RV Geeks videos: LevelMatePRO, Roof Leaks, Tough Top Awnings, Pop Rivet Gun, & LEDs

About RV Geeks

The RV Geeks offer RV maintenance, repair & travel tips from “Do-It-Ourselves” full-time RVers. They’ve handled most of their own RV maintenance during more than a decade of exploring North America. While not RV technicians, the RV Geeks are mechanically inclined and have learned a lot about RV systems over the years. They handle most of their own minor service, repair and upgrade work on their 2005 43-foot Newmar Mountain Aire diesel pusher. They also maintained their 2002 39′ Fleetwood Bounder Diesel during their first two years on the road. Visit their website and subscribe to their YouTube channel.

Soak Up the Sun at the New Cedar Point Shores Waterpark

Photos courtesy of Cedar Point
Cedar Point's rich history began as a simple bathing beach and bathhouse in 1870. Today, Cedar Point still is the summertime destination for families from all over the world with 70 rides, including 17 roller coasters, a mile-long beach, five hotel properties, beautiful marinas and now, the new Cedar Point Shores Waterpark, opening Saturday, May 27.

Located on Cedar Point's shoreline on Lake Erie, Cedar Point Shores is an 18-acre playground for aqua-lovers of all ages with attractions that provide big thrills, little thrills and the world's best water thrills. Just like guests cooled off in the summer almost 150 years ago, that tradition continues with new ways to beat the heat, eat, relax and have fun.

"This is a unique time in Cedar Point's history. As the park evolves with the latest and greatest attractions, we will never lose sight of how we started," said Jason McClure, vice president and general manager of Cedar Point. "Cedar Point Shores is a direct nod to our past as it existed on the Lake Erie shoreline. Only today, new and exciting thrills are available right alongside the beach that has, and still continues to bring families together."

Cedar Point Shores is home to 17 water attractions geared for everyone in the family. Thrill-seekers will experience near free-fall on the new Point Plummet, a six-story aqua-drop body slide. Riders first climb into individual capsules at the top of the tower. After an ominous countdown of, "3-2-1," the floor will drop from underneath riders' feet and the journey begins through twists and turns in an enclosed tunnel until the splashdown in the runout below. Non-riders can watch the fear in the faces of their friends on special monitors on the ground with video cameras focused on the launch capsules. 

On the same tower as Point Plummet, Portside Plunge provides thrills of a different kind, five stories above the ground. Riders can experience the slide alone or with a friend on an inner tube as they're sent through an enclosed tunnel, then shot out into the sun over unique airtime hills and into a pool at the end of the ride.

What's known as a legend on Lake Erie is now rising from the shallow pool of Lemmy's Lagoon, an area geared just for the little ones. Kids can splash and play around "Lemmy," the mythical, green Lake Erie monster, as well as sandcastles, geysers, whimsical fish and more.

Just next to Lemmy's Lagoon, Lakeslide Landing is the place where young ones can start their journey to become a big water thrill-seeker. Featuring 12 pint-sized slides, Lakeslide Landing also welcomes its sliders with a shallow pool, making it a great place for parents to interact with their children and cool off at the same time. Expanded shaded areas around Lakeslide Landing and Lemmy's Lagoon provide relaxing spots for parents to decompress and watch all the fun.

Dining at Cedar Point Shores is an experience in and of itself. The centerpiece of the new culinary experiences is Crystal Rock Café, named after the Crystal Rock Castle that once called Cedar Point home in the early 1900's. Crystal Rock Café will serve hand-made pizza, fresh chicken wraps, gourmet salads, seafood and items not found anywhere at Cedar Point.

A brand-new custom ice cream flavor is also on the menu at the new Beaches & Cream. The cold and creamy confection is a refreshing hint of cotton candy, a staple at Cedar Point for a large part of its history. The flavor is made in partnership with Sandusky's own Toft Dairy, creators of the Rougarou mint and chocolate and the Valravn salted caramel ice cream flavors sold inside the park.

