In Salt Lake City this week, the RV industry gathered for a new trade show: RV Experience, or RVX. Judges awarded nine brands out of 450 RVs for innovation across the following categories: Outdoor Adventure, Family Friendly, Van Life, City Escape, Destination Camping, Sustainability, On the Horizon, Luxury Living, and Team Tailgate.
Representatives from BACKPACKER Magazine and SNEWS were there to cover it live, and had an exclusive interview with SylvanSport CEO/Founder Tom Dempsey, whose new VAST travel camper took home the award for best Outdoor Adventure vehicle.
“It’s gratifying and humbling for the VAST to be honored as the best in the outdoor adventure category right out of the gate,” said in a press release. “Our roots in the outdoor gear industry give us the perfect experience to create the ultimate outdoor adventure vehicle.”
The growing intersection of two industries
The RV industry currently caters to more than 10 million consumers, though Go RVing research has shown that 30 million people have preferences that fit the potential RV buyer. RV Industry Association (RVIA) has revamped the RVX show to further the industry with a space to celebrate innovation that pushes the industry forward and reach those untapped markets.
“RVX isn’t just another trade show renamed,” said RVIA President Frank Hugelmeyer. “It’s an integrated, multi-purpose marketing platform designed to showcase the future of RVing, generate greater consumer interest and drive dealer sales,” said Hugelmeyer. “If we embrace new ways to build, market, and service our products, if we support our customers at every turn, if we innovate, excite, and attract new consumers to our diverse outdoor lifestyles, the future of the RV industry remains bright.”
One element that has been further integrated into this new trade show is a focus on reaching outdoor consumers as highlighted by two of the consumer categories "Outdoor Adventure" and "Van Life."
SNEWS connected with John Mead of Adventure 16 Outfitters in California. "We see more and more of our Customers and employees traveling and even living in vans, and also using roof top and towable tents. In many cases they are using them as their base camp for exploring and climbing at their destination or as they go," Mead stated.
He continued, "Last year A16 declared 'Van Lifers' to be among the group of Customers that we want to target. We're still determining what that means in terms of products and marketing, and RVX helped move me closer to what it means. The next step will be to begin developing relationships with local RV dealerships who offer Vanlife and Outdoor Adventure RVs. The hope would be to do some co-promotions like having a Vanlife RV mini show in our parking lots to see how interested our Customers really are at this point in time."
The new trade show has not only created space to celebrate innovation, but brought retailers in to reimagine the ways that the RV and outdoor industries will work together moving forward.
RVX Outdoor Adventure Category Finalists
Here are the other category winners of The Reveal
Family Friendly: Jayco Eagle HT 264 BHOK, featuring a bunkhouse that sleeps six and convertible furniture and pass-through exterior storage
Van Life: ModVans CV1 Camper Van, a cargo van positioned to become the everyday minivan, pickup truck or SUV, with removable, modular components that adjust the layout
City Escape: Leisure Travel’s 2020 Unity Rear Lounge, built on the all-new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 3500 chassis and featuring a spacious "rear longe"
Destination Camping: Forest River - Riverstone Luxury 39 RBFL, an RV geared toward the luxury/extended customer featuring separated garages to 1 and ½ bath concepts
Sustainability: Winnebago All Electric/Zero Emission, made for short-range commercialt trips like mobile bloodmobiles, clinics, classrooms, and outreach vehicles
On the Horizon: Airstream Classic Smart RV, featuring Smart Control Technology that allows user to control and monitor important features and amenities from anywhere
Luxury Living: Newmar 2020 Superstar, a customizable and luxury Super C class product
Team Tailgate: Heartland’s Cyclone Ultimate Tailgate RV, featuring a side patio, outside bar, built-in kegerator, multiple TVs, and a sound system