Is Camping World Worth It?
Ah, Camping World. It’s the “big box” of RV life. The Walmart of camping gear. The easiest place to find trailer things that we aren’t sure we need.
Camping World is a chain of stores and dealerships (over 170 locations) that offer everything you might need to go camping, from RV-friendly toilet paper to the actual camper-trailer.
And, they’re popping up outside major metro areas in prime traffic locations.
In addition, they have Gander RV & Outdoors stores under their brand umbrella. They sell RVs and equipment and have service centers as well.
But should we shop there? We’re hesitant, to say the least.
No, Camping World isn’t the worst. There are times when they actually make our life easier. However, if we have to, we shop there begrudgingly.
Let’s dive into our reasoning.
#1 – Camping World is Overpriced
If you shop around, you will most likely get better deals elsewhere.
It’s easy to imagine that the chain has a higher overhead for their fancy high traffic locations and marketing. As a result, higher prices are passed down to customers.
Often, you can find products priced lower at other stores. For example, Amazon or Walmart’s camping sections are usually more economical.
Camping World makes money off of financing, too. This can result in a worse deal than using your own bank or shopping for online financing.
RV salesmen’s’ pressure tactics are finely honed to get you to hurry and make large financial decisions. Then they often push add-ons like warranties (cheaper elsewhere) and accessories.
#2 – In Order To Get Their Best Prices, You Must Sign Up for Good Sam
To encourage membership in their Good Sam program, they offer discounts on products if you are a member. Camping World will not honor discounts without the membership.
Moreover, the program may not be useful unless you’re traveling to areas with Good Sam parks. Or if you choose not to use those parks.
The Good Sam membership offers gas discounts at Flying J, but those may not be convenient. Besides, the gas discount may not be cheaper than gas elsewhere.
Pro Tip: Here are the reasons we don’t like the Good Sam Membership.
#3 – Camping World’s Service Departments Often Get Mediocore Reviews
According to online forums, Camping World is notorious for taking a long time to fix campers. To be fair, this is an issue across the entire RV service industry. But, Camping World isn’t doing the stereotype any favors.
There are hundreds if not thousands of more reviews telling stories of campers sitting months waiting for service.
Multiple online reviews report the service quality as hit or miss depending on the location and technician. Some reviews state that they didn’t have a way to move 5th wheel trailers. Consequently, people had to stay with their RV all day and potentially wait around for hours after a scheduled appointment.
Sure, these are all anecdotal stories. But, it’s doesn’t help our confidence towards shopping with them.
A common complaint we’ve seen in online forums is that the level of service completely falls off after you buy a unit, new or used. Others feel the RVs are “lemons” or “built to break.”
#4 – Camping World Seems to Care More About Money and Business Growth
The overall business plan of Camping World appears to be to lure in those that are new to the burgeoning RV industry. They seem to entice customers, through selling the RV lifestyle, to spend as much money as possible on RVs, purchase additional warranties, and use their financing.
What’s worse is that years after this trend has come to light in the RV community, no changes seem to have been made, and more Camping World locations have opened.
It’s fair to say the entire RV manufacturing industry is somewhat to blame. We’d like to see Camping World take the initiative to change the stereotype and deliver high quality RVs and service.
For Now, We’ll Keep Our Visites Limited
While Camping World is the most visible dealership and store location and have attractive marketing and promotions, hundreds upon thousands of complaints, bad ending stories, lemons, customer service complaints, and lawsuits should give you pause before doing business with them.
Sure, if you need a sewer hose or camping chair, Camping World is a safe bet. But, if you’re making a big purchase, do your research before blindly buying.
We want you to have a great RV and camping experience!
The best way to do that is with research and practice.
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