Women RVers are statistically under-represented in the RVing industry, but all-women RVing clubs are slowly making inroads. Groups like Freewheelers, a regional chapter of the club RVing Women, are increasing visibility of female RV ownership.
According to a 2011 University of Michigan study commissioned by Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), approximately 8.9 million households own an RV. Yet pinpointing how many of those households are led by women who go RVing independently of men is challenging. When it comes to current statistics about RV ownership, Gigi Stetler, the RVing industry’s only female CEO at Flordia’s Planet RV, says that “Although most RVs may be titled in the husband’s name, I can assure you, the woman had 90 percent of the decision making.”
Whether women buy RVs with or without partners, all-female RVing clubs like RVing Women are bringing women RVers into the forefront of the industry’s collective consciousness.
Founded in 1991, RVing Women is the oldest all-female RVing club in the world. It hosts an international roster with more than 2,000 members and oversees 18 regional chapters around the United States. Their chapters range from Solo Travelers, which unites solo women RVers from all areas of North America, to the location-specific Freewheelers Chapter of Northern California and Northern Nevada.
“I got involved with RVW/Freewheeler’s on my first outing,” says Marsha Nichols, a Freewheelers Advisory Board Member. “I found the ladies to be friendly and helpful! For example, I mentioned at a meal that I was having a problem with my awning…after we ate, four women came over to help me!”
Like the national organization, Freewheelers is a non-profit 501c7 that organizes women-only rallies and get togethers for social, recreational and educational fun. “Our only criteria is love of the RV life and a desire to share a pleasant respite with other women,” according to the Freewheeler’s website.
“I think some women hesitate about giving RVing a try for the same reasons I did…can I afford it? Safety, have never been around RVs, can I drive one and do all that’s involved?” says Nichols. “To those ladies…just come to one of our events and you’ll see ladies in their 80s driving and towing huge motorhomes! Everyone in our group are willing to sit down and talk to anyone about RVW/Freewheeler’s!”
Members of Freewheelers are a diverse bunch ranging in ages from around 30 to older than 75. “We are ladies that like the out-of-doors, enjoy challenges, like to meet different people,” says Nichols.
From retirees to those with families, members of Freewheelers are as different as the RVs they drive. The group welcomes pets as long as members abide by a “Pet’Equitte Policy” that requires leashes and no animals at events where food is being served.
Like other RVing Women chapters, Freewheelers holds regular meet-ups throughout their designated region. “We want our members to have the best time ever with your RV in a safe, happy and supportive environment,” writes Arleen H. in the group’s blog.
Freewheelers typically gather at private RV parks like Northern Calfornia’s Casini Family Ranch Campground, a scenic spot among rolling hills near the Russian River. Another regular gathering is held at the Far Horizons 49er Campground in Northern California’s Gold Rush region.
Joining Freewheelers only costs $5 but to do so you must be a current member of the national organization, RVing Women. Once you join, you’re eligible to attend chapter rallies and fun national club gatherings. In addition, you can join the national organization’s caravans to bucket list trips like Mexico’s Copper Canyon.
If you’re ready to have fun with other female travelers, consider joining a club like RVing Women. The more who do so and actively show a visible presence on the road, the better represented women will be in the RVing industry.
See also: Why Some Women Would Rather RV Solo
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.
Casper Nordahl says
I agree with absolutely everything that was stated in this wonderful article! If you are holding back for any reason, let us FreeWheelers help you make the right decision, by joining the national chapter of RVing Women and then let us “Rv you Away” on the next chapter of your life! You will not be sorry that you did!
Rene Agredano - The Full Timing Nomad says
Casper you are awesome! Thanks for being a role model to so many women who want to hit the road.
Casper IS awesome!!
Judy Sanders says
I lost my husband and we were going to be full timers so we had a 36 with 2slids out so I decided to be a fulltimers alone I loved in Florida andy kids live I n Virginia so I went to Lazy Days in Florida and took a simple driver’s test and drove a 40 ft and had to take a test in it and I past with flying colors so I decided to start traveling alone so I left Florida and drove to VA. And I met a woman I’m the RVWs club so her and I made plans to drive all the way to Alaska alone so we did and staff 17 months and drove back then I went on my own from there and I went through all the states alone with my dog Merlin my true companion for 17 years and I had to put him down and it became to be hard to travel alone so I decided to stop traveling in my motorhome and I was lost and I’m 76 years old now and thinking about going on the road again I
It s smaller rig and start living again on the road .my name is Judy Sander and I live in Va. Now where my kids live now.the RVWs is a good club to be in .
Charlotte Poe says
Judy, I live in AZ and live alone. I am 80 years old and thinking about joining a group and traveling. This staying isolated is really getting to me. I am in good health and have an adventuring spirit. I like what you said about travel alone and would like to hear more about it. Could you contact me:
Charlotte Poe email@example.com
Dawn Mull says
Hi Judy my name is Dawn I am 62 yrs old and retired I live in PA near hershey park I also lost my husband I have 2 dogs lab mix and aussie mix both 6 yrs old I am wondering if there are any women rv clubs on the east coast I bought a 24 ft class A motorhome and would love to travel.
