Tuesday, November 28, 2023


We can’t keep a good thing to ourselves. Expect many, many more new RVers in 2022

This question is for all of you longtime RVers out there – Did you really think you were going to be able to keep a good thing all to yourself?

Anyone who has taken to the road during the last year-and-a-half knows how much the landscape has changed in RVing. Gone are the days of “pull up at 4 p.m. and pick a site, any site.” If you didn’t make your camping reservations when you were at least a year younger than you are now, good luck.

How many units were shipped this year?

News last week out of the RV manufacturing industry is the best indication yet that the explosion in popularity for RVing isn’t going to abate anytime soon. The RV Industry Association is projecting the industry will finish 2021 with a record 590,000 units shipped from factories.

And how many next year?!

If you think that number is staggering, consider that the group is already projecting RV manufacturers will crank out more than 600,000 rigs in 2022 ­– a 4 percent increase on top of this year’s record. And they are doing this at a time when the supply chain remains crippled, with container ships full of parts bobbing around the Pacific Ocean like a school of dead carp.

It appears that the armchair RV pundits out there who were projecting rookie RV buyers would quickly lose interest in the lifestyle and attempt to sell their barely used RVs might just be wrong.

We’re seeing the “churn rate” with RVs

A few years ago, when I was toiling away in the dying newspaper industry, we were very concerned with something called the “churn rate.” Churn was the number of new subscribers we had to find to replace the readers who decided they’d read enough of our drivel and stopped their papers. If you could slow the percentage of readers leaving the paper, even just a little, your readership would grow exponentially as new readers came aboard.

That’s a bit of what we’re seeing now in RVing. New RVers are gobbling up everything manufacturers can put over a set of wheels and – so far – haven’t shown an interest in selling their new rolling vacation homes.

So, if new RVers aren’t selling out and manufacturers can crank out an additional 600,000+ new rigs next year, the woes of camping in 2021 aren’t likely to go away. Just where are we planning to put ANOTHER 600,000 fresh-faced RVing families when they take to America’s highways and byways?

Don’t look to the RV Industry Association for any quick answers. They are certainly aware of campsite shortage issues, and they have more than a few committees working on it. But it’s hard to miss their joyous conga-line dance all the way to the bank.

“The remarkable production from the RV manufacturers and suppliers is nothing like we have ever seen before, and our new forecast shows the record-breaking streak will continue,” said RV Industry Association President & CEO Craig Kirby. “Over the past year, millions of people discovered that RVs are the best way to experience the great outdoors and the many benefits of an active outdoor lifestyle. The demand from these new RV owners, as well as our returning customers, is driving the increased RV production we will continue to see through the remainder of 2021 and into 2022.”

Light at the end of the tunnel?

If you’re anxiously waiting for used RV lots to fill up with discounted year-old rigs from fresh RVers who become disenchanted with their travels, you might have to wait a while longer.

For longtime RVers looking for some respite from the masses of new campers, there is some light on the horizon. Even the RV Industry Association doesn’t think the current tsunami of new buyers can last forever. They think the tide could turn as early as late 2022.

“RV shipments are projected to reach an all-new high in 2022, but there will be lower RV shipment growth rates in comparison to 2021 because of supply chain issues, inflation, rising interest rates, and slowing economic growth later in 2022,” the group said in last week’s release.

I guess we’ll have to wait and see just when more RVing newbies finally decide they really prefer boutique hotels.

As always, we’d like to hear what you think in the comments below.


Mike Gast
Mike Gast
Mike Gast was the vice president of Communications for Kampgrounds of America Inc. for 20 years before retiring in 2021. He also enjoyed a long newspaper career, working as a writer and editor at newspapers in North Dakota, South Dakota, Oregon, and Montana. He and his wife, Lori Lyon, now own and operate the Imi Ola Group marketing company, focusing on the outdoor industry.



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Richard Keough (@guest_142575)
2 years ago

My wife and I spent 6 weeks on the road this summer on a trip to Yellowstone from Florida.
We saw RV parks creating 2 sites out of one to accommodate the extra traffic, and newbies at 30% of that traffic. Reminded me of the land rush stories when sooners filled their wagons with everything but what they would need for the trip and things were falling off going down the road.

Kim (@guest_141604)
2 years ago

A lot of people I talk to think RVing is cheaper than living in a sticks and bricks house. I tell them that it is not that much cheaper for me. I can budget and yes, my “house” payment is not that bad, but it isn’t all about I can live for $500 a month like they seem to think.

