Final CamperForce Review

final-camperforce-reviewThe dust has finally settled from Amazon’s CamperForce, with my last check having been deposited on the 4th. You know what this means, final review time. First and perhaps most importantly, the money.

The Money:

Total made (in 11 weeks and 2 days): $4617.81

First paycheck (2 half days for orientation): $72

Average of 2nd thru 4th paychecks (all 80ish hours): $695.15

Average of 5th and 6th paychecks (both 90ish hours): $816.62

7th paycheck (50 hours + $1/hr bonus for every hour worked): $827.13

Mind you this was take home pay after taxes, filing Single with no exemptions. I also worked at the Coffeyville site and the overnight shift, so I was making $11.00 an hour (with the bonus at the end though, I effectively made $12.00 per hour for sticking out the whole season).

I already mentioned this before in a previous post, but I managed to save more per month working here than at any other job I’ve ever held, including the ones where I made more per hour, because the cost of living was so much lower. Since Amazon pays for the campsite and utilities, that cuts costs down a lot and needs to be factored into the money equation.

I have more money in the bank than I did when I left Bluffton to go full-timing back in September, and I got to spend 2-3 weeks traveling and seeing the sights between South Carolina and Kansas, and then another 2 weeks up here in Wisconsin visiting friends and family, something that wouldn’t have been possible with a traditional job. That’s 5 weeks of “vacation” with 11.5 weeks of working. Yes, I’ll say that on the money front, this was a big win and proves that full-time RVing pre-retirement is indeed a viable way to live if you’re smart about it.

The Work:

I have always favored work where I’ve been on my feet all day and had a fair bit of physical activity, so working at Amazon wasn’t too hard for me personally. I am glad I purchased a good pair of walking shoes for the job, and I may have occasionally went home with sore feet, but not horribly so. I never had problems with sore anything else, and by the next day my feet were always fine again. I did usually get home tired, I think 10 hours on your feet working overnight will do that. Your mileage will vary depending on your level of fitness.

Also of note: I aimed for (and most often achieved) getting between 100-105% of my personal stowing goal every night. This kept supervisors and managers off my back, but I didn’t go out of my way to do more than this. There is no bonus for going above and beyond, and it being a temp position there was no need to impress anyone in hopes of a raise or promotion. Some of you might find this a practical approach, and some might find it appalling to not give it your personal best, but I’m just stating it as a point of comparison: At 100-105% to goal, I would occasionally go home with sore feet. If I’d pushed harder (and yes, I could have) it would have been more physically draining. For the record, I feel there are a lot of things in life worth giving your all, but for me this wasn’t one of them.

The work was not mentally stimulating, at all. Working with inventory control for the ICC required a bit more thought than stowing did, both jobs were pretty boring after a time. There wasn’t a lot of spare time for talking with fellow employees, so mostly you will be stuck alone with your thoughts, that can be a good thing or a bad thing. Maybe for other jobs it’s different, but I can only write about what I experienced myself. Once or twice I got to water spider as a stower, meaning I was in charge of getting carts and totes staged for the other stowers to work on and was constantly in motion and I preferred that because it kept me busy enough that I didn’t heed the passage of time and the work night went quicker.

The Environment:

Some people liked working at Amazon, and some hated it. I did what I could to enjoy it. I kept as far away from the work drama as possible, I tried to look at things in a positive light, and did my best to ignore the minor annoyances that are present in any job.

I said in my opening article about CamperForce that I think a lot of how the experience goes depends on who’s in charge, and I still stand by that. While I was working at Coffeyville, the Inbound team was above 100% to the team goal nearly every night, and often quite a bit above 100% (I probably shouldn’t list the specifics on here, although we’d get told the specific number every evening at standup). This made the corporate bigwigs happy, which in turn made the site managers happy, which made the team managers and supervisors happy. They were happy with us, and told us so, and it made for an overall positive work environment.

As for the physical work environment, it’s quite dusty. If you don’t wear gloves, your hands will get filthy. I have minor dust allergies, so my nose was stuffy most of the time I was there. If dust bothers you, you’ll probably want to stock up on antihistamines.

Other than that, Coffeyville’s warehouse is climate controlled, so temperature wise it’s reasonable indoors. As the weather got colder, most of us would bring a light over shirt of some sort that could be worn in the colder parts of the building and taken off in the warmer parts.


For me, Amazon’s CamperForce worked. The pay was worth it, the work was easy to do if boring, and the environment at the facility I worked at wasn’t bad. Would I do it again? Yes, but I’d do it a little differently.

I saved a lot of money by not going out on my days off and not spending anything on entertainment, this is something I had planned to do coming in to the job to maximize my savings. Combine this with the fact that I was working nights and not getting any sunlight and not sleeping as well, and that I was unable to keep up with my friends back in Wisconsin and South Carolina easily because they were all asleep or at work when I was available, and things got pretty lonely and I got a bit stir crazy. Especially the last month when I was working more hours and had less free time.

