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Keeping Cool in an RV

Keeping Cool in an RV

Let’s beat the heat!

Anyone who enjoys the RV lifestyle knows that keeping cool in an RV through the intense heat of summer can be challenging.

We currently live in Orlando, Florida and it will continue to be our home base until Curt retires in a few years. Since my body can’t tolerate the heat and Curt dislikes it immensely, keeping cool in our future motorhome will be a major priority for us.

Of course, the best way to stay cool in your RV during extreme heat waves is to drive your home on wheels to a cooler location. One of the awesome perks of owning an RV is having the ability to change locations. Moving isn’t always possible though, so we researched beat-the-heat tips for just those occasions.

Check out the BTU on this AC!

Your AC is an obvious solution, but it’s also one of the most energy-consuming appliances in your RV. Additionally, depending upon just how hot it actually gets, your air conditioner’s performance might not meet your expectations.

Here’s a quick rundown on the tips, tricks and gadgets that we found during our research for keeping cool in an RV on hot days and avoid overworking your AC.  You can find more information on most of these products in our Amazon store.

Cook outside when it’s hot to keep heat out of your RV.
  • Park your RV beside a shady tree to reduce the impact of sun. If your campsite doesn’t have any shade, park with your windshield facing north. Your awning will block the morning sun and then your RV will cast a large shadow on your outdoor living space during the hottest part of the day.
  • Place Reflectix bubble insulation, or even better a durable no-tear radiant barrier, on the outside of your windows with removable tape. Most RVers place insulation on the inside of their windows, but that could damage dual pane windows.
  • Keep your shades closed during the day.
  • Cook outside using a BBQ grill or solar oven to keep heat out of the RV.
  • Circulate air in your RV by using fans and opening windows. Fantastic Fans are the go-to for RVers, but fans like the MaxxFan Deluxe have settings that kick on and off depending on temperatures. The goal is to pump warm air out and bring fresh air in. You can do this by opening windows on the shady side and closing them on the sunny side.
  • When you’re camping in dry climates, use an evaporative cooler. A good evaporative cooler can cool down your rig by 10-20 degrees.
  • Make sure your external refrigerator vent is clean and free of debris, so it runs more efficiently and produces less heat.
  • Cover the shower skylight and any other skylights in your RV with a skylight cover to reduce the amount of heat that enters your RV.
  • Switch to LED Lights. OEM and halogen lamps produce a lot of heat in comparison to LED bulbs. Switching to LED can have a huge impact.

If you have any advice on how to manage the intense summer heat as an RVer, please let us know in the comments below! I’m sure we’ve probably missed something.

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Winter RVing Tips

Winter RVing Tips

It sounds like winter RVing can be tons of fun with some planning and preparation. It’s also apparent that staying warm in your rig on chilly winter mornings and cold evenings makes all the difference between having a wonderful time and wishing you were in a sticks-n-bricks.

Boondocking, Dry Camping and Stealth Camping

Boondocking, Dry Camping and Stealth Camping

You must admit, the thought of not having to pay a mortgage payment, rent payment, or campground fee is extremely desirable. Add to that, spectacular views and peaceful surroundings, and it’s a done deal.

We plan on boondocking, dry camping and stealth camping occasionally once we hit the road. So, we’ve researched information that will guide us through the process of finding the best areas, following the rules (or not), and living off the grid.

UNDERSTANDING THE TERMINOLOGY

Boondocking (also referred to as Dispersed Camping) is when you camp without hook-ups outside of developed campgrounds.

Dry Camping is when you camp without hook-ups inside of developed campgrounds.

Stealth Camping is when you camp without hook-ups where you aren’t supposed to park. SHHH!

In each of these camping situations, you’re unable to rely on the conveniences provided by RV parks, but you also don’t have to pay the fees associated with staying in those parks. And, you can’t discount the solitude and amazing views that many boondocking and dry camping spots deliver.

On the other hand, camping without hookups in remote areas requires water, energy and food conservation. It isn’t for everyone… If you can’t tolerate hot and/or cold weather, or you can’t get through one day without a shower, you may decide hook-ups are a must. I know Curt can boondock without a problem, but the jury is still out for me.

The following apps will help you find free and cheap camping spots:

BOONDOCKING

BLM (Bureau of Land Management) Land

Some of the best boondocking spots are located on land managed by the BLM (Bureau of Land Management), predominantly in the west. Options include areas that are near and far from civilization, some offering amazing views, solitude and time to reconnect with nature.

You should always review BLM rules before you camp in a particular area. Most areas allow you to camp free of charge for 14 days. Then, you have to move 25 miles away. Not a bad deal! They occasionally charge a small fee, such as $50 for two weeks in Quartzsite, AZ.

