07 Dec

RVFTA #171 Full Time RVing: Making the Leap to Living in an RV

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are diving into the world of Full Time RV Living. Roughly a quarter million Americans have ditched their sticks and bricks abode and have taken to life on the road. This is a pretty fascinating idea for a lot of our listeners, so we will be launching a series of podcasts exploring the nomadic lifestyle.

Kicking it off for us are Full time RVers Heath and Alyssa Padgett, entrepreneurs who have built a business around helping people transition to living in an RV. They share the highs and lows, plus answer the most pertinent question of all: Where do I get my mail?

They were the perfect folks to invite on the show, since Alyssa recently released an e-book that serves a primer to entering the full time lifestyle. For more detailed information on everything we discuss in this episode, check out  A Beginner’s Guide to Living in an RV: Everything I Wish I Knew Before Full Time RVing Across America.

Heath Padgett is the host of the podcast the RV Entrepreneur, which focuses on building location independent businesses while living in an RV. They both blog at heathandalyssa.com.

Segment One: Heath and Alyssa’s Personal Journey to Full Time RV Living

In the first segment of the podcast, we dive into how Heath and Alyssa ended up living in an RV as a young, newly married couple. What began as a creative year-long project morphed into a lifestyle and a business. We talk about the motivation for breaking out of the box and the obstacles they encountered in the process.

Much of our conversation in the first segment focuses on the highs and lows of their experiences. After living in an RV for more than three years, they have the hindsight to discuss the greatest benefits of the lifestyle, but also the biggest challenges.

Segment Two: Resources and Information for Folks Contemplating the Full Time RV Lifestyle

In the second segment of the podcast, we dive into the nitty gritty. Many people are intrigued by the idea of full time living, but are also completely overwhelmed by the process of making that transition. Heath and Alyssa give great guidance for navigating the planning and implementation of your own full-time RV dream.

We start off by talking money, because let’s face it…money is a pretty important factor in this whole journey. We discuss how you can reasonably develop a budget for life on the road, and some hidden financial line items that you may not think of on your own.

Other topics that we talk about include…

  • Establishing and developing remote income
  • downsizing from a sticks and bricks home
  • establishing a domicile (i.e. the great, big MAIL question)
  • healthcare
  • internet
  • additional resources

A big thanks to Heath and Alyssa Padgett for coming on the show. If you want more detailed information about any of the topics discussed, check out Alyssa’s e-book over at Amazon.

RV News Minute

In this week’s RV News Minute, we welcomed a new sponsor onto the show: AcuvaTech, the makers of a UV-LED water filtration system that we are so excited to be installing in our RV next month.

We talked about our struggle to find a good water filtration solution on this year’s Fall Gear Guide. When Acuva reached out to tell us about their system, we did our research and found out that the RV Geeks are big fans. You can read their complete review here. This endorsement is a pretty strong one for us. Here’s their YouTube video about the system…

We will keep you posted on our installation and water filtering progress!!!

Other Links from the Show

We are sharing some of our favorite Cabela’s gear from the past year, one great holiday gift at a time. This week we raved about our beloved Deluxe Camp Kitchen.

Also make sure to mark your calendars for the Florida SuperShow in Tampa this January 17th-21st. We will be there with SO MANY RVFTA Podcast Network correspondents. We plan on having a lot of fun and hope you join us for the event!

A big thanks to our sponsors for supporting weekly content for all our RV fools, both the weekend warriors and full-time dreamers!

06 Dec

Go RVing Special Episode: RVFTA’s Holiday Gift Guide

Go RVing Special Podcast: RVFTA’s Holiday Gift Guide

We’ve recommended a ton of fantastic RV gear over the years, so it’s always hard to narrow down our choices for fellow camping enthusiasts. On this special podcast produced exclusively for Go RVing, we picked some of our very favorite gifts.

We have broken it down into three different categories: Gifts for the Lively Little Campers, Jeremy’s Picks, and Stephanie’s Picks. If you want to find even more great gift ideas, check out our other Holiday Gift guide podcasts from this year: Small Business Saturday Gift Guide and RVFTA’s 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

Happy holidays from our family to yours!

Stephanie + Jeremy

04 Dec

24 Great Books for RV and Camping Lovers

We here at the RVFTA Podcast Network are passionate about camping and RV Travel, and we are also passionate about good books. We have an extensive library covering these topics, and we wanted to share an epic list of our absolute favorites. Whether you are interested in coffee table books filled with vintage campers, reference books that will inspire your own adventures, or “how to” primers on caring for your RV–we’ve got you covered.

We often regret time wasted surfing the internet or doodling on social media, but we never regret reading a good book. So pour yourself a mug of warm tea (or your favorite beverage of choice) and let yourself get lost for a little while.  These books will take you on fantastic adventures, and some of them will even help you get back home.

The links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you purchase something through the link, we receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Jeremy will use all of that money to buy more books, so he kindly thanks you.

Coffee Table Books

1. Airstream: The History of the Land Yacht by Brian Burkhart and David Hunt

This coffee table classic is beautifully designed, much like the Airstreams that grace its pages. It is also compulsively readable and tells the story of Wally Byam and his legacy with just enough detail.  The pictures are gorgeous but the stories about Byam and his international “Caravan Club” are even better. Who’s up for a cross country trip…..from Cape Town to Cairo!?

2. Trailerama by Phil Noyes

This chunky tome is chock full of kitschy visual memorabilia about the travel trailer and its role in American pop culture. Phil was a guest on episode #26 of our RV Family Travel Atlas podcast (Meet Mr. Trailerama) and he beguiled us with tales of vintage campers, quirky entrepreneurs, and Hollywood starlets.  From cartoons, to sheet music, to magazine covers, Trailerama will satisfy the wanderlust of any member of the travel trailer tribe.

3. Vintage Camper Trailers by Paul and Caroline Lacitinola

Addicted to vintage trailer makeovers? Than Vintage Camper Trailers will regularly find its way to the top of your coffee table pile. This book of makeovers is more about fetish and fashion than Noyes’s road trip through the heart of Americana–so they make perfect traveling companions. Hopefully they both end up with reservations under the pine needles of your family Christmas tree.

4. Don’t Call Them Trailer Trash: The Illustrated Mobile Home Story by John Brunkowski & Michael Closen

Product Details

When it comes to the image of RV culture in America, most of the trash was taken out a long time ago.  When asked to imagine a travel trailer the average person is more likely to picture a $100,000 dollar Airstream at a busy campground than a meth lab beater in a back alley. Despite the bright shiny image of the modern RV industry John Bronkowski and Michael Closen ( the dynamic duo behind three of our coffee table picks) have decided to put the final nail in the coffin.  This book serves as a hilarious visual history of a bad reputation.

5. Camper & RV Humor by John Brunkowski & Michael Closen

RV travel humor is a comedic genre unto itself–as is any pastime where so many things can go wrong. Who among us has not cracked a black tank joke or broken something essential due to operator error? This coffee table cutie contains postcards and images from the world over and makes me want to take a private tour of Brunkowski and Closen’s extensive collection. This book is more charming than laugh out loud funny, but it can park itself on my coffee table any day.

6. KOA and the Art of Kamping by John Brunkowski and Michael Closen

The history of Kampgrounds of America, which was founded in 1962 in Billings, Montana, is told through 230 photos in this somewhat slim but very enjoyable walk through the company’s visual history. The story is told through images of original artwork that the company has commissioned over the past 55 years–and you can practically feel the warmth of the campfire and taste the sticky sweetness of a burnt S’more as you turn the pages.

7. See America: A Celebration of our National Parks & Treasured Sites by Creative Action Network

The Creative Action Network has boldly revived the glorious See America project which was born during New Deal era America. The original project implored Americans to “See America First” and spend their tourism dollars right here in the United States.  The original campaign captured, and inspired, the wanderlust of a generation that won a ferocious world war and defined the American century.  The legacy of this revitalized campaign is captured in the pages of this compact but completely inspired collection of crowd sourced prints by contemporary artists. This rebirth of See America easily rises to the occasion for a new generation.

Check out episode #52 of RV Family Travel Atlas (Get Ready to See America) for an in-depth interview with Creative Action Network co-counder Max Slavkin about the rebirth of the See America project.

8. Route 66: The Mother Road by Michael Wallis

Product Details

This is the ultimate pictorial scrapbook for those disciples who wish to worship on the mother road.  Wallis’s book is as thick as a cheeseburger from a roadside dinner in Winslow, Arizona and it, “takes us on an unforgettable journey through the secret corners and hidden towns of America’s most famous and beloved highway.” I spilled a gigantic smoothie on my first copy of this book and ordered another one ten minutes later–I just couldn’t imagine my coffee table without it.

