37 Awesome Tips for Boondocking

There is a lot that goes into RVing in the wilderness. First, preparation is key when boondocking off the grid with no water or electric. Here are 37 tips to help you have a successful boondocking experience.

 

  1. Know the Rules of the Public Land You Want to Visit

The first thing to do is, know the rules that govern the public land you plan on visiting. Know the time limit, know the areas which are permitted for boondocking, and places that might be off limits.

Also, different agencies have rules on how long you may stay in one spot, and how far you have to move if you want to stay in the are beyond that. Some areas have a 14-day stay limit, but it varies from one place to the other. It is your job to know those rules, and part of being a responsible boondocker is abiding by the rules.

fifth wheel going down the road

  1. Respect the Land

A lot of these lands you boondock at are used for other activities other than boondocking. Some of these activities include hunting, hiking, ATVs. So it is highly advised that you do not trespass any range given to you. Also, desist from chopping down trees for firewood, and try as much as possible not to leave no trace. As said above, go in and leave a small impact as possible.

  1. Pack Out What You Pack In

Nothing is more disheartening than arriving at a campsite only to find out that the previous camper didn’t pick after themselves this ranges from a bullet casing, broken glasses and even bags of trash.

So packing out what you pack in means taking all your garbage with you, and do not leave your garbage behind. So, try to pack out what you pack in and do not leave your mess for someone else to pick up. And try to leave no trace that you were there. And if you can, then I highly recommend you leave the place cleaner than you came.

  1. Do not Ever Block a Dirt Road

One thing you should never do is to drive around the wilderness for miles, and haven’t seen another person or a rig for hours, and when you can’t find a place to camp, you decide to settle on blocking a tiny dirt road, that looks like it hasn’t been used for a long period of time. Inevitably, somebody is going to come along and will want to get by, and this happens every single time.

pop up camper

So, no matter how thin the dirt road may appear to be and how enticing it might seem as a camping spot, do not block the road. So, keep looking till you can find a place where you can pull off of the side of the road and set up so that anyone who might want to get by on that road can get by.

  1. Do not Dump Your Grey Water in the Woods

One question people ask is whether they can dump their grey water while boondocking, well the answer is no. It is illegal to dump grey water. Even if you do use natural soaps, and you do not use any normal detergent, shampoo, or body wash, it is still illegal to dump grey water. This is because when you dump about 30 gallons of grey water into the environment, though it may not cause sudden catastrophic harm to the environment, it is gradually changing the ecosystem. So no, you cannot dump your grey water.

  1. Do not Rely on a Cell Signal When Boondocking

Often times you may start out with a really strong cell signal, and it can drop to absolutely nothing. So, just know that if you’re going to be boondocking and dry camping, you could do so without a cell signal. However, if a cellular signal is a thing that is of concern for you, then you could purchase certain things like a cellular signal booster to boost your cellular service, or a personal locator to contact an emergency contact if security is a concern for you.

Sherling lake

Also, I highly recommend you to have a paper map with you or download maps to your laptop to help you navigate whenever your cell phone signal is lost. We bought a large scale Road Atlas Books that truck drivers use, (I can’t read the fine print on normal maps).

  1. Leave Space Between You and Your Neighbors

Remember when you are out there boondocking in public land, you’re not on a campground. Most people boondock because they want to get as far away from others and enjoy nature. So having to park 20 feet away from someone’s rig when there is a vast space available, destroys that solitude.

There may be some parks which are intended for a large number of rigs and close proximity to one another, but otherwise, pick a site that is far away from your neighbors as possible. However, if you can’t find an area that is 100 feet away from your neighbor, then you should realize that the area is already full.

  1. Use Existing Only Existing Sites, and Roads.

When camping on national forest land or a BLM land, make sure to use existing roads to access your sites, and pick a site that has been used before, which is often marked by an existing fire ring. This minimizes the impact of camping on the land. Different agencies have different rules on how far you can camp from an existing road.

Most district offices of BLM lands and national forests, have maps that you can get, and the show what roads are legal for rigs to be on. Following these rules ensures that there is less impact done to the wilderness and also, preserves these areas for us to use and the future generations. So before you go into any public land for boondocking or dry camping, check the website, check the district office and make sure that you know the rules and make sure that you follow the rules.

  1. Remember Noise Carries

Sound can really carry long distances, especially at night. That means being conscious of your noise and respecting your neighbors. If someone is within an earshot, the limit generator used to the same quiet hours that you would find in a campground, point the exhaust away from neighbors. If your generator makes so much noise at night, then it’s time for you to upgrade to a quieter inverter generator.

Also, remember that light is another form of pollution too. And your outdoor lighting may disturb your neighbors’ appreciation of the dark starry skies above their campsite.

  1. Keep Your Eyes on Your Dogs

Being away from others allows some time for your dog to spend off leash. However, if you’ve got neighbors, then your dog should stay on the leash. Remember, not everyone likes your dog or appreciates being accosted by your affectionate retriever. If you’re close to neighbors, then your dog may wander off to their campsite, or greet walkers on the road, or even harass wildlife in the area, so, it is advisable that you keep them on the leash. It also protects your dog from unexpected creatures.

  1. Slow Down When Driving

Forest roads and BLM lands, can be very dry and dusty. For that reason, whether you’re driving your rig, or buzzing around on your ATV, be sure to slow down when approaching someone’s campsite, and take it easy until you’re past it.

  1. Cutting Wood

Some lands have restrictions on gathering firewood. If it’s permitted, only retrieve deadfall to fuel your campfire, and never ever a standing tree, even if it looks diseased or dead. Ensure to purchase some firewood you might need should you want to set up a campfire.

family camping

  1. Leave No Trace Behind

Anyone who spends time in the Western U.S. knows the dangers posed by an out-of-control wildfire. Many wildfires are caused by improperly attended camp fire. When leaving your campfire, make sure that it’s out, completely out. Saturate it with water until it’s cold to touch. When appropriate, bury the cold embers, ash, and coals to eliminate all evidence of your campfire.

  1. Ensure You Have Personal Security

Security is a number one concern when boondocking in remote areas. When boondocking in remote areas, look around to see if there are signs of activity like recent campfires, trash etc… if yes, maybe consider another spot. Just get a feel for your surroundings. If you leave your camp to explore for the day, ensure to lock up a few valuables including your generator, and solar panels.

sunset over the water

Also, ensure to lock the door to your rig, other than that, you have nothing to worry about. Your patio furniture and other less valuable items can sit outside while you’re gone.

  1. Always Have a Generator

You need to have electricity to power your computer, television, microwave and all none 12-volt appliances. One thing about generators is that it relies on gasoline. So, I highly recommend you have gasoline with you when you plan to go boondocking.

  1. Have Solar

Sometimes, it is ridiculous to run your generator, when you have to do little things like making coffee. So, if you have solar, you wouldn’t have to worry about little activities like that, since your batteries are already powered up and all you have to do is to plug in your coffee grinder or coffee maker and make yourself some coffee.

For solar, you will need solar panels, battery banks to store power, and an inverter to convert the energy to something your RV can use.

  1. Fill Your Water Tanks

Before going out there in the wilderness, make sure that your water tank is full. If you haven’t done that already, and you’re planning to do that already, you want to make sure that that tank has been sanitized. Sanitizing your tank should be done more often if you haven’t used your tank in a long time. However, if you use your tank frequently, then you do not need to worry about sanitation.

