20 Jul

RVFTA #150 The Rise of the Park Model

Say goodbye to the yesterday’s manufactured home! Today’s seasonal-centric campgrounds are often comfortable and well-appointed RV resorts, filled with residential park models that are packed with creature comforts at affordable price points. Seasonal camping has become more popular than ever. So after you have pulled the trigger on that perfect campground retreat, a park model may not be too far in the future.

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas we are going to take a closer look at this growing segment of RV sales.  Our special guest is Amy Duthie, senior director of product development for Jayco. We invited Amy onto the podcast to educate us about her “Bungalow” line of park models, and this segment of the industry in general. (To learn even more about Amy, click here!)

Amy will answer questions about:

  • Differences between park models and travel trailers
  • What attracts consumers to park models
  • The logistics of buying, setting up, and caring for a park model
  • Major design changes in park models over the years

And much more…

You might think park models are only for retirees that have put away their traveling shoes, but we know they might be the perfect way for busy families to actually find their way to the campground!

Thanks to our sponsors for supporting weekly content for all our RVing fools…

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13 Jul

RVFTA #150: Tents for Troops and the Healing Power of the Campground

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas , we are sharing an update on RVFTA’s fundraising initiative for the Tents for Troops RV Loaner Program. Last fall we announced our goal of raising 10,000 dollars to purchase a travel trailer which would be permanently housed at a campground and available exclusively to active duty military. Check out that podcast episode for more details about the charity and our RVFTA podcast network initiative!

Well, you all came through!!!! On account of the generosity of RVFTA listeners, we can now announce the awesome details of this charitable project. Listen to this week’s show to hear about the rig being purchased and the campground where it will be located.

Plus, we invited on Tatianna Coffinger, a longtime RVFTA listener who has a compelling story for why her family chose to contribute to the Tents for Troops fundraiser. Tatianna knows a thing or two about how camping can be a rejuvenating force for a family, and you may need a tissue for this segment.

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

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See you at the campground!

Stephanie + Jeremy

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06 Jul

Episode #149 Pros and Cons of a Fifth Wheel

It’s been a long time coming, but now its finally here! Our EXTRA HUGE Pros and Cons of a Fifth Wheel episode! If you have ever wondered if a fabulous fiver might be right for your family, then this episode is for you.

We will talk about the best aspects of the fifth wheel, such as:

  1. Residential Feel
  2. Private Master Bedroom
  3. On Point Mid Bunk options

And some drawbacks and things to consider, such as:

  1. Need for a HUGE tow vehicle
  2. Losing the bed of your truck
  3. Increased height and need far more caution

And much, much more!

Plus, we invited Chris Barth, Senior Director of Product Development at Jayco, onto the show for the first time. And we are so glad we did. Chris is an encyclopedia of knowledge about fifth wheels and he talks about his Eagle fifth wheels in detail, and the market segment in general. Chris breaks down what floor plans are selling like hotcakes, and who is buying them.  We loved chatting with him and look forward to having him back on the show.

You might think its impossible to figure out what towable RV will work best for your family. But we know that a good ole list of pros and cons can clarify any situation! You are listening to episode #149 of RVFTA, the Pros and Cons of a Fifth Wheel!

Thanks to our sponsors for supporting weekly content for all our RVing fools…

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29 Jun

RVFTA #148 Smokin’ and Grillin’ 101 With Casita Dean!

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas we are taking you to summer school and diving into the yummy world of smokin’ and grillin’. This is truly one of America’s greatest pastimes, and the way many of us feed our families in the summer both at home and on the road.


So we invited Campground of the Week correspondent (and international egg camping superstar) Casita Dean May onto the show to coach us through the process of smokin’ and grillin’ in the backyard and at the campground. He’ll tell us about ALL of the basic gear and cookbooks we need, the most important steps in the process, and then–most important of all–his favorite recipes.

Gear:

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22 Jun

RVFTA #147 Planning a Trip to the Pacific Northwest

We can’t wait to wake up with this view at the Oceanside Beachfront RV Resort in Oregon! We are only days away from our bucket-list trip to the Pacific Northwest that will include visits to 3 states, 5 campgrounds, and at least 5 national and state parks. On this week’s podcast episode, we wanted to share details about the planning that went into this very special adventure.

