The Truth About the Hype
Who is the RVIA? We see thousands of videos, blogs, and articles every day extolling the virtues of the RV lifestyle, myself included. What most of us don’t know is that the organization behind most of the hype about this lifestyle is the RVIA, the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association. They primarily represent the American RV manufacturers whose role it is to sell you a new RV.
Chuck Woodbury, of RV Travel Newsletter fame, published an article in January, 2022 that revealed the RVIA mission – convince the American public that you can “Go where you want, do want you want” as long as you are in a recreational vehicle. In RVIA’s dream world, “RVs don’t break down. RV roofs don’t leak” and that is the end of the subject.
The unstated mission is to coverup the lack of manufacturing design and skill that goes into low paid major jobs in the American RV industry by glossing over the exterior look. Drawn in by high-priced amenities shown on the screen (all designed and manufactured by others), buyers overlook the fact that staples and glue guns reign supreme on the manufacturing line.
The RVIA staff’s main job is to keep photos of overturned trailers and fifth wheels off the news. Overweight being the major culprit here supported by the cargo carrying capacity inaccurately stated by the manufacturer, who walks away without penalty.
Lack of enough places to park these monsters or minis is not the concern of this industry, only the sales. So, you can go where you want and do what you want as long as you don’t park it.
So, who looks out for you, the RVer? There is no national “RVers” association yet. Maybe that group is working its way to the surface. As Europe continues to turn out far superior-made trailers, fifth wheels and motorhomes, the timing is right for a group to support you. Right now, any advance toward building Euro-style RVs is stymied. Buying out the competition to keep them off the market seems to be the game plan right now.
The point is “don’t believe everything you hear, and very little of what you see.” Do your research first. There are plenty of books, videos and blogs offering advice that do not agree with RVIA’s opinions. Don’t leave home without them.
What About Generators?
With all the other problems RVers face right now, California wants to ban all gasoline generators that do not comply with the current California emissions law. RV manufacturers are the biggest complainers, probably because this new law interferes with the manufacturing line. Anything new or innovative here creates an increase in cost for them.
How do you top this? Try Honda recalling 200,000 generators sold between February 2018 and 2019. Why? Leaking fuel valve, no less. This hurts Honda’s reputation of reliable and excellent build quality, worldwide. Their generators usually adhere to all emissions laws, including California.
Of course, RVers can avoid all these issues by buying propane generators, either built-in or portable. Propane does not offer the same bang for the buck, but extends the capacity with portable tanks rather than moving the whole vehicle to the gas station. If you already have propane access, it becomes easier to resupply. California (and other states eventually) finds propane acceptable.
There is always the solar solution. Several solar options with pure sine wave outlets for appliances are on the market now; some provided with their own solar panels for portable use.
A solar generator is great for travelers who have no need for a very large solar system, or who don’t want to deal with the complications of installation. Building a solar system can be a daunting task. The important factors, such as watts, amps, and volts, and connecting everything within the system properly (and safely), not a challenge created for everyone.
Some travelers only boondock occasionally or don’t use a lot of power. Or they may even be full-time travelers who don’t have the space for a large system and thus chose portability. Or maybe their RV didn’t come with an inverter (or a very large battery bank), but they want to power their laptop and some other small 120V AC devices while on the road.
For all such travelers, the convenience of a solar generator is the perfect fit. With a solar generator for your RV, you could power a 12V refrigerator, your phones, tablets, and computers, as well as other devices and appliances, depending on the size of the battery bank in your power station.
Along with the box containing the battery, solar charger, and inverter/charger, a portable solar panel or two sits outside the RV in sunny locations to recharge the portable power station.
You see, there is always a solution to every problem except the issue created by the new slogan promoted by the RVIA. So, don’t listen to the hype, do your research, and enjoy the lifestyle.