Why Are Campers So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons)

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Family vacation travel RV

 

Going camping and exploring the outdoors is a great vacation.

It allows you to reconnect with nature and those with whom you’re traveling.

Getting started with camping is the hardest part.

You need lots of equipment to survive the outdoors, and you need a place to stay.

For many individuals and families, the go-to outdoor home is a camper.

Campers can be expensive, though.

It may surprise you to discover how expensive they can become.

Here are 10 reasons campers are so expensive.

 

Why Are Campers So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons)

 

1. Production Capacity

USA, Alaska, Recreational Vehicle Driving On Road

 

One of the reasons campers are so expensive is that they have limited production capacities for certain types of campers.

The truck camper, for example, has one of the lowest production numbers for campers.

A truck camper is a camper that’s placed on the back of a truck.

Both parts connect to each other, and neither is separate from the other.

This type of camper has a smaller production capacity than something like an RV.

However, thanks to the rise in the popularity of camping, many people are looking to own a truck camper.

It offers some benefits that the other types of campers don’t.

For example, because the camper connects to the truck, campers don’t need to buy an extra vehicle to haul their camper.

This may be the case with a camper trailer.

It’s also less bulky than an RV.

It’s basically like driving a truck with a load on its flatbed.

The disadvantage of a truck camper is that it doesn’t have as much space as an RV.

Despite this, many people want one.

Since it has a low production capacity, only a few of them are released throughout the year.

Scarcity drives up the price because the demand is high.

This is especially true with newer models of truck campers.

 

2. Customization

Inside the camper van

 

Another reason campers are expensive, regardless of the type, is that a buyer often wants to customize it.

A few camper companies offer customization services.

These services allow you to change the materials used in your camper, the layout, and how large certain sections are.

For example, you may want to turn your camper into a luxury model.

You may want to make your countertops out of quartz or some other type of natural stone.

It may be important that you have a large shower or bath in the camper.

Finally, you may want it equipped with solar panels rather than an electric hookup.

All of these details cost extra money.

That’s because the manufacturers have to change their factory settings to accommodate the changes.

Normally, a camper moves along the factory line and comes out with a cookie-cutter shape and with cookie-cutter amenities.

Since everything is the same, it costs less because the manufacturers can buy their materials in bulk and make the construction process efficient.

That isn’t the case with customized products.

The new materials need to be ordered, and that can be expensive.

Then the manufacturers either need to change the assembly line or build the customized camper by hand.

That takes extra time and labor.

All those factors cost money.

The cost reflects in the price of the camper.

The more customized a camper is, the more expensive it’s going to be.

However, the advantage of a customized camper is that it fits your needs completely.

It’s up to you whether the comfort justifies the cost.

 

3. Mixes Automated And Manual Labor

Camper parking in mountains

 

Campers are expensive because they use both automated and manual labor in their construction.

Truck campers are some of the most expensive types of campers to construct because there are many aspects where automation isn’t helpful.

RVs and camper trailers also have certain stages in their construction where automation doesn’t help.

That’s because there are smaller and compact areas where machines can’t fit.

In these areas, only a worker can reach and put together important parts of the camper.

It may be the wiring, plumbing, or some other integral part of the camper.

Since the construction of a camper uses both automation and manual labor, construction costs are significant.

Manufacturers need to keep their machines running which means regular maintenance (done by humans who need to be paid as well).

Parts need replacing to keep them working efficiently.

That costs them money.

Human laborers need to be paid for their services.

If it’s a particularly long job, then they’re going to have higher wages.

All of these costs add up.

To cover them, manufacturers increase the price of their campers.

The more complex a camper is, the more expensive it’s going to be.

 

4. Motorized

Travel trailer camping in the woods at starved rock state park illinois

 

One substantial difference between motorized campers and non-motorized campers is the cost.

Campers with engines are far more expensive than those without engines.

That’s because engine construction is expensive.

