We just attended the Tampa Bay Fall RV Show hosted by the Florida RV Trade Association. This was a great warm-up for us since we plan to attend the big Florida RV Supershow in Tampa January 2018. Now, you may be asking why we are attending these shows? Are we shopping for a new RV? Yes, and no. Yes, we eventually want to purchase a smaller RV as we discussed in our previous discussion in Episode 4: Top 3 Lessons Learned After 3 Years of Full-Time RVing. However, we’re not planning to buy it in the next few months, but we still enjoy the shows to see what new features are coming out and to see the vendors as well.
RV Show Tips
We’d like to share just a few tips on how to get the most out of your RV show shopping experience. First off, attend a small one like this first if you can. There was still a lot to see, but we felt we were able to cover it all in about 3 ½ hours. If you’re going to a larger show, consider attending more than one day. You can look at RVs one day and vendors another. This will allow you to enjoy it more fully. Finally, know your budget before you go don’t allow the sales people to pressure you into a sale with, “This is the last one at this price…” Usually the pressure comes from them needing to make a sale, which should tell you something.
At this particular show there were 7 RV dealerships represented:
- General RV (Largest Representation)
- Lazy Days
- Como RV
- RV One
- America Choice RV
- Gerzeny’s RV World
- Arrow RV
Between the dealers, all types of RV were represented from truck bed campers to large diesel class A coaches. In addition, most of the major brands were represented. The only brand we did not see was Airstream.
Best in Show
We focused on looking at smaller RVs at this show. By smaller I mean smaller than our 44’ fifth wheel, so that covers a lot space. Here are some of our favorites from this show and the pricing that was displayed:
Class A Diesel: Tiffin Breeze 31BR – MSRP $241,993 Show Price $196,780
We considered a Class A before we purchased our Fifth Wheel and decided on Tiffin based on their reputation among RV consumers. The thing I liked about this one is that it is diesel, but it is smaller than many. Some of the diesel Class A’s these days are 40’ so this one was refreshing. However, I don’t like how the bathroom is right across from the kitchen. Just seems icky to me. We also looked at a Tiffin Allegro Red 33BR (MSRP $257,250 Show Price $216,965). It was also beautiful, but had the bathroom in the same place.
Class A Gas: Winnebago Vista 29VE – MSRP $132,971 Show Price $99,728
This is a nice little gas Class A that has everything you need for under $100,000. We didn’t really like the placement of the TV in the front room, and again-the bathroom in the kitchen. This is such a popular feature, maybe it’s just me that doesn’t like it.
Class B/C: Leisure Van Unity MB – Starting at $130,000
Leisure Van calls this a luxury Class C, but it is on a Mercedes Sprinter Chassis, which I usually considered a Class B – so you decide. Either way, I fell in love with this RV online and have been hoping to see one in person. It did not disappoint! We sat inside this RV for quite a while, and went back to it three times! The sales personnel from Gerzeny’s RV World of Lakeland were very helpful and answered all of our questions. The thing that I really love about it is that with the murphy bed, you get a full bathroom in the back. The draw back is that this thing is in such high demand, there is no break on the price and you have to wait about 10 months for delivery.
Class C – Winnebago View 24J – MSRP $159,040 Show $119,280
I think this is a cute little unit for someone with a child who wants to RV and be very maneuverable. It has the over the cab bunk and the dinette that makes into a bed. I personally don’t like the bed tucked in the corner so you have to crawl into it, but some people don’t mind.
Fifth Wheel – Grand Design Solitude 360 RL MSRP $95,249 Show Price $74,970
We’ve heard good things about Grand Design and are thinking of getting a smaller Fifth Wheel (unless we decide to splurge on the Unity) so I wanted to check one out. We looked at the Reflection as well (MSRP $48,304 Show Price $39,907), but the Solitude is the winner to me. I pretty much loved everything about it (except maybe the bowl sink in the bathroom—not a huge fan), but that was minor. The major problem is that this particular model is still 39’, and we’d like to go down to no more than 36’. They do have a shorter Solitude floorplan, but I’ll have to see one in person.
Light Fifth Wheel – Open Range Light MSRP $54,018 Show Price $45,915
This had a surprisingly spacious layout in the living room/kitchen area. It had a small refrigerator/freezer instead of residential, but perhaps that was for weight considerations. The weird thing to me though was the bedroom. The headboard end of the bed was against a slanted wall. I don’t understand why it was like that but it seemed odd. Also the only dresser was 3 little drawers in the closet.
Travel Trailer: Winnie Drop WD170S – MSRP $24,911 Show Price $19,985
This was a cute little travel trailer that I thought would be perfect for a solo RVer or a couple that doesn’t mind being real close all the time. There is no separation between the living room, kitchen, and bedroom like you may have in something larger. One thing I really liked about it was the lighter cabinetry.
Travel Trailer: Forest River Wildwood HG 282RK – MSRP $43,976 Show Price $29,999
I was really surprised when we walked into this travel trailer. The layout was very similar to a Fifth Wheel and I felt like I was in a small apartment. The only thing I didn’t like was the slanted bedroom wall like the light fifth wheel. This one had some cabinets on each side and they stuck out awkwardly.
Truck Camper: Lance Truck Camper – MSRP $19,999 Show Price $15,330
I’ve never seen the inside of a truck camper before and was pleasantly surprised. I could live in it alone. I don’t think the two of us could because there is not much room to maneuver around each other, and it has the most limited storage space of any RVs we looked at.
Another great thing about RV shows are the vendors. Especially at the larger shows, you can find anything and everything related to RVs and campgrounds. The show was small compared to the January Supershow, but there were still a lot of vendors representing all facets of RV travel.
- Satellite Steve – We spent several minutes chatting with Satellite Steve. He is a great resource for all satellite questions and how to save money on satellite subscriptions. We have decided to use him to install an additional receiver in our RV as well as possibly mounting a quick-release mount on the roof of our Fifth Wheel.
- Craft Village – We actually purchased our yard sign from this vendor 2 years ago at the Florida Supershow and it has held up perfectly to the weather. They hand paint and letter the large 16″ x 11 1/2″ x 3/4″ oak- stained resin signs. They have routed holes in back for easy hanging. You can get it at the show where they will personalize it while you shop, or you can order one online.
- Travel Resorts of America – We’ve never heard of this campground membership that has 8 different east coast campgrounds in New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. We plan to take a closer look at them next summer and try the resort at Gettysburg.
Other vendors included:
|· All American Gutter Protection|
|· Ameriprise Financial|
|· Bigfoot Leveling|
|· Canterbury Creations|
|· Cummins Coach Care|
|· EZ Star Hitch|
|· Fine Jewelry|
|· Frogfur Woodwork|
|· General RV Store|
|· Health Craft|
|· Hide Rugs|
|· HiDow Professional Pain Management|
|· Home Remodeling|
|· Lazy Days RV Rental|
|· Lazy Days Store|
|· Luxury Airstream Escapes|
|· Queen of Pain Relief|
|· RV Awnings Under the Sun|
|· RV Windshield of Florida|
|· South Florida Water|
|· Suncoast RV Rental|
|· Thousand Trails/Encore|
|· Vision Auto Glass|
|· Wyndham Vacation Resorts|