Skip to Content

Episode 149: The Changing Face of Camping

| Updated Jul 19, 2017

Camping in North America is changing rapidly. In this episode of the podcast, we’ll learn in our interview segment from the most comprehensive camping study ever done, from the industry’s most influential camping organization. Toby O’Rourke, the Chief Franchise Operations Offer for Kampgrounds of America, shares the results with us, telling us how its changing, who is driving that change and what it means to every RVer out there.

Plus your listener questions and answers about RVing, RV tips, the RV news of the week and a great off-the beaten-path report, all coming up on Episode 149 of the RV Podcast, being released July 19,2017.

Click the player below to Listen Now or scroll down through the show note details. When you see a time code hyperlink, you can click it to jump directly to that segment of the podcast.



About the photo at the top – We took this at a great boondocking spot we found in northeastern Montana a couple of weeks ago. Only neighbors were some distant coyotes. You should have seen the stars at night.

Mike and Jennifer's Update [spp-timestamp time=”2:10″]

  • Mike and Jennifer are just back from FMCA gathering in Indianapolis. The big news is the governing board has announced approval to bring to a full membership vote a change in membership requirements that would let those with non-motorized vehicles – like towable trailers and fifth wheels… to be members of what up until now has been a 50-plus year organization made up exclusively of motorhome owners. Ballots will be in the next three editions of Family Motor Coaching Magazine, with the results know in November.
  • The best deal in the RV and camping world is coming to an end. The $10 for a lifetime of free entry into the nation’s national parks and public recreation lands. bout to change, the result of Congressional legislation approved last December. The price of the Senior Pass, the card that gives free entrance to those 62 years and older (as well as three accompanying adults) at all public lands and recreation areas operated by six different federal agencies, is increasing a whopping 700 percent, to $80 for the lifetime pass. The price increase takes effect on Aug. 28. But even at $80, it’s still a great deal. With the pass, you can visit roughly 2,000 public lands or recreation areas operated by the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, Board of Reclamation, Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service. The pass can also give its holders up to 50 percent discounts on other fees, such as camping fees, at some of the sites.
  • We’re a little over a week away now from our big Traveling Tech Live Demo in Grand Rapids, MI on July 28. We’ll be joined by Verizon’s Steve VanDinter, who regularly contributes to our Traveling Tech segment on the podcast. We will be in person from 3PM to 7PM Thursday, July 27 at American RV in Grand Rapids, MI. We’ll be showing many of the cool gadgets and gismos we talk about every week here on the podcast for all those who show up. And if you can’t attend in person, we’ll also have a Facebook Live report that can be watched online, in real time.
  • Mike and Jennifer remind everyone the importance of having a weather radio, to be alerted to weather emergencies. The importance of that was made clear last weekend in Arizona when a heavy thunderstorm led to a flash flood that filled a number of children and adults at a popular Arizona swimming hole. Mike refers listeners to his master list of products, services and gadgets at to see the weather apps and the weather radio he uses and recommends.

This portion of the Podcast is brought to you by Campers Inn, the RVer’s trusted resource for over 50 years, the nation’s largest family-operated RV dealership with 16 locations and growing


Episode 149: The Changing Face of Camping 1

One problem those of us who travel with dogs regularly face is what to do with our pets when we have a place to go or an activity to do that doesn’t allow dogs. [spp-timestamp time=”12:22″]

Listener Judy shares a website she used called, which claims to be the nation’s largest network of pet sitters and dog walkers. It’s a very easy site to use. Just type in your location, whether you need boarding… house, or RV, sitting… dog walking..or doggie day care. You’ll be returned a list of qualified people that you can check out and book.

And be sure to send me your tips and suggestions for the RV lifestyle. You can use the “Leave Voicemail” link at Just click it and then use the built-in microphone on your computer or mobile devise to record a message to me. You can do it over as many times as you want, until you are satisfied. And then you just click a button and it comes right to my email inbox.

I love hearing from you!

Jennifer's tip of the week is brought to you by RadPower Bikes ,an electric bike manufacturer offering direct to consumer pricing on powerful premium electric bikes. Now with free shipping


  • Steve, from Mississippi, asks Mike and Jennifer to share how they take care of maintenance on their sticks and bricks home while they are on the road for extended periods of time [spp-timestamp time=”16:00″]
  • A listener asks what is the easiest type of bedding to use in a motorhome when it is surrounded by three walls [spp-timestamp time=”23:14″]. Mike and Jennifer refer her to their video on the RV Superbag at   
  • Tim needs some help in turning on his hot water heater on his 2016 Zion [spp-timestamp time=”25:54″]. We refer them to the online and updated product manuals available for download direct from Roadtrek at
  • A caller just bought a 2011 RV and the fresh water tanks are not so…well, fresh. The caller wants to know how to make them that way [spp-timestamp time=”27:24″]

Sponsoring this part of the podcast is Van City RV in St. Louis, and their Partner Dealerships Creston RV in Kalispell, Montana, and Wagon Trail RV in Las Vegas. Bringing You the largest Inventory of class B’s from three locations


