September 2022

Photo by: The The Roadrunners Chapter – Fourteener Mountains, Buena Vista, CO.


Camping Today Staff

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National Officers

Camping Today is a publication of the non-profit National Campers & Hikers Association, doing business as Family Campers & RVers (FCRV). Issue frequency is 12 (monthly) on line at Publisher is Family Campers & RVers, 4904 Transit Rd. Bldg. 2, Depew, New York 14043-4906. Office Manager – Pat Wittmeyer 1800-245-9755, [email protected]. Online subscription is included with annual membership. Mailed, printed copies are available by annual subscription of $20. USPS Pub.# 724-710, ISSN# 870-1465. OWNER: National Campers & Hikers Association, doing business as Family Campers & RVers (non-profit), 4804 Transit Rd. Bldg.2, Depew, New York 14043-4906. Bondholders, mortgage, and other security owners holding 1% or more of bonds, mortgages, and other securities: NONE. The purpose, function, and nonprofit status of this organization and the exempt status for federal income tax purposes has not changed in the last 12 months.

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ArticlesEvent RecapBirthday ShoutoutMilestoneFarewell –  Dear RVEvent Submit

From The President

September is here. Fall is just around the corner for some of us. Nights are getting cooler, and for some the camping year will soon come to an end. Many of us will camp until the snow no longer lets us. It is a time of the year that we all dread. On the bright side for some, the camping year is just getting started. Others will soon be heading south and spending the winter in a warm climate. If this is you, travel safe, and we will see you in the spring.

I would like to have you join me in welcoming the Friends and Family Camping Club into FCRV. We have 82 charter members of this new National Chapter of FCRV. I would like to thank Amy DeCamp and the merger team on both sides for the work in making this happen. We met the members of the Friends and Family Camping Club in Elkhorn at Campvention 2021 as our Campvention overlapped with the start of their gathering. This chance meeting was in no way an accident, I feel. They did not have a national organization so to speak but loved camping. We have a very good National organization structure and love camping. Amy and three others were introduced to me at a meeting in Elkhorn, and the benefits of the merger were plain to see for both sides. FCRV added 82 members and a new chapter. FFCC gained a structured family with a well-staffed office. FCRV also gained a valued member on the Board of Trustees with Amy joining us and her willingness to serve and better FCRV. Let me say to each of you new members, welcome to the family that we know as FCRV. I would like you to know that I value you and look forward to meeting each of you in Richmond at Campvention or around a campfire on a campout. Do not be afraid to ask questions, and the tent flap is open. We have many jobs that we would welcome your help with. If you see an open position that is up your alley, talk to us and let’s see where it goes. You are part of the FCRV family. Welcome.

The Trustees are moving ahead with updates on the Field Manual. This is a slow process, but it is moving ahead. Planning is going well for the 2023 Campvention. Keep up the good work, Great Lakes! They have big plans for 2023. As for the Trustees, we do have a full board again. This is nice and makes our jobs easier. Beth Coniglio, our National Teen Director, is moving ahead with updates to the Teen Program. So, as you can see, there are many things going on as we speak. Keep up the good work, everyone.

We have also to reach out to our Regional Directors and to our State and Provincial Directors to ask you to take a few moments to review your job descriptions in the manual and let us know if you see something that we need to consider updating in the manual. You doing this will help us get the manual done quicker. It is a planned update and is in no way a rewrite of the manual. We are trying to remove the few contradictions and just get it up-to-date with changes that have taken place over time. Also, if you have a talent and know that you would like to contribute to FCRV and the future, consider one of the open positions to put your print on the future of FCRV.

See you at the next campfire,
Gerry Pfirsch, President

Welcoming the Family & Friends Camping Club to FCRV

Welcoming the Family & Friends Camping Club to FCRV

By Dr. Amy R. DeCamp

Hello, everyone…

I have received quite a few questions since Campvention regarding the merger of the Family & Friends Camping Club (FFCC) with FCRV. I hope the following history and explanation aid in filling in the blanks.

In 1967, the Starcraft RV company held its first Starcraft Camper Club rally for owners. The club was brand-specific and grew rapidly, especially since there were so few RV manufacturers at that time. The group often had anywhere from 500-1000 units at its annual, week-long, international rally, which like NCHA/FCRV, changed locations yearly. Regional rallies were also sponsored, and local chapters flourished in nearly every state of the lower-48 and Canadian provinces.

Management of the club was turned over to Larry and Sherry Branham, owners/founders of Recreational Club Management, Inc. In its heyday, RCMI managed 12+ owners’ groups in addition to Starcraft, such as Jayco, Sunnybrook, Hitchhiker, etc.