National Forests

Camping in National Forests is an inexpensive and pleasurable way to camp without the crowds and expense of National Park campgrounds. Like BLM land, there’s limited dispersed camping in the east, so look to the west.

National Forests are managed by the US Forest Service (USFS) forest rangers under the US Department of Agriculture.

You’ll find some information about dispersed camping in National Forests on the internet, but most of the information you’ll need is found behind the counter in ranger stations.

Once you select your National Forest camping location, determine which field office has jurisdiction over that location and check their website for any closures, restrictions, alerts and warnings. This type of information will guide you to legal camping areas within that National Forest. Their sites also have detailed maps with Forest Service Roads.

Familiarize yourself with the rules of a particular National Forest before you go. If you can’t find information on their website, try calling, or find a camp host or forest ranger on location within the forest.

If you camp in a National Forest that’s adjacent to a National Park, knowing the boundary lines is extremely important due to the different rules. An activity that’s legal in a National Forest might land you in jail within a National Park. 

Maps are essential when you’re trying to determine the type of public land you’re using. 

You should have a good Road & Recreation Atlas on hand when you camp in National Forests!

Harvest Hosts

Unique boondocking experiences provided through a membership with Harvest Hosts include farms, vineyards, museums, and more. You’ll learn about their way of life and enjoy an exclusive camping experience, while supporting their business.

Boondockers Welcome

Boondockers Welcome is a member organization that provides you with access to private properties that allow boondocking. You contact hosts on your route to arrange stays with them.

Other Boondocking Locations

Cracker Barrel is a popular restaurant and country store that provides overnight RV camping in many locations.

Walmart is a big box store that allows overnight RV parking in some locations. (The number of Walmart stores that allow overnight parking is decreasing due to new laws and regulations, and campers that abuse the privilege.)

Cabela’s is an outdoor retailer that provides designated RV parking for their customers at some locations.

Casinos sometimes allow free overnight RV parking, or they charge a minimal fee.

Rest Areas allow overnight parking in some states.

Visitor Centers allow overnight parking in some cities.

Truck Stops usually allow overnight RV parking on a first come, first serve basis.

As you can see, the boondocking possibilities are almost endless. It’s easy to understand how Bob Wells and his event, the RTR (Rubber Tramp Rendezvous), have become so popular within the nomadic community.

DRY CAMPING

Again, dry camping is when you camp without hook-ups inside of developed campgrounds. There are opportunities to dry camp at RV parks and National Parks around the country.

National Parks are managed by the National Park Service (NPS) park rangers under the US Department of Interior.

Camping in National Parks gets you up close and personal with some of the most beautiful landscapes on the planet and all Mother Nature has to offer. 

Although campsites in National Parks are available on a first come, first serve basis, you can reserve sites at some campgrounds by visiting the Recreation.gov website.

The America the Beautiful Pass is your ticket to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites across the country. The annual ticket costs $80 and there are various discounts available. Each pass covers entrance fees at National Parks and National Wildlife Refuges, and standard amenity fees (day use fees) at National Forests and Grasslands, and at lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and US Army Corps of Engineers. 

STEALTH CAMPING

The term “stealth camping” refers to parking and sleeping somewhere you aren’t supposed to, like neighborhoods, hotel parking lots and hospital parking structures. In many cities, it’s illegal to sleep in your car, so you must remain inconspicuous.

Here are some stealth camping tips that we learned from van lifers and RVers:

  • Pick a safe spot and have a quick exit plan in case of nefarious visitors.
  • Park after 9:00pm and leave before 6:00am.
  • Keep your rig clean and well maintained.
  • Close all curtains and shades.
  • Don’t use faucets or flush the toilet.
  • Don’t turn on lights or use technical equipment with lights.
  • Don’t argue with police or security or try to make excuses. Be polite and promptly follow their instructions.
  • If you’re staying in a city for a prolonged period of time, change your location nightly.

Good spots for stealth camping are:

  • Neighborhoods
  • Marinas
  • Hotel Parking Lots
  • Church Parking Lots
  • Hospital Parking Structures
  • Abandoned Developments
  • 24-Hour Fast Food Restaurants

In closing, we hope to try each one of these camping areas and tactics! Do you have any tips for boondocking, dry camping or stealth camping?

Thank you for reading our blog! Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more info!  

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13 Tips for Proper RV Storage & RV Storage Checklists

13 Tips for Proper RV Storage & RV Storage Checklists

We’re planning for full-time RV living, but even full-time RVers need to store their rigs occasionally. It’s important to find a secure storage option that prevents damage to your home on wheels. 

