Celebrating the RV Lifestyle by Mike and Jennifer Wendland. Tips, travel ideas, RV news and great interviews about the RV Lifestyle.
Behind the RV Backlog: Why they’re sold out for the next year or more
Have you wondered what's behind the RV backlog and why new RVs are sold out for many, many months to come?
As they say, it's complicated. And very frustrating to the industry. Even more frustrating for those who wanted to buy and go traveling in an RV this year.
That's what we dig into this week in Episode 349 of the RV Podcast.
Here's the complete audio version.
And here's the video version, from our RV Lifestyle Channel on YouTube:
But the main reason is the continuing shortage of parts and chassis and the unprecedented, overwhelming demand for new RVs. Quite frankly, most of the major manufacturers are sold out!
The RV Backlog and Dealer Shortages is unprecedented
Let's start with a vivid example of how big this problem is. The numbers from Thor Industries -the world's largest RV manufacturer - are staggering.
Thot's CEO, Bob Martin, was brutally honest in an interview he did with CNBC last week. He said they have $14 billion in backorders for new RVs. Let me say that again: $14 BILLION…with a B.
They are SOLD OUT for the next year
Thor Industries is the company that owns many popular brands including Airstream, Jayco, Dutchmen, Heartland, Hymer, Keystone and many others. It makes tow-able trailers and RVs of all shapes and sizes.
Martin said that demand took off during the pandemic, and it keeps growing day-by-day.. In the US and in Europe, Martin said they are unable to build units fast enough and that what they do build are promised to customers who have been waiting, sometimes for months. As a result, inventory on RV dealer lots is extremely low.
It’s not just Thor. This is happening across North America.
The RV Backlog is the result of a perfect storm of circumstances
A cascading series of events came together to create this crisis:
* First, it was COVID plant closures that halted RV assembly lines for weeks* Those closures also shuttered the factories used by RV suppliers, creating an instant parts shortage.* The resulting delivery issues caused a total breakdown in the supply chain has now put the industry in the never-before-experienced position of having unprecedented, massive demands… but no inventory to give them.
What follows is a series of very candid interviews that unpacks this crisis from the perspective of the three major players in the RV Industry - an RV manufacturer, a parts supplier, and an RV dealer.
A Manufacturer's Perspective in the RV Backlog
Dean Corrigal of Leisure Travel Vans discusses the RV backlog and parts shortages affecting the industry
To get an idea of what it's like from a manufacturer's perspective, we interviewed our friend Dean Corrigal from Leisure Travel Vans up in Winkler, Manitoba, Canada. Here's the edited transcript:
Crowded National Parks brings major confusion
Have you heard about our crowded National Parks and the confusion changing policies have brought over not just getting in, but reservations, too? It's also the same at many State Parks as more and more adopt reservation-only camping policies.
This week on Episode #348 of the RV Podcast, we dig into that issue and much more. And not just here on the blog and our audio version of the Podcast but also with our new video podcast released simultaneously on our RV Lifestyle YouTube Channel.
You can listen to the podcast in the player below. And scroll down this page for shownotes and a transcript of the interview, plus links and resources about all the things we talk about.
See the Video Version of our Crowded National Parks Podcast!
We've been doing this podcast for six years now - this is the 348th episode - and almost since the first one people have been asking us to also do a video version on YouTube. I know, it took us a long time! But click below if you want to see the video. Content is exactly the same as the audio podcast you listen to on your favorite player, except we also add images and you see Jennifer and me reporting and answering your questions.
Click the player below to watch! But keep scrolling for the full text, links and info on everything we covered, especially regarding the crowded national parks and confusion in our state parks!
What's causing our crowded national parks?