As we are all aware, the number of RV manufacturers exploded over the decades, causing the brand-specific organizations to incur membership losses. If a family upgraded to a different brand of RV, they were removed from the membership rolls. The club passionately debated the admission of “some other brands” (SOBs) for many years to ensure its survival, but it took until the Great Recession of 2007-2009 for the change to occur. Jayco purchased Starcraft in 1991 and halted its financial support of both camping groups at the end of the 2008 camping season. While most of the owner groups faltered and disbanded, the Jayco and Starcraft clubs continued under RCMI with no outside financial support whatsoever. The Branhams raised their children in the Starcraft Club and shouldered its survival as a labor of love. Larry passed away in 2010 and Sherry followed in 2016. Their children, Kevin Branham and Teri Rector, who own Sports Image Apparel of Indiana as their primary business, continued to manage the yearly rally. The Jayco Club eventually disbanded from dwindling membership, but the Starcraft faithful remained strong. The club’s name was changed to Family & Friends Camping Club to accurately reflect its vision and membership. Event managers Regie and Brenda Price, along with the help of rally co-chairs, oversaw the operation of its yearly rally, and regional rallies became the sole responsibility of local chapters.

Membership continued to decline as lifestyles changed, and a hearty 100 or so units kept the club afloat. In 2019, Kevin announced RCMI’s decision to cease management of the club following the 2022 rally. His daughters spend their summers raising 4-H animals and participating in the local county fair, which conflicted with the rally week. Maintaining the club without any dedicated office staff or financial backing was just too difficult. The Branhams/Rectors remain beloved family members of FFCC, and this transition has been difficult emotionally. As president of FFCC’s largest state chapter and member of the RV industry, I volunteered to investigate future opportunities for the club to continue.

Due to a fairground error in Elkhorn County, WI, the 2021 FCRV Campvention and FFCC Rally briefly overlapped. I arrived on the grounds a few days early as part of the FFCC parking committee and met numerous FCRV members. It quickly became apparent that FCRV and FFCC were quite similar! The Prices and I met with President Gerry and VP Matt to discuss the logistics of the clubs’ respective members entering/exiting the fairgrounds at the end of the week, and I introduced the subject of the FFCC joining FCRV. We agreed to begin preliminary “merger” discussions and within a couple months, 5-member teams were formed in each organization to address questions and procedural matters. After months of organization, chapter bylaws and application for charter were submitted to the FCRV Board of Trustees. This ultimately led to FFCC joining FCRV as a “national” chapter. As of this writing, approximately 85 units are already onboard, with more expected by next year’s Campvention in Richmond, IN.

FFCC held its last independent rally in Amana, IA, this past July, and elected its first slate of officers: President Craig Davelis (IL), Vice President Carl Frisque (WI), and Secretary Loretta Hebert (IL). The chapter will meet once a year at Campvention, charges no dues, and maintains no treasury. Its members are excited to be part of the FCRV family and anxious to meet everyone! This is an amicable joinder, and we look forward to sharing decades of fun together. For now, this merger does not include the local chapters previously under the FFCC umbrella. These chapters are, of course, welcome to file an application for charter at any time if their members so choose.

Let’s go camping! 😊

Dr. Amy R. DeCamp
Vice President of Planning & Development – Family Campers & RVers
President – Ohio Stars Camping Club


Jeff Kendle presented the Family and Friends Camping Club Chapter Charter to Amy DeCamp at the Region 1 Campvention. The Family and Friends Camping Club Chapter is the newest National Chapter of FCRV.

Please welcome the members of the Family and Friends Camping Club Chapter to FCRV.

Camping Today/Social Media Forms

Camping Today/Social Media Forms

By: Barb Turner

Camping Today submissions have been technologically streamlined.  By using the submissions forms below, members can easily submit articles and share upcoming events, recaps of activities completed, as well as farewells, milestones, birthday shoutouts, and ask questions of Dear RV. 

Click on the hyperlink below for the type of ‘Camping Today’ submission you’d liked to send.

Articles Event Recap Birthday Shoutout Milestone Farewell Dear RV Event Submit

In addition to Camping Today, submissions other than the articles are placed in queue for  sharing on social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.  After research and recommendations, promotion and publicity of FCRV and our activities via these formats will enhance our exposure, both to our members and the RV world.  From the beginning, NCHA/FCRV has been referred to as ‘the best-kept secret’.  Survival in the modern world won’t happen as the ‘best-kept secret’.  Let’s shout that we are here!  We are ‘happening’!  And, we welcome all campers & RVers!

