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Old 09-30-2017, 11:43 AM   #1
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My Thoughts on the FUTURE of Camping

As the RV manufactures build/sell 250K new RV's each year and with the possibility of declining number of camp sites (due to the urban push), the inability of reserving valued sites 11 months in advance (like the FL Keys during the winter months), and prime sites out west, there may be a new type of reservation system used in the future. What you say??? It is the old SUPPLY vs DEMAND!!!! With only "X" number of CG sites and "XXXX" number of RV's, it is inevitable.

The reservation system will probably will look like eBay. 11 months prior to the date, the sites go up for auction (bidding), starting bids will probably start at a price close to today's rates, with the close of bidding 30 days prior to the actual date. If you get the bid and decide that you can not or do not want to go to the site on the date that you acquired, there will be a HEFTY $$$ cancellation fee (something FL state campgrounds need to implement). The site dates will probably not be transferable should you cancel (sorry friends), because the canceled site dates will probably go to auction again, but with the bidding price starting at close to the old "Bid" price.

Just my thoughts, (I had better get out of the forum now)

Don

Do I hear $40, 40, 45, 50, 55..... $650, for a weekend in the Keys, winning bid belongs to the lady sitting in her Prevost H3 - 45VIP in her PJ's tapping away on her laptop, sipping on her Starbucks latte watching Mountain Resorts for SALE, on her satellite TV system. The guy in the Newmar King Aire 4553 lost out, he only bid $635 for the weekend site.

Have a GREAT weekend.

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Old 09-30-2017, 11:57 AM   #2
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Thank goodness for Walmart parking lots (never thought I'd be saying that).
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Old 09-30-2017, 12:08 PM   #3
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Don't ever see a bidding process, but a lottery system could be in the future. first experienced that on our last visit to Denali NP a few years ago. Once a year at the end of the season they open the park road up to civilian vehicles for a couple of days allowing a select few the opportunity to drive on the road that is restricted to NP buses the rest of the year. The "passes" are doled out on a lottery system and winners are notified sometime prior to the event. I can see high demand CGs and premo sites being put on a similar system with previous winners precluded from participating in the following years lottery.

As it stands today, the secret if there is one is to plan far far ahead and learn how to play the game. As an example one trick is to start your reservation a couple days before a long holiday weekend as the 11 month early reservation windows opens while others are waiting to reserve starting on Fri of the actual weekend. That is not much of a secret by this time so it probably doesn't work anymore.

For sure reservations are becoming harder and harder each year. Our strategy is to avoid holiday weekends and peak seasons all together.
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Old 09-30-2017, 12:28 PM   #4
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I think I would appreciate a lottery system. The current system in California is challenging simply based on demand from both residents and out of state travelers.
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Old 09-30-2017, 12:28 PM   #5
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Maybe they could tear down all the abandoned buildings and stadiums, and make NEW campgrounds??? There would be sooo many places to go. (Just ramblin')
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Old 09-30-2017, 12:42 PM   #6
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Our nearby state park (Wind Creek State Park) will require a minimum of 7 day stay to reserve any waterfront site next year. I really hope that doesn’t become a thing. Kills us weekend warriors. Lol


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Old 09-30-2017, 12:55 PM   #7
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If you have the ability to camp Sun-Thurs it's not that bad ....yet. I feel for the weekenders. I agree, the ratio for campers to sites has gone up exponentially. Too bad I'm too old to build a campground.
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Old 09-30-2017, 06:53 PM   #8
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This is when the "smart guys" start putting it in gear and becoming self sufficient with all the goodies we have talked about on this forum ie. batteries, solar, generators, etc. to camp out in God's land. Let the yuppies have their overpriced, crowded parking slips. At least where I camp I won't get a ticket when my dog kills a chipmunk.
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Old 09-30-2017, 07:06 PM   #9
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This is when the "smart guys" start putting it in gear and becoming self sufficient with all the goodies we have talked about on this forum ie. batteries, solar, generators, etc. to camp out in God's land. Let the yuppies have their overpriced, crowded parking slips. At least where I camp I won't get a ticket when my dog kills a chipmunk.
We have just surpassed 40 nights this summer. All but 3 of those have been boondocking. Nothing wrong with campgrounds in general, but I've reached the point where camping equals being away from civilization for a couple of days. Right now we are sitting under a clear cool sky listening to crickets and frogs.
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Old 09-30-2017, 07:14 PM   #10
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Yes we just hit 50 nights last week, all of which with a 2 year old and a now 6 month old. He's spent over 25% of his life in our trailer.