The following tips will help you to select a safe storage location and take preventative measures that ensure you return to a rig that’s ready to hit the road.

RV Storage
GENERAL LOCATION

Try to store your RV under a covered area and on a solid surface like pavement or concrete. If this isn’t possible, avoid parking under trees and in tall grass, fields or wooded areas.

Selecting a location with onsite security is even better. Additional security tips are listed farther down the page.

WASH & WAX

Give your rig a good wash and wax before storing it. The wax will protect your RV from sun damage, keep dirt build up to a minimum, and make cleanup after storage much easier.

CAULKING & SEALING

While you’re washing and waxing your RV, check the seams, caulking and rubber seals for cracks and repair them if necessary. Water damage that occurs during storage can be very expensive.

VENTILATION

Moisture leads to mold growth and musty smells when you retrieve your RV from storage.

You can reduce moisture by doing the following:

  • If your roof vents are designed to prevent rain from getting inside, leave them open during storage.
  • Leave interior cabinets, drawers and closets open.
  • Defrost and clean your refrigerator, put baking soda in its compartments, and leave its doors cracked.
  • Cover your RV and tires with breathable covers – NOT a plastic tarp.
BLINDS & CURTAINS

Keep your daytime shades drawn to prevent sun damage, but keep nighttime shades open to combat moisture that can lead to mold growth.

SLIDE-OUTS

Lubricate and retract all slides when storing your RV to make sure mechanical parts, slide toppers and rubber seals aren’t exposed to the elements and operate properly when you return.

BUGS & RODENTS

Ensure that all external openings are blocked off or screened. You can purchase made-to-fit screening for most openings in your rig, like RV furnace insect screens.

The worst pests are rats and mice, as they chew electrical wiring and poop everywhere. Prevent them from making your RV their happy home by removing all possible food sources and nesting materials. Even things you wouldn’t think of, like paper towels and toothpaste, attract these nasty vermin.

ELECTRICAL

When you leave your RV in storage, fully charge your batteries, check and fill water levels in lead-acid batteries, and turn off all electrical. Remove dry-cell batteries from devices like smoke alarms and clocks. 

If your rig will be stored for an extended period during fall or winter, remove the batteries and store them where they won’t freeze.

PLUMBING & TANKS

How you prepare your RV plumbing and tanks for storage depends greatly upon the temperature and the length of time your rig will be in storage.

If there is no chance of freezing and your RV will only be stored for a few weeks, flush out the waste tanks and then add about ¼ tank of water to keep them from drying out. For the fresh water, fill the tank, add a ½ cup of bleach, and then run it through all pipes. This will disinfect the water supply plumbing as it sits and prevent mold.

When there is any chance of below freezing weather, remove all water from the plumbing system, including the water heater tank. Then, add antifreeze into the piping, valves and drain “P” traps. Refer to the Winterizing RV Checklist by Drive to RV.

SECURITY

The best thing you can do to ensure your RV’s security is leave it in a location that has onsite security. Motorhomes are somewhat harder to break into and steal than fifth wheels, travel trailers and campers. If your RV isn’t a motorhome, you can attach a special hitch lock to the king pin, chain the wheels or use a wheel lock.

Another thing you can do to make your rig more secure is install new storage bay locks. The majority of RVs use the same key and criminals know this!

RV INSURANCE

“Storage Only” coverage is fairly inexpensive and worth the investment. Don’t trust a storage location to cover any losses that may occur.

TIRES

Dangerous tire blow outs can be caused by improper storage. Leaving a motorhome or trailer parked in the same spot for extended periods weakens the tire and may lead to sudden failure.

Here are some tire storage tips that I found in the Goodyear Recreational Vehicle Tire and Care Guide:

  • Keep your vehicle in a cool, dry storage area that’s out of direct sunlight.
  • Unload your vehicle as much as possible to lighten the load on its tires.
  • Inflate your tires to the recommended operation pressure plus 25%, but don’t exceed the rim manufacturer’s inflation capacity.
  • Clean your tires with soap and water before storing them to remove any oil.
  • Move your vehicle at least every three months to help prevent cracking and flat-spotting, with the exception of cold weather months.
  • Place your vehicle on blocks to remove weight from the tires. If the vehicle can’t be put on blocks, ensure the storage surface is firm, clean, well-drained and level. (I’ve also read on several RV blogs that it’s best to park your RV with its tires on wood planks instead of the ground.)
MONTHLY MAINTENANCE

Checking on and maintaining your RV on a monthly basis can nip problems the bud before they go from minor to major and more expensive issues.

Things to do during your monthly inspections are:

  • Look for signs of rodent droppings and moisture intrusion and fix any problem areas.
  • Exercise your generator for at least two hours with a minimum of a ½ rated load on it. (Consult your generator’s manual for load ratings.)