Segment One: The Trip Details

Our sticks and bricks home is in New Jersey, and we decided NOT to haul our RV all the way across the country to visit the Pacific Northwest. We’ll discuss some of the reasons for this decision as well as the resulting pros and cons . In this segment, we’ll also give a sneak peak at the campgrounds, cities, and parks we’ll be visiting.

Segment Two: The Trip Planning

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15 Jun

RVFTA #146 RV Road Trip Tips 2017

It’s that time of year, and many folks are hitting the road for the summer travel season. On this episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are talking about some ways to stay happy and healthy while getting from point A to point B.

We could all use some fresh ideas to make the journey a little better, so we have compiled tips for staying safe and having a bit more fun, even if you are a prisoner to your kids’ 99th round of 21 Questions.

You might want to throw on a pair of noise-cancelling headphones and try to teleport to the next destination, but we want you to know that the journey really can be a great part of the adventure. So here are some fresh ideas for enjoying the ride…

Segment One: Staying Safe

It’s way more fun to talk about trip planning than safety, but the bottom line is that an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure. Take these precautions to make sure you arrive safe and sound at your epic destination…

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08 Jun

RVFTA #145 Craft Beer 101 with Scott Elias

On this week’s episode of the RV Family Travel Atlas podcast, we are taking you to school and diving into the trending world of craft brewing. There are more and more location-based craft breweries, which offer a great chance to experience regional culture during an RV vacation.

So we invited Campground of the Week correspondent Scott Elias onto the show to coach us through the process of finding and enjoying amazing craft beer. He helps us sort out the difference between an IPA and a Belgian beer, plus offers some great resources for keeping track of those favorite pints once we find them.

Segment One: The Basics of Craft Beer

This is basically the everything you want to know but are too embarrassed to ask segment. We are never embarrassed to ask the most basic questions, and luckily Scott is very patient and has great answers. We discuss..

  • IPAs
  • Belgians
  • Pilsners and Lagers
  • Porters and Stouts
  • Wheats
  • Sours

Then Scott gives some really good advice for figuring out what you like and what time of the year you might want to drink it.

Segment Two: The Basics of the Craft Brewery

We all want to have a great experience when visiting a brewery, but to be honest it can be a bit overwhelming if you consider yourself a craft beer novice. Scott give us actionable advice for making a trip to the brewery a success, like downloading the app Untappd, which can help you keep track of the beers you like and also get recommendations from other users.

Scott also shares some of his favorite breweries from around the country.

Segment Three: Recommendations from the RVFTA Community

We asked our RVFTA craft beer fans for their favorite recommendations, and boy did they come through. Check out the post with all of these great brewery and campground picks from the real experts by heading over to our RVFTA Facebook group.

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

See you at the campground!

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25 May

RVFTA #143 Tips for Buying a Used Pop Up Camper with the Pop Up Princess

Photos courtesy of The Pop Up Princess

For many folks buying a used pop up camper is the easiest and most affordable way to jump into the RV lifestyle. There are many reasons why a pop up camper is a great way to get your feet wet, since they are so easy to tow and super easy to store.

However, the process of shopping for a used pop up camper can be a bit overwhelming. Inexperienced shoppers often make mistakes that end up costing a ton of money and a ton of time.

Lucky for us the Pop Up Princess came onto the podcast to guide us through the exciting but daunting experience of searching for the perfect used pop up camper. Larissa Richardson has seen a ton of pop up camper remodels, and she knows what she is talking about.

The Hunt for a Used Pop Up Camper

In the first segment, Larissa talks about all the things you need to research and decide before shopping for a used pop up camper. Important points include:

  • Current tow capacity
  • desired features
  • budget
  • deal breakers

Inspecting a Used Pop Up Camper before Purchase

In the second segment, Larissa walks us through her amazing checklist of all the things you should inspect before purchasing a used pop up camper. Seriously, everyone should be armed with this PDF checklist before going to check a rig out. We discuss:

  • roof
  • flooring
  • lift systems
  • canvas
  • electric
  • appliances
  • AND MORE!!!

Words of Experience

Folks who have been following the RVFTA story for a while know that we started out with a pop up camper and made a lot of very common mistakes in our RV journey. In the last segment of the show, we discuss some of our best advice for making sure you don’t wind up with a camper (or tow vehicle!) that doesn’t suit your family or your budget.

