RV sellers offering more for less this year
Show • Expo Center event highlights outdoor, vacation equipment and experiences.
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Sandy • Potential recreation vehicle owners can get more product for less money and the demographics of buyers seem to be skewing younger.

Those were two themes that emerged at the annual Utah Sportsman's, Vacation and RV Show that opened its four-day run Thursday at the South Towne Expo Center.

It's a larger event than last weekend's Utah Boat Show, using almost all of the exhibition hall's 350,000 square feet. That includes dozens of booths placed in lobbies to make more room for the motor homes, toy haulers, fifth wheels, travel trailers and pop ups ranging in price from under $10,000 to $300,000 that were crammed into the main hall.

Catherine and Cliff Mock of Clearfield were among the younger buyers that show organizer Jon Greenband said are shopping for a recreational vehicle.

"We like camping and we want to purchase a trailer sometime this year," said Cliff, who said he was looking for something used that the couple could afford. "We are looking around at the floor to see the styles and accessories. It gets me motivated to get one."

Catherine said some her greatest experiences growing up involved camping and she wants to give her daughter the same type of experience.

Companies also were promoting campgrounds, area travel destinations and everything from hazmat clothing to hot tubs to Alaskan fishing adventures.

Mari Garland, president of the Colorado Campground and Lodging Association and an owner of a campground near Grand Junction, said Salt Lake City and the Wasatch Front is a prime market. She was attending the show for the second year, passing out brochures promoting trips to western Colorado, less than a day's drive for many of those attending the event.

Glen Boulter of Camping World, formerly known as Blaine Jensen RV, said the recreation vehicle industry is constantly evolving. The big change this year was that companies were offering small, low cost travel trailers for under $10,000, something that the industry hasn't offered in about a decade. An automatic leveling device for fifth-wheel trailers also was new.

He said the show is important to his business. On a normal weekend in February, Camping World might sell four or five units. The company's goal for this show, billed as the largest in the Intermountain West, is 120.

Jared Jensen, owner of Sierra RV in Sunset, said it is expensive to exhibit at the event but that he could easily sell up to 150 units during the four days.

"Manufacturers are putting in more for less dough," he said. "For example, you might pay $26,000 for a trailer that cost that much a year ago, but there is $4,000 more worth of stuff on it."

Jensen said the economy appears to be improving — he is already 8 percent over last year, which was a record sales year.

"We've got the largest selection of recreation vehicles, fifth wheelers, travel trailers, toy haulers and tent trailers in western America," said Greenband, whose family has been producing these shows since the mid-1960s.

In addition, the show features dutch oven and camp cooking demonstrations, a fly tying expo and a dog training area.

wharton@sltrib.com

Twitter @tribtomwharton —

If you go

What • Utah Sportsman's, Vacation and RV Show

When • Friday noon-10 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Where • South Towne Expo Center, 9575 S. State St., Sandy

Admission • $9 adults, $7 seniors, military; free for kids 12 and under with a paying adult

More info • http://www.utahrvshow.com/