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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27 Mar

Making the RV Bed: Sleeping as Comfortably on the Road as You Do at Home

Jayco Whitehawk Master Bedroom

When we bought our first travel trailer, we made two big rookie mistakes:

  1. We went out and bought discount store, cheap bed-in-a-bag sheets and blankets for all our beds.
  2. We slept on the original RV mattress for over three years.

Now think about this. We had invested in a brand new, bunkhouse travel trailer in order to have the comforts of home while we were on the road and at the campground. But then for some reason, we skimped on the beds and bedding.

This makes zero sense, folks.

We just accepted that we would come home from our extended trips with achy backs and necks.

And then the light bulb went off.

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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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27 Feb

The Chatbooks App: Our Favorite Photo Book App for RV Vacations

RV travelers are really good at taking pictures of their trips, right? Most of us have Instagram and Facebook accounts stuffed with photos of campsites, activities, and food from our travels.

But printing out those photos for memory books or framing? Yeah, that’s another story.

On our recent Winterization Blues podcast episode, we recommended tackling a picture project to get through the cold, winter, non-camping months. Well, we practice what we preach, and in early January I went in search of a new way to print out our huge collection of RV trip photos.

I have tried a lot of things in the past, but nothing really clicked. Years ago, I made picture book collections on Shutterfly and Snapfish. However, the clunky platforms soon lost their appeal, and I was annoyed with the long upload times and very high prices.

Then we started buying those cheap little photo wallets and printing out pictures for the boys of individual trips. This was a great keepsake for them, but my aesthetic sensibilities were definitely not satisfied.

Enter the Chatbooks App.

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15 Dec

RVFTA #120 Saying Goodbye to Our Jayco White Hawk Travel Trailer

saying-goodbye-to-the-jayco-white-hawk

Podcast Episode #120:

Saying Goodbye to Our Jayco White Hawk Travel Trailer

Well, the day is finally here. After 5 years, dozens of epic adventures, and hundreds of camping nights, we are finally saying goodbye to our Jayco White Hawk SQB Travel Trailer and trading her in for another rig.

We had a fantastic experience with this trailer, and we are only trading it in because we are entering a new season of RVing with bigger boys and bigger toys.

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25 Nov

RVFTA 2016 Holiday Gift Guide for the RV Enthusiast

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Photo credit: Hector Garcell

The RVFTA Holiday Gift Guide is here!!!

The RVFTA 2016 Holiday Gift Guide podcast episode is out and it is definitely bigger and better than ever. This year we broke down our guide into 5 segments: Stocking Stuffers, Just for Kids, Grownup RV Fanatics, Best of the Gear Guides, and Our Personal Wish Lists.


Listen to the episode to hear all the details about why we chose each item. Then click on the links below to order!

rvfta-2016-holiday-gift-guide

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22 Nov

Shopping for the RV Enthusiast: RVFTA Holiday Gift Guides from the Past

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Are you excited about the 2016 RVFTA Holiday Gift Guide???? We certainly are!

The 2016 Holiday Gift Guide podcast will be released this Friday, November 25th and it is jam packed with something for everyone on your list. But in the meantime, we thought we would give a shout out to our Holiday Gift Guides from 2014 and 2015. Looking back at these products, there are so many items that we still love and use all the time.

In fact, we will be talking about some of our all-star favorites on this year’s episode!

So want to get a jump start on the giving? Check these posts out…

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16 Sep

RVFTA #106 Outdoor Retailer 2016 Summer Show with Brett Neilson

outdoor-retailer-showsummer-2016-2

***The Takeya ThermoFlask 15% off Coupon Code mentioned in this episode is RVFAMILY and can be redeemed here.***

On this week’s podcast episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are talking about the Outdoor Retailer Summer Show that took place last month in Salt Lake City, Utah.

This is the largest outdoor expo of its kind, and the manufacturers are there to show off their best new gear. Retailers come from far and wide to find the products they are going to purchase and sell to their own adventure junkie customers.

We sent our Western Correspondent, Brett Neilson, to cover the event, and on this episode he is sharing some of the highlights from the Outdoor Retailer Summer Show. From rugged adventure RVs to innovative camping gear, Brett tells us his picks from the expo.

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08 Sep

RVFTA #105 2016 Fall Gear Guide

Fall Gear Guide2016

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, it’s gear guide time, and we are talking about some great new items that will help make your fall camping adventures a little more cozy and a lot more comfortable.

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For us, summer travel is all about adventure, while fall travel seems to be more about relaxing at the campground and spending time around the fire. From cooking to decorating to emptying that black tank, we have products for everyone and price points for every budget.

