Move over guys, women are muscling their way into the RV driver’s seat. On North American highways, there’s a 50% chance that the person maneuvering that behemoth Class A diesel motorhome in and out of traffic is a woman. At RV campgrounds across the country, the person stepping down from the driver’s cockpit and hooking up for the night is just as apt to be a woman as a man these days. Single women aren’t new to the RV life, but until recently they were something of an anomaly. Women who RVed without a male companion usually traveled with other women or with their children and seemed to fall into two primary camps:
- Outdoorsy types who enjoyed camping, hiking, fishing or hunting; and
- Widows or divorcees who enjoyed RVing with their husbands and weren’t ready to give up the RV lifestyle.
Solo female RVers were out there, but they were a relatively rare and independent breed. Security seemed to be the biggest sticking point. As recently as 10 years ago, most women (or their families) would have expressed some concern about the safety of traveling alone; today safety is largely a non-issue. Onsite attendants, improved campground security and the friendly “we watch out for each other” nature of the RV community itself have improved women’s comfort level with solo travel. Of the estimated 9 million American RV owners, half are now women. Today, women RVers have their own RV clubs that sponsor and organize classes, trips, rallies and caravans for their female members. RVing women share information and review new RV models, products and campgrounds via a number of popular websites and online forums dedicated exclusively to solo female RVers.
While the demographics for female RVers are similar to those of their burlier male counterparts, there are some interesting differences. Both male and female RVers range in age from 20 to 80, but more young women than men are taking up RVing in their 20s and 30s. The majority of women RV owners are about 5 to 10 years younger than male owners; 50 to 65 for women compared to 60 to 75 for men. Women also seem to embrace RVing earlier than men. Between half and two-thirds of male RVers are retired, but only a third of female RVers are retired or semi-retired. One of the more interesting developments is the growing number of married women who are taking off on RV vacations without their hubbies, confident in their ability to go it alone. Married to men who either don’t enjoy traveling or camping, these women are RVing with girlfriends or teaming up with other moms to take the kids camping or joining female RV groups on caravans; but they’re not staying home!