Well, if you do not drink out of your freshwater tank, ensure to bring a lot of drinking water with you. A great way to do this is to fill your water into collapsible jugs, these are easy to handle, store, and they are lightweight.

  1. You Might Need a Portable Disposable Tank

Since dumping grey water is illegal, if for some reasons your grey water tank becomes full and you do not have a place to dump off the grey water, one way you can dispose of it is by using a portable wastewater disposable tank. You can empty some of your grey tanks into and you can later dispose of it at an appropriate location.

  1. Consider Your Propane Usage

One thing you will have to consider is propane. This is because, for some rigs, propane runs your fridge, your stove and ovens, and also your water heater, and your furnace. So, it is critical you have your propane tanks topped off before you go out. However, if you’re in cold weather, you’re going to burn a lot of propane.

propane tanks in RV

Some rigs may use diesel, or electricity for these activities but a lot of rigs use propane.

  1. Your AC

If you find yourself in a warm climate, one thing you might want to consider is how you’re going to use your AC unit. If you intend to use an AC unit, make sure to consider the type of generator you use. This is because some generators do not work well in warmer climates.

air conditioner

Also, before choosing an AC unit, make sure to know if you need two AC units or just one, depending on your rig, you might not need two. We have an article which explains whether you need two or just one AC.

21. Prepare Foodwise

Make sure that all your needs are stocked, and also that you have plenty of food. We highly recommend you get a lot of can foods if possible since they do not perish. Also, pre-wash all your fruits and vegetables before you go out boondocking, so that you wouldn’t have to use your existing water supplies to do that.

  1. Know Where You’re Going

It is great that you use satellite images on Google maps, to know where you’re going, and figure out what the area around you looks like. This might be helpful since it could inform you about the kind of obstacles you might encounter while there. Some of these obstacles may be the absences of a store, a gas station or even a dump station. When you know where you’re going, you have an idea of what to expect and how to prepare.

 

  1. Have a Faucet Aerator

You can screw this into a water faucet and what this does is to throttle down the amount of water that’s coming out of your water faucets. It can throttle it down to 0.5 gallons/minute. Well, a lot of RVs come with faucets that aren’t water efficient, so attaching this to any threaded water faucets can be really helpful.

Swapping out your water faucet aerator can save you up to half the water you would use if they aren’t swapped up.

  1. A Low Flow Oxygenated Shower Head

What this does is to basically a water aerator for your shower. And what this does it to force in the air with the water to give you better water pressure, and also, you use less water. Click here for current price.

If you have a water-efficient showerhead, then maybe you do not need the oxygenated shower head however if you have the water head they put in from factories, then it’s not going to be as efficient.

  1. Wipes and a Dry Shampoo

Using wipes are a great way to get yourself clean without actually taking a bath. If you’re looking to save up water whiles boondocking, you could use baby wipes to clean the necessary areas and you should be good for the day.

Another way to conserve water is by using a dry shampoo, what this does it to absorb excess oil in your scalp. So, basically, it extends the life of your latest shampoo efforts.

  1. Have a Power Inverter and a Power Bank

Keeping your electronics charged up it is really important when you’re in the middle of nowhere and absolutely no city lights.

Having a power inverter and a power bank becomes handy when you want to save some power. With these two, you can charge electronics such as laptops, phones, tablets, and camera batteries.

  1. A Bialetti Moka Pot

If you’re a coffee lover looking to save some energy, then I highly recommend a Bialetti Moka Coffee Maker. You can prepare your espresso with this by heating the cup on a stove and using propane. So, you do not have to worry about getting up early in the morning and putting on the generator to make some coffee.

  1. Use LED Lights at Night

LED lights are about 70% more efficient than halogen lights. Not only that but they are cooler to touch. This makes them much better when camping in warmer weather. Now with the prices of LED lights been so low, it’s kind of a great alternative when looking for an upgrade.

  1. Use an Auto Vent

Using a max fan is a two for one. It has a built-in cover that prevents bugs and water from entering into the RV and works perfectly when your AC is not in use.

When you set your temperature to like 70 degrees, and your rigs start to get warmer than that, the auto vent opens up and then circulates air inside the RV. However, when the temperature in the rig is cooler than the set temperature, the vent closes and then shuts the fan off. This is great when you want to keep the temperature inside your rig regulated.

  1. Have a Composting Toilet

This is awesome because it completely eliminates the need of you using a black tank. This makes it possible for you to use your black tank for additional grey water storage. Another bonus of this device is that it uses no water. This frees up water for drinking and showering and for your personal usage.

  1. Using a Solar Oven

If you love cooking and you’re scared of finishing up your propane, then maybe the solar oven could be an alternative for you. You can cook with the solar oven outside so you do not create any heat inside the rig. Another great feature of this is that it doesn’t use any form of electricity. it uses the sun’s rays to heat up the temperature inside and gets the heat up to 300-450 degrees. So you do not have a problem baking your favorite recipes whiles boondocking.

  1. This is How You Deal With Trash

Well, a lot of these boondocking sites have no trash cans around, so, one way you can deal with trash is to use your grocery bags. You can keep any form of trash in these bags, and once they become full you can gather them and go and dispose of them at a disposable site, or a nearby trash can.

  1. Bring Along Some Cash and Quarters

These become useful for those who do not have a washer or a drier, if you have to go to the laundry-mart, you could use these pennies and quarters for any necessary payments. Also, when you have to go to a water refill station you might need cash.

  1. Do Not Forget to Entertain Yourself

Bringing along some form of entertainment that does not require much electricity be it a chair, or a radio or even playing cards, a book or anything could really help you get out of a boredom situation.

Garmer state park in Texas

  1. Use Disposables or a Foil

Using disposable plates and cups are a great way to save water since you do not need to wash them.

However, one thing to consider when using a foil is the trash, ensure to put them in your grocery bags if you do not have any trash can available.

Also, you could use an aluminum foil or a plastic foil to cover the plate you’re eating with before serving the food on the plate. Once you’re done eating, you could gently remove the foil of the plate, and you have a clean plate ready for reuse and you do not have to worry about washing.

  1. Do not Use the Hose in a Dump Station to Fill Your Water Tank

If you have the opportunity to have a dump station around, then try as much as possible to not use the water hose at the dump station to fill up your water tank, this is because you know where the hose has been and this makes it unhygienic to use. Technically, the water from the station is clean but the nozzle might be infected.

  1. Always Leave a Review

Make sure you leave a review about the place you visited on a website to help RVers like you know what the place is like. This makes it easy for someone else when he or she wants to boondock.

From these tips given above you can realize that when boondocking, you will need to conserve water, electricity, and propane. Nevertheless, researching and having enough information about the place you want to visit is essential too. With these tips, I hope you have a great boondocking experience.

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RV Groovin Life

Bonnie

Related Posts –  Do I Need Solar to Boondock?

My photo Bonnie

Hi, I’m Bonnie, welcome to RV Groovin Life! My husband and I retired in 2017, sold our house and bought a 2008 Mobile Suite Fifth Wheel. We have been RVing full-time ever since. I started this blog to share what we have learned along the way. I hope you follow us on our journey. Bonnie

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I am the sole owner of RV Groovin Life website. This website is a participant in the Amazon Associates, an Affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon.com. This website also participates with other affiliate programs like  adsense, shopstyle and others, with no extra cost to you.

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6 Big Mistakes RVers Make

  Fifth Wheel

There are a lot of things that come into play when owning an RV. Most of it has to do with learning from the mistakes we RVers have made. From our experience over the past few years, we would like to share with you 6 mistakes that we have made along with other fellow RVers we have talked to. I have listed them below along when tips on how to avoid them.

6 Mistake Made by RVers and Tips on How to Avoid Them:

  1. Do not go on a road you cannot get out of (easier said than done).  Even though the GPS is helpful, however, sometimes it will send you down a road that is nearly impossible for you to turn your trailer or fifth wheel around (been there done that!)

Most RVers just head towards a route to a campsite without actually knowing the details of the route they are taking and when they use a GPS it takes them through a different path, often, the path taken makes it impossible for travel trailer and fifth wheels to make turns.

How to Avoid this Mistake:

Make inquiries about the campsite, RV park or wherever you plan to visit to find out the best possible route for you. However, if you are using a GPS, zoom in whenever you get close to your destination, and make sure it’s taking you through the right point. Google Earth app has been very helpful tool for us.

  1. Always Ensure That All Your Tanks Are Full

The worst thing that could probably happen to you is to be in the middle of nowhere and then your gas runs out, or even boondock somewhere and your water or propane runs out and there are no stations near where you can fill your tanks up. Most at times, the biggest mistake most people make is to always ignore gas stations and water filling stations when going on a trip because they have their tanks half full.

propane tanks in RV

This could be dangerous because you do not know whether your campsite has a gas station near, or even if your tank might take you to your destination or get you through your camping.

How to Avoid this Mistake:

If your tank doesn’t read full, fill it up before going camping or boondocking. If possible, bring extra gas or water with you in gallons. This is because you could pull up to a gas station and they might be out of gas or even water. Know the range of your vehicle and plan out stops where you are going to get fuel. However, apps like GasBuddy could help you find Gas stations near you.

  1. Watch Out for Tail Swings

Imagine getting gas or fuel (diesel) at a gas station and on your way out, you hear a loud crunch smash, and you go out to check what happened only to realize that the back end of your rig crushed a concrete pillar. In most cases, nothing might happen to the pillar however, you might end up destroying the fiberglass and aluminum corner of your rig. This problem might cause you to lose some money to fix the damage caused. So, this is why you must beware of tail swings. This often happens when you have a long rig.

fifth wheel and Ford dually truck

How to Avoid this mistake:

You will have to check how much tail swing your rig has. When pulling out of a parking space or out of a gas station, if you have your partner with you, you can have your partner hop out and spot it to give you the go-ahead to keep going or not. So, you want to make sure you have that clearance, else if you don’t you will end up destroying your rig or someone else’s property. I recommend doing some practice runs to learn your rig.

  1. When on Full Hookups and you Leave your Black Tank Open

Do not do this, it’s not going to work like a normal household plumbing system. When you totally flush out your black tank, you need to make sure it is filling up with all the solid waste along with the liquid waste, so that it can flush all of that through and you do not end up with a build-up of solid waste left over. This is because the liquid waste is going to get out quickly. How to Avoid this Mistake:

Black RV sever hose

If you leave your grey tank open, and put a little dip in your pipe so that you do not have any smells coming out of the sewer. However, you want to make sure that you close your grey tank the day before you leave in order to have enough water to properly flush out your black tank. Leave the black tank closed until it’s at least half full.

  1. Ignoring Small Problems

No matter how small a problem is, pay close attention to it and ensure that the problem is solved. This happens a lot, especially when you hit your rig on a wall or a pole, which could cause a dent and leaving a tiny hole on your rig, which creates a pathway for moisture to get into your rig, which could de-laminate your rig. Causing more problems than expected.

How to Avoid this Mistake:

So, if you have something peeling off the edge of your rig, or an issue with your roof, or a leak somewhere, just stop and take care of that problem before it creates a bigger problem such as delamination, mold, and mildew, which can be avoided by just dealing with the situation.

  1. Not Been Prepared for the Weather

One of the biggest mistakes you can make as an RVer is not to prepare for the weather. When moving from a relatively warm city to a relatively cold city, you need to prepare for the weather, because when temperatures drop, you use up more propane than usual. You could end up running out of propane twice a week.

This is because, in warmer cities, you tend to use the propane for fewer activities such as cooking, and it could last you for months. However, in cold weathers, you will have to use the propane to heat up your furnace to keep your rig warm and also prevent your pipes from freezing, which consumes a lot of propane.

snowy road

How to Avoid this Problem

Use other forms of heats sources such as space heater or an oil radiator to keep your rig warm, this will help your propane last longer. Know the weather conditions of the place you plan to camp before you visit. I set alerts on my phone to notify me of any changes  in weather conditions in the area we plan on visiting.

Extra Tip: In case of extreme weather like tornado or freezing temperatures etc.., be sure to know what county you’re in and where the nearest storm shelter is located. I highly recommend having a battery-operated NOAA weather alert radio.

 

These are just some of the mistakes we have made. I hope this will help you avoid these mistakes.

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RV Groovin Life

Written by: Bonnie

Related Posts – 8 Things I Would Do Differently after RVing Full-time for 1 Year

My photo Bonnie

Hi, I’m Bonnie, welcome to RV Groovin Life! My husband and I retired in 2017, sold our house and bought a 2008 Mobile Suite Fifth Wheel. We have been RVing full-time ever since. I started this blog to share what we have learned along the way. I hope you follow us on our journey. Bonnie

Legal Information

I am the sole owner of RV Groovin Life website. This website is a participant in the Amazon Associates, an Affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon.com. This website also participates with other affiliate programs like  adsense, shopstyle and others, with no extra cost to you.

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17 Great Tips for First-time RVers

So if you’re a first-time RVer and looking for some advice, I made a list of 17 tips to help you get started. Obviously, this won’t cover everything, but it is a beginning.

Being a newbie can be overwhelming, take it slow and relax. Something that helped us with newbie jitters was taking a few practice runs before hitting the road.

travel trailer

  1. You Don’t Need as Much Stuff as You Think

Honestly, as a new RVer, all you need is a rig, some fuel, and your willingness to have some fun. One of the biggest mistakes newbies make is that they buy their RV, and head to Camping World and buy one of everything. I must admit, that is what we did (it was fun).

Well, when you do this, you’re going to spend a lot of cash on some unnecessary stuff, not to mention it’s going to take up a lot of space in your RV. As time goes on, you’ll know what you need and what you don’t need. Of course, there are exceptions, you do need the essentials.

When starting out, just purchase the necessities you have to have for setting up your camp, kitchen appliances, emergency kit, etc…

With that said, you need to be prepared and I have some suggestions for you. So, let’s talk about the second point, which is tools. What tools do you need?

  1. Essential Tools You Will Need
  • Wrenches for just about every bolt
  • An Infrared Temperature Gun and a Digital PSI reader
  • Wheel Chocks and Leveling Blocks – for leveling your RV
  • A Number 2 square head and bit
  • Dicor Sealant and a Cock Gun for cracks on your rubber roof.(Always refer to your Owners Manual)
  • A Surge Protector
  • Water Pressure Regulator
  • Water Hose and Water Filters
  • Air compressor
  • Ladder
  1. Let’s Talk About Tires

This is very important because I’m sure that you’ve heard that most people say factory trailer tires are ” China Bombs”, and honestly, they are definitely low-quality tires, but that makes it more important for you to pay necessary attention to them.

tires on a fifth wheel

So, the first thing you need to do is to check the date on your tires. If you’re buying a new RV, it doesn’t mean your tires are new, in most cases they’re not. It wouldn’t hurt to check the dates on your tires so you know if they are new or not.

Also, remember that heat causes tires to wear. And the two things that will generate more heat while you’re rolling down the road on your tires is if your tires are under pressure, or your trailer is overloaded.

So before every trip make sure to use your PSI reader to check the pressure of your tires. It is also important that you go to a CAT scale and have your RV weighed once you’ve loaded up your trailer with all your stuff and you have your fresh water tanks full.

Whenever your RV is stationary for a lengthy stay, is to keep your tires covered. This shields them from the sun which causes your tire to dry rot.

  1. Never Be in a Hurry When Traveling

Never be in a hurry, because not only does driving slowly increase your tire life, but it’s also less stressful and fewer mistakes will be made!

Rushing can be very stressful and can be actually dangerous when towing. These rigs are heavy so you cannot stop as fast as you can as you would with a passenger vehicle, and if you’re speeding on a highway, it’s going to increase the potential of your trailer swaying off the road.

And not only that but assuming you have a blowout at 75 mph or 80 mph, you have a less chance of keeping your rig under control than if you’re going 60 or 55. So once again, take your time and smell the roses!

fifth wheel parked in RV park

  1. Communication

Finding ways, you can communicate with your travel partner or friends when backing into a new spot when you’re getting set up in a new site. And also, try to avoid the blame game when something goes wrong. A lot of people get excited when traveling for the first time, but most times, things do not turn out the way we expect.

Let’s say when you need to hook up your rig and something goes wrong, so it’s really easy to snap at your family. It also helps to limit your travel day to no more than 4 hours.

Packing healthy snacks and water help to keep moods happy. Having a checklist in the beginning for setting up and tearing down camp will keep you both on the on the same page.

  1. Flexibility Is a Must

It is so essential to be flexible because your travel plans are going to change. This could range from extreme weather, road closure, RV repair, etc…

So many things can upset your plans, and it can be frustrating. But all you have to do is to roll with it, and always have in mind that your plans could change at anytime. That’s what RVing is all about!

The best thing you can do in this situation is always to have a plan B when traveling.

  1. Know Your Measurements

This means to know how high and how long your trailer is. Because when you’re on the east coast and you’re driving towards a tunnel and you look up and that tunnel says 9’2 and your rig is 10’4, all you can do is to close your eyes and grit your teeth.

This is something you will want to avoid. We put a post-it note on our sun visor with our fifth wheels measurements in case we forget.

fifth wheel going down the road

It is important to conduct research about where you’re going to and the maximum rig height and length tunnels there can take. Especially Zion national park, Mount Rushmore, and the west coast where the rails are so windy so the limit the length of the rigs.

  1. Tips for Keeping the Inside of Your RV comfortable

One of the biggest things with RVs are they just collect humidity so fast, especially when you close all the windows and all the doors. To avoid this, make sure you leave one window preferably the center window slightly open just a little bit, and trust me, it will do wonders for moisture control.

And it will keep your windows from fogging up. We also keep a small fan running when humidity is high.

campering with family

Know ahead of time that when you cook with propane, it’s going to put so much humidity out in the air.

And if you don’t begin to vent, your windows are going to get super foggy, and super humid inside. This is because the two byproducts of burning fossil fuel are, carbon dioxide and water vapor. So literally, burning propane spews water vapor into the air. We have a Fantastic Ceiling Fan that we use a lot!

My last tip for this section is to keep the inside of your RV cool on a sunny day. If you open all your windows up, and you’ve got your exhaust fan running and it’s still too hot in the trailer, a good idea to help keep your rig warm is to orient the side of your rig with the awning on it towards south, because this is the side the sun beats down to shade your trailer from your sun.

This is if you can’t run your AC since its quite expensive. If a all possible try keeping you refrigerator side in the shade, to keep your refrigerator cool.

  1. Boondocking

If you’re new to this idea, you’re going to be moving from one place to the next, and you will definitely need to spend a night at some convenient location like Walmart or Cabela. It might be weird for the first time, but this is what boondocking is and you need to be prepared to sleep at a parking lot from time to time.

airstream boondocking out west

  1. Know Your Tanks

Talking about boondocking, tank management is the next essential thing. One way to manage your grey tank is to place a bucket in your sink to collect water used for washing dishes, washing hands and things that accumulate sink water and pour that into the bush, so it doesn’t go to the grey tank. This prevents your grey tank from filling up fast.

You can get some bacteria and corrosion in your freshwater tank, and it wouldn’t be a bad idea to put just a couple to teaspoons of Clorox in your fresh water tank and wash it out. So, every once in a while, try to clean your fresh water tank.

  1. Your Rig Will Break Down

It doesn’t matter what brand you’ve got, whether it’s a fifth wheel, travel trailer or an RV will break down. Something will eventually fail on it. So it is important that you have some sort of  plan should one of the systems on your RV break.

For instance, if you’re fridge fails and its full of food, what will you do? Or even if your AC fails and you’re out on a sunny ground that is 90 degrees and above what will you do? And worst of them all if your furnace stops working and it’s the middle of winter, what are you going to do?

However, if you’ve have a backup plan in order, and you’ve already thought ahead, then you can avoid have these situations and you wouldn’t have to worry about anything going wrong. Lets just say, you will worry less.

  1. How to Plan Your Routes

For your route planning, I will suggest you figure out the bigger destinations first, and then you leave in spaces and fill them out. What this does for you is that, if there is some place that you have to see, you make sure you get reservations. If you’re going to somewhere on the west coast, you might need to get on it.

RV sign

However, if you leave a little wiggle room, what you’re going to do is to learn along the way. Because you will learn about the immediate area and you’re also going to learn about really great trips, and you wouldn’t be locked into every single step on the way. So this leaves flexibility for you to have a bit of fun and figure out something new.

  1. Document All Your Adventure

This is kind of important because you are making these experiences, which are going to be one of the best memories you will want to look back on. So, however you will like to do it whether it being a picture, video, blog or even YouTube, whatever way you will like to keep these memories alive try and do it.

Also, after you go for a trip, make sure you document the things that you liked and the things you didn’t like, this will help you know what to go in for when going for the same trip anytime in the future.

Also, make sure to keep notes of the little things that go wrong cause trust me those are the funniest ones.

  1. Prepare for Inclimate Weather.

This includes in the desert where you think might be hot all the time, trust me it’s not. It could go from warm one day to freezing cold and snowy the next day, and you have to be prepared for that. Something that includes that is to make sure that you are prepared to always roll your awning again.

snowy road

Also, do not leave your awning rolled out at night because you don’t know whether the strong wind is picking up at night, and there are cases where people left their awn rolled at night and the next day realized that there is clamped in place because it is broken.

Another thing is freezing temperatures, if you check the forecast and it is going to freeze at night and it wasn’t supposed to, one thing you will want to do you is to empty out your low point drain tubes so you’re water lines drain out so you don’t have any water in your water lines.

Because if there is no water, they can’t freeze. We have also let our kitchen water run when it was close to freezing (just a thin stream).

Be sure to check the roof of your trailer regularly to prevent any leaking during the rain.

  1. Finding Campsites

There are many ways to find campsites but I will share some of the top tools I use to find campsites. These are:

However, occasionally you can go to a national park or forest service website for more information.

Also, check out the people leaving reviews. If those leaving reviews own vehicles much smaller than what you have such as a van, then maybe you might not be able to use that site.

Also, ensure that you have signals if not you should bring a signal booster with you. Do not be scared to skip many campsites to get the perfect one.

  1. Gas Up the Night Before Your Trip

It can be annoying to bring your huge rig through a normal gas station filled with cars and people. I made this mistake once and I don’t think I will ever do it again.

So, make it easy on yourself and gas up the night before and avoid the hassle. If you do need to gas up while towing or if you drive a class A, I recommend you stop at truck stops. They have a higher clearance  for Truckers and RV’s.

Most truck stops are diesel, so if you need gas, search out RV gas pumps. They are normally located on the side away from the crowded gas pumps.

  1. Have Fun!!

Traveling can be kind of stressful, and in those stressful and tiring times, you just got to enjoy it anyways and roll with the punches, because your rig is going to break down, the weather isn’t going to cooperate, things are going to happen that upset you but do not let that prevent you from having fun and enjoying those little happy moments.

Overall just stay confident and get out there because you’re going to have a lot of fun and learn a lot of new stuff.

These were the 17 most important things I could think of for anyone that is new to RVing, and new to traveling, or even thinking of going into full-time RVing. So hopefully this was helpful to you, and if it was, make sure to like this post and share it with your friends.

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RV Groovin Life

Bonnie

 

My photo Bonnie

Hi, I’m Bonnie, welcome to RV Groovin Life! My husband and I retired in 2017, sold our house and bought a 2008 Mobile Suite Fifth Wheel. We have been RVing full-time ever since. I started this blog to share what we have learned along the way. I hope you follow us on our journey. Bonnie

Legal Information

I am the sole owner of RV Groovin Life website. This website is a participant in the Amazon Associates, an Affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon.com. This website also participates with other affiliate programs like  adsense, shopstyle and others, with no extra cost to you.

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36 Things You Want in Your RV Before Hitting The Road

Planning for a road trip can be a daunting task, here is a simple checklist to help you prepare. Until we became full-time RVers I wasn’t a list maker. That has changed. I make lists for everything now. Probably because I can’t remember anything:).  Hope this is helpful!

class c motorhomes parked

36 Things You Want in Your RV Before Hitting the Road

 

1. Leveling blocks

Leveling blocks are a must-have unless you’re lucky enough to have self-leveling jacks. Just so happens, we are not.

We have encountered a number of campsites that were so unlevel we also had to use our handy-dandy hardwood blocks that my husband made to get our fifth wheel level.

Plywood blocks for leveling our RV

 

The hardwood blocks measure 2 x 12 by 16.

We also have a set of 6 of the leveling squares pictured below. Click here for the current price.

leveling blocks

 

2. Designated water hose- 

This hose is only for drinking water Essential for RVing. Be sure to store in a clean container.

Click here for current price

white drinking hose for rv

3. Grill- Propane or Charcoal

We just bought this small charcoal tabletop Weber grill from Amazon. I think it cost about $30. Click here for the current price. I haven’t decided if it was the right choice. For $30, what the heck? Be sure to get the charcoal. Probably not adequate for a family of 4 or more. Perfect size for a couple or solo RVer.

Small charcoal grill

4. Stepladder or ladder

A must have is a tall step stool or collapsible ladder, we couldn’t manage without it. We store it in the back of the truck. It’s actually our sons-in-law (we borrowed it last year) I think we’ll buy him a new ladder for Christmas. Click Here for Price.

step ladder

5. Patio Mat

I love this mat, this is definitely a necessity if you RV full-time. Click here for the current price. I know you will love it! It helps from tracking in sand and dirt into the RV. Very easy to care for, it’s reversible, just hose it off to clean. I only wish I would have bought it sooner.

Lightweight and easy to store. Our mat size is 9×12. I’m seriously thinking of getting a second mat, maybe 5×9 to use for picnics and the beach.

brown outdoor patio mat

6. Tool Box –

A toolbox is a must-have for every RVer, whether your a full-time or the occasional weekender. A basic toolbox should include a small hammer, screwdriver, pliers, wire cutter, nails/screws, tape measure, scissors, gorilla glue and duct tape for quick fixes. The carry tool tote below is very convenient.

Carry all tote for tools for RVers

 

Tool box in a pickup truck

Our toolbox (pictured above) in our truck holds the bigger and heavier tools and gadgets. It also helps to keep the weight off of the fifth wheel. If considering a toolbox like this, be sure to measure exactly. And you want a toolbox you can lock. Bill also stores the Def for our diesel truck in this toolbox.

Tip: if you own a diesel truck, try to buy Def from a dealership, not a truck stop. We learned this the hard way. After putting in Def from a truck stop our truck started stalling out. We were told that the Def from truck stops gets old and gummy. We haven’t had a problem since.

 

7. First Aid Kit

When going out camping with your family or friends, you need to ensure that you have a first aid kit with you. You can buy a ready-made first aid kit or assemble one yourself.

In case you do, never forget to include a first aid instruction booklet, band-aids, wound closure strips, tweezers, a pair of scissors, safety pins, sterile gloves, antiseptic wipes, alcohol prep pads, bandages, antibiotic ointment, burn cream, instant cold compress, thermometer, and some antacids.

8. Waste hose with preferably a clear elbow

You probably already have this in your RV. But do check it for wear and tear. The one thing you really, really don’t want to fail, is your waste hose!

We highly recommend the clear elbow because you can see if you’ve flushed it clean. Not pretty but necessary. Don’t forget the gloves or hand sanitizer.rv sewer hose

9. Coffee Pot-

 If you’re a coffee person like me, you have to have your morning coffee. There’s nothing better than a good cup of coffee and a good breakfast when your camping. Because it has been so hot lately, I’ve been making Iced Coffee. This Ice Coffee is so good!

 Simple Easy Recipe below:

Iced Coffee Recipe:

Iced Coffee Recipe: Make a strong pot of your favorite coffee (I use 10 cups of water with 5 scoops coffee, I use Folgers) Let it cool to room temperature(couple hours). Pour into a 2-quart pitcher. Add 1 can of Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk. Stir well. Refrigerate. Serve over ice. OMG! This is Sooooo Good! 

10. Carpenter Level-

It’s a good idea to have a level in your RV. There is a level attached to our RV but it’s not very accurate. We compare the two levels be sure we get an accurate read. Click Here for the current price.

carpenter level for our rv

11. Clothes –

I know, I know, you won’t forget your clothes? Right? Well, let me just say, I did! This was years ago, but still fresh in my memory. Oh, I had them packed and ready to go, my bag sitting next to the door.

