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Announcement: Why we have changed from Roadtreking to RV Lifestyle

Jennifer and I want to announce a big change for us: We have removed ourselves as on-the-road ambassadors for Roadtrek and have arranged the return of the van they provided us.

We want to explain why we have taken this step and to stress that although Roadtrek and it’s corporate owner are going through some very challenging and uncertain times right now, our decision to leave their sponsorship reflects a personal decision about our own image and the public and sometimes industry perception that our reporting and video community was only about Roadtreks instead of the much broader RV Lifestyle.

It all had to do with the name we chose for our blog when we first began this adventure almost seven years ago. Back then, I had just “retired” from daily journalism – a career I have practiced for more than 40 years. We bought a used Class B RV and when we started a blog to share our travels with friends and family, we came up with the name “Roadtreking.” After all, the used van we bought was a Roadtrek (a 2006 RS Adventurous at the time) and it just seemed to fit. But from the start, the blog was never meant to be about the brand of the van we drove, it was all about the RV Lifestyle.

Well, the blog took off. It was followed by a podcast. Then a YouTube Channel and then a newsletter. Sponsors came on board, including Roadtrek, which provided us vans to use. They got exposure of their products to our audience and we had use of a vehicle, something that is fairly common in the industry.  We helped test two of their prototype vehicles, both heavily outfitted with lithium batteries and solar panels. I guess they figured if I could operate them (I am notorious for being UNmechanically-inclined), then anyone could use them.

Our reporting took us all across North America. We did photo shoots and videos and podcasts on the people and places we encountered and all the time, in social media and in our reports, podcasts and videos, we kept stressing that we were all about the RV Lifestyle.

But the perception was that since the blog was called “Roadtreking,” our reports must be primarily about the Roadtrek.

It came to a head for me when we were attending the Overland East show in North Carolina in the fall of 2017 when Winnebago was introducing its very popular Revel Class B van, an innovative design aimed at the active lifestyle and RVers who love to camp off the grid. I was very impressed with the Revel and was in the midst of shooting a video about it when one of the Winnebago marketing types interrupted the shoot and asked us to stop. He said the company didn’t want us to do the video because they thought it would be biased.

Why?, I asked, dumbfounded. “Because of your name… ‘Roadtreking’,” replied the sheepish marketing exec, who said he had been told by telephone from his supervisor to not allow us to continue .

I asked a couple of friends in the industry for advice. They candidly said the same thing, that the name we were branded under created an impression that offset our efforts to be inclusive of all rigs and focus on the lifestyle. “Everyone thinks you’re primarily about Roadtrek,” one well respected industry insider told me.

Clearly, we needed to change something in our own branding.

So, about a year ago, I bought from an Internet domain broker the domain name RVLifestyle.com. It cost me way, way more money than I could afford but slowly we started using that name in our branding. Over several months, we changed our logos, our social media groups and finally, just the other day, the URL of his blog… from Roadtreking.com to RVLifestyle.com. We had planned to complete the process in November 2019 when our sponsorship agreement expired with Roadtrek.

The most recent news reports swirling around Hymer and Roadtrek have allowed us to make a clean break now. In response to the financial downturn Hymer of North America has announced, the company has begun a strict cost-cutting program that changed some of the terms of our old sponsorship agreement. While they asked us to sign a new agreement two weeks ago, we chose to take the ultimate step in completing our branding change by removing ourselves as Roadtrek’s on-the-road ambassadors and returning the latest vehicle they provided.

I want to stress that this was all done in good faith, on good terms and that we remain good friends with the wonderful people at Roadtrek. We wish them nothing but the best as they work through the present challenges.

So… now that we are “officially” RVLifestyle and all about the small RV experience and van life, what will we be driving and camping in?

We’re not sure. We’re shopping. We’ve considered getting a unit from a rental fleet to use for awhile. Maybe we’ll buy another used RV. Maybe we can even find a way to, gulp, purchase a new one. Or maybe we’ll become brand ambassadors for another company. We both have some really specific features we want to have in our new van: Off-grid capacity, comfortable beds and a dedicated work space for me to use as a studio for video editing and our podcasts. I’m also a big-time geek and I want lots of technology for Internet connectivity and for controlling and monitoring the various systems on the van. It would be nice to have some suspension improvements and maybe some enhanced four season capabilities, because we are big fans of cold weather camping.

