You really don’t know what driving an RV is like until you’ve put in a few hundred miles and parked a dozen times. No RV dealer wants to chat about how different RV types increase driver fatigue, how a high center of gravity may impact your safety, or how the weight or shape of an RV limits your adventures and your tow-vehicle selection.
Although we all imagine those iconic national park moments, we still have to get there. That means hitching, driving and parking. Each one of these actions has special considerations. If you’re like us, you’re up for a whole lot of wanderlust. We love spontaneity. We love easy. We don’t want our RV or travel trailer making decisions for us.
So, what does drivability mean and why should you care?
Let’s start with an understanding of how a low center of gravity on your RV contributes to better stability while driving. This is important for general handling such as quick lane changes on the highway and driving in high winds. The higher the center of gravity the more challenges. And these challenges magnify in high winds and poor weather conditions.
So how can you “eyeball” a high center of gravity? Outside the RV will be a number of steps and a heavy air-conditioner on the roof. Inside you’ll see lots of upper cabinetry. How serious is this? We have one owner who rented a travel trailer and loaded it with his son’s gear for what they hoped would be an idyllic cross-country trip to college. However, they were pulled over by state troopers multiple times for poor driving due to handling and “sway.” He recalls the trip as being both scary and embarrassing. They now own a Road Chief and report happy handling with no state trooper stops.
The second consideration is shape and size. Big rectangles like a Sprinter van or RVs, or travel trailers in shapes like “bricks” or “bread boxes” contribute to driver fatigue because flat sides fight wind. A truly aerodynamic shape like the Bowlus Road Chief means superb handling in crosswinds, in emergency maneuvers and when traversing mountains.
It is also important to consider the width of what you are towing. While it may provide a little more interior room, it also means extension mirrors, challenges when parking and a little added anxiety at every fuel stop. We’ve had a handful of former Airstream owners confess to a dent or two from not turning wide enough at the pumps.
With a Bowlus Road Chief, you have a clear path of vision down both sides making lane changes or pull-ins a breeze. Also, since a Bowlus Road Chief tracks directly behind your vehicle, you are safe in the knowledge that it can pass through any narrow passage your vehicle can.
The third consideration is weight as it relates to drivability. We all may be tempted by a washer/dryer combo, faux fireplace and room to bring everything you think you “might” need. But in reality, when you add “everything,” you are consciously making decisions about where and how you will travel.
A large, heavy travel trailer means a big pickup as your tow vehicle. Maybe you always wanted one. Or maybe it’s an additional expense and another vehicle to maintain. Maybe you want the mileage, flexibility and handling of a crossover, SUV, convertible or Tesla X. Remember you will be likely spending time driving and you want to be as comfortable as possible.
A lower weight travel trailer like the Bowlus Road Chief delivers a few other advantages like 75+ extra horsepower to your tow vehicle—that’s because on average it’s 3,000 lbs. lighter than a comparable length travel trailer. We’ve had owners report up to an extra five seconds of acceleration which made them feel they merged and charged lanes more safely than when they drove other RVs.
At Bowlus Road Chief we design for drivability as much as we do for your camping experience because everything really does matter.
Here’s to an amazing summer!
Bowlus Road Chief