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Houston Show Displaying Sleeker, Lighter RVs

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February 7, 2013 by   Leave a Comment

Like many RV shoppers, Helen and Weldon Lack don’t want to have to buy a special towing vehicle just to pull their home-away-from-home down the highway.

They already own a half-ton pickup, so they’re looking for something fairly light but spacious for cross-country road trips and weekend getaways to San Luis Pass.

As reported by the San Antonio Express, the Lacks were kicking the tires Wednesday (Feb. 7) at the first day of the Houston RV Show, which runs through the weekend. The recently retired Lacks, who already own a 19-foot-long recreational vehicle, are looking to upgrade. They have their eye on a 26-footer, which would make cooking and tidying up easier and more comfortable.

Recreational vehicles are getting smaller, lighter, more aerodynamic and more fuel-efficient, said Kevin Broom, director of media relations for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) in Reston, Va. Some are so small they can be towed by a Mini Cooper.

That trend, which began before the recession began, is in response to the increase in fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks, he said. The new, lighter vehicles need lighter “towables,” the industry’s term for the RVs that attach with a trailer hitch and represent 90% of the new RV market.

Manufacturers can make significant design changes. A 27-inch television, for example, used to require two to three feet of cabinet space. Now manufacturers are installing flat-screen panels that hang on the wall.

Karen and John Sheehan were examining one of the show’s small and aerodynamically designed RVs, the “Little Guy,” a tear-drop-shaped camper that is little more than a bed. Pull up the back end and there’s the outdoor kitchen.

“I wouldn’t sleep in this,” said a laughing Karen Sheehan. “It’s too tiny.”

While the $8,995 camper wouldn’t work for the retired couple from Katy, it’s popular with hikers, couples and young families who drive a small car and need a small trailer.

An attachable tent allows the parents to sleep in the trailer and the kids in the tent, said Charlie Power, vice president of sales and finance for Holiday World of Houston.

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