We may not find everything we want in one van, but we’re looking for the best fit. And we need to decide fairly soon as we have an aggressive spring travel schedule planned and don’t want to miss any of the gatherings, events and travel commitments we have made.

We want you to clearly understand that our reporting will review and showcase lots of different brands. Just look at our recent video on the Tampa RV Supershow. We show and tour models from Coachmen, Leisure Travel Vans, Pleasure-Way, Winnebago, Airstream, Regency, American Traveler, Roadtrek, Hymer and even Lance Truck Campers.

Last week, we visited the factory of one of the most luxurious (and expensive) Class B upfitters in the world. We’ll have a video of that on Thursday. The following week, we’ll have a video tour of another RV factory. The following week we’ll have a video on two Do-It-Yourself Class B vans.

The point is, no matter what brand vehicle we choose, our reporting will be about the entire RV Lifestyle experience and when we visit RV shows we will freely and enthusiastically continue to report about all of the different brands out there.

Jennifer has always said “the brand is just the vehicle we use to have adventures.” In fact, she calls RVs “Adventuremobiles.”

Before ending, let me say a word about sponsors.

We need them. This all has evolved into much more than what I thought would be a retirement hobby seven years ago. It is a fulltime job. A real business, on many different platforms, with lots of expenses. I spend about 60-65 hours a week doing all this. I love every minute of it, but it takes a lot of time and effort and help from a growing number of people we pay for things like graphics and production and web hosting, design and maintenance. We are on the road half to three-quarters of the time. So we need sponsors to help with all that. But we are very selective in the ones we accept. We vet each one as best as we can. We don’t accept any sponsors whose products we would not personally use or recommend to a friend, nor do sponsors direct or control the stories and content we publish. And we try to limit the number of sponsors we take on. At least once a week, we turn down a sponsorship request from a company that we don’t think would be a good fit.

Sorry for all the words and the personal content of this post. But this is a big step for Jennifer and me (and Bo) and we wanted you to understand where we are and where we’re headed.

This is all about the RV Lifestyle and I promise, that is what we will continue to be focused on.

We’ll see you out there.

Happy Trails!

 

 

 

67 thoughts on “Announcement: Why we have changed from Roadtreking to RV Lifestyle”

  1. Congratulations on the new venture, always and still like your matter of fact, no nonsense, style. I’m sure you’ll keep the good work!!- Ron & Judy Moores (fairly new RV’ers)

  2. We wish you well in your new venture, hope to see you again at one of the gatherings, Jacquie & Brian Neale!

  3. Love your posts. Have learned alot. First followed due to traveling with a dog and then Janet Arnold and Camp skunk. Looking forward to your newB—I just hope it’s not a Winnebago 🙁

      1. Hopefully you could do a book or E-book on how the process of looking for and negotiating the purchase of an RV…..?

  4. I appreciate the clarity on what happened and the sponsorship issues. It was never very clear to me where you stood about any of that and if you owned your rig or were just using it. I look forward to the change in your focus, or rather in how I perceive your focus. Thank you.

    1. We intend to keep on doing what we’ve been doing, enjoying the RV Lifestyle and sharing our adventures. Thanks for the note.

  5. Very well written Mike. Glad to hear that you and Jennifer will continue to be there for all of us!! Happy hunting for a new rig!!!

  6. Hello, Just to let you know I found your page a couple of years ago, and like you said I thought it was all about Roadtrek vans. So I stopped following. We have a 2001 Dodge diy campervan we built. We retired in July & been to Maine to Ca. We’re getting ready to hit the road again. So now that everything changed with you & its now Rvlifestyle, we’ll start following again. Have a great day and travel safe.

    1. Awesome, Ron! As I said, we had no idea where this would all lead when we chose the name Roadtreking seven years ago and although we have always tried to express that this is for ALL RVers, that spur of the moment name decision gave the wrong impression that we were only focused on one brand. Glad you are back!

      1. stephanie contos

        Oh c’mon Mike–you knew very well that you were representing Roadtrek when you accepted the free vans from them. And remember all the Roadtrek sponsored events you promoted? Many of us Roadtrek owners already knew you were affiliated with Roadtrek so why deny it now?

  7. I wish you well as you transition to less Roadtrek and more RV Lifestyle. I started following your writing and escapades before I knew what brand I wanted, and I clearly saw a Roadtrek bias—that was OK while Roadtrek was a brand I was considering.