Bob p (@guest_141492)
2 years ago

I was one of those arm chair pundits who thought this would end soon. I will say the pandemic has kept it all going and when the pandemic finally ends there will be thousands of used RVs on the market. My reasoning being as soon as the younger RVers can go back to the lifestyle of everyone waiting on them they will. As we all know there is a lot of work to being an RVer just setting up and breaking down, then add all the maintenance required beginning the second year of ownership and it won’t take long for the glamor and glitz to wear off. This is a lifestyle we have chosen and I don’t see many of the younger generations willing to work for their pleasure. I could be wrong, heaven knows I have been wrong before, but I just don’t see the “can do” attitude we older folks have.

Lindalee (@guest_141531)
2 years ago
Reply to  Bob p

Amen, Bob, amen!

Bobred (@guest_141440)
2 years ago

I don’t think it is a matter of “trying to keep a good thing to ourselves”, I think it was assuming provinces, states and the private sector would understand that the supply of campsites needs to grow with the population. Mostly they didn’t add fast enough or at all, then the Covid surge in demand came along and made things worse.

CLeeNick (@guest_141393)
2 years ago

I guess I’m really glad my wife and I like to take our RV to out of the way places most folks don’t seem to like to visit, boondocking mostly, but also visiting campgrounds and RV parks here and there. Living in a relatively unpopulated part of the western US, and visiting same, we just haven’t seen the crowds and filled up campgrounds we keep reading about.

Sink Jaxon (@guest_141327)
2 years ago

My question is, where are they storing all these RV’s when not in use?

Tommy Molnar (@guest_141339)
2 years ago
Reply to  Sink Jaxon

They store them in HUGE lots that keep opening. Forward thinking entrepreneurs buy up land on the outskirts of a town and open up an RV storage lot. It quickly fills up with RV’s that won’t be used all that often because of the hassle of going to get it, loading it up, and taking off. Then returning home, unloading it, hauling it back to the lot, and letting it sit for weeks (or months) before the next trip. And since selling it, if they decide to, is also a hassle. It may just be easier to pay the monthly rent and forget about it. The TV show “Going RV” is not helping this problem.

Barbara Brooker (@guest_141295)
2 years ago

The pandemic might be one factor but another may be climate change. People may want something they can exit in a hurry to avoid, fire, water, or wind. But like the cartoon in this edition, where in the world can you go?

John O (@guest_141282)
2 years ago

“One bad apple can spoil the bunch.” That popular phrase is used to refer to a situation in which one person’s negative demeanor or bad behavior can affect a whole group of people, influencing them to have a similar negative attitude or to engage in the same bad behavior.

No doubt the influx of inexperienced first time campers as a consequence of the pandemic has exacerbated the problems – but it’s been growing steadily worse for many years now.

If you’re one of the millions of unhappy campers then you might want to consider signing this petition to the agencies responsible for enforcing the rules. Simply posting the rules at the campground entrance is not enough – they need to start enforcing the rules!


sdw (@guest_141278)
2 years ago

I wonder how frustrating it’s going to be when people can’t find a campground that’s not full.

Kikiesq (@guest_141271)
2 years ago

I’m one of those fools waiting for the surge in popularity to die down. Just sold my 2021 teardrop TT yesterday. I just wasn’t fond of it. Slowly shopping for a 2019-2020 model I want. I’ll wait for it to die down because it’s just not as fun out there anymore. Hey, if this surge happened because of the pandemic, then it will die down when the pandemic does. Right?

tom (@guest_141247)
2 years ago

RV’s and the idea of RV’s are being loved to death. We all cannot camp at Wal-Mart.

Tessa Miller (@guest_141229)
2 years ago

A related problem is the unavailability of on-the-road RV repair services. With so many rigs on the road, and so few new RV’ers knowing hardly anything about the mechanics of their RV’s, it is nearly impossible to get timely service assistance when something goes wrong. Mechanics are so busy that it’s difficult to even get a return phone call telling you they don’t have time for you!

Les (@guest_141274)
2 years ago
Reply to  Tessa Miller

So true.

Wayne Caldwell (@guest_141223)
2 years ago

It’s a 5 1/2 hour, 275_mile drive, but my wife’s deceased grandparents bought a 2-acre lot south of Pagosa Springs with frontage right on the San Juan River about 50 years ago and had full hook-ups installed for their RV. Since the primary rule is family only, unless another family member shows up from 800 miles away, it’s just the two of us and our dog. And there’s only one other RV in the family. 😊😊😊😊😊

Glenn (@guest_141261)
2 years ago
Reply to  Wayne Caldwell

Very nice! 👍

Craig (@guest_141424)
2 years ago
Reply to  Wayne Caldwell

Your a lucky man! I’ve been looking for a lot that will allow RV’s out there for a while….

Barbara (@guest_141425)
2 years ago
Reply to  Wayne Caldwell

Where? Want to rent a spot?

Mike Johnson (@guest_141221)
2 years ago

I would be interested to see an article on how many of the new RV builds are by first time buyers; Then also the state of used RV availability. Finally, include / factor in, the lifetime expectancy of rigs.

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