This new Type B motorhome incorporates a once-popular feature: a pop-top roof.
By Lazelle Jones
The idea originated decades ago: to create a pop-up sleeping quarter on the top of a VW Bus. This expanded livability in the cabin when a campsite was reached and meant more sleeping spaces. Later VW models converted by Westfalia added additional features. Then, the concept lay fallow for some time.
Roadtrek Inc. has brought back the pop-top for model-year 2021 with the new Zion Slumber Type B motorhome. Its pop-up top can accommodate two adults for a comfortable night’s rest. But that is just the beginning. The RV enthusiast will find the Zion Slumber to be a high-tech RV that brings utility, functionality, and numerous amenities. It offers the versatility that only a van-size motorhome can provide.
The overall length is 20 feet 9 inches; the exterior width measures 83 inches; and the exterior height when the unit is ready for travel is just 9 feet 5 inches. The Zion Slumber tucks nicely into many driveways, parking lots, and even in parallel-parking spots on streets. With seatbelts for five, the motorhome becomes a utility/transportation vehicle about town, carting little leaguers to ball games and making runs to the grocery or hardware store. In addition, the Zion Slumber’s fuel economy rating is estimated as high as 18 miles per gallon.
The Ram ProMaster 3500 extended van is the platform on which Roadtrek has created the Zion Slumber. This is a front-wheel-drive chassis with a six-speed automatic transmission. Several years ago, I drove a Roadtrek built on the then-new Ram ProMaster van to Alaska, and its performance was flawless. I can only imagine that this platform has gotten even better.
Roadtrek in no way compromises the integrity of the raw ProMaster 3500 vans it receives from Ram. The penetration made in the roof to permit the addition of the pop-up assembly is placed between structural members that are integral to the van’s infrastructure.
The pop-top sleeping quarter Roadtrek adds to the Ram van body is designed and built by a German company that has been building pop-top modules for the European RV market for years. By virtue of volume and years of experience, “they know their stuff.” The pop-top module comes fully assembled and includes the bed platform, mattress, fabric sides, digital lighting, and zippered panels (screens and window flaps). It features a pneumatic strut pop-up mechanism that also controls the lowering of the module for travel. The module is mechanically fastened to the metal of the van body. To make the area impervious to the elements, an automotive-type seal is installed around the opening where it is mounted. When lowered for travel, the modular pop-top with skylight extends just 12 inches above the roof, the same height as the Coleman Mach 10 rooftop air conditioner with which the Zion Slumber is equipped. This means it creates minimal, if any, wind resistance.
A great deal of forethought was given to maximizing available space for storage. For instance, the holding tanks are constructed from a composite material injected into molds that take advantage of the space between chassis frame members. It’s impressive. Capacities of the fresh-, gray-, and black-water tanks are 37, 14, and 8.5 gallons, respectively.
The gasoline-powered ProMaster 3500’s fuel tank holds 24 gallons. The standard package includes a 5.9-gallon propane tank that fuels the two-burner cook top, a 16,000-Btu forced-air furnace, and a tankless water heater. A 13,500-Btu roof air conditioner and 30-amp shore power service are also standard. The house battery receives its recharge via the detachable 30-amp shore power cord or the chassis engine generator. Every Zion Slumber is prewired for solar.
This motorhome is available in two floor plans: one with opposing twin-size beds/sofas in the rear, which can convert to a king-size bed, the other with a forward-facing power sofa in the rear that converts to a coach-wide, king-size bed. Both carry the same exterior dimensions (length, width, and interior height). Both come with seatbelts for five, can accommodate up to five individuals for the night (with an optional foldable mattress for the cockpit), and are fully self-contained. The opposing twin-bed/sofa layout has a center aisle that flows all the way to the rear double doors, which can be fully or partially opened; the sofas rest against the side walls and convert into beds measuring 25 inches by 78 inches. A forward-facing power sofa is available as an alternative. At the touch of a switch, it folds out into a 74-inch-by-76-inch coach-wide bed. It also retracts back into the sofa via a power mechanism. A 24-inch smart TV hangs in this area.
Access to the pop-up sleeping quarter is provided just aft of the cockpit seats. Occupants climb into it using an aluminum sliding ladder. The ladder folds in half and can be stowed when not needed.
The aforementioned optional folding mattress creates a single bed across the driver and passenger seats to provide sleeping space for one more.
