Vacations Are Curtailed, but Road Trips Are Rolling—and That's Good News for These Brands

Makers of RVs and portable grills are revving up marketing accordingly

Summer is historically bread-and-butter season for the people at Traeger, the manufacturer that’s sold its high-end, wood-fired grills from Salt Lake City for three decades now. The fundamentals of cooking over wood may not have changed since the stone age, but one of Traeger’s latest offerings, the Pro Series 575, is a smart cooker that lets grillers add hickory smoke simply by tapping their phones. Of course, like the executives at most every nonessential brand in the country, Traeger’s management held its breath with the onset of Covid-19. As well it should have: With an estimated 40 million Americans now out of work and pool parties on hold for the foreseeable future, this is hardly the best time to sell Americans an $800 Wi-Fi-enabled grill.