Here are links to all of the items we reviewed in this episode:

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14 Jul

RVFTA #97 Find Your Park: #NPS100

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On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are reporting from the field with our top tips for exploring our nation’s beautiful national park sites. We have been to a national seashore, a national park, and a national historic site in the last few weeks and noticed that some folks are showing up without a plan and getting a bit lost in the crowds.

listen on iTunes

Just because it’s the 100th anniversary of the National Park System doesn’t mean you are destined to fight for parking and wait in line for that perfect family selfie. If you plan ahead and follow a few simple rules, you can soak in the majestic beauty of our wild spaces without soaking up a lot of stress also. So we are offering our top 6 tips for exploring even the most popular (and crowded) NPS sites this summer.

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07 Apr

5 More Outdoor Gear Recommendations from the RVFTA Forum!

Outside Gear Bar Harbor Acadia

We are wrapping up our Spring Gear Guide bonanza with 5 more recommendations for the outside of your RV. On Episode #80: 2016 Spring Gear Guide Part 2, we shared all our recommendations for outdoor RV products including propane level checks, sewer hoses, outdoor rugs, and shoes.

Now it’s time to share some great stuff from our forum experts. There are over 250 posts in our Gear and Gadgets forum, and you can scroll through them all here.

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17 Mar

RVFTA #80: 2016 Spring Gear Guide, Part 2

RVFTA 2016 Spring Gear Guide, Part 2

This spring we couldn’t fit all of our gear recommendations into a single episode, so we spread it out over two weeks. If you missed Part 1 with all of our indoor RV products, you can check them out here.

On Episode #80, the Spring Gear Guide, Part 2, we are focusing on the great outdoors. From setting up a comfortable base camp to keeping your trailer safe and secure, we have a whole host of quality products that will make your RV travels even more enjoyable.

listen on iTunes

Plus, we are sharing a great interview with Elden Wood, Vice President of Marketing for Truma. This company makes the AquaGo hybrid instant water heater, which provides campers with endless hot water in their RVs.

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15 Mar

5 Awesome Gear Recommendations from the RVFTA Forums

RV interior hybrid

This week’s podcast episode was Part 1 of our 2016 Spring Gear Guide, focusing on great products for the inside of the camper. We thought we would stick with the same theme in our blog post of the week, sharing some of our forum members’ favorite gadgets. Head over to the RVFTA forum to find more recommendations from our resident experts in the Gear and Gadgets and the Camp Food threads!

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23 Feb

Shopping IKEA: Your Budget RV Superstore

ikea

I know when you think about stocking your RV, IKEA is not the first place that comes to mind.

But it should be.

With over 40 stores in the United States, there is probably an IKEA within driving distance of your home. And if you need to purchase products for your RV–kitchen gear, organizing tools, bed linens, and bath accessories–a day trip to IKEA should probably be on your calendar.

Growing up in a (maybe) once-a-year camping household, I witnessed a common phenomena. Whenever a new gadget arrived in the kitchen, the old one would get shuffled off to the camping bins stacked in the garage. That wobbly can opener might not have been good for daily use, but it would do just fine for that one long camping weekend in September.

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18 Feb

RVFTA #76: Camp Photography 101

Camp Photography 101 blog

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, Camp Photography 101, we are talking about upping your photography game. We have gone from a point and click family to one that carts around lenses and tripods.

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24 Nov

RVFTA #64: 2015 Holiday Gift Guide

2015 RVFTA HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE! blog

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are rolling through our holiday gift guide: 33 items that are perfect for the RV enthusiast in your life. Some we picked ourselves and some recommendations are from other RV experts–correspondents and listeners from this show.

subscribe on iTunesTune in to hear gift picks from Brett, Kerri, Evanne, Chris, Val, Rachel, and Kate. There is definitely something for everyone, and a price point for every budget. Books, DVDs, hats, hoodies, spice holders, mixing bowls, awning lights, and apps. Click on any picture below to purchase that item.

Not a single item on this list is a sponsored item, and we do not have ANY affiliate links.

You might think we couldn’t possibly top last year’s holiday gift guide. But we here at RVFTA believe that bigger is (sometimes) actually better. This is Episode #64: 2015 Holiday Guide Guide.

