A weekly podcast from the writers of rvfamilytravelatlas.com, focusing on topics that relate to RV family travel. We review campgrounds, discuss tips and tricks for traveling with kids, and answer our readers' most common questions. We also chat about food, gear, and those times when everything doesn't quite go as planned.
RV Atlas Year in Review! Our Most Downloaded Episodes
Happy New Year everyone!! We typically wrap up a year of podcasting with an episode dedicated to our travel highlights from the past year. But this year got a little complicated didn't it? We had great moments traveling, but not exactly enough to sift through them and chose from them. As Stephanie says in today's year-end wrap up podcast--every time we travelled was a highlight!
So instead we decided to share our favorite podcasts from the year, and our most downloaded podcasts from the year! If you missed any of these you might want to head back and take a listen. Because for one reason or another--these episodes resonated with people. Typically, our campground reviews do not end up being the most downloaded episodes of the year. These are great episodes, but sometimes people pick and choose which ones they listen to based on where they live or where they might go on an upcoming trip. Understandable, of course. But this year that paradigm got tossed out the window. Campground reviews dominated our top ten list! We think that this can be explained quite easily. There were so many new RV owners this summer--and they wanted to know where to go!
Our personal favorites from the year overlap quite a bit. This was also surprising to us because we don't always agree on these types of things:)
Without further ado--here are the top ten most downloaded episodes of The RV Atlas in 2021! Followed by Stephanie's five personal favorites and Jeremy's five personal favorites. Links are included to the show notes for each!
10 Most Downloaded Episodes
Campground Review: Castaways RV Resort
Campground Review: Anchor Down RV Resort
Campground Review: Moose Hillock, NY
Campground Review: Carolina Pines RV Resort
5 RV Trends for 2020
Campground Review: Estes Park Campground at Mary’s Lake
2020 Camping Trends "What’s Hot What’s Not"
RV Newbie Stock Up List
The Campground 411: Understanding Different Types of Campgrounds
Small Bunkhouse Round Up with Kerri Cox
Stephanie’s Five Favorite Episodes
Trip Planning: RV, RV Rentals, Cabins, or Lodge
Zion National Park Trip Planner with Lauren Eber
12 Tips for RVing During a Pandemic
RVing in Iceland
Subpar Parks: National Parks and Their One Star Reviews
Jeremy’s Five Favorite Episodes
Fort Wilderness VS Wilderness Lodge
Underrated Series --Michigan, NY, Indiana, Arkansas, Virginia
12 Tips for RVing During a Pandemic
RVing in Iceland
Subpar Parks with Amber Share
Happy New Year Everyone!! The RV Atlas podcast will be back on February 1st!
Planning our Summer 2021 Trip to Yellowstone National Park
Stephanie and I have been in the thick of planning our summer 2021 camping trip to Yellowstone National Park. So we thought we would take you along for the ride on today's episode of The RV Atlas! I tend to drive Stephanie bonkers planning our big trips because I vacillate and hesitate and act like Prince Hamlet. Perpetually unable to make a decision and creating chaos all around me. Stephanie is more precise and decisive and she has great track record for picking the right places and planning the right routes. So I basically bombard her with options and force her to decide. It's a bit dysfunctional, but our track record for planning epic adventures out west is impeccable.
To listen to Stephanie and Jeremy discuss planning their big summer 2021 trip to Yellowstone National Park, click on the media player above, or subscribe to The RV Atlas wherever you get your podcasts!
Our Late Summer Strategy For Heading West
When it comes to planning our big summer trips out west, we have settled into a pattern that we both love. Instead of taking our own RV out west, we fly in and rent an RV. Or we rent a car and stay in cabins or NPS lodges. We only have about 12 days for this Yellowstone trip, so driving out is not a viable option. That would mean too much time in the truck, and not enough time in the parks. We think that too many RV owners never get around to their bucket list trips because they are totally committed to their own RV's and don't have enough time to drive to many of the epic locations out west. So instead, they spend all of their vacation time closer to home.
