A Brief History
On January 10, 1929, a house car, a type of recreational vehicle, named Harriet was present at the Tin Can Tourists convention in Arcadia, Florida. By the 1920s, the recreational vehicle, often abbreviated as RV, was well established in the United States of America, with RV camping clubs established across the country. The term “RV” is thus relatively new. It has been only in the past 50 to 60 years that people began referring to campers and travel trailers as RVs. Let us see what else you might not know about recreational vehicles, RVing and the people who actually own the RVs. Here are 11 cool and interesting facts to take note of.
1. The Most Popular Month to Camp
What you might think is the most popular month to camp out probably is not. Although some people would probably guess a summer month as the most popular month to RV or camp, April is actually the most popular month. The next most popular months for camping are June, July, August and September.
2. The Age of the Typical RVer
Although you might think of an older, retired couple as the typical RVers, they are not. Instead, the typical person who owns an RV and camps is around 48 years of age, according to the RV Industry Association. In fact, more RVs are owned by people who are in the 35- to 54-year-old age range than people who are younger or older.
3. How Many Households Actually Own an RV
More than you might think. A 2011 industry study found that approximately 10 million households owned RVs. By now, that number has surely increased. Another interesting fact that’s somewhat related is that in 2017, almost 42 million people participated in some form of camping, whether it be a tent or an RV.
4. Where Most RVs are Manufactured
Most RVs made in the United States are manufactured in one place: Over 60% of the RVs that are created and distributed to dealers to sell are manufactured in Elkhart, Indiana.
5. How Much RVs Can Cost
Luxury motor coaches can carry a price tag of $1 million or more. Loaded with features you would find in the most luxurious of homes, these true homes on wheels have everything a person could desire while traveling.
6. RVs are Older Than Your Grandparent — Probably
RVs — previously only known as campers or trailers — have been around for over a century — since 1910. That is over one hundred years — almost 110 to be exact and recreational vehicles have come a long way in that time in features and design. The RVs of today definitely are not the ones of yesteryear.
7. How Much a Typical RV Owner Uses His RV
Remember the typical RVer, age 48? Well, he only uses his RV about three weeks total per year, on average. That is it.
8. How Many RV Parks Are in the U.S.
There are approximately 16,000 different RV parks in the United States, according to the RVIA. That includes state and national parks, as well as privately owned RV parks. Parks can range from the most basic accommodations to a full-fledged resort, which comes with a matching price tag per night. There are plenty of RV parks in beautiful locations at reasonable prices, however. For example, if you are interested in Lake George camping, located in the Adirondack region, there is a top-rated park there.
9. You Can Boondock in a Parking Lot for One Night
When you are on the road for several nights traveling to your final destination, it can be a real hassle and unnecessary expense to pull into an RV park. First of all, you will have to pay a fee to basically sleep there overnight, and because you paid, you will probably want to take advantage of the hookups, which means you have to do the legwork required to hook up that evening and unhook the next day. Alternatively, you can find a Walmart or a casino that allows RVers to park overnight in its lot.
10. You Can Camp on Public Land for Free
If you are looking to save money and you do not mind not having good cell phone service or Wi-Fi access, you can camp on the Bureau of Land Management land — also known as BLM land — for free. There are about 400 BLM campgrounds in the U.S.
11. There is a Peer-to-Peer Rental Market for RVs
Just like Airbnb, there are P2P RV rental websites where you can connect with RV owners who are willing to rent them out for a fee. That means if you buy an RV and you only use it a few weeks out of the year in total, you can advertise it for rent the rest of the year and pocket some serious cash on the side.
Question for students (and subscribers): Have you ever owned an RV? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
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For more information, please see…
Hesselbart, Al. RV Capital of the World: A Fun-Filled Indiana History. History Press Library Editions, 2017.
Wood, Donald. RVs & Campers: 1900-2000 (An Illustrated History). Enthusiast Books, 2002.
The featured image in this article, a photograph from the State Library and Archives of Florida of a house car named Harriet at the Tin Can Tourists convention in Arcadia, Florida, is from the Florida Memory Project hosted at the State Archive of Florida, and is released to the public domain in the United States under the terms of Section 257.35(6), Florida Statutes.