In Episode 481 of the RV Podcast, we look at the best innovation at the 2024 RV SuperShow in Tampa.
You can watch the video version from our RV Lifestyle YouTube Channel by clicking the player below.
If you prefer an audio-only podcast, you can hear us through your favorite podcast app or listen now through the player below.
The Best Innovation we saw at this year's Florida RV SuperShow
The 2024 Florida RV Supershow had more than 1,200 new RVs on display and over 400 parts and accessory dealers showing their wares.
We can't say we visited EVERYTHING, but in seven days at the show, including the special industry and media events, we came away with a lot of content, which we’ll be sharing on our various social media and YouTube channels in the days ahead.
But for this podcast, we want to share three of the most innovative things we saw at the show.
Let's be very honest. There is NOT a lot of innovation in the industry. This year’s RVs look pretty much like last year's. And the year before, in fact.
Oh, manufacturers changed some floorplans, spruced up the look with new paint colors and added some new features, but for the most part, only a few things made us go… wow.
Three, to be precise.
One is truly a big deal. We not only saw but were also able to experience a great safety feature firsthand.
The other two were cool and innovative design tweaks that we think will have great interest to RVers.
RV innovation: ABS for towables
Two days before the 2024 RV Supershow in Tampa Fl opened to the public, I visited a racetrack a couple of miles from the show grounds to attend a hands-on briefing by Lippert – a leading RV parts supplier – and Keystone RV, makers of the Cougar brand of fifth wheels and travel trailers.
The track had a special linoleum-like slippery material laid atop areas of the asphalt and to make sure it was super slippery, they brought in a tanker truck to wet it down.
They wanted it slippery to prove how important a safety feature ABS Brakes are for towable RVs.
Keystone is now making ABS standard on the Cougar line. They join Grand Design and Forest River models in incorporating the Lippert ABS technology.
I took three spins around the track to experience firsthand what a difference ABS makes. I sat in the passenger seat. Lippert ABS Product Manager Briton Moffitt drove.
I admit I was a bit nervous. That’s because an emergency stop is probably the most dangerous thing an RVer can do when towing. When you hit the brakes in an emergency, fast-stopping situation, if you are traveling at any significant speed, you’ll have a serious battle to keep the trailer from fishtailing off to one side and pulling the vehicle into a dangerous drift.
We were hitting close to 50 miles an hour as we approached the slippery spot. Moffitt slammed on the brakes. And there was no fishtailing. The ABS system maintained traction and control. The Cougar tracked perfectly behind the truck, allowing Moffitt to bring it and the trailer safely to a stop.
ABS brakes are mandated safety products for passenger vehicles. Not for trailers.
After seeing the difference, I think that needs to change. Towable RVs need the same protection, and I think ABS should also be required on towable RVs.
Hats off to Lippert for the technology and to Keystone for making ABS braking standard on the Cougar line.
Other trailer manufacturers are expected to be coming aboard soon.
Innovation in e-Bike storage
The next day, with the show open for industry day, we saw another nifty innovation we want to share. This one is a practical storage solution for one of RVing's most popular bring-alongs: the e-Bike. We found it on a Montana Fifth Wheel.
A small slideout at the driver's side rear houses an e-bike garage. A sliding mount tilts down with tracks for the e-bike wheels.
With one hand – one finger as I tried it myself – you roll your bike on the track and then, easily lift it up and inside on the slideout. An electric outlet lets you charge the bikes as they ride snugly and securely inside the special slideout e-bike garage.
Innovation in space for an extra bed
Okay, we have one more innovation to tell you about.
It's in the new Westfalia Class B campervan called the Wave, making its U.S. debut at the show.
The innovation is in the passenger seat… and it’s a seat… that turns into a real bed. By pulling a latch, the regular seat unfolds, and the seat back and the seat itself form a twin bed, which our 6’1” salesman demonstrated to us. It folds up as easily as it unfolds.
Okay, those are our top three innovations from this year's show. Check out our RV Lifestyle YouTube channel for complete reviews of all the RVs that we liked the best.
SOCIAL MEDIA BUZZ – Wendy Bowyer
Wendy Bowyer reports on the hot issues most talked about this past week on social media and our RV Lifestyle Community group.
In our RVLifestyle community, Dannie used to have problems with food containers and jars sliding forward on the refrigerator shelves and falling into the void between the refrigerator shelf and the door, so that when the door opened, several items would spill onto the floor.
So Dannie shared a cheap and easy tip: Use pool tubes! Dannie cut them to the length of the shelf, slipped it over the edge of the shelf, and bingo – a slip proof stop!
Several people in the community thanked Dannie for the tip.
And some shared what they use to keep their food from sliding around in their frig.
Paul said they line their fridge shelves with no skid rubber matts, like the ones used under throw rugs, and it works great.
