Smaller is getting bigger. Thanks to millennials, sales of more compact RV units, loaded with all the latest technological advances, such as solar, LED lighting, WiFi, bluetooth, slide outs, flat screen TV’s and other amenities, like bike racks and kayak modules, have caused RV manufacturers to stand up and take notice. The youth have not only captured RV living but they have transformed the whole concept and have made it their own. Move over granny, the millennials are taking over the KOA campground (as well as all the national and state parks).
According to this latest article from CNBC Money: two of the major players in the industry, Thor Industries and Winnebago Industries, reported huge growth in their most recent earnings report. Thor saw sales skyrocket 56.9 percent to $2.02 billion from last year. Winnebago’s surged 75.1 percent last quarter to $476.4 million. Much of the growth can be attributed to strong sales of smaller units that can be towed behind an SUV or minivan, which dominate the RV market.
While the mention of an RV might conjure up an image of a big motorized home without many amenities, that has changed. In fact, just two years ago, the KOA survey found younger campers valued having WiFi almost as much as access to toilet paper. The industry needed to keep up. Private campgrounds like KOA and GoCampingAmerica.com have hopped on this trend by offering WiFi and full amp hookups at their sites. They also allow RVers to use their slide-out, a way to extend the space in an RV while parked.
That last one may sound simple, but it’s something public campgrounds don’t allow and a major deterrent for RVers. National parks are by far the most popular destination for campers. “The typical RVer is staying outside the national park. The preference is most would much rather drive in and stay in the park, but the campgrounds haven’t been modernized.”
That’s one area where RVIA hopes to work with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who assumed the office in March. Broom said Zinke is interested in expanding public-private partnerships in an effort to upgrade the campgrounds on federal lands.
YAY! If the federal government starts upgrading public camp grounds to include electricity, water and a dump station at all national and state parks, we RVers will have it made!
DH and I are so happy we bought our brand new 17 ft Jayco Hummingbird. It has all the latest innovations the millennials have been hankering for! It’s so nice to know DH and I did NOT make a mistake by going small. It feels good to know we’re still young enough to keep up with the cutting edge in technology. It makes much more sense both financially (less expensive) for us and more amenable for the environment.
I have to admit, I cheated just a little bit because for the last 6 or so months, I have been following this young RVing couple on YouTube. Everything I have currently learned about modern day RVing I have gleaned from Nathan and Melissa. Their YouTube channel is entitled “Less Junk. More Journey.” You can catch their series by clicking here. They also have an adorable 3 year old toddler. The couple sold their home and have gone through a series of RVs (and tow vehicles) until they settled upon a smaller ’98 Airstream model. They started with the biggest 45 ft Motor Home on the planet but quickly learned smaller (under 30 feet) is much better. Especially if you want to see all the National & State Parks in America. They have mastered the art of boondocking, earning an income while on the road and capturing the power of the sun for free electricity! I’ve also learned about new apps available to make our own RV experience safer and more exciting.
In other words, thank heaven for the millennials! They have taken over RVing and brought it up to the 21st Century. Life is an adventure. Life is to be enjoyed. Life is fun. How wonderful to know we’re never too old to get out there and just do it.
Live well, my friends, and prosper. Live well and prosper.