Can You Camp At Walmart During Covid?

Can you camp at Walmart during Covid

Can You Camp at Walmart During COVID – RV Groovin Life

Summer’s here, and I’m sure you know what it means? Road trips, going on a vacation, camping? Umm, not precisely. The year is 2020, unfortunately. A year that has been afflicted with lockdowns, quarantine, and uncertainty. However, things shouldn’t be all gloom and doom.

Social distancing measures have drained all the summer’s fun by restricting pool parties, camping, and stalling out family vacations, leaving people bored. There’s some good news though, especially for campers. If you needed a place to stay for the night during your road trip, you could camp at Walmart on the way to your destination!

Can You Camp at Walmart During Covid

RV Groovin Life

CAMPING OVERNIGHT AT WALMART

If you’re a camper, you’ve probably heard by now that Walmart’s offer for free parking overnight for one night. You could also be questioning yourself about the COVID situation and how it may affect your situation. Well, I’m here to assure you that, yes, it certainly is a valid question, but it could be viewed from two perspectives. Both legally, and personally.

Legal perspective

Some Walmart stores are accommodating while others are not…

Some Walmart stores offer an option for campers to stay in their trailer homes overnight. In contrast, others, unfortunately, have had to change their policies over a couple of issues such as their customer’s safety. Lots of cases have been reported where homeless people with RVs have made it a habit to camp overnight for days and cause disturbances and littering.

This situation has caused Walmart management in some stores to be stricter regarding their policies. RV campers who insisted to camp in such stores at night were either ordered by the police to move along or fined. These policies, however, have not been put into effect by all stores nationwide. It would probably be better if you could do some research on the store you’d like to camp at for the night beforehand.

Can you camp at Walmart during Covid

RV Groovin Life

Cities with an ordinance against parking

Some cities have passed an ordinance against parking. This means that even though Walmart management might allow you to park your trailer overnight, an officer may ask you to leave or even fine you. It’s therefore important for you to research on the city’s laws if it’s in your plans to camp at Walmart.

Personal perspective: depends entirely on one’s preference.

The prices on camping grounds have gone high from around $20 a night to $40-$50 a night. Most camping grounds are also closed for the season because of the fear of the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that those who have to travel during this period must look for an alternative. While there are a few other options left your best bet, assuming you find one, is to find a Walmart store willing to accommodate RVers for the night.

Common guidelines for camping at Walmart;

1.  Safety

Camping at Walmart at night is generally safe, that said and done, you should exercise caution at all times. There are security guards at Walmart who may or may not intervene in case there is an issue. However, it would help if you did not put yourself in that situation. Walmart’s policy is not very specific as to how an employee should act in case of a security threat.

Camp in an open space with enough lighting and avoid crowded areas with people that look sketchy. If you feel like the area has a bad vibe, you should move along and find a better place. You could also do some research and choose Walmart stores in low crime areas.

2.  Follow Walmart rules

  • As their guests, you should always make an effort to abide by their rules such as;
  • Obeying the posted rules and regulations
  • Stay for a single night
  • Don’t put out any lawn chairs or barbecue grills
  • Get permission from someone in charge
  • Cleaning after yourself. Don’t leave trash lying around for Walmart employees to clean. Leave the place cleaner than you found it.
  • Purchase gas and goods as a way of saying thanks whenever possible · Stay safe. Avoid dangerous people and activities.
  • Don’t make any unnecessary noises

3.  COVID-19’s effects (Walmart)

Although COVID-19 has affected many areas of our lives, we’ve got to reach a point where we realize that we are the only ones who can keep ourselves safe. Camping can expose you to the Coronavirus, and it’s ultimately your decision to decide whether to go out or stay indoors, however, if you decide to go outdoors try and stay safe whether on Walmart or elsewhere.

Where can you park your RV?

Look for where the RV’s are parked. You could also go in and check with a Walmart employee. Don’t park in front of the stores. The best bet is to go as far back into the parking lot as possible so as not to affect the regular flow of traffic in and out of the store.

Why should you camp at Walmart?

You don’t need a reservation plus it saves you $$

Parking your trailer, or car for that matter, at Walmart, is free while camping grounds aren’t and you don’t need any reservations. Just drive in after doing some research on store policies and get to relax and lay down for the night.

Supplies

Walmart stores have almost anything and resupplying from Walmart is a very big convenience. Grab your groceries, gasoline, and more in the evening as you plan on resuming your trip.

Can you camp at Walmart during Covid

RV Groovin Life

Maintenance and service for your RV

You could get your RV serviced with new tires a change of fluids and more. Walmart is a cheap place to buy supplies and stuff, but it is also so much more. It’s part of the community. It maintains the spirit of great customer service by providing people, especially RVers, with a place to relax and re-energize at night while they get ready to resume their road trip in the morning. Although the COVID -19 pandemic has disrupted many services, Walmart’s camping policy remains relatively unaffected and would be counted on in several stores.

Stay Safe and Happy camping!

Written by: Rachael Best (Freelance writer)

RV Groovin Life

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Rving during the Coronavirus Pandemic: Challenges, Triumphs, and Considerations

RVing and Corona

RV Groovin Life

In the last couple of years, more and more people have been adopting the RV way of life. However, the freedom of living and travel that was once alluring is quickly becoming dreadful in the face of the corona pandemic.

Campsites are shutting down, and governments don’t seem to have van-lifers and RV dwellers included in their corona guidelines and strategies. This could be the end of a culture. Even so, Rving is all about adapting and triumphing over challenges.

*Please note as the Covid-19 rules and regulations change daily, always call ahead for openings/closings of RV Parks, National Parks, and State Parks.

COVID-19 challenges for RV Dwellers

 

1. Van-lifers make a ‘negligible ‘segment of the population.

As a result, no government or health agency has taken the time to create custom guidelines for them. There are stay at home orders, but how does that apply to RVers? Campsites are shutting en masse, and quite often, the police come around to tell you to “go home,” not knowing that your vehicle is your home.

2. It’s hard to stay inside your car all day.

The stay at home order is being interpreted literarily by law enforcers in certain regions. That means that RV dwellers really have to stay inside their vehicles. It beats the whole meaning of Rving, which should be about the great outdoors. And it might be easier when you are alone as an adult, but kids—it’s hard to tether them inside the vehicle for the entire day.

3. it’s scary. Most campers just want to find a place and lock it down.

