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When Size Matters: Are RVs Outgrowing Infrastructure?

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Adelbert Wilber

The following is a letter to the editor from an industry member. The views expressed herein reflect those of the writer, and not necessarily those of RV PRO. To submit editorials, blogs or letters for consideration, click here.

My business subscribes to several periodicals from tenets of the industry we all embrace, allowing us to capitalize, so as to maximize our sales, efficiency, efficacy or all of the above.

But, sometimes there is an issue akin to having an 800-pound gorilla in the room and I sit here wondering why nobody is addressing it. We seem to have a disconnect somewhere between RV campground owners, managers, manufacturers and end-users.

It’s great to point out the latest nuances and whiz-bang gadgetry (electrical, mechanical or otherwise) available, and it’s nice that the RV industry keeps building them bigger, longer and taller than ever, but none of those things resonates very well when the buyer or end-user goes to an RV park or campground and finds that they are not wired, plumbed or connected to enable them to fully experience and enjoy all their new products.

Such luxuries are just that, luxuries; and, unless you’re a KOA or Jellystone Park, your typical mom-and-pop establishments just cannot afford to upgrade so quickly.

Our park currently has 130 full water and 30/50-amp electrical hookups, a Wi-fi hotspot in our clubhouse, laundry and pool facilities.

Lately, we have read and heard that the RV industry is ramping up production of 100 and 200-amp products, which would require us to upgrade, as well.  It would cost us over $1,000/site to make this change just to appease a handful of these newer RVs over the course of the season. This means it would take quite a while to recoup our expenditures.

Our spaces are all back-in, as we are an older RV park (1957). And, while the space available to accommodate these big rigs is shrinking, the incidences of owners backing into things, running over things, and hitting things is going sky-high.  The RV industry keeps building bigger and bigger RVs, many rivaling the latest OTR tractor-trailers in size, yet the skills and requirements to operate these big rigs are negligible.

Truck drivers are required to undergo rigorous written and practical testing to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) in order to drive these big rigs; while, new RV owners have few or no requirements governing their use of the new breed of leviathans on today’s roads.

Consequently, we are finding more and more new RV owners who cannot properly operate their new rigs.

The RV and Camping industries are thriving and growing and that is a beautiful thing.  But, there are issues that are not being addressed and a schism between those who own the assets, those who build them, and those who use them.

While we applaud the industry in their efforts to build and maintain a better product and a better overall experience, we simply must address this huge disconnect before the chasm becomes unable to be bridged.   

Author Bio:

Adelbert “Dell” Wilber has been an RV owner and has camped periodically over the past 32 years.  He has managed South Park RV Park, in Denver for the past two years.

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