HOMES OF DISTINCTION: Luxury campers offer enough amenities for comfortable living

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz This 32-foot camper for sale at Big Jim’s Sports Unlimited in Alpena takes a full-size truck to tow but provides enough space and amenities for people to live comfortably.

ALPENA — Some people have cottages or camps as a place they like to call their home away from home, but more people are purchasing large campers and travel with those campers as their secondary residence, salespersons say.

Campers come in many different styles and sizes and can be equipped with the same amenities as a house.

A small camper can have little more than a bed, while larger fifth-wheel rigs feature large kitchens, media centers, full bathrooms, and large, comfortable bedrooms.

Big Jim’s Sports Unlimited owner Doreen Kriniak said there has been a shift in the recreational vehicle market. Besides the usual people who want a camper for weekend and vacation excursions, more people are seeking larger, more-equipped RVs for travel and longer-term accommodations, she said.

Kriniak said those people, who often have families, require dependable heating and cooling systems, adequate storage, plenty of room to move around, modern kitchens, and living spaces that include televisions, stereos, and even small mock fireplaces. She said washers and dryers are also available in RVs if requested.

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz A portion of the living space in a new 32-foot camper at Big Jim’s Sports Unlimited is seen recently. The comforts of new campers allow some people to live and travel in them and still enjoy the luxuries of home.

“You really have all of the conveniences of home, but they are mobile and you can take them almost anywhere,” she said. “For some, it is a home away from home without sacrificing the comforts you’re used to.”

Kriniak said larger campers require a full-size truck to tow and a little experience on how to maneuver and set up the camper, which staff at the store can help teach. She said the invention of slideouts, which smoothly fold in and out of the main body of the camper, has allowed for more furniture, cooking room, and moving space than trailers had a decade ago. One camper that is for sale at the store in Tawas has five slideouts, which creates more usable living space and makes moving around the camper simpler.

“Now, they have fireplaces and flatscreen televisions in every room and, the more slide-outs you have, the more luxuries you have,” Kriniak said.

Kriniak said the maximum length of modern RVs are about 42 feet, but, with the slideouts, the square footage of the campers are much more spacious than years ago. She said that, before slideouts were invented, everything was packed tightly together and campers were longer.

“Back in the day, they made them longer, because the campers were only eight feet wide and you had to walk around everything to get from one section of the camper to another,” she said. “The new campers, with slideouts, take them from eight feet wide to about 15 feet. It really opens things up.”

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Large recreational vehicles like the one seen here feature large kitchens and deluxe furniture and appliances, along with the latest technologies so people can live and work in the campers.

Kriniak said that, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, campers — especially larger and more spacious ones — have been in higher demand. She said that, because more people can work remotely, RVs are perfect for living and traveling while still getting the job done.

“Working remotely has become very common, and the modern campers have plenty of outlets throughout the unit to plug your devices into,” she said. “A lot of people are using their campers to travel the country, but still do their job.”

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz The bathrooms in large campers such as the one seen in this recent photo feature elegant decor and plenty of space to clean up. Washers and dryers can also be added to campers.

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz This recreational vehicle has a large bedroom that features plenty of dresser, shelving, and closet space.


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