Terri C. says
Hello. I’m in Exton, 64y, love tent camping, but am considering an RV now that I am mostly solo so I will “feel” better (safer?) for longer periods alone. Any beginner tips? Thanks. Terri C.
Sydney Tucker says
OMG! Judy you are now one of my favorite people. Your adventure is inspiring. I am planning on ditching the house in about 4 years and living in a RV fulltime (with 2 dogs and a cat). I look forward to see you and all you gals on the road.
Yes, this article is spot on… While at a volunteer position this last winter the majority of volunteers in RVs were single women. From Class Cs to TT. I’ve got bookmarked probably 35+ blogs of single women out on the road. I don’t believe I’ve been happier in my life than I am right now.
Thanks for great info and support. Keep it coming
LEANNA CORVO says
This is a really encouraging short article, I am 65 and planning to become a full time RVer as the LORD leads, I have been trying to do as much as possible to research the whole process. I am believing for a 5th wheel and my only apprehension is pulling it. so I am so eager to hear other women that have been doing this and cast off any fears and step out myself!
A fifth wheel is the easier trailer to pull! Easier to back-up with, as well! You CAN do it Leanna!
Dawn Mull says
Hi I thought about purchasing a pick up truck and a small 5 th wheel but being a female on the road alone i felt safer in a motorhome only because if i needed a snack or anything or just wanted to stretch i didnt have to to get out and nobody would know i was alone .
I’ve been driving my 5th wheel for 1 year. I’m a single woman full timer and didn’t want my home to have an engine. I took a driving lesson from a tractor trailer school. Easy to drive, practice backing up. You can do it.
Maryanne Baldwin says
The one women’s RV group I joined (briefly) was all women couples. It wasn’t clear until I got the list of members; then obvious.
I do not know what group you are referring to but don’t let that hold you up from your dreams of getting out there! RVW is mixed straight, lesbian, married, divorced, widowed–just a bunch of different women who love to have fun!! If you belong to Freewheelers, as I fortunately do, we love to eat & have fun!! I always say, we could meet-up in a WalMart parking lot ……because we would have a great time together!
Janet Miller says
Check our our “Landing Page,” rvingwomen.com, our Facebook page, RVing Women, or our website, rvingwomen.org for more information – we have tips about traveling alone, joining groups for rallies, attending our national convention, handling or purchasing RV’s and many other issues related to RVing. We have nearly 2500 members and have chapters all over the United States – all women are welcome to join us as a guest at a rally or as a member!
Yvonne Johnson says
Thank you Rene, and members of the RVW FreeWheelers Chapter, for a great story with excellent information. As a member of RVW’s Arizona Chapter, I can echo their comments — joining RVW and getting connected with a regional chapter is an excellent way for women to gain the courage, knowledge and camaraderie to hit the road and enjoy the RVing life. Whether you are doing it full-time or just as often as you can, there are rallies and events for everyone. Please do check us out at rvingwomen.org!
Cynthia Mayeaux says
I’d like to see the power of Womyn RV’ers force manufacturers to start designing bathrooms for someone other than a man that stands up to pee. (only kinda joking)
Cheryl J MANGUM says
I am at the stage of thinking full time RVing is what I want to do . I have put my house up for sale. I am excited but also scared of course one of my main concerns is I have 4 dogs 2 cats I have had for a very long time. Will they do Ok on the road. 4 small dogs. What would I run into with that many pets . Any ideas on this. Think this is what holds be back right now
Lin j Wilson says
Oh, me too! I have one elder cat and a small dog. I’ve taken my dog Brina on my first (and only) outing and she did well enough but I’d love to hear other’s experiences and advice.
Merrily Robinson says
I wouldn’t let the fur babies be an issue! Have you traveled with them before?? If not start them on journeys around town ( not just to the vet)! Crate them for theirs and your safety!
If I had 4 dogs, I would probably only take 2 at a time walking around RV parks (some get uptight on #s of dogs) . This is just my opinion!
Some parks ask about animals- some charge/some don’t.
Caspar (above) camps with her cats!! 🙂
Get out there!! You will have fun!
It will all work out just the way it is supposed to!
Mary johnson says
Is there a chapter ky. I live 20 mi south of Cincinnati
Lisa Sullivan says
Hello, I’m interested in attending one of your events . I live in Las Vegas. Are there any events near me. If not, I don’t mind traveling. How do I find out about attending an event?
Jan Miller says
The Las Vegas area does not have a chapter, unfortunately, but we live in Henderson and belong to the So Cal and the Arizona chapters. Neither has rallies till next September, but we watch their schedules and sign up quickly as the rallies fill up fast. A great rally to attend is the annual Quartzsite boondocking rally, held the first weekend of the Annual Sports, Vacation and RV show in January 2022. Watch the RVing Women website for more details!
I want to join. 60 and thinking about RVing. Join newsletter tab does not work.