11 Oct

Girl Camper: Episode 105 Answering FAQ’s

On this weeks show I am answering FAQ’s ranging from “Is Girl Camper a group I can join?” to “Do I really need to use expensive  RV toilet paper?” I am also linking here to a few of  my “go to” experts in all things RV.

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I’m answering the question about whether Girl Camper is a group you can join.

Walter Canon is the  Executive Director of the RVSEF,  (Recreation Vehicle Safety and Education Foundation). The RVSEF provides comprehensive information on all things RV safety related including towing ratings for vehicles. Walter is a frequent guest speaker at RV events but also produces great videos. One of the ones I highly recommend taking the time to watch is Walter’s video on matching your truck and trailer.  Arming yourself with expert advice will help make your RV travels safe and fun.

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Walter Cannon, Executive Director of the RVSEF is an industry expert and frequent public speaker.

Another industry expert I rely on is Mark Polk from RV Education 101. Mark has perhaps the most comprehensive body of work compiled on RV Safety, Maintenance and Repairs. Mark also has the gift of being able to convey complicated subjects in a clear and concise manner. He has an extensive body of DVD’s, YouTube videos, Ebooks and articles on everything you need to know about your motor home, tow vehicle or travel trailer. Mark’s work on tire safety and tire inflation guides should be a must read for all RVers.

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Mark Polk and his wife Dawn Polk are the founders of RV Education 101. Their work is keeping RVers safe and helping them enjoy years of extended life from their motor homes and travel trailers by learning how to properly use and maintain them.

04 Oct

Beddy’s Beds! A Girl Camper Dream Come True!

Traveling with your own things, especially ones  own linens, make life on the road so  enjoyable.  I love returning to my trailer at the end of a long day and flopping in the bed with my movies, laptop or book! I’m just a person who loves bedtime!!

A follower of mine sent me an email asking me if I knew anything about Beddy’s Beds and if I could recommend them. I had never seen them before but was immediately smitten with the idea. It is an entire set of bedding that fits like a fitted sheet with the top blanket zipping into place when you make it each day eliminating all the tucking and pulling and tightening. It always looks nice and you don’t break out in a sweat while making the bed.

I chose the Chevron pattern in a grey because I knew I the floors had a grey tone to them and I also had already decided on a Boho Chic touch. I thought that the Chevron would create a neutral background.

The Beddy’s Bed Company makes many pretty designs from their feminine “Always Enchanting” pattern  to their nautical “Hot and Coaled” pattern. They come in twin, full, queen and king sizes as well as crib sets.

RV manufacturers make two different size Queen beds – the standard Queen of 60×80 inches and what they call “RV Queen” which is 60×70 inches. The Max trailer has a standard Queen bed which made my Beddy’s Bed set fit perfectly.

The zipper on the bed set is an easy glide, non stick one with a large toggle to grab to pull it up. I worked in a sewing workroom for years and know first hand that all zippers are not alike. I am happy to say that I never experienced any trouble with the zipper.

There is a saying that goes, “Make a perfect bed, have a perfect day!” In my 12 years of RVing I can say that there were many days in which I just threw the covers up and went on my way. I never liked it though but I was unwilling to grunt and groan over making the bed when it was just me there to see it. I loved that making the bed was so simple and that I felt great each day when I got back and saw it!

Now, some details.

There are two fabrics involved in the bed sets. The first is the cotton quilting that makes up the top and sides of the bed set. I followed the directions explicitly when I got my set and washed them with white vinegar the first time to set the colors. It was simple enough and they came out great. I have washed the set a half dozen times since then and they are holding up nicely. No fraying seams or color fading. I take them out of the dryer when they are 90% dry and put them back on the bed. The cotton is tightly woven and a good quality.

The second fabric is the super cuddly fabric on the underside of the quilt top. It’s a soft fabric that is a cross between chenille and flannel although it is not at all hot like flannel can be. It is soft like flannel without making you sweat. This fabric is sewn to the underside of the top quilt and has “wings” that tuck in when it is zipped up. The “wings” allow you to toss and turn left and right without becoming uncovered. This fabric has also stood up to washings, is not hot and has not developed “pills”.  I’m very happy with the feel of it as well as the wearability.

