By BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
If you are thinking of buying an RV to go camping this summer you are not alone.
Demand for RVs has spiked as more and more people decide camping is safer than flying or taking a cruise during the coronavirus pandemic.
“You get a couch and a dinette. So if you have kids you get a lot of space and you don’t need a huge truck to tow it,” said Kenny Craven of Big Country RV in Bend.
Craven said sales nearly dried up in March and April, and then came roaring back in May.
“It was almost a ghost town. People were being really cautious. Now that it’s started to open up it’s just gotten crazy busy. I think people see RVs as a viable way to get families out. Obviously Central Oregon, the lifestyle of the outdoors, it makes sense to have an RV. The demand has almost been the highest we’ve ever seen it. Just crazy.”
Industry analysts predict nearly half a million new RVs will be sold nationwide this year.
“We’ve always sold what we call bunkhouses. They’ve always been really popular but for whatever reason, I think people are seeing this as a way to get kids out of the house,” Craven said. “Maybe they’ve had plans to do it and something spurred them now to take the leap to buy one.”
Dr. Richard Curtin of the RV Industry Association believes RV shipments will be both constrained by the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic and benefit from the reputation that RVs provide a secure travel environment for families to enjoy outdoor recreation.
“They are self contained. You have your own bathroom, your own bedroom. It’s a ton of fun,” said Craven. “Even before these modern times and all these changes it was a ton of fun but I think something clicked and people are thinking about it now.”
Craven said there is heightened demand for all types of RVs including motorhomes, conventional travel trailers, fifth wheels, expandable campers and slide-in truck campers.