Look around any full RV park and you might wonder if more Class Bs and Class Cs are on the highway these days. If so, you would be correct. Choosing smaller RVs on purpose is in vogue according to RV sales trends.
RV owners are younger than ever, somewhere between 35 and 54 years old according to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association of America (RVIA). They’re choosing smaller RVs in large numbers not because of finances, but often because of the innovative new amenities RV manufacturers now include in smaller RVs.
For instance, just see what’s new about the Airstream Basecamp. The rear of the trailer opens up like a toy hauler for easy loading of gear, kayaks, mountain bikes or any other essentials.
Many small RVs like the Basecamp follow this trend, as noted by a USA Today article from January 2017. It reported that “the newest trend is toward lightweight trailers that can be towed behind many cars or small SUVs, opening up RV travel to a new generation.”
Even NADA Guides 2016 Q3 RVs Market Report confirms that small RVs are more popular than ever.
NADA experts say there’s “a trending shift away from purchasing large units to the smaller trailers. We have seen this trend with baby boomers gradually downsizing from large Class A units to smaller Class C and Class B motorhomes. Millennials also tend to gravitate towards the smaller trailers.”
“We also wanted to get back to some of the smaller campgrounds we used to enjoy. So two weeks ago we traded it for an Itasca Navion 24J on the Mercedes Sprinter chassis. What a dream to drive. Plenty of power going up the mountains and 15+ mpg so far.” – iRV2 Forums Member Camper Ken
Smaller RVs have enough advantages to make them more popular than ever. Although retail costs of a downsized RV like a Class B can rank up there with that of a good used diesel pusher, the common pros of choosing smaller RVs are too good to pass up for many owners.
Pros of smaller RVs
- Better gas mileage
- Dry camping access
- Lower insurance costs
- Easier city driving
- Lower cost of ownership
Although there are many pros of downsizing, owners cite many common downsides.
Cons of smaller RVs
- Small holding tanks
- Louder engine noise (in Class Cs)
- Smaller bathroom/showering space
- Less payload capacity
“Passing each other can be challenging if done often, but you learn to have one person doing stuff up front, and another in the rear until you both want to switch. Or, one makes bed while the other preps breakfast. We only shower in the vehicle when no other alternative is available…” – iRV2 Forums Member Rubix cube
If you’re considering a smaller RV, the best thing you can do is visit a RV show. When reviewing smaller models, ask yourself how you will use the RV and where you’ll go with it.
Carry a notebook and make pros and cons of each model and RV type. Join RV Discussion Forums, especially a RV owners group for the model you’re considering. Eventually you’ll have enough information to make a choice you can live with while you live your road trip dream.
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.