In a direct response to the sagging economy, Brian T. Beaver, co-owner of Beaver Camper in Agawam, Mass., brought several Little Guy teardrop camper trailers to the annual Springfield RV Camping and Outdoor Show, according to the Springfield, Mass., Republican.
The little teardrops are significantly smaller than the luxury homes on wheels-style recreational vehicles also sold at the show. They range from 96 inches long to 212 inches long. The interior houses a bed; an optional gas grill is outside.
Beaver said the teardrops can be towed by 4- and 6-cylinder cars and are an eco-friendly alternative. He said they found that many people bought small, fuel-efficient vehicles that cannot tow larger campers.
“We’re changing with the times. People are still going camping, but not as far and not as often,” Beaver said.
He said he sold three of the teardrops, which cost $4,000 to $9,000. They have a certain nostalgia factor as well – this type of trailer was popular after World War II, Beaver said.
Longview RV salesman James W. Worden, who works in the company’s Windsor Locks store, said there has been “a lot of positive interest” regarding recreational vehicles, something he attributes to the economy turning around.
The show, at the Eastern States Exposition (“Big E”), featured all sizes and types of recreational vehicles, information from more than 100 campgrounds, and dozens of outdoor equipment and camping specialty suppliers.
Part of the charm of attending the show is going inside the various models and checking out the amenities. Four women comfortably sat inside a $52,782 Montana recreational vehicle, sipping drinks and talking RVs.
“This is very comfortable,” said Heidi L. Kallinich, of East Hampton, Conn.
“Like a home away from home,” said Diane L. Hall, of Rocky Hill, Conn., who said she wants to buy one just like it.
Stepping out of a spacious Silverback with a price tag of $44,790 was Timothy D. Valk, of Saugerties, N.Y., who announced, “You can have a dance in this one.” He said he and his wife had two RVs.
Alicia M. Duquette, a show co-chairman, said the show has been produced for 48 years by volunteer members of the Pioneer Valley Chapter 8 of the North American Family Campers Association.
“People plan their vacations here,” Duquette said.
Trends she noticed included dealers bringing smaller trailers to the show, and more trailer rental companies, for people who are thinking about buying a recreational vehicle but who want to try it out first.
Duquette said they are trying to promote the “staycation,” where people stay close to home for vacation. With a recreational vehicle, that can be easily accomplished, she said.
She said Friday’s attendance was up compared to the previous year – 2,613 to 2,425.
The show kicked off Friday and will continue its run at the “Big E” through today.