What upset me at an RV show last weekend

What upset me at an RV show last weekend

By Chuck Woodbury

I’m upset about something I observed at an RV show I attended last weekend.

tv-741After walking around, checking out all the RVs, I realized something that horrified the “camper” in me. Half of the motorhomes — and there were a couple of hundred — had outdoor televisions. Half! And most of those also had outdoor stereos with big ol’ speakers where you could blast Conway Twitty to the far ends of the KOA!

I don’t like Conway Twitty and I also don’t like Justin Bieber — and especially when I am camping, when I prefer the sounds of nature, say, a babbling brook. I do not enjoy listening to somebody else’s music!

But it seems RV manufacturers are cranking out RVs equipped with boomboxes and massive outdoor TVs as fast as they can, and they’re apparently selling like hotcakes. The RV makers earn extra money selling these devices. And face it, when Brandon and Jessica are buying their first RV with zero down and easy payments for 12 years, the TV and boombox only adds an extra $3.78 a month. “Sure, toss it in.”

So, okay, the RV makers have every right to sell something that people want and are willing to pay for. I get that. I guess I am upset that camping has come to this.

Now, if an RVer is boondocking ten miles from the nearest other human, then it seems perfectly fine to me that he or she can blast whatever they want. Maybe a coyote will hear. Big deal. But, speaking personally, when I am unfortunate enough to be camped next to an RVer with an outdoor boombox and big screen TV then I just figure there goes my nice peaceful camping experience.

I believe RV manufacturers and dealers don’t care a hoot about people who buy their RVs beyond if they can qualify for a loan. If they want to buy a big ol’ outdoor stereo, no problem! I bet only 10 percent of RV industry big wigs have even spent a night in an RV, much less in a campground. What do they know about camping? What do they know about listening to their neighbor 15 feet away listening to Zombies getting impaled on the Walking Dead?

Few campground owners care how an RV is equipped as long as the camper pays his $40. Now, I know that some RV park owners do care, but, alas, there are bills to pay and the more campers an owner can squeeze in, the better for the bottom line. It’s none of their business if someone has an outdoor TV or stereo until maybe later if someone complains.

When I wrote recently about crowded RV parks, I received several dozen letters from readers. “We don’t go to RV parks anymore,” many of them said, citing cramped conditions, noise and the invading smoke of campfires ten feet away.

I know I’m preaching to the choir here. Most of the readers of this website are older and care about their neighbors and would never crank up the music or TV if it offended others.

I guess I’m just frustrated. Thanks for listening.

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27 thoughts on “What upset me at an RV show last weekend

  1. CJ

    Good point Chuck. I have an idea…how about NOT buying an RV like that? If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. Thankfully we cannot control the minds and desires of others, just as they cannot control ours.

    I think it is really stupid to take anything like that camping. I go camping to get away from society. But I have also been RV’ing for over 15 years or so. And what I found that helps is just go talk to the folks that have the RV that’s blasting out the loud music. Ask them to be considerate of the other campers. If they don’t, then talk to the campground host. If they try to ignore the campground host, the CG host can ask them to leave and if they don’t the CG Host can call the authorities. BTDT, and 20 years ago the BLM had a very dim view of campers like that. $250 fine, campers arrested, and trailer is impounded.
    The joys of being a campground host!

  2. Jeff

    I’ve been RV’ing for a long time. I’m not a “Camper” I did that when I was young. Now I spend half a year in my RV. And …… in the winter, I watch outside when it’s warm. (my house is currently in the North). But I also have blue-tooth headphones and can watch with zero noise,

    But in most campground, I have a different problem. People show up and wish to watch which means no head phones and volume up a bit.

    I meet lots of people this way and others.

    My point, if you don’t want to deal with people don’t go where people go. People make noise, make messes, and make friends. I can over look a lot. Some of you perhaps can’t.

    Loonyj

  3. John Ahrens

    It’s interesting, in that my experience has been that the newer RV parks tend to have bigger spaces. It’s the older parks, built before 40 foot motorhomes with four slides, that are crammed in like sardines.

    Of course, since we travel and live full-time in a 40 foot motorhome with four slides, I always look for the “big-rig friendly” parks.

    Our worst camping experience was in a Department of Natural Resources campground out on the Olympic Peninsula, when the neighbors set up camp next to us, pulled out their boom box, and played Country music all day, very loudly (I dislike most Country). That was back in the 90’s.

    Speaking of the outside entertainment system, we recently upgraded to a brand new Tiffin Phaeton, which comes, I think standard, with an outside TV. I can see a couple uses for it. On a family campout, I could see hooking up the wee to it and having a game contest, if the space is big enough. I could also see watching some football on nice late summer or fall afternoons when it’s not going to disturb the neighbors. In our current parking spot, that’s not a problem.

  4. PennyPA

    I think my biggest complaint about many of the new RVs is that they have the bathroom sink in the bedroom!