If you have any questions submitting material, contact [email protected]

FCRV Health Guidelines

Hey Happy Campers! (And you Grumpy Campers, too!)

Your Trustees have been very busy this winter and I wanted to share some important news with you.  

Last May, Camping Today, published some information for you regarding COVID and how FCRV wanted to handle all the differing viewpoints and widely variant information on staying safe at Campvention.  In this ever-changing world, the Trustees want you to know we are still concerned about the many variants that seem to be popping up as well as “hot spots” of disease and how we can keep our campers safe without coming on too strongly. 

That being said, the article printed in the May issue covering meeting and social gatherings has been completely revamped.   It has been replaced with kinder, gentler, but no less effective, health guidelines. So please take a look at our new FCRV Health Guidelines and stay safe out there!


These are simply guidelines and as such supplementand do not replace—any state, provincial, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations that govern any meeting or social gathering.   

We recommend campers and their guests are up to date with vaccinations and immunizations and carry this information on a medical card as well as showing all current medications, medical conditions, and allergies that emergency medical personnel may need to know. 

Have a mask available to use for your protection and the protection of others as they can be used for more than deterring COVID.  

Use common sense in protecting yourself and others.  

Official CDC Guidelines change quickly so be aware of the local conditions and be prepared to adapt to them.

Vaccinated?  No mask may be necessary.     Unvaccinated?  Mask is recommended. 

Event coordinators will announce if local conditions change, requiring adjustments to these statements. 

Help Wanted (Open Volunteer Positions)

FCRV needs your help.  Please consider filling one of these positions.  They are very important to the operation of FCRV. Contact VP Ops – Jeff Kendle, or Immediate Past President – Shari Weber for details.

Volunteers are needed for the following National Positions:


Membership Director – Reports to Vice-President Planning & Development and is a member of the Advisory Council.  Primarily responsible for the growth and retention of membership.  Field Manual job description is currently under review and subject to change.


Commercial Director – Reports to Vice-President Planning & Development and is a member of the Advisory Council. Main responsibility is the development and retention of commercial membership/accounts. Field Manual job description is currently under review and subject to change.


Youth Director – Reports to Vice-President Programs and is a member of the Advisory Council.  Works for the betterment of future youth programs in FCRV.   Field Manual job description is currently under review and subject to change.


State/Provincial Directors for Maryland, DC, Ohio and Connecticut – Reports to their Regional Director and is a member of the Advisory Council.  Position is to administer and coordinate the activities of the State/Providence in the areas of membership and National programs at their level.  Maintain current membership list for said State/Providence.  Appoint Field Director(s).  Keep Regional Director apprised of chapters status.  Approve constitution/bylaws, promote FCRV and State/Provincial activities, submit reports to Regional Director, hold meetings with field staff.  Field Manual job description is currently under review and subject to change.


Communication & Security Director – Reports to the Vice President Planning & Development and is a member of the Advisory Council. Communication to be used for FCRV Campventions and Retiree Rallies.  Integration of electronic communication into a balanced communications system.  Responsible for electronic (walkie-talkies) equipment.  Field Manual job description is currently under review and subject to change.


Conservation Director – Reports to the Vice President of Programs and is a voting member of the Executive Board.  Conservation is at the heart of FCRV.  Maintain existing program guidelines and formulate new as needed.  Maintain records of the program.  Field Manual job description is currently under review and subject to change.


Historian – Reports to the Recording/Corresponding Officer and is a member of the Advisory Council. Preserve FCRV’s history through media and memorabilia.  Field Manual job description is currently under review and subject to change.

Veterans – Reports to the Vice President Programs and is a member of the Advisory Council. Show support FCRV members who are Veterans, conduct or arrange for, informational seminars featuring other Veterans and promote information about FCRV Veterans about activities and opportunities for them. Field Manual job description is currently under review and subject to change.


Travalong Director – Reports to the Immediate Past President and is a member of the Advisory Council. Program is designed to help travelers enjoy group-planned activities and help members and non-members learn about areas of travel and who to contact for information. Establish Travalongs with at least one to coincide with National Campvention.  Field Manual job description is currently under review and subject to change.


Region 5 Director – Reports to the Vice President of Operations and is a voting member of the Executive Board.  Represent FCRV in the region, assist State Directors in the region and provide coordination of administration between the States and the Vice President of Operations. Recommend appointments and/or releases of State Directors to the Vice President of Operations. Coordinate activities between the various States in the region. Act as the State Director in those States that have none. Within the region, administer National bylaws, Constitution, regulations, policies and directives.


