Michelle Perrow of West Branch, Mich., says her family of five needs a vacation upgrade.

“We just have a tent,” she said. “Something like this would be much easier.”

Perrow was touring a camper on Friday (Aug. 14) at the Summer RV and Camper Jamboree, held last weekend in the Kmart parking lot in Bay City, Mich. T

She said her family travels northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula frequently and a camper would make vacationing much easier, according to the Bay City Times.

“We think we found a fifth-wheel, but we’re still looking,” she said.

Perrow was among hundreds shopping for an RV, part of an army of shoppers looking for a long-term solution to cheaper vacations. Five local venders from the Greater Lakes Bay Region set up camp to entice camping enthusiasts like the Perrows to give up their tents and upgrade.

“The camper and RV business is looking at different solutions,” said Amanda Parish of Hamilton’s RVs in Saginaw. “Michigan has a lot to offer right now across the state, and with a lot of these campers on clearance, it’s more feasible for people.”

One promoter of the jamboree said buying a camper is a long-term vacation investment.

“There’s a pretty good chance that more people will buy a camper instead of going on a full-blown cruise,” said Dick Weisenberger of Alltop Enterprises, a promoting company for the 23rd annual jamboree. “It makes more sense right now to stay local, buy local and support local.”

Weisenberger said more campgrounds around the state are filling up quicker because of the popularity of RVs.

Adding to the appeal are smaller, lighter campers made with aluminum frames, which allow smaller trucks and even some sedans to haul a camper.

“It used to be that you needed a big truck to carry these trailers,” said Weisenberger, “but that isn’t the case anymore.”

The aluminum material cost more, but were still getting attention at the event.

“The smaller and lighter units are still selling faster,” said Kevin Carlton of Parshallburg Campers in Chesaning. “People want those because they aren’t driving huge vehicles anymore.”

Carlton credited last summer’s high gas prices as a reason why more campers are selling this summer.

Norris Saugstad, 84, of Otisville, says it takes the right kind of person to own a camper or motorhome.

“You really got be interested in the hobby and be willing to travel,” said Saugstad, who owned a camper for 10 years and only put 7,000 miles on it.

“They sure are nice, but you really need to use them to make it worth your money.”