9. The Lincoln Highway: Coast to Coast from Times Square to the Golden Gate by Michael Wallis and Michael S. Williamson

Product Details

Route 66 isn’t the only way to get your kicks on an epic road trip. The Lincoln Highway documents the heart and history of “a glorious highway” that was born in 1913 and “connected the bright lights of Broadway with the foggy shores of San Francisco.” That road still exists and if your considering traversing it, your journey should begin in the gorgeous pages of this quirky and utterly unique coffee table masterpiece.

RV and Camping History and Culture

10. From a Wooden Canoe: Reflections on Canoeing, Camping, and Classic Equipment by Jerry Dennis

Product Details

This delightful collection (and a personal favorite) is filled with sharply crafted essays about objects that are well made–like wooden canoes and wool hunting jackets, and things that are just as essential to outdoor life as oxygen–like camp coffee and cast iron. Jerry Dennis is personable and just as passionate about camping as you are. He is that camping buddy that we should all be lucky enough to have, and can have, at least on a trip through the pages of this fine book.

11. Under the Stars: How America Fell in Love with Camping by Dan White

Product Details

This wild and wacky history of America’s love affair with camping begins in New York State with William “Adirondack” Murray  and the birth of recreational camping and ends with the author renting a Class C motorhome and heading out into the Sonoran Desert in Arizona with his family. In between these adventures we read about John Muir and Theodore Roosevelt’s epic campout in the Yosemite, the birth of the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts, the history of Nylon, and how men like Dick Kelty used it to fill the wilderness with a new generation of Americans who desired to See America, not with automobiles, but instead by foot. The author is a colorful character who earns his place beside the campfire with these legends.

12. Heading Out: A History of American Camping by Terence Young

Camping nerds rejoice! You know who you are… This more academic history of American camping includes chapters with titles like “Liberalizing the Campground: W.J. Trent and the Struggle Against National Park Segregation.” If that sounds like your cup of percolated coffee, pull up a camp chair and get ready to get smart.  Terence Young is a professor of Geography at California State Polytechnic University and a camping historian–and this is his master class.

13. Winnebago Nation: The Peculiar Place of the RV in American Culture by James Twitchell

Terence Young is not the only professor to land a spot on our coveted and uber-intellectual reading list.  What Heading Out does for camping Winnebago Nation does for RVing. These two books would make the perfect pair for the camping intellectual on your list. Winnebago Nation is punchy and a bit cynical about RV culture and the RV tribe–but the book is entertaining and packed with some juicy tidbits about the history of Winnebago, the modern RV industry, and the dreamers who buy their products.

14. RV Capital of the World: A Fun Filled Indiana History by Al Hesselbart

Al Hesselbart joined us on episode #163 of RV Family Travel Atlas (The RV Capital of the World: A Fun Filled Indiana History) and mesmerized us with tales of classic RV’s and the zany entrepreneurs who put their fortunes on the line to build them.  This book is filled with stories and anecdotes about classic trailers like the Gilkie Camp King and the Continental Clipper and the modern companies that have transformed the RV industry, like  Thor and Forest River. But, perhaps most importantly, this is a story about a completely unique American industry whose latest chapters are just as interesting and compelling as its first.

15. Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder

Product Details

Nomadland explores the dark side of RV culture by taking a close look at the “invisible casualties of the great recession” who have “taken to the road by the tens of thousands in late-model RVs, travel trailers, and vans.” Bruder’s scope is intentionally narrow and focuses on those who have few other economic options. This is decisively not a book about the growing number of adventurous “Digital Nomads”  who are doing just fine for themselves thank you very much.

Reference Books for Food, Travel, and Maintenance

16. Idiot’s Guides: RV Vacations by Stephanie Puglisi and Jeremy Puglisi

Product Details

Only a fool forgets to plug their own book. Idiot’s Guides: RV Vacations starts out with basic information for beginner’s about safety and convenience and campground “know how” before heading into an extensive section on trip planning. We recommend campgrounds, restaurants, and activities for 40 classic RV trips from coast to coast. The book includes “easy to use travel maps” and over 200 color photos. Make sure you buy two copies! One for your home library and one for the RV…

17. Route 66 Adventure Handbook by Drew Knowles

Product Details

While Route 66: The Mother Road (mentioned above) will get you inspired to motor west, this is the book to actually take with you.  Knowles’s handbook includes an oversized portion of quirky roadside attractions with side portions of “vintage motels and cafes,” and “amazing natural wonders.” This indispensable guide also includes 85 maps that help you “pinpoint points of interest” to help you get your kicks with style and efficiency.

18. The RV Book: Your Personal Guide to Understanding and Enjoying Your RV  by Mark Polk

Product Details

Mark Polk was born with a pair of Channellock pliers in his hands. Before starting RV Education 101 Mark was a Chief Warrant Officer 3 who specialized in wheeled and track vehicle fleet maintenance operations for the United States Army. The RV Book is a terrific primer on all things RV. It includes chapters on “RV Terminology,” “Maintaining your RV,” “Winterizing your RV,” and “RV Towing and Safety” among many others. Mark is a friendly guide for the newbie and expert alike, and this book should be purchased on the same day you bring home your first rig!

19. Roadfood: An Eater’s Guide to More than 1,000 of the Best Local Hot Spots and Hidden Gems Across America by Jane Stern and Michael Stern

Product Details

We love food, but with three young kids in tow, eating while traveling can be a challenge. We have learned that roadfood is the secret to successfully enjoying a local food culture. This definitive classic by Jane and Michael Stern should be kept in the glove compartment of every tow vehicle in America. We check its state by state recommendations on every RV trip and we have never been disappointed by its recommendations. In fact, whether its for Barbeque, burgers, chicken and waffles, or shrimp and grits, Roadfood has led us to our most epic and memorable meals.

We love this book so much it has been the topic of two RV Family Travel Atlas podcasts.

Check out a terrific interview with Michael Stern right here on episode #135 (Ready, Set, Road Food) and on episode #7 where we discuss our own philosophy of Roadfood as taught to us by the Sterns!

20. Campfire Cuisine: Gourmet Recipes for the Great Outdoors by Robin Donovan

This is the culinary guide for folks “who love good food and the great outdoors.” It includes over 100 recipes for campsite meals that are healthy and easy to make. Stephanie’s favorite recipes include the spice rubs, the make ahead pancake mix and the curry chicken salad sandwich. Jeremy has yet to use this book, but with his newly found love for camp cooking, and the vintage gas powered stove that he brought from craigslist, he plans on cracking it open very soon.

21. The 10 Best of Everything National Parks: 800 Top Picks from Parks Coast to Coast: by National Geographic and Fran Mainella

Product Details

This is the best reference book about National Parks that you have never read. It showcases “America’s best natural playgrounds” in an attractive full color book that includes over 800 top picks ranging from lodges, to swimming holes, to picnic spots, and even to picture perfect places where star-crossed lovers can say “I do.”

Travel Narratives

22. The Longest Road: Overland in Search of America from Key West to the Arctic Ocean by Philip Caputo

Philip Caputo gives the epic American cross country road trip an equally epic twist in this underappreciated travel classic. Instead of heading from East to West, Caputo starts towing his classic Airstream in Key West and heads all the way to the Arctic Ocean. His wife and two English setters make great company and so do the dozens of Americans that he interviews along the way. His constant question for them?  How do these United States, “peopled by every race on earth” stay united? Their answers are astonishing in scope and variety–much like the landscape of our great country.

23. Travels With Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck

Philip Caputo clearly had John Steinbeck’s classic Travels With Charley: In Search of America in mind when he wrote his own book. Steinbeck’s book has inspired generations of American travel writers and continues to do so. His son claims he made much of it up, but this is unsurprising considering he was a novelist at heart. Whether this is fact or fiction, travel narrative or novel, it still gets at the heart of what it means to be an American.

Religion/Philosophy

24. Life is a PIC-A-NIC: Yogi Bear’s Tips & Tricks for the Smarter than Average Bear by Yogi Bear with Earl Kress

“We want morsels not missiles!.”  Dope words of wisdom from our favorite bear.

‘Nuff Said.

Drop us a note and let us know what your favorite RV and Camping books are! Happy Reading Everybody!

