Millennials’ Interest in RVing Drives New Wave of Motorhomes and Travel Trailers

Route 66 connects people from all across the globe. Travelers Natalie Rayner and William Barnett play the ukulele inside their RV as they venture across the Main Street of America. (Photo: David Kafer)
Route 66 connects people from all across the globe. Travelers Natalie Rayner and William Barnett play the ukulele inside their RV as they venture across the Main Street of America. (Photo: David Kafer)

In 2015, Jessi and Valerie Smith took a radical step toward downsizing.

The couple, both 30 at the time, decided to trade in their three-bedroom San Francisco home to take up residence in an 8-square-foot TAB Teardrop camper.

There were a few growing, or in this case, shrinking, pains. They would bump their heads on the low ceilings and grew weary of having to convert the bed into a living area each day. But they both agree that it was the best decision they could have ever made.

“It probably wouldn’t work for everyone,” said Valerie, “but it actually brought us closer.”

The pair who document their travel adventures on a blog called Happy Camper Wives are among the young adults who are embracing a new, hip wave of travel trailers. They are setting themselves apart from the stereotypes of legions of families and retirees in fancy motorhomes and their more traditional RVs. These fashion-forward trailers are aimed directly at design-conscious millennials.

From small, app-connected campers with retractable flat-screen TVs to solar-powered cabins on wheels, young adults can find an influx of innovative travel trailers geared specifically toward their interests.

“We have been targeting the millennials over the past few years in an effort to help them understand how RVs fit with what they already enjoy doing and that RVs aren’t the stereotypical vehicle they might imagine … and it’s working,” said Karen Redfern, a vice president for Go RVing, an industry promotion group.

The smaller trailers are in keeping with the small-home movement that has also been proving popular among millennials. But the trailers, unlike the homes, are made for people who want to stay on the move rather than settling in one place for awhile. And because they are small, they don’t need big pickups or other full-size, thirsty vehicles to pull them.

Like every generation before, millennials enjoy the outdoors. However, technology plays a big role in how the young adults access vital travel information.

“The millennial generation is probably the most mobile generation that the world has ever seen,” said Kevin Broom, Go RVing’s director of media relations.

“They want to be able to share their experiences using social media. They want to find the best restaurants in the area. They want to know what interesting spots are off the beaten path. All that stuff is on the internet, so they need updated RVs that have that type of connectivity,” Broom said.

There’s been a wave of niche brands stepping up to offer the high-tech features, flexibility and connectivity that adults under 35 desire – most of which are at prices early career adults can afford.

“It’s a natural evolution,” said Sherman Goldenberg, publisher of RV Business and Woodall’s Campground Management magazines.  “Millennials are interested in spending time outside. That has generated a spur in demand for smaller, towable recreational vehicles.”

Here are five of the coolest RVs on the market this year:

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SOURCE: Dalvin Brown
USA TODAY