Volunteer Background Records Custodian – Member of the Advisory Council Reporting to the Vice President Programs. This position receives permission forms from volunteers working with teens or youth to run a background check. Full job responsibilities are in the field manual. Field Manual job description is currently under review and subject to change. 

Retiree Really 2023 – Dothan, Alabama

Variety Show

By: George Walters

I am glad to be hosting and organizing the Variety Show at the 51st 2023 Retiree Rally. As you all may know, this year it is being held at the National Peanut Festival Fairground in Dothan Alabama. The dates are March 28 to April 2, 2023.  The early days are March 24 to March 27.

One highlight of the Rally is the entertainment.  Included in the entertainment is our Variety Show, put on by our very own campers. It’s always fun to see the talents of our very own campers.  Many of our FCRV members have talents that our campers don’t realize we have.

How ‘bout we keep them hidden NO LONGER?

So if you can:

  • Sing
  • Play an instrument
  • Tell a funny (clean and short) story
  • Get a group together (maybe line dance?)
  • Put together a short skit
  • Do anything I didn’t think of

Please consider joining in the fun. And remember that this is NOT a competition.
Sign-up sheets will be available at the Registration table.

Let’s keep this tradition alive and have fun at the same time!

George Walters
Variety Show Chairperson

FCRV International Retiree Rally Changes in 2023

By Ron & Reba Ray, Rally Coordinators


Hello Fellow Retirees and Friends,

In just a few shorts months, we are gearing up for the 2023 International Retiree Rally in Dothan, Alabama.  The dates are March 28-April 2, with early days to start on March 24.

You don’t have to be retired; come and join us.

So come early, as this is a new place to explore, and they have a lot to see.  There are peanut men all around the city; we will try to get maps for you to find each and everyone.  They also have murals all over the city, and there are maps for those, also.  We will have those available

for you on the early days so you can have something to keep you busy.  They have many shops, antiques shops,  shopping mall and many other things to see.  There are 2 RV dealerships there if you are in the mood to trade campers.  Doesn’t hurt to look.  One is just north of the fairgrounds.

We are changing things up a little at the Retiree Rally this year.  You will still get all the perks at this rally; we are just making it a day shorter.  Since Monday night will be included in your stay a for the week, we will have opening ceremonies Monday Evening; so, plan to be there.  We will have Entertainment on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; the variety show is still on Thursday night.  The King and Queen Ball will be on Friday Evening.  The Grand Finale will be Saturday night with the International Parade.  As over the years, a lot of people are leaving on Sunday, and they miss the International Parade.  To me this is one of the better parts.  Everyone will be leaving the fairgrounds on Sunday.  We will be able to have a church service before we have to leave. Everything else will go as usually planned.

Last year in Mineola, Texas, we had a great time.  It was a trying time to get everything back to normal. So, let’s make Dothan’s Retiree Rally even better.  We are looking to have a good crowd there.  If you have never been, then give us try; we think you will like it.

Ron and Reba Ray will the Coordinators for this Rally along with David & Jackie Jurek as Co-Coordinators.  We have a good group of people who are chairman and co-chairman.  We are looking forward to working with each and every one of you.

We will try to post the updates as time goes by until the rally.  Keep up with the updates in the Camping Today.

See you in Dothan, 2023

FCRV International Retiree King & Queen Info

By: LaNelle Ishmael


The 2022 Retiree Rally is behind us as is Campvention 2022. I am guessing most regions have had their regional rallies. Now it is time to start thinking of next March’s FCRV International Retiree Rally. As Leon and I have taken over the king and queen coordinators, we would like to encourage you to be thinking of running from your state or province in 2023.

Let me take a moment to tell you what it meant to me when we ran in 2012. First, it was a great honor to be chosen by South Carolina to represent them. As we were campaigning at the rally, we made new and lasting friendships that might not have happened. When we were elected, we felt humbled that so many had given us support. We attended the summer Campvention in Canada to cut the ribbon for opening ceremonies. We probably would not have gone otherwise. If not, we would have missed out on several unique experiences we had during the week. We traveled to other state’s campouts and made many new friends of people who never attend the rallies. We saw many interesting places that we would not have ever thought of going to.

Most people think they must travel if elected, but the only thing asked of you is, if at all possible, to return the following year to relinquish the crowns. Leon and I traveled because being newlyweds it was like a long honeymoon.