When a camper uses an engine, it needs various parts as well.

The engine needs something to cool it in the form of a radiator.

An engine needs oil to keep its parts lubricated.

It also needs an exhaust to release harmful carbon emissions from the engine’s cavity.

All these parts have smaller parts that keep them running.

Along with the engine, you also need a power source.

That’s when they add a gas tank and a fuel line.

Because both oil and fuel can sometimes have solids or clots in them, they need filters.

Filters need replacing.

Gas and oil need replacing over time.

The cost of manufacturing these parts is high.

Manufacturers need to hire skilled workers with experience in building or installing engines.

In the case of RVs, which are large, they need to invest in a heavy-duty engine that can power them.

That costs money.

The costs add to the overall price of the RV.

Once you buy the RV, you then need to maintain its engine.

Filling the RV up with gas and changing its oil cost money.

The cost of owning an RV after its purchase can become expensive, too.

Compare this to a camper trailer that doesn’t use an engine, and you’ll see that the prices are significantly different.

RVs can sometimes climb to the $100,000 mark, or even higher.

Travel trailers are around the $20,000 to $50,000 mark.

The addition of an engine can increase the price of a camper by a large amount.

 

5. Human Error

Carpenter working on woodworking machines in carpentry shop

 

Since a large portion of the construction of campers is manual labor, human error is inevitable.

That can increase the cost of a camper for a variety of reasons.

The first is during the construction of the camper.

If a laborer makes a mistake, then quality assurance should catch it before the camper company releases it to the public.

When it’s caught, it has to go back to the assembly line for correction.

They remove the part or section and replace it with a proper part or section.

This adds extra time to the camper’s construction and also uses more materials.

Both of those things cost money.

The second reason human error makes campers more expensive is the problems that aren’t caught.

If a camper passes quality assurance and is offered for sale, then someone will buy it without knowing it has a problem.

If there was a mistake in its suspension, for example, then they may not realize it until later.

While some warranties may cover the cost of a suspension repair, the problem may not be noticeable until the warranty expires.

At this point, it’s up to the owner of the camper to cover the cost of the repair.

Certain repairs can be extremely expensive which makes owning a camper expensive.

Human error is often to blame.

 

6. Popularity

Mother,father,son and grandmother sitting near camping trailer,smiling

 

More people than ever are going camping.

As people feel the need to step away from work and the various screens that make up their lives, they choose to connect to nature.

Since not everyone is comfortable using a tent, many turn to campers.

They’re similar enough to home that it encourages almost anyone to go camping.

You don’t have to rough it to go camping anymore.

You can have access to a hot shower, an oven, a microwave, a sink, and even a TV.

Campers have made camping more accessible and enjoyable for everyone.

The problem with its rise in popularity is that makers of campers, as a whole, haven’t increased their production as much to meet the demand.

Even popular brands only release a few campers every year.

It’s why some people desperate for a camper look for secondhand campers.

Even secondhand campers are expensive, though, because sellers know that there aren’t that many on the market.

The increased popularity of camping is driving demand while supply maintains its usual production capacity for all types of campers.

That increases the price by a significant amount.

 

7. Alternative Home

Woman cooking in camper, motorhome RV interior

 

Besides rising popularity in camping, another reason that campers are expensive is that many are using campers as an alternative to housing.

Fed up with mortgages and having to remain in one place for a long time, many retirees and millennials are choosing to live in campers instead.

It allows them the freedom to travel across the country whenever they want.

Although some campers cost as much as a house, many are slightly cheaper.

They also only have to worry about a few repairs over the years for their camper as opposed to many repairs with a house.

Another advantage of living in a camper is that you can park it almost anywhere.

You can choose to stay in a parking lot for a few days if the owner of the lot allows you to.

You can also stay in a camping park.

Some parks allow people to stay there year-round.

Rental fees of a camping spot are often cheaper than apartment rent fees or mortgage payments.

