Listen up RV Industry! Here is what Real RVers say are the most important RV features they want when they buy their next RV.
We surveyed and heard from more than 300 of them and it's clear they know what they want.
And between the lines in their responses, it's equally clear that the RV Industry hasn't been delivering it.
You can listen to the podcast in the player below. And scroll down this page for shownotes, plus links and resources about all the things we talk about.
Results of our Survey: The Most Important RV Features wanted by Real RVers
We really hope the RV Industry gets ahold of this report because it's pretty clear to us that there seems to be a pretty big disconnect between what this industry is making and what real RVers want.
Earlier this week, we asked a simple question on our RV Lifestyle Social Media accounts: What features do you want in your next RV?
The response, from our RV Lifestyle Group, our RV Lifestyle Facebook Page, our RV Lifestyle YouTube community and our @rvlifestylemike Instagram followers was immediate, detailed, and well-informed.
We had nearly 300 responses to that question, and more are still coming in.
But from those responses we seen some clear trends.
Here are the 10 things RVers say are the most important RV features they want in their next RV:
- Four-season capabilities, with things like heated tanks
- Lithium batteries for coach power
- Solar panels
- Office space for remote workers
- Ducted air conditioners
- Comfortable beds
- Stand up dry showers
- More storage space
- Pet friendly amenities
- Quality workmanship
They said lots more, so much more we are going to share many of the messages we received on our voicemail line (586-372-6990) and we are going to print some selected text responses we received, too. From them all, we picked 54 responses that reflect on just about every single aspect of an RV.
Clearly, consumers today know what they want. And clearly, many think the industry doesn’t know what they want.
That’s why we think it so important for these voices from Real RVers be heard.
Let’s start with some of the audio messages we received:
Roger says local service and creature comforts count the most
“Hi Mike and Jennifer, this is Rodger Stambaugh in response to your request about what we look for most in a RV. Number one is local maintenance of the chassis in the RV build. We recently ordered a Wonder we may have to change to a Unity because the local Ford dealer need not maintain that chassis of the Wonder. Next is a large storage area and a full-time bed. So in the unit they would go with the island bed, which has almost the same storage as The Wonder of rear twin beds. Next would be a dry restroom with a separate shower, and ease of dried driving, so it'd be a van chassis.”
Rod & Carla want a four-season camper
“This is Rod and Carla in Topeka Kansas. We recently bought our first travel trailer a couple of months ago. Haven't even been out yet because of COVID but getting ready, learning a lot, reading a lot and learned a lot from this site. One thing on the table we will look for when we upgrade would be a four-season camper. We didn't even know there was such a thing before now. I think we would have to have that for starters. Enjoy camping”
Reese wants an AWD Class C
“Hi, Mike and Jen. My name is Reese with my husband is Mike and we're calling from Chesterfield, Virginia. We watch your Ask Us Anything show every Sunday night and have watched probably all videos over and over. Our next RV is actually our first RV and we have spent months and months during the shutdown, or lockdown, studying all the different models.
And what we want for our next RV is a Class C model with all-wheel-drive, inverters, heated tanks, leveling jack options… things like that. We've looked at the Odyssey and the Quantum and the Four Winds and the Winnebago's and something lately called a Gemini. But we're not real fond of the Murphy bed, either. So big thing is we want to see more all-wheel-drive options in class C models. Thanks for your help, and you guys are great, bye-bye.”
Liz & Anthony want 4×4 and 4 Season RV capabilities
“Hi, Mike, and Jennifer, this is Liz and Anthony from Adventures. We're calling in today to answer your question. What do you want in the next RV? For us, the two things that would love to have in our next RV is four-wheel-drive capability and Four Season ability. Thanks, and hope to see you guys again soon.”
Staci has a long list of desired RV features
“Hey, Mike, and Jen. This is Stacy and we have our ideal RV for right now.
We definitely have different things we want later in life.
But now we are a family of three who love to get out and go we're looking for a true four-season travel trailer pull behind our bumper with a heated tanks package, including sufficient outside storage. generator on board. less annoying LCD light's please, under 28 ft front to tail.
We would like the master at the rear under-bed storage, a secure small bookshelf in the corners at the head of the bed so we can throw some books up there, front viewing window at the head of the bed, windows on each side of the room that open for ventilation.
