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Surprise, Tiny Living Enthusiasts are Making RVs Popular Again

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It's not just you—RVs are making a comeback. From the many refurbished vintage campers to the new "Five-Star Luxury" Airstreams, it seems these mobile homes are the coolest, most in-demand tiny housing options du jour. As writer Laura Bliss puts it in a new CityLab piece exploring the who and why of the RV's resurgence: "There's no small amount of "tiny house" ethos implicit in the appeal of these compact, vintage-inspired models: Folks buy these vehicles expecting (and perhaps projecting) a sense of adventure and freedom, reduced belongings, and stylish, simple functionality."

First, some stats: Airstream had a record year in 2014, as sales soared 26 percent over 2013 numbers. Camp-Inn, a Wisconsin-based manufacturer of compact camping trailers, also saw "consistently rising sales for at least six years." And the popularity of RVs overall, are rising. For example, this past February, some 32,045 RVs were shipped from manufacturers to dealerships, compared to 29,700 in February 2007.

"The small-house movement, asset-lite lifestyles, and a move away from conspicuous consumption are all in this same basket," writes Bob Wheeler, President and CEO of Airstream, Inc. in an email to Bliss. "Airstream falls in line with much of this thinking: a small, self-contained dwelling that is mobile and fully functional."

Of course, given that the whole RV industry—which includes those bulky travel trailers, not just the hip teardrop campers—is doing well, there are other big-picture factors. A rebound from the recession is one —or "pent-up demand" as Richard Coon, president of the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, puts it. The marked drop in gas prices is another. Coon also attributes the success of the industry to the fact that there are options for every income level. "You don't have to be rich to buy a smaller trailer and go camping," he says.

Read the full story over on CityLab.

· Simple Living Hits the Road as RV Ownership Surges [CityLab]
· Refurbished Vintage Camper is the Cutest in all the Desert [Curbed National]
· An Airstream Rehab to Charm Even the Harshest Hipster Critic [Curbed National]