Most of them are conscious about their health and want to help stop the pandemic. That means no more sunsets, beaches, and wildlife. Staying put in a small house is a big sacrifice. And it requires mobile homeowners to find a safe place to stay for longer, which is a challenge in itself.

4. Parks and campsites have been closed to everyone.

Things are bad in Europe and countries with higher corona infection rates. All public spots are closed. For a van lifer/ RV dweller who has no place to call home other than their vehicle, his/her life is, in other words, is ‘outlawed.’ In states like California, Florida, Colorado, and 26 others, campgrounds remain closed. Police are pushing RV dwellers around.

In their mind, everyone has a brick and stick home that they can go to. A public place is not a home, that’s what they believe, and that’s what someone needs to address.

In the early days of the outbreak, many people turned to Rving as a way to escape the pandemic.

The national government encouraged recreation as a way to successfully implement social distancing. In the period between Feb 1st and March 11th, for instance, camping grounds in California state parks had 77 % more reservations compared to a year ago. But things started changing when closures began around mid-march to combat the pandemic. Now, Rving falls among “non-essential travel” in most state guidelines.

5. Dispersed camping is allowed in some public camps at this time, but that has a two weeks ultimatum.

In the states, some parks and campgrounds are still in operation. You can rough it out there because there is no other alternative. There are many acres of land owned by the Bureau of Land Management –you could set up your RVs in these areas. But after 2 weeks, you will have to find a new isolated place to hunker down.

6. The disconnection from the world is getting wider than is comfortable.

Now all forms of shopping have to be done online and probably delivered to lockers in town where you can pick them with minimal interactions. During the pandemic, it’s hard to meet fellow travelers.

Life in the dispersed camps is isolation with pets and wildlife as the closest thing to friends. And in such campsites, there is no electricity, no showers or even bathrooms. You have to live without all the comforts of RV facilities.

7. All travel plans have been canceled.

You must now stay in one place indefinitely. With the coronavirus pandemic, living in an RV feels like living in an actual home, at least on the permanency aspect.

You cannot travel to new locations as you please. You are tethered down to one place. And when you do move, you will have to self-quarantine for 14 days before even stepping out to buy groceries.

8. Social distancing is a big challenge in an RV.

There isn’t much space in an average RV, and that means that you might still be in close contact with family members even when they show signs of an infection. If there is one case of coronavirus infection in your mobile home, it’s highly likely that everyone will contract it.

9. Storage space is limited, and so there is always a chance that you will run out on tissue paper.

Unlike those that live in fixed homes, vacationers in camp trailers cannot shop in bulk. There is not enough space to store groceries. That means that you must make several trips to the retail store, which makes it riskier for you and your family. It also means that your family could suffer the biggest brunt if there is ever a commodity shortage orchestrated by the virus.

10. When you get sick out of state, it’s a medical insurance conundrum.

What does an RV dweller do when they fall sick out of their home state? Does their state insurance still apply for where they would be?

In most cases, out of state coverages only cater for medical emergencies. There is also no definitive description of what these ‘medical emergencies’ entail.

11. People are suspicious and concerned about travelers.

Locals are growing colder towards visitors and tourists. In an incident at Utah’s Arches National Park, locals came with vuvuzelas shouting at travelers to leave, that the town did not have enough medical facilities and supplies for tourists.

Moab hospital boss asked visitors to stay away from the parks, in response to an earlier statement by the state that had hinted that staying in the outdoors was the best way to beat the virus.

RVing and Corona

RV Groovin Life

The Positive Side

1. The isolation takes you further from the pandemic.

Even in disperse campsites; there is a sense of calm and peace. There are no crowds, and you are outside without worrying about contracting the disease. Most RVers feel safer with their nomadic lifestyle, and despite the many challenges as listed above, if given the option, most of them would still choose the bus life.

2. You still get to enjoy nature with family, as opposed to being holed up at home.

Even though you might have to look harder to find an open camping facility at this time, the rewards justify the hassle. Also when it’s isolated camping in the BLM or national forest service lands, there are still plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors with your family. It beats being hopelessly marooned in a brick and mortar home.

3. RVs for MDs are now helping health workers get to safeguard their families.

As a front liner in the fight against the coronavirus, you wouldn’t want to go back home to your family after interacting with COVID 19 patients. Thankfully, many RV owners with vehicles that they don’t use have stepped out to donate them to healthcare workers. With these recreational vehicles, doctors can park and live near home without really being home to risk the health of their family members.

4. The RV community is showing love to campers on websites and social media.

To help fellow campers sail through the coronavirus pandemic, fellow Rvers are sharing ideas online. They are spreading the news about open campsites, those that are about to close, and the good Samaritans offering parking on their lands.

The coronavirus crisis has brought out the love and camaraderie in the Rving world. It is much unlike the situation with land-based homes.

5. It’s easier to liver cheaply, and that’s good because tough times are coming.

An ‘economic winter’ is coming. All signs point towards a recession. If you are a Rver, all you have to worry about is a few dollars that you have to pay for ‘rent’ at campgrounds every day. And if you have the grit to toughen it out in BLM lands, then it’s free.

That’s unlike real estate home dwellers that are stuck with mortgages and rents. It’s going to be extremely hard to make it work amid layoffs and furloughs. Increasingly people might turn to Rving as a way to sail through the tough times.

6. Vulnerable Rvers are opting to stay put in their campsites.

There is plenty of assistance linking campers aged over 60 to parks with long term reservations. That means that they can stay in one place for long and avoid risky and unnecessary travel. That’s the best thing to do now, to find somewhere safe, put the travel plans on hold and wait it out.

RVing and Corona

RV Groovin Life

Considerations

1. Get off the road and go somewhere safe.

If you have a family member that can offer you parking or accommodation, go there for a while. All RV dwellers have a responsibility, just like everybody else, to help flatten the curve for the corona infection. Minimizing travel is one way to go about it.

2. If you have to go on with camping, stay in dispersed BLMs where you can have a safe distance from fellow campers.

Regulated RV parks are closed, and those that are open might be crowded at this time. Your best shot at minimizing the risk of spreading or contracting the virus is to park in an isolated place.

3. Don’t go too far away into isolation. Stay close to your home state. Stay where there is a medical facility.

 

4. Stock up on food and water as much as it is possible. The idea is to minimize your shopping trips to the grocery store.

Also, stay in touch and updated. Talk to your family and friends back home to keep up with the state of the pandemic and new rules in your home state or country. Watch the news.

