Category: Tips & Tricks

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 

Connect with us on Social Media! 

Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Pinterest

Wintertime isn’t usually what comes to mind when someone mentions camping. But when temperatures drop and snow covers trees and bushes like thick frosting, there’s nothing like camping to experience all the beauty of wintertime and the activities that come with it. The freedom to camp year-round means you can experience a variety of climates, scenery, and you don’t always have to battle the crowds for a good campsite.

Protect Your Water

It’s no secret that freezing temperatures can wreak havoc on water lines. Even in a brick-and-mortar home frozen water pipes can burst. When you are living in a camper in the winter, taking special care to avoid frozen lines is just as important.

There are several solutions to combat frozen pipes but the best way to avoid a frozen RV water line is to have a heated water pipe or hose. This is by far the best option for avoiding frozen lines. Heated hoses for drinking water are pricier, but they are all inclusive and if you plan to do a lot of winter camping, well worth the investment. There is also heat tape and heat cables (sometimes called heat wraps). If you already have a hose and are looking for something economical, these alternate wrapping solutions can work to keep lines from freezing. Insulating your hose along with using a heat wrapping solution helps improve the effectiveness.

Something to remember when purchasing these heated hoses or heat wrap solutions: you get what you pay for! You may see two nearly identical hoses or heat tapes and one is much less expensive than the other. You’ll think you just got a great bargain until you realize you’re living in a camper in winter temperatures that get down to -40 or -50 degrees and your “bargain” is only rated to -20 degrees. Not a great deal in the long run.

Another thing you can do to help prevent liquids from freezing in the tanks is to keep in warm inside your RV. That doesn’t mean you need to crank up the heat and feel like you’re living in a sauna. But when you keep the temperatures above freezing on the interior of your RV, you are more likely to prevent freezing tanks from occurring.

Consider a Smaller RV

The larger your RV, the more space you have to keep warm. This also means more insulation is required. If you plan to do some winter camping, or are considering living in a camper in the winter, consider purchasing a smaller RV. Smaller size doesn’t mean you’re sacrificing amenities. Good things come in small packages and there are tons of benefits packed into many smaller RVs. One of the biggest benefits is that they are much easier to keep warm in the winter. On the flip side, they are also easier to keep cool in the summer!

If you already have a large RV and are accustomed to all the room, you may not be willing to give up those big RV benefits. Or you may have a large family that needs a larger RV. Whatever your reasons, when you have a large RV, one of the most efficient ways to warm your RV is by sectioning off areas of your interior with blankets. This will help you heat the areas you are using only when you are using them. Keeping just your usable space warm will help keep down heating costs.

You’ll still need more insulation with a larger RV, but if you can prioritize the areas above your tanks as your main areas of heated usable space, it creates a win-win because your tanks will be less likely to freeze.

Speaking of Insulation

Large or small, your RV will be equipped with stock insulation. For most camping situations the stock insulation is perfectly fine. But if you are living in a camper in the winter, the temperatures can be extremely cold. It’s a good idea to improve the insulation as much as your situation and resources allow.

This can mean adding aftermarket insulation to your entire RV to improve the heating efficiency. If you are watching your budget, there are also some basic insulation solutions. RV skirting is a great overall fix that not only insulates your entire RV by trapping warmer air in underneath your RV, but it helps keep cold air and frigid winds from blowing underneath. Simply blocking off windows is a big help when it comes to preventing heat loss. There are window insulation kits available, but many handy and rather ingenious ideas for using plexiglass, blankets and even bubble wrap are available as well. Resourcefulness is a great trait to have when you’re camping any time of year, but very handy when you’re camping in the winter.

Prepare Enough Propane

You may not be surprised that living in a camper in the winter can be tough on your heating system. Ensuring that you are stocked up with enough propane tanks to last for your entire trip is critical. Running out of propane when you’re camping in the winter isn’t a mere inconvenience. It can jeopardize your physical well-being along with your water tanks. So, be sure to stock at least one extra tank. That way if one tank runs out, you can still have heat while you refill the empty tank. This is especially important when you are camping in a location that doesn’t offer on-site propane fills.

Safe Driving is a Must

No matter how many times you’ve driven with your camper in the other three seasons, it is crucial to make sure you’re comfortable driving it on slick and snowy roads. If the roads are snowy or icy before you take a long trip away from home, take the chance to get out there and practice some driving. While any vehicle is difficult to maneuver through snow, towing a travel trailer or driving an RV take difficult driving to a whole new level. Something as routine as backing up can become quite an ordeal if you aren’t prepared.