    But when I decided on a PleasureWay, I found that to participate in the group, I was always having to compare my Ascent to an Agile, because the majority of your followers seemed to be Roadtrek oriented.

    Anyway, although I’m sure this break has created some angst for you, you’ve developed a loyal following. So I’m sure you’ll emerge from all of it with success. Good luck! I for one look forward to your articles and comments.

    1. Pleasure-Way is an awesome brand with an unparalleled reputation for quality and integrity. We have lots of friends with Pleasure-Ways, as well as other brands and with the new name RV Lifestyle we hope all will feel very welcome here and on our Facebook RV Lifestyle Group and RV Lifestyle Page. Please spread the news!

  8. Very forthcoming in your words. I look to you with that insight and experience from the past 7 years in my venture into this lifestyle. Just retired and now need to see things I could not do so before. That premium builder you indicated (beieve I know the one) was at the top of my consideration of units but would cost prohibited. Wishing you and Jennifer many safe miles to go.

    1. We are currently traveling North America trying to visit as many RV Manufacturers as we can to learn more about their different build procedures and the technology they are using in their rigs. We’ll be showing videos of our discoveries over the next few weeks here on the RV Lifestyle Blog and our RV Lifestyle YouTube Channel. If you haven’t done so yet, please subscribe to our RV Lifestyle YouTube Channel at https://youtube.com/rvlifestyle We will be working hard to get the word out so please share if you can and tell people to subscribe. Making a change like this needs all the help we can get!

  9. Change is good. Sounds like you and Jennifer have given this a lot of thought. As an follower, I am most interested in your honesty toward products and your experiences. I think this this change allows you to continue us the best that you have to share.
    Thank you,
    Joan – Long Island, NY

  10. SandiHapoycamper

    Thanks for the transparency in your reporting. I respect your decision and am impressed by your motives. Best wishes as your adventure takes you around a new bend in the road.

    1. W thrive on change and we love the road so we are very excited about what’s next. Thank you for the encouragement!

  11. I enjoyed your articles over the years and am looking forward to your future adventures. Would love to meet you on the road or in a camp ground some day and have a chat.

    1. One thing we hope to do a lot this year is hold informal little “Meet and Greets” in the places we visit, in addition to the RV shows and organized gatherings we hope to see you out on the road some

  12. I must say that I am sad at the end of this chapter. My 2006 Adventurous was a dream come true. I have always been proud of the brand and being a Roadtrekker. However the community that you and Jennifer have built has always been about the lifestyle. Thanks to you both and see you out there!

  13. I am feeling a great sense of loss for all things Roadtrek. Jim Hammill led Roadtrek to be leaders in innovation. You made a good team with him and Campskunk. We visited the Roadtrek factory last summer and met so many nice people. I don’t want it to end.

  14. Thanks for clarifying the change and why you did it. I enjoy your email newsletter, blog and videos. Keep up the great work of supporting the B-van RV lifestyle.

  15. As a fellow Detroiter, I’ve followed you for years as an investigative reporter. When I found you later on as a RV lifestyle enthusiast, I immediately started watching and listening. I love your style and wish you, Jennifer and BO nothing but the best. Your heart and intentions are in the right spot; you’ll do just fine. We just retired, and are joining the lifestyle this spring – as newbies. Good Luck with finding your new rig. I’ll be curious to see which unit BO lets you buy!

  16. Frederick Jaquish

    I believe it will be good for you and your followers. I owned two Roadtreks and followed your posts and podcasts. We moved to a Leisure Travel Van in 2017, we felt a loss of love, a bit like outsiders, but continued to follow. I look forward to the change, I think in the end you will get more followers. I still have a soft spot in my heart for Roadtrek and wish them the best possible outcome. Fred J.

  17. I gradually became addicted to your blog. I am glad you are making the change which will give all of us a broader perspective. I will be interested in what you select. We have had a Roadtrek 210 Pop purchased new for almos 11 years. We have made some slight modifications. My only regret is that it is not all season friendly as you are looking for. I look forward to see what you discover. I wish you the best and before you leave this world I hope you can run yourself through a copy machine.

  18. Most RVers didn’t know about your “free” vans before. Now you continue to be secretive with the visit to a factory. I find it hard to take any of your reviews or recommendations seriously as a result. I won’t know what the back story is on any of your reviews. You can take me off your newsletter list.