30 Nov

RVFTA #170 Greetings from Mammoth Cave National Park in Mammoth Cave, Kentucky

Mammoth Cave National Park is home to the longest known cave system in the world, and it’s also a very popular RV destination. On this episode of the RV Family Travel Atlas podcast, we are talking to a local expert about exploring the park and surrounding area.

Our Kentucky campground correspondent Casita Dean May gives us the inside scoop on planning a trip to Mammoth Cave National Park. He tells us about the variety of cave tours and which might be a good fit for your family. Dean also ventures into the nearby region with tips for picking fun day trip excursions and finding yummy eats along the way.

Mammoth Cave National Park is centrally located 90 miles north of Nashville, Tennessee and 90 miles south of Louisville, Kentucky. About 6 miles away from the main entrance of the national park, visitors will find Cave City where they can stock up on groceries and supplies for their visit.

Also nearby is Yogi Bear Jellystone Park Mammoth Cave, our recommended campground when visiting Mammoth Cave with family. Dean gave a complete review of this Jellystone over on Campground of the Week Episode #109. Listen to hear all the details about this great base camp option.

Segment One: Exploring Mammoth Cave National Park

In our first segment of Greetings from Mammoth Cave National Park, Dean talks about preparing for your visit. There are two great resources for learning more about this geological wonder. Check out this website for a deep dive into Mammoth Cave Karst Geology. And visit the Western Kentucky University Center for Cave and Karst Studies for even more information.

Mammoth Cave National Park consists of nearly 53,000 acres of land. Everyone visits for the caves (of course), but there are plenty of activities above ground as well. The Visitor Center was renovated in 2012 and is wonderful place to spend a couple of hours learning about the park and the caves. You’ll also want to look into the ranger activities that will be available during your visit. Regular ranger programs include:

  • Coffee with a Ranger
  • Porch Talk
  • Heritage Walk
  • Junior Ranger Nature Track
  • Echo River Springs Walk
  • Sloans Crossing Pond Walk
  • Evening Program at the Ampitheater

There are nearly 84 miles of hiking trails, and plenty of bike trails if you brought them along on your RV vacation. Horseback riding is a popular activity, or you can fish, canoe, and kayak on the many rivers and lakes in the park.

But it’s really all about the caves, so we make sure to cover all the info you need on choosing and reserving the right cave tours for your traveling crew. We talk about:

  • Mammoth Passage Tour
  • Frozen Niagara Tour
  • Historic Tour
  • Domes and Dripstones Tour
  • Mammoth Cave Accessible Tour
  • Grand Avenue Tour
  • Wild Cave Tour

Dean gives us his perspective on all of these options after decades of visits with his own family. You can also visit this site for more resources on booking cave tours at Mammoth Cave National Park.

Segment Two: Outside of Mammoth Cave National Park

Of course there is so much more to do in the area than visit the national park, and in the second segment of the podcast episode, Casita Dean give his favorite picks for exploring the surrounding region.

If you haven’t gotten your fill of cave exploration, you can also check out these other caves:

  • Cub Run Cave
  • Diamond Caverns
  • Hidden River Cave
  • Onyx Cave
  • Outlaw Cave

Check out this website for resources on visiting all the above places.

He also recommends these ‘touristy’ but fun attractions:

And make time for a visit to Bowling Green, Kentucky where you can check out…

This podcast episode will serve as a complete guide to a fantastic Mammoth Cave vacation, curated by our local expert, Casita Dean May. If you have any other questions about planning a trip to Mammoth Cave National Park, make sure you join our closed Facebook Group, where Casita Dean himself might even answer them for you!

Other links mentioned in the podcast…

  • Read about the Yogi Bear Jellystone Parks that received awards at the recent Jellystone Symposium.
Our GORE-TEX obsessions…

Cabela’s Rainy River Parka with GORE-TEX

Cabela’s Women’s XPG Waterproof Low Hikers

Meindl Men’s Perfekt Light Hikers

A very big thanks to our sponsors for supporting weekly content for all our RV travel fools…

23 Nov

RVFTA #169 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

On this episode of the RV Family Travel Atlas podcast, we are bringing you our 2017 Holiday Gift Guide. It’s our annual roundup of great gifts for all the RV enthusiasts that are on your holiday shopping list.

Also make sure to check out our very special 2017 Small Business Saturday Gift Guide for even more unique and creative RV-themed gifts.

Even though the most important part of the holiday season is spending time with our family and friends, we also know how fun it is to find that perfect gift for someone special. Here is a list of some of our favorite finds from the past year.

Segment One: Stephanie’s Holiday Gift Guide

Apple Watch ($199-$399)

Okay, this is a pricey one, but it’s also one of my very favorite things. My family got me one for Mother’s Day last spring, and I am completely addicted to this thing. Originally, I thought the Apple Watch was just an expensive fitness tracker, and I do adore the rings that I have to close everyday. But I was surprised at how it also helps me stay connected without a lot of the additional distractions of my cell phone. I can receive important texts or phone calls but not get tempted by email and social media when trying to disconnect.

The latest model, the Series 3, has cell and GPS capability. If you want to save a bit of money, go for the Series 2. I have been perfectly happy with it, and while it doesn’t have the cell service, it is waterproof…a much more important feature for a mom of young boys.

Sirius XM ($60 for 6 months)

We’ve been crushing on Sirius XM since we first got a free trial in a new car years ago. It was an on-again/off-again relationship, but now that our kids are a bit older, Sirius XM is a necessary part of the road trip experience.

We love that no matter where we are in the country, we can find music that everyone enjoys…at the same time. Plus, the sports, news, and comedy stations give us a much needed range of entertainment on long car drives.

This year we decided to splurge on the streaming package and now can access Sirius XM on our phones and computers, whether we are at home or at the campground. We use it every single day and would cancel cable before getting rid of our beloved satellite radio.

Beddy’s

If you follow us on Instagram or Facebook, you probably saw the post with our first Beddy’s set on the toy hauler Happy Jack bed. Making RV beds is quite the chore…RV bunks are a downright nightmare.

I have been aware of the Beddy’s product for awhile and have heard many RVers rave about how easy they are to make and how comfortable they are to sleep in. I finally had to find out for myself.

The verdict? Beddy’s are everything they are cracked up to be and more. I love that there is no more sloppy comforter hanging over the edge of the bed causing my RV OCD to go wild. I love even more that Theo is comfy cozy at night. He can easily zip up the bed in the morning before climbing down.

We have a special coupon code for RVFTA listeners. You can save 20% with the code RV Family at Beddys.com. Make sure you tag #rvfta in your Beddy’s pics!

Essential Oils Diffuser and Accessories

A couple of years ago, I started battling stinky boy odor in the RV by bringing along our oil diffuser. Now the whole family is hooked. We have a dedicated diffuser that lives in the RV and churns out peppermint, citrus, or lavender scents depending on our mood and time of day.

If your kids like a nightlight, you can get a diffuser that is illuminated. I like this one that is easily adjustable.

I also love my Evoon oils travel bag, so I can easily bring along and safely store whatever essential oils I’m in the mood for.

Essential Oil Diffuser Necklace from Red Cactus Design ($15)

I love no frills jewelry that fits in at the campground or out to dinner with my girlfriends. Red Cactus Designs has a ton of really beautiful pieces, but I particularly adore the essential oil diffuser necklace with a dragonfly etching. I can place a couple of drops of whatever oil I choose onto the terra cotta and then catch the scent all day long.

Cabela’s Women’s Wynter Boots ($99)

When we are camping in the winter, keeping my feet warm is my personal key to happiness. I was on the hunt for a super-warm boot that would also pass as reasonably stylish.

I found them.

These boots are waterproof with a Thinsulate lining. My feet are staying toasty, but I can wear them with a skinny jean and coat and not feel like Nanuk of the North. For the win.

And speaking of coats…

Cabela’s Coldspring Coat ($199)

I also wanted to break my habit of surviving the winter in a fashionable puffer coat that left me shivering if I wasn’t practically sitting in the campfire. I really dislike big, bulky winter coats, but I also dislike being cold. Humpff.

The Coldspring Coat manages to be warm without being overwhelming. I love, love, love the uneven hemline that dips in the back creating a very trendy profile.I’ve been wearing this coat with skinny jeans or leggings and all manner of shoes, and I haven’t felt like I was ready to trek to Greenland.

Segment Two: Jeremy’s Holiday Gift Guide

Coleman Triton InstaStart Two Burner Propane Stove

Jeremy has been claiming for a long time that he was going to learn how to make camp breakfast, but this was the year he finally did it. And like so many folks before him, he learned on a Coleman propane stove.