We still believe that a used pop up camper is an amazing way to begin your family’s RV adventure. If fact, our number one piece of advice to people sitting on the fence is to find an inexpensive used pop up camper and just give it a try. Even if you HATE it (which you won’t) you will probably be able to sell the camper at the end of the season for at least what you paid.

To see more of our advice on pop up campers, check out:

You can also visit our RVFTA Facebook Group, where lots of friendly folks will answer any questions you have about looking for that perfect pop up camper.

Thanks to our sponsors for supporting weekly content for all our RVing fools:

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18 May

RVFTA #142 Hiking 101 with Andrew Skurka

Hiking 101 with Andrew Skurka

As new parents, it was difficult for us to imagine how we were ever again going to enjoy outdoor adventures. Thank goodness we discovered the magic off hiking. Hiking has been the perfect family activity since we can vary the level of difficulty while still exploring the natural beauty of a destination.

We know a lot of our listeners would like to try hiking for the first time, or just do a bit more  of it over the course of the travel season. So we invited hiking expert Andrew Skurka, author of The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide: Tools and Techniques to Hit the Trail.

Andrew Skurka was named “Adventurer of the Year” by Outside Magazine and National Geographic, so this guy clearly has some serious hiking chops. However, he can also bring it down to a beginner’s level, and he does that very well in the introduction to his book…and on this episode of the RVFTA podcast.

Finding Your Why

Andrew starts off by talking about the three most important questions that any hiker needs to ask:

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04 May

RVFTA #140 Kate Gets Her Kicks on Route 66: RVing the Mother Road from Ventura, California to Amarillo, Texas

On this podcast episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, Kate Dunbar of KatesCuriousKitchen.com gives us a fabulous trip planner for one of the most popular stretches of Route 66. Kate traveled 1,862 miles over the course of 7 days with her 1962 Shasta SC and stayed in 6 campgrounds as a solo woman traveler. We get to hear all the great details on the show.

Kate started her adventure in Ventura, California and journeyed on the Mother Road all the way to Amarillo, Texas. Listen to hear reviews of the campgrounds she stayed in, stops she enjoyed along the way, and restaurants that met her very high standards!

All of the places she reviews are linked below…

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27 Apr

RVFTA #139 RVFTA Goes Tent Camping with Cabela’s

On this episode of the RV Family Travel Atlas podcast, we are talking about our recent adventures in tent camping. Cabela’s just debuted an entire line of redesigned tents and we got to try a few of them out.

It has been at least ten years since we set up a tent, and this was a brand new experience for our boys, so listen to hear how we fared at the campground.

Segment One: The Tent Camping Experience

In the first segment, we chat about our prior tent camping experience, the aspects that we felt confident about, and the things that made us nervous. We also talk about how the boys felt about leaving behind the new toy hauler. Spoiler alert…they were not thrilled about the idea.

Well, their attitude changed pretty quickly once the tents were set up. These tents are nothing like the ones we grew up with, and the gear took comfort camping to a whole new level.

Our main takeaways:

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19 Apr

RVFTA #138 Finding your Campfire Mojo: Everything You Need to Create the Perfect Campfire Experience

On this episode of the RV Family Travel Atlas podcast, we are going back to the basics and talking about the classic campfire experience.

Most of us crave our campfires more than any other part of RV travel, so we started to wonder…exactly what does it take to create the perfect campfire mojo? We have talked about campfires, and recommended our favorite products in many different episodes over the last few years, but never in one comprehensive episode.

So here it is. The RVFTA campfire episode. The rope lights, the Cabela’s camp chairs, the Toas-Tites…everything that people ask about after every social media post. All in one place.

Segment One: Rules of Campfire Etiquette

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13 Apr

RVFTA #137 Meet the 2017 North American Camper

On this episode of the RV Family Travel Atlas podcast, we are diving into the North American Camping Report, an annual independent study supported by Kampgrounds of America.

If you want to take a more in depth look, or follow along while listening to the podcast, you can find the entire report here. You can also check out our episodes on the 2015 North American Camping Report and the 2016 North American Camping Report.

Yeah, it’s kind of a tradition…

Segment One

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06 Apr

RVFTA #136 Spring Camping Resolutions 2017

On this episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are having fun with one of our favorite RVFTA traditions: talking about our resolutions for the upcoming 2017 camping season. What do we want to do more of? What do we want to do less of? And what do we want to try for the very first time?