    1. Gary, speaking only for myself I am pretty sure they mentioned the partnership with Roadtrek multiple times.
      They have checked out other manufacturers in the past per their comments but will be fun to see videos of factory visits.
      Hope you consider “giving them another shot” but obviously respect whatever decision you choose.

    2. stephanie contos

      I actually knew about their connection to Roadtrek and suspected they were given free vans to write their blog in their favor. While I appreciate that they finally came clean about this, I agree that it is too little too late for some.

  19. Hi Mike. I am glad to hear of the change. I was giving up on this blog as just another corporate sponsored “Reality TV Series”, publishing useless information for those of us who have to pay, for our RV lifestyle, out of our own pocket. Good luck to you both and I am looking forward to seeing the rig you buy as well as, more info on the true cost and down to earth reports of RV’ing.

  20. Thank you for your open and honest update. Wish you the very best in your quest for the perfect RV. Also wish you continued success as the premium news source for all things RV. I have relied on your newsletter/blog ever since I bought my first SS Agile in 2012, and took my first (and scary) camping excursion ever.

  21. Would like information on your dealings with finding a rental unit as my wife and I are also considering this as an option.

  22. Wishing you and Jennifer the very best. This change will bolster your perceived journalistic integrity and provide you more opportunities. I often wondered how you afforded switching rigs so often. I suggest you try the rental programs (as you and Jennifer often recommend) during your research. Then report on your experiences as a consumer, and not just from the vendor viewpoints. I look forward to your factory tours. Your purchasing ebook will have more credibility if you are actually researching and purchasing your own adventuremobile.

  23. “We both have some really specific features we want to have in our new van: Off-grid capacity, comfortable beds and a dedicated work space for me to use as a studio for video editing and our podcasts. I’m also a big-time geek and I want lots of technology for Internet connectivity and for controlling and monitoring the various systems on the van. It would be nice to have some suspension improvements and maybe some enhanced four season capabilities…”

    Mike, these items you listed about wanting in a van are exactly what we have been looking for, yet could not find, so we DIY’ed into a Nissan Cargo Van(which we love).

    But, we would still be interested in a van built as you mentioned. Please let these companies know that you are NOT the only ones with these same “wants”.

    One other goal we have is the GAS Sprinter 3500 which they are not making, only the 2500. We definitely do not want diesel, transit or promaster.

    Looking forward to hearing about your new van! 😊

  24. Mike and Jennifer, I look forward to this new chapter. I don’t think I’m more perceptive than the average person, but I have long understood that Roadtrek had been giving you use of a vehicle. I’m not sure if it was because you were explicit about saying that, or if it was just implied, but you have always been forthcoming as far as I’m concerned. As a Detroit-area native, I recall your local news days, and found your travel coverage when I was scanning YouTube for Lake Huron eye-candy. I’ve followed ever since. I especially love the reports from Roger and Lynn Brucker. Keep up the good work!

  25. Hi Jennifer and Mike,
    Wish you well,you both have worked very hard and have put out a top notch product,would you consider buying a C or A type unit? Thanks for the honesty in your statement,look forward to your new adventures!

  26. You’ve always let your subscribers know that it is about the B type RV lifestyle. Transparency and honesty have always been your corner stones. Looking forward to your new chapter.

  27. Your efforts to not be brand-specific seem logical to me. I’ve been following some of your content for a couple years, and I pull a travel trailer! Much of your knowledge is as you say, about the RV lifestyle. I’ve learned from you, and taken advantage of some of your suggestions. Thank you for your time and energy. It is useful for all types of RVing.

  28. Mike & Jennifer your videos, blog and publications are top notch. I am sure that you will easily find sponsors anxious to work with you. Susie and I recently bought a Riverside RV 18 ft. Retro trailer and a Subaru Ascent to tow it. We’ll be hitting the road soon to take a break from the MI weather. Hope to see you out there.

  29. Mike, may I suggest Nick at Gainesville FL Sunshine rv. Before recently acquiring a RT dealership, he dealt with only used B vans of all makes. He would be an excellent source of info for other brands of “B”s. He could also be a great source for another used rig of any brand. He has bent over backwards to help our local chapter in FL. He sponsors a lot of our rallys/get togethers and always brings a RV tech with him for free minor repairs/troubleshooting. No one else has done what he has. i know a few that have bought from him and rave about the attention to details. Give him a consideration. Hes earned his good reputation. No i didnt deal with him. I bought mine before i heard about him, but he has helped with his tech.I havent heard any negatives about him.