Do you have any tips for RV storage? Please comment below. 

Thank you for reading our blog! Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more info! 

If you enjoy or benefit from our content, please show your appreciation by…

Using our Amazon Affiliate link (no extra cost to you) for your shopping on Amazon. Simply bookmark the following link and use it whenever you shop on Amazon. You don’t have to buy anything in our shop to help us, just use the search on our page!

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Florida RV SuperShow Recap & Motorhome Reviews

Florida RV SuperShow Recap & Motorhome Reviews

I wasn’t feeling well on Saturday, so we ended up attending the Florida RV SuperShow on Sunday. The Florida State Fairgrounds is only a two-hour drive from Orlando, so the schedule change wasn’t a problem.

The motorhome walk-throughs, vendors and entertainment were enjoyable and very informative!

BLOWN AWAY

Curt and I always hope for cool weather, but mother nature over delivered on Sunday. It felt like we were on the outskirts of a small winter hurricane! Despite the strong winds, we had a wonderful time and learned a lot about various motorhomes.

Funny story… as we strolled by an area of the show, a man walked around the corner carrying one of dealership’s tall flags. (We assumed he was removing flags due to the strong winds.) Immediately after, a sales person followed him around the corner walking at a fast pace, and talking to himself said “Where is that guy going with our flag?!?” We laughed and laughed with the two men, as it would have been ridiculous for some random person to steal one of their flags, or even more outrageous, another dealership. It turned out to be another employee, as we suspected.

MOTORHOME WALK-THROUGHS

Here’s a recap of the motorhomes we toured and our likes and dislikes for each of them.

WINNEBAGO VITA/PORTO 24P

The Winnebago Vita/Porto 24P is a new motorhome with many features that are ideal for boondocking and a unique sliding bi-fold bathroom door design.

Winnebago Porto/Vita Spice Rack

Like

  • Bathroom Space
  • TV Location
  • Bedroom Shelf
  • Built-in Spice Rack
  • Kitchen Sink

Dislike

  • Overall Living Space
  • Storage Capacity
  • Non-recessed Stovetop
  • Kitchen Countertop Space

COACHMEN PRISM 2300

The Coachmen Prism 2300 has a door that divides the bedroom and living area, which is a huge plus for our in-door cats, Roo and Spike. Keeping them away from a motorhome door would prevent them from getting out when we enter and exit and give us peace of mind.

Like

  • Bedroom Door
  • Cabinet/Pantry by Dinette
  • Kitchen Sink
  • Kitchen Countertop Space

Dislike

  • Bathroom Space
  • Toilet Location
  • TV Location
  • Non-recessed Stovetop

FOREST RIVER SUNSEEKER 2440DS

The Forest River Sunseeker 2440DS is one of our favorite floorplans. We love the bathroom location at the back of the motorhome, the storage capacity, and much more.

Like

  • Bathroom Location
  • Bathroom Space
  • Sink Covers
  • Storage Capacity
  • Large U-shaped Dinette
  • Kitchen Countertop Space
  • Countertop Trash Opening
  • Recessed Stovetop
  • Pantry

Dislike

  • RV Length
  • TV Location

GULF STREAM BT CRUISER 5255

The twin beds and bathroom location in the Gulf Stream BT Cruiser 5255 caught our attention, and then we discovered other awesome features.

Like

  • Twin Beds
  • Bathroom Location
  • Storage Capacity
  • Recessed Stovetop
  • Large Kitchen Sink
  • Comfortable Chair

Dislike

  • Kitchen Countertop Space
  • No Pantry
  • TV Location
  • RV Length

PHOENIX CRUISER 2552

WOW! If we could ever afford the Phoenix Cruiser 2552, it would be a done deal. The luxurious, high-quality twin bed floorplan is gorgeous and functional.

Like

  • Luxurious Interior
  • Superior Quality
  • Twin Beds
  • Bathroom Location
  • Pantry
  • Comfortable Chair
  • Ability to Customize

Dislike

  • Kitchen Countertop Space
  • RV Length

Motorhomes on our potential purchase list that we missed at the show include:

We were able to walk-through Winnebago and Jayco floorplans similar to floorplans on our list, and we prefer the quality and overall feeling of Winnebago RVs over Jayco.

We’ll visit RV dealerships in the near future so we can walk-through the motorhomes we missed at the show.

NEXT YEAR

A few things we’ll do differently next year are:

  1. I’ll rent a scooter or wheelchair. We would have liked to stay longer and see more, but we had to leave around 1:00pm due to my pain and exhaustion.
  1. We’ll arrive prior to opening to avoid crowds and video record all our walk-throughs.
  1. Hopefully we’ll be able to purchase camera equipment before the next show that will allow us to deliver improved video quality.

