Check Out These New RV Features to Look for in 2021
The year 2020 will go down in history for more reasons than conceivable. With that said, 2020 was truly remarkable for the RV industry. People still wanted to travel, but safely, and they do not consider traditional modes for travel and vacation like airlines and cruise ships safe. This dilemma caused folks who never considered an RV to see an RV as the freedom to travel and vacation.
There are two categories of RVs, towable RVs, and motorized RVs. Within those two categories, I classify RVs into three basic groups, entry-level RVs, mid-line RVs, and high-end or luxury RVs. I explain it like purchasing a car; you can buy a Chevy, a Buick, or a Cadillac. Something else I tell people is you get what you pay for. So, if you buy a Chevy you get a Chevy, and nothing is wrong with that, but if you buy a Chevy, do not expect to get a Cadillac.
If you drill down, manufacturers design RVs to fit into segments within the industry, because you have buyers for each of these segments. For example, one segment includes ultra-lightweight travel trailers and micro travel trailers. This travel trailer segment is small enough to take off-road and light enough to tow with smaller Crossover SUVs. This is one segment or niche the industry wants to fill. RV manufacturers are providing more options because more people are buying RVs.
The 2021 RV line-up has another segment of trailers branded as adventure camping trailers. Younger buyers who love the outdoors and are always looking for adventures popularize these campers. These trailers are small, lightweight, and rugged. Outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen need a trailer that can get them where they want to go. The goal in this segment is a trailer designed to allow the adventurer to camp anywhere, at any time of the year. To do that, innovative manufacturers are building these adventure camping trailers out of light-weight construction materials, with more ground clearance, all-terrain tires, and storage racks for all the outdoor adventurer’s toys and equipment. Manufacturers equip them with solar panels and inverters for off-grid camping and with arctic packages and large BTU air conditioners for year-round camping enjoyment.
Other segments popular in the industry are conventional travel trailers, ½-ton towable 5th wheel trailers, toy haulers, luxury 5th wheel trailers, Type B motorhomes, Type C motorhomes (including larger Super C models built on Freightliner chassis), and Type A motorhomes in entry-level, mid-line and high-end models. You need to decide which segment you fall into and research what is available for you within that segment.
I will use myself as an example of an RV buyer to illustrate one RV manufacturer’s innovations. Motorized RVs are divided between gasoline-powered and diesel-powered versions, and as I mentioned earlier, into what I refer to as entry-level, mid-line, and high-end models. We currently own a mid-line gas-powered 35-foot Type A motorhome. At the time we purchased it, it suited our needs and our budget. I drive a diesel-powered truck, and I would prefer a diesel-powered motorhome, but most are very costly. Newmar a subsidiary of Winnebago Industries took notice of the segment I fit into and reintroduced a front-engine Class A diesel Canyon Star motorhome on a Freightliner chassis for 2021. This type of front-engine diesel motorhome gives you all the benefits a diesel-powered engine and diesel chassis offer, at a price a buyer like me can afford.
If you are in the market for an RV in 2021, you will not be disappointed. RV manufacturers are striving to meet more demanding buyers in every way possible. Everything from a pop-up with the sparse basics to a luxury motorhome powered by a 450HP Cummins engine, 2021 has it all.
Now we can look at some innovations, technology, practicality, and luxury, RVs offer in 2021.
When I sold RVs, I told all my customers there is an RV for everyone, you just need to find it. I do not want to talk about a specific model or brand, but about finding an RV equipped to meet your needs, wants, and expectations. If you think about it, almost every RV manufactured has a living room, one or more bedrooms, one or more bathrooms, a kitchen, and the RV’s exterior, so these are the areas I want to concentrate on.
2021 RV Living Room
There are RV floorplans with front living rooms, center living rooms, and rear living rooms. Try to figure out which floorplan is best for you. Some living rooms have a small dinette slide-out, while others have mega full wall slides with large windows to open the space up. Other features to look for in 2021 are residential-style furniture, (including a hide-a-bed sofa & theater seating), more interior storage space, large screen TVs, Bluetooth entertainment systems, day-night roller shades throughout, and woven vinyl flooring products. Some smaller RV models offer a Murphy bed to maximize the small space into both living and sleeping quarters.
RV Tip: RV Manufacturers are accommodating people who want to live and work full-time in their RV with spacious desks and work areas, USB chargers, more LED lighting, and more interior storage space. People who work remotely need a workspace, and if this is important to you, there are 2021 model RVs available with these features in mind.
