Southwest RV show

I attended this show.  The best part was standing in the various models to see what I liked and didn’t like.

About the show itself

The attendees were the worst parkers I have ever seen at an event.  If they can’t park an SUV or half-ton truck between the lines how are they going to park an RV?

The DMN was running their pre-ticketing scummy sales technique again;  they should be ashamed.  They get booths immediately prior to the ticketing booths and pretend to start a ticketing dialog “Need tickets?” When you say yes (there were no online ticket sales) they start a newspaper subscription spiel.    I really should remember that they do this but I only attend something there every few years.

The campers were packed in so tight you could not walk around them to see how the hookups were set up.  I am fairly tall so I could gingerly straddle the hitch jack area to get through but it was not ideal.

The show was 95% Class A and travel trailer.  There were a handful of Class C and maybe a dozen Class B.  I would have like to see more Class C.

Things I already knew

Quality Control is poor on the majority of them.  I don’t know how they get away with it;  market forces should be hammering the worst of them.

Design is poor on many campers. You’ve got a customer base of folks who can tell you how to improve ergonomics.  Why not listen to them?

The exception was the slide-in truck campers, A-frame trailers, and Airstream.  They did the most homework on efficient use of space.

Salescritters are bottom feeders.  Friday was actually low-key so I only got a taste, but I bet weekend attendees get the full sliming.  Here are my tips for salesdroids:

  1. know your product

  2. listen

  3. help the customer find something from your line that might fit

To be fair I did have a couple of good sales interactions.   For me this basically entails being left alone until I need help or look like I might have a question.

Things I learned

The main error committed by manufacturers is cramming too many flashy features into a model.  The problem is then they have to cheap out on them to keep the price down, so the features are generally garbage.  Looking at you, flat panel TVs, sound systems, impractically large shower/tubs, fake marble counters, etc.

The Wife Acceptance Factor (WAF) is pushing interior quality downward for “feature creep” reasons discussed above.  Interiors are relentlessly femininized and chintzy.  I was at the show for about 3 hours and heard this a half-dozen times:  “It doesn’t have [nonessential feature].  Nope.”  This only happened on the inside of the campers  and only by the wives.  Luckily I am unencumbered.

Sink faucets are horrible.  I saw three faucets that day that weren’t actively terrible.  Hopefully they aren’t too hard to replace.

I prefer wet bathrooms to dry.  When you are taking a navy shower 1x/day there is little justification for a separate shower stall.  That is literally a closet- or refrigerator-sized space being bogarted by an infrequently used feature.

All stovetops are decent.  I didn’t see any that appeared unusable.

Some of the small toy haulers are interesting.  No frills, functional space, minimal kitchen and bathroom tucked away up front.  Hmmm.


See the DMN writeup of the show.