Even after a 26 day trip I was ready for more.
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Old 09-30-2017, 09:06 PM   #11
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Boondock!

Yes, lots of people buying Rv's. They fill up full service campgrounds like crazy.

But there are options for those who can live off the grid for a few days.

Case in point. We camped at the south rim of the grand canyon a couple of years back. We would never stay in the park, packed in like sardines at the the Xanterra run campground, for 60 bucks a night.

We stayed 5 miles south, at Ten-X. Huge sites, moose running around, beautiful, quiet. It was also only 10 bucks.

My advice, get some solar, maybe a generator, and get back to nature if you can, and avoid all of the newbies.

Just my opinion of course.

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Old 10-01-2017, 04:47 AM   #12
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Yes, lots of people buying Rv's. They fill up full service campgrounds like crazy.

But there are options for those who can live off the grid for a few days.
I agree, there are other options, but those options are not for the majority of RV owners. The majority or campers want to drive to a site, hookup and not have to think about how many Ah's they have left, is there gas in the gen, where can I get water, where can I dump every couple of days, a noisy generator. A lot of owners do not have the money to put into external power sources.

I will not be long after people may start parking anywhere to camp that the counties, states and government will ban this type of camping because of those that are to lazy to clean up after they leave a site, I saw a lot of that in Colorado, and we did not have the TT with us on that trip.

Most of the owners I know are SPOILED and this is camping to them, both young and old. There will always be the minority like us that will take the steps to have this type of camping available if we want it, but we are the minority. The old day camping mindset of a few pots and pans, sleeping bag,propane lanterns.... is long gone. People want their Embassy Suites on wheels with ALL the conveniences of NON-camping while they are camping. Maybe 500 gallon dump tanks and water tanks? Come already equipped with SOLAR.... no shade camping... the sound of everyone's generators suppressing the sounds of nature's frogs, birds...

Just my thoughts,

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Old 10-01-2017, 08:14 AM   #13
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I would suggest that maybe 50% or more buy an RV because they went out with a friend for a weekend and get the bug. They buy their own rig and use it several times that first summer. 2nd summer not so much and 3d summer they take a deep breath when the storage contract comes for the next year. The RV ends up out by the hwy with a forsale sign. If you know the history with an RV, a used unit can be a great buy if they have maintained it well.

In my opinion, people overbuy RV's with all the bells and whisles because they really don't want to camp, they have just tired of Disney hotels and Fla beach condos and the $$ they costs. They flood the CG's and we can't get a site. I am encouraged by the number of pups I see and even though there are rumors that Jayco is dropping pups from their lineup, there is still a stable demand for them and it signals to me a new generation of young campers who will be the future of RVing over the coming decades.

I agree that going toward boondocking will help. And its not the solitude that keeps many from going that way, they just can't unplug. I had a friend who had a 45' Class A MH with enough generator power to handle a small city who would never do a W world over nite or even a site in a Natl Forest. So I think there is hope for rving off the grid long into the future.
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Old 10-01-2017, 10:37 AM   #14
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One good system that we've run into in some State Parks, is to never reserve more than half the sites, and leave the rest for First Come, First Served.
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Old 10-01-2017, 06:51 PM   #15
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I can see a system where a no-show is penalized by having ability to reserve sites revoked.

I don't see the increased demand that people talk about on here. Sure, RV sales are up, but I also see a lot less tent campers than before. I'd have to see the data before I would agree that the percentage of campers to the total population has increased, and I'd put a wager that it's actually decreased over the past 10 years relative to the previous 30 years periods (in 10-year increments).

We've not had a single problem getting into any campground this summer, even on labor day weekend when I booked it Friday afternoon in a GA state park for a Friday night arrival. Of course this is non-empirical data, but this is what I've witnessed for the past few years.
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Old 10-02-2017, 05:50 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by ensign View Post
Yes, lots of people buying Rv's. They fill up full service campgrounds like crazy.

But there are options for those who can live off the grid for a few days.