Adults can relax with a new custom brew named Shandy Shores, a light and surprising mix of blood orange and mango. Shandy Shores is available at Muffleheads Beach Bar, a swim-up experience right on the waterfront, and at Schooner's Bayside Bar, a completely new hot spot serving not only frosty cold beverages, but snack items as well.

Setting the mood for Cedar Point Shores' resort-like atmosphere is a host of live entertainment, including appearances by Cedar Point's own Toes in the Sand Band and Cedar Point Beach Band. Playing popular favorites that will take guests into the relaxation mindset, both bands will play at select times throughout the summer. In addition, daily activities and games are planned at various locations in the waterpark for guests of all ages.

The new offerings don't stop there. The waterpark will also debut a new entrance with an artfully-crafted welcome sign and giant beach balls, enhanced midway paths with lush landscaping, more shaded areas for guests to relax, updated changing areas, luxury VIP cabanas alongside the Breakwater Bay wave pool and a new merchandise location, Sandals Souvenirs and Sundries.

With more to do than ever before, guests can play their way for multiple days while staying at one of Cedar Point's five hotel properties, including the beautiful beachfront Hotel Breakers, located just steps from Cedar Point and Cedar Point Shores Waterpark. Other properties include the cottages, cabins and luxury RV sites at Lighthouse Point, Sandcastle Suites Hotel, Cedar Point's Express Hotel and Castaway Bay Indoor Waterpark Resort.

A stay at Cedar Point's hotel properties includes free admission to Cedar Point Shores Waterpark (when a one, two or three-day Cedar Point ticket package is purchased), early access to Cedar Point Shores, Early Entry to Cedar Point to ride some of the biggest rides and coasters, discounted admission to Cedar Point and the closest rooms to the world's best destination for thrills.

Guests can also take advantage of a summer of fun at Cedar Point Shores with a Platinum Pass. Benefits include unlimited admission to Cedar Point Shores and Cedar Point, Early Entry, discounts on food and merchandise, exclusive ride nights, access to special passholder events at both parks, free parking and more. The best time to purchase a Platinum Pass is right now, as prices go up on May 30.

For more information on Cedar Point Shores, Cedar Point's hotel accommodations, hours of operation and more, guests can visit cedarpoint.com.

Michigan campgrounds with Memorial Day Weekend availability

The Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds of Michigan (ARVC Michigan) is reporting plenty of availability – for tenters, RVers and cabin/cottage-dwellers – available at privately-owned and operated campgrounds throughout both the Upper and Lower Peninsulas for the upcoming Memorial Weekend. There are nearly two dozen ARVC Michigan member campgrounds reporting availability, including:

Alcona Canoes – Glennie
Phone: 989-735-2973 
Website: www.alconacanoes.com

Bluegill Lake Family Camping Resort – Mecosta
Phone: 231-972-4455 
Website: www.bluegillcamping.com

Campgrounds-R-Us – Owosso
Phone: 989-721-9120 
Website: campgrounds-r-us.com

Cedarville RV Park – Cedarville
Phone: 906-484-3351 
Website: www.cedarvillervpark.com

Coloma/St. Joseph KOA – Benton Harbor
Phone: 269-849-3333 
Website: www.stjosephkoa.com

Crystal Lake Campground – Ludington/Scottville
Phone: 231-757-4510 
Website: www.crystallakecamping.com

Gaylord KOA – Gaylord
Phone: 800-562-4146 
Website: www.gaylordkoa.com

Headwaters Camping & Cabins – Frederic
Phone: 989-705-2066 
Website: www.headcamping.com

Hideaway Campground – Mears – Silver Lake Area
Phone: 231-873-4428 
Website: www.hideawaycampground.com

Holiday Camping Resort - New Era
Phone: 231-861-5220 
Website: www.holidaycamping.com

Irons RV Park and Campground – Irons
Phone: 231-266-2070 
Website: www.ironsrvparkandcampground.com

Insta Launch Campground & Marina – Manistee
Phone: 231-723-3901 
Website: www.instalaunch.com

