Skip to Content

Why We Don’t Shop at Gander RV & Outdoors

Gander RV & Outdoors might look appealing, but to us, at least, looks can be deceiving. This RV sales and outdoor retailer isn’t exactly the best deal in town.

Before you go buying outdoor gear — or an RV — from this retailer, read why we’ve stopped shopping here. 

Let’s get started!

What Is Gander RV & Outdoors? 

Gander RV & Outdoors is a chain of RV dealerships and RV supply stores owned by Camping World Holdings.

The Gander name comes from the chain’s former designation as Gander Mountain, a chain of outdoor supply stores with camping, hunting, fishing, and other products. Gander RV & Outdoors now falls under the Camping World umbrella.

What Happened to Gander Mountain?

Gander Mountain went bankrupt, and Camping World Holdings purchased the chain in 2017.

The company closed many of its 126 stores after 57 years of business. When Camping World purchased Gander Mountain, CEO Marcus Lemonis decided to keep about 70 stores open, but only those with a “clear path to profitability.” 

Camping World since rebranded the store to Gander RV & Outdoors.

On site, the stores focus mostly on RV sales and some outdoor and camping products. The online presence includes a robust outdoor gear website and RV inventory, paired with the Camping World website. 

Pro Tip: Before we quit Camping World, we looked into Is Camping World Worth It? Read more to find out!

Woman signing a time out.
With Camping World now owning Gander RV & Outdoors, we are steering clear of shopping from them.

Who Owns Gander RV & Outdoors? 

Camping World Holdings now owns the brand.

It also owns other major brands like Erehwon Mountain Outfitters, Good Sam, Overton’s, Rock/Creek Outfitters, and more. What was once an outdoor enthusiast’s niche retailer is now part of a retail giant. 

5 Reasons We Don’t Shop at Gander RV & Outdoors

We steer clear of Gander RV & Outdoors for many reasons. Here are the top five. 

1. Camping World. Enough Said

We explain why we dropped Camping World in this article, but we’ll sum it up for you here. Camping World has received a ton of negative press over the past several years, in part due to CEO Marcus Lemonis. 

Camping World seems to (us, at least) jack up the prices on every product in their stores by 20-30%. They’ll only match online pricing if you sign up for a membership (which also costs money).

These reasons are why we dropped this brand altogether. 

Couple hiking together.

2. Customer Service

Simply put, we like to support local retailers with great customer service. When a publicly traded company acquires niche brands, it’s rare they can keep customer service front and center.

Share holder profitability usually takes precedence.

3. High Prices

Products in-store typically cost more, and the only way to get them to match their online pricing is if you sign up for a Good Sam Membership for $30 per year.

Essentially, you may have to sign up for something you may never even use just to match their own pricing.

RV driving on road.

4. Service Experiences

Some customers report extremely long wait times, bad quality of service, difficulty communicating with service center staff, and more. It seems like the RV service centers are understaffed, and the existing employees may not have much experience.

Pro Tip: If you’re considering buying an RV, why not try an RV auction! This is Where You Can Find an RV Auction.

5. Seem to Care More About Sales Than Customers

The way the Gander RV parent company scoops up any outdoor retailer in distress makes it seem like profits come before customers.

If they truly cared about customers, they would focus their efforts on expanding their service centers and creating a more positive customer experience. 

This Is Why We Steer Clear of Gander RV

Gander RV & Outdoors and its parent company, Camping World, might be household names, but we stay far away.

And it’s not just us.

Many RVers who have been around the industry for a while know better than to try to head into one of their stores and service centers. 

We can find the same products and more through online retailers. When we’re traveling and need parts or service, we’ll support local economies by choosing a local business.

We know we’ll get personalized attention and care and feel much better spending our money on small businesses instead of handing it over to a money-hungry corporation.

What’s your experience with Camping World or Gander RV & Outdoors?

Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA

To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).

You should give it a try!

As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.

Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers who love to score the best site! 