Case in point. We camped at the south rim of the grand canyon a couple of years back. We would never stay in the park, packed in like sardines at the the Xanterra run campground, for 60 bucks a night.

We stayed 5 miles south, at Ten-X. Huge sites, moose running around, beautiful, quiet. It was also only 10 bucks.

My advice, get some solar, maybe a generator, and get back to nature if you can, and avoid all of the newbies.

Just my opinion of course.

Ensign
I agree Solar, Wind Generator or Generator is the way to go. 90% of todays campers want hookups but if you are self contained you have choices of places to stay with no reservations. A lot of campgrounds don't allow generators so it's solar or wind but the cost is in the thousands for a solar system that can power your microwave, Blow dryer, TV, lights. You need a big battery bank to store all that power. What we need as RVer's to do is form a buying group to buy solar in quantity.

This summer we stayed on a private lake campground with full hook ups we got in because of a cancelation. This is 5 star with a 5 star price attached at $74 a night. Heck they supply garbage bags and pick it up within mins of you setting it out. The sites were huge 60x150. Spot less bathrooms cleaned every 2 hours. It was beautiful but there are a lot of lakes all over America we could stay at free or very low cost if we didn't electric.
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Old 10-02-2017, 05:53 AM   #17
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I see a business opportunity and I know others are already capitalizing on it.
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Old 10-02-2017, 07:13 AM   #18
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Actually the number of units produced could approach 500,000 this year, was well above 400k last year. As for boondocking solutions, remember as mentioned in other posts our RVs were not designed to tow with the tanks full, or they could fall to the ground, lol.
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Old 10-02-2017, 08:39 AM   #19
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I think the real question, out of the 200k +/- RV's being sold, how many of those are going to current RV owners from a trade in? For example on of my local RV dealer said they "sold" 12 units last month, however, 11 of them were trade-in, so they "sold" 11 but now have 11 more used units on their lots to sell. Just like cars, a car sales, 2 more are traded in. I seeing the RV "bubble" bursting in a few years just like the housing market crash.

As for sites, at times sites are limited but that's mainly around the holidays and long weekends, and the hotels are the same. S-F, you get a room or a site with ease, F-S-S, not as easy, but again it depends on location, time of year, etc. In some of the CG's we go to, they leave 10 sites open at all times for the overnight stays or a last minute person. And just because the CG's web site says "booked solid' always call, we've come across that as well as others I know and we would call and get a site, a lot of folks won't call, they'll just look at another CG. Now, there are certain areas that folks book a year out, which is nuts IMO.

I would like to see RV parks for full timers only, so the weekenders still have CG's to go to.
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Old 10-02-2017, 10:22 AM   #20
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Camping off grid is easy for us with our solar set-up and years of tent camping experience. I could care less about hookups. Two of the reasons we're attracted to (stuck-with) reservation camping.

#1 My daughter. We really enjoy watching her make new friends at the campgrounds we visit. Within 5 minutes of arrival, she usually finds a new group to play with. That's hard to find when you're boon-docking.

#2 Lake access. Finding good camping spots on Lakes that don't involve reservations is pretty much impossible. For us, camping goes hand-in-hand with lake activities.

The reservation system has been broken for years and will continue to cause problems until they address the issue of spoofing. That's when campers book 14 days of camping to get the 3 days they actually want, and then cancel the days they don't want. It's very easy to build a program to figure out who does this, and those people should lose reservation access or be penalized financially. Today, this practice only costs you a $10 reservation change fee. Imagine what would happen if the spoofing penalty was the full reservation cost.

There are thousands of great camp sights sitting empty during the peak camping season due to no shows. Better technology in the reservation system would enable the parks to generate millions in additional revenue if those sights became available. Real-time reservation access with an alert system would fill those spots. Imagine a system that would send you an alert based on date and location. You could say August 3-5 within 50 miles of Lake Tahoe, and receive an alert every time a campsite in that area becomes available.

The camping reservation system is a problem indeed, but we're Americans, which means half of us will sit around bitching about it and the other half will do something. You can already see the proactive half changing the game with land sharing applications like Hipcamp that are opening up more camping locations across the US.

Of bigger concern to me for the upcoming 2018 season is botnet reservation hoarding. Read about it here and weep...
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