Roasting hot dogs and marshmallows over the campfire, hiking nature trails, quality family time without the interruptions of work or other responsibilities, whatever your reasons, you want to experience the RV life. But what do you need to know? RVing 101 will give you tips on some of the basic, yet most important topics about RVing: types, towing, tanks and more.

Types of RVs

We separate RVs into these categories to help you find the ones that work best for you:

  • Travel Trailers – A travel trailer is a towable home on wheels! If you aren’t sure what you want in an RV yet, consider the value, comfort, and efficiency of a travel trailer.
  • 5th Wheels – The hitch for a 5th wheel is unique because it is centered in the towing truck’s bed. One of the main advantages is reduced overall length of the RV because the front of the RV overlaps the truck bed.
  • Toy Haulers – The unique toy hauler offers the ability to haul heavy items like golf carts or motorcycles with you on your adventures.
  • Destination RVs – Indulge in the ultimate in comfort, space, and convenience of a destination RV. These vehicles deliver the utmost in leisure.
  • Lightweight RVs –Lightweight RVs offer many of the features and comfort of larger RVs, but with less weight to tow and a lower price.
  • Expandable RVs – These collapsible or semi-collapsible hybrid travel trailers are easy to store, park, and tow. Yet can unpack and expand to add plenty of room inside when set-up.
  • Mini Trailers – Looking for more convenience and comfort than a tent? Minis allow you the freedom to travel with the necessities of home.

Towing Your RV

Safely and properly towing your RV is a crucial part of RVing 101 and the camping experience. Your tow vehicle must be able to handle the gross weight of your RV as well as anything stored inside, including water tanks. Make sure to take the time to fully familiarize yourself with your RV’s specifications as well as your vehicle’s limits and understand your tow vehicle’s ratings before you buy your RV. Nothing spoils the excitement of buying a camper than the realization that you can’t tow it with the vehicle you have.

There is an amazing range of RV choices available, so there is sure to be an option (or several) that will work with the vehicle you are planning to use. RVs can come in a wide variety of sizes and weights, so you may be surprised what type of car can pull a small RV. This is especially nice for those who are brand new to RVing or may not have a lot of space to park a large RV when not in use.

Beyond the rating of your tow vehicle, you also need to know the correct type of hitch you’ll need. For those with 5th wheels, you may have noticed a difference in hitching set up. The 5th wheel hitch is installed in the pickup bed, not behind the tow vehicle.

Staying Safe on the Road

If you’ve never towed anything behind your vehicle, it will take a little getting used to. One of the best things you can do is to take the time to study prior to your trip and get to know your route. Some routes can be challenging for towing, especially the larger and heavier your RV is. Navigating back roads with a big RV have a tendency to be tricky. Add in night driving or inclement weather and you’ll be quick to agree that highway driving is often easier in many instances. Two big tips for staying safe on the road:

  • Slow Down – RVing is as much about the journey as the destination. You may be excited to reach your destination, but it will be a lot less enjoyable if you don’t arrive safely. Even great drivers need to make adjustments when working with a large, heavy RV attached to their vehicle, so slow down and enjoy the journey.
  • Take a Test Drive – It’s always a good idea for new RV owners to make a test drive part of their self-training RVing 101 course. When you take the time to plan a few short drives around town to get familiar with the experience, you’ll feel more confident when it’s time to head off on your first trip with your new RV.

On the Road Knowledge

RVing Appliances & Electricity

A big benefit of owning an RV is the freedom a mobile power source provides, though electricity does have limits. While hookups to connect your RV to electricity are commonly available at many RV campsites, you may not always get a spot that has electrical access. One way to help ensure that you do is to call ahead. If that’s not possible, be prepared to ration your power usage. A helpful part of prepping to ration your power is making sure you understand the power draw of your appliances or additional electronics you add onto your vehicle, and which ones can be switched over to propane if necessary.

Learn about your batteries, their capacity, information about storage and other safety processes. If your RV comes equipped with solar panels, or hookups for them, you can take advantage of the sun on your trip and keep those panels – and your batteries – charged up.

Water Tanks and Your RV

RVs come equipped with several water tanks. It’s essential to know which tank is which, their purpose, and how to properly care for them.

Potable water is for anything from drinking to cooking. It’s important to keep this water tank clean and have filled up prior to your trip. However, if you know water will be available at your destination, there’s no reason to drive with a completely full tank. Depending on the capacity of your tank, you could be traveling with hundreds of extra pounds on board, thus reducing your gas milage.