If I were to do it again, I’d need to budget time and money for entertainment, and make a better effort to keep up with people to keep that problem from happening again. Yes, I made it through without, but it wasn’t enjoyable by the end. But now, having tried it a first time I’ve learned more about what does and doesn’t work for me, and I can make adjustments for next time. Because if everything works out, I probably will go back to Coffeyville next holiday season.

* This picture was taken at Power’s Bluff county park in Arpin, WI. I have several more pictures from my time up here in Wisconsin that I hope to share with you guys soon.

It's good to share:

, , , , , ,

31 Responses to Final CamperForce Review

  1. Misty January 8, 2013 at 12:42 pm #

    So if you calculate about $500 per month as the value of the campsite they provided (I decided to be generous), and extrapolate from there, you made approximately $12.40 per hour. Sweet. :>

    It’s probably a few pennies less if you subtract the cost of shoes and hose heaters, etc, that you probably needed because you were there and not further south. I didn’t try to factor that in, because you might have bought those regardless.

    What was the cost of living there? Were groceries particularly expensive or cheap, that you noticed? Just curious. These are things that I never thought about before I started camping, but I noticed over the summer that it can made a big difference to your budget!

    • Misty January 8, 2013 at 12:44 pm #

      *can make…. Someday I will get used to laptop keyboards….
      Misty recently posted..Flexibility is coolMy Profile

      • Becky January 8, 2013 at 10:07 pm #

        The campsite was actually $400-something per month, I can’t remember exactly. The shoes I bought for Amazon specifically, but I never did buy heat tape for the hoses. I also paid $15 a month for WiFi.

        The closest place to get groceries was WalMart. The prices were a bit cheaper than they were for me in Bluffton, but then again I never did my grocery shopping at WalMart before. I budgeted to spend no more than $200 per month on food, groceries and going out to eat included, but I managed to be under that pretty easily. Weekly groceries were about $25-28 for what I bought, but everyone will buy different things.

        • clint January 9, 2013 at 8:42 am #

          Thanks for letting us know how this worked out.We want to full time RV very soon

          • Becky January 9, 2013 at 8:44 pm #

            You’re welcome Clint, good luck!

  2. Evelyn January 8, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

    Excellent review and pretty much exactly how we feel about the job/place. I agree completely that maintaining your rate at our near 100% is “good enough”. More is not needed. We’ll probably be back next year too. You can come over and visit with us if you get too lonely!
    Evelyn recently posted..Green ParrotsMy Profile

    • Becky January 8, 2013 at 10:08 pm #

      Well if we both end up going back, I’ll see you guys then Evelyn. 🙂

  3. travelfables January 8, 2013 at 4:07 pm #

    Cool, sure tells me what I would need to know on this gig, so Thanks for the handy info on this Becky.
    I hope your travels are still going great. — Dale
    travelfables recently posted..notre dame at sunset A10My Profile

    • Becky January 8, 2013 at 10:09 pm #

      Things are going well Dale! Glad I could help.

  4. Todd January 8, 2013 at 8:32 pm #

    The nice thing I’ve noticed with temp. jobs is that it’s easy to stay away from the drama. You know there’s an end in sight. Your attitude & work ethic along with your sence of adventure will serve you well. Safe travels.

    • Becky January 8, 2013 at 10:14 pm #

      Yeah, I see no point in getting worked up over the drama. Safe travels and happy trails to you too.

  5. MARVIN January 8, 2013 at 9:11 pm #


    Thanks for the review and update . Your positive mental attitude and approach is a great asset . I think that your efficiency level was appropriate for the temp position . Probably more than Amazon was expecting , or receiving from many of their employees . Some of the loneliness could be attributed to a beginners or first timers scenario .

    The first multi-state trip that I took is still a funny memory that I remember well .

    I spent today cleaning every inch of the interior and doing an inventory of everything I need for the new season . Maverick , my baby ferret , had his own ideas about what should be in each area . I added $70 worth of
    grocery items and ferret kibble to my on-board basics , and tomorrow will
    do the same to the exterior storage .

    Maverick and I have been at home in Orlando for 7 weeks , and it is time to roll . Orlando is too intense and crowded – we need some peace and quiet .

    Thanks for writing – Be Safe !


    • Becky January 8, 2013 at 10:19 pm #

      You travel with a ferret? I had a friend in Madison with ferrets, fun little critters.

      Good luck with preparations, I thought about looking for work in Florida and I have applied for a couple things, but all in the northern 1/3 of the state. I want to avoid the crowds and higher prices of places farther south.

      Safe travels and happy trails to you Marvin!

  6. Kenny January 9, 2013 at 7:02 am #

    Thats good info thanks. Angela and I plan on being there next year hope to see you there.
    Kenny recently posted..Wednesday FunnyMy Profile

    • Becky January 9, 2013 at 8:46 pm #

      Ahh, cool. I really think the fact that the site was high performing made it a good experience. Hopefully it goes like that again next year! Hope to see you there too Kenny.

