The COVID-19 outbreak has caused seismic shifts in business and culture. From the way we live, to how we work, to the foundations of the economy, nothing has quite been the same since the pandemic began.
The RV industry is no exception. RVing was already growing in popularity before the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020. Previously, the move to recreational vehicles was mostly driven by waves of Baby Boomers retiring from their day-to-day jobs and opting to live the traveler or snowbird lifestyle.
However, the pandemic accelerated RV uptake in the Generation X and Millennial cohorts as younger people began to look for ways to travel, work, or isolate in the face of the COVID outbreak and subsequent government restrictions.
Why are RVs getting so popular?
Buying an RV can be expensive at first, but it pays off later. If the great outdoors keeps calling your name, here’s how you can benefit from RV ownership.
⦁ Gives you the freedom to go on spontaneous trips
When you own an RV, you have the freedom to get up and go wherever you want at a moment’s notice. Since you don’t have to worry about where you will sleep, all you need to do in advance is pack your bags and make sure you have enough supplies for the first leg of your trip. No more scouring the internet for the perfect hotel or struggling to make reservations at the last minute.
⦁ Offers you flexibility at your destination
If you’ve booked alternative accommodation, traveling via RV still gives you peace of mind. There are so many people who report having found the perfect hotel, campground or Airbnb online, only to arrive and get disappointed that the place looks nothing like the photos. Maybe you’ve heard too many of these stories, or maybe you’ve been one of the unfortunate victims of this kind of false advertising. When you’re visiting a new place, going with your RV gives you flexibility just in case you find yourself having fallen victim to this kind of catfishing. Rather than having to look for another place to stay as a crisis, you can simply spend the night in your RV and make alternative plans the next morning.
⦁ Doubles as both a means of transport and a home
For people who thrive on the road, an RV can start to feel like home pretty fast. Some people discover this accidentally when they’ve already bought their RV. However, there are people who sell everything they have and move out of their house specifically because they believe living out of an RV is more fun or fulfilling than a traditional living arrangement. Living on the road is very popular among digital nomads and retirees who don’t want to be tied down to a fixed address anymore.
⦁ Makes it easy to travel safely with your social bubble during the pandemic
If you’re itching to go traveling but you’re anxious about the new COVID-19 wave, then traveling by RV might be the way to go. An RV offers you the freedom to explore a new place with the people in your social bubble. Since you’re moving around with your own kitchen, bathroom and bedrooms, it’s easier to stay away from the holiday crowd.
As a result of the growing interest in owning an RV, RVing has experienced an unprecedented boom over the last two years. Interest from first-time RV buyers increased 170% in mid-2020 when restrictions began to lift in many regions. The hashtag term #vanlife, tagged on Instagram by digital nomads and mobile creatives, has been used over 6 million times. RV ownership in the US has exploded to an all-time high of 11.2 million households – up 69% from 6.9 million in 2021. Thanks to the spike in demand and interest, some estimate that the industry will reach 36.6 billion in the US alone by 2026.
RVing has never been as popular as it is now. While existing RV manufacturers scramble to increase production and firm up their supply chains to keep up with the demand, the burgeoning RV lifestyle has created opportunities for new companies outside of long-time incumbents.
For example, RV Share, RVezy, and Outdoorsy are platforms that connect RV owners with RV renters, in a kind of a blend between Uber and Airbnb. Harvest Hosts helps RVers find unique camping and outdoor lifestyle experiences, ranging from private ranches to wineries. Husband and wife team Matthew and Joann Hoffman are full-time RVers who recently launched a new, direct-to-consumer RV brand called Living Vehicle, featuring modern design esthetics and luxury, high tech features.
One of the fastest-growing brands in RVing is RV SnapPad, an independent family-owned company. Domiciled in Western Canada, the business was founded by Gordon Wilson and his three sons (Kent, Devon, and Barrett), initially as a side project in their garage. The vision was a simple one – create a new product category in the RV leveling accessories space called “permanent jack pads”. Though simple, the concept wasn’t easy to execute, resulting in a series of experiments featuring different product versions using things like powerful magnets and industrial adhesives to achieve “permanence.”
Eventually, the concept was realized via careful engineering driven by an insight that enabled the new company to create a rubber jack pad that could be installed permanently. All one needed to do was “snap” a physical lip onto the RV’s metal jack feet.
Gordon and the boys were able to patent the idea and launched the product directly to consumers on a single-page website in late 2015. Since then, the business has grown to 18 employees. The jack pad is currently produced by three different US manufacturers, and is sold in over 500 North American RV dealerships.
The ballooning interest in RVing means more unique, innovative, and independent startups are likely to pop up on the horizon. While it was previously ignored by modern DTC (direct-to-consumer) and tech startup hubs in favor of “sexier” segments like food, fashion, and fitness, RVing is now all the rage. Outdoor enthusiasts should expect to find more and more new products and platforms that aim to make the RVing lifestyle easier, better, and more accessible than ever before.
For people who love to travel but want the freedom to roam and explore, owning an RV is the perfect solution. As an RV owner, you can enjoy the freedom of living life on the road. RVs are especially attractive among people who are retired or semi-retired, as well as “digital nomads” who work remotely. Thanks to their lifestyle, these demographics have more freedom and have the option of living “life on the road”, and not tethered to a specific location.
Once you get yourself an RV, you’re going to want to invest in good protection for your jacks. Want to see how the RV SnapPad works? Visit their website for more information.