Fly and camp trips have allowed us to see the PNW, South Dakota, and Glacier on our own timeframes and on our own terms. Staying in NPS Lodges, glamping tents, and cabins has been an incredibly experience that we wouldn't trade for the world.
We have also fallen in love with traveling out west in late August and early September. Why? Because we find that many popular locations, like Mount Rushmore, are less crowded at that time. This is because so many kids are back in school. Our boys don't start school until after Labor Day, and we are thankful that we can travel at a time when the weather is great and the summer crowds have thinned out a bit. We are taking this same approach for Yellowstone. Max and Theo have a baseball tournament that ends around August 21st. We have about 14 days before school starts, so why not do Yellowstone, right?
So this year LORD WILLING we are flying into Jackson Hole and doing a loop---staying first at Grand Teton National Park, then West Yellowstone, East Yellowstone/Cody, and back to Jackson Hole. We are missing out on Devil's Tower on this trip, but besides that, this loop looks perfect! We will have time to explore Grand Teton National Park, both sides of Yellowstone, and Cody and Jackson Hole. Sounds like a perfect 12 days to me.
First Stop: Colter Bay Cabins
Our first stop will be at Colter Bay Cabins. We were surprised that there was NPS lodging available inside Grand Tetons National Park--so we grabbed it! Yellowstone basically had nothing left--so this was our one chance to stay inside one of these monumental parks. The cabins look pretty basic on the outside--but they look really nice and cozy on the inside. But most importantly, they comfortably sleep five! This is a huge reason why we prefer cabins over hotels when we do fly trips---room and sleeping accommodations for the whole family. Pictures of the interiors of this cabin look absolutely charming--and we think it will be nice and centrally located for our trip. We are hoping to do the hike around Jenny Lake and visit mormon row while we are here. I would also love to rent canoes or kayaks.
Second Stop: West Yellowstone
I am thrilled that we are staying two nights in a luxury glamping tent at Under Canvas Yellowstone.
Six Tips for Travel Themed Decor With Gretchen Holcombe
This guest post about travel themed decor was written by our friend Gretchen Holcombe from Boxy Colonial, and Boxy Colonial on the Road. To listen to Gretchen and Jeremy discuss this topic click on the media player above, or subscribe to The RV Atlas wherever you get your podcasts! Gretchen has been on the podcast many times over the years, check out some of her other great episodes here and here.
Winter can be a tough time for RVers. Memories of summer travel start to fade while long months too cold for camping stretch out before us. But our homes are more than just places to sleep in between trips; at their best they’re a reflection of who we are and the things we value. We’ve always loved to travel, but when we started RVing five years ago, we found the reminders of the places we’ve been creeping into our home decor more and more, and we love it that way. Here are six ideas for filling your home with all the things you love about your travels to keep those memories close even when the next trip seems way too far away.
Use Souvenirs in Holiday Decorating
Lots of people enjoy picking up Christmas ornaments from gift shops as they travel; bringing them out come December is a great way to remember all the places you’ve been over the years. Or you can get crafty for a low cost alternative to store bought ornaments. How about salt dough ornaments in the shapes of all the states you’ve visited? Make a garland or origami ornaments from old maps. When our souvenir magnet collection started to get out of hand, I bought some heavy duty magnetic tape and some wooden craft circles and turned them into temporary ornaments. Now we put two trees up every year, and one of them is entirely travel themed.
Think Beyond the Obvious
There’s more to souvenir shopping than magnets and t-shirts, and there’s more to travel themed decor than a photo on the wall of your family in front of the Grand Canyon. Look for things that truly capture what you love about a place. While you’re traveling, find shops that sell things made by local artists or artisans; a lovely piece of pottery or wood carving from a local craftsman will always remind you of the place you bought it even if it doesn’t have the name or image of that place on it.
When we went to Nashville for my husband’s 40th birthday, we came home with a commemorative poster that local printer, Hatch Show Print, made for the Jason Isbell concert we went to. If you’re going to a performance or seeing a limited time exhibit on your travels, a commemorative print could make a great souvenir that few other people will have.
