'Still going': Some RVers say high gasoline prices could keep them closer to home
With gasoline prices hitting all-time highs, Jeff Redmond says he's planning to stay closer to home when RV camping this summer.
The owner and general manager of Bucars RV Centre in Balzac, Alta., says recreational vehicles are still one of the most affordable ways to travel as a couple or with a family once hotels, gasoline prices or airline costs are factored in.
"We laugh that RVers are the ones that are winning," Redmond said in an interview this week.
The cost of gasoline declined slightly before this May long weekend, the unofficial kickoff to summer camping season, but analysts say summer demand in coming weeks has the potential to send prices even higher.
Redmond said that could influence where he travels this year.
"The Okanagan Valley is a place I like to go ... and that's a seven-hour drive, so maybe I am going to go to Pigeon Lake or Gull Lake (Alberta), which is an hour-and-a-half drive," he said. "The good news is that I am still going.
"We're able to alter our plans and to work within our budget."
Redmond said he has heard a similar sentiment from customers. Some are staying closer to home. Others are planning to stay longer at one campsite.
"You park the larger trailer at a permanent campsite, or at your friend's cottage, or at the old family farm, or at a winery in the Okanagan — and you don't tow it," he said.
"You hop in your family car and you go back and forth. You have a built-in, very affordable ... off-the-grid cabin that is extremely efficient once you get there.
"Lots of people are no longer towing."
Rob Minarchi is vice-president of sales at ArrKann Trailer & R.V. Centre with outlets across Alberta. He said there's been a lot of demand for RVs since the start of the pandemic and it hasn't slowed down this year.
"Most (people) are upgrading, as crazy as that sounds," he said from Edmonton. "Some people are selling ... because circumstances have changed but, for the most part, they are just trading in for different units.
"There's a lot of new RVers who came to the market when COVID first hit ... but they didn't know exactly what they wanted."
Those customers, he said, are trading in for units that better suit their needs.
Minarchi said he hasn't heard about anyone getting rid of an RV due to high gas prices.
"What we're seeing is a lot of people are just camping a little closer," he said. "If they were going to do a five-hour trip, now they are going to do a one-hour trip ... I think it actually ties in a little bit with COVID and staying close to home.
"They found so many hidden gems locally ... in the last couple of years that they are OK to do that."
Some campgrounds are starting to notice some changes.
"I've had a few people cancel," said Scott Kast, owner of Tomahawk R.V. at Lake of the Woods in Ontario.
But, he said, gas prices are a minor factor in those cancellations.
"We do get a lot of Americans here. One thing holding people back is vaccine mandates," said Kast.
Another campground manager told CKPG radio station in Prince George, B.C., that some people travelling from farther away have cancelled.
"A lot of people are wanting to stay local," said Bobbie Carpino, who runs the Salmon Valley campground.
"We've seen cancellations from folks coming in from the States heading up to Alaska, as well as folks coming in from the Lower Mainland."
The price of fuel could add $100 or $200 to the cost of an average camping trip, Minarchi said.
"It feels like a lot when you are at the pump but ... it's still affordable to do it," he said. "One less restaurant that you eat out at pays for the difference in your fuel for the whole camping trip."
Some RVers, he said, are adding solar panels and buying generators to make it easier to camp off the grid — including on Crown land. Others are parking their RVs at permanent sites for the entire summer.
"They are still camping, so that's good."
Redmond said the pandemic encouraged many people to get outdoors in their RVs, on a mountain bike or with a set of golf clubs.
"I am a guy that went and bought a new bicycle and there's no way I'm selling my bike. It's been awesome to get on the trails and get reintroduced to that," he said.
"There (are) lots of people, their lives got in the way of our great outdoors. They are stepping back now and saying, 'Wow, that was great' and they are going to keep doing it."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 21, 2022
Calgary Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Many Canadians remain unaware of the involvement of forced child labour in the products they buy, according to non-profit agency World Vision Canada.
Hundreds of protesters descended on the U.S. Supreme Court on Saturday to denounce the justice's decision to overturn the half-century-old Roe v. Wade precedent that recognized women's constitutional right to abortion.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau headed to the G7 summit in Germany on Saturday without a consensus from the Commonwealth to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but with a chorus of countries calling for help to overcome the fallout of the war.
The World Health Organization said the escalating monkeypox outbreak in nearly 50 countries should be closely monitored but does not warrant being declared a global health emergency.
After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday, holding that there is no longer a federal constitutional right to an abortion, protesters and supporters of the ruling gathered at the high court's building in Washington, D.C., and in other cities nationwide.
With the nation's capital bracing for anticipated anti-mandate 'freedom' movement protests during Canada Day weekend, interim Conservative Leader Candice Bergen says her MPs are free to attend.
Ukraine's largest LGBTQ rights event, KyivPride, is going ahead on Saturday. But not on its native streets and not as a celebration.
U.S. President Joe Biden on Saturday signed the most sweeping gun violence bill in decades, a bipartisan compromise that seemed unimaginable until a recent series of mass shootings, including the massacre of 19 students and two teachers at a Texas elementary school.
A gunman opened fire in Oslo's nightlife district early Saturday, killing two people and leaving more than 20 wounded in what the Norwegian security service called an 'Islamist terror act' during the capital's annual LGBTQ Pride festival.
