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!
2013 F150 FX4 EB