And a door on the master. Right outside the master, we would like a full side to side walkthrough bathroom with a shower and no tub. My life husband is a double amputee and the tubs are a pain, especially if there's a railing he has to slide over. And a little bit of a larger countertop, maybe just a skinny one that goes down the wall so that we can get the Kitty food up off the floor.
We do not want ants! We would like a 12 volt compressor 12 cubic foot fridge freezer combo, a decent pantry doesn't have to be huge, but decent size, a place for a for small trash can or a bag to hang, just some place that we're not going to kick it.
Instead of a dinette, how about a breakfast bar under a large window that opens that can seat three to four people and put that on a two foot deep slide. I really dislike these three, three and a half foot deep slides. just something small.
Give us a little bit of room but nothing giant wise. If there's any place for seating for a small couch for a few chairs, comfy chairs, anything like that. In the front over the hitch, one full double size bed, a bunk that's elevated maybe halfway up instead of three-quarters of the way up so a kid could actually sit up up there.
Underneath t in the corner a closed storage cabinet. They can store all their stuff and their toys, doesn't have to be huge something useable leaving the the rest of the space open with tie-down anchors for bicycles so I have secure indoor storage for our bikes.
Also in the kid's bunk. a wider window would be fantastic. Insulated blackout shades throughout, and a 30-inch entry door so the banks can go through easily without damaging anything. A bonus would be a twelve-inch wide wall space to store fishing poles on a hanger.
That would be amazing. We have that right now that we we put in a trailer. And something I have only seen on class B Vans would be a hammock hanger built into the outside frane so that you could hook one of the hammock there and one side of the hammock to a tree or something. All right. That's all I have. Thank you.”
Jim wants room for grandkids in his next RV
“Mike and Jennifer. Hello, Jim calling with your question about what we would like to include if we would upgrade or change our our current RV.
We're actually pretty happy with our current Roadtrek 210. But if we would do an update probably a couple of things.
Number one, the lithium battery storage is much better than it used to be. So certainly that is something that would have to be as part of the discussion. It would be nice to be able to run the microwave maybe turn on the air conditioner for a couple of hours if it was hot just using battery power.
So lithium batteries would certainly be something that would be considered. I posed your question to Carolyn and she didn't even hesitate.
Her comment was to make sure we had room for some grandkids as the grandkids get older. It would be fun to take them and have a little bit of extra room. So we would probably have to upgrade from our class b to a class C of some kind. We would certainly not want anything larger than that, but room for the grandkids or at enough seatbelts. Have a great day. Good question!”
Reliability is this listener's #1 concern
“Hi, Mike, and Jennifer. What do I want in the next RV? I would like to have an RV that's built to the same standards that modern automobiles built something that doesn't fall apart. Thanks. Bye.
Now we want to share some of the text messages we received from our social media platforms. This is jst a selection. There are many more than what we will share.
We collected more than 300 responses in all. On our RVLifestyle.com Travel Blog, we will print a much more complete list.”
Here they are:
Responses from Facebook about the most important RV features
Donna – Better sealing of gaps/mouse proofing!
Kim -More choices in small class C for retired couples. Bigger showers..Lithium batteries..solar included
Steve- A reliable RV.
Sharyn -If I could have whatever I wanted, I would want solar and battery power to run anything without requiring shore power or a generator, a true King bed that could convert to two twin beds, and a self-driving RV!
Valerie -Would love to have a small 5th wheel such as a Scamp 19 ft. or an escape 5.0. Really wish one of the mainstream rv manufacturers would make a small 5th wheel.
Sheila – Optimum storage without compromising interior living space
Dawn -Bathroom in the back on a diesel pusher. The bedroom in the back stays hot for hours after a long road trip. Moving it a bit forward would help.
Kathi -dedicated office space. Some of us want to work remotely even while ‘retired' from the 9-5. A little contract work goes a long way $$$ Went to the Tampa RV show and still only found 1 dedicated desk in a Class A.
