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James and I like to hit the big RV shows each year. It’s taken us awhile but we’ve built a pretty good system in how we tackle them.
First, we like to have two days blocked for the big shows. That way we can be sure to see all the displays and get a good feel for current trends. Second, we set aside a block of time for meet & greets or holding sessions so we get a chance to meet followers in person… and by the way this is my FAVORITE part. Finally, we like to spend the end of our last day videotaping, and we don’t even bring video equipment to the show any sooner. That lets us focus on soaking it all in ahead of filming and keeps our content more relevant to the most interesting bits of the show.
The Hershey RV Show (or its formal name “America’s Largest RV Show“) was no different. In this video, which we filmed at the end of our second day of exploring the show, James and I discuss our impressions from what we observed at the show. There wasn’t anything really mind-blowing new, like when the Revel hit the show floor or anything, but there are certainly things that might be hinting towards changes to come, and we cover those in the video. Here’s a few things we discuss:
The “Revel”ization of the RV Industry:
Since the Revel exploded into the RV market last year, it seems the more outdoorsy offerings are growing in popularity with both manufacturers and consumers. Especially in the trailer segment, we saw trailers that are geared for rugged outdoor enthusiasts getting more attention than ever before. These sporty towables come with options like nimble suspension systems, increased ground clearance, and larger diameter tires for going more remote. They also offer things like tents on top (OH TO BE A KID AGAIN!), outdoor kitchens, and thoughtful solutions for hauling your outdoorsy gear. In the video, we show a couple that caught our attention, including the “No Bo” No Boundaries by Forest River as well as the Rockwood GeoPro.
The European Influence Continues:
This started years ago when the Winnebago Travato hit the market and isn’t a new thing, but we’ve certainly noticed the European design influence continues to find its way in more and more offerings. Case in point, the Avia by NuCamp. In the video, we show this new model that is so European in design it would completely fit in at the Düsseldorf Caravan Salon RV show. We also show one of the refrigerator vendors at the show; Vitrifrigo. Vitrifrigo is an Italian company that is popular in the marine industry and makes high-end very stylish compressor refrigerators. And speaking of Europeans, we met some at the show! You’ll see James chatting with a gentleman from Germany in the video, and we found it so interesting to hear how flabbergasted he was that bike garages in RVs weren’t a “thing” over here.
Leisure Travel Vans Wonder WITH THE BIKE GARAGE!
If you’ve followed us much, you know we like to perpetually complain about the lack of bike garages on small RVs here in North America. We’ve been to the Düsseldorf RV show and witnessed ourselves how embedded they are in the European RV industry. So when Leisure Travel Vans recently released their new Wonder model (rear twin bed RTB) with a BIKE GARAGE, well you can only imagine the jumping for joy and elated hooting that was happening at the FitRV headquarters. We hunted it down at the Hershey Show and you’ll get to see it too in the video.
A New Van Model! The Airstream Interstate Nineteen:
Being van people ourselves, we can’t help but love when we see new offerings hit the market. The Airstream Nineteen didn’t disappoint! It’s built on the shorty Sprinter chassis, and you’ll get a look yourselves in the video. While there’s less storage than in the full size Interstate vans, overall the Nineteen really doesn’t have a smaller feel when you’re in it. James didn’t get to completely crawl around it or look too closely as we do in reviews, but at first glance we were impressed! Check it out in the video and judge for yourself.
So with that, we’re happy to report it was another successful RV show in the bag. We’ll be attending the Pomona RV Show (Los Angeles area) next in a few weeks; planning to be there the first weekend. It’s a looong 9 day show, and now that you know our system of 2 days only, we plan to be there on Friday and Saturday opening weekend. I think at that show we might try to do a couple in-depth reviews of rigs on our radars… hopefully the new Wonder bike garage model and maybe we can even hit the Nineteen? If we do, you’ll be the first to know!
And if we met you at the show, it was a pleasure, truly. Hope y’all have some incredible RV adventures this fall!
