Campers, also known as travel trailers, are great whether you are planning to tour the country or just want something to go camping in on the weekends. As you prepare to purchase a camper, you might be wondering just how much your new camper will depreciate.
Campers depreciate by 21% the moment they are driven off the RV lot, and in 10 years, your camper will likely have depreciated by about 45%. This means that if you paid $100,000 for your camper, it would only be worth $45,000 when you sell it.
In the rest of this article, we will take a look at common questions about camper depreciation, such as how quickly your camper will deprecate and which brands of campers hold their value best. We will also look at some of the benefits of purchasing a used camper and how to limit money lost on your trailer purchase.
Factors That Make Your Camper Depreciate
In today’s world, RV life is huge, and so many seem to be pursuing the dream of living on the road. When looking to purchase a camper for traveling, long-term living, or camping, it is important to consider how much your new camper will depreciate over the years.
So just how much can you expect your new camper to drop in value as it ages?
The rate at which your camper depreciates is dependent on factors such as make, model, and how well the camper is maintained. Campers steadily drop in value as they age since they are considered a depreciating asset.
So let’s take a look at the statistics for how quickly you can expect your camper to depreciate:
|Age of Camper||Percentage of Deprecation|
As you can see, as campers age, the percentage at which they depreciate increases significantly, though campers lose value more slowly than class A, B, and C rigs.
Which Camper Brands Hold Their Value?
When it comes to purchasing a camper, choosing a trusted brand is a great way to ensure that you will still be able to sell your camper down the road without taking too much of a financial hit. So what brands can you trust to hold their value for longer?
The camper brands that hold their value include Airstream, Jayco, and Winnebago. While they have a higher resale value, the overall value will still decrease over time, just like any camper. Nevertheless, people are generally willing to pay more for these name brands despite the depreciation.
Next, we will take a quick look at these three brands and what makes them depreciate more slowly.
Chances are you have seen an Airstream several times in your life. They are known for their shiny retro-style frame and are a trendy choice for those traveling across the country.
So what exactly makes the Airstream so special?
- They are built more sturdy than your average camper.
- Their design is aesthetically timeless.
- They last longer, and many people purchase older models to restore.
- If taken care of they can last 50 years or more with only minor repairs.
- Airstream has been building quality campers since 1931.
The Airstream is a fantastic camper option for those willing to pay a pretty penny to get into something timeless that will likely hold its value years down the road. The resale value of the Airstream is heavily dependent on the fact that people simply love how they look and are willing to pay higher prices for them even when used.
If you have ever visited an RV lot, you might have noticed the brand Jayco pop up quite a bit. It is one of the most well-known brands of RVs on the market, and rightfully so.
A few things that make Jayco a quality choice when it comes to selecting a camper are:
- Each design is built with luxury and quality in mind.
- They are built sturdier with more quality crafting being put into the builds.
- Jayco has been producing quality RVs since 1968.
It is much easier to sell a travel trailer from a brand that many have come to know and love when it comes to reselling your camper.
Last but not least is Winnebago, which is another name that many RV enthusiasts have come to know and love. Here’s what makes them a great candidate for holding their value long term:
- This brand is a prevalent choice for those living on the road.
- They are great at quality control of their products.
- Built to last and withstand being pulled long distances.
- Winnebago has been making quality RVs since 1960.
Chances are, you have seen quite a few Winnebagos on the road or on someone’s travel vlog. They are certainly a popular choice for traveling and hold up well in different weather as long as they have been adequately cared for.
Benefits of Purchasing a Used Camper
Not everyone has the budget to purchase a brand new camper off the RV lot, but even if you do, here is why you might want to consider picking up one that is used. Campers depreciate by 21% when they are driven off the RV lot, and the depreciation continues to increase as the rig ages.
So if you are looking to purchase a camper for a good deal, you might want to consider buying a used camper in the 5-10 year age range. These campers have already lost most of their value and will likely be sold cheaper, and you won’t have to be the one to bite the financial bullet.
Some other benefits of purchasing a used camper include:
- You can gut or redecorate the camper in your own personal style.
- Your camper will depreciate less.
- More information will be available about the possible long-term flaws of the camper model you are about to purchase.
- More make and model options will be available.
- You’ll have lower insurance payments.
When purchasing a used camper, it is also important to keep in mind that if you plan to travel to RV parks, you should aim to purchase a camper under 10 years of age, as most parks will not admit RV’s older than this into their park.
Benefits of Purchasing a New Camper
Now that we have talked about some of the benefits of buying your used camper, it is time to dive into the reasons you might consider purchasing one new. The benefits of buying a new camper include:
- A warranty should anything go wrong with your camper.
- You’ll have no wear and tear both inside and outside of your camper.
- A more modern design with new appliances.
- You can stay at any RV park because your rig is under ten years old.
Despite the higher price and depreciation rate, many people opt to purchase a brand new camper. There is something nice about the new smell of an RV and not having to worry about what mold might be hiding behind the shower wall paneling.
If you have the money to get a new camper, then great. Many enjoy their new camper, but it is crucial to have a plan for what you will do with your depreciating asset down the road.
Ways To Limit Money Lost on Your Camper
Surprisingly, there are a few ways to combat the depreciation that happens when you purchase a camper. Let’s first talk about how to slow the depression of your camper. There are a few factors that come into play when determining the depreciation of a camper that you have some control over, including:
- How well your camper has been maintained: Campers that have been regularly washed, taken in for maintenance, and kept clean will resell for more than those that haven’t.
- How many miles it has: Campers don’t have engines, so you can’t literally put miles on them. But the less your camper has been taken on long demanding trips, the less damage will occur, increasing its resale potential.
- Minimal sun damage: If you plan on storing your camper outside in the blazing sun, consider purchasing a large tarp such as the ADCO Designer Series Travel Trailer RV Cover (available on Amazon). Keeping your camper out of the sun will limit how quickly the exterior will break down and age.
- Upgrades: Upgrades won’t raise the overall value of your camper, but they can help when it comes to selling it. People don’t mind paying a little extra when they like something. That being said, upgrades aren’t a surefire way to sell your camper for more, so don’t spend too much money upgrading your rig only to lose money on the sale.
Basically, as long as you keep your camper in good repair, you should be able to get a little more out of it despite the deprecation.
When selling your camper, another thing to think about is the demand for your particular make and model of the rig. If there is a high demand for the brand and year of your camper, you will be able to sell it for more.
Another creative way to negate some of the money lost on purchasing a depreciating asset like a camper is to rent it out. Camper rentals have become surprisingly popular as of late, and many are using this loophole to make money and offset the quick depreciation of their travel trailer.
So how does one go about renting their RV? You can list your RV on many sites, like Outdoorsy. These sites help advertise your listing and help you make a little money on your deprecating camper.
As previously stated, campers depreciate by 21% the moment they are driven off the lot, and the percentage of deprecation only increases as the rig ages.
The exact percentage of depreciation will vary based on:
- How well it has been taken care of over the years.
That being said, campers can be so much fun and a great way to make memories. If you have your heart set on a camper, you can always purchase one used or rent out your new rig to offset some of the money lost as it depreciates in value.