111 Useful RV Tips and Tricks to Boost Any Travel Plan
Read this if you’re looking for a collective list of Useful RV Tips and Tricks that is sure to benefit. You’ll find over 111 valuable tips that any level RV traveler needs to know to have a most relaxing and smoothest trip possible.
I’ve put together a complete compilation from several different people, groups and places to make what I believe to be the most complete list of useful information available for RV Tips and Tricks travelers need to Know.
15 RV Tips and Tricks to Know about the Basics
The best time to buy an RV is in the offseason to get the best deal. A brand new RV will lose its value quickly
Do your research before buying. Maybe even rent a few different ones before making that final decision.
Trailers come with a limited warranty when buying an extended warranty be sure to read what it covers
The first thing that you do when you bring home your new RV is Park it. Put the wheel chocks in place. Disconnect the trailer. Test everything to be sure that it’s working condition. Know how to hook up your hoses, a leaky hose could be an issue.
Always review the hookups when you buy a new camper some refrigerators will run on gas and some will be on electric
Practice parking, hooking up, leveling, stabilizing and backing up
Check the length of the water hose, sewer hose, and electric power cord
Trailers do not come with any hoses extensions like sewer or water hoses, you’ll eventually need one or two
Empty the water tank and hoses completely in the winter to prevent them from freezing and breaking
Don’t turn on the water pump without water in the tank otherwise, you’ll probably be replacing the pump
Every so often it’s a good idea to sanitize your fresh water tank to get rid of any possible bacteria that might be collecting inside. There is a video on how to do this some use bleach, vinegar, baking soda as homemade solutions or you can purchase a chemical specifically for this
Inline Water Filters are recommended. This will bring your water up to a residential level. Don’t depend on hookups having the best water quality
Service your batteries every month, check the water levels especially when you plugged in
Keep up with the maintenance schedule on all RV systems like the engine and roof maintenance and so forth. This will save you on costly repairs and the inconvenience of breaking down. Not to mention $150. Per labor hour and the turn-around time could take up the whole season
If you use a log to track your maintenance it will help with the resale value. Let’s face it RV’s do not appreciate.
10 RV Tips and Tricks to Know about Trip Preparation
2-4 weeks before your trip do a check on systems to make sure that it’s still working.
By turning the refrigerator on 2-3 days in advance with 120 volts to give it a chance to be ready and cooled down and then before you leave switch it over to propane and then back to 120 volts when you get to your campsite.
Know the length of your camper to make reservations there might be size limitations.
Research campgrounds before you go, you may need to possibly book 1 year in advance if it’s a popular place or a peak season.
When making a reservation know what hookups you’ll need. I always ask but it’s safe to assume that amenities will cost extra for instance a pull through site versus a smaller back-in site, an extra car, a pet, an extra child or adult, a visitor, pool use and any hookups like water and sewer or electric and oh yes the dreaded state tax.
Put your phone number on your more expensive belongings in case you accidentally leave them behind
Pack like a minimalist only take what you need even if you have the room for more. Then do a 2 day dry run in your driveway to make sure you have everything. You don’t need as much as you think.
Do pack lots of drinking water, you may not like what’s available on the road
Not all toilet paper is created equal for the RV septic system. Campa Chem RV & Marine Toilet paper was tested and although it is a bit more costly it does very well at breaking down
Store the glass microwave plate in between towels
10 RV Tips and Tricks to Know about Safety
While on the road the water tank should be kept at either 100% full or 100% empty to prevent the water from sloshing around in the tank which will lead to trailer sway.
Avoid being between The RV and The vehicle when hooking up. Be aware of where you are the driver can’t see you
Have the wheel chocks in place before disconnecting the trailer
Make sure that your axels are evenly spaced, know your measurement from 1 side to the next if not it may cause tire wearing problems
Try to keep the weight evenly distributed the ultimate goal is 60 front- 40 back and evenly distributed side to side when packing up your camper. You can take traction off the front tires if most of the weight is loaded in the front. It can cause sway when you hit a bump it could even pop the trailer off of the hitch by having a heavier load in the back
Respect your RV weight limits going over can be the cause of an accident
The age of the tire is easily found on the outside by a 4 digit stamp. It’s highly recommended at a minimum to replace tires every 5 years even if they aren’t used much. The elements will cause them to deteriorate just from sitting there
Another way of preventing tire blowouts is to respect your tire load capacity which can be found on the outside of your tire
Check the lug nuts on the wheels at least once on the road
Anytime that you’re jacking up a Trailer do first make sure that the tow vehicle is in park with the emergency brake on you also need to block the tires to prevent the trailer from rolling off of the jack.
