The Florida RV Supershow, which happens yearly in mid-January, is arguably the largest RV show in the United States of America, a title it disputes with the Hershey Show in Pennsylvania. If you are in the market for a new RV, this show will have the largest selection available anywhere. You are almost guaranteed to find the model and floor plan you are looking for. If you are not in the market it is also a good place to see what’s new, innovative, or just plain curious or ridiculous. There are also two large pavilions with vendors from cookware manufacturers to RV resorts.
This year I was lucky enough to attend on Industry Day, which is a day not open to the public, so you can explore all the units at leisure without the large crowds of the public days. That being said it was not what I expected. I expected it would be a day where you could speak to manufacturers and dealers, get interviews, and more in depth information, but that was not it at all. Industry Day is nothing more than a dress rehearsal, a soft opening, where everybody is still setting up, nobody really want to talk to you, and they don’t even have prices or information yet. Some of the rigs were even being used as storage for beverages and promotional materials for the next day.
That being said we were able to see a lot of RVs, and cover quite a lot in a relatively short time. We began in the pavilion by the entrance where all the Pleasure Ways, Roadtreks, and other class B’s were. On the other side of the floor They had the Prevost luxury motorhomes, and the Airstreams that we decided to leave for another day.
I have really tried to like these two particular brands of Class B, Roadtrek and Pleasure Way for a while now, particularly Roadtreks, which was recently purchased by German manufacturer Hymer. Even though some of them feature the latest in technology, lithium batteries, under the hood generators, heated floors and massive solar arrays, there is something about the floor plans that we just can’t get over. They feel cramped and uncomfortable, and they all have the same cookie cutter floor plan with a sofa bed in the back, galley and refrigerator on one side, bathroom and closet on the other, and the narrowest possible hallway. Want a table to eat? Most of the time you will have to assemble it, usually hidden in some closet out of the way. We are lazy when it comes to that. We want a permanent table and a permanent bed, because sometimes RV dwellers have different schedules.
There was also a B+ Pleasure Way with a murphy bed and a dry bath that was adequate. The problem with the murphy bed, again, is that everybody in the rig has to go to sleep at the same time. Why those are so popular lately is beyond my comprehension.
Moving right along there was a very nice 4X4 custom sprinter van by Spotsmobile which unfortunately didn’t have a bathroom. I wish more companies would come up with innovative floor plans on 4X4 chassis, so you can boondock in even more remote places.
Our next point of interest was the Hymer booth. Hymer is the largest manufacturer of RV in Europe, and their recent acquisition of Roadtrek, means we might be seeing a lot more of their products trickle to this side of the Atlantic. They were featuring two motorhomes based on the Ram Promaster/Fiat Ducato chassis and two travel trailers. One of the motorhomes we had seen before, the Hymer Aktiv, formerly the Grand Canyon. Measuring a mere 19.5 feet long it is one of the shortest class B motorhomes available. It features a pretty innovative collapsible bed in the back, a wet bath with cassette toilet and fold up sink. It is one of my favorite class B floor plans of late. Of course new for this year there is a slightly longer model with a convertible sofa bed in the back that looks like a direct transplant from a Roadtrek and really felt out of place in an otherwise innovative floorplan. Then there was the Sonne, not available yet in the USA, only 17 feet long with a pop-up shower which also doubled as counter space when in the down position. Both travel trailers had a pop up roof, no holding tanks, and apparently were light enough to be towed with a light SUV or even a car. We love to see innovation from a new comer to the marker who really thinks outside the box.
Our next stop was at the Winnebago booth to pay a visit to our old friend the Winnebago Travato, based on a 21-foot-long Promaster van. That was our favorite RV of 2016, but this time, after spending some time inside, and speaking to other owners, it has fallen a little out of grace in our humble opinion. We have realized we may need something slightly bigger, with more storage, in order to be comfortable.
We also paid a visit to the newer version of our Micro Minnie and then discovered what may be our new favorite motorhome: the Winnebago Trend 23L. At only 24 feet in length the Winnebago Trend may be one of the more complete Class C in the market. Even though it is marketed as a class C it features the more streamlined design and swiveling captain chairs of their B+ cousins.
I could write a short book about all the Class C, travel trailers, fifth wheels, truck campers and big rigs that we saw, but instead I’ll follow up with links to the rest of the videos I published during the week we spent at the Florida RV Supershow.
See you on the road!