Cabela’s Outfitter Series Cast Iron Griddle

Jeremy didn’t consult me when buying a cheap, thin teflon coated griddle to make his pancakes. But the learning curve was steep and before long he had learned that you always cook with cast iron at the campground. Pair this cast iron griddle with the Coleman camp stove an you have a great gift for the camp cook in your life.

Don’t Call Them Trailer Trash, by John Bronkowski and Michael Closen ($19)

If you know someone who needs a little entertainment while their RV is winterized, get them this humorous coffee table book filled with pictures of vintage posters and RV-themed memorabilia.

Nebo Slide or Nebo Slyde King Flashlights ($25/$40)

Both of these flashlights have the same basic features, but one takes batteries and one is USB rechargeable, so you can choose based on personal preference. Its a 300 lumen flashlight and 200 lumen work light combination. There is a powerful magnetic base. Plus, Jeremy loves the packaging. Which is a pretty big deal.

Nite Ize Gearline Organizational System ($16)

We love their gear ties, and now we love this nifty contraption also. It’s a gear line made from rugged, wear-resistant webbing and you can hang it horizontally or vertically wherever you need to–in a tent, the RV storage bin, garage, or boat. There are a variety of carabiner clips and gear ties so you can switch it up according to what you need to store.

Southwire Surge Guard 34850 50 Amp ($299)

Every single RV owner should also have a surge guard. Southwire is a reputable family owned company in Georgia that has quite a reputation in home wiring across America. This Surge Guard is rated 120/240V, 50 A-3850 Joules. It continuously monitors and displays the voltage and amp draw, and protects against power surges, reverse polarity, and miswired pedestals.

UE Wonderboom Bluetooth Speaker ($85)

About the same size as a grapefruit, this bluetooth speaker takes up very little space but has a big 360-degree sound. We can play our music at the picnic table or campfire without broadcasting it to our campground neighbors. A small loop on the speakers allows us to hang it with a Nite Ize gear tie. Plus, it’s waterproof so we don’t have to worry about the common spilled beverage at our family dinner table.

Cabela’s Mens Roughneck Flannel Lined Stonewash Shirt ($42)

Warm, but not too warm. Casual, but easily dressed up. Jeremy and I rarely agree on his clothes, but we both love this shirt. It comes in a variety of colors, so you can get a couple and rotate through.

Cabela’s Men’s Pinnacle Gloves with Gore Tex ($75)

It’s the year of Gore Tex around these parts. It took us a while to realize that Gore Tex is possibly the most amazing thing in the whole wide world. First we fell in love with the rain coats…then it was the hiking boots. Now we’ve moved on to the seasonably appropriate Gore Tex glove. These are waterproof but breathable (of course) with PrimaLoft Gold insulation. A soft nylon cord goes around the wrist so you can take the gloves off without having to shove them in your pockets.

Segment Three: Under the RVFTA Christmas Tree

We really try hard to find gifts for the boys that will encourage their love of the outdoors and offer us an opportunity to have fun as a family. This year, we are giving them an archery set, so we can all learn a new hobby together.

We talked to some Outfitters at Cabela’s and they recommended the following gear to get us started. We’ll keep you posted as we go!

Genesis Camo Compound Bow Kit ($230)

Multiple Outfitters independently recommended this bow kit to us because they said it was great for young, beginning, or adult archery. The draw weight is adjustable from 10-20 pounds and the kit includes a belt, quiver, arm guard, and arrows.

Cabela’s Barricade Archery Target ($45)

You gotta give them something to aim for, right?

Polaroid Pic-300 Instant Film Camera ($65)

We are still on the fence about this one. The polaroid camera is back and our kids had a blast with this one that was highly recommended by some friends. However, we are not sure if our boys are into the camera enough to justify the purchase of polaroid film (an expense that could add up).

We wish you a very happy holiday season!

Stephanie + Jeremy

A big thanks to our sponsors for supporting weekly content for all our RV fools!

20 Nov

A Beginner’s Guide to Seasonal Camping: 5 Reasons Seasonal Camping Might Be Right for You!

We got a ton of response after our podcast episode on Seasonal Camping, featuring the awesome Jon and Heather Anderson, who signed up for their own seasonal campsite two years ago and absolutely love it. Go RVing asked us to produce a special podcast episode on the topic, breaking it down for folks who might be thinking about seasonal camping for the very first time.

Let’s be super duper clear…if you are thinking about a seasonal spot for next year, NOW is the time to book. If you wait to search for your own perfect getaway until next spring, it might just be too late.

Seasonal camping is when you reserve one campsite for an extended period of time, and you are free to come and go at your own convenience. Seasonal camping rates and schedules vary greatly from one campground to another, so you will have to do a bit of research to find one that suits your family.

Why would any self respecting RV travelers choose to reserve a single campsite at a single campground for an entire year?

Here are five reasons why seasonal camping might be a perfect fit, even if you have an unstoppable urge for adventure…

1. You can’t store your RV at home.

Many people are members of Home Owners Associations that do not allow recreation vehicles or boats to be stored in the driveway or yard. If you have to pay storage fees anyway, crunch the numbers on a seasonal spot. It may not cost that much more to find storage and a permanent campsite for your travel trailer or motorhome!

2. You want to camp more than you did last year.

We hear from so many of our podcast listeners that their primary goal is to camp more. Do you love your time at the campground, but find it difficult to make plans and reserve spots in advance? If you have a seasonal site, the RV is parked and waiting. All you have to do is show up with some clean clothes and a bag of groceries!

3. Your work and activity schedules keep you from taking extended vacations or long weekends.

The two-week family vacation has vanished from many workplaces in America, and many RVers struggle even to take a long weekend off. If your job makes is difficult to schedule time off in advance, a seasonal campsite will help you make the most of your brief breaks from the daily grind.

4. You want to maximize time at the campground and minimize packing, setup, and breakdown.

Short weekend getaways become even shorter when you factor in all the preparation and cleanup. When you have a seasonal site, your RV is set up and ready to go when you arrive on a Friday evening after a long weekend at work. A huge bonus is that you do not have to leave on Sunday morning. Sleep in and enjoy that cup of coffee…there are no check out times when you are a seasonal camper!

5. You love spending time in a region or area close to your home.

If there is an area within two hours of your sticks and bricks home that you return to over and over again, look for a seasonal camping spot in that region. It might be a lake, a state park, or the beach. If you can picture your happy place within easy driving distance, that is the perfect spot to park your rig!

If any of these five scenarios describe you, take a look at seasonal camping opportunities in your neck of the woods. It may just transform your RV lifestyle!

For more information, take a listen to our Seasonal Camping 101 Episode with Jon and Heather Anderson!

You can also visit Go RVing and check out their seasonal camping page for more information and resources.

See you at the campground!

16 Nov

RVFTA #168: Small Business Saturday RV Holiday Gift Guide

On this week’s episode of the RV Family Travel Atlas podcast, we are celebrating folks that are very dear to our hearts–small business owners across America that sell awesome RV products.

We put together a list of some of our favorite things, plus we crowdsourced recommendations from our listeners.

Tis the season for gift giving and we want to help you find awesome gifts from amazing small businesses. By the end of this episode, you’ll have a shopping strategy that helps you feel good while doing good.

Two quick notes…
  1. RVFTA listeners love gear and gift guides and we love recommended some of our favorite things. We hope to make your gift giving a bit more inspired and fun. However, we also know that the most important part of the holiday season is celebrating the blessings of family and friends. Spending time with loved ones is the best gift of all…so make sure you put that on your shopping list!
  2. We do use affiliate links if they are available for products that we use, love, and recommend. This means that if you choose to buy through our link, we earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that 160% of those earning goes back into buying more gear to review.

Now onto the goodies…

Segment One: Small Businesses that We Love!

Camp Casual

Camp Casual 12-piece dish set

Camp Casual launched back in 2014 (the same year as RVFTA!) and we love every single product that they put out. Their blankets have become the most popular item in our home, and our boys will fight over them mercilessly. The mugs are under $20 and would make a great stocking stuffer for your hubby or wife, or gift for your camping buddy.

Camp Casual is offering our listeners code RVFTA17 to receive 20% off a serving bowl and servers set at campcasual.com!!

See America

We have See America prints hanging in multiple rooms of our house from our favorite places we have visited around the country. All the prints are crowd-sourced, so there are many different styles of art to choose from. Our favorite artist is Matt Brass, and you should seriously check out his stuff (who also designed our RVFTA logo!).

