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."

Trader Online Web Developer

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.

Trader Online Web Developer