Absolute Best Camping Coffee

Whether you’re camping in a tent, or under the open sky, or in an RV; you won’t find a better way to make coffee in the outdoors.

Some very good reasons why you should replace all other coffee making contraptions and use the Moka Pot while camping:

  1. It’s completely portable, lightweight and easy to pack
  2. Makes excellent Americano style coffee; strong or weak, your choice
  3. Fast brew: Faster than brew or press
  4. No electricity needed
  5. Cleans up fast and made ready for next day

If you’re an RV camper like me, and you love coffee, like my wife, then make sure this little gem is part of your kitchen set. It comes in various sizes and makes delicious espresso style coffee. In my opinion, way better and faster than a french press and better than brewed. It doesn’t beat a true espresso but it comes very close.

Coffee potOne of the hard parts about making coffee while camping is that it usually requires electricity for a decent brew or espresso. Not a problem in an RV, but most people want coffee when they wake up. I wake up early and if you kick on your generator to brew some joe, you’re going to piss off your neighbors, or wake your kids, or any number of not fun things.

We figured this contraption out while traveling through Europe last fall. It’s really simple and has been around since 1933, an Italian invention. The quality of your coffee will be all about 3 different variables:

  1. Grind – How fine to grind. I suggest a 50% espresso blend with a 50% med-fine blend (just under espresso)
  2. Water – Quality and amount, to taste
  3. Coffee – Quality and amount, to taste

Play around with these 3 variables to get it just right, and since these pots are not expensive, go for the best: Bialetti. They are the original and make good quality pots.

As for size, they come in various sizes from single espresso (demitasse) up to huge. We have a 9 cup’er and it does fine for two strong cups of coffee. Backpackers might want the single or double for the weight.

Give it a try and let me know how you like it, and what tricks you may have stumbled across to make that perfect cup of joe!

 

RV Rental Advice on TripAdvisor – Does it hit the mark?

CampfireCropI recently ran across a very helpful article on TripAdvisor, you can see the link here:California: RV rental – Is it right for us?” 

The article goes into great detail about the pros and cons of renting an RV and hitting the road; a very romantic idea and no doubt a vacation that many families have on their bucket list.

The opening statement simply points out that RV’s are not for everyone, and then goes into detail about cost, livability, and drive-ability.

I think this article does hit the mark, but there is more to the story. It should not just end with the facts. While this article can be very helpful to folks considering this option for visiting various national parks and campgrounds around the country, it doesn’t provide a solution.

As I read, my initial thought was, “wow, this doesn’t sound too appealing”. Why is this on my bucket list? After all, it is expensive and it can be a major drag driving, setting up, taking down, etc. A quick trip to the store, or a local restaurant, winery, etc. involves tearing down camp each time. That gets old for sure, but what is the answer?

If you’ve taken the time to search information about RV rentals, and read up on the pros and cons of renting an RV, then this kind of camping trip really is on your bucket list, and it should be. Everyone remembers their camping trips so this article is very valuable, but you need the rest of the story.

So, how does one get the best of all worlds; camping without the hassle, without the white knuckle experience, easy to drive, good gas mileage, inexpensive, and overall one of the best and most memorable of all vacations in the history of family vacations?

As you may have guessed, the answer came to me in a flash: Delivered and set up RV rental. What an idea! Drive up and start camping. I don’t think you can find a better answer to the downsides of RV rentals, and of course I have to throw a plug in here for RVPlusYou.

There are millions of RV’s sitting in storage, and millions of families who want the “great outdoors, camping experience”, but without the expense or hassle. This website simply aims to put those two parties together.

Of course there are many RV rental companies who will deliver an RV rental for you, about 450 in the US alone to be exact. 450 independent owners, 450 different websites, and 450 different markets and reservation lines to call and investigate.

The very cool thing about the RVPlusYou concept is that each of these RV rental companies can list on the site and sell their rental. Every one of these idle RV’s, whether in a rental yard or in a driveway, is located near a really cool campground, and each RV owner or rental company knows where that campground is. By sharing their RV and their experience on where to go in their local area, a real value proposition has been created and both parties benefit.

Motorhome woods CropAnother cool aspect of this concept is that our planet benefits as well by simply limiting the driving of big RV gas hogs. Use your fuel efficient car rental for the road trip, but still camp when you reach your destination. Spend a week in the big city at a fancy hotel, but still have the ability to camp and experience the great outdoors for the next leg of your journey.

Below is the closing summary in the article. As you read, ask yourself if RVPlusYou.com provides the rest of the story.

