Many claim that the origins of the history of recreational vehicles can be traced back to 1910, although arguably, the culture of “RV living”, began much earlier, during the days of travelling gypsies, performing acts and early white settlement where covered caravans were prominently used to move around. It became evident during these years, that the needs of “life in transit”, needed to be accommodated by bigger, more inclusive vehicles.
Initially, their structure was simple. A caravan-type structure was built on car or truck body, and accommodated sleeping places, small dining areas, and a kitchen. With these basic comforts, travellers were able to enjoy a new found freedom, unrestricted by the railway systems of the time.
Camping clubs soon emerged as networking societies where families could meet each other and share in the joys of the travelling life, which seemed to provide simple freedoms inaccessible in busy, central town living. Challenges like unpaved roads and lack of camping grounds did not deter these clubs from flourishing during these formative years.
The 1920s brought the mass production of these motor-homes and presented a wider range of families with the opportunity to travel and enjoy sightseeing at cheaper rates. Those who owned them and lived in them on a full-time basis became known as, “full-timers”, a subculture which still flourishes today.
The ways in which people experienced and used their recreational vehicles varied, from those who created work for themselves at campgrounds and moved with the seasonal crowds between locations, to those who used their RVs to go on vacation. These travellers were quite isolated from “mainland society”, in that there was no phone or internet access.
Today, top-end RVs include facilities tailor-made to meet the needs of its preferred clientele base – from those who only use their motor-homes for vacations, to those who prefer to travel in style and luxury. Added features include spas, Jacuzzis, on-board cable television, home entertainment systems as well as phone and internet access.
For over a century, the subculture and lifestyle of, “RVing”, has thrived and spread from the United States to other countries in Europe and across the world. The history of recreational vehicles, beginning around 1910 was initially sparked by a love for travel, the outdoors, and a free-spirited lifestyle, and has evolved into a way to travelling in convenience, style and for some, pure luxury.