Generally speaking, the off-roading and RV worlds arent always the most inclusive spaces. Although many newcomers are venturing into the RV marketplace, there are still many gaps in diversity and inclusion that have yet to be addressed. Like linearly everything else in the world, if there isn’t specific attention paid to these gaps, they rarely fill in “naturally.” However, Winnebago has just come out with a new wheelchair-accessible camper van. Meet the Winnebago Roam.
The Winnebago Roam is made for wheelchair accessibility
The new Winnebago Roam is the company’s first Class B motorhome that allows wheelchair users the opportunity to hit the open road in a camper van with a built-in wheelchair lift. Now, just because this is the first of its kind for Winnebago, that doesn’t mean that wheelchair users haven’t been working out these hurdles on their own for years.
As noted by Car and Driver, quadriplegic photographer Kirk Williams has been whipping his custom conversion camper van around for quite some time. However, not everyone is into building their own van. Some folks would prefer to pay to have a factory-built machine that caters to what they need.
Are there other wheelchair-accessible RVs?
Winnebago has made other inclusive RVs in the past. However, models like the Winnebago Adventure AE are much larger Class A campers. For one thing, many people don’t care to drive something that huge and cumbersome. Secondly, Class A campers don’t come cheap. The Winnebago Adventure AE starts at a whopping $269,000.
Many, if not most, campers prefer the smaller Class B and C campers because they are much smaller and typically a bit cheaper. The Winnebago Roam is one such smaller camper. The smaller size offers better maneuverability and more off-the-grid access. It manages all that while still offering most of the same amenities like a kitchenette, sleeping quarters, and a bathroom.
What does the Winnebago Roam offer?
The Roam camper van is built on the Ram ProMaster platform, meaning the overall footprint comes in just under 20 feet long. Unlike most Class B campers, the Roam offers extra interior room for a wheelchair and a BraunAbility wheelchair lift.
The Roam is loaded with accessibility features like the aforementioned lift, standard wheelchair tie-downs, a shower and toilet with grab handles, accessible light, and system controls, and a powered sofa bed. Even with the added features, it still offers seating for five and sleeps up to four adults with the optional pop-up tent.
Does the Roam come with special driving features?
Winnebago has made a point to leave any hand controls and other specialty driving features up to third-party companies specializing in these apparatuses. Like all good camper vans, customization is key to getting exactly what each camper needs from their home on wheels. The only other optional extras include a built-in TV and the choice between three color palettes; red, silver, or white.
Winnebago consulted wheelchair users who owned the Class A models on what to include in the Roam. The camper van company also hosted RV trips with travelers in wheelchairs, who suggested what to change and keep. Winnebago also spoke to people in the accessibility community, including caregivers, as it developed the Roam.
As a non-wheelchair user, my opinion means little to nothing, but it is nice to see some effort of wider inclusion into this marketplace. The more automakers consider wider audiences, the better the marketplace gets for everyone.
Winnebago has yet to release pricing on the new wheelchair-accessible camper van. However, orders are available this fall, which means we should see pricing soon.