“RVs tend to work better when one is driving less and staying more.

RVing is a great way to see the countryside and to interact with people.  Folks staying in campgrounds and RV parks tend to interact more than those who “hide” themselves away in a hotel room. You can have wonderful times with your RV parked in the woods or alongside a lake, sitting around a warm campfire roasting marshmallows and enjoying family and friends.

However, if your plans call for a night here, a night there, with quickly covering many miles in-between, RVing may not be right for you. If you desire to spend time in large cities dining at exotic restaurants, staying in hotels will be more practical.”

California Travel Article on TripAdvisor

The smart way to upgrade, or purchase your next RV…

Kim's Airstream Rental, Palm Springs CA.
Kim’s Airstream Rental, Palm Springs CA.

You can fund your next upgrade or brand new RV without taxing the family budget. How is this possible? We all know how expensive it is to purchase, own and operate an RV-monthly payments, insurance, storage, fuel cost, maintenance and repairs. The list goes on, so how in the world can you upgrade or even buy a new RV without breaking the bank?

Answer: By sharing your RV with other families, for a fee, you can finance your next dream coach and all the associated costs that go with it.

Kim's typical party set up for his guests.
Kim’s typical party set up for his guests.

To be sure, it’s not for everyone. In fact only about 1 in 10 RV owners would actually consider renting their “baby” but without a doubt it is the smart way to purchase your next rig. And it’s not as hard as you think.

Peer to peer markets are blooming all over the world, and sharing your RV is just one way to make this happen. Example; RVPlusYou offers a turn-key solution for earning extra income from your RV, and it’s safe; your renters don’t drive or tow your RV!

In a recent blog post I outline the 5 key reasons why every family should own an RV. The first three reasons are a no brainer, and no doubt this audience already knows the benefits. However, reasons number 4 and 5 may surprise you: income, and tax benefits. I highly recommend that you read this post, and then visit RVPlusYou to learn more.

What about the RV rental business? The biggest difference between renting an RV from a private party on RVPlusYou, and renting from one of the big 3 RV rental companies (besides price) is amenities and service.

The big RV rental companies will find it difficult to compete with you on either price or amenities. So, do it right and you’ll be able to rent your rig all season long, or if you prefer, just a few times a year. Earn enough for your next trip, your next mortgage payment, or enough to cover your kid’s living expenses for college next month. Just make sure you do it right. After all, this is a well established, professional industry so treat your business as such and get the details right.

Speaking of details, nothing is more important than getting the details right when renting your RV to someone, especially a novice camper. By including those little things such as coffee, sugar, paper plates, or trash bags, you have just set yourself apart from all the other rental companies out there.

Kim's rental delivered, ready for check-in
Kim’s rental delivered, ready for check-in

By truly hosting your guests with an RV rental that is delivered and setup in advance of arrival, you not only greatly reduce the risk of damage, you create the opportunity for new RV’ers to get outdoors!

RVPlusYou has great information and a checklist that will help you think about what to include with your RV rental. Remember, it’s the experience that you are providing and the amenities that you include may make all the difference between just an okay experience for your guest and a truly fantastic one.

Attention to detail, impeccable service
Attention to detail, impeccable service

What does a great listing look like? One of our newer RV Hosts, Kim, recently posted this listing. From profile, to pictures, description and details, Kim knows what it takes to satisfy his guests. There is complete support from the team at RVPlusYou along with helpful hints and their RV Rental Playbook.

Want to rent, earn extra income, reap tax benefits but don’t want to do the work? RVPlusYou has a solution for you: Concierge Service Providers (CSPs). All across North America folks who have experience as hosts are learning about the opportunity to become CSP’s, individuals who, for a fee, will deliver your RV rental, check in your guests, provide maintenance/cleaning, etc.

A turn-key solution to your next RV upgrade or new RV purchase is out there, and who knows, a new business opportunity may be born from your passion and willingness to explore more than just the open road.

Do you know Peer to Peer? Time for an introduction.

Why is peer to peer marketing and the shared economy important for us to understand? Why is this concept exploding right in front of us and how will it impact our lives?

peer-to-peer

The ‘Peer to Peer’ marketing concept encourages customers to market to each other. Instead of the norm, or established ‘top down corporate approach’ of company selling to consumer, peer to peer sidesteps production, advertising, and distribution and gets straight to the point. I have an RV, you want to camp, let’s do a deal. In this shared economy, efficiency rules and the savings is passed between the peers. I love it! There is no greater disruptive market condition going on right now than this, which is why you need to know about it and understand how to take advantage of it.