Kalkaska RV Park & Campground – Kalkaska
Phone: 231-258-9863 
Website: www.kalkaskacampground.com

Kritter’s Northcountry Campground & Cabins – Newberry
Phone: 906-293-8562 
Website: www.northcountrycampground.com

Lakeside Camp Park – Cedar Springs
Phone: 616-723-3901 
Website: www.lakesidecamppark.com

Michigan Oaks Camping Resort – Indian River
Phone: 231-238-8259 
Website: www.michiganoaks.com

Oak Shores Campground – Decatur
Phone: 269-423-7370 
Website: www.oakshorescampground.com

River Country Campground - Evart
Phone: 231-734-3808 
Website: www.campandcanoe.com

Summer Breeze Campground – Iron Mountain
Phone: 906-774-7701 
Website: www.summerbreezecampground.com

Thousand Trails - St. Clair Resort – St. Clair
Phone: 810-329-7129 
Website: www.rvonthego.com/michigan/st-clair-rv-resort/

Whether it be a cabin/cottage or campsite, availability varies from property to property. This is not an all-inclusive list. This list includes campgrounds that responded to a survey indicating availability, as of May 23, 2017. Availability is subject to change. Reservations are required.

ARVC Michigan represents over 150 member campgrounds with more than 25,000 sites available throughout the state. These privately-owned and operated campgrounds are promoted in an annual Michigan Campground Directory, available at Michigan Welcome Centers, Chambers of Commerce, Convention & Visitor Bureaus, RV Dealers, Libraries and AAA Offices. ARVC Michigan’s mission is to lead in the development of the RV Parks and Campground industry through education, communication and representation. ARVC Michigan is a member of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (arvc). (www.GoCampingAmerica.com).

Long, Long Honeymoon: Champion 75537i Generator Review, Garmin RV 770 GPS Mount, & 20 Yellowstone Tips

About the Long, Long Honeymoon
After getting married in the Florida Keys in 2007, C.S. (Sean) and Kristy Michael spent their wedding night in their newly purchased recreational vehicle — a 25-foot Airstream travel trailer. Instead of jaunting off to honeymoon on a posh Pacific island, the newlyweds hitched up their trusty Ford diesel truck (nicknamed “SEEMORE”) and started exploring America.

Their “long long honeymoon” journey has stretched over 100,000 miles and 49 States, ranging from Key West (the southernmost point in the United States) all the way up to Fairbanks, Alaska. They have camped in every conceivable environment, from scenic national parks to less-than-exotic asphalt parking lots.

A writer and filmmaker, Sean totes his video camera everywhere, relentlessly documenting the experience. And in addition to Sean’s filmmaking equipment, the couple always pack their sense of humor. Their blog explores the lighter side of RV life; or as Kristy says, “the fun stuff!”

Why do they do it? “Because life should be a long long honeymoon…”

You can catch Sean and Kristy’s latest RV adventures (including all of their videos in glorious high-definition) on their website: LongLongHoneymoon.com. When not aboard their Airstream, the newlyweds divide their time between homes in Alabama and Florida. But you can always reach them via email at HoneymoonShow@aol.com.

Rollin' on TV looks at the R-pod, Thetford Sani-Con Turbo, Plus Camping Tips from RV 101

On this week's program (#2017-xx), Rollin' On TV's Jeff Johnston gives us an in-depth review of the Forest River R-Pod travel trailer. Also, we learn all about the Thetford, Sani-Con Turbo system, and Mark and Dawn Polk from RV Education 101 give us their tips for a great campground experience.

About Rollin' On TV
In production since 2010, Rollin' On TV has become one of the leading RV lifestyle television programs on the air today, reaching over 30 million homes on both cable and satellite TV. The weekly program is also available online. For more information, visit www.rollinontv.com.