We’ll send you the 50 Best Free Campsites in the USA (one per state). Access the list by submitting your email below:

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Nancy Ledea says:

    We have had very horrible experience with Gander RV. It’s really amazing how bad customer service works on this stores.

  2. Debra says:

    Camping World – another left wing corporation. I boycott any corporation that funds the advancement of hate and ignorance. They are overpriced and have no concept of “customer service”

  3. Chuck Corcoran says:

    We have tire insurance with good Sam. Had a blowout and they sent a person in a sedan without a proper jack. While very friendly, he was unprepared to change the tire. When I put in the claim for the replacement tire, they only covered the cost of the tire not mounting. I think you are correct in your assessment of profit over customer service.

  4. Glenn M. says:

    Toxic environment and scammers work for Gander RV.

  5. Ruth Brown says:

    Agree wholeheartedly!

  6. Shelby Steele says:

    I wished I had read your report about camping world before I brought my Coleman trailer! Their customer service really sucks and they should close their parts department.
    I’ll never ever buy anything (parts,trailers) from them. I had one heck of time just getting my gap insurance back. You can get the parts ten times cheaper online.
    Thanks again on your report

  7. Mike says:

    I have enjoyed my experiences with camping world in all areas, I also like to go there n window shop their sales floor for Rv related products, they have a wide assortment and like to put my hands on stuff, I always competitive shop, so Amazon n Walmart r always a viable option for me once I’ve seen product

  8. Tony Aqu says:

    You are so right! I brought my RV into gander’s for service and got it back with more problems than I brought it in with they had a inexperienced service technician work on it a fella they hired off the street a week or two before he indicated he had never worked on an RV or any Motor Vehicles before Marcos has not answered any of my emails letters or phone calls so you are correct customer service is not a priority.

  9. Elvin says:

    We are done with camping world. Very poor service also service writeup man lied to us several billed for work they didn’t do..will not buy from them again.found another company that we can trust .just bought a new camper from them.

  10. Claude Mer says:

    Gander RV is a customer’s nightmare. I left my 32′ trailer there to fix some warranty items, to make a long story short after 3 months of waiting for authorization, for parts and the typical BS I came back to get the trailer and discovered they did not fix anything. None of the items I asked them to take care off were fixed. On top of that one of the service writer was extremely obnoxious to me and very condescending. Management never even confronted this employee. As you can tell I felt so cheated that i never went back since 2017. I am dealing with a private RV place nowadays. People who purchase from Gander will have a rude awakening.

  11. David Jones says:

    My wife and I are approaching retirement age. We have camped a lot with our kids and my best friend family. We started out tent campers and then graduated to a pop up. The new adventure of buying an RV excites and also makes me want to learn everything about pulling a RV with a truck. I enjoy reading articles about people who have been RVing for a while to learn about the do’s and dont’s of how to have the safest and best time RVing. Please continue to send email to me. Can’t wait to hit the road.

  12. Sandra Hatley says:

    Will never darken the door of Camping World again. Know nothings, do nothings, and ruins what they touch. Everyone should stay far, far away from this company.

  13. Whitney Brown says:

    We bought a Crusader by Forest River from Camping World in 2018. My husband lived full time in an RV working all over the country. We bought from Camping World thinking that because they seem to be everywhere it was the best idea for servicing if anything went wrong with the RV. Boy, were we mistaken. Many things went wrong and customer service was nonexistent. Our extended warranty for 7 years is a joke. Needless to say, the Crusader sat in the shop for 3 months after his last job was over and very few items on the list of many were not covered by the warranty (which was $2300). Long story short, we gave the RV to a family member to live in permanently because, among other things, it was not very road worthy.

    Now we have gone back to Keystone. He is retired. We bought a 31 ft Cougar 5th wheel and love it. Built much better. The Crusader was glamorous but cheaply put together.

    We had previously owned a Keystone Montana that survived 16 years of almost full time living. Yes, it was pretty tired, but it was way better than the Crusader as far as construction.

    1. Don’t go to Camping World.
    2. Don’t buy anything from Forest River manufacturers unless it is very high end and has good ratings from reputable RV people in the know.

