By on December 24, 2020

 

Camper Vans

Camper vans, ubiquitous homes on wheels for digital nomads, were up 125 percent in total shipments in November, according to the RV Industry Association. This was part of total RV shipments that finished the month with 42,513 units, a 43.4 percent increase over the 29,644 units shipped in November of last year.

“RV manufacturers continue to post impressive shipment numbers as they work to meet the sustained demand for RVs,” said RVIA President Craig Kirby. “Our survey data shows this demand will continue in 2021, with 61 million Americans planning to take an RV trip in the next twelve months.”

Camper Vans

Towable RVs, led by travel trailers, totaled 38,485 units for the month, an increase of 46.3 percent compared to last November’s aggregate of 26,297 units. Truck campers, units that slide into pickup beds or mount to flatbed platforms, registered 505 units, up 73.5 percent from 291 the past year.

Camper Vans

Motorhomes finished the month with 4,028 units, up 20.3 percent compared to the November 2019 total of 3,347 units. This segment is comprised of Class A, Class B or van campers, and Class C motorized RVs.

Camper Vans

Shipments stand at 390,030 units, up 3.0 percent for the year as the RV industry attempts to get a handle on consumer demand. The industry no doubt owes a debt of gratitude to Vice-President Mike Pence, the former governor of Indiana, where most of the RVs in the U.S. are manufactured. Pence quietly lobbied for and won support for the designation of the industry as essential workers, allowing manufacturers to continue largely unimpeded.

Camper Vans

Wholesale RV shipments are forecasted to gain nearly 20 percent to 502,582 units in 2021 after totaling 423,628 units in 2020. This projection predicts total shipments ranging between 490,300 and 515,400 units with the most likely 2021 year-end total reaching 502,582, an 18.7 percent increase over 2020. Over the next two months, shipments are anticipated to finish within a range of 414,100 to 433,100 units with the most likely outcome being 423,638 units. That total would represent a 4.3 percent gain over the 406,700 units in 2019.

[Images: © 2020 J. Sakurai/TTAC, RVIA]

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34 Comments on “Camper Van Deliveries Up 125 Percent in November...”


  • avatar
    MoDo

    I was considering selling my cars and getting a nice gas class A motorhome, living down on BLM land during the winter and on crown land in Canada for the summers (both free). Then I realized just me and the dog don’t need such a huge rig and now I am looking at trailers in the 18-21′ range that I can tow behind my V8 4runner. That way I can just unhitch and still have a vehicle no matter where I end up. Well built, queen bed, decent size kitchen and shower that’s around 4500lbs dry is all I need.

    • 0 avatar
      CKNSLS Sierra SLT

      MODo-As someone who had this exact setup-I can tell you due to the short wheelbase of the 4Runner-it doesn’t do a great job of towing a trailer-not stable at all, even with a weight-distributing hitch.

      If you are a Toyota fan-get a Tundra.

      • 0 avatar
        MoDo

        I’ve heard that but play the hand I am dealt, its paid for and in great condition. I am looking for the lightest and smallest trailer that will accommodate me, doesn’t need to be a heavy 21 footer. A 16 footer with a slide might even be enough, 3000lb range (4runner rated for 7300lbs)

      • 0 avatar

        I have towed with all kinds of vehicles and all kinds of trailers. I agree mid size SUV’s aren’t the best but I think if you keep it to 20-21′ and weight under 5k loaded up a 4runner will be fine (also a good hitch makes a world of difference. My Ramcharger towing an old 26′ TT was very stressful lighter weight 23′ wasn’t an issue. My Dakota also was fine with the 23′. I’m looking at 18 to 19′ now for my pilot to tow.
        The two closest experiences I have were towing a 22′ with a bosses XC90 v8 and a 19′ hybrid with a v6 trailblazer. Both did fine but the XC90 for sure had some tail wagging the dog tendencies over 55 mph.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    Right after 9/11 I decided no one was going to fly for a while so I bought some stock in Winnebago. Did okay on that. Wish I’d thought of it again, I think this period of not wanting to fly or stay in hotels will last longer.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Part of the thing with flying is the fact ‘Muricans are pretty much not welcome anywhere I’ve seen outside of Albania. A 14 day quarantine means STF home to anyone not independently wealthy or can work from the destination (unless you feel like burning half to 3/4ths your total vacation time sitting in a hotel being compliant).

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I think traveling via RV is about the only thing left to do that’s reasonably safe. This doesn’t surprise me at all. Even with the vaccine I think it’s going to be awhile before people feel like “mingling” again

    I have a friend who along with his wife sold off everything, bought a large RV and spends his time going from kid to kid and camping out in their driveways. I thought they were crazy, but they seem to be happy

  • avatar
    MrIcky

    Honestly, the RV thing is sorta ruined. They opened up the state parks to registration for Summer 2021 on December 10th. It was basically booked solid by noon. I’m hoping it dies down after ’21 and people can start flying again, but it’s pretty frustrating.