Camping in North America is changing rapidly. In this episode of the podcast, we’ll learn in our interview segment from the most comprehensive camping study ever done, from the industry’s most influential camping organization. Toby O’Rourke, the Chief Franchise Operations Offer for Kampgrounds of America, shares the results with us, telling us how its changing, who is driving that change and what it means to every RVer out there. [spp-timestamp time=”31:24″]

Episode 149: The Changing Face of Camping 2
KOA's Toby O'Rourke

Millennials now account for 38 percent of the 75 million active camper households in the U.S., up from 34 percent in 2016, and 51 percent say they plan to increase their camping this year. Results of the survey indicate that these younger campers are using camping to add more balance to their lives. Their key reasons for camping include spending more time with friends and family, being physically active and improving their overall emotional well-being and health.

Their attitudes about camping are reinforced by their behaviors and, with the influx of younger campers, this is changing the camping landscape overall. Camping is becoming a more social activity, and outdoor recreation while camping is shifting to more physically active activities. In this year’s results, hiking outranked fishing as the most popular type of camping recreation for the first time since the first iteration of the North American Camping Report. Kayaking and mountain biking also saw significant increases.

You can read the entire survey that Toby talks about at

The interview of the week is brought to you by, where every new or used Roadtrek motorhome is delivered to the customer free, anywhere in the country


Four stories this week…[spp-timestamp time=”47:25″]

  • Man camping with his family in Florida panhandle killed by lightning. Read more
  • Researchers study why 22 million people around the world like to watch Alaska's Katmai National Park bears on live stream. Read more
  • Dog dies of heat exposure when family took pet on hike at Cowles Mountain near San Diego  Read more
  • Florida state park having to close some walkways because of aggressive wild monkeys. Read more

This portion of the podcast is brought to you by Alde,  the only name in heat that you need to know for your RV


By Steve Van Dinter

Verizon Wireless

Episode 149: The Changing Face of Camping 3
Steve Van Dinter

Where is summer going? It’s already time for us to start talking back to school and off to college. So for the next couple weeks I’ll have some suggestions to have your student perfectly prepped for success. [spp-timestamp time=”54:22″]

This week we’re talking college. And tech is very much a part of the dorm room experience.

First up…Google Home( Talk about the perfect assistant! Set it on your dresser or desk and now you’ll receive reminders for everything from when to leave to class to when a paper is due. Have to wake up early for that 745am class? No worries, just set the alarm via voice. Always forget to check the weather before heading out the door? You can now get the forecast while laying in bed! And when it comes to playing music to concentrate…you guess it…all available by saying “Ok Google”.

Next up….Samsung Galaxy Book(
Desktops are so 2000 and laptops are almost as outdated. Today’s college student wants something with the convenience of a tablet and power of a desktop. That’s where the Samsung Galaxy Book comes in. Powered by Windows 10 and an Intel Core i5 processor, this device is a two in one tablet and laptop. The keyboard disconnects for a tablet experience and reconnects when you need to write. And with Samsung Flow, everything you do on it can seamlessly transfer to your Galaxy phone like magic.

Sometimes it’s easier to study with a little bit of noise. So help your student reach the ultimate level of concentration with the Bose Soundlink Revolve speaker (
. This bluetooth device has Bose quality sound that emanates in 360 degrees so there’s never a bad side. Plus it’s splash and drop proof  – making it perfect for any situation.

Finally, to stay on schedule, your student could certainly use the Samsung Gear S3 smartwatch (
With the Gear S3, your student can stay on top of assignment reminders, track their heart rate and even pay for a quick bite to eat all with one tap on the wrist. And because it packs 4G LTE inside, your phone doesn’t have to be anywhere near you! Now that’s smart!

This part of the podcast is brought to you by Verizon, which operates America’s most reliable wireless network, with more than 112 million retail connections nationwide.

Mike and Steve have been talking about cool traveling tech gadgets and gizmos week after week on the RV Podcast. We thought it would be fun to arrange a time and place to show and demonstrate these gadgets. So we will! On Thursday, July 27, we will be in Grand Rapids, Michigan at American RV. You're invited to come for an in-person demo. Grand Rapids is not far Lake Michigan and there are lots of camping opportunities in the area. Come meet us


Episode 149: The Changing Face of Camping 4
Patti and Tom Burkett

Acadia, in Maine, is one of the top ten national parks in the USA, with more than 2 and a half million visitors every year.  [spp-timestamp time=”58:01″] Come summer, it’s wall to wall people from Ellsworth to Bar Harbor and everywhere in between.  You might think it would be hard to get off the beaten path here, but not so!  For at least a little while longer, until the crowds discover it, you can enjoy a quiet experience in this spectacular park by heading north and east to the Schoodic peninsula, a remote section of the park across the water from Mount Desert Island.  From here, you can take a ferry across to the main part of the park, and both sections are served by an extensive free shuttle bus system.

