The year 2020 presented many obstacles and changes for us all. Most of us now have a new normal. One thing, however, is clear: some of our biggest challenges also forced silver linings to emerge.
With a pandemic in place, travel by air and sea was surely troublesome if not impossible. Not surprisingly, road trips became the cat’s meow. CEO and US Travel Association president, Roger Dow, explained, “data is showing conclusively that Americans are much more comfortable traveling by car and recreating outdoors as we continue to cope with the pandemic.” With this shift, doors opened wide for those with cabin fever and allowed people to get out and play in the outdoors!
Car travel, however, can be arduous and many questioned how one takes a road trip in comfort and style? The answer is in a recreational vehicle that matches both your style and adventure needs.
Despite the many social restrictions placed upon us this last year, people have discovered RVing as a safe means of travel and, as a result, the RV industry is thriving. New comers and upgraders are heading out in droves. The ease of living, working, and schooling remotely has really opened up opportunities to those interested and/or experienced in the RV life. It is no surprise the RV Industry Association recently reported that 61 million Americans are planning trips in their RV in the next 12 months. This is nearly a 33 percent increase from the 46 million RV travelers in May of 2020.
The spring of 2020 was an especially hard time for the RV industry with a two-month Covid-19 shutdown that was crippling for dealers. Thankfully, the explosive demand within the towable and van camper market turned things around, and despite a rough first quarter, Guaranty had a record-breaking year in RV sales.
Manufacturers are scrambling to keep up with demand. The RV Industry Association (RVIA) announced in November that towable RVs, with conventional travel trailers at the lead, posted a 46.3 percent increase in shipped units from 26,297 units in November 2019 to 38,485 units for November 2020. Year-over-year, towable shipments increased 5.5 percent. All but one class of the motorhomes shipped experienced a year-over-year decline, however, the 62.6 percent surge in van campers bumped the entire category up by three percent.
The industry forecast remains bright well into 2021, where estimates project wholesale RV shipments to grow by 20 percent. In fact, “the RV industry is on track to break half a million RV shipments in 2021 for only the second time in our history,” said RV Industry Association President Craig Kirby.
Where are all these people traveling to in their RVs? From local hideouts to cross-country trips, staying in one of the 423 national park sites has to be found somewhere on the destination list. Take note of the six entry-fee free days available in 2021: January 18, April 17, August 4, August 25, September 25, and November 11. Yep, you read that right… regular entrance fees will be waived on these days and provide an extra incentive to explore a new park or revisit an old favorite.
August 4 is actually a landmark date…not only does it equate to free admission within the national parks system, it is the anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) coming into law. With more than 325 million annual visitors, the significance of the GAOA for national parks simply cannot be overlooked. Over the next five years, $9.5 billion is dedicated to the backlog of maintenance and upkeep within our national parks and public lands. Of that, $6.5 billion is guaranteed for national park sites that need essential repairs and upgrades to roadways, restrooms, trails, campgrounds, and other areas of disrepair. Dow adds “…national parks will be very important leisure travel destinations for the foreseeable future” and with the industry projections for increased RV adventures, the GAOA could not have come at a better time or offered better return for travelers!
Keeping ahead of the demand will be a welcome challenge for the RVing industry. Guaranty RV Super Centers remains prepared for uncertainty during the pandemic and feels confident with some newly acquired products for our diverse customer base.
The Aluminum Trailer Company (ATC) is a new manufacturer to Guaranty. The ATC travel trailers and toy haulers are American-made and fully constructed at their Nappanee, Indiana campus. The all-aluminum materials used in these units are extremely durable yet enable sophisticated control to both the unit designs and installation process. For those wanting to spend more time playing than cleaning, these beauties can simply be hosed out and rest assured the aluminum structure ensures your investment will neither rust or rot.
At this writing, three ATC bumper-pull toy haulers, from 27- to 28-feet long are on order. In addition, the 43-feet Game Changer Pro Series 4528 fifth wheel is to come available. The open floor plans of these trailers make them the most versatile of toy haulers for sale by Guaranty. Each unit utilizes an ingenious rail system along the sidewalls to enable custom configurations that meet your needs – even on the fly – of interior components. Check out all the ATC products for sale here.
Guaranty RV Super Centers has also expanded its Palomino product line offerings to include the Real Lite Soft-Side Truck Camper. We have on order five models (the SS-1600, SS-1604, SS-1605, SS-1608, and SS-1609) that accommodate everyone from the minimalist camper to someone who desires a few more amenities during their travels.
Each of these truck campers has LED interior lighting, battery quick disconnect and charging station, ball bearing drawer guides, 55-inch one-piece door, aluminum frame, solar prep, at least a 60- x 76-inch innerspring mattress, sink, range, fridge, table, and some seating. The SS-1608 and SS-1609 models add in a toilet and more storage. Commonly ordered options include air conditioning, grey hi-gloss exterior fiberglass, entry step, electric jacks, and a Thule roof rack.
The advantages of a soft-side truck camper are many. With its low profile aerodynamic design, you will experience less wind resistance (i.e., less buffeting while driving) and gas mileage is not as compromised as with a hard-side unit. Given the compactness of the soft-side, it is possible your truck camper can be safely stored within your home’s garage, and, coupled with its lower center of gravity, you will even be able to tackle some light off-road activities. In addition, the lower height enables you to pack your outdoor toys into a roof rack. Once the unit is settled, the top expands up to create additional living and sleeping space. There is certainly lots of opportunity for fun in the lighter weight, lighter price point, and versatile soft side truck camper. Check out all the Palomino products for sale here.
In other news:
- The Guaranty RV Travel Center and RV Park continues to provide a destination stop for hungry and weary travelers. Whether you are hungry for a hot meal from the café, need to replenish some RV-specific supplies, or just need a night (or several) to recharge, we have your back.
- A freshly re-designed, easy-to-navigate and shop, guarantyrvparts.com has been launched for all the items you need, or… just want.
- Although our manufacturing partners continue to struggle with inventory supply shortages, our service department remains committed to reducing your wait time on RV repair issues.
- We are proud of our Chevrolet dealership that offers a robust lineup of new and used trucks capable of hauling the heaviest RV as well as having the perfect car needed as a towable or for daily life.