Several mentioned the Winnebago EKKO is a good start
Sharon -Class B van 20-22 foot, all-wheel drive, gas chassis, large lithium battery pack with 4000-watt inverter, no generator, no propane, dry bath or a semi-dry like the EKKO with natural light, portable induction cooktop, large refrigerator with separate freezer, dedicated bed and separate dedicated workspace, awning and TV optional, heated or internal tanks and water lines, 1 or 2 skylights.
Jo -A bed that we can walk around and a little more storage.. presently have a 27’ class C with a corner bed…a struggle to make the bed…
Karen -Motorhome with more cues from the European market. Ekko is a good start with a garage and semi-wet bath. But it's still huge by comparison. There are several models with drop-down beds too.
Carol -I say storage and a counter with chairs instead of a dinette booth
Roger -Plenty of 110 outlets, dimmable lights everywhere.
A better ride through improved RV stabilization
Valerie -Better stabilization! We have hydraulics and there is constant movement and lowering. We have done everything suggested.
Kathy – Large windows that can be enjoyed from comfortable seating. Lithium batteries. Leveling system. Dry bath with separate shower. A refrigerator that is large enough to hold a week’s groceries. Outside storage that is large enough to carry chairs, grill, other camping gear. Enough kitchen counter space to prepare food. Quieter air conditioner. A window in the back of the coach. A backup camera that stays on during travel. A B+ coach that is quiet during travel. Comfortable beds that are always available and easy to get out of during the night. Willing to pay more for a quality coach that requires fewer repairs.
MaryAnn – improved insulation; screen door; second door; provide fire escape ladders for larger escape windows; storage spaces that don't waste space (ie: extra shelf or drawers); fridge to hold the groceries, and will not be so fussy to regulate temperature; better stabilization; better sealing of gaps, especially in slides; improved windows to retain interior heat or ac; better quality furniture (should not have to replace chairs, sofa bed or mattress after 2 years!)….We pay enough for RV's, should not have to ask for better quality.
Patricia- I would like to have a fold-out sink in the bathroom.
Elizabeth – Class C not too long but with bunks
Comfort is important for many
Laura -Comfortable mattress!!
Cheryl -A walk around bed is a must and a nice sitting area.
Michelle – Constant rear view camera
Sherry -Quality grade mattresses and refrigerators that don’t depend on proper leveling to work.
Illa – A big pantry
Jasmine – Desk space!
Mike – Would like to see kid or grandkids friendly, a 4 door seating like a crew cab. Safety first.
Ann – Self-driving Class B+ We love our TT though. Maybe more storage, an easier leveling system, lithium batteries (and we know we could have those installed if we were ready).
Roger – A Ford dealer who will maintain a transit with an RV on it. Could not find one in the USA within 100 miles of my home
YouTube responses about RV features
James – Elongated toilet bowls!!!
David – I’d like to see more small-to-mid size trailer manufacturers add a small washing machine, like the one in Black Series HQ19.
Steve- I would like to see all leaf spring suspensions with shock absorbers to reduce spring failures.
Maria- I would like to see a bunkhouse RV with average human size bunks and real mattresses. The teddy bear pads are not something I would want to sleep on. Also, instead of prepping for solar or washing machines, why not go ahead and install these items? You do not see an RV prepped for a refrigerator or fireplace, these appliances are already installed.
Michel – We had 3 motorhomes in the last 11 years, shopped many, and NONE had a decent garbage can. We recently downsized to a Unity TB (love it), and it was probably the worst, awful, ON the kitchen counter…!? We added a proper sliding garbage can with lid, but it should come stock, or at least as an option.
Bill – Awning windows that opened more than four inches
Lillian – Shades to cover up all those annoying and glowing red LEDs from all the controls at nght
Marc – 110 outlets in the back that are located low enough for a CPAP machine. A desk or shelf or way to store the machine s it's secure when traveling and can be left out
Rick – A CB radio built into the dash
Brad and Linda – Roof hookups for cell phone booster antennas with cable run inside so you don't have to drill a hole, real mattresses that are actually comfortable, a curtain to separate the cab from the coach part
Geoff – A small hidden safe builtin for valuables
Simon – Door locks that open with a combination instead of a key fob which always breaks
Instagram followers share the most important RV features
– Dedicated bed, table and chairs, storage, generator, and relaxation.