Setting goals for our family’s time in the RV and at the campground helps us think about what works in the past and what we want to change. It has become a fantastic way to kick off a season of travel.

In case you missed them, check out our Spring Camping Resolution episodes from 2016 and 2015, also!

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30 Mar

RVFTA Episode #135: Ready, Set, Road Food!

RV Family Travel Atlas Podcast Episode #135:

Ready, Set, Road Food!

On this episode of the RV Family Travel Atlas Podcast, we are checking off a bucket list item and interviewing Micheal Stern, co-author of Road Food: An Eater’s Guide to More than 1,000 of the Best Local Hot Spots and Hidden Gems Across America. The 10th edition of this classic book was just released, and we asked Michael to come on the show and talk about his forty years of traveling around the country and reporting on the best road food joints out there.

We have personally traveled with Road Food in each of our campers since day one, and it has led us to some of the best BBQ joints and lobster shacks in America. If you don’t have a copy yet, we don’t know what you are waiting for.

In Segment One, we chat with Michael Stern about the evolution of food writing over the last forty years. He takes us back to the beginning, when they struggled to get publishers to buy into the idea that readers would be interested in ‘regular’ food.

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22 Mar

RVFTA #134: 2017 Spring Gear Guide, Part Two

Download the complete Product Guide that accompanies this episode!

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are bringing you the second par
t of our annual spring gear guide. On last week’s episode, Kate Dunbar schooled us on stocking our camp kitchens. Now it’s our turn to fill in the rest of the RV cabinets and cupboards.

We will share items that make your walls a little prettier, your campfire a little cozier, and your beds a little comfier. That just about covers it in our world. Plus, Brett Neilson is back with his favorite picks from the 2017 Outdoor Retailer Winter Market.

Segment One: Stephanie’s Picks

In the first segment, Stephanie shares a selection of her new favorite things, including some fun decorative items, clothing, and a surprise tech appearance…

Cutco Knife RV Set ($370):

A curated set of 4 Cutco knives with sturdy sheaths, designed to take care of all the cutting and chopping you may have to do while traveling in your RV. The custom set includes the hardy slicer, 5″ Petite Santoku Knife, Traditional Cheese Knife, and 4″ Paring Knife. This custom 4-knife set with sheathe is only available through Stacy’s online website, where she will give RVFTA listeners the special pricing!

Camp Casual Nesting Bowls ($34.99):

A set of four nesting bowls in fun retro colors with tight-fitting lids. These will join our Camp Casual 12-Piece Dish Set and Serving Bowl in the RV this season.

Angel Tears Solar Light Mason Jar Lid, $10

These solar light lids fit onto standard mason jars and are absolutely adorable sitting on the picnic table at the campground.

Bottle Cap Map, $35.00

This bottle cap map is already hung on the wall in our new camper, just waiting to be filled with craft beer bottle caps from all around the country!

USA Scratch Off Travel Map, $32.99

Another new decoration for our RV. We are excited to scratch off the states as we visit them in the future!

Camping T-shirts from Cabela’s, $14.99

Stephanie ended up with four of these shirts with fun graphics about camping and the outdoors. They are on sale for $14.99 right now, and that is a bargain for a quality t-shirt from Cabela’s.

Women’s Hiking Boots by Cabela’s, $129.99

Stephanie needed waterproof hiking boots, and this Gortex option from Cabela’s hits a great price point. The color is also guaranteed to cheer you up on a rainy day. Again, there is a Spring sale right now over at Cabelas.com, so you can snag these for as low as $80.00.

Amazon Basics Portable Powerbank, $29.99

It was long overdue for us to acquire a portable power bank, and we are so happy that our research led us to this affordable option. With two USB ports, we will both be able to charge up even when away from shore power for an entire day.

Segment Two: Jeremy’s Picks

In the second segment, Jeremy steps up with a new favorite coffee gadget, a collection of leashes, and a solution to an age old problem with winter camping…

National Park Service Camping Guide by William C. Herow, $15.95

The National Park Service Campgrounds are notoriously tricky to research, and this book is a big help.

Flexi Retractable Dog Leash with accessories, $26

This is Jeremy’s Nimbus 2000 doggie leash setup. He gets razzed a lot for it, but having a retractable leash with light and attached doggie bags has proven to be convenient more than a few times over the last year.

