we’ve gotten as low as 5.8 mpg. Our average is 6.66 mpg after our trip to Alaska. Should we be worried about that??

Trek RV motorhome gas mileage

Recap:

Overall, we give the new Trek our stamp of approval. If you’re a vacationer, chances are it will be completely adequate for your needs as-is. They thought of a lot of features that make it ideal for couples, small families, tailgaters, and adventure-seekers. After all, that’s what most RVs are designed for – not as full-time residences. If you’re a full-time or part-time RV dweller like us, you’ll want to make some of the modifications we did to add comfort, convenience, and the ability to camp off-grid if you so choose. You’ll also very likely want to add some of the additional modifications we mentioned, but couldn’t do ourselves since it’s not our RV to drill holes in. 🙂

The Trek held up better than we expected for any motorhome making the journey to and from Alaska, and because of that, we’re reasonably confident in vouching for its ability to hold up to use over time. There will always be exceptions, of course, and “lemons” do happen, even in the highest-end RVs. As always, do your homework, give a new RV a thorough shake-down test (maybe not as thorough as ours, though!) and have everything that isn’t satisfactory fixed under warranty.

While our 6-month and 10,000 mile test doesn’t necessarily reflect the effects that many years of use would have on a Trek, the amount of distance and the difficult terrain we encountered should have exposed any glaring issues with its construction. Add in the fact that ours was the true prototype – the first one off the assembly line – and we’re pretty impressed with its construction.

Please let us know in the comments or via email if you have any other questions about the Trek, if I forgot something important in my recap, if you want more detail on the differences between owning a trailer and motorhome, etc. We’re happy to lend our experience!

What’s next for the Snowmads?

If you can’t tell from the tone of this article, our Trek-ing adventures have come to an end with our recent return to the lower 48!

We had originally planned on keeping the Trek a few months longer and returning it this winter, but that would mean a cold drive to Indiana or Oregon, then moving out of it in the dead of winter. We didn’t want to risk inclement weather for either.

We’ve also spent a year now in a class A motorhome. We’re all about life experimentation and a variety of experiences, so it feels like the right time to move on to something different. We feel pretty sure after this that we’re not “class A people”, not because of anything with the RV in particular, but we would prefer something more nimble and fuel efficient, that fits in any driveway, over having the extra space.

For now, we’re renting some vacation homes/condos and house sitting for friends and family to rest and regroup after Alaska, and we’ve moved our belongings into our Jeep and a small cargo trailer.

Jeep towing a cargo trailer

We’re quite sure this isn’t the end of RVing for us, and are already exploring some options for our next home on wheels, so stay tuned! A 50/50 split between RVing and continuing to rent places (for longer stretches, like a month or two, in the areas we’ve discovered we love the most after our two years of travel) sounds about right for us currently.

We’d like to get back to taking true week- or two-week-long camping trips and weekend getaways, where we can go off-grid more, really play in nature, and not be limited to just the decent cell phone service areas, like we had to do most of our time in Alaska. We learned a lot about ourselves on that trip this summer – so stay tuned for that reflection post too. 🙂

Thanks for following along on our Trek adventures. We can’t wait to see what happens next!

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13 COMMENTS

  1. Kristin,
    Just finished your Trek re-cap (and a bottle of Pinot Noir)! I really enjoyed your report, filled with both facts and a touch of humor now and then. Thanks to you both for the time, effort, and personal monies you invested in this adventure. I, like so many others, am looking forward to whatever calls to you next.

    • I was just about to email you the link in case you missed it, and warn you that the bottle of wine was a good idea. 😉

      Thanks so much, I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it. Like our travels, we try not to be too serious in our reporting. It’s not worth it if you can’t have a little fun along the way. We’ll be sure to keep you updated on where our journey takes us next!

