This past Saturday we spent the WHOLE day at the Denver RV and Boat Show and it's hard to tell if we had more questions when we arrived or when we left. As we've mentioned before we are not ready to purchase that new RV yet, but it's always fun to go 'research' at the shows. We love to see what's new, what's trending, and snoop on what everyone is buying.
Here's what we learned:
- Stephanie and Jeremy of RV Family Travel Atlas are just as awesome in person as they are on their Podcast. We caught their seminar on Tips and Tricks For RV'ing With Kids which you can hear a similar version of here. We even had the pleasure of having lunch with them and let me tell you they are a wealth of information! If you aren't listening to them you need to get on board the travel trailer.
- Everyone will tell you don't buy a pop-up - except the pop-up guys! Almost everyone we spoke to explains it this way - pop-ups are too entry level and you will quickly outgrow it. Most people suggest if you know you love camping, don't bother with the pop-up, try a hybrid travel trailer or go straight to the full travel trailer. I spoke to a saleslady in the Camping World area who mentioned she had traded in 5 pop-ups that weekend including a 2015 model for travel trailer purchases. Considering what you pay for a new pop-up, you most likely will lose money according to most people you speak with. There's also the feeling that a pop-up is 'work' once you get to the campground. We don't know if we're convinced yet.
- The recession is over in the RV world - all those RV reports and numbers are not lying. Walking through the show arena we saw more SOLD signs then we've seen in the past six years. We came upon one fifth wheel/toy hauler/hotel on wheels with patio, washer and dryer, and plush leather theater style sofa priced at $85,000 and there were five sold signs on it.
- Polar opposites mingle together quite nicely - we walked in and walked out of the $500,000 class A just so we could say we did. It had two leather couches, three TV's, two bathrooms, a kitchen that might be bigger than the kitchen in our house and a full sized king bed. It was over the top - perfect for a rockstar or the retired couple sitting in it negotiating with the sales guy. Then not 500 feet away is a truck camper for $12,000 with a nice sized bed, a decent kitchen, and a design scheme I could actually live with. We sat back and realized - on any given day, you will see both of these and everything in between sitting in a campground at the Grand Canyon and everyone will be happy because they're just living their own RV dream.
- The industry is starting to listen to what people want in design. We saw a lot more layouts that included bunk beds, privacy walls, and more naturally flowing living spaces. I was extremely pleased to see that the designers are finally moving past the swirl and pine cone patterns, past the fake stone linoleum, and past the tweed cushions to something that we would have in our home. We were most impressed with the Kodiak Ultimate line by Dutchmen! We probably said wow! about 100 times in each Kodiak travel trailer we walked into. Prior to Saturday I had never heard much about Kodiak, however, after looking around, I will definitely start researching these more.
Stainless steel appliances with dark cabinets
Faux stone accents including this backsplash for the TV.
This picture does not do these (laminate) wood floors any justice.
Model 240BHSL really grabbed our attention - a queen bed, 2 bunks, a nice little kitchen, and the slideout really gives you the feeling of floor space in the living room.
- It is incredible how fast your budget mindset can change - You walk into the RV show saying I will find something for $12,000. That's it, my mind is made up. Then you see that $15,000 can get you some really nice upgrades. And if you're already spending $15,000 you might as well treat yourself to the features of the $18,000 trailer. And before you know it you're standing in front of a $23,000 trailer that glows like the house from Christmas Vacation as you're shaking the hand of the salesman!
- Finance, finance, finance - 70% of RV purchases are financed. Your average RV loan is 12 years and just a little higher interest than a car loan. Financing seemed to be pushed a lot harder this year than we remember in the past.
- The last thing we learned this weekend - it is REALLY hard to take pictures at an RV Show. There about 1,000 people walking in and out of the travel trailer you want to take a picture of for your new camping blog. But hey we got a few!
Tell us what is your favorite part of the RV Show? What did you learn?