We hope you had a great time if you attended the show. Did you find the RV of your dreams?

Thank you for reading our blog! Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more info! 

If you enjoy or benefit from our content, please show your appreciation by…

Using our Amazon Affiliate link (no extra cost to you) for your shopping on Amazon. Simply bookmark the following link and use it whenever you shop on Amazon. You don’t have to buy anything in our shop to help us, just use the search on our page!

amazon https://www.amazon.com/shop/drivetorv

Your support allows us to keep the free information flowing. We can’t THANK YOU enough!

Florida RV SuperShow Trip Planning & Motorhome Research

Florida RV SuperShow Trip Planning & Motorhome Research

This will be our second visit to the Florida RV SuperShow, so we know what to expect this year. More than 73,000 people attended this show in 2018! To give you an idea of its enormous size, it covers 26 acres and features more than 1,550 RVs and 450 vendor booths. Visiting every RV and booth in one day is nearly impossible, so we created our ‘Potential RV Purchase List’ and mapped out our route for Saturday.

Click here to review Traci & Curt’s Potential RV Purchase List.

We’re searching for a small Class C gas or diesel motorhome. It took many hours for us to narrow down our list to only 10 motorhomes, considering drivability, interior and exterior storage capacity, construction material, technology, bathroom and kitchen size, overall layout, and cost of course. 

Click on the photos below to watch video tours of the motorhomes on our list.

Coachmen Prism 2300DS
Coachmen Prism 2300DS
Forest River Forester MBS 2401W
Forest River Forester MBS 2401W
Forest River Forester TS2371
Forest River Forester TS2371
Forest River Sunseeker 2440DS
Forest River Sunseeker 2440DS
Gulf Stream BT Cruiser 5255
Gulf Stream BT Cruiser 5255
Jayco Redhawk 22J
Jayco Redhawk 22J
Winnebago Minnie Winnie
Winnebago Minnie Winnie 26A
Thor Chateau 24DS
Thor Chateau 24DS
Winnebago Vita/Porto
Winnebago Vita/Porto
Thor Chateau 24BL
Thor Chateau 24BL

While visiting the show this weekend, we hope to complete the highlighted areas on our spreadsheet.

If you own one of the motorhomes on our list, we’d love for you to share your experiences and overall level of satisfaction!

Attending the Florida RV SuperShow

If you’ll be attending the show, we recommend the following:

  • Bring cash for parking and food vendors.
  • Wear comfortable walking shoes. (Wheelchairs are available at the fairgrounds –https://www.frvta.org/show/florida-rv-supershow.)
  • Arrive as early as possible.
  • Familiarize yourself with manufacturers and types of RVS and create your own list.
  • Bring water and snacks.
  • Take notes and photos.

You can download the show app at https://www.frvta.org/frvta-app. Focus on what you’re most interested in, especially if you’re planning on buying an RV.

Click here to review the 2019 Florida RV SuperShow Map.

We’re researching, planning and window shopping for RVs far in advance of our actual purchase. Currently, due to financial challenges, we’re on track to buy a motorhome in three years. Who knows… we could win the lottery!

If you see us at the show, please say hello. We’d love to meet our followers and fellow YouTubers and bloggers! We’ll be the goofy couple trying to film our tours and holding up lines. 

Thank you for reading our blog! Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more info!  

If you enjoy or benefit from our content, please show your appreciation by…

Using our Amazon Affiliate link (no extra cost to you) for your shopping on Amazon. Simply bookmark the following link and use it whenever you shop on Amazon. You don’t have to buy anything in our shop to help us, just use the search on our page!

amazon https://www.amazon.com/shop/drivetorv

Your support allows us to keep the free information flowing. We can’t THANK YOU enough!

RV Checklists for Arriving at Camp and Leaving Camp

RV Checklists for Arriving at Camp and Leaving Camp

When Curt and I rented a small Class C motorhome for our 2016 Christmas vacation, he scraped the roof of the RV on a tree branch and damaged one of the vent covers when we were leaving camp. That was a valuable lesson and the reason I decided to create RV checklists.

Some of the costliest mistakes made by RVers are done when they forget to do something before leaving camp, like retracting the slide-outs or turning off the levelers. Likewise, it’s hard to remember all the things you need to do when you park somewhere overnight.

I created these RV checklists to help us avoid some of the bigger mistakes and potential damage to our future RV, and as always, we’re sharing the information with our followers.

Click Here to Download our Arriving at Camp Checklist by Drive to RV.

Click Here to Download our Leaving Camp Checklist by Drive to RV.

