2022 painted on a road with an arrow going forward

Predictions for the 2022 RV Camping Season

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I hope all of you enjoy your holiday season and have beaten the campsite reservation lines by preparing for the 2022 RV season by reserving your RV campsites for the coming year. In August of 2021, I was fortunate to receive a top market forecast study that predicts 2022’s RV sales. 

If you’ve kept up with the RV influencers of RV life and others across social media, there’s a lot of back and forth about the 2022 RV camping season in the U.S. Based on my research, I’d like to share the best predictions for the 2022 RV season. 

Is RV Camping Still Popular?

Various colorful charts on a table with 3 people's hands visible
Strategy Titan published a market forecast study that predicts 2022’s RV sales

The company that put the market research study together, Strategy Titan, sent it out to the RV industry, media, and some influencers. Their goal was to identify all of the current indicators to forecast the latter half of 2021 and all of 2022’s RV sales. 

While not meant for public consumption, the study gave the industry enough to chew on to decide how they would move forward. In addition, the RV media and blogosphere used the information to guide their research and observations. 

2021 saw massive growth. The final RV sales numbers in 2020 were 430,412 units, according to Go RVing. The final numbers aren’t in yet for 2021, but the RVIA speculates between 567,000 and 587,400.  The study concludes that 2022 will see total sales over 550,000 or more, but some RV types will sell better than others in a small way.

2022 RV Sales Will Continue to Rise, With Some Adjustments

Most RV categories will see a 3-5% drop in overall sales. Yet, some RV types will have sales elevations as high as 8%. In my mind, I translate this as the overall sales of full-size travel trailers, fifth wheels, and Class A motorhomes will have a few hundred fewer sales in 2022, but consumers will make up those lost sales in the categories below that are predicted to grow by the same percentage or more.

  • Camping trailers – Including hardside and softside pop-ups and all styles of teardrop campers.
  • Class C motorhomes – I suspect that the small-chassis versions that use the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter are the “saving grace” for the category.
  • Park models – I was surprised as you. Yet, people that are into the tiny home movement are finding park models an excellent alternative.

I wondered how the study was so optimistic when they predicted a sales forecast so high. The RV backlog updates, mother nature, and other forces have kept manufacturers held up. Experts say the backlog won’t alleviate itself until we’re well into the 2023 RV camping season. 

My opinion: Despite everything we’ve gone through in 2020 and 2021 that made all of the disaster movies look underwhelming, the RV industry has pulled off record sales these past two years. If the container ships and trucks can keep moving, 2022 will be another record-setter.

Why is it so Hard to Find Campsites?

As a country, we continued to see COVID-19 mutate into the Delta variant and other related issues continue to affect our daily lives. The backlog isn’t going away, and drought and wildfires hit the western states hard. In addition, national forests, campgrounds, and boondocking areas may take years to recover.

The marketing study, various RV influencers, and experts list the same negative factors that made the 2021 RV season difficult.  What I found interesting is the fact that the research study shows optimism among RVers around the country. I had to remind myself that the RV community is a hardy bunch. We eat uncertainty for breakfast (okay, we throw a little sugar and spice on it and add a little bacon).

Before the RV boom, many counties weren’t too hip to the idea of allowing new campgrounds to open within their borders. I won’t go into the reasons (and trust me, there were some hum-dingers), but the attitude has changed. If you do a quick search on YouTube or Google, you’ll find glamping paradises, expansion RV parks for popular attractions, family-friendly campgrounds, and many others. I’m even looking forward to that Love’s Travel Stop and KOA partnership expansion plan. When I went to the last local RV show, I saw some new campgrounds around the state with booths in the vendors’ area.

I still highly recommend making your RV campsite reservations over the off-season, but with these new campgrounds opening up, you may have better luck this year grabbing up that premium site you’ve had you’ve always wanted.

What’s the Future of the RV Industry?

In a recent podcast, Mike Wendland of RV Lifestyle interviewed Matt Foxcroft of Matt’s RV Review. The two discussed their overall impressions of the RV innovations coming out of the manufacturers. 