It’s Okay to Wait Until You Get Home to Shop
Browsing a gift shop in a national park can be a great experience, and for many people souvenir shopping is an important part of a trip. But trying to make decisions about what to bring home while kids tug on your sleeve and you’re running late for a ranger talk can also be stressful and overwhelming. Fortunately, we live in world where you can find just about anything on the internet and have it at your house in a matter of days. A little time and distance from your trip can also help clarify which parts were the most meaningful to you and which memories you want to represent in your home. As a bonus, the online shopping itself can help you relive your trip and find travel themed decor that fits perfectly into your home.
Don’t Forget Vintage
If vintage finds fit in with your travel themed decor aesthetic, you can turn to eBay or Etsy or even local thrift shops and antique malls for some wonderful, low cost souvenirs. Souvenir plates, for example, are very easy to find from any state or major city or tourist attraction you’ve visited. We have a cheerful collection of these on the wall of our sunroom. Reproductions of old travel posters are very popular lately and are usually r
Hither Hills Campground, Montauk, New York
Hither Hills Campground
We have wanted to visit and review Hither Hills Campground, in Montauk, New York for years! But from our home at the Jersey Shore it could take 3.5 hours(or 6 hours) to get there, depending on traffic. We would also have to tow our RV over the George Washington Bridge. We have towed over the GW before--but it is not exactly fun. Our buddy Phil Travaglia camps at Hither Hills on the regular and we finally decided to have him on for a review. We are so glad we did. Phil loves camping at Hither Hills and he loves exploring Montauk. His passion for this beautiful place really comes to life in our interview with him.
During Phil's last trip to Hither Hills he met the team behind Sunny Day Camper Rentals. He was very impressed with their rental service and wanted to recommend it to anyone who doesn't own an RV and might want to camp on Hither Hills, or anywhere on Long Island. Sunny was also kind enough to provide a few of the pictures below! All Thank you Sunny!! All other photos are by Phil! To ready more about Sunny Day Camper Rentals scroll down to the end of the post.
To listen to Phil and Jeremy discuss Hither Hills Campground click on the media player above. Or just keep reading Phil's great guest blog post to find out all of the information you need to visit Hither Hills and Montauk.
Guest Post by Phil Travaglia:
Layout of Hither Hills Campground
The campground is divided into two main loops: the East Loop and the West Loop separated by a roundabout and a beachfront visitors center. The East loop and West are predominantly RV sites. Then there is a smaller “Tent only” loop called the “J Loop”. This loop does not allow generator use. The visitors center (pre-Covid) has a large community room geared towards environmental education for kids. There are “hands on” learning tables and the campground has a permanently staffed environmentalist who provides educational programs and hikes for the campers.
Photo Provided by Sunny Day Camper Rentals
All of the sites are considered oceanfront sites. The campground is separated from the ocean by a single row of dunes that run the length of the campground. You hear the ocean literally from every site. The camping is dry camping with water spigots interspersed throughout the campground for filling your tanks. They have designated hours when you can run your generators and the location is excellent for those who have solar set ups.
The majority of the sites are listed for 30 foot rigs . The sites right up against the dunes are for smaller rigs up to 20 feet and there are seventeen sites that I counted that can take 40 foot rigs. There are four bath houses with showers. Personally, I have only checked out two of them. The West loop bath house is likely the original bath house for the park. It is older, but it is clean and well maintained. The East loop bath house is much newer and is very nice. Also, this one is clean and well maintained with modern shower stalls.
There is a nice camp store on the grounds during the peak season. There is a very nice playground as well as a baseball/ softball field, basketball and some of the nicest oceanfront beach on Long Island.
Tips for Visiting Hither Hills Campground During Peak Season
Photo Provided By Sunny Day Camper Rentals
There is a seven night minimum for renting campsites at Hither Hills during peak season which runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Camp fires are also not allowed during this time. I asked about this and was told that they do this during the peak season for a few reasons: One is to cut down on the smoke… The layout of this campground is flat with low bushes and trees (typical for beach camping on the East Coast) during the peak season the campground fills up and the smoke from everyone’s fires can become a bit much f...