If your state or province would like to run a couple for 2023, please contact us for the forms. We are setting a deadline of January 30, 2023 for forms to be in to give time to order trophies and get the program set up. Contact information: [email protected] 515-520-7958

Thanks, LaNelle Ishmael

Campvention 2023 – Richmond, Indiana

Campvention Seminars

If you, or you know of someone or a company who may, want to be a seminar presenter during the Campvention in Richmond, Indiana from July 9 – 15, 2023, please complete the Seminar Presentation Form and email to [email protected] or mail to Ray Suennen, 2563 Turnbury Road, Green Bay, WI 54313; or contact Ray Suennen at mobile phone 920-606-0289 for additional information.


Campvention 2023 Teen Center Request

The Teen Center for Campvention 2023 is asking that States, Provinces, or Regions will ‘take over’ the teen center for 1 night of Campvention week.  If your State, Province, or Region would like to host one evening, please contact [email protected] to get more information.

Richmond, Indiana – Site of FCRV International Campvention 2023

by Barb Turner, Campvention Publicity Chair

In the August issue of Camping Today, the 2023 Campvention Committee issued the invitation, with the basic info, to attend the 63rd Campvention at the Wayne County Fairgrounds & Expo Center in Richmond, Indiana July 9-14.  The theme is ‘A Rose by Any Other Name is FCRV’.  Over the next several months, information will be shared in regards as to what to expect at campvention and what are ‘must-sees’ in Richmond and the surrounding area.

Let’s start with Richmond.  The Northwest Territory, from which Indiana was carved, was established in 1787 following the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1783, officially ending the American Revolutionary War.  The territory included land west of Pennsylvania, north of the Ohio River, east of the Mississippi River, and south of Canada.  (The states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, & Wisconsin were created from the Northwest Territory.  Ohio was the first to become a state in 1803, Indiana in 1816)  The first settlers to what would become Richmond were Quakers led by John Smith & Jeremiah Cox from North Carolina, arriving in 1806 and settling on the cliffs of the Whitewater River.  “Richmond is still home to several Quaker institutions, including Friends United Meeting, Richmond Friends School, Earlham College and the Earlham School of Religion.”  By 1815, the town was a bustling trading center, and it was incorporated in 1818.

“Richmond is sometimes called the ‘Cradle of Recorded Jazz’ because the earliest jazz recordings and records were made at the studio of Gennett Records, a division of the Starr Piano Company.  Gennett Records was the first to record such artists as Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke, Jelly Roll Morton, Hoagy Carmichael, Lawrence Welk, and Gene Autry.  The city has twice received the All-America City Award, most recently in 2009.”

Campvention 2023 highlights Richmond as ‘The Rose City’.  Richmond designated itself ‘The Rose City’ in the early 1970s because Richmond was the home of Hills Rose Growers.  “The E.G. Hill Company and the Joseph H. Hill Company together with the Hill Floral Products Company were the premier rose growers and marketers of cut roses, accounting for the sale of millions of roses annually in the United States and around the world.”  With establishing ‘The Rose City’ designation, the next step was creating a public Rose Garden to exhibit varieties of roses.  The Rose Garden became a reality in 1985, with the first roses planted in 1987.  To the west of the garden is the formal E.G. Hill Memorial Rose Garden which was started in 1937 to honor the Hill companies.

Today, the garden “highlights over 100 varieties of All American Selections® Roses, amidst blooming annuals, perennials, and ornamental trees that add an interesting texture to the garden.”   The garden is open 365 days a year with no admission charge. The garden is wheelchair accessible, and restrooms are available in Glen Miller Park at the concession building.  Enjoy an aerial tour to prepare for your visit in July, 2023.  and

Tour Richmond, Indiana:; ;

Links to explore:,_Indiana

[20% off Discount Code “FCRV20”]

Event Schedule & Recaps

Fun game of Putt putt at the Indiana summer campout at Cornerstone Campground. — attending Summer State Campout Cornerstone Campground and Retreat Center at Cornerstone Campground and Retreat Center.

Personalized garments; drinkware; clings; decals; kitchen & bath items. You can choose from our large graphic collection or use your photos or designs.

For FCRV branded items:

For other items:

Call or text: 410-533-0038
[email protected]

“A Little Too Close Call”

“A Little Too Close Call”  Adventures in the Field: Stories from a Wildlife Technician

By Amy Wittmeyer

         From November 2020 – April 2021, I worked on a conservation corps in southwest Utah. I built trails, planted trees, and treated invasive species. My first project was building a biking trail in a red rock canyon in Kanab, Utah. The canyon was beautiful; towering red sandstone cliffs and an old, dry sand streambed that we hiked along to get to our work site every day.