  5. Kathleen Craig

    I’m not yet an RV owner – came really close though! I looked at and in a new Forest River Rpod a few days ago. I have never owned an RV and honestly never thought about doing so until I saw the Rpod.

    My biggest concern that led me to back out of the deal is that I would be the sole owner (my husband is disabled and no longer travels) and so responsible for every aspect. Just thinking about backing it into my driveway gives me the jitters. Any advice? One of my kids suggested that I rent different RV’s and see how they work and what I like. Thanks!

  6. Marybeth Almand

    I’m a big fan of rvtravel.com. Your interview with RV Business prompted me to write the following: My husband and I will start full timing later this year. We down sized 2 years ago and plan to pay cash for a used rig. Our biggest gripe about the industry is the fact that there are just 2 of us, not 8. It looks like we’ll have to re-do the interior to make suitable for us. We don’t need a huge dining area, a table and 2 chairs will do. We don’t need a huge couch, 2 recliners will work fine. We don’t need all the extra sleeping space just credenzas, cabinets and shelves. We don’t want the obnoxious outdoor entertainment stuff.
    There are more and more full timers than ever, the vast majority being singles and couples. It’s time the industry got serious about catering to our needs! If the kids and grandkids want to visit, they can stay in a motel.

    Nice work on the new site!

    1. Chuck Woodbury

      Amen, Marybeth. I really do think that many of the RV makers are clueless about what RVers really want. Now they’re pushing outdoor TVs, when they already install at least two inside — sometimes even three or four. What do they think we do when go RVing? Watch TV all day? The RV industry is 10 years behind the times.

      1. Denise Wolff

        Amen! I have been begging for a small trailer with a big slideout for years! Knock , knock, heardof the tiny home trend!? And while i’ m at it (pulling out the soap box) why is it the newest most inventive floorplan is only in the brochure! Who the heck buys a trailer they can’t walk thru!? And then floorplan disappears the next year because of poor sales! As Grandpa used to say what the fun!?

  7. Ron

    While attending Seattle area RV shows recently, I tried to make it known to all the dealers that the outdoor TV/stereo systems were deal-breakers for me and generally frowned upon by most snowbird parks down south where neighbors may be neighbors for several months. Someone’s Justin Bieber may be “noise” to the neighbors, so please be considerate.

  8. Carol Erlingheuser

    Our 2010 trailer came equipped with outside speakers. I told DH if he ever dared turn them on, there’d be trouble. We suffered through several hours of a neighboring campers music on an Outer Banks camping trip once. Watch your outdoor TVs and listen to your music, but please get earphones. It’s just common courtesy.
    Those people just weren’t raised right.

  9. Bfisher003

    I agree 100% with you.

  10. Roger

    My wife and I traveled full time 10.5 years in out M/H which was equipped with the outside entertainment system. We really enjoyed watching Fox News on our outside TV each evening. We never had the volume loud in efforts to not bother our camping neighbors. We learned early in our travels the difference in Campers and RVers. Many campers we’re out for the weekend or on vacation, partied many times into the wee hours usually with loud music.and lots of booze. As a general rule we found that RV’ers were like us in that we respected our camping neighbors;

    1. Chuck Woodbury

      Roger, nope! Not all RVers are as polite as you. And these days, with so many RVs equipped with outdoor TVs and boom box stereos — and squeezed together in sardine can-sized campgrounds — the noise issue will just get worse. These TVs are great for tailgaters. And there is no problem with polite RVers like you. But my experience has been different — listening to my rude next door neighbors’ outdoor theater late into the night. I’m increasingly not a fan of the RV park experience.

  11. Jim Akard

    Agree with you 100% Chuck. Keep on preaching! We try to stay in more remote state and federal properties, however that is not even a guarantee of peace and quiet anymore.

  12. Mountain Man

    That’s why I try to boon-dock away from everyone else as often as I can. I’m out there for nature, peace and quiet, not some noisy neighbors.
    Maybe RV parks should have a separate section for those that want to listen to loud music and watch their outside TV, just like hotels and motels have smoking and non-smoking floors/rooms.

    1. RV Staff

      Just gotta respond to this post, Mountain Man. I own mountain property so I can get out there for “nature, peace and quiet.” It’s beautiful! And it’s even “peaceful” to think about it up there in the Cascades (an hour from my home) just waiting for me. Thanks for reading our newsletters, and for putting in your two cents’ worth.
      Diane at RVtravel.com aka “Mountain Mama” — yep!

  13. Todd Hartman

    I agree with you. We are boondocking more and more, mainly to get away from some of the inconsiderate people in campgrounds. I try not to whine about things that I personally don’t agree with, but when people are invading my personal space with excessively load noise or excessively bright lights – that is just wrong. Campgrounds need to monitor these things better. But, as long as they keep filling up all of their available camp spots, the campgrounds won’t change. Campers need to make it known that we don’t appreciate lack of management by not staying in campgrounds that allow this type of behavior and telling the management WHY you will not be returning. It used to be that you only saw this type of behavior in the ” family style camping resorts”, but it has now spread more throughout many campgrounds.