Matt states that many manufacturers aren’t making significant changes in the gasser Class A or travel trailer sector. However, he did see the most RV innovations in the diesel Class A RVs, toy haulers, and campervan categories. Matt predicts that consumers may see Class B prices fall to more competitive levels since many brands are on the market.

The Electric RV Conversion Continues

Another point of interest during the discussion is RV solar panel systems. In the 6-7 years Matt has been in the RV world, he’s seen systems go from a trickle charging battery device to towables that solely rely on solar for power. If you look at Nomadic Cooling (a subsidiary of Dometic), their roof A/C unit for RVs runs on batteries. Winnebago installs it on the off-road Revel campervan.

If you’ve kept up with the EV truck news, Rivian now has their pickup on the road. 2022 will see many of the long-anticipated all-electric trucks on the road affecting the RV industry forever. Some like Rivian will directly affect the tent campers and backpackers, but others like the Ford F-150 Lightning with a 220v outlet in the cargo bed will impact towables. 

When it comes to RV innovation, I believe we’ll continue to take steps to rely more on solar energy to remove propane from the RV lifestyle. My biggest concern for 2022 has to do with campground readiness. 

Many older campgrounds don’t have the electric infrastructure to support the needs of a 30 or 50 amp RV while an EV vehicle is recharging in the same electric post. Now think about the 50 to 500 campsites on the property with an RV and EV plugged in simultaneously. I think we’re going to see a lot of news reports of campground blackouts in 2022.

The Key to the 2022 RV Camping Season is Educating Yourself

Mike Wendland stated that when an RV runs over a pothole, it’s like your residential house going through a near 5.0 earthquake. Solar panel experts will tell you solar energy is still the slowest method of energy generation despite the advances. RV insiders have no idea when or if prices will come down, even with all of the information they know.

My point is to continue educating yourself through the RV Life network to learn the realities, the perspective, and the information you need to know when deciding what to do about your coach. 2022 looks like it will have its challenges from where I sit, but I’ve booked my campsites and have high hopes.   

27 thoughts on “Predictions for the 2022 RV Camping Season”

  1. We will probably see a “glut” of 1-2 yr old used RVs on the market, as many who bought in 2020/21 will be disheartened with the experience and the lack of initial quality for most brands.

  2. i was going to buy a fifth wheel and upgrade my truck but i waited too long and now cannot get either…. i have friends who have been to the manf service centers and have seen all the substitutions that are being used to build new units and the customers are NOT being told about them/it, THIS is why i refuse to even special order a new unit because of the substandard items going in behind the walls and in general yet the price keeps increasing? so i guess the house will gain some additional value through 2022 cause it will be 2023 at the earliest before things get to a better all around level, sadly…….

  3. EV tow vehicles remain too expensive and not long enough range for widespread use at this time. I feel that towables will grow in usage due to the fact that the tow vehicle can be a multi-use vehicle.

  4. I have everything scheduled and reserved for 2022 from April to the end of of October. The only way that I won’t be going camping is if the good Lord decides that he needs my help. In fact, I have already started on 2023. I have never put off details until the last minute.

  5. Take advice and opinions of influencers with caution. Some aren’t even rv’ing or talking about it anymore. They’re off boating or doing something else now. Instead- listen to rv professionals who make their livings working in the industry. As far as campground blackouts go- don’t worry. EV’s and Hybrids are just peeking into the mainstream public. It will be years ahead before anyone needs to worry it campgrounds. This doesn’t mean that owner’s shouldn’t put money into their campground’s infrastructure.

  6. I know we are all interested in keeping our environment clean for future generations. Having said that, please research what it takes to make an EV battery and the inefficiencies as compared it internal combustion. It requires an incredible amount of mining to extract the materials required to manufactured those batteries. The amount of diesel fuel required to mine it is huge. What are you going to do when you are off the grid and your solar panels don’t work because the sun has not been out for 2 weeks? This summer we saw hundreds of wind turbine blades that were not turning due to lack of wind. There were also 3 turbine blade disposal sites that were very ugly. The blades can’t be recycled or burned so they will remain in landfills forever. The power demand to charge the vehicles also will increase the amount of coal, and natural gas consumed to provide that power. I actually saw a picture of a diesel generator producing the electricity to power an EV charger. What the heck? Do your own research beyond just the emissions reductions of the vehicle itself. We don’t want to create a huge problem by solving a minor problem.

