QUARTZSITE, Ariz.– Solar, lithium and adventure are probably the three words to best describe the initial week at the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation and RV Show, which runs Jan. 20-28. With an estimated one million people descending on the little desert town of Quartzsite, Ariz. – its regular population is about 3,500 – this town and, in particular, this RV event are indeed a Mecca for those escaping the colder climates up north.
So, what brings people to this event and this town? The warm weather in January is one answer, but opportunity and learning are others. In particular, the 10-day “Quartzsite Show” is a gigantic draw under an equally gigantic tent that, this year, measures some 610 feet long and 100 feet wide. Under its big top, more than 350 vendors – from RV solar to RV repairs, food storage, dips, honey, flag poles and hot tubs – gather to showcase their wares to the estimated 100,000 people who traverse the tent in the 10 days.
In 2023, seminars also returned to the event and, this year, what people attended most were sessions and workshops that involved anything regarding solar and high-performance battery storage. Several of the vendors at the show exhibited battery and solar systems of all sorts from a fifth-wheel on the midway whose entire roof was covered with panels to well-known companies like Lion Energy and Battle Born Batteries inside the tent with product to sell.
“We go through a pallet of product a day here,” said Jon Larson, North American sales manager for Lion Energy. The company offers everything from drop-in lithium batteries for RVs to portable power stations and even hand-held chargers.
It has to be stated that the vast majority of the people who come to Quartzsite are camping in their RVs on public lands, so it makes sense that they’re most interested in anything that extends the time they can camp off the grid. Many of the seminars about solar and lithium systems overflowed the 10-by-20-foot seminar tent.
One of the surprise products at the show is from Geyser Systems of Colorado called the EcoShower which promised one could use under a gallon of water for a full shower. Since your intrepid RVBusiness reporter also manages the seminar tent, I saw the presentation and bought one of these. Quite honestly, I am truly impressed (there’s an article about it here) and it could really change the game for those who like RV boondocking.
Other products that reflected the times include the adaptation by the makers of RV flag poles to become mounts for Starlink dishes.
Another reason some attendees come is for work camping opportunities, which are in abundance as well. From beet- and potato-harvest seasonal jobs to summer positions at an amusement parks and staffing at resorts, finding places to earn is a popular choice with some companies able to fill their quotas for workers with their booths at the show.
While weather is a draw for those who come from colder climates, including Canadians, this year’s event had both sunny and rather rainy days. Naturally, the number of attendees on days with inclement weather was quite reduced. In fact, Monday, Jan. 21, had particularly strong rains with some portions of the big tent experiencing some flooding. But the desert climate can change quickly – and it did, with sunshine and attendees returning the next day.
One more type of presentation that overflowed the seminar tent was destination-based topics, including guided RV tours from companies Adventure Caravans and Fantasy RV Tours. In particular, Alaska was a popular topic. Harvest Hosts, the member-based organization that offers overnight stays at businesses, was another standing room-only attraction.
The show goes nine days – Jan. 20-28 – from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (3 p.m. closing day) at 700 S. Central Blvd., Quartzsite, Ariz. Attendance at the event is free for spectators as is parking. Located just off Interstate 10, 125 miles west of Phoenix and just 20 miles from the California border, the Quartzsite RV extravaganza started 41 years ago and, as many returning visitors will point out, just keeps getting bigger and better every year.