Thoughts from the RV show…

2/17/2012

My wife and I just attended the West Virginia Sports Show here in Charleston, West Virginia.  I was disappointed that 95% of the show was travel trailers.  While that is a popular niche, it is only a portion of the RV industry.  I am guessing that the RV of choice in West Virginia is the travel trailer!  It might have something to do with the fact that about half of the vehicles on the road are trucks or large SUVs capable of towing!

The quality is what you would expect from a box trailer.  The flimsy shower surrounds, plastic sinks, wallpaper fake tile backsplash, and misaligned door pulls where all clues to the lower end of the RV scale.  While there were multiple vendors present, most of the units looked the same.  Nothing unique or new except one vendor had motorized drop down bunks in the living room.  The bunks had an electric motor that lowered them from underneath the overhead storage.  It was a great idea and the only unique thing I saw at the show.

TRENDS

Faux Tile Flooring

We did notice that the manufacturers were using linoleum flooring with tile patterns.  Out with the faux wood floors and in with the faux tile floor.  Mostly brown/taupe and mostly diagonals.  I was surprised that a few trailers had linoleum faux tile but in large 12″ tiles which made the unit look smaller.

Outdoor Cooking Stations

The other trend was outside cooking (propane burners or grills), sinks, and refrigerators.  The size and quality varied but it was clear that more units were offering them.

(Lack of) Green RVs

With all of the attention to formaldehyde with the FEMA trailers, I was surprised that we only saw 1 or 2 “green” RVs.  Since we did go in most of the units, I am sure that we inhaled enough of the stuff to preserve us form a few months!  It could be that this is just a local thing.  In West Virginia, if you cannot see it, touch it, or taste it, then it is not on the radar!  We have more than our share of chemical plants here in “Chemical Valley“!

One thing that we determined is that my wife and I prefer a motorhome.  This is just a personal lifestyle preference.  We like being able to pull off the road and have access to everything without having to go outside.  The very first night we used our Airstream 345, we arrived at the campground in a driving rainstorm.  We simply backed into the spot and settled in.  I was not about to plug into shore power in a rainstorm!

I did have a ViewRVs.com shirt on.  One gentleman asked me about my site.  I told him I mainly post older Airstream and Argosy units and that I feel the construction of the Airstream/Argosy line far exceeds to quality of construction of these new units.  I would bet Mitt Romney’s $10,000 that a 22 year old 1990 Airstream would outlast every unit in that building!

If you are looking for “value” in your RV purchase, I think the NEW lots don’t offer much.  A used Airstream or Argosy is a much better value!

-Fred