What We Learned at the Elkhart RV Dealer Trade Show

What We Learned at the Elkhart RV Dealer Trade Show

Last week, we had the chance to attend the “Largest RV Dealer Show on Earth,” AKA the Elkhart RV Dealer Show in Indiana. The 3-day event lasted from Sep. 25-27, featuring 30+ top RV manufacturers in the U.S. We’ve got the scoop, and we’re filling you in with everything we learned and brands you should keep an eye out for. Whether you’re part of the RV industry or not, keep reading - you never know what you might be able to apply to your own business!

Takeaways From the Expo

Industry Gaps

One of the biggest things that stuck out to us was the lack of diverse outdoor brands outside of the specific RV industry. There was plenty to see and do, but it seemed like we were one of the few, if not only, broader outdoor brands at the event. Sure, the event was geared towards RVs, but when you think about it, many of these industries serve similar customer bases, address similar pain points, and have overlapping characteristics.

The point we’re trying to make is don’t limit yourself as an outdoor brand. If you produce surf gear, why not check out nearby kiteboarding expos, windsurfing events, and more? You never know when you’ll strike inspiration, and there’s plenty to learn from these tradeshows, even if it’s not tailored to your specific niche or product. Get out there and broaden your horizons by stepping outside of your brand’s “comfort” zone.

Small, Light, and Flexible

Within the RV industry, it’s clear that most brands and manufacturers are charting a path toward adaptable and lighter hardware, gear, and models. Words like big and bulky might come to mind when you think of RVs compared with other vehicle counterparts, but in the 21st century, sleek, modern, and efficient will always be in. We noticed a trend steering away from massive, hard-to-maneuver vehicles to ones that are more compact and flexible, allowing for greater exploration and capabilities.

Exciting Innovations

With electric cars well underway, who knows what could be next for RVs, especially as the environmentally conscious movement continues. Not to mention, we’ve seen the surge of cross-country roadtrippin’ and a boom in vanlife, and these vehicles are definitely reflecting that lifestyle. 

Take the Forest River Ibex RV Suite, which just debuted, for example. Apart from an impressive exterior, the vehicle features upgraded sidewall construction, all-electric functionality, a rear sliding glass door, and an exterior sun deck – talk about luxury! This forward-thinking concept is poised to redefine the RV experience by incorporating cutting-edge technology and design elements. It demonstrates an industry-wide dedication to pushing boundaries and enhancing RV comfort and efficiency.

We were also impressed with the Cherokee Wolf Pack, a toy hauler that converts to a bunkhouse and allows travelers to attach ATVs, kayaks, and golf carts. It’s pretty affordable and seems like a great economical option for families to take it all on their next outdoor expedition. The R-Pod was another top pick, offering the lowest tow weight in its class and equipped with everything you need for comfortable exploring without being excessively oversized.

Brands to Watch

Here are a few other brands that caught our attention at the expo. Remember, even if you’re not in the RV industry, it’s always worth checking out other brands in the outdoor space to see how they’re evolving, growing, and adapting.

  1. Ember RV
  2. Skinny Guy Camper 
  3. Storyteller Overland 
  4. Taxa 

Final Thoughts

So, apart from eating some great food and meeting cool people along the way, we really did learn a lot from the Elkhart RV Trade Show. It was an experience that allowed us to see industry-wide developments up close and personal, speak to experienced manufacturers, and highlight challenges that the RV sector faces. All in all, it’s never too late to get your hands dirty and get out to a nearby trade show or expo. At the very least, you’ll create a solid network and learn something new!

By the way, if you’re an RV brand and curious about how you can combat scaling challenges or just ways to improve your marketing, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’ll highlight potential opportunities and services to help you conquer whatever you’re looking to do!

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