Camping show warms up winter for RVers

The Atlanta Camping & RV Show will give campers and wanna-be’s a chance to escape into warmer dreams this weekend.

The show could also gauge the economy’s temperature, as manufacturing numbers indicate builders of recreational vehicles are more optimistic this spring after the battering they took from the Great Recession.

When final numbers come in for 2012, the number of trailers, campers and RVs shipped is expected to be about 277,000, up 10 percent from 2011, said Jon Tancredi, a spokesman for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association.

The slow recovery is affecting what people are buying, as consumers remain budget-conscious. Though the dream may be of the big motor home, the sales of trailers and towable campers make up the largest portion of sales, according to the association.

Towable RVs, which make up about 85 percent of the RV market, are becoming lighter, and many are being built with ecologically friendly components and composite materials.

Manufacturers are producing smaller, lighter, more aerodynamic and fuel-efficient motorized vehicles that get up to 20 miles per gallon.

Prices range from about $6,000 for new “pop-up” campers to luxury motorhomes that can sell for $1 million, but the average price is about $35,000, industry association numbers say.

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