I hope these checklists make your RV camp arrivals and departures a little bit easier!

Thank you for reading our blog! Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more info!

If you enjoy or benefit from our content, please show your appreciation by…

Using our Amazon Affiliate link (no extra cost to you) for your shopping on Amazon. Simply bookmark the following link and use it whenever you shop on Amazon. You don’t have to buy anything in our shop to help us, just use the search on our page!

amazon https://www.amazon.com/shop/drivetorv

Your support allows us to keep the free information flowing. We can’t THANK YOU enough!

RV Water System Review – Parts & Maintenance Checklists

RV Water System Review – Parts & Maintenance Checklists

I’m educating myself on the basics of RV parts and mechanics, starting with RV water systems, and the amount of technical information can be overwhelming and confusing. One of my goals is to gather and condense RV system details for easy to understand educational posts. 

RV Water Tank Basics

RV water tanks are usually located in the base of a motorhome or trailer. The three types of water tanks are: Fresh Water Tank (Potable/Safe to Drink), Grey Water Tank (Used from Sinks & Showers), and Black Water Tank (Waste from Toilet.)

RV Water Sources

If you’re staying at a campground with water hookups, using city water makes life easier. You don’t have to worry about filling your fresh water tank and you don’t have to listen to the pump running in the middle of the night when someone uses the toilet.

City Water (Hookup): Attach a water pressure regulator to the spigot, an RV drinking water hose to the water pressure regulator, and the other end of the hose to the outside water inlet on your RV. Water goes from the hose directly into the pipes leading to your toilet(s), sink(s) and shower, bypassing the fresh water tank, and eliminating the need to use the water pump.

Fresh Water (No Hookup): Your fresh water tank usually has a separate inlet on the outside of your RV (NOT the city water inlet, unless your RV has a valve that redirects water coming in from the city water inlet to the fresh water tank.) These inlets should be clearly marked on motorhomes and trailers. If you have an older rig, it might be located inside of a compartment on the outside of your RV.

CAUTION: Some RV models have a Tank Flush for flushing out the sewer tank that looks like a fresh water connection. Connecting your water hose to the Tank Flush in error will result in a flooded RV!

Using your own water hose, fill your RV with fresh water until it starts to back out of the overflow hole. Don’t forget to put the cap back on when you’re done.

CAUTION: Never use the non-potable water hose at dump stations to fill your tank. RVers use that hose to stick down their contaminated sewer hose.

Dumping Grey & Black Tanks

Hearing the term “dump your RV black tank” always conjures up images of the well-known movie scene in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation… you know the one. Sh______ full!

In all seriousness, dumping RV holding tanks can be a relatively easy and clean process if you have the right tools. We created a checklist that will help you cope with this most dreaded of RV chores.

A few supplies that will help to ensure an efficient and safe tank dumping process are:

RV Water Pumps

The top three RV water pump brands are SHURflo, Aquatec and Flojet. A good RV water pump will be easy to install, feature a quiet motor, and produce an even water flow.

RV water pumps deliver a certain amount of water per minute. Trailers and campers usually use pumps that produce 3.5 gallons of water per minute, while motorhomes use pumps that provide 5.3 or greater gallons per minute.

Your RV will often bypass the water pump when it’s connected to city water, because city water is already pressurized.

After filling up your freshwater tank, flip the switch labeled ‘Water Pump’ to turn on your water pump. (Some newer RVs don’t require you to turn on your water pump.) You should hear the pump moving water from the tank to fill the pipes in your RV.

When you first turn on your faucet, you might get a sputter caused by air in the pipes, but that should subside once the water pump forces water through all the pipes.

Checking Your RV Water Pump

Find water specifications in your RV manual. (Call a dealer or service center if needed.) Then, take note of the gallons per minute, water pressure, and the dimensions of your current water pump.

You can check your gallons per minute by placing a 1-gallon jug under one of your RV faucets, opening the faucet, and clocking how long it takes to fill. Then, divide that into a minute to calculate your gallons per minute.

To test your water pressure, purchase a water pressure test gauge that allows you to test water pressure in your RV and water coming into your tanks via hookup.

Next, inspect the lines to and from your RV water pump to make sure there aren’t any kinked or pinched waterlines or leaks.

You should replace your water filter prior to purchasing a new pump, unless it’s new.

CAUTION: Turn off your water before changing the filter to avoid getting an unexpected shower.

RV Water Pump Troubleshooting

Read reviews, check forums and talk to your service specialist before you purchase a new water pump. Water pumps are relatively inexpensive, but make sure the pump is actually the problem.

If you plan on replacing the water pump yourself, Amazon is usually the best option to purchase one. You can rely on their delivery time, read reviews, and even ask questions prior to purchase.

