Camping Clubs

Camping and RV clubs can provide information and benefits to their members. But are they really worth the membership fees? Let”s consider the pros and cons of joining a camping club or a club for recreational vehicle owners.

Camping clubs have been around for nearly 90 years, while RV clubs were first established in the 1960s. The first camping club, the “”Tin Can Tourists,”” was established in 1919. These clubs assist their members in finding each other and sharing a common interest, camping and/or RVing. Some clubs also provide recommendations on products and services. Certain clubs fill a niche within the camping and RVing market, such as single campers, retirees, families or disabled individuals.

The names of some well-known camping and RV clubs are:

  • American Camping Association
  • American Hiking Society
  • Good Sam Club
  • National Parks Conservation Association.

The Benefits of Joining a Camping Club or RV Club

The most popular reason for joining a club is the discounts and savings that are passed on to members. Discounts can be for campsite fees, insurance, equipment and related services.

Some clubs offer a publication or e-mails to keep members updated about new products, trendy places to visit and member meet-ups. A few camping and RV clubs even offer exclusive access to private campgrounds.

The Good Sam Club and other RV camping clubs also serve as an auto club for RV motorists. They have a service line to call if you break down or get a flat tire. In fact, the Good Sam Club, which is the oldest RV camping club, got its name from “”good Samaritan,”” because the original members placed Good Samaritan bumper stickers on their vehicles so that fellow members would be able to find help while on the road.

The Power of Membership

Many people use membership in a camping or RV club to find travel partners and new friends, especially companions who are more knowledgeable about camping sites and which locations to avoid. The supportive environment may encourage novice campers to take more trips and discover new places.

Some member groups use their ranks to raise money for causes that a camping or RV group would support. For instance, the American Hiking Society sells coffee to benefit the ?Southern Appalachians Initiative,? which promotes the establishment and maintenance of trails.

Joining a camping or RV club is usually as simple as filling out a form on the club”s Web site. Many clubs have toll-free numbers to call if you don?t feel comfortable entering your personal information online.

Considerations When Joining a Camping or RV Club

The most important question to keep in mind if you?re thinking about joining a club is, ?How often do I go camping or RVing?? Some club memberships cost more than $150 per year. At that rate, you would have to take a lot of trips to make the membership worth the cost.

Other clubs cost as little as $15 per year to join. If you plan to camp or RV just once or twice a year, you might consider starting out in a less expensive club.

Another thing to consider is why you camp or RV. If you want to find peace, quiet and be the only human within several miles, perhaps joining a club is not the right decision at this time.

There are many camping, hiking and RVing clubs out there. Some are more local in scope, while others are national or even international. If you?re looking for travel companions or industry information, joining a camping or RV club might be just the thing you?re looking for. However, it is important to weigh the cost of joining with the benefits you expect.

Resources

Alliance of Hiking Organizations- Southern Appalachians. (n.d.). Hiking Organizations. Retrieved November 8, 2006, from the American Hiking Web site: http://www.americanhiking.org/alliance/sai/index.html.

About (2006). Camping Clubs. Retrieved November 8, 2006, from the About Web site: http://camping.about.com/od/campingclubs/.

Good Sam Club (n.d.). Join the Good Sam Club. Retrieved November 8, 2006, from the Good Sam Club Web site: https://www.goodsamclub.com/join/.