    • 0 avatar
      CKNSLS Sierra SLT

      MrIcky-

      Right now there are all kind of spaces in the sunbelt open because the vast majority of Canadians are not wintering here like in the past. There are plenty of private parks that have spaces. I really think it’s ironic that there are some who complain about the “high cost of camping” when you have a RV that is an optional thing in life! Just sayin…….

    • 0 avatar
      Old_WRX

      One thing I am grateful for is that I got to see quite a few of the national parks in the sixties. My parents would always load all of us up and take off for all of my father’s vacation. There were eight of us in an old Greyhound bus crudely converted. But, we saw the parks before they were overrun. In those days there was no running water or electricity in the camp sites; the roads in the camping areas weren’t paved; and, yuck, a lot of them had only outhouses. In those days you could just show up at Yellowstone, Yosemite, Acadia, etc. and get a camp site. I would be afraid to see the parks now — so crowded by comparison.

  • avatar
    duncanator

    And still VW is not bringing their California van to the United States. So dumb.

    • 0 avatar
      HotPotato

      Right? So dumb of them to miss out on this fat, obvious profit opportunity staring them in the face. Vanagon Westfalias have INSANE valuations right now. The deeply unloved Eurovan ALSO has insane valuations when in camper form. NOTHING in Vanlife world, no matter how clever or techy or butch, has the cachet of a straight-from-the-VW-dealer factory-built camper van. Nothing. It’s easily a hundred thousand dollars a pop for a basic professionally converted Sprinter / Ford / Ducato (Ram) conversion, and VW is leaving this money on the table? Utterly mind-boggling.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    I wonder if part of the boom is due to parents with adult children buying them to get their kids out of the basement. Move ’em into the trailer, change the locks, and keep them out of the fridge. They’ll never move out if it’s too comfortable.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Did this story hit a nerve, Lorenzo? ;-)

    • 0 avatar
      RHD

      I have a neighbor whose able-bodied adult son is now living in a trailer in their driveway. The trailer windows are higher than my back fence. It’s illegal here to occupy a trailer in a driveway, but the local authorities don’t seem to care enough to do anything about it.
      Even with Covid, there are plenty of jobs available (just check with the local employment agencies), and some of them pay pretty well. Some people just want to feel sorry for themselves and sponge for a while.
      I’m not a curmudgeon – I’ve worked three jobs at the same time when I was younger and had to pay off some bills and build some savings.
      Heck, the local Lowe’s can’t find dependable employees – they just don’t bother to show up for their shifts.
      My neighbor’s son (now in his late 30’s) is on the loser track in life. When he’s 60 he’ll still have (and be) practically nothing.

      • 0 avatar
        iNeon

        @RHD I think you should let your neighbor’s son know how disappointed you are lol

      • 0 avatar
        JD-Shifty

        that’s your take. maybe he looks at you at says you wasted your life on a pile of cash you’ll never spend.

      • 0 avatar
        HotPotato

        How do you know the kid isn’t working from home — er, working from trailer? Taking an in-person customer-service job during a pandemic is a dumb idea if there’s a better option available. Any self-respecting young person these days is trying to learn “the full stack” of programming languages. There’s no physical contact with people, and more to the point, that’s where the money is. That’s where the money is…for now. Unfortunately, the same scumbag private equity firms that have destroyed every traditional industry in America, from mattresses to pharmacies, have now started buying up American software companies and destroying them too, shipping the jobs to India.

        Side note: If we actually wanted to make America great again, we’d have to undo every change from 1980 onward in terms of how American companies are managed and how their employees are compensated. Bring back the middle management career ladder. Bring back job security and defined-benefit pensions. Bring back unionized line workers with living wages. Bring back the 21-to-1 CEO-to-line worker pay ratio from 1965, as opposed to the 320-to-1 ratio of today. Bring back confiscatory top income tax rates as the iron hammer that forces the owner to reinvest in the company instead of bleeding it to buy himself more yachts. Abigail Disney (yes, that Disney) has some very interesting things to say about all this; she’s worth a listen.

    • 0 avatar
      ect

      Seriously, I spoke to a friend in Toronto back in June who told me then that her son (who works in IT and lives in a small condo with his wife and 2 preschoolers) was “working from home” in the spare bedroom of their (his parents) home. So, he was still commuting, just in a different direction.

      She also observed that everyone they knew who had a second property (e.g., home, ski chalet or country property) had it occupied by one of their kids. Life during Covid.

