There are plenty of blogs and specialty websites devoted to what you should or shouldn’t do as an RV owner. I have read blogs that list the negatives. positives, recommended practices, essential needs, newbie mistakes to avoid, the lists go on. My perspective is that you and only you can determine much of what is really important and that which is not. You learn from your own mistakes and experiences.
Everyone has their own skill sets and capabilities. There are multitudes of types of RVs and they can be old, new or in between. Each has it’s own needs and requirements for success. I won’t bore you with some of the obvious, like if you have a fifth wheel or travel trailer you damn well better be able to back it up. Common sense comes into play all too often and you just can’t teach that.
My own experience is the real subject of this post. Already I’ve had my share of the mistakes, problems, issues, stress, relaxation, fun, trials and tribulations. The following is a random list of things that I’ve experienced in my travels. It’s not an exhaustive list, just some ideas based on what I’ve learned during my journey.
- Need for tools: Depends on your own skill set. If you have trouble working a screwdriver like I do then only get the basics. If you need something fixed you’ll have to get someone who is capable and they will have the specialized tools that are needed.
- Emptying tanks: You better learn the right way early. Don’t believe the gauges. And make sure you open the right valves in the order that you were told. Or you might have a tank fill up when you least expect it.
- Your utilities: I’ve got an external surge protector for the electric, a 50 amp to 30 amp and a 30 amp to 20 amp converters, a pressure regulator and external filter for the water, coax cable for the satellite and another for cable TV. Iv’e used them all. Be prepared to unhook in the pouring rain at a muddy campsite, you will get dirty putting the hose, electric cable and the coax away.
- Storage and the proper loading of cabinets & drawers: Do not overload the upper cabinet or when you go over a curb while making a U-turn you might dump it all on the floor. I did that.
- Cooking needs: Make sure you have such things as lighters, cooking tools, wok, cutting boards, coffee making, spices, plastic bags, wrap and the list expands even more when you cook outside on charcoal as I do most of the time.
- Dry camping or boondocking has additional needs: solar, inverter, enough battery power and a monitor to track them. I’ve got my motorhome setup with it all.
- Entertainment: You’ll need something. I have DISH satellite, a Kindle reader, an iPad and my laptop. You can’t rely on campground wi-fi to get things done.
- Laundry: Bring enough clothing so you can make it at least a week or more between trips for laundry. Bring lots of quarters, soap and dryer sheets.
- Personal care including showering: Bring some dry hair shampoo and rinseless soap for those times in between good showers.
- Navigation devices: I use my smartphone and a dedicated GPS
- Repairs while traveling: I had a fuel leak. Probably a result of recall work that I had done back home in Buffalo. Be prepared to find another place to sleep, especially when it takes nine days, as mine did.
- Campgrounds: Don’t try too hard to find the perfect one. They are few and far between. Take the reviews with a grain of salt. Yes, there are some where you sit on top of your neighbor with little privacy, many are overflowing with transient workers who come and go every day going to work, some are overpriced, wi-fi sucks at almost all of them, some have no shade and it’s too windy to put your awning out, some get very muddy when it rains…. You just have to adapt.
All in all, you learn from your own experiences and from those of others that have written wonderful web postings. When I consider the diversity of the many people I have met, many of whom have become friends, the beauty of our country’s outdoors and all that I’ve learned about myself, then the trials and tribulations all make it worthwhile.