5. Find alternative ways to spend time.

Maybe you have been forced to cancel your trips, or perhaps you are minimizing your outdoor activities to stay safe—what you need now are ways to have fun without travel. Enjoy the beauty of nature by yourself or with your family. Read, if you have books or a kindle subscription. Watch movies. Don’t go out to parties or social gatherings.

6. Follow the stipulated personal safety measures.

Wash your hands whenever you get back from meeting people or shopping. Sanitize the surfaces that you frequently touch. Wear a mask when you go out. Don’t touch your face. All these measures could help you stay safe from the virus even as you remain true to the RV life.

7. Strategize your financials. There is no telling when this pandemic will end.

And that means that the temporary gigs that most RV dwellers pick up along the way could remain closed for long.

So find ways to save money.

Consider free campsites, shop at discount stores, and minimize unnecessary expenses.

8. Stay fit and adopt a positive mentality.

At least you are in the great outdoors with nature all around you. It’s different for fixed home dwellers that are trapped in their four walls. What you can do now to live through these tough times is exercise regularly and maintains a positive attitude.

9. Stay active online and on social media.

Websites like The Dyrt are regularly updating on a state by state camp closures. It would help to stay on top of such news and to find alternatives before you have the police knocking on your door.

10. Living alternatives for RV dwellers at the moment, as mentioned by Lonely Planet, include AirBnB and temporary rentals. There are websites, social media pages, and apps that can link you with the right facilities.

The Future

The future remains uncertain and is mostly dependent on how successful the world is at combating the pandemic. Meanwhile, stay safe and observe the CDC and the president’s COVID 19 guidelines. Stay updated on official notices and closures and other restrictions to parking and travel. And don’t forget to stock up on hand sanitizers.

Written by R. Green For RV Groovin Life

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7 Important Things To Consider When Buying A Pop-Up Camper

7 Important Things to Consider When Buying a Pop-Up Camper

A pop-up camper trailer to me is part RV and part tent. It provides more comfort than a tent and is more affordable than an RV.  RV stands for – recreational vehicle; a pop-up tent trailer falls into the category of towed recreational RVs.

It can be collapsed for hassle-free transport and storage. Pop-up trailers, aka pop-up campers, are perfect for that outdoor enthusiast.

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They are gaining popularity because of the affordability and freedom they provide. You don’t have the worry about the height of your pop-up camper when driving through low overpasses or wondering if your rig will have enough space at RV Parks & State Parks.

7 Important things to consider when buying a pop-up camper

RV Groovin LIfe

Storing a pop-up camper will also be easier and less expensive.

They just make RVing less complicated. Granted, you give up some of the comforts a travel trailer, fifth wheel or motorhome provide, but you’ll have more money in your pocket. It really depends on your lifestyle and what you can afford.

Pop-up campers come in a wide range of designs and costs. You can enjoy recreational vehicle living as a couple or the family. Some even feature bathrooms, but those usually come with a higher price tag.

It is easy to find a pop-up camper that suits your sleeping and RV living needs from distributors such as Camping World, RV Universe, Generalrv, Leesurelite, among others.

But before considering a pop-up trailer, do your homework first. There are various things to keep in mind when shopping for a pop-up camper.

7 Important things to consider when buying a pop-up camper

RV Groovin Life

1. Price

Pop-up tent trailers vary in price ranges. Of course, the price depends on factors such as the size, extra features, type, condition -new vs. used, etc. Of all towed recreational vehicles, pop-up tent trailers are the most basic, and so will always be cheaper.

A luxury motor home, for example, can cost over $100k; the price of a new travel trailer starts somewhere at $8k while a basic new pop-up tent trailer just costs between $4k-$13k.

Basic pop-op tent trailers feature a fold-down dinette, sink, an on-board fresh-water tank, a DC power system, refrigerator, stove/ furnace, interior lighting, storage cabinets, and sleeping bunks.

Of course, you can go for advanced pop-up tent trailers, i.e., high-end models that include non-standard RV living features such as heated mattresses, front deck storage, microwave, etc.

2019 Coachmen Pop-up Camper – Click for details

2. Material – Is it suitable for camping in your preferred location, climate?

Conventional pop-up tent trailers feature a hard-center roof and soft sides with screens. There are other types of pop-up campers that, when opened, form an A-frame; they feature hard sides. Which side material should you go for?

 Soft-sided pop-up campers

7 Important things to consider when buying a pop-up camper

RV Groovin Life

Choose the soft-sided pop-up tent trailers when camping in pleasant weather. The soft sides feature windows with screens that allow gentle air through while keeping out bugs. And when its rainy, you can stay dry by zipping up the waterproof material over the tent trailer’s screen.

The only disadvantage of the soft side pop-ups is they don’t fare well among the twigs, falling branches, and hard objects.

 Hard-side pop-up trailers

7 Important things to consider when buying a pop-up camper

RV Groovin Life

Go for the hard-sided pop-up campers if you want more protection from external elements. Hard-sided popups feature solid exterior walls but collapse and tow just as their soft-side counterparts.

Most hard-side pop-ups are the advanced RV that feature amenities such as bathrooms, microwave, oven, etc.

3. Set up time and Tear downtime

The time taken to set up and take down pop-up tent campers vary from model to model. On average, it takes 15-45 minutes to set up most pop up tent campers.

While the set-up time depends on the traveling supplies you brought in tow, it mostly depends on the model set up so inquire first or better yet ask for a demonstration of the whole thing. Go for the easy-to-set models if you want to set stuff down quickly and enjoy the outdoors.

7 Important things to consider when buying a pop-up camper

RV Groovin Life

4. Is the Floor plan suitable for your family and or social needs?

Pop-up campers design range in sleeping capabilities, kitchen, sitting area, and bath size. Before purchasing  a pop-up tent trailer, do your homework on the floor plan; how many people are going to use the pop-up?

When going shopping for a camper, bring your family or friends with you to see how suitable the floor plan is. If possible take it for a test run.

5. Extra Amenities … Do you need them or they are just additional costs?

Not all pop-up tent campers are created equal, and when it comes to providing amenities for comfortable RV living, this is where you are going to notice the difference in price.

 Toilet/bathroom

Are you the type who likes to take care of business in your trailer? Or do you find campground amenities just alright? When choosing pop-ups, the question of whether or not to pay more for a toilet/shower is crucial.

Using your toilet comes with the extra job of having to dump waste tanks later at the dump stations. Plus, ensure the tent camper can hold and pump water for the toilet when not connected to campground water.