The zipper is nylon and “runs” well up and down. It can get caught if you are zipping too fast but is easily backed out. I thought the most important part of the zipper is that it does not buckle along the sides of the bed when zipped up. It lays flat and looks very neat. The zipper has a nice size round plastic toggle to pull it up and down with.

The Fit – Since I have a standard Queen the fit is a good one even though the mattress is not as high as a home bed. I queried a few friends who bought them with RV Queens and they said they fitted them at the bottom and tucked the extra inches in at the top without a problem. Please be aware if you have an RV Queen it will not fit as snugly as mine does.

The price – You can get a 20% off a purchase by using the coupon code Girl Camper. My set was $299 before the 20% off and included everything I needed to “make a perfect bed”.  I got the bottom fitted sheet with the quilted sides, the top quilt with the super soft fabric inside and the wings and zippered sides, a set of Chevron patterned Queen size quilted pillow shams and a set of Queen size pillow cases that matched the bottom sheet fabric. I love the way it all looks when it is made up and I am happy that I chose the grey Chevron because I can change my accent throw pillows and blankets for the season. I am so happy with the product that I am going to get the full set for my 1966 Go Tag Along which also has the rear, hard to make bed.

If you go on the website be sure to use the coupon code Girl Camper for an extra discount. You can even use it on sale items!!

 

 

 

03 Oct

Girl Camper: Episode 104 Strategies for Buying at an RV Show

Click the arrow before to listen to the podcast.

Before we head into this week’s show I’m welcoming our newest Girl Camper friendly dealership and podcast sponsor,  Bankston Motor Homes of Alabama and Tennessee. Bankston’s is a Number One Best in Business Award Winner with five locations and over 500 new RV’s arriving each month.  They are a family owned dealership that “has been selling motor homes, and family dreams, since 1970.”  Mr. Bankston,  the President and owner of Bankston’s has plenty of experience RVing himself. He raised his own children doing it and still camps today in his Class A Motorhome. The fun part of a multi generational dealership is that its in their blood! Two of the Banskston grandsons run the dealership along with their Grandpa today. I’ve said it before and I will say it again – in my own experience it is the family owned dealerships that have the highest dedication to the customer and the industry. They are the dealerships that go the extra mile and I am so looking froward to bringing that dedication and enthusiasm to the Girl Camper Podcast listeners through our new association. Stay posted for upcoming events! We’ve got some great things planned.

I’m also sharing my RV Show Tips for those that are ready to buy. RV Shows can be daunting and you need a strategy for tackling them and making the best use of your time. For those who are ready to buy and have done your online research the RV Show itself is a great opportunity to see the models, different floor plans and compare prices.

Here’s my strategy for those who are ready to buy!

