The Growing Market for Off-Road-Capable RVs

The Growing Market for Off-Road-Capable RVs


When it comes to choosing a campsite, most RVers think of a public or private campground: full hookups, maybe a picnic table and a fire ring. Or in a pinch, boondocking at a Walmart.

But there's growing number of RVers who rarely set foot (or tire) in a traditional campground. They prefer the wide-open spaces and night skies of the back country — national forests, Bureau of Land Management lands, national monuments and other far-off-the-beaten-path destinations.

These adventurers are driven partly by youth: According to KOA's 2017 North American Camping Report, millennials make up 38 percent of active campers, and account for half of all new campers since 2016.

“Not only are these younger campers highly social, but they’re also more physically active,” the KOA report says. “More physically active types of recreation are increasing in popularity, with mountain biking, hiking/backpacking, and canoeing/kayaking all gaining since 2014.”

And because they favor remote places often accessible only with four-wheel drive vehicles, a mini-industry has grown up around converting suitable vans and trucks into campers. Depending on the design, specs, and who is doing the conversion, this “upfitting,” can run $50,000 or more—over and above the cost of the vehicle—with a wait time of up to six months, a year, or more.

Now there's another option, as one major RV manufacturer has taken notice of the growing movement. Winnebago has just announced the Revel, a new, full-function compact RV built on the Mercedes-Benz 4WD Sprinter chassis.

With its high ground clearance, beefy stance and no-nonsense interior, it's clear the Revel is not trying to appeal to the traditional RVer. For example, there's no bed in the conventional sense. Rather, a platform bed lowers into the gear storage space once the rig is parked. And while it does have a shower, the Revel's cassette-style toilet eliminates the need for a blackwater holding tank, allowing a larger freshwater tank. Solar panels further hint at the Revel's off-the-grid capabilities.

"Americans are hardwired to explore," noted Russ Garfin, the Winnebago product manager responsible for the Revel. "And there's so much of America waiting to be explored.

"But to really get out there, you've got to change your priorities somewhat. Living space and, to some degree, comfort and convenience, have to take a bit of a back seat to capabilities. If something is not essential, it's certainly going to be looked at very carefully. We even made the coach air conditioning system an option — some people don't feel they need it, and would just as soon have a little more hauling capacity."

While Winnebago hasn't divulged sales goals, it's clear they've put a lot of thought into the rugged little Revel. According to Product Manager Garfin, "It's the most off-road-capable RV we've ever built. We're excited to see where it can go."

Spooky Destinations: Haunted Spots Across the Country

Spooky Destinations
Haunted Spots Across the Country

As cliche as it may be - October is a great month to talk about all things spooky and supernatural. With Halloween just around the corner, there’s no better time to plan a road trip to somewhere truly terrifying - and we’ve got some suggestions for you. All of the locations we’ve picked out are perfect for RVers because they offer you the chance to interact with some other-worldly apparitions and they have some other great attractions for you to check out in the area.

Our first location - Emily’s Bridge in Stowe, Vermont that is haunted by a ghost - not surprisingly named Emily - who died there and is known for harassing vehicles that park on there. Parkers have reported hearing noises - like footsteps or screams - even when no one is around. Others have had

Emily bang on or drag herself across their car - leaving scratches. Apparently she is most active between 12 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. - so if you choose to stop by, make sure it’s late at night. You might even see her as a white apparition hanging around the bridge. After your late night ghost hunt - make sure to check out some of the other great - and less terrifying - things Stowe has to offer. Including:
  • Smuggler’s Notch State Park
  • Green Mountain Fine Art Gallery
  • Moss Glen Falls

Heading south to Asheville, North Carolina, make sure to stop by the Biltmore Estate. The haunted
mansion is located on 8,000 acres that has gorgeous gardens, a winery, a small village, and an outdoor adventure center. The grounds are truly impressive - so much so that their original owner, George Washington Vanderbilt II and his wife decided to never leave. While the ghost of late George Vanderbilt has been seen around the property - many servants and visitors have reported hearing Mrs. Vanderbilt calling to her husband in the library where he will sometimes join her for a chat. Also - keep your eyes peeled for a headless orange cat that is said to roam the gardens. You could spend a whole day at the Biltmore - but Asheville is chocked full of fun things to do, including:
  • Fork Art Center
  • Pisgah National Forest
  • North Carolina Arboretum 