  • Water heater

Personal showers, of course, need water heaters, which adds to the total cost and upkeep of the whole camping experience.

  • Heating and cooling options

Depending on the weather conditions at your camping destination, you can choose from various heating and cooling solutions. But most come with gas/electric heater to warm the tent during cold weather and some are prepped for A/C. Check out this 2019 Coachmen Clipper for $7,899

Not all pop-ups feature heaters and air conditioning units, though. Extremely thin walls won’t insulate against heat and cold properly, while double duty units can be a bit expensive. So do your research on the cooling/heating system of the camper before buying.

6. Storage

Does the tent camper offer enough space to store your travel supplies? Most pop-up tent campers offer a great deal of storage for your traveling supplies. But stuffing up the pop-up tent trailer can lead to towing issues. So learn how to simplify the camping supplies you bring in tow.

If you are going to camp near a heavily populated area, you don’t need much storage space since you can go to the market and pick things up in your truck.

7. Used vs. new models

New pop-up tent trailer prices start from $4k to $13k. But if your ideal camper is beyond your budget, you can go with used models. Second-hand campers cost a bit cheaper, but you have to watch out for any repair needs, water damage, rotting floors, a leaky roof, ripped canvas, broken lift systems, etc.

7 Important things to consider when buying a pop-up camper

RV Groovin Life

If you are considering buying a second-hand camper,  be sure to have it thouroughly inspected.

The best Pop-ups are both beginner-friendly and user-friendly. If you are new to camping or RVing, a pop-up camper is relativly easy as far a towing and set-up. Although there are some designs that can be difficult for one person. Before you sign on the dotted line, be sure to do a complete tear down and set-up.

And make sure the pop-up camper is the right weight for your tow vehicle. Know your car or trucks maximum tow capacity. And avoid used pop-up’s with extreme wear, parts can be costly.

Listed below are the Pros and Cons of a Pop-Up Camper?

The top of the carrier consists of a tent similar to the ones used while camping. But in a pop-up camper, they are bigger. It holds all the important spaces for cooking, sleeping and more.

Although it seems like, pop up campers are the perfect choice for camping, there are some flaws in it as well. That brings us to the topic of the article below, the pros and cons of a pop-up camper.

Pros –

  • First of all, pop-up campers are lightweight and easy to tow.
  • Pop up campers don’t take up much space. Able to access most RV parks and State Parks.
  • Store it safely in your garage
  • It keeps you connected with nature.
  • Most vehicles would be capable to handle the weight of a pop-up camper.
  • A pop-up camper is very affordable vs. a motorhome or fifth wheel. Fixer-uppers can start as low a $1000. But the average cost is about $5000- $6000. Of course, a new camper can go up to $11,000 – $15,000.

Cons –

Since we ended the pros with the cost, let us discuss it further about its drawbacks.

  • If you are planning to get a big pop-up camper with all the facilities, they can get expensive.
  • The problem is, it is hard to find a pop-up with a decent bathroom. You may get the ones with cassette toilets. So, you need to do your research before investing.
  • Caring for a pop-up can be difficult
  • Since the tent is the main part, you can’t let anything happen to it. First of all, you need to keep your eyes peeled for holes.
  • Additionally, if the tent gets wet, you need to dry it carefully. If it is not dried properly, then mold could form on it.
  • Replacing the top part can be expensive, so you need to keep your senses sharp while taking care of it.
  • Folding parts can be tricky
  • However, disassembling them can be time-consuming and hard.
  • If you like to move around, a pop-up is lightweight. But this also means that it can easily tip over in severe weather and wind.

7 things to consider before you buy a pop-up camper

Final words

These are some pros and cons of having a pop-up camper. Overall, I think they are a convenient and good option for first-time campers. Check out alternatives, attend some RV Shows, rent a pop-up for the weekend and take a trial run before making any decisions. Don’t be rushed into purchasing until you have done your homework.

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Happy Camping!

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What Do I Need For Full-Time RVing? Ultimate Checklist

What Do I Need for full-time RVing?

RV Groovin Life

In this article, I am sharing what I think are must-haves accessories/gadgets & tools for RVing full-time. For the most part, these are things we use on a daily basis. Even though we RV full-time in a fifth wheel, most of these items can also be used in a motorhome or travel trailer.

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When we began RVing full-time in 2017, I started making lists. Lists for everything, spending lists, grocery list, to-do lists, RV park review lists, etc. So, the last few months I’ve been making lists of RV must-haves and organizing them into categories. With the exception of accessories for setting up your RV, every RVers list will vary depending on their lifestyle.

 

Being a crafter, I also have a list of art supplies, which I won’t include in this post.

The lists I’ve created are the basic must-haves for full-time or occasional RVers. I think it’s also important to include things that provide comfort, like a 4 inch foam mattress topper as a must-have, which I wish we would have purchased sooner.

What Do I Need For Full-time RVing?

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RVers Essential Checklist of Must-Haves –

Checklist Menu

  1. Must Haves-Tools & Accessories for Setting Up Your RV
  2. RV Maintenance/Repair/Cleaning Tools & Supplies
  3. RV Kitchen Tools, Appliances & Accessories
  4. Bedroom Accessories
  5. Bathroom Organization
  6. Road Safety Gear & Gadgets
  7. Tech Gadgets
  8. Security Gadgets for your RV
  9. Outdoor Living Accessories
  10. Apps for RVers
  11. Miscellaneous

 

What do I need for full-time RVing?

RV Groovin Life

1. Must Haves-Tools & Accessories for Setting Up Your RV

What do I need for Full-time RVing?

RV Groovin Life

What do I need for Full-time RVing?

RV Groovin Life

What do I need for Full-time RVing?

RV Groovin Life

 

2. RV Maintenance/Repair/Cleaning – Tools & Supplies

  • Drill
  • Sledgehammer or Hatchet –
  • Hammer – Screwdrivers – Pliers – Channel Locks
  • Air Compressor
  • Fuses
  • Flashlights & Lantern
  • Torque Wrench
  • Duct tape
  • Masking Tape – I keep masking tape in the bathroom for taping shower door shut when traveling
  • Space Saving Collapsible bucket
  • Broom
  • Rake
  • Long Handle soft brush for roof and windows & RV
  • Totes for storing Supplies
  • Batteries – for flashlights, lanterns, computer mouse, tv remote… ( I keep them in a clear storage container under the kitchen sink.) I’m surprised how often we access it!
  • Scissors
  • Bungee Cords in different sizes for holding things in place when traveling
  • Vacuum Cleaner
  • Toolboxes in different sizes – we keep a small tote case handy with tools we use most often. By having several smaller tools boxes, you can distribute the weight better in your RV.
  • Measuring Tape – we have several, one inside the RV and a couple in the toolboxes
  • A variety of nails, bolts and screws & washers
  • Command Hooks – I use these everywhere
  • Gorilla glue
  • Channel Locks – small & large
  • Socket Set- ½” & 3/8” full set of both
  • 50ft of ½” rope
  • Electrical tape
  • Compact shovel – You don’t want a cheap Walmart brand, they break, we know!