Fans leaving the Garth Brooks concert at Commonwealth Stadium Friday night were happy and smiling, despite some logistical issues that delayed the show and frustrated some.
A Member of Parliament from rural Alberta went live on Facebook Friday to celebrate a United States Supreme Court vote to end constitutional protections for abortion.
Hundreds of people gathered in front of Edmonton City Hall Saturday to celebrate the first large Pride event in the city in four years, and the first one in Churchill Square in eight.
As the first sustained heat of the season settles in across B.C.'s south coast, Environment and Climate Change Canada has issued a special weather statement advising people of high temperatures and humidex values through Monday.
Metro Vancouver is experiencing its first stretch of hot summer weather this weekend and people are scouring stores looking for air conditioners and fans to cool off – some being met with empty shelves.
The family of a Vancouver police officer who died by suicide is suing the department, alleging she endured sexual assault and exploitation enabled by an "unsafe workplace culture and insufficient policies and procedures," court documents show.
An Amber Alert issued by Cape Breton Regional Police on Friday has been cancelled, as the missing youth has been located safe early Saturday morning says police.
The inquiry into Nova Scotia’s 2020 mass shooting, says four pages of handwritten notes that sparked a political firestorm in Ottawa this week, weren’t immediately submitted when subpoenaed by its investigators.
'It’s in shambles': RCMP 'architects of own demise,' says criminologist after complaints in N.B. and N.S.
After a week of criticism and anger at the Mass Casualty Commission in Nova Scotia, and outcry in a rural area of New Brunswick, there are questions about the RCMP’s role in community policing.
A 15-month dispute in British Columbia's film and television industry has ended with the ratification of a new contract for creative and logistical staff working on productions shot in the province.
All ferry sailings between two of B.C.'s Discovery Islands have been cancelled Saturday because of a lack of crew.
When Tabi Henry was little, she never questioned why everyone celebrated her birthday in costume. Until she realized Oct. 31 was also Halloween.
Dozens of people gathered outside the U.S. consulate in downtown Toronto Saturday to protest a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court to overturn constitutional protection for abortion rights.
Office workers are returning to Toronto but foot traffic on Mondays and Fridays hasn’t bounced back. Will it ever?
More people are commuting to offices downtown than at any point since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic but the recovery hasn’t been equal across the board, with both GO Transit and the TTC reporting fluctuations in ridership as many workers choose to work from home at the beginning and end of each week.
Every Monday, Mark Powell drives to the Burlington, Ont., pork plant where his wife died to give water to pigs on their way to slaughter.
Paramedics in Greater Montreal are stretched particularly thin this weekend, with nearly half the territory's ambulances parked due to a staffing shortage.
Police on Montreal's South Shore has located the suspect vehicle they say was involved in a hit-and-run that left a woman dead.
Friends and family of a 17-year-old girl who died in what police are calling an accident on the shore in LaSalle gathered Saturday to remember the Montreal teen who her mother said was 'was full of life.'
The summer festival season in Ottawa kicked off this weekend with thousands gathering for events across the city.
Someone called 911 from Britannia Beach at approximately 7:15 p.m. Saturday, reporting four people had fallen off a paddleboard and were floating towards the Deschenes Rapids in Ottawa's west end.
There are no reports of injuries after two jet skis collided near Petrie Island Bay in Ottawa's east end.
A fire at a townhouse complex in Kitchener Friday night has resulted in extensive damage.
Many in Waterloo Region are reacting to the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade and what it could mean for Canada.
Norfolk County OPP are investigating after they say a pedestrian was found on the side of a road and had to be airlifted to hospital.
When Ennio Muzzolini walked into Christies Mayfair Bakery in 1965 interested in purchasing the small bakery on 33rd Street, he never imagined he’d one day be looking on as hundreds of people lined the block to get their hands on a baguette, cinnamon bun or wood-fired pizza.
Organizers have decided to cancel the Elk Ridge Open due to an “inordinate amount of rain.”
A Saskatoon man whose family helped to build the Waterhen Lake Church is planning to help rebuild the church.
Nipissing-Timiskaming Liberal MP Anthony Rota said he was shocked by Friday’s U.S. Supreme Court’s abortion ruling.
With hundreds of students from India who attend Northern College, and other professionals from India who've moved to the city to work, organizers said they felt it was time to bring everyone together to celebrate their culture with the rest of the community.
A group of friends doing work on a camp in MacGregor Bay helped contain what could have been a devastating fire in Killarney Provincial Park.
Using a trailer or an RV is an easy way for people to get out of the city and into the outdoors, but with soaring gas prices, the cost of driving with one has gone up drastically.
Winnipeg was once again pummelled by rain on Friday and the city came close to setting a rainfall record.
No one was injured but one pet died after an early morning fire Saturday.
Over 400 people contributed to the Field of Dreams project, which led to the purchase of a large track of prairie grasslands for preservation.
The Saskatchewan NDP will elect its next leader at a convention on Sunday.
Saskatchewan RCMP are investigating after a two-vehicle collision occurred at the intersection of Highway 35 and Highway 5 in Wadena.