Camper, RV sales climb despite inflation and gas prices

High gas prices aren't stopping people from purchasing RVs and campers.
Published: Jun. 29, 2022 at 8:58 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Traveling by RV is something that hit its stride during COVID with sales skyrocketing for a travel method that doubles as a home on wheels.

Now, industry experts say it appears the trend is sticking around despite rising costs.

Adam Walter has been a camper for the past 40 years, most recently passing his love for it onto his family. He said in recent years those campsites are getting noticeably more crowded.

“You know maybe five years ago you could drive into a campsite and get a site it may not have been the best site but there would have been one available. Today - you’re very limited,” Walter said.

Walter said it costs him about a dollar a mile to pull his camper but even with increasing gas prices, staying in his camper is usually cheaper than traditional travel expenses like staying in a hotel.

“It’s worth the cost but when it comes to a 1,000 to 2,000-mile trip you start to think maybe I wait till next year, maybe I wait until the Silverado EV comes out or something and it’s a little cheaper to do this,” Walter said.

It’s a trend being reflected in the sales at Camping World for a few years now. The general manager of the Lincoln location said this quarter they are up 35 percent in sales compared to last year, with their parent company even backed up on filling orders.

“One of our big concerns obviously a lot of people camp and obviously with the gas prices going over $5 a gallon we still have had a lot of businesses,” said Joe Woods the general manager. “A motor home can cost anywhere from $100-$300 to fill up but what we’ve found out is the people that are camping - they have that extra money.”

Woods also said in recent years their clientele is expanding to include people outside of just the recreational crowd.

“Mortgage rates are still high so a lot of people have gone full-time camping. They’re buying vehicles and buying trailers to raise their families in,” Woods said.

That means, for Adam Walter and his family, the more the merrier at the campsite.

“The camping community is very welcoming to new people and so it’s been fun to see new people join the community,” Walter said.

New research from Kampgrounds of America also shows that more than one-third of campers are traveling shorter distances in those RVs and staying longer at destinations that are a further trip.

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