10 Tips for Creating a YouTube Channel with New Jersey Outdoor Adventures
Have you ever dreamed of creating your own RV, vanlife, or travel based YouTube channel? Maybe you want to simply document your journeys for family and friends? Or maybe you want to become the next RV YouTube star and make money from your channel? Either way, having a good content creation strategy in place is essential. If you want a vibrant YouTube channel that people actually want to watch, then you need a plan. Our friend Patrick Botticelli is the host of the popular and long running New Jersey Outdoor Adventures channel on YouTube. When his channel passed 100k subscribers a few months ago, I knew we had to get him back on the show. Partly to celebrate the accomplishment, but more importantly--to tell us how he did it!
Patrick has appeared on the show before to talk about the debut of the 2020 Airstream Bambi and Caravel, and to talk about his own renovation of a classic 1961 Airstream Bambi. To listen to Patrick share his top ten tips for starting your own RV or #vanlife centric YouTube channel click on the media player above. Or just keep reading!
The History of New Jersey Outdoor Adventures
When Patrick initially started his channel it was about him and his outdoor adventures in New Jersey. He recorded tours of interesting locations and documented his mountain biking trips throughout the state. While he was out and about having fun he started to meet RV and van owners and he decided to record walk throughs of their rigs. That was when his channel really took off and started to pick up hundreds, and eventually thousands, of subscribers. At that point he pivoted and completely turned the focus of the channel to recording detailed walk throughs of vans and RV's. The rest is history.
Here are Patrick's ten best tips for starting your own RV or van-centric YouTube channel!
Define Your Audience
Patrick's first tip for YouTube success is to DEFINE YOUR AUDIENCE. Are you creating content for yourself? As a sort of video diary to remember your adventures? Or, are you creating content to share with family and friends? Or do you want to create a monetized YouTube channel that could serve as a side hustle or full time career? You need to sort these things out as soon as you can and then create content with your primary goal in mind. If you want your YouTube channel to become a viable business like New Jersey Outdoor Adventures, then you need to deliver consistent content and stay on topic!
Figure Out What the Channel is About
To stay on topic you need to figure out what your channel is about and stick to it. Patrick started by doing videos of trails he was biking. But once he decided to focus on RV and van walk through videos he was incredibly disciplined about it. Patrick pointed out in our interview that many YouTubers have several channels to cover all of their interests. If you decide to do a YouTube show about RV modifications you should probably not throw in a cooking video every now or then. Your viewers that were implicitly promised RV mod videos may lose interest. Of course, if you are just doing your channel for fun, then post whatever you want. Just don't expect your audience to grow or stick with you over time.
Create Content and Find Your Editing Style
It might sound easy, but actually creating great content is more time consuming than most people think. Patrick and I recorded a tour of my Jayco Eagle HT 264BHOK so I had a behind the scenes look at how hard Patrick works to make New Jersey Outdoor Adventures happen.
There is preparation involved in making the video, recording the video, editing the video, and then marketing the video. Patrick easily puts 10-12 hours of work into each video. He has also learned that editing is incredibly important. The more time he spends on editing the videos the more he retains the interest of his audien...
2021 Silverado LTZ Duramax Turbo-Diesel Test Drive!
We recently had the opportunity to test drive a 2021 Silverado LTZ Duramax Turbo-Diesel half ton through Chevy's media loaner program. We were not payed to test the truck or told what to say. Our opinions always are our own. To hear us talk about our week with this Silverado click on the media player above, or subscribe to The RV Atlas wherever you get your shows! Or just keep reading!
Our History with Silverado
We do not currently own a Chevy. We own an F-250 that we are very happy with. But our first truck was a 2012 Silverado half ton (purchased used for about 20K) and sold many years later for 12K. It was a very good truck for our family and we have nothing but fond memories. It was reliable, capable, and good looking.
