RVs have always come in all shapes and sizes, in styles from bare-bones to luxuriant, and more and more “hardcore” outdoors people are using them as mobile basecamps from which to launch their adventures.
As vanlife and overlanding surge, serving an overlapping consumer has brought the paper-thin line between outdoor and RV industries into increasingly similar territory, reports snewsnet.com.
According to Frank Hugelmeyer, the outdoor industry has an elitism problem. The president of the RV Industry Association – and former CEO of Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) – believes that both groups need to relax how they define themselves because the outdoor and RV worlds are much closer than brands and retailers are willing to believe.
These fissures are divisive, however, and many of these disciplines have grown closer together in recent years as we all realize that we’re fighting for and supporting the same things. But one category of outdoor adventure remains isolated: RVing.
“RVing was always viewed as something that’s not hardcore enough,” said Hugelmeyer. In reality, the outdoor industry is a pretty exclusive club. To join, you’ll have to adhere to a certain human-powered ethic, which makes it easy for the backpacker to scoff at the RV camper, or at least to see the differences between the two worlds as more than they might actually be. According to Hugelmeyer, in a world like the outdoors, where what you do is so critical to your self-identity, it’s easy to disassociate from the other.
But there is definitely more than one type of outdoor consumer – those types, whether as close as whitewater and sea kayaking or as disparate as the ultralight backpacker and the RV camper, have the same heartbeat. For most, getting outside is the singular goal, with activities changing based on age, season, or weekend. And while some people in the traditional outdoor industry might have a hard time trading in their hiking boots for rugged, off-roading tires, for most consumers, it’s all part of the same thing.