    • You wouldn’t have been jealous if you saw the lengths we went to in Alaska just to do our jobs on their slowww internet! It’s mostly fun but it has its challenges. Looking forward to seeing you in Park City! 🙂

  2. Excellent write-up! Good job of listing the good, the bad and the evil…I mean less bad. You definitely put that rig to the test, so I think the Trek team got some thorough field-testing. My only question? You mention wine many times, but no beer. I fear your testing has been lacking 🙂
    Nina

    • Thank you! The beer never lasted long enough in our RV to be put to the shake test! 😉 We finally got a stainless double-walled growler recently and that’s been awesome for travel and hiking. But yeah, it tends to get consumed quickly, so we’ve tried to do more brewery drinking lately to enforce moderation rather than having a lot of it around the “house”.

  3. Hi Kristin and Jason!

    We were so glad to meet you guys in Seattle. Time was short, you were sick and also had company so we didn’t get to hang out and chat but maybe next time! What app did you use to record your fuel mileage that is shown in the article? Looks like a great app!

    Hope we get a chance to meet up in the future!

    • Thanks, it was so nice to meet you too! I’m sorry we didn’t get to spend more time together, but we’re hoping to make it back to the PNW next summer.

      We use an app called Road Trip that was recommended to us by Technomadia. It’s a great app, and you can even put in multiple vehicles, like an RV and your other car(s). 🙂

  4. Great write-up! While we’ve never intended to become full-timers, we’ve continued to learn options from the choices you guys have made.

    We loved your Airstream, were curious about your Trek adventure, even though we knew we weren’t interested in a Class A, and still circle back to being mostly happy with our nomadic renting way of travel. So, we love seeing you guys decompress by going that route, for now. 🙂

    Does that mean we no longer waver when thinking about something like a Travato or small Class C, thanks to some input from you? Nope. It just means we know we’ve pretty well mastered rentals, and it works, until we decide if something else might work, for a time.

    There’s clearly no right or wrong way of being part-time or full-time nomadic. What might work today might not work tomorrow, and change is always an option. You guys have figured that out early on.

    Hope to catch you somewhere down the road sooner or later, when the time is right for everyone involved. Until then, enjoy your ‘you time’. You’ve certainly earned it! 🙂

  5. Wonderful write up. We had previously full-timed in a 19′ trailer, a 28′ 5W, a 35′ 5W, and more recently a large Lance truck camper (for 3 years!). We are currently on pause for some eldercare while we are campground managers. We wondered if a class A coach such as the Trek would be our next direction, but after reading your excellent blog we need to study our plans further. We wanted to find another 28′ 5W, but it is nearly impossible to find a quality-built unit these days that easily lends itself to extensive solar boondocking in a variety of spaces small and large. Few manufacturers get it that you need 4-6+ batteries (Group 31 or even L-16’s) minimum and smart roof space for 600-1200 watts of solar, especially when some are optioning in residential fridges now. We lived off-grid on CO for 4 years which helped us modify our RV power requirements later on. All RV manufacturers need to offer robust solar packages, not just a 60-160 watt trickle charger option. Back to our research, where did all of those 28′-30′ diesel pushers that were very common in the 1990’s? I guess I won’t be happy with my RV research until I find that perfect ideal coach with tons of space that parks anywhere in small national forest spaces and folds up into a brief case when we don’t need it, just like a George Jetson flying car! Dave & Sheila Knapp

  6. Kristin and Jason,

    Thank you for the detailed report of your Trek experiences! The good with the bad is what I needed to know. Its one thing to ‘love’ an RV in the showroom or Youtube demo, but quite another to live in it for a spell. Like a spouse, compatibility issues rise up and you realize what you can and cannot live with. This realistic view was most helpful! Many thanks for your hard work in blogging and looking forward to hearing more of your adventures!

    • Aw, thanks Martine – and you’re welcome! It’s fun for us to share our experiences with everyone, since not many people get to give an RV the kind of shakedown test we do 😉

      Each RV we’ve owned or leased has been a great opportunity for us to narrow down what we like or dislike about each type, and to hopefully help others in their decision-making process! Thanks for following along, and we hope to cross paths with you sometime!

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