      • 0 avatar

        My Aunt has a lake front summer home, (she is high risk so no one traveled to see her this year) She noted many of the cottages owned by wealthier out of staters that usually only stayed a week or two a summer were there all summer and into the fall this year.
        Lot’s of people working from home and the road. One of my former bosses who already worked from his boat most Fridays of the summer, decided to take advantage of COVID and sell his house near the office and bought a condo with a dock a couple hours away as he is sure he will hardly ever be called in going forward.

  • avatar

    What, no Telluride? I am outraged!

  • avatar
    redgolf

    My trailer days ended years ago when the kids were small, started with the Apache pop up and ended with a 20 foot Mallard pulled behind my 72 Buick limited. Lived in Michigan, one winter traveling to Florida for a Disney World vacation, after I hooked up the water I quickly discovered I had 3 water leaks as I didn’t blow out the water lines as well as I should have. There was always one disaster after another. When traveling over the 7 mile stretch in the Florida Keys, my big stick out the fender mirrors had hit the mirror of a truck pulling a fifth wheel coming from the opposite direction, we were both riding the line on the narrow bridge, knocked the glass out of the mirror onto my windshield shattering the mirror but not the windshield, there was no where to stop so just kept going! We had some good memories though, glad I got that out of my system.

    • 0 avatar
      CKNSLS Sierra SLT

      redgolf-I live in Utah and winterize each year wit the red RV antifreeze solution. I don’t trust the “blow out” method. I have not had any issues in eight years. I have towed to the east coast and back with zero issues-not even so much as a tire blow out.

      My wife and I have great memories we still talk about.

      An RV blowing up is a rare occurrence and can almost always be traced to a lack of maintenance of not replacing propane lines and the like on an aging RV.

      We are in our 60’s and just bought our 3rd travel trailer as our last one we felt “aged out” at 8 years old-and thousands of miles of travel.

  • avatar
    redgolf

    Shortly after posting earlier I felt an explosion, come to find out an RV in downtown Nashville blew up causing damage to several buildings in the area, it was felt 20 – 30 miles out from ground zero ( where I live ) no injuries reported!

    • 0 avatar
      redgolf

      “An RV blowing up is a rare occurrence and can almost always be traced to a lack of maintenance of not replacing propane lines and the like on an aging RV.”

      This one was loaded with explosives as the whole world knows by now!

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      Some technical details of the recovery efforts:

      https://about.att.com/pages/disaster_relief/nashville.html

      (You know it is not going to be a normal day when you are drilling access holes into the exterior walls of the building to get power into the building.)

      I toured that building as a kid, when they still used huge (floor-to-ceiling) banks of electromechanical phone switches:
      https://tinyurl.com/y9mccfg2

  • avatar
    TimK

    November 2022:

    RV and Camper sales are down across the board as Americans turn away from outdoor living and seek the comforts of indoor plumbing and their gaming consoles. Barely-used trailers and rigs crowd dealer lots and prices have fallen up to 75% from the peak just a year ago.

    • 0 avatar
      MoDo

      Unlikely, with more and more people working remotely why stay in the same location? Why stay in some over priced and packed city? Why even stay in the cold during the winter months?? The van life and full time RV crowd just keeps growing and growing but the van and RV manufacturers have been slow to respond. They need to be making fully self contained, solar powered rigs that can sit out in the bush and function without being plugged into a socket. Even so, $600 a month for full hook ups at an RV park sure beats $1500/month rent + utilities and that’s why its gaining so much momentum.

      • 0 avatar

        Solar has increased the people staying in state parks, one local state park has several hundred sites but less then 20% have hookups. Most of the sites used to be tenters, now with solar they are booked up months in advance with RVers running solar and a Honda inverter gen as backup. You could watch this change happen over the course of the last decade.

    • 0 avatar

      It will dip for sure but I doubt it will be catastrophic. We saw this happen in 2001. I Used to work in the RV and boat world then, the biggest issue is the QC problems with mass production boats and RVS and crappy warranty service. In my experience that was the number one turn off to new RV and boat buyers. the second was unexpected costs like winter storage. That said some percentage of new buyers still like it enough to stay which keeps things form crashing to the ground.

  • avatar
    redgolf

    Most people that buy an RV, unless you are going to live in it, let it sit in their driveway or storage for 10/11 months out of the year, then wind up ditching them to the next schmuck who thinks they are going to “see the country” living the good easy frontier life that is portrayed in the advertising!

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      @redgolf, I have a friend who is:
      a) Kind of depressed right now
      b) Bought a travel trailer several months ago

      I believe there is a clear causal link from b) to a).

  • avatar

    RV ownership is pricey and it’s a luxury unless you do it full time. I don’t have a camper right now but have been looking for a small travel trailer. I have borrowed and been camping with others a number of times with my kids and grew up with a 26′ travel trailer. I find camping with the kids way less stressful then hotel stays, a lot of that has to do with more places for active kids to roam, in the end it dosen’t save any money over vacationing in a hotel but the experience is far different.

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