Many campgrounds have full hookup available that you may wish to use. This means you can hook up to city water and sewer, for a home-away-from home convenience experience. If you’ll be showering frequently and doing a lot of dishes, this is your best option. When camping where no water hookup is available, conserve the water in your tank by reducing the amount and frequency of showers and dishwashing.

Your RV toilet empties into your black water tank. Properly draining and cleaning your black water tank is a process and should – for obvious reasons – be done between trips. There are aftermarket accessories that can make the draining process easier. Draining this tank prior to your departure from the campground will impact your budget in a positive way because every gallon of water weighs over eight pounds.

In camping there is a gray area – the gray water tank. This is the in-between tank because it is not potable, but it’s not the black water. This is the drainage for everything else. Your kitchen sink, bathroom sink, and shower all drain to your gray tank. This water isn’t as bad as the black water tank, but exercising caution when draining it, and doing so between each trip, is still advisable.

Setting Up at Your Campsite

Upon arrival, maneuvering your RV into position can be tricky in smaller campsites. Having a backup camera can help with larger RVs.

It’s important to level your RV once you’ve maneuvered into the right spot. Leveling blocks add simplicity to the leveling process. Depending on the age and model of your RV, it may come with leveling systems in place. Once you’ve parked and leveled your RV, make sure to hook up anything that can and needs to be hooked up.

Following campsite etiquette is a must. Manners are never out of style and respecting your fellow campers is paramount to a pleasant vacation experience for everyone. A few of the biggies: draining your tanks in the designated area, minding your neighbors’ space, keeping noise levels down (especially if you bring a generator), and clean up after yourself – leave your campsite as clean as it was when you arrived, or better.

So, whether you plan on camping with family, friends, or your trusty four-legged companion, or all of the above, the tips in RVing 101 can help remove the questions and prepare you for an adventure!

Contact RV Wholesale Superstore 

The professionals at RV Wholesale Superstore are ready to help you find the perfect RV for you and your family. Visit us in-person at 5080 W. Alexis Road, in Sylvania, OH or call us at (866) 640-9871 

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Whether it’s the call of the open road or the appeal of the quiet woods, RVing is a great way to get away. Even if you are spontaneous by nature, RV trip planning tools are a great resource. With a few keystrokes and mouse clicks, you can have a wealth of trip-planning information at your fingertips and be off on a great adventure.

GasBuddy

When planning a cross-country excursion, you understand that the longer your trip, the more often you’ll be filling up. But you don’t have to be more than a weekend warrior to understand that budgeting for fuel is an important step in planning your RV trip. There are several free apps available, such as GasBuddy, that are designed to help you find the best gas prices. If you are planning your route and looking for the best place to fill up in a specific city or even if you are on the road and need to locate the best gas prices nearby, GasBuddy can help. Finding the lowest gas prices makes both you and your wallet happy. Saving money on gas means more of your budget can be allotted to doing more fun activities at your destination or attractions along the way.

TripAdvisor

Sometimes it’s wanderlust. Sometimes it’s indecision. Whatever the reason, when you know you want to travel, but aren’t sure where to go, TripAdvisor can help.

TripAdvisor is one of the many websites that helps you find information on what is – or isn’t – worth visiting. The data on TripAdvisor is user-submitted information and can be useful for removing the guesswork from your trip planning. You’ll find information about destinations, attractions, even hiking routes. Information on road trips, basic trip planning, family trip planning, trips to National Parks, and even safety concerns (bear spray anyone?) is available. But remember, it’s all user data. So, while it can help remove some of the guesswork from your RV trip planning, don’t forget everyone has differing opinions, so you may want to take it with a grain of salt. All in all, TripAdvisor is helpful because sometimes the hardest part of an RV trip is knowing where to go.

Google

One reason many choose to camp is to unplug and get away. Before you take off, take a few minutes to plan your RV trip with the ever-popular, information-at-your-fingertips Google search. Here, you can find you a lot of information when planning a destination. Whether you choose to stay on public or private land, a 5-minute Google search for RV trip planning can prove quite valuable. You can check reviews of your intended destination, find the official website, research the weather or even find out more information on an area of interest like, “best campsites in northwest Ohio.” Once you find a destination and plan your trip, you can even search Google for some campfire recipes.

KOA Trip Planner

Another useful RV trip planning resource is the KOA Trip Planner. You can find lots of details with this useful tool, especially if you like visiting KOA campgrounds or are interested in giving them a try. Whether you are looking for KOA campground locations, amenities or which locations are open year-round, you’ll find it on the KOA Trip Planner.

You can also learn more about local attractions and see photos of what to expect at each KOA campground, find deals and specials, and even make your reservations through this handy online tool.

