Shopping for an RV? An RV show is the place to start

 Shopping for an RV? An RV show is the place to start

Buying a motorhome or RV is not an impulse move. It takes a lit of time, a lot of fact-finding.

Jim Hammill, president of Roadtrek Motorhomes, says the company has noted that from the time a person first contacts them about an RV to the time they register as an owner averages around one year.

It takes time to shop, find the model you like, then comparison price it.

But there is no better way to do make shopping for a new RV or to upgrade an old one than by attending  an RV show, where numerous dealers and suppliers come together to show off their wares. I just visited the annual fall show presented by MARVAC – the Michigan Association of Recreational Vehicles and Campgrounds.

The show ran through Oct. 7 at the Suburban Collection in Novi, MI, just west of Detroit.

They have RV dealers from around the state and more than 70 rigs on display.

While there, I met Les and Kathy Shanteau, drove from their home near the Ohio border to the big show. They 0wn a 2o01 Roadtrek midel and were particularly interested in looking at some of the  Roadtrek models

You can meet them and hear from MARVAC Director Bill Sheffer on today's RV trends in the accompanying video.

We have two big shows on our schedule over the next few weeks that we hope to attend the California RV show in Pomona in October16-21 (, the Florida SuperRV Show in Tampa, January 1-20 (

Meantime, here's a panoramic shot I took of the MARVAC show just before it opened on Thursday:

Shopping for an RV? An RV show is the place to start 1


Meanwhile, the MARVAC folks released stats from the show that point to a continued upturn in the RV industry. The show recorded over 11,000 in attendance, a 20 percent increase over 2011, something that mirrors what's been happening all across the country lately.

“We were pleased to see that the record RV show attendance we’re seeing in other shows across the country this fall, carried over to our show here in southeast Michigan,” MARVAC Director Bill Sheffer stated. “We’re anticipating a very strong 2013 in Michigan, with continued success in the RV industry overall.”

In Michigan, RV sales continue the upward trend. So far this year (through July 2012), there has been an increase in new RV sales of 21.3 percent. This represents sales of 8,869 units, compared to 7,309 units at this time last year. The 8,869 unit figure is split into two categories—towables (8,361) and motorized (508), showing increases over 2011 of 21.9 percent and 13.4 percent respectively.

MARVAC also sponsors the Detroit Camper & RV Show in February, as well as shows in Battle Creek, Flint and Traverse City. For information on these shows, visit


Mike Wendland

Mike Wendland is a veteran journalist who, with his wife, Jennifer, travels North America in a small motorhome, blogging about the people, places, joys and adventure of RV life on the road at He and Jennifer also host the weekly RV Podcast and do twice-weekly videos on the YouTube RV Lifestyle Channel. They have written 10 books on RV travel.


  • What, no E-Treks there? Come on, Mike, when are you gonna get your hands on one beyond your intro video to put it through its paces in real world conditions. Seriously, though, good advice. An RV show is a must. Noticed you showed the Pleasure-Ways with the Roadtreks. What do you think of them? We were sort of leaning for one when our 2008 RS is ready for trade-in. The E-Trek you showed us, though, is tugging at my heart. Let us know pricing and give it a good shake down for us, okay?

  • We agree with you that RV shows are must attends but not just for first time buyers. We go to ever one we can and get ideas for how to customize our 2008 Class A Diesel Pusher. You can re-design and retrofit a lot of things you see on the new models and there are always vendors who sell things you can use. We’ll be at the Tampa show in January – the biggest in the nation.

  • Louise and Ted, Good information, when is the Tampa show in January? Do you have a link?

  • Shows are a great place to see a lot of RVs. For some it’s also a place to get so excited that somehow during the process, they overlook the an important detail such as weight issues. It may be wise for buyers and dealers to bookmark “Before You Buy RV” on their smart device at Before You Buy RV is the first trailer and tow vehicle compatibility app.

  • I’m the owner of Roadtrek poplar and “love it”. Would seriously upgrade if a good deal could be had.

  • We always look for the ones with the dinette
    curb side, not street side.

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