The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association commissioned an Economic Impact Study on the RV industry, released on June 7, 2016. The study found that the RV industry contributes about $49.7 billion in economic output or 0.28 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. Through its production and distribution linkages, the industry impacts firms in 426 of the 440 sectors of the United States economy.
Nationwide, the industry is responsible for 216,170 jobs, both directly and inderectly, creating an economic impact of $37.5 billion. The full study results, along with each individual state and congressional district's economic impact is available on the website by clicking here .
Mon Aug 8, 2016
For many years in the United States, the concept of a flatbed truck camper was as foreign as ethnic foods and oriental customs.
Many countries around the world used them as their base models, but Americans stuck with the fifth wheel, travel trailer and motorhome.
That is, up until recently, when RV enthusiasts recognized the potential and ease of use that a truck camper can provide, and several manufacturers around the country have responded with a new line of flatbed truck campers.
“It’s a new concept,” says Stan Kennedy, the marketing manager for Four Wheel Campers, based in Woodland, California. “It’s a market that we’re creating that wasn’t even there before. It didn’t exist to speak of. In other countries, it’s been around for years. In Australia and New Zealand, the trucks with a tray rather than a bed are hugely popular. Here in the states, you didn’t have a flatbed truck unless you were a contractor or a farmer. Now, people are opening up their eyes and seeing a lot of possibilities.”
Four Wheel Campers introduced its new line of flatbed campers a couple of years ago, but the company debuted it slowly because of a desire to finesse the product to get the campers where it wanted them.
The campers slide on to the flatbed of an F-250 4x4 or similar truck in other makes. The camper allows the RVers to manage the vehicle like a normal car, but still have the comfort of an RV inside.
“They can take it around the U.S. or South America or anything,” Kennedy says. “They can travel in comfort but still park in a normal parking spot.”
Everything Four Wheel Campers does is custom built. A normal annual queue of 600-650 campers per year keeps the company small enough to custom build, but large enough to stay busy.
“I think a lot of the customers who are buying our product and our design in the last year or two have wanted to go off the beaten path,” Kennedy says. “They want the creature comforts that the smaller trailer will have. They want to throw it on the truck and get out.”
The truck campers allow the user to get off the road to get to places that a normal type A, B or C wouldn’t be able to get to. Inside the trailer, depending on customer desires and custom builds, the user can find a queen-sized bed with hidden storage underneath, as well as a full electrical system and multiple insulating layers to keep both inside temperature and outside noise to a desired level.
The kitchen can come with a two-burner stove, sink and faucet. The fridge can be tucked into storage under the counter, while everything can fold flat to allow the use of the full counter for cooking, preparation and other projects, whether related to cooking or not.
With the custom building and the renewed enthusiasm on RVing, the flatbed truck camper is here to stay, and many manufacturers and RVer alike will likely start to see more of them on the road in the coming years.