This Peer to Peer article about Airbnb does a great job of explaining the pros and cons of this recent market dynamic. I encourage you to take a look because it’s not going away. Technology is exploding and with it comes opportunity. Recent advances in tech; broadband, wireless, software, apps, smart phones, etc. all enable peer to to peer: I have an RV, want to use it this weekend? I have a car, need a ride? I’m not using my lawnmower today, want to mow your grass neighbor, please? I have time this week, want me to watch your dogs?

Of course I’m biased. My partners and I have launched RVPlusYou; a peer to peer RV lending site, and it works great because we target those campers who really don’t want to drive it, they just want to camp in it or they want the extra space parked at their house for the big family reunion this weekend.

RV rental set up: Avila Beach, CA
RV rental set up: Avila Beach, CA

So start thinking about what you need and what you have to share, then go online and find the application or website (technology) that will facilitate some savings, or extra income. It’s not going away and it can make a huge difference in your life!

The responsible and professional RV rental

Okay, you’ve secured your first booking and your guest is just days away from arriving. What should you be thinking about to insure a smooth rental and a happy guest?

The biggest difference between renting an RV from a private party, and renting from one of the big 3 RV rental companies (besides price) has to be the amenities that come with the RV. You know, those little things like salt and pepper, a trash can, a decent knife that will actually cut through a tomato!

Nothing is more important that getting the details right when renting your RV to someone, especially a novice camper who may not think about bringing the beach chairs. By including those little things such as coffee, sugar, paper plates, or trash bags, you have just set yourself apart from all the other rental companies out there. If you really want to set yourself apart, why not include your BBQ? You’ve made your guest’s vacation that much easier when you share some of your stuff, which translates to, “Wow, we had a blast and we’ll be back soon!”. You’ve just stacked the deck against your competition.

Avila Beach listing at RVPlusYou.com
Avila Beach listing at RVPlusYou.com

RVPlusYou has great information and a checklist that will help you think about what to include with your RV. Remember, it’s the experience that you are providing and the amenities that you include may make all the difference between just an okay experience for your guest and a truly fantastic one.

As your check in date approaches and you’re preparing your RV to accommodate your guests think about the following:

  • Is your RV clean and in complete working condition? A/C, furnace, lights, batteries, smoke alarm, appliances, shower, toilet, etc.
  • Are your tanks ready? Emptied the grey and black tanks? Are the water and propane tanks full?
  • Are the locks working properly?
  • Any repairs or maintenance needed?
  • Smoke, propane, and Carbon Monoxide alarms working? Batteries fresh?

Remember that in many cases you’ll be renting to a novice camper. Think about all of the things that they might forget and anticipate their needs. You’ll be glad you did!

Share your stuff

So, my wife and I decided to share our stuff. More precisely, our camping stuff and our RV. We rented it to a stranger who is now a friend. It was a strange road we traveled to this point where we began sharing our stuff, but as I look back on the journey I’m really glad we did it. So many positives and tangible benefits for us as well as our community.

What am I talking about? Well, in a picture, this is our stuff that we share and this is but one of the places we share it; a beach campground in California.

IMG_3209

Those tangible benefits? Well, the first tangible is some extra income. Not just a few bucks but the worthwhile kind that can really make a difference. Example: We rented this set up 3 times, 3 days each just before our trip across the country all in the month of July. We netted over $1,250 tangible dollars! That’s the kind that helps pay the mortgage, or tuition, or helps you say yes to the lobster instead of the chicken. It can make a real difference.

The second is less tangible but more powerful because it will stay with you forever. When a dad says, “Hey, thank you. No, really, thanks. Never will I ever own an RV or all this camping gear and “stuff”. I just won’t, but you renting us your ‘stuff’ made it possible for me and my family to have an unforgettable experience; my daughter saw dolphin every morning, we cooked fresh fish on the BBQ, campfire under the stars. Thank you”. Okay, enough said on that. You get the point.

By sharing what would otherwise be sitting in storage, you not only make a few bucks and keep your RV’s water pump from corroding, you can make a difference in the lives of others by providing a cost effective vacation. That guy and his family from San Francisco didn’t have to go out and buy and bunch of stuff to get that experience. They drove 5 hours in their fuel efficient car and used our stuff, then went home and shared pics of the dolphins. Very cool.

So, instead of letting your RV sit and rot in your driveway, think about sharing it and make the world a better place. Oh, and make a deposit in your kids college fund too while your at it.