You can blame it on four things:
* At the most popular National Parks, you are now required to make a timed RESERVATION just to enter during precise times. For how long this new rule will be in effect, the National Parks Service hasn't said.* In addition, they are now charging you a fee for that, in addition to the normal park entry fees. It's only $2. For now. And you have to buy it online, ahead of time.* These rules prohibit entry to those who just show up unless it's before 6 am or after 6 PM.* The continuing RV boom has seen RV sales, travel, campground reservations and visits to National Parks simply explode. The demand and pressure on public lands is overwhelming, even spreading to many boondocking areas and even state parks
Not all National Parks require timed entry reservations
Now it’s not every national park that has these rules and the timed reservation policy is not every day. It varies park by park.
But that is causing some major confusion!
These rules are not consistently applied.
Stories of crowded National Parks are all over the Internet!
Talk about a crowded National Park! Check out this National Park Service webcam shot of the Memorial Day traffic jam trying to get into the park's South Entrance
CBS TV in Denver had a story on their website with their reporter standing out front of Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado showing huge traffic jams and all sorts of confusion about the timed entry.
Many people didn’t even know that was in effect. They interviewed one visitor who, with his wife and kids, drove three hours to get there only to be turned away!
It isn’t just there in Colorado that had problems. Twitter has been full of photos showing long lines at Gr...
What you need to know about owning your RV campsite 
Have you ever wondered about owning your RV campsite?
We had so much interest in our initial story and video on owning your RV campsite last week. So many people have asked for more info so on the RV Podcast Episode 347, we interview the developer of this unique Tennessee RV community.
His name is Tom Spychalski and the development he showed us is called The Landings. You can get more info on it at RVLakes.com
Click the player below to hear the entire episode. Tom's interview comes on about 35 minutes in. And keep scrolling down for an edited transcript of the interview with specific tips and resources. And listen in if you want to hear who WON the $500 Camping World gift certificate!
It is just one of many new own-your-own campsites opening across America as people seek alternate ways to camp because of the overcrowding in many of our National and State Parks and the challenges of getting a reservation at a regular campground.
Owning your RV campsite - The Interview
If you'd like to see the owning your RV campsite video we did on our tour of The Landings, click the player below:
Here's an edited transcript of my interview with Tom Spychalski, of Tennessee Land & Lakes, the developer of the Landings about owning your RV campsite.
Tom Spychalski of the Landings, talks with us on the RV Podcast Episode 347 about owning your RV campsite
Mike Wendland: Well Tom, it's great to have you with us and to talk about owning your RV campsite. Explain how fast this is growing and what the needs are for many of the customers that you guys are seeing here in Tennessee and how this works across the country.
Tom Spychalski: Well, first of all, thanks for having me, Mike. It's a pleasure to be here. It seems like a fairly new trend altogether. RV-ers are hitting the road in record numbers.
Owning your RV campsite is true freedom
Young people are getting into RV-ing with van life blogs and video vlogs. As a company, we have transitioned from doing building lots out in the countryside to changing into a RV centric business. And it's really hit the ... It's hit a nerve. Everybody seems to be interested in what we have here because RV parks are filling up quickly. Boondocking is popular, but it's becoming more prohibitive to boondock in places.
And it doesn't feel as secure to a lot of people. So ownership versus renting is really becoming a trend. And we've tapped into that. We get lakefront properties, turn them into something that you can own,
Do you really need an RV Cover?
Have you been wondering if you really need an RV Cover? The answer is ... probably. Here's what you need to know:
Because your RV motorhome, 5th Wheel or Towable Trailer camper is one of the most expensive investments you can make, protecting its roof and finish from unnecessary damage is a top priority for many of us. And an RV cover just may be the best way to do that.
Choosing the right RV cover and knowing when to use it can all be very confusing.
In Episode 346 of the RV Podcast, we talk with Scott Shemtov of Empire Covers, one of the leading manufacturers of RV covers, to learn what to look for in choosing an RV Cover, what they protect from and how and when they should be used.
Click the player below to hear the entire episode. Scott's interview comes on about 20 minutes in. And keep scrolling down for an edited transcript of the interview with specific tips and resources.
Why is an RV cover necessary?