Nite Ize Nite Dawg Leash, $12

In addition to a retractable leash, we always carry a standard 6-foot leash in the camper. This affordable one offers illumination for late night walks.

Linwood Ripstop Pants by Cabela’s, $29.99

Jeremy has been searching for a lightweight hiking pant that will translate into real life situations as well. He finally found one.

Roughneck Men’s Thermal Lined Hooded Sweatshirt by Cabela’s, $70

Jeremy had a similar sweatshirt in the past that was perfect for Spring and Fall temperatures. This Cabela’s version is even better than the one he had since it is fully lined through the arms.

Porta Potti 320P by Thetford, $100

We initially tested this porta potti for our pop up and vintage camper listeners. Then we realized it was awesome for winter camping, and is small enough to go in the truck when we are heading into the backwoods. This might be your new favorite thing…

Stanley Classic Vacuum Travel Press Mug, $34

Segment Three: Brett’s Picks

Our last segment features Brett Neilson, of OurCampingAdventures.com, who brings us his picks from the 2017 Outdoor Retailers Winter Market, which took place this past January in Salt Lake City, Utah…

  1. Superfleece blanket by Rumpl
  2. Country Archer Jerky
  3. Gear Ties by Nite Ize
  4. Luci Inflatable Solar Lantern
  5. HX5 Flashlight
  6. Kicker Bullfrog Jump Bluetooth Speaker
  7. SureCan Gas Can

For a handy-dandy, quick reference guide to all the products reviewed in this episode, download our Product Guide!

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

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16 Mar

RVFTA #133 2017 Spring Gear Guide, Part One: Kate’s Camp Kitchen

Download the Complete Product Guide that accompanies this episode! 

On this episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are bringing you the first part of our popular and much anticipated Spring Gear Guide!!! We always like to mix it up a bit with our gear guides, and this time we reached out to Kate Dunbar of KatesCuriousKitchen.com and begged her to develop a complete guide for building and stocking a camp kitchen.

Boy, did she come through on that request.


Kate dug deep into her trailers (Airstream and Vintage Shasta, folks), hauled out the bins, and catalogued all the products that she uses to make the magic happen at the campground.

Kate basically runs her camp kitchen like a catering service and provides restaurant-quality meals for her crew. So you might not need as many grills, cooktops, and ovens as she does, but you can be guaranteed that the products Kate recommends have been put through their paces and thoroughly tested.

And we wanted to make sure you could easily reference the dozens of items Kate recommends on this episode, so we put together a complete guide with links to every single product mentioned. Download the PDF and start building your own dream camp kitchen today!

Listen to the episode to hear Kate discuss:

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09 Mar

RVFTA #132 Say Hello to Highway West Vacations

On this episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are introducing you to Highway West Vacations, a company with 12 luxury resort campgrounds spread out across the great American West.

We were first introduced to this brand when Kate Dunbar reviewed the Flying Flags RV Resort over on Campground of the Week last year. Kate raved about this place, and we knew it was worth checking out.

Well the more we learned, the more we became convinced that Highway West Vacations has it’s finger on the pulse of campground resort trends. So we invited Didiayer Snyder, Director of Marketing and Sales, onto the show to tell us more about this growing brand.

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02 Mar

RVFTA #131 Who is Ready to Go RVing?

On this episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are talking about current RV buyers. The RV industry has been breaking sales records for the last few years, and it shows no signs of slowing down. We have all heard that the average RV buyer is getting younger, and perhaps more adventurous.

But seriously, who is buying all these RVs?

We decided to go to the source, and reached out to the RVIA, which recently commissioned Nielsen to complete a study of current owners and potential RV buyers. Karen Redfern, Senior Director of Marketing Communications returns to the show to talk about what the RVIA plans to do with all this great data they collected.

Segment One

In the first segment, we discuss the data gathered about current RV owners, many of whom are researching or shopping for their next rig. We chat about:

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23 Feb

RVFTA #130 Pros and Cons of the Class B RV

On this episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are talking about Class B motorhomes, one of the fastest growing segments of the RV industry. The small foot print might scare away a lot of buyers, but driving comfort and flexibility are huge draws.

Segment One: Pros and Cons of the Class B RV

In Segment One, we talk about the pros and cons of the Class B that you might want to consider if you are in the market for a small motorhome. Here are some of the issues we discuss.

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