It took a camper the size of a fishhouse to address Ron Salargo’s midlife crisis.
As reported by the Minnesota Star Tribune, to celebrate his 50th birthday last year, the Hopkins resident quit his full-time job as an accounts payable manager to hit the open road in a medium-sized Ford SUV. To affordably and comfortably circumnavigate the country in 82 days, he towed a teardrop camper so light and compact that he could push it by hand.
Teardrop campers belong to the fastest-growing segment of the recreational vehicle industry. Various models will be displayed Feb. 9-11 at the Minneapolis/St. Paul RV Vacation and Camping Show at the Minneapolis Convention Center. U.S. shipments of towable RVs have increased by one-third in just the past three years.
According to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, the same category of conventional travel trailers has grown 75 percent since 2013 and the segment has become bigger than all other types of RVs combined. In 2018, shipments of teardrop campers and all other travel trailers is expected to reach 346,600 units.
The growth has come at the expense of other types of RVs, including folding camping trailers.
Experts say millennials and young Generation Xers are breathing new life into the RV industry, captivated by the lure of getting back to nature or seeing new places without strapping themselves with debt and oversized assets.
“It’s a generation more interested in experiences, not things,” said Mike Geister, the owner of EscapePods, a Minnesota builder of the retro-style RVs. “A teardrop camper lends itself perfectly to that.”
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