EDITOR’S NOTE: The video above, podcast below and, below that, the edited excerpt of an article by Mike and Jennifer Wendland, creators of the RV Lifestyle website, podcast and YouTube channel, in which they discuss the rise of Solo Women Campers with guest Janine Pettit, founder of Girl Camper.
The number of solo women campers is on the rise, across all ages and in motorhomes, trailers, fifth wheels, and even truck campers.
In fact, the top expert we interview in Episode 412 of the RV Podcast says a significant percentage of all the RVers out there are solo women campers.
While no one can cite a firm statistic – estimates range from 12-20% – it is clear that it is a fast-growing segment of the RV market and that these solo women campers are not always single, windowed, or divorced. Many are married but travel alone because their spouse just doesn’t like camping.
Our guest is Janine Pettit, who calls herself the Camper-in-Chief of a thriving business built to serve solo women campers that can be found at GirlCamper.com and consists of a blog, a podcast, Facebook Group, YouTube Channel, and a slick, coffee table-sized glossy papered magazine.
Why don’t you give us a quick update on what all has happened with the Girl Camper?
Janine: We inspire people and they want to get out there. And I think it’s a little different when you’re a solo woman traveler, you require a little more handholding. It’s not that we don’t possess the ability to do it, when you’re doing it alone, which a lot of our women are. You need a little more hand holding. And that’s where hosting events is a little more fruitful than it is for couples.
What could go wrong? If you get a flat, someone’s going to call and you’re going to flag them down. You’re together. So I opened up the country and I put out a call for Girl Camper guides all over the country. What women would be willing to help other women in their area get their feet wet, hold their hands, show them the ropes. And so now we have 36, I believe, Girl Camper guides all over the country.
And so they become the hand holder, the guide, the mentor for these women, but also they are becoming the tourist guide for their area. So say we have our girl Resa Leppert in Iowa. When someone wants to camp in Iowa, they can go to her Girl Camper page, because she has her own Girl Camper page on our website and find out where a great place to camp is.
Where’s the best coffee spot? If you’re into this, where should I go? And so they became little tourist guides for their neck of the woods too. So Girl Camper chapters all over the country.
Thought I had that going so well that I was going to start a magazine. So when Covid hit, I had all of a sudden a great deal of free time. I usually am at an RV show every other weekend in the winter. And then all of a sudden everything was canceled and that magazine was in my head for the longest time.
And so I just sat down with a piece of paper and wrote out if I were going to do a magazine, what would I want to talk about?
And I always go into Barnes and Noble and I look at the magazines and I’m like seeing 10 magazines on backyard chickens and no camping magazines. So kind of like writing the book you wanted to read, I created the magazine I wanted to pull off the shelf. So we’re in our third year.
We won multiple Ozzie and Eddie awards. I was very proud to have been nominated for an editorial I published in the magazine last year about a 93-year-old grandma who took up camping for the first time. We were nominated lifestyle magazine of the year up against Joanna Gaines and the Property Brothers from HGTV. So we’re like the little magazine that could, and I’m very proud of our team.