 

Tool box in a pickup truck

RV Groovin Life

What do I need for Full-time RVing?

RV Groovin Life

What do I need for full-time RVing?

RV Groovin Life

 

3. RV Kitchen Tools, Appliances & Accessories

  • Coffee Maker – We just bought a Kerig, they cost more per cup but I love the convience of making just a cup whenever I want. We used to have a Mr. Coffee. I liked it, but I love the Kerig now. It also takes up less space.
  • Instapot – I love this for cooking chic peas!
  • George Forman Grill/Waffle – I like my George Forman for grilling brats and burgers
  • Nutribulltet (small size) – we often make smoothies for breakfast/I also use as a food processor for parmesan, walnuts, etc.…
  • Immersion Blender- space-saving appliance
  • Toaster
  • Electric Tea Kettle- I’m not a tea drinker, but I use this instead of boiling water in a pan
  • Hand Mixer
  • 6 Quart Crockpot – I like making a beef roast in a crockpot.

What do I need for full-time RVing?

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RV Kitchen Accessories

  • Dish strainer
  • Spice rack organizer
  • Potholders
  • Trash Can
  • Pitcher
  • Tea kettle
  • Silverware
  • Storage Containers
  • 7 Dish Towels – microfiber
  • 7 Dish Cloths
  • Paper towel holder
  • Cutting Board – I love this cutting board!
  • Dishes/Plates – dinner plates & salad plates – soup bowls
  • Coffee cups & glasses –
  • Pots & Pans – 1 – 10” frying pan – 1- 8” frying pan – 1- 6qt pot- for potatoes-noodles…
  • Set of 3 Mixing Bowls
  • Cookie Sheet – These 1/2 baking sheets fit perfect in my convection oven. I gave my full size cookie sheets to my daughter.
  • 1 Small and 1 Large glass casserole dish
  • 1 set of plastic measuring cups
  • 1 glass measuring cup (2 cups)

Kitchen Tools

  • 2 Spatulas
  • 1 Ladle
  • 2 large Spoons
  • 2 Tongs
  • 1 Wisk
  • Can Opener
  • Bottle Opener
  • 3 wooden spoons
  • Scissors
  • 2 Paring Knives
  • 2 Sharp Knives
  • 1 Serrated Knife
  • 1” Melon Baller for making Cookies ( I’ll share my Killer Bee Cookie Recipe Below)
  • Cork Screw
  • Potato Peeler
  • Hand potato masher

What do I need for full-time RVing?

RV Groovin Life

4. RV Bedroom Accessories

  • 4 “foam mattress topper – this is definitely a must-have if your RV bed is like most – terrible! We have a king-size bed that was very hard and uncomfortable. If you decide to invest in a topper don’t get anything less than a 4”. So worth the investment!
  • Space-saving hangers – they save so much space! I had these before RVing. I also purchased a set for all my kids for Christmas. (Don’t get the cheap ones, I tried them-junk!
  • Comforter – I replaced my heavy quilt with a lightweight comforter, we chose not to have a washer & dryer to have more storage. It cost less to dry lightweight blankets, towels, and comforters and takes less time to dry!
  • Space saving hangers – Don’t get the cheap ones, they break quickly. I bought mine on QVC shopping channel and love them.
  • Drawer organizers –

5. RV Bathroom Storage and Organizing Accessories

  • Over the door towel & clothes hanger
  • Toothbrush Holder
  • Shampoo Holder
  • Trash Can
  • Auto-shutoff Night Lite

 

6. Road Safety Tools, Gadgets & Accessories for RV

  • Safety Vest
  • Cones
  • Flasher/ Road flares
  • UltraSafe Smart Battery Charger –
  • Lithium Jump Starter –
  • Lithium Bat

 

7. Tech – WiFi Gadgets for RV’s

  • WIFI Ranger – Extends WiFi signal, Improves connection at Campgrounds
  • WeBoost 4G Cell Service Booster – Get better Cell service on the road
  • Verizon 4G LTE Mobile Hotspost – Fast, Secure WIFI, works anywhere you Get Cell Service

 

8. Security & Safety Gadgets for Your RV

  • New Locks for your RV
  • Motion Detector
  • Hitch Lock
  • Fire extinguisher

 

9. Outdoor Living Accessories

10. Apps for RVers

  • Allstays – $9.99 – Locate RV parks and campgrounds, rest areas, tunnels, inclines …
  • Gas Buddy – Find the cheapest gas or fuel in your area
  • RV Park and Campground Reviews
  • RV Parky – Find over 25,000 listings of RV parks and campgrounds
  • Campendium – For boondocking, has 10s of thousands of places to camp
  • Harvest Hosts – A membership network of 900+ wineries, for RVers to visit
  • Boondocking – Over 700 boondocking locations throughout the US.
  • RV Pocket Reference – $1.99 – A wide variety of info about RV’s and their systems

11. Miscellaneous –

  • Fan
  • Space heater
  • Light Bulbs
  • Maps/Atlas
  • First aid kit
  • Extension cords
  • Rain jackets
  • Matches/Lighter
  • Umbrella
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect Repellent
  • Fly swatter
  • Cash
  • Cell battery charger
  • RV tire covers

Summary

I’m sure I overlooked some must-haves & wants, but this is a good start. This is a general list, it will vary depending on your rig, location and whether you RV fulltime or just occasionally. If you’re new to RVing don’t feel you should go spend alot of money. Make sure you have the essentials for setting up your RV. Once you start your journey you’ll know what things you need and what things you don’t. Before you hit the road do a few trial runs. It helps,especially if your a newbie!

See you on the road!

RV Groovin Life

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Don’t Make These Mistakes With Your RV Awning!

My RV Fridge Won’t Get Cold?

Seniors RVing Solo

Bonnie

 

My RV Fridge Won’t Get Cold? How To Troubleshoot?

This article will explain how an RV refrigerator works, correct temperature, how to maintain them, some basic troubleshooting tips.

