Have you imagined yourself camping longer and in wilder places? Or have you imagined a more comfortable, brighter RV for tailgating or heading south for the winter in? You’re not the only one.
RV manufacturers have heard you and they’re making these RV dreams a reality. In some cases, you’ll find, you can have a brighter, comfier RV along with more capability.
So, let’s bid goodbye to dark, boring RVs and bye to always being tethered to the electrical post. Let’s welcome these three exciting trends that are taking RVing to the next level.
The Rise of Lithium
It’s become evident that the RV industry as a whole is actively looking for alternative power sources. Traditionally, RVers have only been able to use 50% of their battery capacity. How can RVers use 100%, or nearly 100%, of their battery capacity? Lithium is the answer.
Up until now, lithium batteries were nearly exclusively an after-market option. However, as the price of lithium power technology has come down, RV manufacturers can include it as an option or even standard. The transition to being able to drive off the dealer lot with lithium power is happening right now.
Class B RVs have been among the first to include lithium power systems as standard. This year, more new Class B RVs can be driven off the lot with complete lithium power solutions as standard.
As an example, both the Limited Edition National Park Foundation Winnebago Travato and Storyteller Overland’s Mode 4×4 vans have exclusive systems powered by Volta. The Limited Edition Travato comes standard with the Pure 3 Energy Management System, while Storyteller Overland’s Mode 4×4 comes standard with the LiveFree OTG 9kw Lithium Power System.
Lithium provides clean, quiet, on-demand power––perfect for visiting national parks, which often don’t have power hookups and enforce generator restrictions.
Off-Road and Off-Grid
Towables are also joining the lithium party. At the recent RV Industry trade show, RVX, there were a few towable concept RVs with a lithium battery bank. Perhaps most impressive was K-Z’s Venture RV Sonic X travel trailer with 1,000 amp hours of lithium power. Keystone had an eye-catching Springdale concept with lithium power that also impressed.
Along with lithium power, RVs are now including solar packages or solar options. The Sonic X concept had 1,000 watts of solar power in addition to the 1,000 amp hours of lithium.
However, getting you off-grid isn’t enough if you can’t go off-road too. Higher clearance is an increasingly available feature.
The Limited Edition National Park Foundation Travato has SumoSprings in the front and rear. Storyteller Overland’s Mode 4×4 has all the clearance you could want on the Mercedes Sprinter Chassis option and the Ford Transit version. The Ford Transit version clearance comes ready for you courtesy of a Quigley 4×4 conversion.
Off-Road Package Upgrades
When it comes to towables, you’ll often see off-road packages available as options on standard RV models. You’ll find beefier tires and rugged exteriors, in addition to higher clearance.
A good example of this was A-Liner’s new Classic 35th Anniversary Edition with an optional off-road package. A factory lift provided more clearance and a more aggressive tire and wheel package.
The Sonic X concept was truly innovative with a rugged, lightweight carbon fiber wrap on the RV and rock sliders all around the body.
To really blow things out of the water, they also included a feature called the Secondary Infinite Water System. The system allows you to use an included 25-foot hose to pump water in from any nearby lake or stream. The advanced filtration system can then store up to 100 gallons of fresh water. Would you ever really want to come back?
In some cases, the full line of a manufacturer’s RVs may be dedicated to taking you off-road. A fresh, fun, and compact example would be TAXA Outdoors.
At the RVX trade show, three of their models won awards. The Mantis which is their largest RV, the Cricket which is their flagship RV, and their brand new TigerMoth all received awards. They have a very future-forward design and construction which is no surprise since their founder worked for NASA for many years.
Another standout was the Australian manufacturer, Black-Series. These are incredibly rugged camper trailers, specifically built for off-road camping adventures. They use a quad shock design at each corner as opposed to the traditional leaf spring or single shock setup. This allows for a smoother off-road ride, better handling, and improved shock life.
And finally, some manufacturers will have a dedicated line for off-road and off-grid camping. A standout example was Forest River’s NO-BO, or No Boundaries, line of towables.
These trailers have everything from a small 12-foot, basecamp-style, pull-behind up to a 25-foot travel trailer. Of course, you’ll find a great lift and tire package, but you’ll also find they’re offered with a range of accessory racks for kayaking, skiing, and more.
On the inside, RV manufacturers are incorporating brighter, sleeker, more contemporary interiors. This is great if you’re looking for a bit of at-home comfort while camping or while entertaining friends at your next tailgate.
You’ll find RVs with ambient lighting and better lighting overall and kitchens with sleeker Dometic and Furrion ranges.
Manufacturers are replacing tired brown wallpaper with white walls. Backsplashes in the kitchen are running all the way up rather than strangely stopping just a quarter of the way up. Grays are joining in as a neutral, rather than just the tan. Kitchen cabinetry is brightener with lighter wood options.
All around the interior of RVs is getting more aesthetically appealing and more home-like. It’s an encouraging movement that you should be excited about.
You’ll also find that surfaces in the RV are more varied. So rather than being swallowed into a sea of brown and beige upon walking in, you have the feeling of a home.
After all, in your home, your countertop is probably not the same surface as your dining table, side tables, and nightstands. This is especially great for anyone who spends months on end at a destination escaping the snowy months back home.
All of the RVs mentioned above as standouts in terms of going off-grid and off-road had beautiful interiors. One additional standout in terms of the interior was Lance’s 1975 travel trailer concept. This concept had a cabin-in-the-woods feel and even included a built-in, hidden wine storage area.
The Travel Lite EVOKE travel trailer line was also beautiful. The colors, materials, and “daylight” as opposed to “tungsten” temperature lighting really gave them the feel of a modern loft.
Thor’s new Sequence Class B unit had a very comfortable rear lounge seating area with full-size backrests, cup holders, and beautiful bright surfaces. The Heartland DRV Mobile Suites Luxury Fifth Wheel line had perhaps the homiest kitchen with the nicest feeling overall.
Overall, it’s a great time to be an RVer. Whether you’re aching for something a little different than the RV your grandparents took you out in or you’re looking to untether yourself and head down roads unknown, the options are looking bright.
Do you have any questions, concerns, or thoughts? Leave a comment below!