         Our workdays always started with a stretching session, usually accompanied by a “question of the day” to keep us entertained and get to know each other. The question could range from your favorite ice cream to the coolest place you’ve worked to what your chosen superpower would be. On day 5 of the 8-day project, we were gathered at the entrance to the canyon, about ½ mile from our worksite. We were chatting and stretching when we started to hear a rumble. We looked to the sky, but there were no clouds and no planes. The rumble grew louder as we tried to figure out what we were hearing. Then we heard some strange popping noises, and we started to realize what had happened. We were hearing the echoes of falling rocks bouncing down the cliff. Sure enough, a massive dust cloud started rising from the canyon, right from the corner we’d be working in.

         Cautiously, we hiked in to our worksite, not knowing what to expect. When we got there, our jaws all dropped. A massive chunk of rock was missing from the canyon wall, and a huge debris slide had covered the trail we had started marking for cutting the day before. We had just missed a very big rockslide. Had we gotten there 30 minutes earlier, or the slide had happened 30 minutes later, we would have been right in the way and things could have been very bad indeed.

         We spent the next hour or so investigating the damage from the slide. The biggest chunk of rock we could see and safely access was larger than a Sprinter van, weighing probably hundreds of thousands of pounds. It had hit the ground so hard that it had bounced and left an indent in the sand that four or five people could have sat in comfortably. Debris from the slide covered marker flags that we had set out the day before; we couldn’t believe how close things had come.

         Eventually, we got back to work. Our crew leader had us working on the opposite side of the U-shaped canyon and ordered that nobody to listen to music or have their earbuds in. That way, we could hear if another slide tried to start. Sure enough, some dust showers and small pieces clattered down over the course of the day, but nothing near what had happened that morning. It was a humbling experience for sure. Mother Nature does what she wants when she wants, and there is nothing people can do to stop her. We just have to hope we’re not in the way when she does!

Top Safety Tips For Navigating Bear Territory

  1. Do Your Research. Know where you’re going and what trails you plan to follow, and research the local bear population. Is the area known for having bears? What kind of bears live there? You can also check the park website for wildlife information ahead of time and ask the park rangers when you arrive.
  2. Always Carry Bear Spray. Bears are top of the food chain in North America. They can run up to 40 mph and can cover 50 feet in 1 second, so it’s important to keep your distance if you encounter a bear. Bear sprays are available that deploy a protective cloud of pepper spray up to 35 feet for the greatest distance between you and a bear. Bear spray will temporarily disorient an attacking bear but will not permanently injure the animal, helping you make a safe escape.

Some national parks, like Yosemite and Sequoia & Kings Canyon, prohibit the possession and use of bear spray. Always check with local park regulations, and in parks where bear spray is prohibited, consider carrying various types of noisemakers instead.

  1. Make Noise. Just as you prefer to avoid a bear encounter, bears prefer to avoid encountering humans. Making noise while you hike is important for alerting nearby bears that you are in the area, so they can steer clear of your path. If you’re hiking solo, you can carry noise-making devices such as a bear horn or bear bells to make surrounding bears aware of your presence. Hiking in a group is always recommended since there is safety in numbers, but it is also a good way to make yourself noticeable to bears in the area. More people will also make more noise.
  2. Protect Your Food. When you’re camping in bear country, keeping your food sealed is a must. Bears can smell food from miles away, and their hunger can suppress their instinct to avoid human interaction. Hanging bear bags is a common solution to keep bears out of your food, but these do not conceal the odor, which is what attracts bears in the first place. There are “bear safes” available that do both: it helps keep food odors in and keeps bears out.

What To Do if You Encounter a Bear:

  • Don’t Run Away: Running away is threatening to a bear and will cause them to attack. Stay still, calm, and walk away slowly. It is best to back away from the bear so you can keep your eyes on it and know if you need to use your spray.
  • Don’t Approach a Bear: If the bear doesn’t see you, keep your distance. Do not try to approach the bear to take a photo—a selfie isn’t worth your life.
  • Don’t Separate a Mama Bear from Its Cub: Bears become aggressive when they think humans are going to threaten their young. Avoid getting in between a bear and her cub on the trails.


  • Brown, Lie Down: Brown bears (grizzly bears) will stop attacking if they think you are dead. Lie down on your stomach (this allows your backpack to protect your back) and play dead.
  • Black, Fight Back: Although black bears attack less frequently than brown bears, you must fight back if they do. Playing dead will not deter a black bear.
  • Use Bear Spray: Having an option to protect yourself from up to 35 feet away from an attacking bear is far easier and safer than trying to play dead when being attacked by a brown bear or having to fight off an attacking black bear.