(This article contains affiliate links)

why won't my RV fridge get cold?

Tips to Enable Your RV Refrigerator to Run Efficiently:

The RV fridge is one of those appliances that is fantastic when it is working well, and it’s extremely frustrating when it’s not working well.

So, let’s start with some general things that you should know

  • RV Refrigerator Temperature

In general, the temperature should be 35 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Keeping your RV Level

I will also share with you ways you can boost the efficiency of your refrigerator and how to maintain the proper temperature. RV refrigerators are not very efficient. Below are things you can do to help boost their efficiency.

RV Refrigerator Basics

  • Propane

The first thing I want you to do is to turn on your propane tank. You can decide to turn on one or both.

propane tanks in RV

The second thing I will like you to do is to make sure that your battery is hooked up, and that you have your batteries charged

You can tell if your RV fridge is working or not by the check light is it on or off. If the check light comes on that means nothing is working. And when that happens, you need to turn your refrigerator off and back on.

There are a couple of reasons a check light will come on. It’s either the rig isn’t level or the power got disconnected, or you forgot to turn on your propane. So, just reset it and you should be good to go.

Another thing I would like you to remember is that when you go to a gas station and there are fumes and things like that, make sure that you turn your refrigerator off, and also turn the propane cylinders off. This is because there is an open flamer, behind the refrigerator wall and that can ignite.

Check the Seals around the Door

  • Check the seals

to make sure that they are airtight when closed. If your seals are weak, you need to replace them. When your seals are weak, the cold air will escape from the refrigerator, therefore, your refrigerator won’t get to the desired temperature.

Girl looking in a RV refrigerator

You can check your seals by grabbing a dollar bill and then closing the refrigerator together with the dollar bill. Make sure that half of the bill is closed together with the fridge and the other end showing outside. If you pull the dollar bill and there is some kind of resistance, it indicates that your seals are strong. If it is the other way around, then it means you need to replace the seals.

Set the Right Temperature

  • Set your refrigerator to the right temperature

A lot of the newer refrigerators have a display outside with which you can digitally set the temperature of the refrigerator.

With the older refrigerators, they have a thermostat on the fins inside. And when you push the thermostat up, it makes the refrigerator cooler. Make sure that your thermostat is intact, else you won’t have your refrigerator becoming cold or even working.

RV refrigerator thermostat

You can also use a thermometer together with the thermostat to set the temperature of your refrigerator to your desired temperature.

RV Refrigerators are Different from Residential Refrigerators

  • Rv Refrigerators vs Residential

With your RV refrigerators, you’re typically going to see a two-way refrigerator. This kind can run primarily off propane or electric. If you have a three-way refrigerator, it can run off the batteries.

rv refrigerator

Generally, most RV refrigerators are absorption refrigerators being it either two-way or three-way. The way this works is that it absorbs the heat out of the refrigerator space and the freezer space, and when there is heat absent, the refrigerator will become cold.

Interior of RV

You’ll also see some differences in how they operate. With a residential refrigerator, you can get it down in temperature very quickly, however, with an absorption refrigerator, you want to turn it on the night before if you’re getting ready to go on a trip. This is because they take a considerable amount of time to get down in temperature.

Do not Put Warm Food in an RV Refrigerator

  • RV refrigerators aren’t that efficient

You want to avoid putting in warm food. Because the refrigerator is then going to absorb the warmth out of the food to keep the temperature in your fridge where it needs to be.

Packing Your Food Correctly

  • The way that you put in your food inside the refrigerator can affect its efficiency

Load the fridge in such a way that you have space to allow air to get from the top to the bottom. The main part of the cooling comes from the fins, and if the fins are blocked with food, there won’t be any circulation of cold air, which tends to make your fridge inefficient. So, you do not want to jam-pack your fridge with food.

RV refrigerator with food inside

Do not block an entire shelf the refrigerator should be able to circulate air on its own.

Use an Auxiliary Fan

Another way to get more air circulation within your refrigerator is to get a small fan and then place it inside the fridge. The fan will evenly distribute the cold air inside the fridge.

Do not Open Your Fridge Door too Many Times

I suggest that you do not open your fridge for more than 3 times a day and no longer than 2 minutes.

Opening your fridge too many times and for a longer period of time makes it hard for the refrigerator to cool down. Especially in hot climates. This is because the more the fridge door opens, the harder the refrigerator is going to try and work to get that heat out it.

defrosting RV freezer

Also, if you open your fridge for an extended period, you will start to see frost build up in the freezer. If you want to know an easy way to defrost your freezer, keep reading this article.

 

How to Make your RV Refrigerator more Efficient from the Outside

Before sharing these tips, I will like to address how an RV refrigerator works.

So, the way an absorption refrigerator works is that it uses chemical reaction with ammonia and hydrogen, induced with heat together with evaporation and condensation to absorb the heat from the fridge.

So, the key is having isolated heat where you need it and have the other components cool down properly making the refrigerator as efficient as possible.

Tips for keeping your RV Refrigerator Running Efficiently from the Outside

Some of the ways we can achieve this include:

Plywood blocks for leveling our RV

  • Leveling the RV

For your refrigerator to work efficiently, your RV has to be leveled. This is because, on the outer part of the fridge, there are metals with zigzag patterns.

These zigzag metals require gravity to circulate the chemicals around the refrigerator. Since there are no mechanics with an RV refrigerator, gravity is needed to pull the chemicals back to reheat them back to the refrigerator.

Leveling your RV

If you find it difficult getting your RV to the right level, I recommend you buy a couple of levels. This will enable you to level out your coach perfectly so that your refrigerator can work perfectly. You can place these levels on the outside edges or the corners of the RV.

If your RV isn’t leveled, your fridge isn’t going to work efficiently or even at all depending on how out of level you are.

  • Clean the Outside Compartment to the Refrigerator

Make sure that you clean the outside compartment of your refrigerator to enable them to cool efficiently. Bugs and dirt accumulate in this compartment preventing the components from cooling off efficiently.

Wasps tend to build a nest and spiders form webs inside the burner tube so, when you try to run it on propane, your refrigerator may not work because the burner tube is blocked.

Outside of RV

You want to remove the casing covering the burner tuber and blow up the chimney of the refrigerator using a compressor. After that, blow up the cavity to knock off any build-up of dust. This will make the refrigerator start up every time and also enable the fridge to run more efficiently.