You can also get mugs, totes, the very awesome See America Calendar that we buy every year for our home office.

A big high five to See America for offering our listeners code SeeAmericaRV to receive 20% off of everything in the See America store. Right now they are also offering free shipping on orders over $100, and you can use both offers together!

Toas-Tite Pie Irons

We bought our first Toas-Tite about three years ago, and they are still one of our favorite campfire accessories. Cooking over the campfire is so much fun for kids, and Toas-Tites make it super tasty, too.

We do grilled cheese and pizzas most often, but the gift pack comes with creative recipe cards if you want to get fancy.

Brooke Birch Tea Shop

Podcast listener Angelita Bonita is renovating a vintage camper, and she has started a tea business to raise the necessary funds. We were lucky enough to sample a range of her tea blends and can’t wait to place our next order. Mint Medley, Sunshine in a Cup, and Nutritive Tea were our family favorites, but you can email Angelita at brookebirchtea@gmail.com for a complete tea list.

Andee Fagan’s Ravelry Shop

Andee Fagan creates knitting patterns that we would most certainly buy if either one of us knew how to knit. She created the “Going to the Mountains” hat pattern for our Tents for Troops fundraiser last year. Her site also has ear warmers, scarves, and sweaters. The Squish Starfish is a personal favorite. If you have a knitter on your list, a pattern and some yarn would be a lovely gift.

Luci Inflatable Solar Lights by MPowerd

Janine Pettit reviewed the Luci Inflatable Solar Lights over on the Girl Camper podcast, and we got to see them in action at her campsite. Luci Lights are inflatable, waterproof solar LED lights that are perfect for the campground.

Luci Lights are made by the company Empowered, which has a strong social conscience and donates these lights to people around the world that do not have reliable electricity. They have donated over 65,000 lights to areas that have been recently affected by natural disasters. What a wonderful company to support with your gift list dollars.

Segment Two: Specialty Treats from Your Travels

One of the best things about travel is finding those small business treasures in towns and cities across America. Sometimes we forget that many of those shops also do a pretty lively  shipping business online. One of our favorite things to do is order treats from places we discovered over the past year of RV travel.

You should considering doing this, also.  Think about the coffee, wine, beer, or food you enjoyed on one of your trips and make that your go-to gift for friends and coworkers this year.

I’m never in the mood to do Christmas shopping during the summer, nor do I want to cart around a bunch of gifts in my RV. No worries…just order online during the holiday season!

Here are some of our favorite travel finds that offer great online gift options…

Beanstock Coffee Roasters in Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Eastern Shore Coastal Roasting Company in Cape Charles, Virginia

Fiore Artisan Olive Oils and Vinegars in Bar Harbor, Maine

Chatham Vineyards on Church Creek in Machipongo, Virginia

Cape May Honey in Cape May, New Jersey

Cherry Republic in Glen Arbor, Michigan

Charleston House of Jerky in Charleston, South Carolina

Segment Three: Etsy for RVers

Let’s come clean right off the bat: neither of us is a big Etsy shopper by habit. But we stumbled upon the Making Something Happy Etsy shop over a year ago and were smitten with the dish towels and pillows.

In order to discover more hidden Etsy gems for the RV enthusiast, we reached out to our listeners in the RVFTA Facebook Group and loved all the great recommendations…

Paper Giraffe Shop

The Paper Giraffe Shop has customizable printables that you can download, print, and frame. We love this as an affordable gift idea for the kids to give to Mom!

Lizzie Fish Signs

Lizzy Fish Signs has customizable camping rule signs. The wooden signs are a variety of sizes, and RVers can write any rules they want on them. Sit by the fire, nap everyday, relax, etc (or never stop moving, talk very loudly, and demand daily camp store ice cream in the case of our family).

Back Roads Mama

Some folks hate how standard sheets don’t fit RV bunks, and Back Roads Mama has a solution. This Etsy shop sells camper bunk sheets with very fashionable patterns and designs. They might even pass muster with your preteen.

Rustic Metal Head

Rustic Metal Head created metal work with RV themes, including wall art and tea light holders. The shops features A-frames, pop ups, tear drops, and class A items. We are suspecting custom designs might be available for folks with other RVs.

Sew Lost Design

Lots of camping and RV themed gifts can be found in the Sew Lost Design Etsy shop. One of our podcast listeners recommended the Class C keychain that they purchased recently.

The Crafty Camper Vinyl

Vinyl decals for your RV, camper, or tow vehicle are all the rage right now, and you can get your customized one at The Crafty Camper Vinyl Etsy shop.

Creative Designs 77

Many people purchase a customized sign for their campsite before they even go camping at their first campground. Creative Designs 77 has custom wood signs that are colorful and fun.

Black River Wood Shop

Black River Wood Shop is another place you can find a custom sign for your campsite. These are a bit more rustic and classic than the Creative Designs 77 ones, so check both sites out to find your personal favorite.

Birch Fabrics

Okay, this isn’t an Etsy shop, but enough podcast listeners gave it a thumbs up so we wanted to include it. Birch Fabrics has high quality fabrics with camping-themed designs. If you are crafty and like to make your own gifts, this might be a great place for inspiration.

We are so grateful for all the small businesses that have made our RV experience a little more fun or a bit more tasty over the years. Oftentimes the most special, thoughtful gifts come from unexpected discoveries during our RV journeys.

We hope our small business gift guide helps you find a bit of inspiration for delighting your loved one during the holiday season.

From our family to yours…a very happy holiday season!

Stephanie + Jeremy

A big thanks to our sponsors for supporting content for all our RV fools!

09 Nov

RVFTA #167: Meet Brandon Palaniuk, 2017 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year

When we met Brandon Palaniuk last month at the Cabela’s grand opening in Alberquerque, we immediately wanted to invite him onto the show to share his story with our listeners. Not only did Brandon Palaniuk recently win the 2017 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year title, he is also an amazingly nice guy who travels around in a pretty awesome toy hauler.

Inviting him on the show was a no brainer.

So we were excited to have Brandon on the podcast, but to be honest we never expected to be so inspired by his story of hard work and dedication. Brandon is a pretty young guy with a whole lot of wisdom to share, and we walked away from the interview excited to have our own boys listen to his story.

Segment One: How Does Someone Become Angler of the Year?

The world of tournament fishing is a complete mystery to us, but Brandon walked us through all the basics, from how the tournaments are organized to the points system for determining placement. While preparing for the interview, we stumbled onto a fantastic video that was produced over the course of the year, while Brandon pursued the title of Angler of the Year.

We got complete sucked in. Seriously.

Mostly we were struck by the long days, the physical demands, and the relentless focus that Brandon seemed to maintain throughout such a grueling schedule.

After watching this, you just might find yourself following the tournament schedule a little more closely in 2018…

We also got to talk to Brandon about his experiences as an RV newbie over the course of the last year. Brandon is on the road from January through September, and he decided an RV would help make that time a heck of a lot more comfortable. So far, he is thrilled with the decision to purchase a 44-foot, triple-axle Fuzion toy hauler. We chat about having a kitchen to prepare healthy food on the road, traveling with other folks in the RV, and his favorite campground experience in 2017.

Spoiler alert..it’s the 1,000 Islands/Association Island KOA.

If you want to find out even more about Brandon’s life after he puts down the fishing pole and calls it a day, check out this page on Cabela’s site with some pics of him getting up to some fun shenanigans…

Segment Two: Brandon’s Tips for Taking Your Fishing Game to the Next Level

We couldn’t have Brandon on the show without getting a little bit of fishing advice from the expert himself.

Brandon does a great job of bringing it to the masses and sharing three tips for upping your fishing game, even if you are at ‘campground lake level’ of fishing like we are.

He talks about not getting stuck in a rut with either your gear or your technique. And he also shares a great piece of wisdom that we will be passing along to our boys…

“You never fail. You only win or you learn.”

And that’s why we love Brandon Palaniuk.

We truly hope our paths cross again someday, or we will at least look forward to having him back on the show. You can find his official website here, and you can also follow him on Instagram @brandonpalaniuk like we do!

The best of luck to this guy in 2018! We will be routing for him.

Other important links mentioned in the show include…

Kidde Fire Extinguisher Recall Information

A big thanks to our sponsors for supporting content for all our RV fools…

See you at the campground!

02 Nov

RVFTA #166: The $1,000 Used Pop Up Camper

On this episode of the RV Family Travel Atlas podcast, we are telling the story behind our recent purchase of a $1,000 used pop up camper.