A possible TheFitRV background cameo in Traveling Robert’s Hershey video:
Yes! You spotted us!
Oddly enough, in that cameo we’re talking with Mike and Jennifer Wendland!
Is there a conspiracy in the industry to use Sprinter diesel in the B and C market? Winnebago’s new Vita is another unit to be added to the list. It amazes me how they justify going that route today. So disappointed that they didn’t pursue a garage type with a gasoline powerplant. There have been reports that Sprinter was going to add a gasoline engine to their lineup and Ford has a gasoline non-turbo V-6 available. And with the Trend’s demise, the Vita seems to miss the mark. I would love to see the marketing research that supports this direction. So disappointed.
It’s not a conspiracy. I think it’s just been a good platform for manufacturers to build on.
Well, Uncle Russ will reveal their new class C at 9:30 EST Monday, 9-24-18 on Facebook live session from their dealer meeting in Elkhart, Indiana. Here’s hoping the wait is worth it. Go Russ.
Good report on the show, but more importantly from my perspective is your audio tracks are pristine. Thanks for recording separate tracks on a DR. The intelligent message craves intelligible audio. Thanks.
Ooooo, you’re an audio guy to pick up on that! I’m sure James will be pleased that all that extra audio work he does warranted some praise; thanks Prevost Guy! xoxo
I went to the show on Saturday and Sunday. I go every year just to see what’s new. I did buy a new one last year. One big thing I did notice that changed was the majority of the RV’s had finally some kind of storage and/or pantry and the bathrooms were a much more roomier this year. I commented to many of the reps about this.
When I was looking for a new one last year this was my biggest pet peeve about no place to store food and very little to no room in bathroom. I didn’t expect a large bathroom, but gheez some of the them had to cut out holes in the door or wall for your knees. I was really glad to see much improvement in this area along with some design changes.
Interesting! I’m curious which type of RVs you noticed this in? I’m guessing towables or maybe Class A’s? We’re mostly focused on compact motorhomes, Bs and small Cs, and there weren’t really any new floorplans in that segment so we didn’t pick up on that change. So pleased to hear the storage solutions seem to be improving!
Great overview, thanks! I’m hoping to go to the Pomona show – how would I find out your schedule (and, specifically, when you have set aside time to meet with your fans)? It would be fun having a chance to meet you two!
Hi Rich! Hope you can make it to the Pomona show! We’ll make sure we post here on the website our show plans for the 2 days we’ll be there (Oct 5 and 6) AND if you miss that, we’ll try to leave a schedule posted in the Winnebago campervans display booth, and with all the staff working the booth so they’ll know when we’ll be in the booth. Likely we’ll schedule a meet & greet session both days, around mid-afternoon. We do like to wander the show a ton so you might also just catch us out wandering, too!
The Airstream Nest has the same ‘notch’ as the iPhone. It’s not a bug, it’s a feature. Have you guys seen the Transit-based Roadtrek? Fingers crossed!
There’s a Transit-based Roadtrek?!? We didn’t know that!
Nucamp started out by licensing the [email protected] campers from Europe, so it seems logical they’ll continue with the European style in that new prototype. I guess they want to be able to cater to RV:ers who want something a bit larger than a small teardrop.
It was getting a ton of attention at the show; us included. But RV enthusiasts checking it out is one thing, can’t wait to hear how well it actually sells. Hoping it’s a big hit for them.
For those of us that can’t wait for the Pomona show here is a YouTube full walk through of that new LTV Wonder RTB as only Dean can do it!
Can’t wait to see it (and James & Stef) live!!!!
Andy & Kim
Thanks for sharing the link, Andy and Kim! What is it about Dean that’s just so fun to watch! We’re huge fans of his LTV vids too. And the best part; Dean is EXACTLY the same off camera as you see on. 🙂
Have to chuckle at the “Revel”izaron hoopla. Smaller regional builders have been tricking out Sprinters the minute they were imported in 4×4. One example is Sportmobile.
