Stress Less Camping Teaches RV Newbies
RVing is fun as it looks, but as any experienced RVer knows, there’s a learning curve. Tony and Peggy of Stress Less Camping want to shorten it for the thousands of new RV buyers hitting the road.
“RVing is in our blood, you could say,” says Tony Barthel. He and his wife Peggy come from camping and RVing families. “Peggy has literally been camping her whole life, starting with having been conceived in a campground,” Tony jokes.
The self-proclaimed RV nerd says his love for the lifestyle also started young. It began when he attended the Los Angeles County Fair as a kid. His parents were dismayed that he would rather tour the RVs than go on the rides.
Stress Less Camping
Today, the Northern California couple publishes StressLessCamping.com. The resource is for all RVers, but geared toward newbies just getting into the lifestyle.
After decades working in the RV industry for Alfa Liesure and Redwood Empire RV in Northern California, the couple brings their knowledge to the web with a podcast, blog, workshops, and a robust social media presence packed with helpful RVing tips. As a way to share their insider industry knowledge with ordinary people, they give newbies a head start on the learning curve of RVing.
RVing has been around for generations. But Tony says an entirely new audience is learning the ropes. Some newbies will learn RVing through educational resources like Stress Less Camping. Some will learn through the school of hard knocks.
The Barthels know that the easier path leads to a love affair with the lifestyle. “There are so many aspects to the RV lifestyle that can be challenging for new RVers and turning those experiences around is what we’re all about,” says Tony.
For example, many new RVers lack an understanding of how RV systems work. Knowing how to maintain and repair them is critical for RVing enjoyment.
“Since RVs are essentially hand-built in small batches the systems don’t work the same as they would in a home and sometimes require an increased level of attention to properly work,” he explains. “Think about a hotel, where the toilet just works like at home, versus an RV where the toilet operates differently and you include the realities of dealing with storage tanks.”
Tips for RV newbies
From spontaneous road trips to full-time RVing to weekend tailgate parties, Tony and Peggy’s goal is to teach their RV newbies audience everything from boondocking know-how to campfire cooking to systems maintenance. After decades of doing it themselves, they have plenty to share about having a stress-less camping experience.
“An RV is always ready for a road trip to wonderful places and you can accommodate your own style of vacationing from super lazy to very active,” says Tony. “We love the fact that we can take the things that make us comfortable to new and exciting places. Having our own bed, food, and the things that make us comfortable, whatever those may be are a big appeal of the RV lifestyle for us.”
In the pre-pandemic world, the couple taught live workshops to individuals and RV groups at rallies. Attendees would bring their own RVs and learn about its systems in weekend campouts.
“The workshops are taught with the new RVer and their RV in a small group. They can ask questions and get to know their own actual rig better,” says Tony.
How to adapt and enjoy the nomadic lifestyle
The pandemic has put a temporary halt to in-person presentations. But the couple easily pivoted to keep the Stress Less Camping momentum going. They’re currently offering additional Internet learning resources. For example, their latest presentation is an online webinar called “RVing America: New Freedom or Bad Trip?”
As more people discover RV travel, Tony and Peggy feel their service is more needed than ever. RV technicians are in short supply and campgrounds are packed full. It’s never been more important for the Barthels to teach people that a great RV travel experience is totally in their hands.
“By slowing down and enjoying the experience it makes is that much better. The more adaptable someone is to change and surprises, the better their outcome will be,” says Tony.
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.