Biking trails offer many options to get outside and explore 'The Trails State'

If you’re seeking a cure for cabin fever, with warmer weather finally returning after months of torpor-inducing cold and gray, a bicycle and a trail just might be the perfect prescription.
Bikers enjoy a stretch of the Iron Ore Heritage Trail, along
Lake Superior, in Marquette County. (DNR photos)
May is National Bike Month, a great time to discover both the benefits of bicycling – among them, improving your physical and mental health, cutting down on pollution, saving money on gas and getting outdoors – and the many beautiful places you can explore in Michigan on a bike.

"Bicycling is a great way to enjoy the great outdoors, while taking advantage of all the health and environmental benefits,” said Elissa Buck, a recreation programmer for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. “It's also an opportunity to explore your community and state, such as the extensive statewide trail system, many scenic roads, state parks and much more."

Whether it's bicycling along a former railroad track or alongside a local county road or mountain biking across rugged terrain, Michigan has unique opportunities for bicyclists of all ages, types and skill levels.

Nationally recognized as “The Trails State,” Michigan has more than 12,500 miles of state-designated trails and 2,600 miles of rail trails, more than any other state in nation.
The Huron Sunrise Trail in Presque Isle County follows the
shore of Lake Huron from Rogers City through Hoeft State
Park and to 40 Mile Point Lighthouse
There are generally two types of bike trails: linear trails and mountain bike trails.

Linear trails, also called rail trails, run from one point to another and usually follow an old railroad track, river or land feature. They typically cover long distances and can be either improved or unimproved, with various surfaces including asphalt, limestone or natural dirt.

“The improved linear trails are built to American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials’ standards, meaning they are 10 feet wide and meet ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance,” said Emily Meyerson, the DNR’s northern Lower Peninsula trail coordinator. “Typically we call these bike trails or multi-use trails.”

In addition to a number of linear trails managed by the DNR, many rail trails are managed locally – more information about these linear trails is available at michigantrails.org.

Mountain bike trails are narrower than linear trails. Usually they consist of a natural soil surface with changing slopes and gradients and are often open to other uses, such as hiking, as well.

“Mountain bike trails are typically a single track-type trail, usually built in a system, and have multiple loops in varying degrees of difficulty,” said Meyerson. “They often have obstacles there on purpose, such as log or rock jumping.”
Mountain bikers have some options when it comes to what type of riding experience they’re looking for.

Many state parks and recreation areas, including Porcupine
Mountains Wilderness State Park in Ontonagon and Gogebic
counties, feature mountain biking trails.
“Mountain biking trails can be very cross-country – with hard-packed trails and smooth, fast flow – or more technical, with lots of obstacles and jumps,” said Kristen Bennett, Iron Belle Trail coordinator for the DNR.

The DNR allows mountain biking on many of the state pathways and state park trails found across the state. To search for a list of Michigan state parks, recreation areas or rustic state forest campgrounds with designated mountain bike trails, visit www.michigan.gov/recsearch.

Michigan is also home to some of the best road bicycling in the nation. Low-traffic backroads with incredible scenic vistas connect small towns and state parks. Bikes are allowed on all paved and non-paved roads in all 103 state parks and recreation areas. The Michigan Department of Transportation has regional maps showing the best roads for biking, and those to avoid.

One great way to start your biking adventure is to jump on the Michigan's Iron Belle Trail, the longest state-designated trail in the nation at more than 2,000 miles long. Running from Belle Isle Park in Detroit to Ironwood in the western Upper Peninsula, the trail goes through 48 counties and 240 townships in the state.

Bikes are allowed on all paved and non-paved roads in all 103
Michigan state parks and recreation areas, including this
one in Belle Isle Park.
The Iron Belle Trail features two routes, one for biking and one for hiking. The 791-mile bicycle route, now 64 percent complete, utilizes existing multi-use trails and follows U.S. 2, a designated national bicycling route in the Upper Peninsula.

The Iron Belle Trail continues to expand, thanks in part to fundraising efforts that are enabling development of new trail segments.

The Michigan Fitness Foundation – in partnership with the DNR, MDOT, the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance and local community groups – is spearheading the Iron Belle Trails Campaign to raise $168 million in private funding to leverage the investment state, federal and local government agencies and other partners have already made in building the trail.