  14. Bain says:

    @Debra, Totally agree. The CEO said that if you supported Trump then he didn’t want your business

  15. Gerald says:

    Yea I used to wrk there your 100% true its the money over customer dont go to the one in Katy TX there service not good buy from a company thats small that will take care of you from sales to service and take care of you after the sale

  16. Jerry says:

    We were in the process of buying a 98K new rv. Since we were in NC and wanted it titled in our home state of FL, the salesperson was on the phone trying to figure out how to do that. While he was on the phone, they had another buyer buy that RV. Then they said first come first serve. We were in the process of buying that one, so they offered another model at a 4K increase in price. We walked so they lost our sale. They called and called to get us to come back. Never will we buy anything from Camping world or Gander.

  17. Rick says:

    Many of the same reasons I don’t shop at Amazon!

  18. Don says:

    @Debra, Your ignorance is appalling. You know this is a lie.

  19. Richard B says:

    Long time ago, 2005, we became Good Sam RV Club members. Shortly later became a Life Time Member. All kinds of bennies including a discount at Camping World. Until recently we were Happy Campers. Repair service was bad in both making the repairs or super slow. They want to make a profit then to give an honest deal. Sold them a fairly new trailer but when it went up for sale they wanted a whole lot more and it had all kinds of problems. When looking for a new one they, Camping World tried to sell not just the trailer but extras as in roadside assistance, wheel and tire insurance, magazine subscription and more.
    Then we found out they were not all that honest about our tow vehicle, it could not tow, the trailer was too heavy. Truck manufacturer told us.

  20. Judy Mikkelson says:

    This article hit it on the head! From the start of looking to buy an RV at Gander rv, the service was deplorable! The sales person didn’t know anything about the particular rv were looking at. They add on multiple ridiculous costs and try to upsell a ton of ad on sad never use. RV comes with a Warranty, but Good luck getting serviced before that Warranty runs out. Service department actually said, “that’s just the way it is now.” YIKES!
    Also ordered a grill online off theory site. When it didn’t arrive long after its due date, I called and the person said it was discontinued. Which I thought was odd being it listed it on their site as “in stock” at that time. They had also charged my card when I first ordered it a month prior, but no one said it wouldn’t be coming, at all. So when I asked what they could do about it, the offered to sell me the upgraded model with a price increase. Shocker. Needless to say, we will NEVER give them our business, and we discourage everyone we know NOT to shop or do any business with Gander RV. Did I mention, we drove 2hrs to go there?

  21. Al LeFeusch says:

    @Bain, oh wow, I didn’t know this. I just might have to start shopping there again! 🙂

  22. MR says:

    @Debra, it is not about your concept of politics, it is about their overall practices. Small businesses have a case against Lemonis, and I am sure they represent the entire political spectrum.

  23. Troy Oshefsky says:

    The Bowling Green ky store no longer carries any outdoor stuff like fishing and hunting products. They have gone to RV and Camping supplies only I canceled my membership and no have to drive my hour to Bass pro in Nashville becuase the co owned cabelas in Bowling green never has stock on the shelves

  24. Travis says:

    Marcus Lemonis is one of the most generous CEOs in America. His television show The Profit has helped dozens of small businesses and his continued support of NASCAR sees Camping World logos on multiple underfunded trucks nearly every race. I understand not liking large companies but this opinion piece is just far too sensational.

  25. Marty Malone says:

    I totally agree with you all on gander and camping world. They are just in it for the buck that’s my experiences with both of them. They will also try to hide defects in the RVs they try to sale.

