ELKHART, Ind. – Jimmy and Lisa Cox, social media influencers with their Find Us Camping channels, were in Elkhart County recently and talked to RVBusiness about how it all began — and what they’re planning for the future.
The couple, whose home base is in Virginia, said they’ve been RVing for 17 years but went full time nearly three years ago.
“We always went camping when our kids were small and we’d talk to people we’d meet who were doing it fulltime and asked them if they loved it and why or why not and what they would change,” Lisa said. “Everyone except one lady said they loved it, and everyone said if they had to do it all over again, they’d start sooner.”
The couple said they’re fortunate in the fact that they have a lawn fertilizer business that their oldest son took over.
“Our business is cloud-based,” Lisa said. “So we’re still involved and working.”
But they admitted when they made the decision to go on the road, they were still nervous and started out with long weekends followed by a week or two at a time, moving up to a month and longer. When they first started posting on YouTube, it was mainly for family and friends to keep track of them.
“Everyone thought we were vacationing the whole time, but we were still working,” she said. Then they gained more followers. “The whole RV community is just awesome,” Lisa said.
She shared that she was always curious about how different things in other people’s RVs worked so if someone asked about theirs, she would invite them in to see their Keystone Fuzion 428.
Then Jimmy had an idea and came to her saying, ‘We already invite people in to see our RV, why not call it a mobile display unit?’ Their thought was some people can’t get to an RV show or there aren’t any near them, so they started posting where they were going to be and when people could schedule an appointment. They can come in to see how the solar system works or to try out the furniture, measure the refrigerator to see if it will fit in their unit, and more.
“There’s no other mobile display unit where people can come in and see and touch,” said Jimmy. “We wanted to do something different and give people a true feeling of what these things can do.”
For example, they replaced the loveseat with a double recliner from RecPro, allowing room for side tables on each side, not to mention the reclining loveseat is super comfortable. So before spending the money on that type of upgrade without knowing if it’s comfortable, people can come try it themselves.
“Even something as simple as a $5 shelf, it can prevent people from buying a product that’s not what they want,” Lisa said. “Now we work with companies we like and believe in and get products from them.”
They explained that they work with companies and tell them that they talk to a lot of RVers and that they’ll be talking about their product and let the RVers know where they’ll be located if they want to come check it out.
“Basically, we’re bringing an RV show to you,” Jimmy said. “You’re not going to come to Virginia, but if I can bring it to you — if I’m at a campground near you — and it also helps with impulse buying,” he said, adding that he is someone who takes a while to decide on a purchase.
The Coxs said they’re able to provide a lot of research for their brand partners because they’re out on the road so much and meet so many people — some of whom wouldn’t tell a dealer at an RV show what they really think about something, but do tell the Coxs — or Lisa overhears things they say to each other.
“We do 4,000 miles on a trip and over 100,000 miles in three years,” Jimmy said. “That’s a lot of research.”
Some companies they partner with include Keystone RV, MORryde, Rec Pro, RV Life Pro, Beddy’s, Haloview, RV Mattress by Brooklyn Bedding, Future Solutions Solar, Bob Moses Ceramic Coating, RV Snap Pad, Harvest Hosts, Passport America, Blue Water and Bullet Point Mountain Solutions.
Some of the brands they partner with offer discounts for followers of Find Us Camping if they purchase through their link.
“We promote them, and they promote us,” Lisa said.
Campouts and Caravans
The couple has hosted campouts at Harvest Hosts locations and Blue Water campgrounds. Last year they had a campout with 84 reservations, totaling approximately 300 people. This year they’re planning a “Caravan Crawl” out west with six RVs traveling 6,000 miles from Virginia to Phoenix then up to Montana, South Dakota and finishing in Wisconsin. They’re planning four-five day campouts in South Dakota, Yellowstone and Wisconsin.
“As we travel across the country people are welcome to join the caravan — some may not want to do the whole 6,000 miles,” Lisa said.
Jimmy said as they travel across the country Blue Water will be promoting them and sharing where they’ll be and the Coxs will be promoting the Blue Water campgrounds. He said he’d like for everyone in the caravan to have two-way radios so they can talk back and forth and ideally, he’d love to have a dedicated channel for RVers so if they’re driving down the road and see someone with a problem, they could alert them.
He’d also like the caravan to grow, thinking they could have several different groups of RVers traveling together and stagger arrival and departure times at the campgrounds.
Lisa said the RV community is “pretty tight” and shared a couple of stories from past campouts. Last year at the campout with 84 reservations, she said most of the people didn’t know each other “and now they’re camping together.”
She also said she had just had surgery the week before that campout so if not for everyone pulling together “it would have been a disaster.”
But the story that warmed her heart was from the year before. A wife called ahead of time to let them know her husband had Alzheimer’s and she wanted everyone to know so if he wandered off, they could help. Lisa said they were younger than she expected and the whole time everyone was looking out for him — if he’d start wandering, they’d redirect him in such a way that he didn’t realize it and the wife said it was the best weekend.
“That’s what it’s all about — bringing community together and sharing with people what we use and love,” Lisa said.
Jimmy said this year people are competing to see who can bring the most people for a prize and they don’t even know what the prize is! It was all their idea, he said.
“That brings people that don’t even follow Find Us Camping, then they start following us and they bring other people next time and that’s how our campouts keep growing,” he said.
She also shared about an annual campout at a Harvest Host that is a Clydesdale Farm on the Maryland-Virginia border. They hold it every fall along with the owner’s community barn party, and they boondock so this year their solar partner will be there.
Lisa said, “We had a contest to choose a name for our people and the winner was Find Us Camping Fanatics and we gave them a prize but, after that campout we realized it truly does take a village, so we decided on the name ‘Villagers’.”
“Our slogan is ‘Find Us Camping’ – it’s all about the people and the places,” she said.
“We’re out testing products for customers and for the companies that make the products,” Jimmy added.