  7. Regina January 9, 2013 at 10:40 am #

    Thanks so much for the very helpful information about Amazon. I’ve worked at many temp jobs, and it really does help you stay out of any drama going on. Knowing you are leaving at a certain time helps you keep a positive attitude. Once we start RVing, maybe we will get a chance to meet at Amazon. Thanks again for the information.

    • Becky January 9, 2013 at 8:50 pm #

      You’re welcome Regina, glad to help.

  8. Cimms January 9, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

    “and some might find it appalling to not give it your personal best, but I’m just stating it as a point of comparison: At 100-105% to goal, I would occasionally go home with sore feet. If I’d pushed harder (and yes, I could have) it would have been more physically draining. For the record, I feel there are a lot of things in life worth giving your all, but for me this wasn’t one of them.”

    You are wise beyond your years. Companies will ride you hard, put you up wet, then let you go when you no longer produce. No need to bust your arse tor the “man”.

    Glad you enjoyed the experience and thanks for posting the numbers. $4.6k net in 11 weeks is not bad at all.

    “If you don’t like your job, you don’t strike. You just go in every day and do it really half-assed. That’s the American way.”

    — Homer J. Simpson

    Don’t totally agree with Homer, but I found that quote oh so funny.

    • Becky January 9, 2013 at 8:53 pm #

      You’re welcome Cimms, and I saved over half of what I made to boot.

      And don’t really agree with the quote either, but you’re right it is funny. 😛

  9. Marcia January 9, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

    This is great information you posted and will be valuable to many who are thinking of going that route. If I was 25 years younger and didn’t have a bad back, I’d think about myself 🙂
    I’m glad it worked out well for you and can’t wait to hear about your further adventures in workcamping or just plain traveling.

    • Becky January 9, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

      Well, even if full-timing doesn’t work for you Marcia, you could always go part-time, or do some other kind of travel that would be easier on your back?

      Thanks for following along, and the next adventure is in progress. I’m commenting from a McDonalds in Mt. Vernon, IL tonight. Tomorrow I might even make Atlanta.

  10. carol January 10, 2013 at 6:43 pm #

    Thanks for posting your camperforce review. Between your numbers and those provided by RVSue and her canine crew, I think people get a very realistic picture of what to expect.

    Good luck with your job search! I guess it makes sense to work in the winter during the crappiest weather of the year and save spring and summer for fun times and exploring.

    • Becky January 12, 2013 at 9:55 pm #

      Thanks Carol! I’ll probably be working through a good part of the summer too, to save up to be able to perform at a renaisssance festival this year (the pay is very minimal) and to get the equipment I’ll need to hopefully go boondocking at Quartzsite next winter. We’ll see how it all pans out.

  11. Craig February 9, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

    HI Becky..Thanks for your great blog, it sure was helpful during our first few days at Amazon. My wife and I worked out in Fernley Nevada. I think the best way to some it up is Work Hard Have Fun Make History..That all was true for us..In Fernley they broke all the records for units shipped .The people from Amazon treated us great , very nice to us .We never where talked to about our numbers. We both where pickers and would get between 60 to 80 % .The word we got from the camper scout was just don’t be in the bottom 5% .And it was hard we started working 5 days a week and 12 hour days on Thanksgiving day. But we where there to make money . So the soreness was worth it..And we did meet a few people who where very nice and had some fun with them .Good thing about Fernley is it’s only a days drive to Las Vegas , so after we where all done working a few of us headed down there ..We are planning on working there next year..

    • Becky February 9, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

      Glad to hear you had a good experience Craig, sounds like all the sites in general went pretty well this past season. I definitely think Outbound had a busier time of it than inbound, there were three weeks that we had to work an extra day, but never more than 10 hours in a day.

  12. Will March 28, 2013 at 11:46 pm #

    I appreciate your very real review,

    I have one question, did they pay for your campsite and electric? According to the Amazon website, CamperForce pays for the campsite with the exception of electricity.

    • Becky March 31, 2013 at 9:00 pm #

      Will, they pay for site, electricity, and water/dumping at Campbellsville and Coffeyville. At the Fernley site you are correct and they don’t pay for electricity, but the hourly wage is higher. At least that’s how it was last year, things may have changed for the 2013 season. I went into all those details at the post I linked to at the top of this one,, hope that helps.

  13. RonS August 6, 2013 at 3:30 am #

    when you get your w-2, will you have to declare the rv site as additional income?

    • Becky August 6, 2013 at 12:06 pm #

      I didn’t Ron, no one’s come after me so far.

  14. Cindy May 2, 2016 at 5:47 pm #

    Thank you for this review. I’m confused, though. You said you worked 10 hours per day, but that your two week paychecks were about 80 hours. Is it a 4 day week, out did the “10 hours” apply only to the last, busiest week?

Leave a Reply

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

CommentLuv badge

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes