Debra Puhl has been camping for 24 years, ever since her then-infant son threw up on a pop-up camper, somewhat obliging her to buy the trailer they were considering for purchase.
Now, as an empty-nester with her husband, Richard Puhl, the Perrysburg couple needed an adult trailer, one that did away with the bunk beds in favor of mobility and simplicity. So, as they do every year, the Puhls on Sunday went to the 53rd annual Camp and Travel Regional RV Show at the SeaGate Convention Centre in downtown Toledo, where seven area dealers brought their stock all under one roof.
WATCH: RV show draws avid campers
“We bring multiple dealers together from the northwest Ohio association,” said Tim Wandtke, sales manager of All American Coach. “Hundreds of people can come to one area to see the latest and greatest in camping.”
This year, that was the Arctic Wolf, a new fifth-wheel trailer that could be pulled by a smaller truck. The trailer boasted residential appliances and furniture, flat-screen televisions, and USB charging ports to stay connected.
“That's the hottest-selling trailer,” Mr. Wandtke said. “They're pretty hard to keep in stock.”
The camping market is still hot, he said, after the economic downturn pushed Americans to look for affordable vacation plans. Now, with a growing economy, people are still hooked on camping and return to shows to upgrade their trailers.
“So many people have been exposed during the downtime to camping, people are trading in and buying new,” Mr. Wandtke said. “We have couples in their 20s buying trailers all the time.”
Trailers are becoming more and more sophisticated each year, which was on full display during the weekend-long show.
“This year's show features a lot more technology than in the past,” Dave Brown, the show’s coordinator, said. “They have everything form fireplaces to Bluetooth to flat-screens to satellite dishes.”
To each their own, Ms. Puhl said, but she wants her camping experience to be much more bare-bones than that.
“What's the point? You're paying $20 to watch TV instead of being outside,” she said.
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