RV Water Filters

There should always be a water filter installed between the freshwater tank and the pump itself. Some RVs come with a filter installed in this location. Otherwise, you will have to buy an external filter. Simply attach it between your hose and your RV.

If you’re a ‘germophobe’ (like me), the usual water filter is not going to cut it. You should probably get a UV system. However, a UV system will not remove particles, so you still need to use a prefiltration system to protect your water pump and water lines from sediment.

Winterizing Your RV

Winterizing is not a step that you want to skip if you’re storing your RV in cold weather. Taking shortcuts can leave you with big problems, like water damage and broken pipes. Leaving water in the drain lines can cause cracking when it’s cold.

Read your owner’s manual for unit specific winterizing guidelines and follow the steps in the following checklist that apply to your RV.

Click here to download our Winterizing RV Checklist by Drive to RV

A few supplies that will help to ensure an efficient and safe RV winterizing process are:

Finding Water for Your RV

The website SaniDumps is a dump and water locator that can help you find a location to fill up your RV’s fresh water tank. Options include campgrounds, large gas stations, truck stops, camping stores and fairgrounds.

NOTE: Always call ahead before traveling to a location to avoid wasting time and gas.

Sanitizing Your Fresh Water Tank

Before you use water for the first time, and twice a year thereafter, sanitize your fresh water tank. It’s a fairly easy process, but time consuming.

If you don’t drink water out of your fresh water tank, you might think that you never have to sanitize it. However, if you use water from your fresh water tank for any purpose, you should periodically sanitize the system. This process takes 4 to 8 hours.

A few supplies that will help to ensure an efficient and safe water tank sanitizing process are:

Now is a good time to inspect and flush your RV’s Hot Water Heater.

CAUTION: There are several RV Hot Water Tank configurations, so make sure any checklist you use follows the instructions in your owner’s manual for flushing your Hot Water Heater. The main difference between configurations is the existence of an Anode Rod instead of a Plug at the bottom of a Water Heater.

A few supplies that will help to ensure an efficient and safe hot water tank flushing process are:

If you have any RV water tips, please comment below!
 
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Full-Time RV Budget & Expenses – Free Worksheet

Full-Time RV Budget & Expenses – Free Worksheet

We’ve been watching Full-Time Freedom Week videos and couldn’t be happier with the amazing content! 

After watching Sean and Julie with Chickery’s Travels, Dan and Lindsay with Follow Your Detour, and other speakers discuss the financial aspects of full-time RVing, we were able to finalize our Full-Time RV Budget & Expenses worksheet and we’re sharing it with you.

 

 

So, how much does it cost to RV full-time? 

We’ve watched hundreds of videos by different RVers on this subject, from nomads who boondock/dry camp, to glampers who stay primarily in RV parks with full hook-ups. It really depends on you, your goals and your lifestyle preferences.

Our FREE Budget Worksheet is based on our research and preferences. It provides the capability for you to revise the monthly budget values and expenses, and then auto-calculates totals and variances.

Click here to download the Full-Time RV Budget & Expenses Worksheet.

TACTICS TO SAVING MONEY ON THE ROAD

RV Purchase

Buy an RV that’s a few years old. If you’re financially able to, buy the RV outright instead of financing it.

RV Maintenance & Repair

Purchase RV warranties and extended warranties for large items, like an air conditioner or complex plumbing issues. 

Learn how to properly maintain your RV and make small repairs independently. Follow our blog for RV maintenance and repair videos, instructions and checklists! For example, read our blog post RV Water System Review – Parts & Maintenance Checklists.

RV Gear

Before you purchase a ton of gear for your RV, speak with other RVers to get a feel for what you truly need. 

RV Insurance, Registration & Taxes

Select a domicile that has low insurance rates, registration fees and taxes. 

We’ll soon add a spreadsheet that contains information to help you with domicile decision making – Keep an eye on our resources page.

Fuel

To save money on fuel, don’t speed, keep your tires properly inflated, drive shorter distances between moves, and stay longer at each location. 

Also, avoid truck stops for fuel purchases, as they tend to be more expensive.

Campgrounds

Save money by boondocking, purchasing memberships with organizations like Thousand TrialsPassport AmericaHarvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome, and camping in National Parks and State Parks. 

You can also work camp at campgrounds that offer free campsites in return for work, and stay longer at campgrounds that offer discounts for weekly and monthly stays.

Entertainment

Purchase passes to National Parks and State Parks, like the America the Beautiful Pass for National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands. 

Sometimes you can find museum passes for various destinations and awesome discounts on Groupon when you visit a new area.