No, we didn’t get rid of the 2017 Jayco Octane 272. We just became a two-RV family.

Why on earth did we do that? We’ll go through the whole process from deciding to get a second RV to tracking down the perfect unit to negotiating a fair price to all of our plans for the remodel.

Segment One: The Used Pop Up Camper Hunt

There are many reasons why a used pop up camper was on our radar even though we just bought a brand spankin’ new toy hauler last winter.

The Octane toy hauler makes a ton of sense for us as a family, especially considering how much time we spend in our RV and how much gear we bring on our longer trips. However, the decision to go bigger came with some tradeoffs.

Heads up: everything comes with trade offs…

We now have to store our Octane away from our house, and quick weekend trips are more of a challenge. Plus, there are many rustic public campgrounds that are simply off limits to a rig that is over 30 feet.

I (Stephanie) also have the opportunity to attend lots of girl camper events. There is no way I would tow the enormous family camper to one of those weekend campouts. That would be ridiculous for too many reasons to list.

Plus…

We decided to put our money where our mouth is. We made a big mistake 8 years ago when we spend too much money on a new pop up camper and then took a financial hit when upgrading to a travel two years later. We highly recommend that listeners think about a used pop up as an affordable and fun way to enter into the RV lifestyle.

Think of this pop up camper as a living example of us practicing what we preach: cheap, used pop up campers are awesome.

In this first segment of the podcast, we also discuss all the budget and spec parameters we placed on our hunt, including a very strict dollar limit and a total ban on Craigslist.

The search took about two months, and plenty of our lowball offers were rejected. But ultimately, we came home with a used pop up camper that hit all the checkmarks on our list. You can listen to the episode to hear all the details.

Segment Two: Penny the $1000 Used Pop Up Camper

Penny the Pop Up is a 1996 Jayco Eagle Series 8 pop up camper. You can click here to see the entire PDF brochure from Jayco for this series of pop up campers.

We were looking for something small, simple, and in fabulous condition, and Penny hit the mark in all these categories.

A little safety maintenance work was in order immediately. We brought the pop up directly to a local trailer supply shop to have her axle inspected and lubed, plus we had safety chains welded on.

Some of our plans for Penny’s refresh include:

  • Reupholstering the cushions
  • Slip covers for the beds
  • Replacing curtains
  • Laying new flooring
  • Installing a Porti Potti closet
  • Cleaning the exterior and refreshing the decals

Stay tuned for updates on all these projects. We’ll definitely be keeping our winterization blues in check by having fun with our inexpensive used pop up camper!

We also chat about how Penny got her name…and how the Octane Toy Hauler was finally named as a direct result.

Additional Information: RV News Minute and RVFTA News Roundup

Other information and links mentioned in this episode include…

Other RVFTA Pop Up Camper Episodes include…

Tips for Buying A Used Pop Up Camper with the Pop Up Princess

RV Makeover 101 with the Pop Up Princess

An Ode to the Pop Up Camper

And our second podcast episode EVER: Pros and Cons of a Pop Up Camper

See you at the campground!

Stephanie + Jeremy

A great, big thanks to our sponsors who support weekly content for all our RV fools…

26 Oct

3 Easy and Delicious Recipes for RV Tailgating

Food is a pretty important part of the whole tailgating experience. Everyone wants a delicious spread, but RV tailgating experts tell us that you better keep the food pretty simple if you really want to have fun spending time with your family, friends, and fellow fans.

Lucky for us, RVFTA listener Kelli Hall has three favorite tailgating recipes that she was willing to pass along. They all sound completely yummy and ridiculously simple…which is the perfect RV tailgating combination! You can download and print recipe cards by clicking here.

Kelli gathers with a group of 40 of her closest family and friends every year at Ohio State University. As far as we can tell, these folks are pretty dialed in on how to have a great time while rooting for your favorite team.

Go Buckeyes!

To hear more about RV tailgating, make sure you check out RV Family Travel Atlas podcast episode #165: RV Tailgating 101.

Easy Golden Meatballs

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound bag of frozen meatballs
  • 1 can of Golden Mushroom Soup
  • 1.5 ounces of red wine

Directions:

Mix soup and wine together and pour over meatballs in an electric skillet heated to 350 degrees. You can use a crock pot if you prefer. Cook, stirring frequently, until meatballs are hot through the center. Turn down to lowest heat and keep warm for serving.

Mark’s Taco Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce shredded or cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 bottle Catalina dressing
  • 1 large bag of Doritos, crushed in bag

Directions:

Cook the ground beef, seasoning with salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, and chili powder, or use a package of taco seasoning if preferred.

Prepare all ingredients before event, but keep separate until ready to serve. Mix all items in a large bowl and toss with the Catalina dressing.

Sweet Sausage and Peppers

Note: this recipe feeds a crowd of 40 tailgaters, so adjust amounts accordingly…

Ingredients:

  • 5 pounds Mild Italian Sausage (Kelli buys the Costco package)
  • 24 multi-colored bell peppers (Kelli buys 4 packages at Costco)
  • 4 large onions
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil

Directions:

Bake the sausages in a 350 degree onion for 35 minutes. Cut peppers and onions into long slices. Coat the bottom of a roaster pan with olive oil. Add the balsamic vinegar. Add peppers and onion and cook until they are lightly browned and sweet. You can add the sausages to the peppers and onions, or keep them separate for serving!

A big, huge thanks to Kelli for sharing these three delicious and easy recipes that are perfect for RV tailgating. And even if you’re not tailgating anytime soon, they would taste just as yummy at the campground.

See ya at the tailgate!

26 Oct

RVFTA #165 RV Tailgating 101

On this week’s episode of the RV Family Travel Atlas podcast, we dive into the very popular world of RV tailgating. This is an annual tradition for many RV owners, and we wanted to get a better look at what it’s all about.

So we reached out to a couple of RVFTA podcast listeners who know what they are talking about!

Kim Fitzsimmons is from Indiana, and recently enjoyed her first foray into RV tailgating by camping at the Indycar Grand Prix in Indianapolis. And Kelli Hall is a veteran tailgater who gathers with 40 of her closest family and friends every year at Ohio State University. Both ladies pitched in to give us great content (and pictures!) for our RV Tailgating episode.

Segment One: Meet Kim Fitzsimmons

We thought it would be fun to talk to someone who had just had their first tailgating experience. Kim and her family recently bought a Jayco Greyhawk Class C motorhome, and decided that they would try out tailgating in their own stomping ground of Indianapolis. She walks us through the whole experience of camping on the grounds of the Indycar Grand Prix in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Did they absolutely love it? You betcha!

Segment Two: 6 Tips for RV Tailgating Newbies

Hindsight is 20/20 and there is no better person to offer advice than a newbie who has just gone through the RV tailgating experience for the first time. Kim is excited to continue tailgating with her family, but she definitely learned a lot during her first experience and is happy to share with the RVFTA community.

Listen to hear Kim talk about planning, food prep, and setting appropriate expectations (spoiler alert: you aren’t camping at a campground, folks!).

Segment Three: Kelli Hall’s Top 3 RV Tailgating Recipes

Kelli gave us a TON of great tailgating advice, and to be honest we plan on having her on the show for our next tailgating episode (don’t tell her…it’s a surprise). Even though we couldn’t make it out to Ohio State to join the party, Kelli agreed to share some of her favorite RV tailgating recipes. Kim and Kelli both emphasized the need to prep ahead and keep the food simple.

We think that’s awesome advice for tailgating and regular ole camping.

You can get the full recipes for Easy Golden Meatballs, Mark’s Taco Salad, and Sweet Sausage & Peppers here.

A huge thanks to Kim and Kelli for helping us create our RV Tailgating 101 episode. It was so much fun to learn more about this great RVing activity. We can’t wait to join a tailgating party in real life.

Thanks also to our sponsors for supporting weekly content for all our RV and tailgating fools…

See you at the tailgate!

Stephanie + Jeremy

19 Oct

RVFTA #164 The Fit RV Campervans Through Europe!

 

 

On this week’s episode of the RV Family Travel Atlas podcast, we are talking to the wonderful duo from The Fit RV: James and Stef Adinaro. The healthiest RV couple in the world recently took a break from filming their fun and educational YouTube videos and headed to Germany on an epic European campervan adventure!

In this episode we talk about planning for a European RV vacation and the travel highlights from their trip. Plus, we get to hear all about their visit to the Truma Headquarters and what it’s like to camp across the pond.