13 RV Tips and Tricks to Know About Being on the Road
The number 1 rule that is most consistently stressed by my RV Family is Do Not Rush because when you rush or when you’re feeling tired you’re going to be set back, this is when the costly mistakes are made
Know the height of your RV, post in on your mirror or near the driver. Measure the RV height after hitching up. Keep in mind to include the items on top of the roof such as a/c unit or vent. DOT is known to not change the clearance signs even after the roads get paved so it’s recommended to add 6 more inches for bridge clearance.
There are tunnels that have propane tank restrictions
A good tip even for the most experienced Camper is to Travel at night or during hours with less traffic
Plan frequent rest stops
Beware of pulling in and out of places with dips in the road it could easily cause you to drag and lose an exhaust pipe
On the road gas up at truck stops then you won’t have to be concerned with having enough space or height clearance. Some locations may even have an RV area off to the side. If you do gas up at the truck pumps be courteous don’t park there longer than what it takes to go in and pay
Carry extra fuel for if you’re ever in a situation where you can’t get to an open fuel station.
Make sure propane to the fridge is off when you stop for fuel
Nothing makes you more famished than when you travel in the middle of the night and can’t find a place to stop and eat! Have something made or available for a quick pit stop, it saves time and is more convenient than dealing with crowds or parking during the day.
When crossing the country know that not every state will use the same toll pass
The recommended pressure marked on the tire is rated for a cold tire when checking your tire pressure. You will want to adjust your tires to a little under the max tire pressure recommendation if your tires are heating up from outside road temperatures.
Tire blowouts are the #1 cause of RV accident
18 RV Tips and Tricks to Know about Basic Campsite Knowledge
When setting up or packing up camp don’t get distracted by talking to someone
When choosing a campsite you may want to get a pull through until you have gotten some practice with backing up your RV. Watch out for those tree limbs
Before you unhitch make sure you are able to reach your sewer, electric and water hookups
You will eventually need an Amp 50/40/30 adapter it will all depend on what you have and what you’re plugging into
You need a surge protector, electrical surges are commonplace for campgrounds
You’ll need blocks to balance the RV side to side, there are a variety of kits the Lego style seems to be the most popular
Standard 3- 2”x12” wood blocks are good under the tongue jack to level your RV’s front and back and it’s a good idea to also have wood blocks for under the stabilizers in case the ground is rocky and to prevent them from sinking into the ground
If you are a 5th wheeler don’t forget to drop down the tailgate before pulling away
Arrival and departure times are different for every campground
Know that some campgrounds lock the entrance at night so that you don’t get stuck outside
You shouldn’t run the A/C if you are below 100 volts or it may cause damage to the A/C unit
For convenience use, an auto change over valve for propane bottles then keep an eye out for the red flag indicator to pop up so that you know that it’s time to get a refill.
Put away your awning every time you leave camp. The reason for this is that if the weather starts to become windy your awning will then act like a big sail and it won’t take much for it to become damaged.
Don’t forget to close your top vent while on the road or if they’re calling for a possible rain shower
Having 2 small generators will be better than 1 larger generator when it comes to weight, noise and fuel consumption
Know your tank levels-the indicator lights aren’t always dependable
Keep a minimum of 1 full propane tank for a backup
Use your vent over the stove and even though I love it I wouldn’t recommend cooking bacon inside.
10 RV Tips and Tricks to Know about Packing for Home
Make a checklist to work off of so that nothing is forgotten with setup or teardown stick to a system
Check on all cabinet doors inside and out before extending or retracting the slide-out system.
Break down everything and pack up your site the night before you leave the campground so that you aren’t in a rush and then you can just wake up and go.
Gas up the night before leaving it’ll be easier than doing it while pulling a trailer.
Before it’s time to drive off and after you get all loaded and hooked up, do 1 more additional complete walk around inside and out. Double Check on the outside from rooftop to underneath the RV to be sure everything has been put away and totally secured. Always check that all inside cabinets, doors, vents, and windows are locked. Don’t forget to lower the antenna, put up the steps and flip the door handle over! Don’t assume the other passenger took care of it.