  30. Bob & Cynthia Heywood

    Hey Mike, Jennifer, & Bo!

    In this hyper-sensitive world, transparency is everything. We have followed you for at least 5 years, and the RoadTrek thing was pretty obvious, despite your efforts to present an unbiased POV. Although these next few months will no doubt be challenging, if honesty is your best policy (and for you guys I am sure this is the case), then you all will succeed beyond all expectations.

    Looking forward to seeing what your next ride will be, and where the roads will take you! Hope to see you out there!

  31. Mike,
    I always thought your travels were more of the rv lifestyle then about the road trek vehicle you had.

  32. Well done, and bravo on breaking loose from a corporation that had outlived its usefulness to you and your audience. That’s what smart people do.

    And never apologize for “all the words”, no matter the topic. My mother, who taught English for 40 years, left me with many thoughts I’ve done my best to live by. One was, “God lives in the details of life. The Devil gets by on Cliff Notes”.

    Happy traveling your new [insert brand here].

  33. If you are still considering a b type van you should consider a Pleasureway built in Canada as a friend has had them for years. They have a very good reputation for being very well built. The added bonus for you would be that one would be about 30% less for you due to our poor dollar value verse’s the U.S. dollar. If I could afford one it would definitely be on the top of my list

    1. Yes, Pleasure-Way makes some beautiful coaches. It’s a family-run business with an excellent reputation for quality.

  34. I admit that I thought you were really definitely Roadtrek promoters and biased to them because they were sponsors. You are certainly setting the record straight. I look forward to your next adventuremobile and the travels that it brings. Thanks for sharing them with us.

  35. Please don’t get another sponsored vehicle because most of us are curious what RV would really purchase. You guys are definitely the most professional of any of the other RV channels. More fun less work OK?

  36. Mike,

    Thanks for the explanation and I fully understand your decision. Unfortunately for me and my wife we bought a brand new 2018 Adventurous RS in December. Please know that our decision was strongly informed by the positive results reported on your various channels.

    I in no way hold you responsible – please don’t think that. But such is the power of internet influencers in today’s world.

    The old advice still applies – caveat emptor … nothing can shield us from bad actors in the market place.

    My wife and I will continue to look forward to our adventures in our Roadtrek (to bad we can’t just send it back)

    Carl Schulz

  37. Thanks for the update, but I hope you actually purchase your own RV and not get another “sponsorship”.

    You will never convince your audience of your impartiality if someone else is footing the $100K+ bill for your adventure wagon.

  38. Helen, Dave and Percy

    Finally got around to reading this. Thanks for the information and clarity. Always appreciated the RT info since we have one, but also the more general lifestyle topics.

    Best wishes to you two, and Bo. Hope to see you on the road again, soon.

  39. I like your idea of renting. I’ve been following you for the last six months. I retired several months ago and would like to get into this lifestyle while learning about the various vehicles before buying. If you were to rent, where would you rent from?

  40. Mike and Jen, Diane and I really do appreciate the time and effort you put into your blogs, FB videos and podcast. We are on our second RT and have learned not only about the lifestyle but also about a lot of places across North America that we have been able to visit that you have featured. Keep up the good work, we are with you, God Bless.

  41. I hope you do well in all of our new adventures!

    If you do get a new sponsor for a vehicle what I would like to see is upfront honesty about it. I don’t mean telling us the financial details or anything like that just please be honest and say it a contractual loaner and don’t vaguely imply or lead people to believe you bought it. There are just too many RV’ers out there being shady about their sponsorships

    Anyway, happy travels and I hope you find another RV that fits your travels, as well as the Roadtrek, did!

  42. just seems a bit of a coincidence that your decision exactly coincided with the breaking news about the problems at EHGNA, at this point good thoughts about RT/Hymer not sitting well with me, the party line of ‘business as usual’ from EHGNA just does not cut it.

  43. Mike & Jennifer, Thanks for your update on EHG-Roadtrek. Sad when things end and change, but exciting all at the same time! There are many more “small” builders who have the flexibility to get very interesting since I purchased by Aktiv. One coming soon right near you matter of fact, which I hope you will do a YT on, Recon campervan! Another interesting person started the business.
    I keep trying to join one of your outings or run into you. I love the Aktiv that I’m using. I try to keep up with you on YT, podcast, IG. Hopefully I can catch you at a calm time on the road and have a wonderful chat with a both of you. Keep up the lifestye! See you on the road!

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