  • Know your Tow! If you already own the tow vehicle you plan to use make sure you know its GVWR. I suggest going to the RV Safety and Education Foundations video on Matching Trucks to Trailers and make sure you are buying something that can handle all you plan to tow and haul in both your truck and trailer. You will also find many good articles and FAQ’s answered here. Lean heavily on this site for expert information. Walter Canon, the Executive Director has been a guest on the podcast and he is the top in his field.
  • Before the show – get a notebook and write out the models you are looking at the old fashioned way. Keep that information handy so you can make additional notes at the show.
  • Study the show map and mark out the dealers and models you plan to look at. The shows are often quite large and knowing ahead of time where your target spots are saves time and energy.
  • Do online research about the dealers that are carrying the models you hope to look at. You might want to call the dealer and ask if they are bringing the model you are interested in. Take a look at their online reviews and read customer notes. Sometimes the best price is not the best deal. Sometimes paying a higher price for a dealership with a better reputation may be the better deal.
  • Show Day Strategy – Start the day as early as possible. If you can be there when the doors open you can have the attention of sales people and floor space to really look at the models. Also, if you can take a day off work and go on a weekday you are always better off.
  • Resist the urge to tire kick the 500K dollar Class A’s and stick to your notebook. Leave the dream machines for another day.
  • Have your phone or camera and take pictures of all the models. Before you take a picture of the trailer itself, photograph the outside of it including the name of it and the poster of all the statistics and floor plans along with the show price. It is so easy to have the information bleed into each other after you have looked at two or three models.
  • When viewing the trailers – pay close attention to the available storage and where it is at. If it has 40% of the available storage under the bench seats and bed ask yourself if that will be a problem for you. Try to think of the things you take along and where you will put them.
  • Pay attention to the windows. Are there enough? Do they open in a way that will suit you? Do they have covers that you like or will you need to upgrade that? Is there enough airflow? Will the windows by the bed pose a problem if you read in bed?
  • Kitchen – Is there enough refrigerator space? Is the fridge at upper level or under the cabinet? Is there enough storage? Counter space? Imagine yourself cooking there? Is the sink deep enough?
  • Bathroom- If it is a wet bath, can you turn around in it? What size storage tanks does it have? Where will you keep toiletries and dry towels if it is a wet bath?
  • The bed – It’s okay to lay down on a bed at an RV show. Go ahead! Is it long enough? If it is against the wall, will that work for you? Are the windows near it enough to give you air? Privacy? Is there lighting for reading in bed? Are there plugs near the bed and a USB port? Is there enough clothes storage?
  • Dining table – Can it sit four comfortably? Do you need it to fold down for an additional bed? Do you prefer the U shaped table? Does the table go up and down easily?
  • Try and get through the trailers you want to see by lunch time and review your findings over lunch. Return and ask any questions you have and see how the price compares to the prices you saw for the model before the show. Frequently RV Show prices are some of the lowest of the year but not always. It’s really about supply and demand so still shop price and see if the dealer will match a lower price you may have found.
  • Lastly, go to the seminars if you can. Industry experts give them for free and they are a fount of great information. Some of the shows are given by resorts trying to sell you a spot. Look over the menu of speakers and choose the industry experts.

RV Shows are a great way to see many different manufacturer models and floor plans in one place and to narrow down your choices to get your RV dream rolling.

01 Oct

MPowering Others

I recently came across a company whose product I not only loved but whose mission I fell in love with. The Luci lantern is a great way to light up your campsite, tent, trailer, van, child’s bedroom, dark closet or as an emergency light source in natural disasters. Its lightweight LED solar powered inflatable design makes it an easy to store and pack light source. It’s pretty, has three adjustable light settings as well as an emergency flashing light and its most expensive model costs under $20.

 

As if all of that was not enough the MPowered Company that designed and began manufacturing these lights in 2012 is on a mission to light the world! Literally! Here is an excerpt from an email exchange I had with Joshua Multer,  the Social Media and Brand Strategist for MPowered Inc.

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MPOWERD creates clean energy products that are personal, well-designed and accessible to everyone. We believe that in the face of global challenges, truly innovative companies have a responsibility to empower as many people as possible – because we all have a stake in a brighter future. That’s why we’re a Certified B Corp with a uniquely integrated business model: the more consumers people buy our lights in places like the US, the lower our costs, and the more we’re able to help in underserved communities.

In 2012, we created our first product: an inflatable solar light called Luci. Waterproof, durable, collapsible, ultra-light and long lasting, Luci was created specifically to empower those living in underserved communities. Since then, we’ve developed a network of over 450 NGO clients in more than 90 countries worldwide, partnering with such esteemed organizations as the United Nations, and the International Medical Corps to impact over 1.6 million lives.

With Kids of Kathmandu, we’re helping to rebuild 50 schools destroyed by the 2015 Nepal earthquake, providing each student with their own light. With Rebuilding Alliance, we’ve achieved something unprecedented: permission from three oppositional governmental authorities to bring tens of thousands of solar lights through the blockade to families in Gaza.

In addition to what they are doing across the globe they also recently sent 3,000 lights to the hurricane ravaged citizens of Houston and Florida. (I have not spoken with Joshua since before Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico so I cannot say for certain that Luci lights went there but I am assuming they did knowing this company’s mission).

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I think its always a good thing when we can buy something beautiful, practical and at a good price point and our purchase literally impacts the lives of those who haven’t the means or power to help themselves. I’m putting the lights on my Christmas wish list for Girl Campers and hope that you will consider buying a few for yourself and others and giving the gift of light in what sometimes feel like a very dark world.

You can buy Luci lights at Amazon, Walmart, Target, and Cabela’s to name a few.

If you own a shop, campground store or any retail outlet and would like to sell Luci lights you can find the information here.

Photos are from ad campaign.