On Friday we took the whole family to the 2015 Pittsburgh RV Show. We arrived when the doors opened, which turned out to be a great time to attend–we didn’t have to compete with the crowds that I encountered last year on a Saturday.
The following is a short video to give you a sense of the size and scope of the show:
We learned some new things things during the evening:
- The Coachmen Clipper Product Manager said the company is using a newer cable system in pop-up campers that eliminates the need for poles to support bunk ends.
- Some camper manufacturers will sell special edition floor plans ONLY at the RV shows. These models are not listed on company websites or brochures. One dealer shared that once the company sells out of the special edition model inventory, they are gone for that year. The dealer said the companies sometimes test the market with these special edition models, and they may eventually appear in the general product line-up.
- Make sure you know your vehicle’s weight limits, as some dealers will try to pressure you into looking at models that your vehicle isn’t necessarily rated to tow.
- It is easy to get overwhelmed by all the inventory and to overlook sections–especially with the kiddos in tow. If you are going to the show to compare models or to buy a new camper, try to find a way to leave the kiddos at home–with adult supervision of course :).
- We suggest packing a lunch (or dinner). Food options were limited and very expensive ($5 cupcakes, $8 Italian ice shakes, etc.). We were very glad we had packed dinner!
- There were numerous noncamping related vendors (i.e. basement waterproofing, gutter guards, cigar sales, sleep number mattresses, newspapers, etc.), a good deal of regional campgrounds, and some camping related products (i.e. truck caps, motorized bikes, ATVs, and boats). However, at this show there were no aftermarket camper products (i.e. parts suppliers, new camping innovations, etc.).
Here are some pictures that we took during the night:
So what did we get out of attending the show?
- The guys at the PA State Parks booth were great to talk with!
- We thought our camper had a unique “factory” smell and always wondered if the previous owners had done something to the camper that created that smell. Well, turns out that it is a normal new camper smell for a Keystone! The minute Kristin–who has super power olfactory senses–walked by a Keystone, she stopped and said, “It smells JUST like our camper!”
- There are a lot of campers on the market that are well built, luxuriously equipped, and expensive. However, at this phase of life–i.e., limited budget and camping with kiddos who can be hard on things–these are not practical for us. Although, one day when we are empty nesters they will look very appealing.
- After looking at a ton of campers, we have come to the conclusion that there is really only ONE camper on the market that we can tow that would gain us extra space. There are lots of great bunkhouse models but many are in the 9,000+ pound range and have outside kitchens (an addition we are not a fan of). Below are some pictures of the Keystone Passport Grand Touring 3290BH that one day might be our next camper.