You can also tear the whole assembly apart and then wire brush and clean it up to the best you possibly can. So to check if your burner tube is functioning properly, you want to see a nice even blue flame, this creates the heat to make the fridge work.

(Always refer to your owners manual first)

Park Your RV In the Right Direction

  • How to Park Your RV

In the list of things that help keep the heat of the outside compartment of the fridge isolated and the cooling happening where it needs to is to look at how we park our RV.

Are you parked in such a way that the outside compartment of the refrigerator pointing towards the sun? Well, this will generate a lot of heat in it making the fridge not work nearly as efficient as it should.

Camper with awning in desert

If you have a problem with parking the RV away from the sun, you could also put out the awning to shade the outside compartment of the refrigerator from the sun. Depending on which side your refrigerator is.

camper with family outside

Keep this in Mind

Also, you should know that with refrigerators, after about 90 degrees during the summertime, they won’t keep your food cold to the correct temperature.

So, you might want to consider having a block of ice or something else to manage that if you’re getting into very hot temperatures.

Can I Have a Residential Refrigerator Inside My RV?

Yes, you can have the residential refrigerator in your RV. Well, these are becoming more popular in the RV world. They are the same type of refrigerators you use at home. They plug into an electric and runs solely on electricity.

Residential Refrigerator Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • They are larger

As compared to the propane electric refrigerator, the residential refrigerator is much larger. So, if you’re going full time and you want the full fridge space then I recommend you go in for the residential refrigerator. They have bigger freezers and ice makers which are some features you wouldn’t find in an absorption refrigerator.

They Stay Cool All the Time

These types of refrigerators aren’t as susceptible to the outside weather temperatures as the propane-electric is.

These refrigerators are great if you are going to be hooked up to electricity at a campground all the time, but if you want to go off-grid, the cons of the refrigerator Include:

  • They Run on Only AC Power

The residential refrigerator only runs on AC power. Since your RV batteries work on DC power, you would have to have an inverter to convert it to AC. However, that conversion is less efficient, and so, your batteries are going to drain quickly.

To continue to operate them off-grid, you are going to need to have a solar array or a generator that you run frequently to keep your system charged.

So, if you do not have those systems in place, the residential refrigerator isn’t the best option for you, if you will want to do a whole lot of boondocking.

  • They Reject the Heat They Create Inside the RV

This is another con of the residential refrigerator. So, if you are in hot weather conditions, your RV AC system is going to have to work just that much harder to cool down the RV.

  • They are Heavy

These refrigerators tend to be heavier, and so you will have to consider that when you’re looking at your gross vehicle weight rating and how heavy you are.

How Often Should I Defrost my RV Refrigerator and what’s the best way to do that?

RV refrigerators offer a lot of versatility, there is one aspect that of daily use that a lot less convenient than we’d like to think, and that’s defrosting.

RV refrigerators are not frost-free, so, the freezer is going to build up frost, and when you put in food in there, the moisture from the food is going to make it worse.

The fridge, however, has fins which are auto defrost, so there is no need to worry about frost in the fridge. Although we have had frost build up in ours from time to time.

However, with the freezers, overtime will start building up frost up against the back wall.

Most of the time you get the urge to chip away at it. Well, you do not want to do that. Do not use a knife or a metal spatula to defrost the freezer because it is going to damage the back of the rig.

One simple and convenient way to get rid of the frost is to use a hairdryer on medium heat and slowly melt the ice. Be sure to place a large towel on the bottom to catch the water as it melts.  Do not worry about the ice falling off, the towel will protect it. You might have to wring out the towel a few times or just have a backup towel.

rv freezer

How to Maintain and Clean an RV Refrigerator

Here are a few tips to help you maintain and clean your RV Refrigerator:

  • Once a Month

Empty the fridge, get a warm bowl of water with mild dish soap and wipe it down with a soft rag.  I try to do this the day before I go to the grocery shopping.

cleaning rv refrigerator

Storing Your RV

If your not full-time RVers, that means you will have to find a way to store your RV when not in use. When storing your rig, always be sure to leave the doors of your refrigerator open. Otherwise, mildew, mold, and smile can get in the refrigerator and cause them to smell.

You can avoid the struggle of trying to get rid of the bad smell, by just leaving the doors open a bit after you’ve cleaned out the refrigerator and it is not in use.

A simple way to do this is to place a towel on the door of the refrigerator and then close it. This will create space to allow air to go in to prevent any form of mildew growth or smell.

Leave an open box of baking soda in your refrigerator when in storage

Can I Travel with My RV Refrigerator turned On?

The answer is yes. However, running with your propane left on can be hazardous. This is because if you get yourself in a situation such as a blown tire or a collision and the schedule 80 pipe gets broken, it could lead to a fire outbreak.

RV broke down on the road

The schedule 80 pipe is what connects your propane tank to your refrigerator, stove, water heater, and furnace.

So, I advise you to turn off your propane tank and fridge when traveling on the road.

Why does my RV refrigerator smell funny?

Besides the growth of mildew causing your RV refrigerator to smell funny as discussed above, another reason your refrigerator may smell funny is due to an ammonia leakage.

Bad smelling rv refrigerator

The leakage is caused as a result of the piping in the outside compartment being burst and once that happens, the only way you can get rid of the funny ammonia smell is to get yourself a new cooling unit.

What is the Correct Temperature to Run My RV Refrigerator?

  • Approximately 35 – 40 degrees Fahrenheit

Generally, the US Food and Drugs Administration suggest that you keep your refrigerator at or below 4 degree Celsius or 40 degrees Fahrenheit anything higher than this, will cause your food to spoil quickly.

RV refrigerator thermostat

Hopefully, this information will help you to troubleshoot any problem you might have with your RV refrigerator.

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RV Groovin Life

Bonnie

 

Buying an RV – Don’t Buy a Lemon!

If you’re buying a New RV and you think you’re getting a sweet deal, then wait and read this article. We all love a good deal. Beware of offers too good to be true. Your momma was right! If a deal is just too good, walk away!

 

Buying an RV - Don't Buy a Lemon

RV Groovin Life

Read this post before buying a New RV!

Not to say there aren’t good offers out there, you just need to know what to look for and more importantly, know your legal rights. This article will give you the information you need to purchase wisely and how to spot a lemon.

What Do I Need to Know Before Signing a Contract on a New RV?

The RV Lemon Law

What every New RV buyer needs to have on their sales paperwork before signing. When you include these 9 words in your contract, you will have a strong legal position, this only applies to the purchase of a New RV. This is very simple. Have the dealer, in his own handwriting,

Add these 9 words –

We give buyer a 24-hour warranty against defects.