No one wants to run into a bear on their outdoor adventure, but with the warmer weather, those chances increase. Stay safe and enjoy your next exploration in bear country.

One source for more information on the products mentioned above is The products are available nationwide at Walmart, Target, Amazon, Home Depot, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Lowe’s, Menards, Bass Pro Shops, among other national retailers

Dear RV

Hi there everyone, we are introducing a new article in Camping Today. We would like to welcome you to Dear RV. This is a place where you can ask the questions that you are hesitant to ask members of your Chapter, State, or your Neighbor. Your questions will be answered from our point of view, and it will hopefully give you a chuckle as well as some useful information to help you in your RVing experience. You may not agree completely with all our answers, but our goal is to give honest information to you as to how we do our RVing. We would prefer to not know who is submitting the question. So, send us your questions and we will send you an answer (possibly that you were not expecting) but an answer, just the same and possibly with a small dose of humor for good measure.

Us here at Dear RV!

Dear RV, 

We need HELP! In our household, we have an on-going debate over toilet paper! It is getting out of hand. The debate is over what toilet paper will work in our RV. I say we have to spend the money for RV toilet paper, but my husband says any will work. Who is right, and who is wrong? He says crapper paper is crapper and no need for the expensive crapper paper. We don’t have the butts of the Royals. What do we do with this disagreement? Is there a solution, or do we just flush the topic? Thanks. A Real Paper Debate


Dear Royal Flush,

Here are two takes on your situation. I am of the belief that you are both right and both wrong here. I was told a long time ago that TP does matter in an RV. I had a dealer tell me to take whatever toilet paper I was going to use and place 1 square in a jar of water and shake it a few times. If it stayed a large piece,it was not good to use in the RV. However, if it broke into pieces with 3 shakes, it was good to go in the RV tank and was good for the go, if you know what I am saying. I test the paper that I am going to use in the RV this way, and It has served me well. So, using this method you will see that you could possibly use the same paper in the RV that you use in the house. Well, that is unless you use one of the generic toilet papers that require you to keep an ax or hatchet hanging by the roll to cut the paper when you use it. So, as you see, all crapper paper is not equal. If you use this method to test your paper, you will not need to spend top dollar for paper in the RV, and you are both happy, as is your seat. So, sit and enjoy! 

There IS a difference between regular and RV toilet paper, and that is that RV toilet paper is thinner, dissolves more easily, and is biodegradable. That doesn’t mean you can use more of it just because it’s thinner. RV TP is gentler on your black tanks and, when used with lots of water, does not build up in said black tank and can help eliminate sensor errors. Some RV owners do use regular TP but don’t flush it. They have a separate trash can where they deposit it after use. Some RV owners have a rule that they simply don’t do #2 in the camper at all, which will cut down on the TP used. Perhaps a compromise might be a well-known brand that those TV bears use; the ultra-soft version disintegrates easily (but NOT the ultra-strong!).

Thanks for writing to Dear RV and enjoy ‘going’ camping. 

Dear RV,

We just purchased our first RV.  Space is somewhat limited so I was wondering what tools are ‘must-have’ and what tools would be ‘nice-to-have’ in the camper. 

Dear Camper, 

Not knowing how much space you want to devote to tools and the type and age of your camper makes this one a little harder to answer. It seems no matter how many screwdrivers you have, you are not going to have the right one you need. 

A few ‘must-haves’ would include:
A couple of Phillips, a couple flat, and a square head screwdriver should cover you.
A good hammer or rubber mallet Pliers
A couple adjustable wrenches of different sizes.
A medium-sized vice grips.
I use a pill carrier with different sizes of fuses.
I have a few smallish pill bottles with different sized/types of screws.
Electrical tape.
Wire cutters.
Duct or Gorilla tape.
Hose washers. 


‘Nice-to-have’ would include:
Socket and ratchet set
Allen wrenches
Tire pressure gauge
Work gloves
Zip ties
Collapsible ladder 

Every camper’s needs are different. Hope this helps you. Thanks for writing to Dear RV.

Dear RV,

Are there some kind of ‘unwritten rules’ for camping? I get the feeling I’m doing something wrong when I pull into a campground. Kids jump out of the truck and head for the playground, I get the dog and walk him (and yes, I pick up after him), but I get the feeling people are talking about us and pointing us out to their friends. It’s not like we pull up in a ‘rolling turd’ of a camper; we’re not loud or abusive. Would like to hear from you. 


