Tony & Peggy Barthel - StressLess Campers


We’re Tony & Peggy Barthel and we’re working to help you be a StressLess Camper.

Through the eyes of a girl camper

Through the eyes of a girl camper


I experienced something extraordinary recently. I had a glimpse of girl camping through the eyes of another woman. Well, two, actually.

I attended a women-only campout at Clear Lake Campground. It is local to me, so I invited a couple of my friends to join us and give girl camping a try.

These two women, both of whom I treasure in my life, are so very different! I have often camped with Lacey and her husband Gary. We both have travel trailers, though theirs is... I dunno, approximately twice the size of ours. Lacey is Italian, and cooks like nobody’s business. She loves to feed people. That’s only one of the many reasons that I love her.

Their trailer is quite large, and Lacey really has no interest in learning to tow, set up, or deal with any of the “outside” parts of camping. And Gary loves to do it, so it is a great partnership. She saves her magical efforts for the kitchen!

Mireya camps often with her boyfriend Steve. Steve is very meticulous and plans their campouts to every last detail. Mireya just packs some clothes and enjoys the experience. It’s a great partnership. Steve loves to plan and prepare.

I’ve said before that I’ve camped my whole life. I’ve camped in every type of situation. Motor homes, truck campers, tents, travel trailers, the back of an SUV, the back of a pickup... and although I’ve done a lot of that camping with a partner, I have also camped quite a bit in a group, but by myself. Does that make sense? I’ve had only myself to rely upon.


Mireya told me I could share this post that she wrote on Facebook Saturday afternoon:

“Ladies, do you camp like a girl? If not, you should really think about it.

These women are amazing. I was a wanna be before, but I totally need to keep this up. I am camping with 25 women, and what I am learning as I age, the company of women is so freeing. I can talk how I like, dress how I like, and act how I like.

Aside from the voice of my mother, telling my teenage person, “Mireya! You should not sit by the pool with that revealing top!” Or, my own driving voice, Mireya! You have been at the pool for an hour! There are at least 30 other things you should be doing now! This weekend has been all about sitting around, talking with women who crack me up, and...wait for it...reading the book I brought. Is there no better way to spend decadent time?

It has been so wonderful to let all those voices go, and just hang out. (I might share my camping mishaps later-they are a bit embarrassing.)

I highly recommend it! And I can’t wait to hear your stories!”

We were at the pool, and chatting with a woman that happened to be at the campground who full-times in her toy-hauler 5th wheel. Mireya was already in awe of these ladies who left husbands and families behind to spend a weekend with the girls, but she was gobsmacked that a woman actually lived like that!

It made me wonder if I ever didn’t know women could camp, or even full-time, on their own. I wonder if being raised by a single mother might have prepared me better for the idea? What does surprise me is the number of women who post on Facebook that they just bought an RV to live in, and know nothing about it. With all the information out there, why would you not try to learn something about the way you plan to live?!?

Lacey had the advantage that we were camping locally, so Gary was able to take the trailer to the campsite early and set it up, then be gone before the ladies started their weekend. As I said, Lacey camps quite often with Gary and takes really good care of all of us. So to see her in that element, with only me and Mireya to take care of, was a new experience. She said she had never felt so relaxed.

We had potluck meals so she didn’t have to cook full meals for a crowd, but it wasn’t just the limited cooking she did (or didn’t do). She is so nurturing and caring, and always puts so much effort (is that the right word? She doesn’t think of it as effort. She truly loves it) into making sure everyone is taken care of, and this weekend she just didn’t have to do that. She got to spend time just taking care of herself. And it was a lovely sight! Don’t get me wrong, she still made me breakfast and kept the coffee coming! And she absolutely loves taking care of everyone and cooking for them. But with this time, she spent a lot more time just relaxing.


I hope I’ve been a good influence on these two lovely ladies, and they continue to love and enjoy camping like a girl. It was so delightful to see them enjoy the weekend.

Oh, and among Mireya’s firsts this weekend was playing the game of Mexican Train, the domino game. Despite this being her inaugural time with this game, she kicked everyone’s butts. Based on the amount of alcohol that was consumed that weekend the term “Mexican Train Wreck” was bandied about and may be quite an accurate term.

A great resource for Girl Campers is Janine Petit’s Girl Camper podcast and website.

Fire Safety for StressLess Camping - don't get burned

Fire Safety for StressLess Camping - don't get burned

Getting back into the campground

Getting back into the campground