We were headed to Ohio for a week from Michigan to visit family, the kids were young. I made sure everyone was packed and in the car. We arrived 6 hours later only to discover my bag was missing.

Yep! I had nothing, clothes, makeup, toothbrush… Off to the store I go. Expensive trip. My tip to you is, before leaving, do a thorough walk-through making sure you have everything packed and loaded.

12. My Favorite Kitchen Appliances-

 Hands Down, without a doubt, my number 1 fav is my George Foreman Grill with the deep dish pan that I purchased separately (Click here for current price). It doesn’t heat up the kitchen, takes up very little space and its electric.

I grill burgers, roast chicken breast, pizza, fried potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes, steak, waffles, and my husbands favorite on the George are brats and sauerkraut in beer! I know you were thinking it would be the Instapot. Nope. I love my George Foreman. My Pioneer Women Crockpot would be my 2nd pic. It also doesn’t heat up the kitchen. I just made the best pot roast ever!

george forman red grill

 

crockpot

13. Cleaning supplies-

The supplies I use are Dawn (blue) dish soap, which is great for removing stains from Bills tee shirts (every day).

I also like Clorox Spray Bleach for disinfecting countertops, sinks, handles, etc..  Bill uses the Clorox wipes after attaching hoses and setting up the RV. I keep a backup of my cleaning supplies in a dollar store bucket for easy access.

clorox cleaning spray and clorox wipes

14. Camping toilet-paper– 

There is special toilet paper that is specifically meant for camping which you should carry and not the regular toilet paper.

Remember that your RV has a septic tank which must be emptied every time it is almost full. RV toilet paper is easily absorbed in the septic tank and decomposes faster than ordinary toilet paper.

Therefore, when you are out shopping for RV toilet paper look out for one that is marked safe for RV use. Avoid using regular toilet paper in your RV as it may cause your toilet to clog and may ruin your camping trip experience. After learning this lesson the hard way, I keep a good supply of RV toilet paper. It is NOT always available. Depends on your location? Don’t run out!

toilet paper

15.  Sunscreen-

 sunblock, lotion, spray or gel. SPF 15 means 1/15 of the burning radiation will reach the skin. Sunscreen with higher SPF does not last longer or remain effective longer. To play it safe use at least an SPF 30 or higher and reapply every couple of hours.I highly recommend Sun Bum sunblock. This sunscreen is hypoallergenic, paraben free, enriched with vitamin E. Until I tried this brand, I thought they were all alike. Before our RV life, I would just grab any sunscreen that was on sale at the drugstore. After we retired my husband has had a few bouts of skin cancer on his face. Very minor and treated successfully. Which made us even more conscious of protecting our skin from the sun. Since retiring, we RV full-time and winter in Florida.

swimming pool

Navarre Rv Park in Navarre Florida

Our first trip to Navarre Florida we stopped in a tourist shop to buy sunscreen and hats. The sales girl recommended Sun Bum, raving about how much she liked it! Now I know why it is everything she said. Not greasy, hypoallergenic and a great moisturizer. I use this instead of lotion. No, Sum Bum does not pay me! I really like this sunscreen!

Note* – Sunscreens have an expiration date. Last years left over might not prevent sunburn this summer.

16. Food-

Planning ahead will reduce stress when you hit the road. It can also save money by shopping for sales. Make a meal plan/grocery list a few weeks in advance.

I leave my list with a pen on the counter and every time you or family members say, we need blah blah blah, say add it to the list. As your trip grows closer, your shopping list will be ready.

17. Aluminum foil

Aluminum foil is my go-to for so many things. From wrapping up leftovers to making hobo dinners over a campfire. To me, aluminum foil and duct tape are the necessities of life.

18. Flashlight/Lantern-

  Carry a good lantern or flashlight. The bottom-line is you will need a lantern or flashlight when you are out camping in your RV.

You can opt to pack LED flashlights because they tend to be more durable and long-lasting compared to the ordinary flashlights. Remember to bring along enough batteries with you just in case.

19. Paper towel-

Rolls of paper towels should also go down on your packing list. Let’s face it you know what to use paper towels for, but I also use them instead of buying napkins. We use them to wrap leftovers to warm in the microwave. Not plastic.

20. Towels-

Pack towels of different colors. I assign each person their very own towel, color coded. They use the same towel for the entire camping getaway.  I keep a bag of rags that I hang on a hook inside my closet, made from old worn towels that I cut into dish towel size rags for big messes.

21. Lawn chairs-

Pack your favorite lawn chairs with you as you go RVing. If you have none, there are a number of good quality foldable lawn chairs that you can easily fold and carry along with you when you are going camping. These are now our favorite chairs. Click here for the current price.

 two RV lawn chairs

Get good quality camping chairs that will make sitting around a campfire more enjoyable. I like roughing it, but comfort is my middle name, Not really.

22.  Pet food

Are you considering taking your furry friend along with you? Well, if yes, do not forget to pack food and his feeding and water bowls as well to avoid any inconvenience. Carry his favorite dog treats as well and also let him have a good time RVing with you.

23. Cooler

Who would not love to enjoy a cold beer especially on a hot, sunny, summer afternoon? We carry an old beat up a cooler that we’ve owned for years. Even though our fifth wheel has a double door refrigerator we always use our cooler for the overflow.

ice chest cooler we use for RVing

And it’s just the two of us! We keep it outside by our steps. Because its nothing fancy we don’t worry about it being stolen.

24. Table Cloth-

I stock up on a least a couple from the dollar store. Shower curtains from the dollar store can be used also. They work great as drop cloths when I paint.

25. Clothespins-

 There are 101 uses of clothespins when you go out RVing. You can use them to clip your food bags and keep your food fresh, clip your paper to-do list together, and keep your clothes from falling off the clothesline, especially on a windy day. Clothespins can also be used to keep your tablecloth in place. Very versatile and inexpensive.

clothes pin holding bag closed

26. Phone Charger-

I highly recommend investing in a battery pack for your cell phone. Your phone needs to be functional just in case you encounter an emergency. I keep a phone charger in our truck at all times (car charger). I use Google GPS on my phone for traveling. Having a backup battery pack is a must-have especially if your a hiker or outdoor enthusiast.

TIP: Because Google has often taken us down the wrong road we purchased a Truckers Large Scale Atlas for backup. The second reason we purchased this Altas because it gives the location and height of bridges and overpasses. Our fifth wheel is 12’13” tall. Be sure to know the height of your RV.

Trucker Road Atlas

This is the Atlas we have.

 

red-canyon tunnel overpass tunnel

27. Sunglasses/hat-

Invest in good quality polarized sunglasses before you go RVing. Polarized lenses help protect your eyes from harmful UV rays and will also help you see images with a clear resolution. A good hat to protect you from the sun.

28. Bug spray-

There is a lot that is simply unpredictable about going camping. You might encounter bugs or other insects that crawl and an effective bug spray might come in handy.

Mosquitoes can also be a nuisance at night, spray your RV and keep your windows and doors closed as you camp around the bonfire at night. This will help kill the mosquitoes and give you peaceful nights in your RV.

Tip – Citronella Candles ATTRACT MOSQUITOES! Put the candle where you are not!