The Zion Slumber offers stand-alone capability for RVers to enjoy primitive camping when 30-amp shore power is not available or the engine-operated, 280-amp alternator is not charging the house battery. This is possible thanks to a lithium-ion house battery package, which comes standard. Using a 3,000-watt inverter, the 400-amp-hour batteries can power everything on board the motorhome. So, if desired, owners can opt for electric units to replace the propane-fueled forced-air furnace, water heater, and two-burner cook top.
And for anyone wondering whether the 13,500-Btu roof air conditioner really can be operated for extended periods of time under hot exterior ambient temperatures using the house batteries as the power source, the answer is yes. The water heater, be it propane-fueled or electric, is a tankless unit. With the all-electric option, the standard two-burner propane cook top is replaced by a single induction burner. The only caveat is that metal cookware with iron content is required on this induction burner. The galley also comes with a 0.7-cubic-foot microwave oven.
The galley includes a single-basin stainless-steel sink with a fold-down tempered-glass cover that creates additional countertop surface area. The cook top also is paired with a hinged glass top that folds up and down as required. The stainless steel on the walls around the cook top makes it easy to wipe down the area after using the burner(s).
A 5-cubic-foot refrigerator-freezer sits directly across from the stove top and is all-electric (12-volt), powered by the lithium-ion house battery. Next to the fridge is a pull-out pantry, perfect for all those dry and canned goods. A large drawer below the refrigerator makes a handy place to store pots and pans. The galley also contains lower cabinet storage.
A flip-up solid-surface countertop extension can be put into service when ingress and egress through the Zion Slumber’s side sliding entry door is not needed. To keep the bugs outside, the door is accompanied by a heavy-duty “pet friendly” screen with a magnetic fastener. (The rear doors also have a screen.)
Immediately across from the main side entrance is a permanent self-contained wet bath. It includes a stand-up shower, a marine-style toilet, a lavatory, and a ceiling vent.
The cockpit contains swiveling captains seats that can be turned rearward to face the rest of the coach. A movable, stowable table top fabricated from a lightweight material can be quickly set in place between the seats. First, place the stainless-steel pole into a slot in the floor, insert the table top on the pole, and you have a surface that can be used for dining, as a utility table, or whatever. This same removable table top and post can be used in the rear of the coach, with the rear sofa or the two side sofas serving as seating.
The Zion Slumber is offered in four exterior full-body paint colors: Sandstone Pearl, Granite Metallic, Silver Metallic, and Bright White. RVers have three interior décor packages from which to choose. This permits the RV enthusiast to create an interior that is specific to their preferences. These include a light, medium, and dark option. Various shades and types of wood cabinetry are available, including cherry. All upholstery is a leatherette fabric that is available in three shades (light, medium, and dark). White solid-surface material is used.
The standard Roadtrek Slumber Zion is well-appointed and fully equipped. Only four options are offered. These include the induction cook top, the rear power sofa, and the front cab folding mattress. And for those who are super sensitive to the ride of their mobile domicile, SumoSprings can be added to the rear axle. The base manufacturer’s suggested retail price of the Roadtrek Slumber is $153,986. With the four options added, the suggested price comes to $155,992.
SPECS | 2021 Roadtrek Zion Slumber
Roadtrek Inc., 20 Tyler St., Cambridge, ON N1T 0E4;(519) 745-1160; www.roadtrek.com
Ram ProMaster 3500 extended van
3.6-liter V-6, 24-valve; 280 horsepower;260 pound-feet torque at 6,400 rpm
automatic, 6 speed 62TE
3.86 to 1
LT 225/75R16E black wall
16-inch polished aluminum
antilock (ABS); four-wheel disc
chassis — 95A (800 amp-CCA);
house — 400 amps, lithium
30 amps; detachable power cord
280 amps, 12 volts; under hood
20 feet 9 inches
83 inches without mirrors
9 feet 5 inches with pop-top
6 feet 2 inches
GROSS COMBINATION WEIGHT RATING (GCWR)
GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR)
OCCUPANT & CARGO CARRYING CAPACITY (OCCC)
FRESH WATER CAPACITY
HOLDING TANK CAPACITIES
gray water — 14 gallons; black water — 8.5 gallons
16,000-Btu; propane-powered automatic (thermostat-controlled)
(1) 13,500-Btu unit, roof mounted
5 cubic feet, 12-volt electric
coach — 2 years/unlimited mileage;
powertrain — 5 years/60,000 miles, limited;
chassis, bumper to bumper — 3 years/36,000 miles, limited
BASE MANUFACTURER’S SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE
MANUFACTURER’S SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE FULLY OPTIONED