Inside My Roadtrek 170 Popular: The Non-Cartoon Transformer

When people hear I’m traveling the country in an RV, they generally think I’m navigating windy roads and low clearance bridges in a huge monster-truck size vehicle, which doesn’t sound relaxing and peaceful at all. Then they see my Roadtrek. And well. They think I’m living in a van.

Seattle

But friends, I am NOT living in a van. (Well, OK, it’s a van, but it is an ENTIRE house in the inside!) Shall I bring you inside for a tour?

First, let’s hang out for a while in the living room. Lovely, no?

roadtrek living room

You are looking for the dining room? Here you go. Also, the dining room can be the office.

living room office

And just like that, one room has become three. But I’m more ambitious than that.

The living room can also become the bedroom with a push of a button. OK, sure, a push of a button + the addition of a tempur-pedic mattress pad, soft sheets, comfy pillows, and a warm comforter. But still, that’s five minutes well spent.

roadtrek bed

Where is all that stuff the rest of the time? The mattress pad and comforter stuff right down behind the couch and the rest fits nicely in the cabinet above, with space left over for a little bookcase (the temper-pedic pillows are on the left, the sheets are in the packing cube in the middle labeled “sweaters” (however, my sheets are not made of sweaters), my books are on the right — mostly books not available on Kindle, like the autobiographies of John Madden and Ken “Snake” Stabler, which yes, I am currently reading right now).

Roadtrek storage

But let’s say I’ve gotten ready for bed, but I still have some work to do. I just head over to my second office (with bonus skylights). Both chairs in front swivel around and a table pops up from nowhere! (Actually, in between the closet and the kitchen, but as though from nowhere!)

Front Office Roadtrek

Here’s my kitchen, complete with two-burner stove, sink, refrigerator, and microwave.

roadtrek 170 popular kitchen

And then my amazing, transforming bathroom. By day, just a regular bathroom. By.. well, also day, I just open the door, roll up my rug and remove the drain cover, pull the shower curtain around the hall, and I’ve got a roomy shower.

Here you can see the bathroom with the door open and the curtain rail:

bathroom

A closer look at the shower controls:

roadtrek shower

And here’s what it looks like inside the shower:

roadtrek 170 shower

Except in that photo the door on the left is closed so you can see inside. This is what it would actually look like if I were inside the shower and not outside taking the photo. You can’t really tell, but the door is open and the curtain is pulled around it:

roadtrek 170 popular shower

I also have a TV, DVD player, and surround sound system that includes speakers throughout the RV so I can rock out whether I’m hanging out in the living room or the front office. Normally, I listen to music by plugging my iPhone into the DVD player, but sometimes I connect my laptop to the TV and watch TV from bed (yes, I’m watching Grey’s Anatomy; so do you):

roadtrek tv

I could hoist up the antenna and watch TV over the air and at most RV parks and campgrounds I could also plug into cable, but I’m more a stream over the internet whenever I want kind of girl, so I haven’t done either of those.

But what about storage?

I’ve got a closet just to the right of the kitchen (behind the driver side door) to hang up my clothes up in (I keep my shoes in a bin at the bottom):

roadtrek wardrobe

Above that is a little shelf where I keep tools and things.

The Roadtrek used to have a third seat, but I removed it and put in lightweight drawers. There’s also storage in the cabinet underneath (I keep a bunch of shoes and nice clothes that I don’t need every day in that section).

roadtrek storage

In the bathroom, I’ve added a few containers (held in place by Command velcro) to keep everything in place.

bathroom storage

You’ve seen the storage for my bedding to the right of the air conditioner (er, also there’s a couple of bottles of gin and tonic back there). The cabinet on the left has a box of electronics and other various items like my curling iron and window screens.

I’ve also got storage above the front seats. And I keep coffee and other vital essentials in bags in the upper shelving on both sides.