For those of you in the southwestern part of the country - make sure to check out the Texas Ghost Tracks in San Antonio, Texas. These train tracks were the site of a tragic accident back in the 1930s
or 40s where a train collided with a school bus full of children. Unfortunately, all the children died in the accident - but now it’s their mission to save anyone else who parks on those same tracks by pushing their vehicle to safety. A couple of tips before your visit - make sure to put your vehicle in neutral before you approach the tracks and sprinkle baby powder on your bumper so you can see the handprints of the children that pushed you to safety. After you’ve been saved by these tiny ghosts, make sure to check out:
  • San Antonio Riverwalk 
  • Natural Bridge Caverns
  • The Alamo

As we continue westward - you’ll find the old Rio Grande Train Depot in Salt Lake City, Utah that is home to the Purple Lady. This ghostly woman has been seen around the depot - but is most frequently spotted in the ladies restroom. She is said to be beautiful and always appears, dressed in all purple garb from the 1900s, looking quite forlorn. The story goes that she was killed at the train
station when she dove on to the tracks to retrieve an engagement ring after her fiance threw it there during a heated argument. Apparently - she is not the only ghost wandering these halls. There have been reports of a phantom party happening in the basement of the building and a lone walker’s footsteps can be heard traipsing across the mezzanine every afternoon at the same time. This is one of the many great destinations in Salt Lake City - so make sure to leave yourself some time to check out:
  • Antelope Island State Park 
  • Red Butte Garden and Arboretum
  • Temple Square 

No matter which of these destinations you choose to check out - you are sure to get in the Halloween mood and have a hauntingly good time.

The 65th Annual California RV Show & How to Get There

There are lots of RV shows around the country - but the California RV Show is one that you just cannot miss. It’s coming up in just a few weeks - beginning on October 6th and running until the 15th - so we’ve planned the ultimate California road trip leading you down the coastline to Pomona just in time for the 65th year of the show.

So, without further ado - here is the plan:

First stop - Eureka, which is on the list solely because of its name. Kidding - of course! This great little city is the largest coastal city between Portland and San Francisco - and offers one of the last stretches of coastline, known as the Lost Coast Trail, that is completely undeveloped and only accessible by foot. The trail winds backpackers through tucked-away beaches up to towering vistas that overlook the Pacific Ocean.

Next up - head slightly east to drive on the The Avenue of the Giants, found in the Humboldt Redwoods State Park. This 31 miles stretch of two lane road is surrounded by the highest density of truly ginormous redwoods found anywhere in the redwood belt. Throughout the route there are parking areas and picnic sites for taking it all in - and a nearby river makes for a fun pitstop.

Moving down the state - head toward Vallecito, which is home to the largest cave in California, known as Moaning Cavern. This cavern is so big, it could fit the entire Statue of Liberty inside - and, to get into the cave, you can walk down a huge spiral staircase that was installed in the 1900s.

There is time for one more stop before Pomona and that is Ojai. The town itself has a lot to offer - with boutique hotels and shops, a local farmer's market, and great access to hiking that leads you to beautiful waterfalls and hot springs on Matilija Creek.

And finally - on to the main event - the 65th Annual California RV Show. When you arrive in Pomona, you will be greeted by the ferris wheel- which makes the fairgrounds easy to find and is free to ride during the show. Once you get on the fairgrounds - there are plenty of activities to keep you occupied for all 11 days of the show,


This is a star-studded event. To start, Mario Lopez and Jennie Garth will be on site to meet-and-greet their fans and there will be several bands making appearances throughout the event to keep you entertained while you browse. Bands include:
  • Honey Country Band
  • Deja U Too
  • James Resnick Band

The show will have over 60 educational sessions on a number of different topics, including:
  • RV Buying Seminar
  • Campground Desserts 
  • Trailer Driving & Towing
  • RV Maintenance
  • Traveling with Pets
Just to name a few.

… And, of course, RVs - and RV related products - everywhere.

This show has more RVs than you could image - over 1,400 to be exact, including ones from over 25
Southern California dealers - so no matter what type or class you are looking for, you can check it out in person at the event. Often, dealers will have show specials going on to make it worth your while - so make sure to come with that in mind. You may be able to get exactly what you want, for even less than you expected.

If you already have an RV you’re happy with - representatives from the various manufacturers will be on hand to answer any questions you have about your unit - and there are tons of vendors on site selling all kinds of cool RV related products to truly make your RVing experience.

Make sure to get your tickets here as soon as possible and get ready for the RV show of the season. You won’t be sorry.


It’s a win-win!

You can protect wildlife and win an RV

Boy - do we have a deal for you.

RV Trader has partnered with the National Wildlife Federation, Keystone RV, and Jellystone Park to bring you a feel good giveaway that’s super easy to enter. All you have to do is visit before October 16th and pledge to camp. It’s that easy.

And - by making a pledge to go camping - you will be entered to win a 2018 Bullet COLT RV AND help us reach our goal of having 150,000 pledges. If we hit our pledge goal - the National Wildlife Federation will donate 5,000 regionally-specific native trees, helping to build a habitat for the wildlife we love so much.