“The goal is to create a trail system where both residents and visitors can enjoy the scenic views, cultural heritage, vibrant communities and natural resources that Michigan has to offer,” said Michigan Fitness Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer J.J. Tighe.

“Trail systems have proven to be a boon to both rural and urban areas – they improve health, the economy and communities by promoting physical activity, tourism and community connections.”

Tighe pointed to Karen’s Trail – named in honor of Karen McKeachie, who was struck by a car and killed while biking on the road in 2016 – as an example of projects the Iron Belle Trails Campaign will support.

The Dequindre Cut in Detroit is part of
Michigan’s Iron Belle Trail, the longest
state-designated trail in the nation
at more than 2,000 miles long.
Karen’s Trail is an effort, kicked off a few weeks ago, to help fund completion of the Border-to-Border Trail in southeastern Michigan and connect it to the Iron Belle Trail. Organizers aim to provide safe, non-motorized pathways for bikers and other outdoor recreationists to enjoy.

When completed, the Border-to-Border Trail will run 70 miles, following the Huron River from Washtenaw County to Wayne County, and will include an extra 44-mile continuous loop connecting the cities of Dexter and Chelsea, the Waterloo and Pinckney state recreation areas and the Lakelands State Trail system.

According to the Karen’s Trail website: “We hope to have the entire project finished by 2021 — and when we do, it will instantly become one of the largest continuous, traffic-free trails in the Midwest!”

Tighe said Karen's Trail is just one example.

“We are seeing the same momentum from Detroit to Kent County to the more rural areas of the northern Lower Peninsula,” Tighe said. “This type of resource is great all across our state.”

While the Iron Belle Trail and other biking trails around the state offer many opportunities to explore pristine forests, pass along cool rivers and visit charming towns, some trails also give you the chance to learn more about Michigan’s history.

The multi-use, year-round Iron Ore Heritage Trail in Marquette County, for example, shares the story of the area’s iron-mining past – and how it changed the landscape of Marquette County and the United States – through educational interpretive panels, sculptures and a connection to the Michigan Iron Industry Museum in Negaunee Township. In July each summer, Iron Industry Museum staff leads popular Iron Ore Heritage Trail bike tours.

The Native American Cultural History Trail on Mackinac Island helps visitors learn more about the history and impact of Native Americans on the Great Lakes through a series of interpretive stations, with bicycle parking, along the road around the perimeter of the island.

A map showing bikepacking places in
the northern Lower Peninsula
For those who want to make a weekend, or a whole vacation, of their biking adventure, there’s something called “bikepacking.”

“Bikepacking is riding a bicycle longer distances, staying overnight along the way at either hotels or campsites,” said Meyerson. “Bring minimal gear with you and stay in a hotel or pack up your panniers or trailer and camp out under the stars.”

Meyerson said the northern Lower Peninsula is Michigan’s premier bikepacking destination, with a network of more than 200 miles of bicycle trails crisscrossing the area and expanding every year.

“Bikepacking the northern Lower Peninsula you can stay entirely on easy, developed bicycle trails or combine trails and rural roads, creating an endless number of opportunities,” said Meyerson. “There are plenty of hotels and various types of camping opportunities. Small-town charm, historic sites and beautiful vistas are around every corner.”

For more details, see the attached bikepacking map and stay tuned to the DNR biking webpage for information about potential itineraries, overnight accommodations and more.

You don’t have to stop biking even when winter rolls around again. Trails for fat-tire bikes, which are off-road bicycles with oversized tires designed to allow riding on soft, unstable terrain like snow, are becoming more common.

“Fat-tire bike trails offer a winter version of bicycling,” Bennett said. “This is the latest trend in cycling and is not available everywhere yet, but more and more trails of this type are being put in.”

Michigan’s trails offer many spectacular sights – like this
view over Lake Michigan from the Little Traverse Wheelway,
running from Charlevoix to Harbor Springs in the
northwestern Lower Peninsula.
Earlier this year, the DNR designated 10.7 miles of winter fat tire bike trail at the Little Presque Isle tract, situated a few miles north of Marquette in Marquette County.