-solar/lithium and 12V fridge and induction cooktop. I'd love an RV that didn't need propane for anything and ran only on solar or electric.
-Solar for sure. Great internet. A big comfortable sofa, not those bulky love seats. A bigger water tank. All at an affordable price.
-A dog-friendly RV with attention to safety options like tie-downs for crates or built-in crates.
-Need dedicated space for pets and their stuff: crates, cat litter box, food, and water that doesn’t sit in the way on the floor to get kicked around.
A bigger shower
– One that didn’t take a full-time handyman to actually keep it going. And no Chinese Tires.
-A bed you can access on both sides. Don’t want to crawl over my spouse to get up in the middle of night.
– Salespeople who know what they are talking about or at least have had some RV experience (sorry, I know this is not a feature…but knowledgeable sales peoplet would help me understand what I need and don't need)
RV PODCAST NEWS OF THE WEEK
The Florida RV Super Show ended Sunday and indications are many came out to see the new models despite the pandemic.
This week the Quartzsite Sport, Vacation, and RV Show is happening through Jan. 24. After that, the next show that we feel confident is still happening is the Jacksonville RV MegaShow Feb. 11-14.
For all of you newbies, we can't stress enough how unusual this is, as usually our RV Calendar of Events is filled with dozens of upcoming shows all over the country.
We decided not to go to the Florida SuperShow this year, and that was a very difficult decision we have discussed many times. But we are missing the RV circuit and in case any of you are too, wanted to share this report with you from when we attended in 2020.
Many Oregon campers who set their alarms to get online at 6 am Thursday to nab coveted reservations for spring and summer were disappointed to find an error left them unable to reserve a thing.
Apparently, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department set 6 am Thursday as the time when would-be campers could get online to make reservations. But, for reasons that aren't clear, the reservation vendor actually had the reservations go live at midnight, meaning many who logged on at 6 am discovered their favorite campgrounds were completed booked. Oregon officials have since apologized for the mix-up, and everything seems to now be working normal.
Three more Utah state parks received Dark Sky status. The Jordanelle, Kodachrome Basin and Rockport state parks received the designation, bringing to eight Utah state parks with the special designation, which more than any other state. There is lots of wide open space in Itah!
Several years ago we interviewed the International Dark Sky Association Program Director and I would encourage you to listen to that interview here. Dark Sky designations mean the location does not have light pollution, making it an ideal place for stargazing. To see our list of best stargazing locations click here.
Officials at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are recruiting volunteers willing to commit four hours a week to help manage record-breaking crowds. Between June and November 2020 the popular park saw more than one million visitors a month, which officials describe as record-breaking.
These visitors damaged trails and caused damage when parking. Officials will provide training for their volunteers, and then will place them in high-visitation areas, hopefully avoiding similar damage in 2021.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is consistently the country's most visited national park. To see the others on the most-visited list, click here.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Health Canada recently announced safety issues surrounding two camping pots. Alpha aluminum and Sigma stainless-steel pots were sold at REI stores and elsewhere for camping use.
The pots have “Sea to Summit” written on the front, and some are being recalled because a nylon latch on the pot can disengage, causing the handle to come off and the scalding contents to burn the user.
RV PODCAST QUESTION OF THE WEEK
We are about to head out of the cold for a long RV trip to the Gulf Cast and then, hopefully, out west. Do you have some suggested websites or apps we should use to keep abreast of what is happening on the roads and with the weather? Thank you?
We sure do, Christine. We use lots of apps and online resources but for traveling, there are five we can suggest. And since we know many of you are listening to this podcast while you are driving, don’t worry about having to write them down. They will be linked in the shownotes blog report for this episode, which will be on our RVLifestyle.com Travel Blog. You can find it at rvlifestyle.com/328
So… here are those Top 5 resources we suggest for Christine:
National Traffic and Road Closure Information – This website is maintained by the US. Department of Transportation's National Highway Administration, it searches state by state and has updates on construction zones, live freeway traffic conditions and much more
iExit – This app is a great RV 101 resource for finding out what’s at the next exit from the interstate, or exit miles down the way. It locates fuel stops, tells you the average cost per gallon, notes what restaurants and businesses are at that exit. They call it your Roadtrip pit stop finder and it helps save time and figure out where to pull off and find the services you need.