Food

Limit eating out – When you’ll be away from your RV for the day, eat a large breakfast, take snacks with you, and try to get back to your RV for dinner.

One of the easiest ways to save money on food is by using coupons. Find a Sunday paper in any city to clip coupons, use websites like coupons.com that let you print coupons, or take advantage of online coupons for chain grocery stores that you can use at the register without ever having to cut coupons.

Stick to Your Budget

It’s very easy to feel like you’re on a never-ending vacation, so it’s best to stay on top of your spending. You can use a worksheet like the one we created, and/or utilize various apps, like the free EveryDollar budget app.

How about you? Do have any recommendations for saving money on the road?

Thank you for reading our blog! Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more info! 

If you enjoy or benefit from our content, please show your appreciation by…

Using our Amazon Affiliate link (no extra cost to you) for your shopping on Amazon. Simply bookmark the following link and use it whenever you shop on Amazon. You don’t have to buy anything in our shop to help us, just use the search on our page!

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Best Fall Road Trips for RVers & RV Essentials for Fall

Best Fall Road Trips for RVers & RV Essentials for Fall

I know this is hard to believe, but I’ve already planned about 10 road trips for our future RV adventures, most of which include stops in Colorado and Georgia for family visits.

Fall is our favorite time of year and Orlando just doesn’t deliver the best fall has to offer, with the exception of Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios. We dream about RV trips with cool weather and beautiful fall foliage. With the help of websites like Roadtrippers, KOA, WinnebagoLife (GoLife), Airstream and various RV blogs, we narrowed down our list to 10 ideal fall road trips and they’re listed below.

Before your trip, remember to check your tire pressure, and make sure your heating system and brakes are working properly. You should also learn how to drain water lines in case of a hard freeze. Autumn can bring temperatures that dip below freezing point at higher altitudes. 

A few items that will keep your RV in working order through bouts of cold weather are:

With a few precautions, you’ll have the RV trip of a lifetime!

10 Best Fall RV Trip Destinations

San Bernardino National Forest – California

This national forest offers numerous outdoor activities and it’s well known for Rim of the World Scenic Byway. The 100-mile route takes you through two mountain passes and awesome views of the Sand to Snow National Monument.

Ledges State Park – Iowa

A rustic campground overlooking the Pea’s Creek Canyon, this RV park offers exciting hiking and biking trails to take in the colorful fall foliage.

Acadia National Park – Maine

Acadia National Park in Maine is one of the most stunning national parks in the country. Take a drive down Park Loop Road to see mountain peaks, forests and shores.

Roosevelt State Park – Mississippi

This RV park overlooks Bienville National Forest. While the views are stunning year-round, they are a sight to behold as fall sets in. Additional popular activities in this area include biking, hiking and birdwatching.

Cape Fair – Missouri

Adjacent to the James River, this is a beautiful area to see fall colors, and it’s a fishing haven, as well. The Table Rock Lakeshore Trail is close by, which offers impressive fall foliage vistas.

Mark Twain National Forest – Missouri

This expansive national forest is spread over 29 counties. When visiting, check out the Glade Top Trail National Scenic Byway for some incredible fall foliage views, as well as the Ozark Trail.

White Mountain National Forest – New Hampshire

San Bernardino National Forest has more than 20 campgrounds, miles of hiking trails and a whole host of wildlife, including moose, lynx, bobcat and white-tailed deer. When RV camping in the White Mountain National Forest, make sure to drive through Kancamagus Scenic Byway.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Tennessee

The Great Mountains National Park comes alive with a myriad of colors in autumn. Blue Ridge Parkway is the highlight of this location, but there are other areas equally worth visiting, like Clingmans Dome Road.

Winhall Brook – Vermont

Nestled amidst hardwood forests in the Green Mountains, Winhall Brook is a campground that is open year-round. The Green Mountains take on a spectacular range of hues as the leaves change color in fall. There is a 16-mile hiking trail close to the RV park, named West River Trail, and you’ll most likely run into woodpeckers, moose and loons during the hike.

Shenandoah National Park – Virginia

Shenandoah National Park is THE place to see fall foliage in all its glory. Drive through Skyline Drive, the park’s 105-mile byway, that offers stunning vistas.

These are our picks for the best fall foliage based on our research and planning, but don’t take our word for it. Get out there and discover the beauty of the fall season and be sure to share your travel updates with us here and on social media!

Thank you for reading our blog! Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more info!  

If you enjoy or benefit from our content, please show your appreciation by…

Using our Amazon Affiliate link (no extra cost to you) for your shopping on Amazon. Simply bookmark the following link and use it whenever you shop on Amazon. You don’t have to buy anything in our shop to help us, just use the search on our page!

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