Episode 149: The Changing Face of Camping 5

Schoodic Woods campground will surprise you if you’ve done a lot of national park camping.  This is its second full season since opening late in 2015, and it offers some things you don’t usually fine in a national park.  Loop B has pull through sites to accommodate RVs in excess of forty feet, and full hookups.  Even the outer loops have electricity.  The bathrooms are bright, new, and pristine.  Sadly, no showers.  We can understand why there aren't showers in the parks out west where water is scarce, but here where it’s plentiful, the reason is mystery.  We drove ten miles up the road to a 50s mom and pop campground and paid for showers there.

Episode 149: The Changing Face of Camping 6
Bike trails, part of a vast network that covers the park, come right through the campground, and several hiking trails are easily accessible.  The park shuttle, free and frequent, stops at the headquarters building.   Turn left out the entrance and you’re on the Schoodic loop road, with a number of pleasant surprises in front of you.  As we navigated this two-lane, one-way road, we came first upon an excited group of birdwatchers huddled around a ranger’s spotting scope.  The cliffs above were home to nesting peregrine falcons, and the birds—mom, pop, and the kids—were putting on a show.
Winding through salt marshes, tidal creeks, and along the cobbled shore, we came eventually to the turnoff for the Schoodic Institute.  in the early 1930s, John D. Rockefeller (who masterminded Acadia and gave it to the nation) wanted to clear the spectacular Otter Cliffs area of Schoodic for a a scenic drive.  At the time, the US Navy had a very busy listening post sited there.  Rockefeller offered to build a new facility for the Navy if they’d relocate.  It all worked out, and abut ten years ago the Navy turned the site over to the National Park.  Several buildings were razed, several renovated, and the centerpiece Rockefeller building fully restored.  The result is a stunning location for an institute that supports research in the national park.  The Rockefeller building includes a visitor center and is open every day.  Don't miss it.

On down the road is Schoodic Point.  The waves, rocks, and scenic view here are every bit as good as those at Thunder Hole across the bay, and infinitely less crowded.  The best times are sunrise, sunset, and when the tide is coming in.  Along the rest of the loop road are many pullouts suitable for exploring and taking pictures.  As you exit the loop road, notice the narrow Wonsqueak harbor on your right.  If you’ve visited in the morning, take a right when you get back to route 186.  Go a couple of miles and take another right on route 195.  Follow signs for Corea Lunch on the Wharf.

At Corea, a fully functioning fishing harbor, you can walk out on the newly reconstructed wharf and enjoy lobster or a steaming bowl of haddock chowder.  Joe Young, the owner, will likely be around to chat.  Joe is a lobsterman, and brings in the items on the menu every morning.  In the off season, he weaves doormats from old lobster pot rope, and you can buy one for a lot less here than at LL Bean.  Also on the wharf is a photo gallery featuring the work of Joe’s aunt Louise from the early 20th century.  Several of the photos were taken at Wonsqueak harbor.  How ill tell you, if you ask, that his was one of the first families to settle on the peninsula when the emigrated from Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1812.

There’s a surprising lot to see here on Schoodic.  The Tidal Falls Preserve offers a spectacle comparable to the tidal bore rafting on the Bay of Fundy.  At US Bells, you can see bells being cast and shop a gallery of beautiful items that include pottery and woodworking made by members of this artistic family.  Prospect Harbor United Methodist Church offers a meal on the first Saturday of the month—we enjoyed a traditional New England baked bean supper.  And this may be the only place in the country you can get pickled wrinkles.  We’ll let you decide whether you’re willing to eat one.  While you’re thinking about it, keep an eye out for us, Patti and Tom Burkett, way out there off the beaten path.


This part of the podcast is sponsored by Steinbring Motorcoach, Roadtrek’s newest dealer and a third generation family business in Minnesota’s beautiful Chain of Lakes region built on quality motohormes and excellent pricing and service.

Please Subscribe and Give Us a Rating and Review!

Many listeners are asking how they can subscribe, review and rate the Roadtreking Podcast on iTunes. With a new podcast like this, those reviews and ratings are really important to be able to show well in the iTunes listings. So if you can, I’d sure appreciate it if you’d subscribe and leave me your review.

Here’s how:

How to subscribe, rate and review a podcast

First, open up the iTunes app on your computer or mobile device. Click on Podcasts up on the top
> From the iTunes Podcasts page, use the “Search Store” field up at the top right corner of the page. Type in Mike Wendland or Roadtreking RV Podcast.
> Click on the logo image of the Roadtreking RV Podcast on the search return page
> From there (see photo above), you can…

1) Subscribe

2) Choose and Click on a star (1-5) that reflects your rating. Five stars means you really like it, one star not so much.

3) Leave a written review.

Thanks to all for the kind reviews we’ve received so far. That got us noticed by Apple/iTunes as “New and Noteworthy.” I appreciate every review!

And remember, you can appear in future episodes. Ask a question or voice your comments about RV topics by clicking the Leave Voicemail tab on the right side of this page here at You can then use the microphone on your computer to record your words.

Mike Wendland

Published on 2017-07-19

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

Comments are closed.

Back to top