29. Cash-

 Despite all the preparation before hitting the road, having some petty cash for use on the way is certainly not a bad idea.

You might face some emergency situations or you might need to buy some souvenirs you come across while RVing, so carry a reasonable amount of money for use on the way. In certain areas, if you pay cash at the pump you can save money on gasoline or fuel.

30. Bedding-

Clean bedding is necessary for your camping trip. The type of bedding you carry will depend on the weather. Also, consider the amount of storage space that you have in your RV before stocking up more bedding than is necessary. Also, remember to carry your dog’s bed and a few rugs for him.

31. Camping Table

  We bought this at Camping World, 50% off! I love this table. So versatile, I use it inside the RV and out. It collapses easily. Lightweight and easy to store.

folding camping table

folding camping table

32. Surge protector-

Protect your valuable electronic equipment and devices in your RV with a good power surge protector. Click here for the current price. A surge in electricity can be quite destructive and the potential loss and damage are huge compared to the simple act of getting a good surge protector. It is way better to be safe than sorry.

rv surge protector This is a must-have! Don’t take chances of losing your electronics or damaging your electrical system.

33. Fly Swatter

Maybe not everyone’s essential? And I could safely assume not at the top of your shopping list.

I would put the fly swatter in the same category of necessities as toothpicks or maybe Q Tips? Not a necessity until you need one. I hang mine inside a cupboard door on a 3m command hook, which is definitely a necessity for every RVer!

Here’s a Little Trivia for you:

Invented in 1905:

  • Flyswatter was invented by a school teacher
  • Yellow Pages
  • Popsicle invented by an 11-year-old
  • Jukebox with 24 songs
  • Buses
  • Windshield wipers

34. Potholders-

Another item easily overlooked. I prefer Martha Stewart or Pioneer Woman pot holders. It does make a difference. In the past, I would buy them from the dollar store and replace them when needed. Then I invested in some pretty ones from Pioneer Woman. They hold up wash after wash, much better quality.

35. Matches

Matches are usually the last things that come to most of our minds, especially when we have a whole RV camping trip ahead of us. The good thing is it was not forgotten. Please do not forget to carry a box of matches, Not unless you’re trying out for the next Survivor, rubbing sticks and stones together to light up a fire 🙂

36. Marshmallows –

No camping trip is complete without roasting marshmallows over a campfire. And if your RV is equipped with an outdoor tv screen (please invite me) what better way to make a memory by watching a scary movie and roasting marshmallows.

Or doing it the old fashion way, telling scary stories and sitting around a campfire that you used your matches to start while sitting in your comfy chairs, with your flashlight shining up your nose and putting those trash bags to use by throwing the empty marshmallow bags away. So start planning in advance so that you do not leave anything important behind. Go and enjoy your adventure in your RV!

fifth wheel

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Bonnie

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My photo Bonnie

Hi, I’m Bonnie, welcome to RV Groovin Life! My husband and I retired in 2017, sold our house and bought a 2008 Mobile Suite Fifth Wheel. We have been RVing full-time ever since. I started this blog to share what we have learned along the way. I hope you follow us on our journey. Bonnie

Legal Information

I am the sole owner of RV Groovin Life website. This website is a participant in the Amazon Associates, an Affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon.com. This website also participates with other affiliate programs like  adsense, shopstyle and others, with no extra cost to you.

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8 Things I Would Do Differently after RVing Full-time for 1 year.

 

RVing full-time isn’t for everyone. It is an unconventional lifestyle that demands you to be flexible and adaptable and we love it!

We have been conventional our entire life. Now it was time for a change.

truck fifth wheel

Imagine downsizing your life into a small space barely a few hundred square feet that have no room for privacy.

Then throw in a husband/wife/kids/pets – having no choice but to be

up close and personal on a daily basis.

kitchen in fifth wheel

When things get stressful you always have the great outdoors to escape to. 

If you are open to compromises and changes, then traveling full-time could be a special and extraordinary experience. 

In our one year of RVing full-time, We have embarked on so many adventures and created memories that will definitely last a lifetime.

In our case, the positives definitely outweighed the negatives.

It was truly a time of learning and growth.

Of course, looking back from this standpoint now, there are several things I wish Bill and I would have known that would have made it less stressful.

I will share some of the things from our experience that hopefully will help you in your journey.

So let’s jump right in.

8 Things I would do differently after traveling full-time for a year.

#1  Do your homework 

We thought we did our homework and researched everything we could get our hands-on, we still weren’t prepared. There is always a lot to learn.

Some of you might already have a motorhome or fifth wheel, trailer as a weekend-camper.

This post is geared toward the complete novice! Like we were when we started out.

We researched hours, upon hours, upon hours (literally) of Youtube videos of Full-time RVers, which really taught us a lot.

Not to mention the blogs and books we devoured, hoping to gain some confidence, before jumping in.

RV lawn chairs

Haas Lake RV Park

We knew we needed all the help we could get since we have never owned a camper/RV/trailer of any kind.

Let alone tow a fifth wheel! Although we did go camping in a tent. Yep! That’s all the experience we had. Yes, it was scary! But it felt good.

We also went to RV shows and attended RV rallies to get first-hand knowledge of the whole process. This was very helpful.

#2  A practice run is highly recommended

Even though you might be excited about RVing Full-time, there could still be doubts and fears about ditching your life and possessions to committing full-time.

Yes, we have all been there at some point.

The good news is it is totally possible to experience the whole adventure of full time RVing without making permanent lifestyle choices.

So don’t toss your house keys just yet.

house for sale sign

Conduct a trial run..or even more over a period of time.

Although the trial experience won’t give you the actual sense of being without a home, it will help you identify what kind of full-timer you are.

Are you a mover or a “sitter”?

Rent an RV for at least a week or more.

Just to get the feel of living in such close quarters. I don’t know that it would have made a difference. It would have given us a reality check.

The trial run will definitely clarify your biggest doubts before diving in to be a full-timer.

#3  Relationships might take a hit

Let’s face it. The size of an RV doesn’t give couples the luxury of space. Although our 36ft. fifth wheel is plenty big for us, it can get claustrophobic at times when the weather is bad, but not very often.

We actually like less space which means less to maintain!

That’s one of the reasons we decided to sell our 4 bedrooms, 3,000 sq.ft home. There’s always a tradeoff. You have to decide what tradeoffs your willing to make.

As far as relationships go, it will be difficult at times.Bonnie and Bill selfie in truck

If you didn’t fully know your partner before embarking on this journey,

I bet that won’t be an issue after the first couple of months.

Spending 24-hours a day with someone can be a big adjustment and if you are not mentally prepared, it could cause some huge problems.

Make no mistake about it!

My advice is to develop a coping strategy, go on separate trips once in a while, and take long walks alone to clear your head, have a side hobby and above all, be mentally ready.

I love to do mixed media crafts, Bill takes 1-3 mile walks depending on the park. He also loves to spend hours walking the beach searching for seashells (anyone needing some seashells?).

You can turn every fight into a stepping stone and learn more about your partner.

If you are open-minded about it, a stronger and more improved relationship can come out of the whole ordeal.

#4  Live in the moment

When we first started our journey on the road, we were always in a rush.

Bill wanted to cover as much area as we could within the time we had. But this experience isn’t about how many places you’ve been. It’s about actually enjoying your surroundings and creating memories.