“Little Presque Isle is increasingly becoming a popular place for biking, in addition to its attractions for anglers, campers, hikers and swimmers,” said John Pepin, DNR deputy public information officer. “These trails are just one example of the numerous biking opportunities available here in the Upper Peninsula.”

Check out a Pure Michigan Summer video on biking.

Learn about Michigan biking trails, and a variety of other trails, and find trail maps on the DNR website at michigan.gov/dnrtrails.

“Michigan trails offer so many opportunities for residents and visitors of all ages – whether it’s families or individuals – to enjoy the outdoors,” said Paul Yauk, state trails coordinator for the DNR. “Some of these trails might be in your own backyard, so get out and explore.”

P.J. Hoffmaster State Park’s 6th annual Vintage Camper Gathering & Open House coming June 3

Editor's note: Last year we visited Camp Dearborn during a Tin Can Tourist rally, and it was absolutely awesome (The video above is from that trip). There were so many vintage campers we didn't even get a chance to see them all, and we were there for hours. It wasn't that we didn't want to, it was because nearly every camper had an owner or two who was as friendly as could be, and were more than willing to share their story – they found their vintage camper in a barn, or out in a field, or whatever, and the love and pampering it took to bring them back to life.
Seriously, go to Muskegon and take a walk around. It'll be your favorite thing you did this year.

Campers and day-use visitors are invited to take a step back in time at P.J. Hoffmaster State Park's annual Vintage Camper Gathering and Open House Saturday, June 3, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The park is located at 6585 Lake Harbor Road in Muskegon, Michigan.

Campers and day visitors are invited to walk the wooded campsites and tour trailers from the 1930s to the 1980s and get a firsthand look at the evolution of camping. There will be more than 90 vintage campers and RVs spending the weekend in the park, such as Airstream, Spartan, Vagabond, Shasta, Holiday Rambler, Serro Scotty and many other models on display. This year’s gathering will feature a campgroundwide potluck and live entertainment open to all campers. 

"Join us on the first weekend in June as we relive some of those fond memories with the Vintage Camper and RV Gathering at Hoffmaster," said Melissa VanderVelde, unit supervisor at Hoffmaster State Park. "Whether you are visiting during the open house or spending the weekend camping alongside these beautifully restored camping trailers, we hope to see you there." 

To check camping availability and make a reservation, visit www.midnrreservations.com or call 1-800-44PARKS (1-800-447-2757). Owners of vintage campers are encouraged to make reservations and camp in or near sites 133 through 231.

P.J. Hoffmaster State Park features over 3 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, a 297-site modern campground, towering Lake Michigan dunes and the Gillette Visitor Center. Miles of hiking and skiing trails offer stunning views of Lake Michigan. Visit www.michigan.gov/hoffmaster to learn more.

To learn more about the event, call the park at 231-798-3711 or e-mail Brandon Morrison at brandon_morrison@hotmail.com.

How to keep ticks and other bugs and wildlife from crashing your campsite

Camping is certainly one of summer’s most beloved activities, yet venturing into nature can have its dangers when it involves coming into contact with harmful insects and company. To keep this pastime an enjoyable one, Bug Busters, a pest control company with several locations in the southeast U.S., reminds camping enthusiasts to implement proper precautions when taking on the great outdoors. 

Ticks in particular are common camping companions sine they live in tall grass and wooded areas, waiting to grab onto passing hosts for feeding. Anyone spending time outdoors should be committed to protecting themselves against these pests because although they are small in size, the diseases they can pass on from a bite are quite dangerous.

“Appreciating nature is part of the camping experience, but admiring it in a safe and responsible way is best for a more enjoyable camping trip,” says Bug Busters Chief Operating Officer Court Parker. “Coming into direct contact with certain insects and wildlife has its risks. Mosquitoes and ticks, for example, are vector pests that feed on blood and can transmit serious illnesses such as West Nile virus, Zika, Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Fever through their bites. And, wildlife could become aggressive if they feel threatened, while animals such as raccoons and bats could be potential carriers of rabies. The best bet is to avoid contact with these animals as much as possible.”

