Camping demand during COVID leaves RVs in short supply

Published: Apr. 27, 2021 at 3:21 PM EDT
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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Camping has gained popularity during the pandemic. But in another example of a supply and damage issue cause by COVID-19, there is now an RV shortage.

“My husband I just purchased a camper,” said Kim Sayers of Enosburgh.

Like many people, Sayers wants to go camping to spend time with her family. But she was worried that wouldn’t be in the cards this year.

“They only have certain ones that are available right now, and we were lucky to find one of the ones that they actually have available,” Sayers said.

“It has certainly been busy,” said Phil LeClair, the marketing director at Pete’s RV Center in South Burlington.

COVID shut down factories. Now that facilities are back to work, they’re falling behind. Some campers will take anywhere from eight weeks to 18 months to come in.

“Sixteen weeks from now camping is almost done,” Sayers said. “School is back in session. Usually, campgrounds close around October first.”

That’s how long it would take for the camper she originally wanted to come in. That’s why she went with a different one.

Many people have taken an interest in campers and RVs throughout the pandemic. Whether it was a place to quarantine for front-line workers or a safe way to travel and have fun with the family. That’s what brought Barbara Wilkinson of Burlington to the RV lot Tuesday.

“I think people just want to escape and have more togetherness and have more fun,” Wilkinson said.

“It’s a really fun family thing to do,” Sayers said. “Who doesn’t want to spend time with their family sitting by a campfire?”

Despite the short supply, LeClair at Pete’s RVs says they’re confident they can get you a camper for this season.

“Some may have to be more patient than others but we’re gonna get them out there camping,” he said.

LeClair says this is an issue that impacts dealers and campgrounds across the country, and things don’t look like they’ll be back to normal for about a year. But they’re working together to make some happy campers.

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