Dear Unwritten,

To me it sounds like you are a little too self-aware. It sounds as if you are doing nothing wrong as you are just going camping. I do not think that you have 2 heads and are purple. It is normal for the kids to head to the playground and play, allowing you to set the rig up. Everything sounds normal so don’t let them bother you. You are there to have fun and enjoy the weekend, and I would think that they are there to enjoy the weekend as well. Put a smile on your face, set up camp.  After you are set up, go say hello to them and enjoy your weekend. I find that fellow campers are some of the nicest people in the world. I say smile at them and just enjoy your time camping.  Thanks for writing Dear RV.

Prepare for camping emergencies

Prepare for camping emergencies

By: Jack Thomas

At the 2022 Missouri Spring State Campvention, Co-Leader of Missouri DASAT, Jack Thomas, gave a presentation on the things every camper should give serious consideration to keeping in your camper.

  • Emergency Contact Information. It might be on your phone, or the phone of the person that travels with you, but is it accessible to emergency personnel if neither of you is able to speak?  It is recommended that it be identified and securely taped to your refrigerator.  If you feel comfortable doing so, you may leave a copy with someone else in your group. It should contain:
    Your name, address, phone and emergency contact name and phone number.
    A complete (current) listing of your medications and medical information such as pacemaker, hearing aids, diabetic, etc.
    A listing of any allergies, whether they are medical, food, or other substance (for example, are you allergic to latex?)
  • Medical Supplies specific to YOU. When you are packing your camper, PACK PLENTY OF YOUR SPECIFIC MEDICAL SUPPLIES.   Do not assume that any medical personnel at a Rally or Campvention or EMS, will have the exact thing you need.   Carry your own insulin, needles, prescriptions (or the bottle for refills on the road). 
  • A Power of Attorney.  Carry (in your camper) a certified copy of your Power of Attorney for each other. Do not assume that a photograph of one, or photocopy will be accepted by the local medical facility wherever you travel.  Check with your insurance carrier or healthcare provider to see if they supply one to keep on file for you.
  • Emergency preparedness kit.  A small bag with your emergency supplies of medication and/or medical instruments for you.  Having a first aid kit is very important (and not just a box of band aids). 
  • Look Around. Be aware of your surroundings.  When you check in to a new campsite, ask them what county it is in.  In bad weather, if you don’t know where you are, weather announcements are useless.  Make yourself familiar with where the storm shelters are located.  No storm shelter?  Look for a space that will provide protection, such as behind a large rock, or a low are where you could lie down.
  • Weather radios (or weather apps for your smart phone) that send out notifications are recommended.  On the radios, search for the strongest station signal and that will be your area. 
  • Flashlights with fresh batteries (yearly) as well as spare batteries should be in every camper.
  • Power charging blocks to charge your cell phones.  Most cars now have charging stations in them, but if they don’t, have a charged power block in your car or camper.
  • Spare keys to both your camper and the vehicle you drive.  They can be attached with the magnetic hide-a-key to several places on the outside of your camper.  Check periodically to see that they haven’t fallen off. 
  • Fresh water.  Many people do not like to travel with a full tank of fresh water, but a partial tank is better than no fresh water during a disaster.  Change regularly.

RV Recalls

The following is the latest list of RV recalls compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

  • General Motors, LLC (GM) is recalling 39 2022 4500HD, 5500HD, and 6500HD vehicles. The pressure-sensor fitting of the primary hydraulic brake line assembly may not be tightened correctly, which could result in a brake fluid leak.
  • Ford Motor Company (Ford) is recalling 5,247 2022 F-Super Duty F-250, F-350, F-450, F-550, F600, and 2023 E-Series vehicles. In addition, certain 2016 E-Series, 2017 and 2019 F-450, 2021 F-350, and 2021 Transit vehicles that received a reprinted label are also included in this recall. The Safety Certification Labels are missing the tire size, rim type, and tire pressure values for both the front and rear axles. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard numbers 110, “Tire Selection and Rim”, and 120, “Wheels and Rims-Other Than Passenger Cars.”
  • TM Industries (TM) is recalling 10 2021-2022 TrailManor 2518 series travel trailers, equipped with certain 2-burner cooktops. The burner control valves may become damaged, causing a gas leak.
  • Winnebago Industries, Inc. (Winnebago) is recalling 56 2020 ERA motorhomes, equipped with certain 2-burner cooktops. The burner control valves may become damaged, causing a gas leak.
  • Daimler Trucks North America, LLC (DTNA) is recalling 6,492 2021-2022 Freightliner (FCCC) MT45, 2022-2023 Western Star 4900 and Freightliner Cascadia vehicles. The steering gears may have been incorrectly assembled, which can cause the gear to fracture