Here is an edited version of our interview with Scott Shemtov of Empire Covers.
Mike Wendland: Let's start off with the real broad question. Why is an RV cover needed for today's RV-er?
Scott Shemtov: A cover is a very inexpensive way to keep your RV in fresh conditions season after season especially when you store it away in the off-season when you're not using the RV on the road.
A lot of people will want a cover. A cover protects from so many things beyond just the sun, which beats on the RV. It helps protect the paint. You have, obviously, precipitation that you want to keep off, but there are tons of other things throughout the seasons, such as, right now in springtime we're kind of dealing with a lot of pollen.
If you're going to an RV park or a place like that, or parking under a tree, there's a lot of things that can go on. You got debris from the tree, you got leaves, you got pollen, like I said, and you also got the inevitable birds that'll kind of take a toll on your RV rooftop.
Mike Wendland: Now, a lot of people say, "Oh, the rain's going to wash that pollen off." I don't think people realize how damaging pollen can be to a painted surface like on an RV.
Scott Shemtov: Yeah, it gets in all the cracks and crevices. If anything rubs against it while the pollen dust is on the RV, it'll create micro-abrasions on the paint. So, a cover in general just is like your first layer of protection against everything that's outside.
I mean, none of us would last too long outside completely unprotected. So, think of it as like a jacket or a coat for your RV.
Bonus related material: Click the video below for our epic roundup on all the different ways to winterize an RV video
Is an RV Cover needed in the summer?
An RV Cover on truck camper
Mike Wendland: You mentioned putting it away at the end of the season, but is an RV cover needed in the summertime when people are using their RVs, you recommend them then?
Scott Shemtov: It depends on how long you're going to be parked in an area...
What does an RV Broker do? [2021 must-know insider tips]
In these days of high demand for RVs of all types, a lot of people have heard about RV Brokers but wonder just what does an RV Broker do? The answer is... a lot!
In Episode 345 of the RV Podcast, we talk to Dr. James Upham, a well-known RV broker with years of experience. He offers a very candid explanation of just why someone may want to use an RV broker to either help them find and buy the RV of their dreams or to sell their current model.
He also reveals some little-known insider information about a secret industry sales tactic that explains why some RV salesman may steer you towards a particular RV that pays them an under-the-table payment called a "SPIF" instead of recommending what may be the best choice for you.
Click the player below to listen to the entire podcast. And for a complete transcript of my interview, keep scrolling down.
Here is an edited transcript of the interview with Dr. James Upham of MyRVBroker.com:
What does an RV Broker do?
Mike Wendland: RVs have never been in higher demand. It's harder and harder to find what you want. And that's why I thought that you would make such a great guest. Tell everybody, first of all, what is an RV broker? What do they do?
James Upham: So an RV broker works much like an auto broker. Okay? So they work... The term is used often the middleman, but really the person in between so that it saves, hopefully, saves money, time and it gets you the best deal. Exactly what you're looking for.
RV brokers are generally used to sell or buy or sometimes both, motorhomes. So if you're looking to get out of one, get into one, you don't want to deal with negotiation. You don't have time. Maybe that's an issue for you. You definitely want to get the best deal. You appreciate the whole sales process. This is where you would hire an RV broker to come in and do the work for you.
Why use an RV Broker?
Mike Wendland: So, one way would be to sell my RV. And of course, this is a prime time to sell them. You might just talk a little bit about that. So if I contract with you to sell my RV, what do you do? Why would I do that rather than putting an ad in one of the trade publications or put a sign out front?
James Upham: Well, right now, you hit it on the head, Mike, you don't want to do that. The market right now is such that it's amazing what some of these RVs are getting in the used market right now. I mean, I happened to spend a lot of my time helping buyers, new buyers, first-time buyers, especially.
And a lot of first-time buyers are looking into the new market. The reason being is that a lot of the used market, where, as before, you would save a substantial amount of money. In this market, you don't save a lot. So you really don't need an RV broker in my opinion, to sell your unit. Your best way to do that now is to go to Facebook Marketplace, saved Craigslist, some of these free sites that you would do it on your own.