1. Camp Casual Serving Bowl and Servers ($22.99)

2. AMC Guide to Outdoor Digital Photography ($19.95)


3. Ansel Adams Yosemite ($22.00)


4. Fromer’s Easy Guide Series ($12.95)


5. The Sibley Guide to Birds, 2nd Edition ($40.00)


6. Outdoor Photographer, 1-Year Subscription ($14.97)


7. The Andy Griffith Show Complete Box Set, also available on Netflix ($101.00)

8. National Parks Passport ($8.95)

9. RVFTA Distressed Hoodies (40.00)

10. L.L. Bean Fleece-lined Flannel Shirt ($69.00)

11. L.L. Bean Men’s Wool Ball Cap ($29.95)

12. North Face ETip  Gloves, Men’s and Women’s ($45.00)

13. Igloo Freestanding Ice Machine ($159.95)

14. Roadside America App, iTunes ($5.99)


15. Threshold Stainless Steal Mixing Bowls from Target ($19.99)

16. Kleen Kanteen Vacuum Insulated Tumbler (23.95)

17. Camelbak Forge 16 oz Travel Mug ($21.00)

18. Bialetti Saute Pans ($22.00-$50.00)

19. Motorola Two-Way Radios ($42.00)


20. Campsite Rope Lights, Christmas Tree Shops ($8.99)


21. Andersen Camper Levelers ($40.00)

Kate’s List…

22. Deluxe Camp Kitchen from Bass Pro Shop ($139.00)

23. Table Top French Press from REI ($44.00)

24. GSI Spice Rocket ($12.95)

25. Duracell 600 Watt 1300 Amp Powerpack Pro ($163.00)

26. Rand McNally Tripmaker RV GPS ($240.00)

27. Orion Starblast 4.5 Reflector Telescope ($210.00)

28. Happy Camper Wine ($8.00-$12.00)

29 Awning Lights from Ooga Lights (prices vary)

30. Faux Fur Throw from Pottery Barn ($50.00 and up)

31. Aquaflops Shower Shoes ($16.99)

32. Moroccan Lanterns ($15.00 and up)

33. Custom Made Replica Vintage Trailer from CHcampers.com ($6,995 and up)

If you buy any of these items for a loved one or yourself, please do let us know!

And have a wonderful, blessed holiday season with friends and family.

Cheers,

Jeremy + Stephanie

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02 Oct

RVFTA #56: RV Rentals with Outdoorsy

RV rentals with outdoorsy

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are talking about an emerging trend: peer-to-peer RV rentals.

Many people have used more traditional rentals such as Cruise America, El Monte, or Road Bear RV to explore the RV lifestyle or take that one bucket list trip across country.

Peer-to-peer RV rentals put a a twist on this model, offering benefits for both the renter and owner.

Renters:

People who are considering a first time purchase might rent to decide between a travel trailer or motor home. On the other hand, an experienced RV enthusiast might try out a new rig they are considering. Or maybe you want a bigger motor home for that one big trip down to Disney Land.

Owners:

Owners can use this model to offset the costs of RV ownership and maybe even bulk up their own RV vacation budget. For many people, the RV spends more time in the driveway than it does at a campground, so this may be a great financial opportunity if you have the right rig in the right location.

We interviewed Jen Young, the co-founder of Outdoorsy, to find out more about this exciting new option. Listen to hear Jen describe the ins and outs from both the renter’s and owner’s perspective.

You may say you would never let anyone else tow your precious rig into the great outdoors. But we are seriously considering making our travel trailer start earning its keep around these parts.

This is Episode #56: RV Rentals with Outdoorsy!

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25 Sep

RVFTA #55: Voices from the Hershey RV Show

Airstreams at the Hershey RV Show

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are talking about our time at America’s Largest RV Show in Hershey, Pennsylvania where we were lucky enough to meet close to 100 of our podcast listeners.

We interviewed a bunch of them, and this week’s podcast is dedicated to sharing the stories of families just like yours who are on a quest to find that perfect RV. Listen to here about the rigs they have now, and the ones they are dreaming about for the future.

You will hear interviews with…

  • John and Heather who are upgrading from a travel trailer to a Class A.
  • Nancy and Darryl who have a hybrid trailer and are thinking about upgrading to a travel trailer.
  • Alexandra and Jeremy who just set out on their full-time adventures in a B+ motorhome.
  • Susie Q who is a chronic collector of vintage trailers.
  • Dave and Sherry who have an A-frame and are looking for something with a bit more room for their future travels.
  • Karen who is already looking to upgrade to a bigger travel trailer after buying her first RV last summer.

It was such a pleasure getting to know these podcast listeners a little bit better. Hearing about other experiences is so helpful for anyone out there shopping for that first RV or looking for that next perfect camper.