  14. MrOak

    People RV for lots of different reasons. In my view there are two broad classifications of people who RV, Campers and RVers. Campers want to spend a lot of time preferably off grid and in nature. RVers are travelers that want to live on the road and have more comforts of home with them. Of course there are a lot of people that fit in both categories. I am an RVer, I travel to see places both nature and cities. I have RVed for 8 years now averaging a little more than 5 months a year on the road during that time. I have been in all the lower 48 states and seen most of the national parks and most of the large cities. When I am on the road for a month or more I would not consider going with out TV or internet. It keeps me connected to friends, relatives and my community back home. I do see the use of outdoor TV’s and stereos more and more but the primary use I see is when RVers are gathered around to watch a sporting or other common interest event. Very seldom do I see just the owners watching TV outside at night. Of course I don’t “camp” very often.

  15. Steven Jenkins

    If the weather is nice, why would any RVer want a TV inside or outside? What motivates a person to buy an RV to begin with? Isn’t it to get away from all that? To experience the beauty and peace of the outdoors?

    1. Fred

      Steven, you’re making a false assumption that all rvers think like you and want “to experience the beauty and peace of the outdoors”. I, like you, enjoy the peace and quiet, but for many rvers, the rv is simply a way to take most of the amenities they enjoy at home with them while they travel to see sights like the National Parks or visit relatives in another state. They may just wish to get away from their household chores, or their neighbors, or their daily monotony for a few days but they don’t want to give up their electronic gadgets or their beer. They see no reason why they can’t act just as foolishly and loudly as they would in their own back yard at home. Common courtesy is not part of their lexicon. As proof, we we’ve been awakened at 6am the last 2 mornings in a county rv park in CA that is basically a gravel parking lot with rvs just 10ft apart. The folks next to us in a tear drop trailer are outside talking loudly, slamming their car doors, and their dog runs out of the trailer barking at them, all 4 ft from our bedroom slide-out.
      On the flip side, an increasing number of retiring baby boomers are taking up fulltiming and thus their rv is their only home. As such, they will be doing all the same things in their rv that you do while at home, like watching tv, doing maintenance, running power tools, having a party with friends, etc. All things that are not communing with nature, which is why you may have come to that area, but nevertheless, things that are normal and necessary to their chosen lifestyle.
      If common sense, courtesy, and thoughtfulness were more common in today’s culture, the differing aspirations and goals of today’s rvers could probably blend without much problem. But we all know that’s wishful thinking, right?
      We loved truck camping with our two Lance campers prior to retiring and taking up fulltiming. It got us into many truly remote areas that no one else could get to, where we would be awakened in the morning to bugling elk 50 feet from our camper. Isn’t it funny how the bugling elk at 6am enthralls us, but the noisy neighbor at 6am annoys us.

  16. John Tully

    My wife and I are truck campers and we love to tuck ourselves “away back in thar” where, theoretically, the outdoor tv and boombox crowd does not show up. And we can leave the camper on the truck for that quick getaway, if f things become are not to our liking. Sometimes we even talk about returning to backpacking, ie, I’d rather sleep on the ground after walking all day rather than listen to “hip-hop in the woods.”

  17. Jim

    Couldn’t agree more. The problem is always inconsiderate campers, of which, there is no shortage. This only increases the chances of running into this issue.

    We recently looked at a small Tiffin class A which had 4 TV’s including the one outside. Give me a break.

  18. Lee Sanders

    Couldn’t agree more! As usual, people without personal boundaries or thoughts about the effects of their actions on others, ruin it for the rest of us. Military RV parks are quiet in general although most RVers aren’t qualified unless they are active, retired military or contractors. However, contractors have taken over most military RV parks so military can’t even stay there any more.

  19. Leslie

    Yes I agree, outdoor tvs are ridiculous. Add to that ridiculous column carpeting! I know it is an inexpensive way to cover stuff but it makes the interior look tired and old before its time!

  20. Colin Grant

    The biggest form of pollution in my opinion is noise. I was disgusted when I saw these advertised. I’m sure they will become easy targets for thieves and not be such a great extra.

  21. Billy Whitley

    Agree with you . We are 70+ and enjoy the quietness of sitting out , enjoying the sights around us. Seems today, especially Motor Homes, have to have that outside noise. We have a 31 ft. fifth wheel that we towed all over the eastern area. More and more we run into the ” must have outside TV”. Turn it off; enjoy the setting around you; kids playing, birds, talk with your neighbors, take a walk.

  22. George Bogosian

    Right on Chuck! ridiculous!

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