If you don’t have a sewer hookup you must stop at the dump station when you leave
Open the black tank drain valve while purging the tank
Always empty the black tank before the grey tank to help with cleaning the drain line
Prime the water tank with water @ 20% capacity after each dump
To Keep the sewer gases don’t seep in into the trailer make sure the gray and black water valves are closed
24 Essential RV Tips and Tricks to Have
Water hookup extension hose for the
Sewer hookup extension hose and for and consider getting a sloping sewer line support
Extension cords a 50’ and a 100’ electrical cord
Carry at least 1 fire extinguisher
Chemicals to clean your freshwater or sewer tanks
Electrical plug adapter and depending on your RV amperage a converter or inverter
A water pressure regulator is a must when it comes to an RV. Just like anywhere else you’ll find that campgrounds do not tend to keep a steady water pressure. There are many uncontrollable factors that contribute to that.
If you are using your RV all year around you’ll need to have a heated hose for the water or it will freeze up
Wheel Chocks will prevent your RV from rolling
To prevent your tires from shifting use X-Chocks on a tandem-axle RV
Surge Protector, it’s easier and cheaper than replacing your electrical appliances
Equalizer weight distribution system will help prevent trailer sway
Trailer Brake Controller will allow you to set the brake tension of the tow vehicle for a safer braking system. By adding an additional Trailer Break Control your tow will perform better in an emergency situation
Extended Side Mirrors will give a much better view
A good combo purchase would be to buy a digital voltage meter that plugs into a 110 outlet that can double as a nightlight.
Cover for your A/C unit and to help it from being weather-beaten
You will need a ladder in case you need to reach the roof, a telescopic one will make it easier to store away.
Cover for your top vent can help prevent water from coming in during a storm or weather damage
Tire covers will extend the life of your tire
It’s always good to keep a spare tire or 2 on board
A jack to change the tire
A small air compressor comes in handy with keeping the tires at optimum inflation
Make a basic RV tool kit: universal 4-way lug wrench to change tires, large adjustable wrenches and/or socket wrenches to fit all of the bolt sizes on your vehicle, tire pressure monitor system from inside the cab or a digital tire pressure reader, infrared tire temperature gun, screw gun with a Robinson square drill bit, disposable gloves, extra electrical fuses, water hose gaskets, plumbers tape, duct tape, gorilla glue and a tarp to lay on the ground for an on the spot repair or tire change.
10 Bonus RV Tips and Tricks to Know
It’s a good idea to have roadside assistance such as AAA or CAA if you’re in Canada
The Garmin Trucker GPS provides useful information on bridge heights, steep grades and any dangerous curves in the road. In addition to that, it will show you fuel locations, repair shops, tire shops
You can extend the life of your exterior by using a protector that will help stop the oxidizing
It’s nice to have an RV mat that goes at the bottom of your steps to help keep the dirt out of your camper or on your steps to make them more pet-friendly
A backup camera will make it easier and safer for parking
If you want to do some boondocking or dry camping you may want to consider getting a generator and/or portable solar panels so that you can always have electricity
To take 1 extra step of prevention I recommend installing a ball lock or a kingpin lock as a way to discourage someone from hooking up to your camper and driving away with it
Another consideration would be to install a security camera system. This is needed if you camp on BLM land or are camping in a more isolated area compared to if you’re staying in a more populated campground
For some additional entertainment, you might want to consider a Wi-Fi Ranger. You can have full access to HD channels with the Satellite Dish Network
Invest in an electric ceramic heater if you don’t like to refill tanks
4 Extremely Helpful Travel APP’s
Gas Buddy: this APP will help you find some of the more reasonable places to get your gas
Level Mate Pro: helps to ease leveling the RV
All Stays: This App is a source for information on campsites, rest areas, dump stations, it also has reviews and information on locations and more
Trucker Copilot: this App, you can input your RV clearance plus other requested details to customize the route for you
12 Helpful Terms an RV Beginner Needs to Know
Boondocking: Dry Camping in a free public, usually remote location
Dry Camping: Camping in a location without any electric/water/sewer connections
Back-in site: Same entrance and exit, Doesn’t mean that you have to back in. It does mean the hookups are going to be on the driver side
Pull-through site: usually more expensive than a back-in site because they have more space. It has a separate entrance and exit. The utilities will already be on the correct side
Full Hookup: The Site will have hookups for fresh water, sewer, and electric
Self-contained: A RV that can function without outside resources.
Rig: Slang for RV
Slide-out: A feature that expands the RV space
Winterizing: A list of steps that have to be done before storing your RV
Black Water Tank: Tank where the waste goes
Gray Water Tank: This is where the used sink and shower water goes
Newbie: someone new to RVing
There are some awesome people and great sites that have been more than helpful with sharing RV tips and experiences. To say thank you, I want to list the most notable people that I have found to be most helpful. I think that at any RV level anyone could benefit further from their free information.
“She got out of her own way. She stayed strong when others stood in her way. and most of all, she paved her way”
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