Interested in trying your hand at camping in a small motor home? Monica A. Baker-Frazer, third generation manager of Baker's Acres campground located in Little Egg Harbor, NJ, shares her insights about small motor homes with LoveToKnow Camping. Living full time at Baker's Acres and growing up living and breathing the camping lifestyle, Monica is certainly familiar with the relative advantages and disadvantages of various types of recreational vehicles.
What do you see as the biggest appeal of smaller motor homes to RV enthusiasts?
These days, it seems the appeal of smaller motor homes is mostly financial. As fuel prices continue to skyrocket and boomers retire, the benefits of operating a smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicle are clear: Lighter bills at the pump and more money in the bank. We've noticed that some of the campers who have been with us for years are even trading in the larger rigs they already own for smaller models.
In your experience, what types of campers prefer small RVs to larger models?
An inexperienced RVer may find the smaller motor homes ideal. They are easier to maneuver into a site, easier to drive, and because they move around town with less effort, you may not even have to bring a car in tow.
One of our customers actually uses his motor home for recreational use and as his primary vehicle. That's obviously not a choice everyone would make. Small motor homes also appeal to those campers who want more personalized units with luxury upgrades, but cannot afford large, top-of-the-line motor homes.
What advantages do you feel compact motor homes offer over travel trailers?
Families often like the idea of a motor home over a trailer because it gives your family room to move around during travel and everything goes with you during day trips. You may also not have to worry about towing a car with the smaller motor home (although some people still do). Many people feel that backing a motor home into a site or parking spot is easier than doing so with a trailer.
What impact, if any, do you think increasing gas prices might have on campers' choices of motor homes and travel habits and patterns?
Most Americans are feeling the pinch as they fuel up, and the increasing price of gas will continue to have in impact on the camping industry as a whole this coming summer. Campers looking to purchase a new motor home will likely pay closer attention to units that boast fuel-efficiency and higher gas mileage -- most likely, these will be smaller models. Moreover, I expect many vacationers will be staying closer to home. At Baker's Acres, for instance, we've already noticed that campers aren't traveling as far. A lot of our advanced reservations for this year are coming from within the tri-state area instead of further away, as was the trend several years ago. Essentially, the feeling is that if you're spending more money on gas, that leaves less for the rest of the vacation.
Last season, our campers also spent more time enjoying the on-site amenities than in years past. We expect the same will be true this year. Taking advantage of the pool, ball fields and other campground-sponsored activities is a smart way for families to enjoy their vacations without exceeding their budgets. We also expect that some families will cut back the duration of their trip to manage spending. A family that historically spends three weeks camping may stay two weeks this year.
What type of feedback about small recreational vehicles do you get from the campers who visit Baker's Acres?
Well, the most obvious feedback we get is that motor homes aren't for everyone. Many of our campers use pull-behind RVs instead of motor homes because they like to leave the rig on the site, instead of driving it back and forth.
For our campers who do prefer motor homes, I can say they prefer the reduced gas consumption, maneuverability and the upgrade options to larger rigs. We don't hear many complaints, but when we do it's often because a larger family is trying to squeeze into a unit that's just too small for them.
Are there any small models that you particularly recommend to RV enthusiasts? If so, what are your suggestions?
There are a lot of options when it comes to purchasing a motor home, and it's all subjective to the campers' tastes. For someone trying to stay on budget, Winnebago is a good place to start looking. If money isn't as big of a concern, Featherlite has some great models to take a look at.
What should small motor home owners know about Baker's Acres?
Baker's Acres has been family owned and operated since 1968. As with many other older campgrounds, although we've updated some of our sites to accommodate the larger rigs (up to 35' in length), smaller motor homes and RVs fit best. Plus, a camper with a smaller unit will have more choices when it comes to selecting a site and is also more likely to get in with a last-minute reservation. In general, RVers with large rigs end up missing many great campgrounds because they just cannot fit!
Baker's Acres is a family-oriented campground known by its patrons as the place "where friends are made for life." We have a variety of activities for kids and adults of all ages and the beautiful, natural environment promotes relaxation. We offer seasonal, daily weekly and monthly sites and are centrally located to numerous attractions including the Atlantic Ocean, the New Jersey Pinelands, historic villages and casinos and fine dining in Atlantic City.
LoveToKnow Camping would like to thank camping expert Monica Baker-Frazer for taking the time to share her insights about small recreational vehicles.