To help keep the campsite a bug- and animal-free zone, Bug Busters recommends adventurers take note of these tips:
  • Ahead of camping, apply insect repellent containing an EPA-registered active ingredient such as DEET or Picaridin, and repeat applications according to the product label.
  • Wear long sleeves, pants, socks and closed toe shoes to help avoid mosquito and tick bites. Choose light colored clothing that makes it easier to spot ticks and other insects. Do a thorough check after hiking in woods or tall grasses.
  • Yellowjackets and other stinging insects are attracted to fragrances from shampoo, perfume and candles — not to mention food and drink. Avoid using scented items and pour beverages into clear plastic cups rather than drinking from cans.
  • Prior to camping, check tent materials and repair any holes that can serve as points of entry. Keep tents closed at all times unless going in or out.
  • Keep all food and beverages packed in secure coolers and containers. Seal utensils and dishware immediately after use.
  • Dispose of beverage bottles and cans in tightly closed garbage receptacles. Keep garbage containers sealed and away from the sleeping grounds.
  • Do not attempt to feed, lure or pet wild animals.
For more information on pest prevention for all seasons, please visit bugbustersusa.com.

Gear Spotlight: Technical Picnic Blanket by Prometheus Design Werx

Editor's Note
Recently, I registered with Hubba.com as an "influencer." Basically, an influencer is someone who has built a reasonable following of a select audience demographic via some sort of media outlet. In my case, my audience is RVers, campers and outdoor adventurers and my media outlet is this blog as well as my full-time job as the editor for two trade magazines covering the RV and campground industries.

Heres how it works: I'm given access to products whose manufacturers want publicized via influencers like me. I get to pick and choose which of these products I think might be of use and interest to you. I'll correspond with the product manufacturer to get some more info, then create a posting.

Sometimes I receive product samples to review and sometimes I don't. When I do receive a sample, the postings will be labeled "Gear Review." When I don't receive a sample, the postings will be labeled "Gear Spotlight." I'll always be up front about such things, and I'll always share my honest opinion.

Gear Spotlight: Technical Picnic Blanket by Prometheus Design Werx

Let's get this out of the way right off the bat: At $189, the Technical Picnic Blanket by Prometheus Design Werx is a bit steep. And if all it was only a "picnic blanket," I would agree with you.

But the Technical Picnic Blanket (TPB) is so much more than a run-of-the-mill picnic blanket. It’s a serious piece of backcountry equipment (as an under-tent groundcover or shelter tarp) that will quickly find a permanent spot in any backpack, but it's equally useful for an RVer who simply wants a mat outside the motorhome door.

Actually, in talking with Patrick Ma, the CEO of Prometheus Design Werx, which is an outdoor gear and apparel outfitter based San Francisco, the company’s Research & Development team came up with the name of Technical Picnic Blanket with “a bit of a chuckle.” 

“While there are many $40 ‘picnic blankets’ available on Amazon and big box retailers like Target and Walmart, ours is certainly heads above the rest. We used ‘picnic’ in the product name mostly as a tongue-in-cheek thing, but our product is made with premium technical and heritage materials that are far more rugged, durable, versatile, and it’s also made in the USA,” Ma told me.

What It Is
Inspired by the classic “cowboy bedroll,” the TPB is updated with modern, lighter, technical materials such as silnylon (nylon + silicone = silnylon). Its 54-inch by 84-inch footprint rolls up into a 6.5-inch by 11-inch stuff sack (that’s included), and it has six paracord tie-outs to be used as staking points for securing it to the ground (or trees, for that matter, if it's to be used as a shelter tarp). 

On one side is the custom milled, lightweight yet durable, 30D nylon ripstop ground liner, which is impregnated with silicone to repel water and coated with polyurethane for extra protection against the elements. 