Don’t be too sucked into planning things and trying to make it perfect. Stay loose and adjust as you go.

fifth wheel

Choose destinations on-the-go!

Meet new people, discover new places and be more in-tune with the actual journey. Living within the moment truly gives you a newfound appreciation for life.

#5  Pack Light

Another downside to living in an RV? – Limited storage space. Yes guys, it really is that small. Almost everything I read on full=time RVing made emphasis on how small a space is, but I was surprised when I actually stepped into one.

You’re going to need all the space you can get so don’t go cramping it up with stuff you think “might” need. Which I did, I packed way more than I needed. I’m still downsizing as we go. 

It is a huge adjustment for us ladies(men too!) I can tell you that. I had to learn the hard way.

Trust me you won’t even miss those things after you adapt to the simple life. We just think we can’t do without certain things but in reality, we can – we just choose not to.

On the plus side, there are lots of creative ways to maximize the small space you have. Nothing a little DIY can’t remedy.

You can sell on eBay or have a yard sale for all the items you are leaving behind. Gifting family and friends is also a good idea.garage sale

If you absolutely must carry a lot with you, you can store them in a smaller cabin which can be attached to the end of your RV.

However, if you’re not committing to fulltime RVing, you can always rent a storage locker to keep your stuff.

#6  Insurance (read the fine print)

Be warned, there are a lot of insurance decisions to undertake when you decide to live on the road.

These include health, accidents, and theft. Always triple make sure you have full coverage. Replacement value for the RV in cases of theft or damage and for personal items is essential.

There are tons of insurers and different coverage plans.

Study the many options and discounts before choosing the insurance that is best tailored to your lifestyle. Be sure to know your options.

We took what the RV dealer sold us.

We should have shopped around.

#7  Track Your Spending

It doesn’t matter if you are on the Forbes list, a side effect of the full-time RV lifestyle is functioning with less money.

I didn’t track our expenses in the beginning. I do now! Keep a budget and journal all your repairs and maintenance.

Your warranty insurance won’t cover repairs if you can’t prove you’ve had your RV properly maintained. 

We belong to the Good Sam Club and Passport America. I will renew Passport America because we were able to use that in most parks we stayed in.

I’m not sure if I’ll renew Good Sam Club membership?

Watch your budget like a hawk and adjust it accordingly.

We use the Gas Buddy app to find the cheapest. We use this app a lot!

Avoid camping world if you can (we learned the hard way). We spent too much money there, only to learn most Wal-marts carry a lot of RV accessories.

We also rely on the Allstays app for finding RV parks(always read the reviews!) This is a must if you RV full-time. You will figure it out as you go. We not the plan in advance kinda people, sometimes that’s good and sometimes it not. Just leave enough room for flexibility. We do now!

#8  Finding the Right RV

toy hauler RV

You definitely need an RV that matches your needs to ride off into the sunset. I know what you’re thinking – the bigger the better.

This might be one of those situations where it doesn’t apply. Although a big RV guarantees more space, it does have downsides like limiting the number of places you can go due to parking issues.

Think about where you want to stay?

BLM land, RV Parks, State Parks?  Most places will accommodate lengths up to 38-40ft. Definitely, do your homework before getting that 40ft. motorhome to find out if you can fit into your desired campgrounds.

Haas Lake RV Park

One of our favorite RV Parks. Haas RV Campground in Michigan

If you decide on a fifth wheel, do you have the appropriate vehicle to tow it with?

Many decisions, but you will know when it’s right.

Don’t be smooth-talked into a purchase or hornswoggled(the technical term for bullied) by RV salespeople. Be strong!

Don’t be pressured into a purchase!! You can always walk away!

 

Bonus tips:

Familiarize yourself with the RV manual.

You might experience unprecedented breakdowns or electrical faults that might require attention right away. So be prepared to patch doors, windows, and leaky roofs.

Have an emergency toolbox, start out with basics, and add to it as you go.

Be aware and well equipped with all the spare parts you might need on the road. These include spare tires, fluids, among other things which have to be cared for while you are on the road.

It is also important to make note of different points you can get assistance from. Routine servicing and check-ups are good preventive measures against unforeseen circumstances.

It is essential for a smooth sailing life on the road and to ensure peak performance. Full time RVing although fun can be quite risky at times too. There are many things that could go wrong.

Living on the road can be eventful, being prepared for accidents is a necessity.

As such it is imperative that you carry a standard RV medical kit. But don’t just have it – learn how to use it too.

Always be prepared for a medical emergency that could arise.

*Keeping in touch

It is always difficult to pack up your life and leave family and friends behind. Thank goodness for WIFI, keeping in touch has been made a lot easier. Make sure you check out and compare different service providers and resellers to help you select a plan best suited for life on-the-go.

We use AT&t, so far so good!

Many campgrounds are also equipped with wireless connections for all your electronic devices.

Keep in touch with family and friends, so they have knowledge of your whereabouts in case of emergency. Make a blog and share your experiences as you move.

*Finding Descent RV Campgrounds

When you are first starting out, you might struggle with finding the kinds of campgrounds, there are many apps to help find a state park or RV campground.

RV park review app is one to check out or the one we use is Allstays Camp & RV app. That’s just to name a few.

ALWAYS READ THE CAMPGROUND REVIEWS!

*Weather is Key

This point might seem obvious, but a known fact is first-timers don’t really tend to pay too much attention to the weather (we didn’t) We do now!

Bill has now become the weatherman (he is obsessed with this gadget)!

I get hour by hour weather updates on the temperature inside and out with our new La Crosse temperature gauge.

I have considered hiding it at times.digital temperature gauge

Our next purchase will be a Noaa weather transistor radio, after just experiencing a power outage in the RV park we are staying in.

Both of our phones were dead

I didn’t have a battery backup (I will now), we could have charged them in our truck except it was parked at the entrance and the temperature was 94′.

Nope, not happening. So we waited, luckily the power was only out about 5 hours.

Researching the weather and paying closer attention saves you the hassle of traveling through unfavorable weather conditions.

It can also help you in being strategic when planning trips. Visiting a place under the right weather conditions can have a strong impact on your whole experience.

shopping

Getting ready for a new journey

Well, there you have it! All the things I would do differently if I had a do-over. (I’m sure I’ll come up with a few more after this is posted)

The full-time RV experience truly is worth a shot. It not only gives you a new and better perspective on life but helps you grow too.

Not the ugly duckling into a beautiful swan type growth, but more of a messy-confusing and beautiful one.

Remember, you don’t have to commit yourself to full-time RVing to enjoy this experience.

Seasonal choices are possible without permanent lifestyle alterations.

I hope by sharing our experiences, will help in making your journey less stressful and more enjoyable.

I encourage you to be open to change and follow your dreams.

It can be scary, just take baby steps before taking the plunge. Wishing you the best in whatever you decide. Please let me know how goes!

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RV Groovin Life

Bonnie

 

My photo Bonnie

Hi, I’m Bonnie, welcome to RV Groovin Life! My husband and I retired in 2017, sold our house and bought a 2008 Mobile Suite Fifth Wheel. We have been RVing full-time ever since. I started this blog to share what we have learned along the way. I hope you follow us on our journey. Bonnie

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