Road and traffic conditions across the nation – Looking for a weather report for the route you plan to drive? Check this before heading out and on route. It also has links to live traffic webcams in many spots. We really like the map displays showing wind speeds in each state.
Weather alerts from the National Weather Service – From weather forecasts, flood warnings to rainfall alerts, this has state by state information for every region of the nation.
Current Wildfire alerts – Wildfires are frequent problems RV drivers need to know about. This updated wildfire incident website shows current wildfires being fought across the nation.
Do you have a question you’d like us to answer or a comment on the things we’re discussing? If so, we invite you to leave us that question or comment on the special voicemail number we have for the podcast – it’s 586-372-6990. If you are driving and can’t write it down right now, just go to the RV Lifestyle travel blog at rvlifestyle.com and scroll down the page. You’ll see that number prominently posted on the blog.
OFF THE BEATEN PATH REPORT
BY TOM & PATTI BURKETT
The great spirit of the Mohave people, the people who live along the water, was killed by his sister shortly after the people were created.
It fell to his little brother to make for the people the land we now call the Mojave Preserve.
He called up the Colorado River and filled it with fish and ducks. He taught them how to make fire and find shade, how to cultivate the melon and pumpkin and beans that were created to be their food.
The Mojave creation story is powerful and inspiring, but even in the cooler months it’s hard to believe people lived their whole lives there, even spent generations, living and working for what this country has to offer. For us, at least, the borax mining displays in Death Valley seem to have been imported there from somewhere else, so desolate and unforgiving is the land.
Things begin to seem a bit different when you happen upon one of the oases that dot the land. All of a sudden there are wells, and trees, and in some cases old and elegant homes or settlements built where water manages to reach the surface.
The Mohave Preserve lies between Interstates 15 and 40, and once you exit from either of them, you’ll quickly find yourself on small roads in an empty country. When we drove through, gas was five bucks a gallon, so fill up before you come.
If you come from the north, you might pass through Rainbow Springs, where the big Joshua trees and spring-fed ponds attract a nice variety of birds and other wildlife. In 1998, the park service was involved in a standoff here that resulted in the dismantling of a major meth lab operating in the ruins.
It becomes clear, after some time spent here, that it truly was (and is) home to many hardy souls who not only coax a living from the desert but love it for its stark beauty and periodic astonishments. And where there are people, and products, the need for transportation arises.
As the iron horse spread across the West, the California desert was not ignored, and there is no more sound or elegant evidence of it than the Kelso Depot, located where the small roads that cross the Preserve come together.
The lucrative markets of the West Coast put several railroad lines in competition for the business, and getting trains up the grade hereabouts, called the Kessler Summit, meant helper engines were needed. Helper engines meant employees to operate and maintain them, and so the original buildings at Kelso went up.
The Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad ran this line, and was in tight competition with the Santa Fe. Rail passengers had come to expect the level of service provide by Santa Fe’s Harvey Houses, and the Kelso Hotel was built in 1923.
The Vulcan iron mine operated near here and swelled the local population to two thousand for several decades, but it began to decline in the late fifties, and by 1962, the depot had closed.
For thirty years the property was kept from demolition by a succession of local groups and Federal agencies, until the Park Service adopted it in 1995. Now it’s returned to its Joshua tree shaded glory, and while you can no longer spend the night, the building is open for touring and there’s a picnic area.
Maybe the best thing to do here, aside from looking through the hotel itself, is to spend the sunrise and sunset times at one of the nearby springs, most of which still produce water.
Wildlife are drawn to the water at these times, and the parks several critter-cams have recorded mountain lions, bobcats, golden eagles, great horned owls, and a variety of lizards and small prey animals visiting the oases.
It’s nice to be near water, anyway, out here, where sometimes you wonder if you’re a bit too far off the beaten path.
Before you buy that new RV, better read this!
Curious about the gear, gadgets, accessories, and RV products Mike & Jennifer use and recommend?
On this RV Lifestyle Travel blog, our RV Podcast and our RV Lifestyle YouTube Channel, we mention all sorts of RV-related products and gear that we use, So we created a special page links to them. We update this all the time. CLICK HERE to go to it directly.