Bud and Sue use a tension rod, and attach a picture to show how they work.
All very helpful!
Also in the Community, Laura said she and her husband are brand new to RVing, haven't even taken their first trip yet, but she was wondering about that black tank, and if they should put water in it BEFORE they use it on a trip. She said she didn't want to be gross, but was wondering if things would stick if the tank was dry, and it seemed like putting water in first made sense, but wanted to run it by the group.
Well, several people offered advice and said yes, water is key.
Matthew said there should always be a bit of water in a black tank.
And Ken, he had my favorite answer, he said there are more variations of black tank treatments than Baskin and Robbin flavors and everyone has their favorite – love that- but yes, the key is water. Always start with about 4 or 5 gallons before you use the tank and flush generously remembering water is your friend.
David was one of many who said not to use it when it's raining or snowing, in wind or heavy traffic, and mountains.
But overall people told Esther to go for it!
Kevin said he does it regularly. Just click into tow/haul mode, and if the traffic warrants, set the cruise and go!
Joseph said he uses it all the time and it saves on fuel.
And if you want to learn more about using cruise control while towing – we got you covered right here: Is It Safe to Use Cruise Control While Towing an RV?
RV NEWS OF THE WEEK
Washington's Mount Rainier National Park will require visitors entering the park this summer to make reservations during peak hours.
Those entering the Paradise Corridor from either the Nisqually Entrance via State Route 706 or Stevens Canyon Entrance via State Route 123 from May 24 through Sept. 2 will need a timed entry reservation.
And those entering by the Sunrise Corridor at the White River Entrance via State Route 410 from July 3 through Sept. 2 will need one.
The timed entry reservation costs $2 and is required to enter between 7 am and 3 pm during the designated months. Park officials say the reservation system will better manage crowds, reduce environmental damage, and improve visitors' experience.
Many national parks are turning to timed entry requirements during peak times. Rocky Mountain, Glacier, and Arches are among those to have announced timed entry requirements for 2024.
To see our story on the best national parks to RV in solitude, click here.
If you camp in a Class B and are hoping to do some stealth camping on the streets of Florida's St Petersburg near the ocean, you better think again.
Residents fed up with people in camper vans sleeping along the side streets, taking valuable parking spots, and creating other issues, urged city council to fix a hole in its ordinance, which it did.
Now, modified camper vans can only park along the ocean on side streets for four hours at a time.
One council member said the change permits everyone to come and enjoy the beach without permitting people to dodge the law and camp in their van for days or even a week at a time, as was happening.
For more details click here.
Here’s an item for your bucket list!
New Mexico's White Sands National Park is offering Full Moon Hikes nine times between March and November.
The Full Moon Hikes happen, just as the name implies, on a full moon. The national park is particularly spectacular during these times as the moonlight reflects off the bright, white gypsum sand.
Starting time varies by date, with the first one beginning at 7:30 pm March 25 and the last one of the year at 5 pm Nov. 16. Participants need to be able to walk one mile up and down the sand dunes, and the walk lasts about one and a half to two hours.
Tickets must be purchased to participate and often sell out in minutes. For more information, click here.
We keep hearing about record crowds for camping. But not last year in Maine.
Maine officials are blaming bad weather for a slight decline in visitation to Maine State Parks during 2023, both in day visitors and campers.
In 2023, the state had 2.93 million visitors spending time at its 48 state parks and historic sites (2.64 million day-use visitors and 291K campers).
Both 2022 and 2021 were record-breaking years for the state, with 3.28 million and 3.3 million visits, respectively. State officials expect numbers to be up this year from 2023.
Maine is a beautiful place to camp, a unique location we highly recommend visiting.
In fact, we like it so much we wrote a 7 Day Adventure Guide to Coastal Maine that you can learn more about here
RV QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK
QUESTION: How flexible are you when you make your travel plans? For example, we have paid for reservations at a campground tonight, but the weather forecast is for very strong crosswinds. It seems wise to wait a day or so and extend our stay in the park we’re now in. We just wonder, what would Mike and Jennifer do. So we’re asking. – Trish
ANSWER: Obviously, you made your decision by the time we received and answered your question. But we tend to be very flexible. Reservations can be canceled. And if there were heavy crosswinds forecasted, I think we’d postpone driving until they subsided.
We’ve been known to add extra days to our stay just because we’re tired and want to sleep in and take it easy, or we found out about a restaurant we would like to try, or a hike we want to do. For us, the whole point of the RV Lifestyle is seeing and experiencing new things.
And sometimes, being on a tight schedule interferes with that. We’re big believers in serendipity. And while canceling a reservation is hard to rebook, we also know that we may not come that way again, so if there’s something we would miss if we stuck to the schedule, we’re not reluctant at all to toss the schedule and change our plans.