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Old 09-23-2016, 12:12 PM   #1
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R-Pod Review

I realize this forum is pretty dead compared to the dedicated site and the facebook group. I really like this forum so thought I would post my thoughts on the R-pod here for no particular reason.

I purchased a "new" 2016 model that had likely been sitting on the lot for a solid year and a half. Perhaps because of that or maybe just random luck of the draw I am having a few issues. I only mention this because a positive review despite experiencing issues will hopefully say a lot about what I think of these little pod campers.

As background, I have owned an XLR toy hauler and a Rockwood Roo. Both were absolutely stellar as far as reliability and fit and finish. Both times I purchased these campers I sort of wanted to get an r-pod but talked myself out of it because of the eye candy these campers provided. After owning each of these a while I found myself dreading the tow and dreaming of the simplicity of a tiny pod. I think it was the wet bath that always scared us away. In a chance email exchange with the R-Pod product manager about upcoming 2017 changes in the pods I learned that the new model that solved my issues, the 183g, was already being discontinued for lack of interest. That set wheels in motion to sell my beloved Roo and try and snag one of the few remaining 183g's I could find in the midwest. I am a huge advocate for buying local and I would pay extra to do so...but the closest remaining pod i could find was 6 hours away...and so it begins.

We arrived in a monsoon of a storm in Missouri to take delivery of the pod. I immediately spotted a 183g with the garage open being blasted by the rain and crossed my fingers it wasn't mine. It wasn't. Finding mine inside I immediately noticed some signs it wasn't perfect. Caulk was pretty rough, decals a little rough, rust where i didn't want it, etc. The dealer then spent a half hour debating with me over a grill and storage baskets, which they insisted have never been part of r-pod campers. I insisted they were. Magically we found some parts in the rain soaked pod and that took care of that. When you drive 6 hours and there are very few options in existence you change your expectations of what a "new" rv should be and off we went to a local campground in the pouring rain. What a great way to find out if a pod is right for you...be forced to spend the first night inside of it with no option to go outside.

Right off the bat I realize the tire is not holding air and I start to see water seep in under the sink. After two flawless Forest River campers this was kind of a bummer. Despite that, the wife and I kept looking at each other and grinning. It is a powerful feeling when you think you found the right fit after a few tries. It was like the more things went wrong, the more we laughed. Must be a pod thing.

So let's talk about owning an r-pod versus the more traditional travel trailers. First, you name it because it looks like it needs a name. PodVader was named 3 years ago when I started trolling r-pod forums so that part was easy. I also brought my star wars decor with me on the trip so that was quickly installed. A few things jumped out at me right away. First, a manual tongue jack. I know I am weird but I love this. I always worried about battery drain and it never wanted to stop where i wanted it to stop...I like the manual crank. Second, I wasn't dealing with a WDH. I am not discouraging weight distribution hitches...I think most should have them and they are always an advantage. Still, hooking up and unhooking without the up-down up-down bar action was kind of refreshing. The bigger excitement came from seeing behind me when I towed. Holy cow! Now keep in mind most of you are great tow people. I hated towing my big rigs across town. Out in the country? Fine, no problem...but in town...ugh. With the r-pod and it's narrow width I could see behind it! Man, this is what i was after...easy towing, easy ownership.

As I lived with the pod that first rainy night I kept noticing a lot of things that really excited me...probably more than it should have. Sure, I kind of found the fit and finish maybe a little lacking compared to my Roo and XLR but then again that is always the luck of the draw. What I loved is friction! That is right, that friction door should be mandatory. LOVE. IT. Also, i have practically broken every screen door but the r-pod has that awesomely weird knob that lets you open the door with the screen fully closed. Too cool.

Next, magnetic latches. Hmmm...I only spent 14k on this camper versus quite a bit more on the previous ones yet now i have magnetic latches? Dang, I don't ever want to go back to clips. I like magnetic latches! Let's keep rolling. This will sound so weird but I have far more outdoor storage than in my toy hauler or Roo. Insane, I know. One thing you learn with owning multiple campers is what you have enough of and what you are lacking. I found I had way too much indoor storage in the previous ones but was always cursing the lack of outdoor storage, which is where I spent 90% of my time. I will always pay attention to that from now on. That is if they pry this somewhat problematic pod from my cold dead hands.