I keep kitchen stuff (plates, cups, pots, and pans, whatever) in bins under the sink. I have a little pantry with stuff like peanut butter above the stove. And I keep towels and first aid kit and odds and ends in the cabinet above the counter. (Yes, I have 6 bath size towels in there! They are magic towels!)

kitchen storage

And then there’s all the storage under the couch (that I get to from the back doors) for things like my lawn chairs.

Of course, I spiffed it all up a little too. Here’s a few before and after photos:

2014-07-12 06.42.38

roadtrek afterYes, I can even light the vanilla candles for even more peace and relaxation. Well, as long as I take the battery out of the smoke detector first. Otherwise, that’s a path to less peace and relaxation for everyone.

27 thoughts on “Inside My Roadtrek 170 Popular: The Non-Cartoon Transformer

  1. This is the bomb. Actually I have never understood what that meant but if I did then this would be it. I love this magical mystery machine!

  2. Heard you today on Wharton radio. Like what you had to say about search, and even more about your travels in the Roadtek.

    I live in Asheville, and, my idea of an ideal road trip, is to walk out the door, and drive to California. I did that last year. Took a month off, drove through the South to see my son who was then living in Las Cruces, visited friends in Albuquerque, toured through Four Corners, Monument Valley and then on to Ventura, CA, where I stayed with friends for two weeks. Then, I drove north through SF and across country to see friends in Des Moines and Kansas City, and then home. It was just shy of 8,000 miles. If I didn’t have a deadline for returning, I would have gone all the way to Seattle and done Lewis & Clark sites all the way across the country.

    I work at a college for a few years, and the president at the time had been a sociology prof. She had grown up the grand daughter of an oil wildcatter. She told stories of traveling all over the country looking for oil. Her avocation was to be physically present in every country, yes, country, in the US. She had this huge US map with every country where she had been colored in. She had been in about 2/3 of all the counties. I thought that was a great idea, so I tend to come back a different way than I go some place. Always new things to see.

    During the trip last year, I was able to maintain connection to my world and work back home. My experience was very much like yours, though I didn’t go to libraries. That is a good idea.

    I’ve just return from three weeks in Glasgow (for the Scottish Independence referendum), London (with friends), and the champagne region with of France (World War I museums, cemeteries and memorials), with a side trip for a conference in Jackson Hole, ending with a few days in the Tetons and Yellowstone. I’ve been back eight days, and I’m already ready to get back on the road.

    More than anything, what I like about this kind of travel, where there is serious intention, with a marginal itinerary, is the chance to meet people. I like to ask questions, and, I always find out fascinating things that transform my perception of who I am and the place where I am at that moment.

    I look forward to hearing more about your journey. If you get this far south on your return, meaning Asheville, I’ll buy you dinner, and introduce you to some great people here, some in the tech world and some in many others.

    So, as the Welsh bid farewell, Yaki Da Ffrind (To your good health) with your travels.

    • “Her avocation was to be physically present in every country, yes, country, in the US. She had this huge US map with every country where she had been colored in. She had been in about 2/3 of all the counties. ”

      You really meant COUNTY, not country, I’m sure…

  3. Hey Vanessa, I am impressed how you outfitted your RT. It looks soooo cozy in there. I heard your interview on Mike Wendland’s podcast (and I’m also in the Facebook group) so I decided to check out your site. I am pleasantly surprised and am definitely following your journey here.

  4. We just got a 2013 170, and are trying to figure out how to make up the bed. What kind of mattress pad did you get, how do you keep it in place since most don’t conform to the shape of the flat couch/ bed, and how do you keep the sheets in place. Thanks for your reply.

  5. How tall are you? I am 6 ft and wondered. Did you feel safe (secutiy system). DID you buy new or used? i am thinking of giving up apartment for this (?), but wondered can you do that in winter climate (Mass). I think I would save money…long term.

  6. Lovely? YES! I love your rig….everything about it. I want one. Like….today. Any pointers on where to find a nice gently used 170 Roadtrek and how much I will have to pony up to get it? I am in love!

