Introducing: Camping Companions

#rvlife #travel #scenery


Helping others one video at a time

The Minnick family and their naughty dog Rex are the stars of today’s featured YouTube channel: Camping Companions. Together, they have been to some of the most beautiful locations around the Great Lakes and East Coast. When we approached them for an interview, we had no idea that they also write for RV Destinations Magazine, and feel truly honored that they shared their time to tell us a little about them and their channel. Here is what they had to say:

The Story

Tell us all about who you are!

We are Kevin and Amy Minnick.  We are a blended family with two kids each ranging from 22 – 14 years old.  We do have a 10 year old puppy named Rex who is the most terrible camping dog no matter how much we try to get him to be!  We would prefer to bring him along on our travels, but he usually stays with Grandma and Grandpa.  Our oldest son Jeremy now has his own travel trailer and brings his girlfriend along on many of our adventures.  Our 18 year old is off to college and doesn’t travel much but our 14 year old still loves to travel with us and usually has a friend or two in tow.

Tell us the story of how you found and chose your rig.

We actually went looking to find a travel trailer to find out what floor plan we would want to be searching for and after being essentially told we were wasting the saleswoman’s time at the one dealership, we decided to head to the second closest dealership where they had a leftover model on their showroom floor which was perfect in every way so we actually bought it on a whim.  It’s a 2018 Avenger ATI 27RBS.  It has a huge bathroom in the rear, massive bedroom up front and a pull-out couch and dinette in the slide.

What’s your travel style?

We live in Upstate New York and both have full time jobs so we are part-time campers right now.  Our season is typically May-October, but we get out as much as possible.  This year, for instance, we have 16 trips booked.  We do a lot of extended weekend trips and try to get one or two 7-10 day vacations out-of-state each year (This year, Kevin got a new job and doesn’t have enough vacation time).  Those longer trips are typically 8-10 hour drives away.  

What are the top 3 favorite places that you’ve visited?

Number 1 would have to be Land’s End Park at the tip of Bruce Peninsula in Ontario Canada.  Splitting Lake Huron and the Georgian Bay, the summer temperatures are ideal, the water is almost Caribbean blue.  The Bruce Trail is an incredible hiking trail which runs 900km from Niagara Falls to the tip of the peninsula.  The views are spectacular!  The kayaking is amazing, especially if you get your permit to navigate restricted waters!  You can kayak right over many shipwrecks dating back 100 years or more!  And of course, there are beaches and your typical tourist traps so it pleases everyone!

Number 2 is Cape Henlopen in Delaware.  Located right on the Atlantic Ocean, the campground is cool and has enough sand to feel tropical.  With the beach only a 5 minute walk from camp, you can watch dolphins frolic and pelicans float on the breeze.  It’s a short drive to Assateague Island to see wild horses and also to Ocean City, Maryland.  There’s a ferry to take you to Cape May, NJ just outside the campground if you want to explore further.  Delaware itself is rich in history and Lewes (Pronounced Louis) was the first city in the first state in the United States.

Number 3 would be just about anywhere in the Finger Lakes region of New York.  Not only do you have the Grand Canyon of the East (Letchworth) and Watkins Glen which was also carved out with water tens of thousands of years ago.  Both parks were rated #1 and #3 respectfully in USA Today’s rankings of state parks in the US in 2018.  Hiking, kayaking, biking, white water rafting, hot air balloons, you name it!  Last count, there were over 130 wineries in the area alone.  You’ll find one of NASCAR’s few road tracks along with an old amusement park with the longest continuously running rollercoaster in the United States.  The Underground Railroad passed through the area and Women’s Suffrage started here as well.  And one last fun fact, the very first pilot’s license was issued here as well.  I can’t say enough!

Tell us about one of your most challenging travel or RVing experiences.

We don’t have anything too challenging, but if I had to pick something, I would say that crossing the border into Canada took time to research.  There are a lot of regulations on what you are allowed to bring over the border.  From paperwork for you personally to get across to what food items are allowed to be carried over and back.  Be prepared for a search of your RV, typically on the way back into the US for some reason.  Otherwise, it’s just our pesky puppy who likes to break stuff inside and out of the camper.  But dogs will be dogs!

In what way has the pandemic impacted your activities?

Surprisingly not very much!  When we travelled to Delaware last year in July, the state was put on the no-no list while we were there so when we returned we had to quarantine at home for two weeks.  We were both working from home at the time, so it didn’t matter to us really.  Otherwise, we typically like to find camping spots to get away from people (in a good way!).  We are around others so much in our business lives, that unplugging and getting out by ourselves is a wonderful treat!  That’s how our long trips usually go.  Our weekend camping is reserved for friends and family and everyone to get together.  It’s just been less so this past season.

The channel

What sparked your decision to start a YouTube travel channel?

It actually started when Amy was searching YouTube for makeup tutorials suggested by one of her coworkers.  She really loved the idea of people making videos to help others and creative spark came alive!  We have both been camping for a long time and figured we could help others if someone had questions about how to, or where to go, or a huge number of camping related things in general.  She searched YouTube and couldn’t find anyone doing it, so we decided to start.  It was only afterwards when we realized just how large our community really is!  And just like campers in the wild, the YouTube camping family is so gracious and friendly and helpful we have never looked back.

Are there any other YouTubers that inspired your decision to start a channel?

Surprisingly not.  As I mentioned in the last question, we couldn’t find anyone else doing what we wanted to start so we actually didn’t find inspiration in others.  It all came from within.  We’ve been guided along the way since, but initially no.

What are some of the most rewarding parts of having a YouTube travel channel?

It has to be meeting the people we have because of it.  We have connected with and met so many wonderful and beautiful people simply because of what we do.  That and our ability to share our lives and places we have been with anyone interested in watching us.  Having someone comment on a video we made telling us that we helped them in some way is the reason we do what we do.  

What are some of the most challenging parts of having a YouTube travel channel?

Right now, it’s the juggling of our responsibilities.  I mentioned before that we both have full time jobs, but we both just started going back to school.  So on top of our 40+ hour/week jobs, balancing school work with filming and editing as well as coming up with our next idea or plan takes a lot of dedication and commitment.  OH!  And did I mention we have also been writing and contributing to RV Destinations Magazine since their inception last year.  They have just moved from a quarterly publication to a monthly one, so deadlines have increased greatly.  Also, you can read about our top 3 destinations above in their magazine if you are looking for a lot more information and details about them all!  *wink* *wink* *nudge* *nudge*

How many videos per week do you typically publish?

We publish one video every week on Thursday at this point.  They typically range from 6-20 minutes depending on the topic.

What is some of your favorite equipment for producing videos?

We started our videos with an iPhone 7 and iMovie to edit them.  We still record everything on our iPhones but now we have the iPhone 12 Pro and we use Filmora to edit everything.  We have Rode microphones both mounted and wireless.  We haven’t purchased a drone yet but it is on our list!  Right now though, the state parks in New York prohibit them so we wouldn’t get a ton of use out of one right away.  Some day!

Learn More

To find out even more about Camping Companions, please check out the links below:

Until next time, keep on living the life you imagined,

Mel, Jay & Benny

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