It was funny we were fogging up the windows. Get your mind out of the gutter. I am used to a hybrid and it was fun to know it was sealed enough we were bringing the fog. Sure, it would be a pain to convert the dinette to a bed over and over but hey, making it a bed and just calling it good. Forever. Problem solved. I can't remember the last time I ate inside. The garage is so cool and actually has speakers that a snob like me enjoys. That was surprising.

So what is bad in this cheap little pod? Well, we bought this pod because we are just about empty nesters. I would never suggest families dive into an r-pod without really spending time in it...and certainly not a floor plan like mine. It will also be an adjustment getting used to non-ducted AC. I feel like I am in Alaska the way that 13.5 blasts the little space out. The black tank flush being opposite the dump valves is a little inconvenient...but on the other hand i have larger tanks than my big campers (huh?...how is that possible).

At the end of the day I was looking to simplify my adventure life. I loved my previous campers but I really tired of the canvas despite how great it was at times. I tired of the setup and takedown. I tired of towing a barge. I tired of the big loan's on campers. I really just wanted a bed and a bathroom and opportunity to have a base camp. Your needs will vary but I think I found my perfect fit and my confidence is boosted by the fact that it has some issues and I still feel that way. I don't think a pod is for everyone, or even most people, but it fits me like a glove. The awesome community that comes with it is the cherry on top...though the Roo owners are a pretty solid group in their own right. Thanks for indulging my ramble....happy camping!
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Old 09-24-2016, 02:33 PM   #2
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Thx for your honest review. It helps firm up that 'I WANT A POD'
I looking at them the other day and the dealer was trying to talk me into
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Old 09-24-2016, 02:38 PM   #3
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Oops my Phone slipped and my finger hit reply...so off it went.
Anyway....The salesman was trying to talk me into a Wolf Pup. Said it would give us more room and be cheaper. I told him it felt cheaper. Stepped back into the R-Pod and it felt solid under my feet and pleasing to the eye.
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Old 09-24-2016, 04:00 PM   #4
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Yeah I am surprised how solid the pod feels to me given the light weight. A lot of people do sell them right away because they underestimate the space requirements. I really recommend shutting yourself in there for a decent amount of time. It sure works for me but I had bigger rigs previously and had a good sense of how I camp.
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Old 09-25-2016, 08:39 AM   #5
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R-Pod Review

Did a cool mod. I found a tv mount that fits the existing wall mounts on the cheap and wired up a wireless hdmi for under 20 bucks. Dish inside, dish outside! I can now have tv inside and outside without moving anything and no wires. I love the garage and I haven't even used the awesome hanging organizer yet! Using a 3" memory foam on the dinette and it is pretty great. Still getting used to my feet hitting the wall but it is really more mental...I rarely sleep stretched out.

Washed and waxed podvader and ready to get it out in the wild this week.
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Old 09-25-2016, 09:08 AM   #6
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congratulations RooVader on your new pod - now you need to change your signature LOL.

I also keep looking at the r-pods - they appeal to me alot, but we are two families that camp and it just would not work for us right now (the one I really like the one that has the kitchen inside along the back wall and has the dinette slide out)....if it was just my husband and I - yes, I think we would be in an R-pod.
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Old 09-25-2016, 02:41 PM   #7
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Roovader-we are coming out of an Evanston8 tent soooo our expectations aren't very grandiose. The size and amenities of the pod are very appealing at this point. Especially sleeping off the ground , A/C (steamy South TX) & heat (Hill Country Winter).

GalsofEscape - I love the 179 too, except for the view from your dinette is the bathroom door.
However, At this point I still have several kids camping with mama so the 182G will be much better for us. We are used to cooking outside so that Garage is looking nicer for keeping all the cook items in one place and not cluttering up the picnic table. And just pull down the door to keep it all dry in the rain & raccoons (etc) out.
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Old 09-25-2016, 02:49 PM   #8
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That is a drawback of that floorplan but the counter space in that kitchen is awesome.
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Old 09-25-2016, 02:59 PM   #9
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Agree'd...as well as all the indoor storage (closets/drawers) VERY nice.
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Old 09-25-2016, 04:45 PM   #10
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R-Pod Review

It basically boils down to whether you want to prep your food inside or out...no right or wrong. That dinette staring at the bathroom did sort of bother me but that is kind of silly considering no floor plan is too far from the bathroom. I think the garage is the first thing I noticed about an r-pod and I knew I would regret if I didn't have that. I definitely would pick the 182g myself if the 183g was not available. The bunks just offer too many cool storage options. The wife would pick the 180 every single time. Hopefully we can keep this 183g humming for a really long time because it gave us both what we want.
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