Since there are many advantages of choosing to live in a camper, more people have an interest in trying the lifestyle out for themselves.

That increases the demand for campers when demand is already high.

Since supply remains steady, it increases the price of the campers.

Those who are looking to make a camper their home also usually want creature comforts that are often found in a typical home.

These customized campers cost more than standard campers.

However, they’re able to feel at home in a camper that fits their needs perfectly.

 

8. Brand Name

RV and chairs at secluded campsite at sunset

 

A brand name carries a lot of weight when it comes to campers.

Because campers are expensive, many buyers look for a brand name that they can trust.

Certain brand names are more expensive than others because they’ve built a reputation on quality production.

Their campers last for a long time, usually come with additional features or details that others don’t, and they have a particular style that many buyers love.

Because a camper has its brand name attached to it, companies can charge extra money.

People are more willing to buy a brand-name product than a generic product even if it’s more expensive.

One of the most expensive camper brands on the market is Marchi Mobile.

Their latest model, the Marchi Mobile eleMMent Palazzo Superior is $3 million.

It has a futuristic design and features several luxury amenities.

Perhaps one of the most impressive brands is Furrion.

Their latest camper, the ELYSIUM, has a car garage, rooftop hot tub, and a landing platform for a helicopter.

It costs $2.9 million.

These brands are typically associated with luxury RVs and campers, but even those that aren’t for the luxury market tend to cost more than generic campers.

If the camper has a well-known brand name on it, then you can expect it to cost more than a camper without a brand name that matches its size and features exactly.

 

9. Size

RV campsite at sunrise in Pagosa Springs, Colorado.

 

The size of the camper also impacts its price.

The larger a camper is, the more materials and parts it needs.

That means it costs more to make it.

This holds true for every type of camper.

A small teardrop camper, for example, is going to be less expensive than a large RV.

A small teardrop camper is also going to be less expensive than a larger teardrop camper.

It’s also important to note that the larger the camper is, the more costly it is to operate, too.

If you have a large travel trailer, then you’re going to need a truck or SUV that can tow its weight.

That might mean that you need to invest in a new vehicle.

Not only are you buying an expensive camper, but now you also need to pay for an expensive vehicle to tow it.

Large RVs are going to need more gas to operate.

Your RV is heavier which means it takes more fuel to drive it down the road.

That’s an added cost that can make your RV more expensive.

 

10. Special Features

V parked in Arches National Park under beautiful sunny day.

 

The final reason campers are expensive is the special features that some manufacturers include in their campers.

These special features may be something like a car garage for an RV.

That allows campers to park their cars inside of their RV instead of towing it or having someone drive it.

That’s an additional feature that many buyers want.

It costs extra because it requires special construction of the garage.

It might also make the RV bigger if buyers don’t want the floor plan reduced to make room for the garage.

Another feature may be the addition of solar panels on the roof.

This is a great feature that those who want to generate their own power while they’re camping may want.

Since it isn’t a common feature yet, it requires more labor and materials to make.

That drives up the price of the camper.

Finally, another special feature may be a large bathroom.

This drives up the cost of the camper because the plumbing needs a new design and installation process.

Manual laborers will need to focus their attention on the new bathroom instead of running it through an automated process.

It will also require more materials, sometimes expensive ones, to ensure the plumbing works.

The more special features that a camper has, the more expensive it’s going to be.

 

Conclusion

Family vacation travel RV, holiday trip in motorhome, Caravan car Vacation

 

Campers are expensive because they rely on manual labor over automated processes.

While some parts use automation for their construction, most campers are unique enough that they need manual laborers instead.

Demand for campers is also at an all-time high.

Thanks to the rise of popularity in camping and in seeking alternative housing, the demand for campers continues to increase.

Since supply volumes haven’t increased to match demand, the prices for campers remain high.

Keep the above reasons in mind when you’re shopping for a camper to try and find one at an affordable price.

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