And you thought camping couldn’t get any better!

And the fall is such a great time to get outdoors and camp. You can enjoy quality time unplugged with your family, while snuggled under cozy blankets enjoying s’mores around the campfire. To make sure you’re always camping responsibly - don’t forget to:
  • Always leave your campsite the way you found it. Responsible camping now means our favorite campsites can be enjoyed by generations to come. 
  • Walk on established trails and cook on a campfire stoves because it really does make a big difference. 
  • Stay in a designated RV camper area, if you are traveling in an RV.
There’s still time left to join the Great American Campout and be entered to win your very own 2018 Bullet COLT RV. 

YOGI BEAR and all related characters and elements © & TM Hanna-Barbera. (s17)


5 Totally Unexpected Benefits of RVing

By Kimberly Travaglino 
Fulltime Families Co-Founder

Image result for fulltime families logo

You’ve seen the brochures of RVs parked along the banks of picturesque lakes, and wide smiling faces sticky with fire roasted s’mores. You probably know that RVing is a great way to explore national treasures while still enjoying all the comforts of home. See America mile-by-mile by day and sleep in your own bed each night! Stock up the fridge before you leave and you’ll have all your favorite nibbles wherever you roam.

You’re probably already familiar with these great benefits of RVing, so we asked 5 families who are “RVing experts” exactly how RVing has benefited their families in unexpected ways...benefits that might be missed during a walk through a dealership.

A note about these experts: they are all part of an organization called Fulltime Families, dedicated to young, working, full-time RVers. These experts have sold their homes and hit the road in search of a stronger bond with their children, a slower lifestyle... and, ultimately, the adventure of a lifetime.

Unexpected Benefit #1: Less is more!

Let’s face it, whether you’re heading out for the weekend, or launching on a summer-long cross country trip, there’s only so much stuff you can bring along in your limited space. Somewhere in the midst of enjoying an evening campfire or an early morning pancake breakfast, you realize you actually have everything you truly need in your RV. You may start questioning why you even have all that “extra” stuff back home!

Jessica Jeffrey reminds us, “Having less stuff and less to take care of means I get to spend more quality time with my husband and kids.”

Unexpected Benefit #2: Learning alongside your kids truly is the best way to learn.

Summer vacation usually means that education is put on hold, but when you go RVing as a family, learning opportunities abound around every corner. How can you not talk Civil War history while picnicking at Gettysburg? How can you not discuss the wonders of creation while unearthing anemones in the tide pools along the Pacific? How can you resist pointing out the constellations while your eyes are raised to the heavens on those incomparably beautiful evenings?

Kimberly Travaglino, co-host of Roadschool Moms, a weekly podcast for homeschoolers on the road, remind us:

“You only need to think back to your own childhood to know the best lessons can be taught in pajamas, under a starry sky”.

Unexpected Benefit #3: Leave your stress behind.

Did you know there’s no room for anxiety in a hammock? How about that a campfire can melt your worries away? RVing is the antidote to the “busy” so many of us find ourselves stuck in. Instead of spending your weekend at your local home improvement store, drive your RV to your local soul improvement area (i.e., your favorite campground)and spend some time unwinding.

“Simplifying our life and living a simple life (TV’s have been replaced with board games, puzzles, music at meals, etc) as a family created a noticeable and surprising peace and calm for all of us,” says Eric Benson of

Unexpected Benefit #4: Have you tried to cook in a hotel room?

Seriously - have you tried to fit a gallon of milk in that tiny fridge? When you RV, not only do you bring along all the comforts of home, but you get to bring your favorite foods, too. With a refrigerator, microwave, and oven in your RV galley, you can make your family’s favorite meals on-the-go. On a special diet? RVing makes it easy to stick to the foods that fuel your fun! Wanna keep it simple? The @JamesGang suggests: “Why not cook some of your meals over a campfire? You’ll be making cherished memories as dinner becomes an adventure of it’s own.”

Unexpected Benefit #5: Three cheers for new friends!

If you’ve never gone RVing, then you may know the most important, most vital and most priceless unexpected benefit you’ll likely encounter are new friends! Remember that 1950s community your grandparents always tell stories about? Well, here’s a secret: it’s alive and well, recaptured in campgrounds across America. You’ll find lots of friendly folks enjoying the simple life as you stroll around the campground. Don’t be surprised if you’re invited to random campfires or if your children strike up friendships at the playground. It’s common for campers to connect and make plans for future RVing adventures down the road!

So, there you have it - the top 5 most unexpected benefits of RVing. 

We hope you find many more unexpected benefits as you and your family launch your own RV adventures!