2021 RV Bedrooms
Beds in RVs have awkward sizes, making some not only difficult to sleep in, but nearly impossible to find correctly sized sheets and bedding. Those days are all but over. In 2021, RV buyers want full-size queen beds and if space allows even king-size beds. RV manufacturers are making it happen. Something else important to a lot of RV buyers is bunk beds for their children, and whether you need two or four bunk beds, you will find a plethora of RV floorplans with these sleeping arrangements. RV manufacturers also realize the need for more drawer space and wardrobe space, especially for full-time RVers. If a walk-in closet, large screen TV, or walk around bed is important to you, you will have no problem finding a floorplan with the bedroom you want.
RV Tip: If you are considering a 5th wheel, look at the Palomino River Ranch single-level-living “ranch-style” 5th wheel. By taking the two air conditioning units off the roof and moving them to the basement they converted it into a single floor level trailer that eliminates steps going to an upper level (typically a bedroom). This design combines the best of three types of RVs, including the storage capacity and interior ceiling height of a class A motorhome, the tow-ability of a fifth wheel, and the single level living floor plan of a travel trailer.
2021 RV bathrooms
Some RVs, like an adventure camper or truck camper, may come equipped with a small wet bath, while other RVs offer large bathrooms with walk-in showers and porcelain toilets. What I think is important to understand are what types of bathrooms are available and which type works best for you. There are side bathrooms where the sink, shower, and toilet are all located together on one side of the RV. There are walk-through bathrooms, which mean you walk through the bathroom to get to another room, usually the bedroom. These are spacious bathrooms that appeal to many people. There are split bathrooms. A split bathroom has the sink and toilet on one side, and the shower or tub on the opposite side. Typically, if you open both doors, it closes off the hallway giving you a nice size full bathroom. I recommend looking at various floorplans for the type of RV you want, to see all the bathroom arrangements available.
RV Tip: If you do not want kids running in and out of the RV just to use the bathroom, look for a floorplan with two exterior doors, or better yet, a model with an exterior door going directly into a bathroom.
2021 RV Kitchens
RV kitchens in 2021 come in all configurations and sizes. There are front kitchens, center kitchens, rear kitchens, and kitchen slide-out floor-plans available. Some kitchen features to look for are residential-style appliances including large residential refrigerators, solid surface countertops, center islands, induction cooktops, hardwood cabinet drawers, roller bearing drawer guides, and a full-size pantry. RV manufactures are finding innovative ways to increase interior drawer and cabinet storage space, especially in kitchens.
RV Tip: RV kitchens with center islands provide more counter and storage space than other kitchen floorplans.
2021 RV Exteriors
Some hot topics for 2021 RV exteriors are below floor storage, pass-through storage, smooth fiberglass siding, outdoor kitchens, outdoor entertainment centers with large screen TVs, and easy access to utility connections. Be sure to look at and consider the type of roofing material used on RVs, too. There are EPDM, TPO, PVC, and some fiberglass roof coverings. They all have unique features and benefits, and they all require routine preventive maintenance to get the most from the material used. Other exterior RV features to look for include frameless windows for a beautiful sleek exterior appeal, generators on some models, leveling systems (manual or automatic), and exterior paint options.
RV Tip: RV manufacturers understand lots of RV owners travel with pets, so 2021 RVs are more pet friendly than ever before. There are pet windows, feeding stations, exterior tie-outs, kennel storage space, and cleaning stations. Ask about and look for options designed to make RV travel and camping more pet friendly.
2021 RV Optional Equipment
RVs come with equipment and features considered or labeled as standard equipment for each specific model. Then, like automobiles, you have optional equipment. When an RV dealer orders a unit, they determine what options to add to the RV. Some optional equipment may be important to you, so take time to look at brochures, and/or research online what options are available for the RV you are considering buying. If needed, the dealer can order a unit equipped with the options you want or need.
Depending on the RV, optional equipment can include items like auto-leveling, extreme weather package, black tank flush, In-Command control system, remote and APP operated features, larger AC units, quieter AC units, soft start AC, satellite system, fireplace, sound bar with Bluetooth, power awning, window awnings, day/night roller shades, solar equipment, custom exterior paint options, slide-out storage trays, built-in central vacuum system, washer/dryer combo, dishwasher, Lithium batteries, residential refrigerator, upgraded suspension systems and more.
You will not find more features, equipment, and options on RVs making 2021 a great year to purchase your first new RV or upgrade your older RV. Take time to research the RV’s construction, standard and optional equipment, and select a floorplan and model that fits your needs and wants, and then go camping and have fun, something we all deserve more of in 2021.
KOA’s resident RV expert, Mark Polk, and his wife Dawn started RV Education 101 in 1999. Since that time RV Education 101 has helped educate millions of RV owners and RV enthusiasts on how to properly and safely use and maintain their RV. Mark’s favorite past times are RVing in their 35-foot Type A motorhome, and restoring vintage RVs, classic cars and trucks. For more information on how to learn about RVs the easy way, visit RV Education 101. Be sure to check out their RV Online Training Site too!