Reflecting a growing trend among Canadian RV buyers, lightweight travel trailers will be showcased at the Feb. 9-12 Edmonton RV Expo and Sale at the Edmonton Expo Centre.

The Edmonton Journal reported that Bill Burnett, president of the Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association of Alberta, said there are a lot more small trailers now than there were in years past that can be pulled by vehicles such as a minivan with 3,500-pound towing capacity.

“The market is polarizing,” Burnett said. “There’s lots of really big stuff, but there’s also that part of the market for trailers pulled by family vehicles. The industry has stepped up with trailers under 3,000 pound.”

Consumers can expect to see a selection of more than 400 RVs, including tent and travel trailers, fifth-wheels, park models and Class A, B and C motorhomes at the 32nd annual show.

In the larger units, lots of fifth-wheels are offering living rooms at the front of the trailer — the part that’s over the hitch, Burnett said. It’s an idea from the 1980s that’s making a comeback. A benefit of this floorplan is that it provides “an awesome view” from the living room, he said.

But this layout is not for small trailers. “It takes over 35 feet to pull off the front living room,” Burnett said.

A change on higher-end units such as Class A motorhomes is the use of automotive-style paint jobs rather than using decals to achieve the exterior look the manufacturer wants. These paint jobs are longer lasting than decals that will show the impact of sun and weather on units that are, for example, parked in Arizona for several months every year, Burnett said.

Burnett, sales manager at Trailblazer RV, expects dealers will be in a competitive mood at the show. Edmonton is a market with a full slate of RV dealers. In addition to dealers, the show will have a variety of other exhibitors including campgrounds, tourism areas and golf courses.

Dan Merkowsky, RVDA of Canada executive vice-president, pointed to one part of the show that has changed for 2012: The lifestyles theater has been dropped.

The theater attracted only a small percentage of those attending the show, Merkowsky said. Those who attended presentations usually went to sessions on one or two topics, leaving all the others virtually empty.

There will also be more than 30 tourism destinations will have booths at the show this year, Merkowsky said, giving consumers the opportunity to learn about places they can visit with their RV.