Getting stuck in a snowbank is no one’s idea of a vacation, and even less fun when you’re towing an RV. Keeping tire chains on hand is a good idea and you’ll be extremely glad you have them should you ever need them. It’s important to know what the local laws are about tire chain usage. Even if you’re living in a camper in the winter, if you need to relocated and the road conditions are dangerous, tire chains can make all the difference.

While there are a few unique things to keep in mind when you are winter camping vs. other times of the year, there really isn’t anything that compares to it when you want to experience all the beauty of wintertime and the activities that come with it.

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

Crisp, cool air and a burst of color from the changing leaves greet you as the sun peeks up over the horizon. Steam from your morning coffee rises, twisting through the morning air. The stillness is only disturbed by the crunch of leaves underfoot as you walk over to sit at the picnic table and enjoy the quiet morning moments. Fall weather is best enjoyed up close out in nature and one of the best ways to get close to nature is with a fall RVing trip.

Benefits of Fall RVing

Skip the Crowds

Summer is the most popular time for camping, so when cooler temperatures arrive, many take it as a sign that camping season is over. This is good news for you! With fewer people camping, choosing the ideal campsite becomes easier. More campsites are open and you’ll enjoy more “elbow room” to experience nature without feeling crowded. Campgrounds aren’t full of the throngs of people who flock to campsites in the summer. But they aren’t ghost towns in the fall (although there may be ghosts and goblins near Halloween). So, if you enjoy socializing with other campers, you’ll still have neighbors, but also more freedom to keep to yourself if you are looking for a quiet commune with nature.

Comfortable Temperature

Fall RVing brings milder weather. While summer camping is fun, sweltering heat can make those summer days – and nights – exhausting. It’s easier to dress for the cooler temps and bring a jacket or sweatshirt along. Those campers who enjoy making the most of hiking, biking, or other outdoor activities can do so without having to worry about the risks of excessive heat.

Bye Bye Bugs

One part of summer camping that you won’t miss with fall RVing is the bugs! Fall is too cold for many of those intolerable insects. Camping in the cooler weather means more room to pack marshmallows for the campfire because you can leave your bug spray behind! Your family, including pets, will be safer and incur fewer bug bites or stings when the mercury dips down in the fall.

Best Camping Atmosphere

Fall foliage makes an incredible backdrop to any campsite when you’re taking advantage of fall RVing. Colors pop and there’s a stillness in the air that makes nature come alive. There’s a different smell to the fresh air as you walk down a path or sit on a rock and watch a chipmunk skitter under a log.

One of the best parts of camping is sitting around the campfire. Cozy campfires can take the chill out of the fall evenings and make the best part of camping even better. And with the longer nights, you can spend even more time gathered around the flames, warming your hands, swapping stories, and roasting marshmallows.

Longer nights bring another bonus – better sleeping weather! Not only does the cool night air make for a better night’s sleep, but the shorter days and longer nights means a later sunrise leaves you more time to snuggle under the blankets and savor sleeping in.

Tips for Fall RVing

Pack a Variety of Clothes

When you’re packing for a fall RVing trip, remember that fall weather can take dramatic swings. Pack appropriately and dress in layers because this time of year, a 20-degree change in temperature can happen quickly. You want to be ready for warm days or temps that can be near-freezing. And whether you find it unfortunate or exciting, those temperature extremes can all happen in one day! Fall also brings rain, so pack extra clothes and socks so you don’t have to be miserable and soggy.

Keep Your Roof Clear of Leaves

A clean RV roof helps deter damage. It also prevents blocked vents and keeps your RV cleaner overall. One thing to keep in mind about that beautiful fall foliage – those leaves don’t stay on the trees forever. Falling leaves end up on your RV rooftop, along with acorns, pinecones, or any number of other types of debris. Be sure to check your roof and keep it clear as part of your fall RVing trip.

Choose the Right Destination

No matter what time of year, the right campsite can make all the difference. So, when you consider fall RVing, plan your trip carefully. There are plenty of color tour resources to help you choose a destination. Consider looking into the local harvest festivals and other activities once you have decided on your campground or boondocking location. There are plenty of things to do here in the Midwest and fall RVing is a great way to enjoy the drive and the journey’s end when you’re going on a fall foliage tour, or just enjoying a last hurrah as a weekend warrior!

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