We jumped to a Ford F-150 (around 2017) because they were first to go to the lighter aluminum frames--not because we didn't love our Chevy. I don't come from a Ford family, a Chevy family, or a Ram family. And I'm pretty open minded when it comes to what truck comes next.
After test driving this Silverado, I'm thinking it might be another Chevy.
Getting the opportunity to test this Silverado LTZ Duramax Turbo-Deisel was a godsend for me. I've always been a half ton pickup guy in my heart. And the new breed of half ton diesels with great mpg is incredibly intriguing to me. The cold hard fact is that we use our truck more as a daily driver than as tow vehicle. Most of us do. So my F-250 has been great for towing--and not much fun for daily driving.
So the 2021 Silverado LTZ Duramax Turbo-Deisel that magically showed up in my driveway a few weeks ago looked like a pretty smoking hot daily driver to me. And it was. The cherry red tint coat, jet black leather interior, and slimmer half ton frame got me pretty excited. I wouldn't be able to tow my beefy Eagle with this half ton. But I would get to drive all over New Jersey for a week. And I was more than ready to roll to some exciting places...like the grocery store, a few school pickups, and down to the beach for some tailgate grilling.
The Skinny on the Silverado LTZ Duramax Turbo-Deisel
So let's cut to the skinny here. Our family loved this truck. It was fast and fun to drive and the 3L Duramax Turbo-Deisel performed like a champ. The MPG almost blew my mind. Chevy advertises 24 MPG combined/22 city/26 highway on this truck----and that is almost exactly where we landed. For a long stretch on the highway to Island Beach State Park (under optimal towing conditions) it was clocking in at 28 MPG. Seriously.
So if you are looking for a half ton truck that is a luxurious and fuel efficient, then you should take a serious look at this Silverado. But if you are looking for a half ton with maximum tow and payload capacities--this is not the truck for you. It's 9K tow capacity/1633 lb. payload/900 lb. tongue weight will tow a lot of trailers safely. But you would want to look elsewhere if towing something heavyish is your top priority. However, if you want to tow a modestly sized trailer (with a loaded weight of 7K or less) that would not too be too heavy for this Silverado's 900 pound max tongue weight--and then have an amazing daily driver--then this truck could offer the best of both worlds.
Interior Comfort of the Silverado LTZ Duramax Turbo Deisel
I am a big guy with three growing boys, an awesome wife, and a moderately sized and super lovable dog, and this truck seated all of us comfortably--even luxuriously. I was surprised to see that Maggie fit so comfortably on the back floor of the crew cab. The room for her on the floor is deceptive because there is a ton of space carved out under the seats.
Maggie did not benefit from the heated front and rear seats, but the rest of the family did on cold mornings when we headed to school for drop-offs.
Customer ReviewsSee All
The perfect podcast for RVers
I love that Stephanie and Jeremy invite guests to share helpful advice rather than just the usual origin stories or ‘what we’re up to this week’ interviews. And they’re very good at what they do!
Learning so Much and Igniting a Passion for RV Travel
Jeremy and Stephanie are the perfect listen! As a new travel trailer owner, they have been helping me learn more about camping with my family (two young boys in our house) and embracing this special time in our family’s lives. I found The Puglisis a couple of months ago when I was searching for RV podcasts and have since been combing through their YEARS of great content. Their blog, this podcast, and their book, See You at the Campground, have been a go to source for learning and ignited a passion for RVs and camping. Through this podcast, I have also found their FB group which is full of kind and helpful people as well. RV Atlas has a passion for outdoor adventure, creating memories with their family, and raising their boys right. Great people. Great content. Great podcast.
Love the podcast but a little feedback...
So I've been listening for a year or so now, and I really enjoy the podcast. Lot of great info, insights, reviews, etc. But one thing constantly bothers me, the interviews. The guest will make a point, Jeremy will rapid fire 2 or 3 other points, but not let the guest respond, instead moving into another topic even when you can hear the guest trying to get a word in. Dude, let them talk, they're the guest lol. Beyond that, easily my favorite camping/RVing lifestyle podcast to listen to and I look forward every week to the new episodes.