On a sunny Thursday morning in mid-August, the demographic makeup of the RV owners at a campsite outside of Washington, D.C. roughly reflected those identified by the recent Go RVing RV Consumer Demographic Profile: nearly 40% were between the ages of 18-44.
These Millennial/Gen-Z RV owners, 49% of whom grew up with RVs, tend to be married, educated, and full-time working parents, like Torre and Jessica Lasley. The owners of a software company, the Lasleys, their 5-year-old son and dogs have been travelling the country in their fifth wheel for three years. To date, they’ve visited 41 states, typically spending one-to-two weeks in each location. Jessica cited both personal and professional advantages of RVing.
“As business owners, we get to set our own hours,” she said. “So, we tend to work most on the weekends when the campgrounds are more crowded. Then we have the amenities more to ourselves during the week.”
The Lasleys, who now homeschool their kindergartner, were in D.C. to visit relatives. Several of their son’s young cousins were enjoying both “sleepover camp” in their RV and the use of the campground’s elaborate waterpark.
According to the Study, these younger RV owners are also much more likely to be non-Caucasian, like Matt Branzuela, a software engineer from Silicon Valley, who has been RVing over the past year with his wife, who works in Fintech, and their two dogs.
“COVID has been a blessing to us,” said Matt. “It has allowed us to work remote and to see both the country and our friends all over it.”
The Branzuelas were inspired to buy their Class B motorhome by friends who owned RVs and the popularity of camping among young people on the West Coast. Currently, they’re exploring America’s East Coast, typically staying one week in each campsite, but recently spending three weeks outside of New York City.
While the Lasleys and Branzuelas, like their peers cited in the Study, earn over $65,000 per year, both couples cited the economic advantages of RVing.
The Lasleys, who have spent a good deal of time boondocking on the West Coast, spent roughly $9,000 on a generator and solar panels for their camper which they believe will pay for itself by allowing them to boondock more often.
“We just need enough electricity to run our outdoor movie projector and to make popcorn!” said Jessica.
Electricity and internet access are high priorities for Millennial/Gen-Z RV owners, who are more likely to travel with video game consoles, streaming devices, and e-readers. The Lasleys have installed dual modems in their fifth wheel and subscribe to three mobile carriers to ensure cell service to run their business.
Adventure is another high priority and the Branzuelas, like 81% of their RVing peers, pack sports gear: in the summer, bikes, and paddleboards, and in the winter, snowboards. The Lasleys travel with folding bikes and are contemplating adding a kayak rack to their next RV.
In fact, 93% of Millennial/Gen-Z Owners participate in a hobby while RVing – most often hiking or fishing – versus 81% of older owners. Unsurprisingly, their affinity for motor sports and mountain climbing is also higher. And while nearly three quarters of the owners in this demographic use their RVs fewer than 30 days per year, mostly in the summer months, they are more likely to participate in winter sports.
Like 84% of their peers, the Lazleys intend to buy another RV within five years and have been regularly scouring the websites of manufacturers and dealerships in the hope of finding the perfect unit at the best price.
Both couples, like 66% of Millennial/Gen-Z owners, intend to always have an RV.
“We still have a lot of America to see,” said Torre, who opened an outside storage unit on his RV to show a map of the US with stickers on the states they’ve visited. “And a stop isn’t valid unless we eat at a local independent restaurant and visit a local craft brewery!