Segment One: All the Travel Details

In the first segment, Stef and James tell us how they planned out their stops and picked their campgrounds. Spoiler alert: reservations seem to be the only way to go, especially when traveling during peak holiday months.

We were honestly surprised to here the descriptions of campgrounds and how they compared to their American counterparts. Listen to hear all about…

Google Maps helped them in locating campgrounds and finding reviews. They also used the ACSI app, a directory for European campgrounds.

Segment Two: RVs and RV Culture in Europe

The Fit RV really enjoyed their tour of the Truma Headquarters in Germany. They were particularly blown away by the cleanliness and the technology that seamed lightyears ahead of American RV factories.

Plus, they visited the Dusseldorf RV Show during their visit…

We also chat about the similarities and differences in campground culture and the rigs themselves. We learned a lot in this segment, and found out many of our preconceived notions about campervanning in Europe were not exactly on the mark.

In fact, after this interview we both felt like an RV trip in Europe would be more accessible and easy to pull off than we had previously imagined!

Make sure you check out all The Fit RV’s YouTube videos from their epic European adventure, and visit The Fit RV blog for more details!

A big thanks to our sponsors for supporting weekly content for all our RV and Campervanning fools:-)

See you at the campground,

Stephanie + Jeremy

 

12 Oct

RVFTA #163 The RV Capital of the World: A Fun-Filled Indiana History with Author Al Hesselbart

On this week’s episode of the RV Family Travel Atlas podcast, we interview the fascinating Al Hesselbart, author of the new book RV Capital of the World: A Fun-Filled Indiana History. The book is most definitely fun-filled…and so is our chat with Al. Listen to the podcast to hear how you can win a signed copy of the book!

We talk about how Elkhart, Indiana became the ‘RV Capital of the World’ and all the quirky, interesting folks that have shaped the industry over the years. Plus, Al gives us his take on recent consolidation and some predictions for the future.

Al Hesselbart’s newest book is RV Capital of the World: A Fun-Filled Indiana History, and you can find it here…

And his previous book is The Dumb Things Sold, Just Like That!, which you can find here…

Segment One: The early years of the RV Industry

In the first part of the interview, we explore how so much of the RV industry ended up being consolidated in the small midwestern town of Elkhart, Indiana. Al Hesselbart tells the story of imaginations being sparked by the Chicago’s World Fair, and how ambitious entrepreneurs took advantage of social and economic realities to build a brand new industry in America.

Segment Two: The Modern RV Industry

In the second part of the interview, Al helps us understand how the RV industry changed from encompassing hundreds and hundreds of manufacturers to a consolidated industry with three main players. We get schooled on the oil embargos of the 70’s and how they eventually led to the creation of Forest River under the leadership of Peter Liegl.

We could have talked to Al Hesselbart for hours about the captivating and unique stories that make up the story of the RV industry. We managed to keep it under an hour, but we will look forward to having him back for another chat.

And we just have to include a picture of Al’s 40-year old motorhome, the Newell.

RV News Minute

If you are interested in reading the article from RV Business on the Endurance line of Goodyear Tires, you can find it here.

RVFTA News Roundup

Make sure you listen to the episode to find out how you can win a signed copy of RV Capital of the World: A Fun-Filled Indiana History.

Check out our Campground Etiquette article in the latest issue of Trailer Life Magazine. You can subscribe to the magazine via mail delivery, or just get it on your local newsstand.

A big thanks to our sponsors for supporting weekly content for all our RV fools…

See you at the campground!

04 Oct

RVFTA #162 Greetings from Albuquerque, New Mexico!

On this episode of the RV Family Travel Atlas podcast, we are talking about our magical trip to New Mexico, otherwise known as the Land of Enchantment. We packed as much as we could into our brief stay and wanted to share the highlights with you.


From the amazing weather to the national monuments, volcanoes, great food, and shopping, we enjoyed a whirlwind tour of the Albuquerque region. Our visit left us asking one question: how soon do we get to go back?

Listen to hear us chat about…

  • The 5 things we learned about RVers in New Mexico
  • Petroglyph National Monument
  • Regional hiking
  • FOOD!!!!

You can also check out a complete review of the Albuquerque Central KOA, where we stayed during our visit, over on the Campground of the Week podcast episode #101.

Other links mentioned during the podcast:

A special thanks to our sponsors who support weekly content for all our RV fools!

28 Sep

RVFTA #161 Say Hello to ROVA Magazine!

We’ve been talking about our love affair with ROVA since the magazine launched it’s first issue back in Spring of 2017.We adore the idea of more RV media geared toward a new generation of traveler, and we were impressed by the content.

So on this episode of the RV Family Travel Atlas podcast, we invited editor-in-chief Gemma Peckham onto the show to talk about how ROVA came into existence.

Segment One: The Origin Story

In our first segment, Gemma talks about her move from Australia to New York City, and how she convinced folks that a magazine for young, nomadic millennials would be a viable publishing endeavor.

Segment Two: The Adventures

In our second segment, we dive into the content of the first three ROVA Adventures. We talk about some of our favorite articles and what makes the stories in ROVA stand out in world of travel writing.

RVFTA News Roundup

Other topics discussed in this issue include…

  • Celebrating Campground of the Week’s 100th episode with the 10 most popular campground reviews.
  • Big thanks to the friendly RVFTA community in New Mexico! Stay tuned for more content about our stay on next week’s episode.
  • Check out episode #103 of the Girl Camper podcast, where Janine Pettit gives tips for fun RV DIY projects. This episode is for everyone, not just the girls.

Make sure you head over to ROVA and subscribe before you miss the next adventure! You can also find some pretty sweet RV travel eye candy over on the ROVA IG account.

A big thanks to our sponsors for supporting weekly content for all our RV fools…

27 Sep

10 Most Popular Campground Reviews from RVFTA’s Campground of the Week Podcast

For the 100th episode of the Campground of the Week podcast, we decided to look back and share the 10 most popular campground reviews from the show. When we checked out the download numbers, the top reviews ended up being a pretty diverse mix of resort, national, and state parks from locations around the country.

You can listen to us chat about all these campground reviews on episode #100 of Campground of the Week…

Check out all the campgrounds that made the list below. We have linked to the show notes and the episode in iTunes. We would love to hear what your favorite Campground of the Week episode is, so leave us a comment below!

#10: Devils Tower KOA in Wyoming

by Kerri Cox

Episode #54 Show Notes
Episode #54 iTunes Link

It can be tricky for some folks to decide if Devils Tower National Monument is worth a stopover when visiting iconic destinations like Mount Rushmore and Yellowstone National Park. Listen to hear Kerri explain why you should make time for this place and just how long you need to stay!

 

#9: Cheyenne Mountain State Park in Colorado

by Scott Elias

Episode #58 Show Notes
Episode #58 iTunes Link

This state park gem is located near Colorado Springs, just about an hour away from Denver. Listen to hear Scott talk about the great nearby spots including Pike’s Peak and Garden of the Gods. There may be a good brewery or two nearby as well.

#8: Ventura Beach RV Park in California

by Kate Dunbar

Episode #61 Show Notes
Episode #61 iTunes Link

Located in the heart of iconic Ventura Beach, California, Kate loves how you can walk or bike to the beach right from the campground. This place has all the activities of a great family campground, including an epic weekly Karaoke night. Tune up the ole voice box for your stay.

#7: Jellystone Park Maryland in Hagerstown

by Stephanie and Jeremy Puglisi

Episode #83 Show Notes
Episode #83 iTunes Link

This campground flew to the top of our personal ‘Best Of’ list because of the perfect combination of campground activities and amenities along with quiet, spacious campsites. Pools, waterslides, ninja training courses…this is a must-visit if you love the Jellystone family experience!

#6: Fort De Soto Park Campground in Florida

by Stephanie and Jeremy Puglisi

Episode #66 Show Notes
Episode #66 iTunes Link

Fort De Soto is simply one of the prettiest campgrounds in America. The palm trees and waterfront sites are RV heaven, and the many sites offer water access for kayaking. You can bike on extensive paths through the whole park and relax on the white sand beaches. Tampa is only about 45 minutes away.

#5: Branches of Niagara in New York State

by Stephanie and Jeremy Puglisi

Episode #62 Show Notes
Episode #62 iTunes Link

Niagara Falls is on most folks’ RV destination bucket list, and Branches of Niagara is the perfect place to stay during your visit. We love the way it feels like a summer camp for the entire family with planned activities, visiting recreation programs, and an onsite zipline(!).

