Lightweight is the current buzzword as the 43rd annual Calgary RV Expo and Sale rolls into the BMO Centre, according to a report by the Calgary Herald.
New pop-up trailers – light enough to tow behind a subcompact automobile – are on display this weekend. Also featured are shorter trailers that can be pulled behind a smaller SUV such as a Toyota RAV4.
“These trailers are a lot lighter than they used to be,” says Dan Merkowsky, show manager and executive vice-president of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association of Alberta. “Lightweight trailers really help open the demographic of the show because younger families who already have a mid-size SUV, but don’t want to move up to a pickup truck, can tow these units. Those people will be down here checking out the trailers.”
More than 400 units will cover the 250,000 square feet of the BMO Centre at Stampede Park. The Calgary show is open today, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $14 for adults, $10 seniors, $7 children 7 to 17 and $30 for a family of four (two adult, two children). Children under six are admitted free.
According to Merkowsky, the RV industry has recognized the importance of efficiency, and lighter materials are being used to construct a variety of RV units. For example, aluminum is replacing steel in many substructures, and glass fiber has been re-engineered to be not only lighter, but stronger.
“We knew we couldn’t survive if we didn’t adjust the weights of some of these units,” Merkowsky says.
Just as the auto industry has lightened up to increase the fuel efficiency of many vehicles, Merkowsky says the RV industry has kept in step.
In addition to weight, the industry has also focused on quality of living, as RV builders are putting modern, residential-style comforts into their units.
“These units are a lot more luxurious than they used to be,” Merkowsky says.
With the Canadian dollar trading near parity, the price of many RV units – plenty of which are made in the U.S.A. – has decreased.
“Our dealers can buy a lot better than they could have in the past,” Merkowsky says, and adds, “Those savings are being passed on to the consumer.”
For those unsure about towing, Merkowsky says the RV show offers an opportunity to chat with a number of industry experts, from hitch suppliers and suspension specialists to trailer manufacturers. Also at the show are displays plugging several RV destinations.
“It’s literally one-stop shop-ping for RV consumers,” says Merkowsky, who touts RVing as an ideal and inexpensive family getaway.
He cites a Go RVing Canada study conducted by PKF Consulting, which found that, depending on the model, a typical RV vacation could cost 75 per cent less per day than any other type of family trip, regardless of trip du-ration, distance or location.
“Studies have shown that families who RV together spend more time together,” Merkowsky says. “And the RV lifestyle is all about spending time together – it’s good fun and it’s good recreation.”