Campground Reviews by RV Life

Campground Reviews is geared specifically towards campers which helps curate the information. It is focused on information for a camping trip, as opposed to TripAdvisor’s general travel information. So, you’re less likely to get carried away clicking on tropical island destinations. If you already have a general idea of where you’d like to travel, Campground Reviews can be a quick and useful RV trip planning tool. Just pick a state or keyword search and you’re on your way to planning a great RV trip.

Also, because this site is all about camping, the user reviews are more likely to be aligned with your attitude towards campgrounds, especially when it comes to RVing. Just like you, these campers want to help the RVing and camping community find destinations worth traveling to!

 

Contact RV Wholesale Superstore 

The professionals at RV Wholesale Superstore are ready to help you find the perfect RV for you and your family. Visit us in-person at 5080 W. Alexis Road, in Sylvania, OH or call us at (866) 640-9871 

Connect with us on Social Media! 

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The lots of most RV dealers, once filled with rows and rows of RVs for sale, are sparsely dotted with RVs – if they have any at all. So, what’s behind the nationwide disappearing act and when will this RV shortage end?

What’s Causing the RV Shortage

It doesn’t take too much digging into the empty-lot phenomenon to find that the RV industry is up against many of the same challenges others industries are facing. Shortages of parts and labor, coupled with increased sales, is the age-old economic equation of supply and demand. In today’s market, three main factors are at the core of why it’s not even close to a balanced equation.

Supply Chain

When issues arise in getting materials ordered, getting them made, and getting those items shipped, the resulting supply chain disruptions have an enormous impact on manufacturing. In September, RV News reported that more than 40% of the country’s polyvinyl chloride (PVC) capacity was offline after Hurricane Ida swept through Louisiana. PVC is found not only in pipes, but items such as window frames, doors, and flooring to name a few. It isn’t always obvious how the weather can impact, and result in, an RV shortage.

Considering that even one missing piece for an RV can keep it held back from being lot-ready means supply chain issues in any number of industries can create quite a backlog in the RV world. No one wants to buy a new RV with incomplete parts like missing toilets! Even missing minor electronics parts means that your RV is not complete. And it shouldn’t come as a surprise that anything that uses microchips is being affected in the same way as the automotive industry.

Often, one missing part isn’t the last thing needed to complete the RV and get it out the door. You may think, ‘So, there are a few missing drawer handles, it doesn’t matter.’ But when common missing parts include RV seats, doors, and appliances, it’s easier to understand the manufacturing backlog. If you have no seats, doors, appliances, or toilets, you may as well be camping in a tent!

Labor Issues

It is hardly breaking news that there is a labor shortage. The Great Resignation over the past several months has been affecting businesses nationwide. In all aspects of the RV industry, from manufacturing to shipping to repairs and beyond, the labor disruption is having a negative impact. With fewer hands on deck, the RV supply which is already waning, is slowed even further.

High Demand

Both a blessing and a curse, the booming demand for RVs is the last major impact on the RV shortage. Going back to basic economics, when the supply can’t keep up with the demand, shortage results. What’s  absolutely incredible is that even with the parts and labor shortages, the RV Industry Association reported that manufacturers have shipped more RVs through the first 10 months of 2021 than in any previous year! If the demand for RVs were the same as in previous years, the first two factors – parts and labor shortages – wouldn’t be affecting the supply because production is soaring.

However, from the beginning of the pandemic, anyone looking for a safe way to get out of the house, find a change of scenery, or take a vacation found RVs to be a popular option. Others took advantage of a remote work environment and ventured into the full-time RV life. Additionally, RVs provided a safe place to stay for those doctors, nurses, first responders and other health care workers, who wanted to be near their families without risking exposing them to possible Covid-19 infection.

An industry-record 430,000 RVs were sold in 2020, and over 510,000 units have already been shipped from manufacturers in 2021, with two months yet to go in the year. This major spike in sales, combined with all the disruptions on the labor and supply side have created a massive scarcity of RVs.

The boon to the RV industry means RV parks, campgrounds, as well as state and national parks are seeing a marked increase in visitors and reservations. If you are in the market for an RV, don’t be discouraged. While it’s unlikely dealers will be teeming with RVs ready to be driven off the lot anytime soon, some advanced planning, flexibility, and a lot of patience will likely result in positive experiences for both your RV purchasing as well as your trip planning.

Contact RV Wholesale Superstore 

The professionals at RV Wholesale Superstore are ready to help you find the perfect RV for you and your family. Visit us in-person at 5080 W. Alexis Road, in Sylvania, OH or call us at (866) 640-9871 

Connect with us on Social Media! 

Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Pinterest