#4: My Old Kentucky Home State Park in Kentucky

by Casita Dean

Episode #63 Show Notes
Episode #63 iTunes Link

My Old Kentucky Home State Park is an example of why people rave about the Kentucky State Park system. Quaint and clean, the campground offers water and electric hookups along with a few precious full hook up sites. The campground also offers you close proximity to the other park attractions like a mansion tour and outdoor theatre. Added bonus? The nearby city of Bardstown, which has been named one of the most beautiful small towns in America.

#3: Colter Bay RV Park in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming

by Kerri Cox

Episode #60 Show Notes
Episode #60 iTunes Link

Some people skip visiting Grand Teton National Park when they head out on those epic western road trips. In this episode, Kerri Cox makes a case for this being a must-see destination.

#2: Fort Wilderness Walt Disney World in Florida

by Stephanie and Jeremy Puglisi

Episode #67 Show Notes
Episode #67 iTunes Link

Often considered the best campground in America, we were actually surprised this wasn’t THE most popular episode from the Campground of the Week podcast. We certainly had an amazing stay at Fort Wilderness, and will make sure we get to spend even more time at the campground when we visit Disney next time.

#1: Myrtle Beach KOA in South Carolina

by Stephanie and Jeremy Puglisi

Episode #55 Show Notes
Episode #55 iTunes Link

We were a bit surprised to find that this campground was our most popular episode out of the 99 we have produced so far! It does happen to be one of our favorite family getaway spots of all time, though, so we are happy to have it at the top. We love the way the Myrtle Beach KOA puts us right in the middle of the action, but feels like a million miles away. We always look forward to returning.

Thanks for joining us for the first 100 episodes of Campground of the Week! Stay tuned for the next 100…

See you at the campground,

Stephanie + Jeremy

21 Sep

What Can You Get for Your Money? Show Pricing at the Hershey RV Show 2017

On this week’s episode of the RV Family Travel Atlas podcast, we are looking at some select models from the 2017 Hershey RV Show in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Budget is king when shopping for an RV, so this year we decided to take a good look at the numbers and share what you can buy at a variety of different price points.

From small travel trailers to gas Class A motorhomes to luxury Class B vans, we’ll talk about our favorite picks from a range of manufacturers. Plus we’ll share MSRP and show pricing on every model, so you can get an idea of the deals that are out there right now.

Segment One: Featured Travel Trailers

Listen to episode #160 to hear more details about all of these models.

Pick #1: Forest River RPod T179

This is a great floor plan from America’s number one selling lightweight travel trailer.

MSRP: $23,541.75

Show Price: $16,500

Pick #2: Grand Design Imagine 2400BH

Want the elusive ‘under 30 feet’ bunk model with private master bedroom? This is your unicorn.

MSRP: $33,834

Show Price: $26,782

Pick #3: Jayco White Hawk 25FK

The front kitchen with huge window is the star of the show in this unit.

MSRP: $35,375

Show Price: $25,994

Segment Two: Featured Motorized Units

Listen to episode #160 to hear more details about all these models.

Pick #4: Coachmen Prism 2200 (Class C)

This floor plan makes 22 feet feel downright spacious.

MSRP: $119,155

Show Price: $87,892

Pick #5: Winnebago Vista 32YE (Gas Class A)

An affordable way to get into a Class A.

MSRP: $134,337

Show Price: $96,999

Pick #6: Airstream Atlas

Stunning luxury, design, and price point.

MSRP: $219,000

Show Price: $199,000

Other Episode Information…

Check out our Facebook Live video’s from the Hershey RV Show…

Check out the Winnebago new product launches:

Thanks to our sponsors for supporting weekly content for all our RV fools!

See you at the RV Show!

Stephanie + Jeremy

 

14 Sep

RVFTA 2017 Fall Gear Guide!

It’s that time of year again…time for us to round up and share some of the best new gear that we have been using during the 2017 camping season. Our gear guides are some of our most popular episodes, and it’s always exciting to recommend products that have brought value to our RV experience over the past year.

We have been doing gear guides in the fall and spring for the last three years, so if you’ve missed any, check them out on the blog or in the iTunes store. Looking back, we can honestly say we still regularly use so many of the products we have talked about over the years. In fact, we are seriously considering a Best of the Best Gear Guide in the near future!

Segment One: Our Fall Gear Guide Picks

In the first segment of the RVFTA 2017 Fall Gear Guide, we review about a dozen of our favorite new products this year. We’ve listed them below, and you can click on the picture or the product name to bring you to a place of purchase! A reminder that online prices change frequently, so there may be some fluctuation between the price we list and the one you find.

Pocket Hose Top Brass Bullet Expanding Hose, $44.99

Brass Hose Splitter wth 2-Way Shut off Valve, $9.99

Thetford Porta Potti 320P, $106.00

Accutire Digital Tire Pressure Gauge, $12.00

Emotion Guster 10 Kayaks, $349.99

Stanley Fatmax Rechargable Spotlight, $49.99

Olympus TG-5 Waterproof Camera, $449.00

Cabela’s Six-Compartment Camp Cupboard, $99.99

Dual Height, Three-Shelf Camp Cupboard, $59.99

Not in My Backyard Fabric Wearable Wristbands and Inserts, $14.99

Clear2O Water Filter Pitcher, $32.99

Camp Casual Sequoia Blanket, $89.99

Segment Two: Brett’s Picks from the Outdoor Retailer Show 

AfterShokz Trekz Titanium Wireless Bluetooth Headphones, 129.95

Bubi Bottle, 22 oz, $26.99

JBL Flip 4 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker, $91.00

Stops the Sting by Mountain Mike Remedies, $6.99

Mid Land Micro Mobile GMRS Radio, $149.99

DrinkTank Keg Cap Accessory Kit, $45.00

A big thanks to our sponsors for supporting content for all our RV fools!

We will see you at the campground!

Stephanie + Jeremy

 

07 Sep

RVFTA #158 RV Show Shopping 101

September brings cooler temperatures, back to school routines, and the official opening of RV Show Season at the Hershey RV Show in Pennsylvania. RV shows can bring amazing educational experiences and fantastic buying deals for consumers, but they can also leave some folks feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.

So we decided to compile all our RV Show Shopping tips in one single episode to help you make the most of your RV show visit this year. Listen to hear our advice that will be applicable no matter where you are on your shopping journey.

To download a RV research and recording sheet created by RVFTA listener Heather Anderson, click here.

Segment One: General RV Show Tips

In this segment we did into the basics for all of the larger RV shows. We have seen even the most seasoned RVers overwhelmed when confronted with acres of rigs and no clear game plan. We chat about…

  • Planning ahead
  • Being prepared
  • Creating goals and objectives
  • Talking to the right people
  • And much, much more

Segment Two: Different Types of Shoppers

In the second segment, we talk about the different types of shoppers at RV shows and offer our best tips for making the most out of your visit no matter where you are in your RV journey. We break it down into the following categories…

  • Dreamers and Newbies
  • Ready for the upgrade
  • Ready to buy

Your time at an RV show will look dramatically different depending on which category you fit into. We’ve got a RV pep talk for everyone!

Segment Three: RVFTA News Roundup

Our own RV Show season kicks off at the Hershey RV Show, where we will be hanging out at the Jayco display during the following times:

  • Thursday, September 14th, 5-6 pm
  • Friday & Saturday, September 15-16th, 2-3:30 pm

Plus, we will be at the Florida RV SuperShow in Tampa from January 17th-21st. Mark your calendars and join us!!! You can find more info here.

A big thanks to our sponsors for supporting weekly content for all you RV fools…



See you at the RV Show!

Stephanie + Jeremy

01 Sep

RVFTA #157 The New RV Learning Curve

Our longtime listeners know that we bought a new RV last winter and made the big leap from a bunkhouse travel trailer to a toy hauler. Well, we spent a few dozen nights camping in it already, and we’re ready to share some of our initial impressions.

If you want to check out our reflections on our previous White Hawk travel trailer, and listen to our expectations for the Octane SL 272, you can tune in to episode #120 Saying Goodby to our Jayco White Hawk Travel Trailer and episode #121 Saying Hello to our Jayco Octane Superlite Toy Hauler. If you would like a visual of our RV floor plan, check out the details here.

Segment One: The New RV Blues

We are being super honest here and sharing some experiences that caught us by surprise. The cold, hard truth? Our last travel trailer was awesome, gave us no major problems, and was completely customized to our family’s storage and travel needs. It came as somewhat of a shock to realize that the excitement of buying a new RV was somewhat tempered by the work involved in learning the new systems and organizing the new space.

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