  26. Micheal Whelan says:

    Have to agree with your article. As a formerly dedicated Camping World customer we also put them in the rear view mirror. Yes they were always high in price (sometimes the highest) but they always had what we needed. Our decision to leave them happened on a Florida trip. A simple valve to my toilet need replacement. With a Camping World near by we drove down. Not being familiar with the systems I wanted them to install it also. Valve price $70, install $150…. Wow! Then we were told it would be two weeks before they could get to it. Deciding to look around we stopped at a mom and pop RV shop. They had the valve, $19. Said you can change it out easily in about 10 minutes and lent me the tools. Twenty minutes later ( first time is slower) the job was done. Good bye Camping World. Decided to try them again a few years later when it was time for a new motorhome. Price wise they were high but had what we wanted. With price being a negotiation we got it down to what was acceptable. Then the sales guy said he could only do that if we financed with them. This was a cash deal and he blew it. Found the coach we wanted at a different dealer for a way better price. They also had a rep for great service. They got the deal. Bye bye Camping World. After they bought Good Sam Club who we had used for years the price went up a little the service down a lot. Now we are FMCA happy customers. Our experience has been the good deals and service are not with the “big box” RV stores but with the local shops. When I am getting ready to purchase an item for the RV I do go to Camping World to touch and feel it. Then to Amazon to purchase. Better price and guarantee with easy return if something is not right.

  27. Micheal Whelan says:

    @Debra, Have to agree with you there.

  28. Lindy says:

    Camping World, Gander RV, Great America RV, all suffer from the same issues: less staff than needed in their service departments and minimally trained staff for the unique needs of RVs. Having said that, their hourly rates are equal to or less than the independents in my area (NW Florida), and both independents and the major dealerships have issue with parts from the OEMs. Your best bet is to do your own maintenance whenever possible.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Read the article. It is a redundant article it’s more of 2 reasons with a possibility of 3 of why you don’t do business with this rv store.

  30. Mark says:

    I went to Gardner at the mall and the charged $20 for ear plugs that Walmart charges 9for the same item

  31. David J Touch says:

    As experienced campers from tent to giant 5th wheels, we learned long to stay away from Campers World and Gander. Hopefully more folks will read this article and take heed.

  32. Bob says:

    A few days ago went to a camping world to find the proper hookup and hose for our RV propane source to a grill that currently uses a small green can. All but one person there had any idea which one we might need and he was too busy to assist us. So we bought a pair (the only way it is sold) of overpriced green propane cans (rather than take the extra time to find a Walmart). Wasted over 1/2 hour to get non existent assistance.

  33. BUCK M says:

    It was discouraging to read that you are judging a book by the cover. Not referring to Gander, but the other retailers owned by Camping World, Erehwon and Rock/Creek. These have always been top-notch, customer focused outdoor stores, competing with the likes of REI, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Academy Sports.

  34. Robert F. Schroeder says:

    We had been customers of Camping World since the early ’90s. I saw a large toy hauler in Camping World’s lot just South of Indianapolis. I went in to look at it a few weeks later. I was shown the trailer, which cost quite a bit. I wanted to see the new toy haulers but was not allowed to look.That should have given me pause! They did quote me prices of new as 60k to 85k. So, this dummy bought it. I ended up paying about 35k for the trailer and received about 25k for my motor-home that was 10 years old, stored inside with less than 20,000 miles on it. They talked me into purchasing the extended service plan and I soon found out why. I took it home and filled the tanks, the following spring the generator tank was half full with a hole in it. That took two years. Then I blue the right rear tire. I had the trailer aligned at a truck repair shop. They had to bend an axle to get the alignment right. Then, the generator refused to run. Two years later I gave up on it. The water heater then developed a leak. That took 2.5 years and a crunched left rear quarter, which, of course, they didn’t do. The slides started screwing up and I sold it for $6,000.00. I swear I’ll NEVER go back to Camping World again! If anyone wants to buy a car dolly that’s been repaired cheap, let me know.(Also bought at Camping World). AARAUGH

  35. Robert F. Schroeder says:

    After reading all the comments (after I posted) I realized as I read them, that I had many of the same problems. These all started about 2010-2011.
    The post about the profit; that name of Lemonis’ show should say it all. I’ve never watched it due to who the host is.
    I think he ruined Camping World and the Good Sam club of which we are also life members. I won’t put the plaque on out new camper.
    Camping world put a 20 foot awning on our 23 foot camper when it was new. No one ever told me it was too big. It took the entire side off. Strike one camper!
    The stories go on and on…..