The last time Paul Braccini went camping, it was in a tent when he was a teen. His wife, Alyson, had never slept at a campground.

But in June, the Tannersville couple bought a travel trailer — a 2020 Coachman Catalina Expedition — and have gone on three camping trips so far, with another planned in a few weeks.

Braccini, a 39-year-old oil burner mechanic, wanted the hard-shell, towable camper because he’s tired of paying for hotel rooms and wanted to try something new. Alyson Braccini, 37, a bookkeeper, worried about staying in hotels, like they typically do, during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We love it,” Braccini said on Friday before heading out to the Timothy Lake RV campground near East Stroudsburg. “A lot of our friends are talking about doing it too.”

Couples like the Braccinis are among the reason why the recreational vehicle industry in Pennsylvania and across the U.S. appears to be bouncing back in the midst of a pandemic that has left other businesses trying to survive.

The RV industry usually pumps $2.8 billion into Pennsylvania’s economy, including $1.4 billion from RV manufacturers and suppliers, $646.9 million from RV sales and services; and $741 million from RV campgrounds and travel, according to the Pennsylvania Recreation Vehicle & Camping Association.

When stay-at-home orders went into effect in Pennsylvania and elsewhere in the spring, RV sales were limited to online orders with future pickup dates, pretty much grinding the busiest time of year for dealers to a halt.

Sales nationally were down 30 percent in May. But in June, RV sales in June hit the highest monthly total since October 2018, according to data released Monday by the RV Industry Association.

The 40,462 units shipped in June represented a 11 percent increase over June 2019 and a 45 percent jump over May 2020.

Check out the full article from The Morning Call here.


Photo credit: Paul and Alyson Braccini