  7. I’ll take the contrarian view here. With 50% and more to come hikes in fuel, where production years 2019, 2020, 2021 and likely 2022 have seen such shortfalls in build quality they may be considered toxic for knowing buyers of used units in the future and there are the inflated prices as well. As for technology advances … there’s little history of success in an otherwise opportunity rich area on the part of RV manufacturers. And, last, but certainly not least, predatory hedge funds have discovered RV parks and bring such “goodies” as surge pricing, “coach, premium and 1st class” site selections (learned from the airlines), and “they can cancel you at the last minute but you can’t cancel them” reservation systems. Also, along with all this long sorely needed infrastructure money soon to stream into states, we will see highway closures, dangerous lane shifts and long detours in our future travel path. Oh, and for you boondockers; BLM is going to make a lot less open land available to you starting next year. Why? Because – and I’ll paraphrase here – you’re messy and a threat to the environment. You’ll need to call way ahead for a permit. Won’t that be fun. Yep, I’m sure it will. So … the one thing that gets totally lost in these annual RV manufacturer, distributor and park owner conferences is any real insight into customer expectations and (contrasting) experience. Yeah, they got statistics for sure. But, as a former corporate exec I’ll share with you an old axiom regarding statistics … torture the numbers long enough and they’ll tell you whatever suits your purpose.

  8. Its ridiculous that the article above talking about the “RV Innovations” do not include or mention the most demanded innovation among RV’ers, and that is of QUALITY IMPROVEMENT! The RV manufacturing industry has no regulatory oversight nor do they have any interest in improving the assembly techniques they all employ. If an automobile or an aircraft were built with these techniques, no one would ever buy them, drive or ride in them, nor purchase a ticket on an airliner if it was built with the skills and techniques utilized in the RV manufacturing business. The only Band-Aids put into use to fix serious problems RV’s is done if the NHSA, Department of Transportation issue a notice following a serious or fatal accident, IF they can prove negligence in the construction of the RV that contributed to the accident. There are many components in any RV that are not subject to this reporting unless the consumer reports it the the DOT stating a serious defect exists that they have discovered. I am not for more incompetent government oversight, just reasonable and presently available quality standards and programs that should be implemented by the component manufacturers, the frame and suspension manufacturers and of most important, the RV manufacturer’s designing and assembling these rolling earthquakes.

  9. There is a Mercedes motor home I really like…….but………my rv shop a new all rv friends say do not buy a Mercedes rv as no one wants to work on a Mercedes! Too bad!

  10. Campground prices are going to skyrocket ,because insurance is becoming increasingly very expensive. So the campgrounds have no choice but to pass this on to us !!

  11. Very interesting information. I agree with most points and it will be interesting to see what happens with EV need for electricity also.

  12. We boondock 99% of the time so have a heavy reliance on solar for power. Like lithium batteries you get what you pay for, our solar system was over $2000. My three 100ah AGM SLA VRLA RV deep cycle batteries provide all the power we need and charge from a 40% level to full charge in about five hours of sun. My solar array is three panels providing 990 watts of power.

    Best thing about boondocking is the freedom it provides to go where and when you want. My point is if you want to avoid a set schedule and having to make reservations than boondocking is a great way to go and a properly designed solar system designed for the needs of the RVer it is a great way to go, you don’t have to rely on camp grounds or RV parks with power; just go find a place you like and set up camp.

  13. We need more campgrounds,sucks having an RV with nowhere to go.Also state and federal campgrounds need to enforce no show rules, at any given time you go through and see empty campsites. Go to the web page and all sites are reserved?

  14. Great information from the inside! And he is right over the next few year camping life is going to explode and more and more people are going to sell there homes and start living in a camper. I’m considering it myself for my family. I travel allot for work and im not home allot so why keep my family stuck in one place when they could be out in the world enjoying life and my kids seeing things that they might not otherwise see and learn in there youth. Trust me it will be worth it! Camping has been some of the most enjoyable times in me and my families life.