Now, with that said, let's say that you still didn't want to mess with that and you wanted to hire someone like us in order to sell. What we would do is we would pre-negotiate some arrangement with you.
RV Brokers take a percentage of the deal
We would decide on what our fee would be, and then we would take it from there. So we would take all your pictures. We would list them for you. We do things a little differently for our services and what brokers generally do. But yeah, your big RV sites and such, they'll try to line up certain buyers for your motorhome.
But it may cost you five, 10% depending on what people are charging.
What is an Extended RV Warranty and is it worth it?
Many RVers wonder whether an Extended RV Warranty is worth the investment of protecting what already is the most expensive investment they will ever make besides their sticks and bricks home - the RV.
The answer is dependent on a number of factors that we consider in Episode 344 of the RV Podcast. But for those who plan to keep their RV for many years, an extended RV warranty provides something hard to measure: The peace of mind of knowing that pretty much whatever happens, whenever it happens, they're covered.
Listen to the entire podcast in the player below. Scroll to about 25 minutes in to hear the interview. And keep reading below for a transcript of the interview
Here's a transcript of my Interview with Staci Ritchie Roman of Wholesale Warranties
What is an Extended RV Warranty?
Mike Wendland: Well, joining us now to sort out this whole issue of extended RV warranties is our friend Staci Ritchie Roman from Wholesale Warranties. And Staci, first of all, welcome to the podcast. It's always great to have you on. I think you've been on, a couple years ago we had you.
Staci Ritchie Roman: Yeah, thank you so much for having us on again.
Mike Wendland: It's such a crazy time in the RV business. Let's start off with the real basic discussion. What is an extended RV warranty?
Staci Ritchie Roman: Sure. So what most of us know as an extended RV warranty is actually an RV extended service contract, and what it is, is a policy that will step in to pay for repairs to some of the most common mechanical failures your RV is going to face. And so that ranges, everything from a diesel engine down to a microwave, and pretty much everything mechanical and electrical in between.
Do you need an Extended RV Warranty for a new RV?
Mike Wendland: Well, then what about when someone buys a new RV? Do they need an extended warranty for a new RV?
Staci Ritchie Roman: Yeah, so it kind of comes down to personal preference, but we'll tell you what we think. So your RV comes with a manufacturer's warranty and that definitely takes precedence. So if you have a manufacturer warranty, you're going to go there first. Those don't always cover everything, and things start to drop off after a couple of years.
The great thing about an extended warranty is you can lock in several years of coverage all at once, and the best rate you're ever going to get, the best price you're ever going to get for an extended warranty, is when it's brand new because the extended warranty companies know that they're probably not going to be paying too many claims right off the bat.
So the longest term, the best price you're ever going to get is to buy right when your rig is brand new. And there are some added benefits that come with the extended warranty that you'll be able to use as well, during that first year of manufacturer coverage.
What are the added benefits of an Extended RV Warranty
The most common times major breakdowns occur on an RV Source: Wholesale Warranties
Mike Wendland: What are some of those added benefits that you can use?
Great podcast, but...
This would be a solid 5star and the best RV Podcast available but the segment lead ins are so obnoxiously loud and abrupt that you do not want to listen to this podcast with head phones on (painful) or if someone is sleeping while you are driving. Several people have commented the same so hopefully they will fix it, but haven’t yet. The news segment is awesome, but is the worst with the lead in. Again, great podcast, just not fun to listen to.
Love this podcast. People may complain about the commercials but they need sponsors so good for them for being that podcast that these sponsors want to support them. Love the info and love the relationship that these two show throughout the show. Looking forward to many more shows. Also love the segment of off the beaten path. Great stories.
Great info on many RV related topics
Listen here or watch on YouTube and you will learn valuable information on many RV topics. They cover it all!