Why we get excited when Winnibego starts building the three years later is beyond me.
You guys should attend next year’s Overland Expo West in Flagstaff. Their will be plenty of custom Sprinter and off-road camping trailer builders.
Sure, more rugged vans have been getting upfitted long before the Revel, but it was the Revel that was the first from a large manufacturer and getting built on a large scale. And with Revel sales beyond expectations, other large manufacturers seemed to notice this and upped their own focus on products for getting out there more remote. This is definitely a more recent change as far as RV shows go. These types of products were never so heavily front and center at shows until recently. And since these products didn’t begin to be highlighted at RV shows until the Revel, we blame the Revel for that. 🙂
To take what Stef said a little further: EarthRoamer (as an example) has been making this kind of thing for quite a while.
They could make a cool new rig… and there would be six eccentric billionaires who would care.
It’s the ability and willingness of Winnebago and these other mainstream manufacturers to bring these kinds of rigs to the masses that has us excited. Not just the existence of a set of features.
I couldn’t go to the show so I appreciate your summaries. I’m liking the “Revel”ization. I hope to see a lot more of it. Regarding the comment above on the Leisure Travel garage being small compared to European designs, did you find it to be that way? That was my impression from the video done by their company rep.
Did you happen to see the Hymer Aktiv S?
Another bit of news I saw is that the Charleston Sprinter factory has started producing vans.
Well, actually we did see mostly bigger garages in Europe. But hey! It’s a start! We’ll take it.
Didn’t get a look at the Hymer lineup.
I really am thinking we should try to get a Mercedes rep for some Q&A.
We had tickets for Wednesday & Thursday. We were really disappointed in the size of the show. We have been to Tampa twice and both times were larger than this show. We saw everything on Wednesday and just went back home. The RV vendors that were there had nice displays but it seemed like the show was for fifth wheel towable or class A’s.
Interesting! We’ve been to both shows and honestly I didn’t even notice it felt smaller. Although our focus is more on small RVs and vans, and the same ones who come to Tampa come to Hershey, so no difference in that segment. And yes, shows do tend to be loads of towables, but that’s because that’s what’s most popular and sells the best. I heard the crowds were way different on Wed and Thurs than the packed house of Fri and Sat. Perhaps that helped make it feel smaller for you and so large for me? The lines for food were soooo long as were the waits for toilets on Fri and Sat… be happy you didn’t go those days!
When LTV sent us an advance brochure about the “new” Wonder with a bike garage in it, I turned to my hubby and said “James from the Fit RV will be checking that out!”
LOL!!! Oh yes; he was so excited I worried he was going to have us roadtrip all the way to Winkler to yell to Dean and crew in person: “GREAT JOB!!!” Well that and “IT’S ABOUT TIME WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG!!!”
Missed meeting you at the show. No other manufacturer has a bike garage than the Leisure Wonder RTB. When is Winnebago going to join the foray?
Well hopefully posts like yours put a little more pressure on! Our hope is that if we all keep complaining (wait I mean “talking”) about it, it’ll happen.
We’re y’all able to stop by the Coach House displays yet ? Figure it might be a chance to see these “unicorns” in the (semi-) wild…
We did, David, but the crowds were so bad we just couldn’t get any usable footage. From what we could see between the bodies, the interior finishes had a traditional feel to them in soft warm color palettes. Beyond that we couldn’t get a good look, sadly. Of course we picked the busiest days of the show to visit so that’s how it goes. Sorry we couldn’t tell you more!
The Leisure Travel Vans motorhome with garage is to be welcomed, but it doesn’t look as spacious as many garages in Europe.
Those spacious European garages are often in motorhomes with the Al-ko chassis on the Fiat Ducato. I think In the US the Fiat Ducato is the Dodge Promaster. However is the Al-ko chassis available for it? The Al-ko chassis brings lots of advantages for motorhome design, one of them being the really spacious garage.