We also give a brief analysis of our thoughts about the RV show.  We’ll discuss 2016 models more specially on a future podcast episode, but this week we highlight…

  • Luxury in the new fifth wheel RVs.
  • Design in the new retro and ‘vintage’ models.
  • Same ole’, same ole’ in the Class C units.
  • Highlights from the Grand Design and Airstream manufacturers.

You may SAY the rig you have is perfectly suitable. But we here are RVFTA know there is a little bit of the obsessive RV shopper in all of us. You are listening to Episode #55: Voices from the Hershey RV Show!

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24 Sep

Beach Camping: Three Small Products that Make a Big Difference!

Most people do not think of beach camping when they think of the fall season. But here at RV Family Travel Atlas, we believe September and October are the two best months of the year to park your rig in the sand. The crowds are gone, the weather is cooler, and the water is still warm.

We are headed off to one of our favorite beach camping spots in North Carolina this fall, so it is the perfect time to share three of our favorite little products that make a BIG difference when vacationing on the shore.

Kids Backpack Beach Chair

kids backpack beach chair

This was an impulse purchase at a touristy beach store that ended up being one of our favorite items of beach gear. We hate it when our boys try to steal our beach chairs, but it is tricky to haul down seats for everyone in the family. We love that our boys can easily carry these chairs on their backs. Priced around $20, they seemed expensive at the time. However, they have lasted almost 4 years and are still in good shape.

Beach Umbrella Sand Anchor

beach umbrella sand anchor

It is definitely windier on the beach in the fall, but often the sun is still strong enough to call for a beach umbrella. Don’t be one of those people chasing their umbrella down the beach. These sand anchors are very inexpensive, costing under $10 even at pricey beach bodegas. They are worth every penny.

Sand Off Baby Powder Mitt

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Beach veterans know that baby powder does a fantastic job getting sand off little bodies (and big for that matter). There are many baby powder pouch products out there that make the whole process even easier. I like this mitt version that goes over your hand and then you just wipe down the sandy arms, legs, and feet. Crafty folks could sew one of these in a flash…or just buy online like us.

In the mood for more fall beach camping talk? Listen to our Beach Camping podcast episode or read about our 4 Favorite Spots to Beach Camp in the Fall.

23 Sep

Greetings from the Hershey RV Show!

Over 52,000 people attended the 2015 Hershey RV Show, smashing last year’s record by over 13 percent.  Of course, RV Family Travel Atlas was there also,  attending as special guests of Progressive at the super fun and interactive Progressive RV.  We had a blast meeting and greeting close to 100 of our smart and attractive podcast listeners…and helping them win some great Progressive schwag, such as t-shirts, sun shades, and A-Flo-ha bobble-head dolls.

flo bobblehead

Our podcast listeners were able to test their golf skills at Flo’s 19th Hole…

Flos 19th hole

Take Flotos on a Hershey-themed green screen…

Stephanie on Green Screen

And test their luck at the Progressive slot machine, which was totally rigged to give everyone a prize…

Flo's Slot Machine

RV aficionados could also sign up for Progressive’s Insiders Guide and leave recommendations for campgrounds, restaurants, and attractions around the country.

And did we mention that there were also some RVs for sale at America’s Largest RV Show?

stephanieandairstream

Well, there were. Over 33 football fields worth of them.  Two of our dear podcast listeners, Bill and Karen, walked over 13 miles on Friday and pretty much saw every RV on display.

Many podcast listeners stopped by to tell us that they enjoyed our special Six Quick Tips for Enjoying America’s Largest RV Show podcast and that they particularity appreciated our tip to talk to the manufacturer’s representative when seeking information about a rig.  That feedback was great to hear!

We are also very pleased to report that several of our listeners went home as owners of shiny new RV’s.

new brave

Our overall impressions of the show?  The selection was incredible and almost every RV under the sun was there.  This was especially helpful for guests who were exploring options before narrowing down their picks.

We personally gravitate towards the new and unusual, and also anything with retro styling.  And while there were many RVs that fell into those categories, there were many more that demonstrated familiar patterns and designs. Of particular note? The RV industry does seem to be very focused on luxury this year. This was particularly evident in the fifth wheel and motorhome models that we toured.

Nevertheless, the industry is still producing RVs that appeal to all different lifestyles and budgets. It’s hard to imagine that over 52,000 people would have shown up and gone shopping if that wasn’t the case.

Welcome to the start of 2015-2016 RV show season…happy shopping!

jeremy and stephanie flo green screen

We partnered with Progressive for America’s Largest RV Show, but these thoughts and ideas are our own.