On the other side is 14-ounce wool Melton sourced from a U.S. supplier that has been in operation since 1922. The dense, tightly woven fabric is soft to the touch and uses 15% nylon fibers to add that extra touch of durability to the 85% wool content. 
The nylon side is dark green, and the wool side is charcoal gray.

“We’ve used it hiking, backpacking, overlanding, the beach, watching fireworks and meteor showers, and lining the floor of our tent when snow camping,” the product description states. “The seasoned outdoorsman knows that wool insulates even when wet and we’ve found that the weight of the wool Melton we selected to be a great balance between packed trail weight and all season use.”

Bottom Line
Sure, it’s pricy. But given its extreme durability and tons of uses – from recreational to outright survival – the Technical Picnic Blanket just might be worth every penny.

For More information
Click here to be taken to the Technical Picnic Blanket page on the Prometheus Design Werx website.

Twitter: @PDWLife https://twitter.com/pdwlife

And here's a video review of the Technical Picnic Blanket by BlackScoutSurvival:

RV Education 101: 5 Important RV Spring Checks, How To Camp on 30 Amps, Clean Safe H2O on the Road,

RV Education 101 e-book series
As I've said many times, Mark Polk is my favorite RV expert. I'm pleased he and his wife, Dawn, have allowed me to sell his RV e-book series. E-books (electronic books) are immediately downloaded to your computer after you make the purchase. The RV Education 101 e-book series includes:
  • "The Original Checklist for RVers"
  • "The RV Book"
  • "RV Campground Basics"
  • "101 Tips for RVers"
  • "RV Care and Maintenance"
  • "Insiders Guide to Buying an RV"
  • "Winterizing & Storing your RV"
  • "RV Awning Use & Care"
  • "Deep Cycle Battery Care & Maintenance"
  • "RV Buyers Survival Guide"
  • "Complete Guide To: RV Towing, Weights, Hitch Work & Backing"
  • "Pop-Up Basics 101"
  • "Dinghy Towing"

Rollin' on TV: Jayco Jay Feather Hybrid, Mahana Brewery Tour, & Top 7 RV Items from RV Education 101

On this week's program (#2017-11), Rollin' On TV checks out the Jayco Jay Feather Hybrid. Also, a great place to visit when RVing in Hawaii is the Mahana Brewery, definitely a refreshing stop. And Mark & Dawn Polk of RV Education 101 show us the top 7 consumable items you should have in your RV.

About Rollin' On TV
In production since 2010, Rollin' On TV has become one of the leading RV lifestyle television programs on the air today, reaching over 30 million homes on both cable and satellite TV. The weekly program is also available online. For more information, visit www.rollinontv.com.

Love Your RV videos: Alabama Hills CA, TadiBros. Backup Camera, Elk Country RV Park, weBoost Drive 4G-X, & More

About Love Your RV
Three and one half years ago Ray and Anne Burr sold their home in Victoria, British Columbia, and bought a brand new fifth wheel trailer. They set off on an amazing one-year journey traveling all around the U.S. and Canada. About three months into it, they knew this was the life for them and became full timers traveling south in the winters and retreating to the north for the summers. They regularly update their blogsite of their travels and adventures.

We're the Russos: Behind the Scenes at 'Big Time RV,' The Next Chapter - Camper Van Life, & Minimizing for the Camper Van

About We're the Russos
In 2015, Joe and Kait Russo quit their jobs, sold their home, and got rid of most of their possessions to live their dream – travel and work for themselves. Together with their rescue dog, Leo, the Russos are traveling all across North America seeking adventure. That first year their rig was a 2015 Newmar Bay Star, a gas motorhome coming in just shy of 30 feet. Seeking more flexibility and freedom, in 2017 they switched to a Hymer Aktiv Class B campervan. Visit their website for tons of more information about the Russos and their travels. You can also subscribe to their YouTube channel, where they have videos on RVing, Living Life on Your Terms, Following their Adventure, and more, plus they're on Twitter and Facebook. You can also help support them via their Patreon site.