      • Loved your ideas for the camper, I too have the ‘itch’ and am looking at the 170 because it’s maybe easier to manage. I see you are off the road for now. Keeping the wee camper? Or by any chance selling it? I am looking, don’t want to get into a too old one…any suggestions?
        Oh, and happy new year! Lived for 10 years in Seattle, loved it, in Austin now..
        Peggy

    • I bought a 2004 170Popular September 2015. Flew from LAX to Rochester NY to get it from original owner private party. The 170 is so rare out West that I searched the entire country and many websites before finding mine on the Roadtrek website classifieds. It always wintered in FL so has no winter-related corrosion. Paid $28,000. It never had a generator though, so consider that when/if you buy. I ran CarFax and it showed the annual maintenance the original owners had through their local Chevy dealers. I also had it inspected before I committed. I’m solo and don’t live in mine, but it’s all I really need for serious travel/camping. It’s way too tall to go onto my garage, but the 170 is short enough to store in my driveway without blocking the sidewalk. And the sellers are my new long-distance friends – double win!

  7. Thanks for sharing Vanesa, heard you on Mike And Jennifer Wedlands Roadtrekking show. I have a 05 170 and love it, it is little tight for my wife and me but coming from minivan camping, the 170 seems pretty big. Heading out to Missoula Montana this July to celebrate with the bike centinneal group and we’ll be sure to bring out tandem bike. Take care.

  8. This is so very helpful in our decision-making process. Thank you so much for sharing!

    We’re scouring eBay and web pages, planning to travel from Canada to somewhere in the southern US for a used unit, that hasn’t seen salty winter roads like we have here in our area. We were waffling between a 170 and something larger but this has helped make the decision to stay small. As tenters from way back we like compact and cozy.

    Cheers!
    John

  9. I have just found my 170 Versatile and should have it home in a few days?..I am ecstatic ❤Thank you so much for sharing all your great ideas as not having the back of my Tahoe to haul and store everything which didn’t fit in my little camper. Your organism inspirational!

  10. Hi Vanessa,

    I love your setup in your 170. Would you have any experience with your Roadtrek in winter months? I looked through all the different Class B and the short length of the 170 looks like it can park anywhere and won’t draw much attention. I live NJ, where winters are nice enough to freeze pipes. I am wondering if you had any experience with how the Roadtrek handles winter, like temperature in the cabin with propane furnace, water usage and the like. I have been looking at solutions like using a composting toilet and keeping a jug of water inside the RV for winter water usage or getting a gym membership for showers or a sub arctic sleeping bag.

  11. Thank you for sharing you lovely 170 with the world. I just got my 1997 170P TODAY! Yes, I am beyond excited. And the best part – it only has 8,209 miles on it! I know, super crazy – bought it from the famous “little old couple that bought it at retirement and never used”. I’m in central California… hope to see you on those happy trails

    • Yikes! Check everything out carefully on that rig. Extremely low miles can be much worse than one that has been used gently but well-maintained. Generators must be run on a regular basis to keep them functioning. That’s a huge expense if it hasn’t been used in years. Check seals, electrical lines, etc. for cracks. Things that look like new from no use can be brittle and an accident ready to happen. Replace all the smoke and CO2 detectors asap. 20 years is a LONG time for that rig to just sit. Good luck!

  12. I just bought my Roadtrek 170 with just shy of 25,000 miles (2009 Popular). In excellent condition, but I had to pay a higher price for it because of that and also because I live in California. Does yours come with a zipup screen for the back? Mine does and I love that idea for camping in hot weather when I want to take a nap. Can’t wait to drive it and use it. It arrives tomorrow just in time for the long President’s Day weekend. P.S. Love your personalization of your 170. Gives me ideas! Thanks!

    • Congrats! Sounds awesome. Yes, on the screen – it’s very useful when it’s warm out. You will love it.

      I found that once I was in mine for a while, I adjusted how I personalized it based on how I used it (and I changed a lot of what I stored in it).

      For me, it made a big difference to hang (light) artwork on the walls and put a few candles out (the former attached with command tape and the latter affixed with earthquake putty – https://www.amazon.com/Quakehold-88111-Museum-Putty-Neutral/dp/B0002VA9NA).

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