  15. Doing a fair amount of travel in my motorhome this calendar year, I have generally had success in booking campsites if I plan ahead.

  16. I am not a believer in this forecast as other articles say a substantial portion of the backlog will be cancelled as dealers start to get inventory. Plus I think the buying frenzy is waining. I have a good 5th wheel for sale and a lot of lookers but too many other options. I see a glut of used campers as mom decides this is not as much fun as she thought and would rather vaca at a resort and the campground no vacancy issue makes newbies frustrated.

  17. Lifetime campers here and we cannot believe the prices of campgrounds now. Let alone trying to book! Usually, we book way ahead of time. There’s nothing available for 2022 in our area. Weekend warriors have taken over. We look to book for months to stay in the summer. We just can’t find any sites. During the week it’s empty and all weekends are taken. What’s next? Camp in our backyard?

  18. Dick T. in Las Vegas

    Any mention of how increasing fuel prices will be affecting the RV industry as it did in the past? I know that will be a consideration for me, as I no longer own a Vixen 21TD
    motorhome which got up to 30 mpg.

  19. Why do so many people think they need to be in a campground every night? There are plenty of places to park for the night without spending the money. There is also an inconvenience factor of locking yourself into a specific location on a specific day. We spend about 40 nights a year in our motorhome, and very seldom do we ever stay in a campground. I think we average about 7 to 10 nights per year in a campground at the most, often much less than that. It takes about 3 gallons of diesel fuel to run our generator for the night. That equates to about $12 even at today’s fuel cost. If you add another $12 for maintenance and eventual generator replacement, that is still far less than most campgrounds are trying to charge. We are use our RV to travel in, not to go to the lake for the weekend. Others may have different needs.

  20. No way the industry is going sell more RVs in 2022.
    1. Two/three years of extremely high demand/deliveries of new units
    2. Recent buyers realizing a mortgage payment is just sitting in the driveway due to weekend capacity crush at campgrounds.
    3. Poor build quality – results in months of delays for repairs, while paying for the unit you can’t use. This compounds the buyers remorse feeling and motivates people to sell.
    4. Rising storage costs for those who can store at home.
    5. Higher fuel and site reservation costs
    6. Relatively high used prices make it a good time to sell.
    I see the new sales market being negatively impacted by the economic outlook, with slightly used units flooding the market, destroying demand and pricing power.

  21. I agree with so much stated in all the comments above!! Summarizing them all in a simple phrase …”WE (the campers/customers) ARE GETTING SCREWED”!! I’m not anti-capitalism by any sense, but the endless and relentless practice of trying to get more and more money out of consumers while delivering less or the same, at best, is criminal (or it should be)!! Wherever money becomes the main motivator, things go bad!! As one commenter stated, at some point the only way for the mfgs to get more money out of you, is by reducing the quality of the materials used, while charging you the same or more for it, all while selling it as new and improved (aka lying)!! Mfgs, corporations and yes hedge fund scouts, will continue to push and push, and by that I mean they will continue to rape us with price increases, until it reaches a point when we the consumers finally say… enough, YOU CAN KEEP IT !!!… and we start to find other things to do with our time!! They don’t care about, your camping experience or the long-term durability and quality of the product you purchased… they just want your money… ALL OF IT!!

  22. Need a reservation system where you cant reserve more than one state park at thw same.time. They dont penalize you enough to bother cancelling. Make everyone give their rv license plate and make the system make them choose which one they want upon reserving!!! This will open up a lot of state parks for everyone!!!

  23. Some people really like spending the night with all the amenities and comforts. To each their own.

  24. Ouch, so much doom and gloom! Yes, there will be changes ahead but it’s going to take a while, back when my husbands grandparents went camping, the way the campground looks, how expensive, and the ones who camp age now. If you love camping, find ways to adapt, or a hobby if it makes you this miserable. No one expected Covid, am glad to be alive and the chance to camp more. Find your happiness, not all this doom & gloom… adapt

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