That’s why millennials go crazy for RVs


This article is reproduced with permission from The escape house, a newsletter for secondary owners and those who want to be. Subscribe here. © 2021. All rights reserved.

They are no longer strictly the wheels of your grandparents. Remember when recreational vehicles were only associated with retirees? Since the start of the pandemic, the big wheels have continued to turn for millennials and Gen Zers who are increasingly turning to this mode of transportation.

The Escape Home sat down with RV experts Jeff Cavins, co-founder and CEO of Outdoorsy, and Jon Gray, CEO of RVShare, two online RV rental marketplaces, to get a taste of what it looks like the market now and its influence. travel long after the pandemic is over.


Main conclusions:

  • The pandemic has sparked a new zeal for a safe and socially remote motorhome and van life.

  • Millennials and Gen Z are at the forefront of the recent wave of VR culture. Half of all Outdoorsy customers are now under 45.

  • Most RV trips take place relatively close to home. According to Cavins, most of the company’s rentals do not travel more than 150 miles from where they are picked up.

  • One of the most common RV destinations is, surprisingly, Las Vegas. Denver, Utah, Southern California, Florida, and Texas are also the best choices. In the summer, people also tend to head north to Montana, Idaho, and the Dakotas.

  • Over 56 million recreational vehicles go idle 97% of the year in North America.

  • You can do a lot money if you have an RV that you are willing to rent.

  • You don’t need to drive a motorhome to spend your vacation there. The owner can drive it or tow it to the desired destination.

  • It is almost impossible to buy a motorhome these days.


When the pandemic struck in early spring 2020, it dampened the recreational vehicle rental market. Cavins saw 95% of Outdoorsy’s bookings disappear, and Gray faced a wave of cancellations and was forced to put some of RVshare employees on leave. The commotion did not last long.

“What happened was really remarkable,” Gray recalls. Americans started to want to get out of their homes and literally go anywhere else. Motorhomes suddenly became the saving grace for a nation hungry for travel.


“The world learned about us and said, ‘Wait a minute. I can travel safely and I can maintain social distancing ”because camping by design is a socially distanced activity. “I can maintain my own contact surfaces inside vehicles… I don’t have to walk into a hotel room someone was living in a few hours ago… I really feel safe,” said Cavins. “And even to this day, people still feel the need for that security.”

As the perfect antidote to the pandemic, Gray said he feels RVShare has accelerated its category progress “by just about five years from last summer.” Likewise, Cavins confirmed that Outdoorsy started this year with growth of over 145%, largely thanks to renters who had never driven an RV before.

And the demographics are changing: Cavins said that a few years ago the average age of a motorhome renter was 62. Today, half of all Outdoorsy customers are under the age of 45, and almost 90% of the company’s growth over the past few years has come from Gen Z and Gen Y.


Rylee White, a recent college graduate who just returned from an RV trip with two girlfriends, is representative of the aging clientele. The three women were supposed to travel to Italy for a post-graduation celebration, but due to obstacles related to the pandemic, they opted instead to go on an RV getaway to California, Nevada and Utah. Turns out, a motorhome trip can be perfect for a group of young friends who aren’t afraid of nearby neighborhoods. And these nearby neighborhoods? “A great experience of complicity. ”

The flexibility of such a trip suits the lifestyle of young adults. White appreciated that “you don’t have to be in a certain place at a certain time and all of your belongings are always with you – even if you think they are lost.”

The method of movement also forced her to slow down and notice her surroundings.

“When I’m in a national park, I say to myself ‘okay, this is what I do today’ and I don’t focus on the desperate desire to go back to my air-conditioned hotel room.”


And young people, Cavins said, are going crazy about RVs on both ends of the business. The generation has been “market primed” thanks to their experience with companies like Airbnb and Uber, and they are not shy about capitalizing on the potential gains. He told us about a 34-year-old entrepreneur who predicted market trends early on and started renting RVs on Outdoorsy, making over $ 8 million in just a few years.

Cavins predicts an increase in ads on Outdoorsy next year after young people who have purchased RVs complete many of their travel plans. Still, demand far exceeds supply right now, but it’s not necessary: ​​According to Cavins, more than 56 million RVs in North America go unused 97% of the year.


The growth of RV culture is sure to continue to revolutionize the way we travel in the future. Cavins and Gray both believe the infrastructure for campgrounds across the country will grow rapidly over the next two years.

And countries around the world seem to be preparing and even encouraging motorhome travel. Cavins said the Chinese government has mandated the national development of recreational vehicle infrastructure to keep up with the growing interest. Outdoors also operates internationally, in 4,800 cities and 14 countries, including Canada, Italy, Australia and New Zealand. The company plans to tap the growing recreational vehicle markets in Japan and South Korea.

Thinking of buying your own RV? You’re not alone. In fact, it’s almost impossible right now.

It’s really hard to get your hands on a new deal, they’re sold out, [RV maker] Thor just announced that they have a $ 14 billion backlog, ”Cavins said. “When you go to an RV manufacturer, the first thing that surprises you is that it’s not like going to General Motors or Ford, where you see all these robots building the cars with the robotic welding systems. It’s a bunch of people with glue guns, duct tape, hammers and staplers; they build a house. “

This article is reproduced with permission from The escape house, a newsletter for secondary owners and those who want to be. Subscribe here. © 2021. All rights reserved.

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