Don’t sign until they do!

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Travel Trailer

Ron Burdge reveals 9 simple words that buyers of New RV’s need to have ‘ handwritten’  on their purchase agreement. Click Below  for more info – Podcast – RV Lemon Law

This makes a difference between what your rights are and what you do not have. You might think this is no big deal.

However, legally this statement is critical.

Because when they say “we give buyers a 24-hour warranty against defects”, under federal law, in most states, you will get a four year of implied warranty of merchantability. This is crucial because it’s going to be a lot longer than the warranty offered by the manufacturer. Adding this handwritten sentence overrides the “as is” clause.

Buying an RV - Don't Buy a Lemon

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The manufacturer and dealer are going to look for ways to avoid doing anything for you when the need arises.

But when an RV dealer establishes on the contract that ” we give buyers a 24-hour warranty against defects” then the whole deal about we didn’t warrant it and all that hullabaloo goes out the window, and you automatically under federal law will get a four-year warranty in most states. According to lawyer Ron Burdge.

This Post is Property of RV Groovin Life

So this is huge. So, even if the manufacturer says ” sorry but I can’t help you” you still have the dealer on the hook.

So, before you get all excited to sign those papers, be sure the dealer adds the 9-word clause to your contract. Because if you don’t, you might be doomed if something goes wrong. Almost all sales contracts have a little clause, on the backside of the contract which says the dealer is selling the RV “as is” and they give no warranty on the rig.

This could also include no implied merchantability warrant for years.

But if you make sure the dealer adds this sentence –

We give buyers a 24-hour warranty against defects

-in his own handwriting to the contract before you sign. You will have a strong legal standing that overrides any disclaimer given in the contract.

Buying an RV - Don't Buy a Lemon

RV Groovin Life

Buying an RV & How to Spot a Lemon

I have made printable Inspection checklists to take with you. Along with your checklists be sure to bring

  • Pencil & Notepad
  • Tape measure
  • Screwdriver
  • Camera or Phone
  • Flashlight

RV Buying Printable Checklist

5th Wheels & Trailers Printable Inspection Checklist

Shopping for an RV can be overwhelming, you see an RV you like and you love the floor plan, and you love the colors and it’s just really easy to get pulled in and you go like ” Oh my gosh, this is it, I have to get it” based on what you’ve seen.

Buying an RV - Don't Buy a Lemon

RV Groovin Life

However, it’s usually what you don’t see is what matters most.

RV Dealership or Private Seller

One way to avoid buying a lemon RV is to know who you’re dealing with. With the dealer, it’s pretty easy because you can see what the online reviews are, whereas a private seller, that can be a hit or miss.

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RV Dealership in Ocala Florida

One of the benefits of buying from a dealership is that you will know the reputation of the dealer is by recommendation and online reviews. Some dealerships offer to have their technicians inspect the camper before you buy it.

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RV Groovin Life

Indiana Interstate RV Service for Mobile Suites

If they don’t have a technician inspect it, be sure to hire a qualified RV technician. However, if you buy it from a private seller, ensure to have a professional technician of your choice check it out for you.

More information below on hiring a professional.

RV Inspection

Check Out the Roof

It all starts from the roof. Make sure you check the membrane of the roof, if you realize the membrane is completely worthless or worn out, then it is an easy way to rule out that RV, Fifth Wheel or Travel Trailer.. The membrane shows if the RV was properly maintained.

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With the roof, even a little spot can open up and allow water into the rig which can ruin the entire rig from there. And it cost about $7000+ to repair a rubber roof membrane depending on the length of the coach.

So, if the roof membrane is worn out, walk away. Another thing you can look for is any kind of voids or cracks in the sealant around the vents or the skylights.

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My final tip about the roof is, do not get on a roof that doesn’t have a roof ladder because that indicates that there is a high probability that the roof is not walkable. If you were able to make it on top of the roof, be sure to check the corners of the roof. You want to make sure that the corners are not cracked or worn especially around any kind of vent.

Checking your RVs A/C and Vent Lids

While you’re on the roof, you’ll want to check the back of the air-conditioner. If the vents are all bent up, it’s probably been in a hailstorm, and therefore the AC might not work efficiently. This means it can freeze up a lot easier when it’s on a super-hot day and it’s just constantly running.

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With the vent lids, a lot of times with hailstorms in places like Colorado, vent lids can get cracked, and have holes punctured into them. This could be a possible way of water getting into the rig.

Ceiling

When you’re inside the coach, check the ceiling of the RV.

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Check for leaks, stains and any form of rots. These are due to water coming inside the RV due to a bad roof. This is another red flag, which indicates a bad roof.

Check the Walls

Another thing you want to do is to open up the cabinets and make sure the walls and the front are all nice and tight, and that there hasn’t been any water damage. Sometimes water damage can hide in these cabinets- especially in the corners.

Do not Overlook the Wallpaper

Another red flag is if the wallpaper of the RV is peeling off or becoming detached or delaminated from the wall itself. What you want to do is to knock on that area to see if it’s solid. If it’s solid, then you’re good to go because sometimes, the glue of the wallpaper does fail due to heat and it just comes off.

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We removed all the cloth-covered valances to reduce allergens.

However, delaminated wallpaper can also indicate that it is an area where water runs down and the glue fails due to water damages. If you knock on it and it is soft, it indicates it is due to water damages. So, knocking on it will let you know if it’s one or the other.

Exterior Walls On the outside of the RV

Expanded wood indicates that there is a good chance some water got in and has rotted out the wood, which is a red flag. If you see bulging areas or can smell mold, that is a red flag. Check for rusty screws. Rusty screws indicate that water has gotten inside the walls, a warning for you to have a little bit closer look,

Inspect the Floor

As far as the floor goes, you want to kind of push around, especially right around the sink area, and around the bathroom area, to ensure that there are no soft spots. Also, check around the vents.

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The reason you want to check around the kitchen and bathroom is that that’s where the shower can leak, the toilet could also leak, and you can even have the vent up the ceiling opened while in storage and that could have leaked on the floor causing it to rot. If the floor is uneven, is a sign of water damage. Repairing the floor of a lemon rig could cost you anywhere from $620 to $6100 depending on the space.

RV Appliances

Turn on all appliances, refrigerator, microwave, A/C, stove, oven, ceiling fans, tv, hot water, run water in the shower, flush toilet, open/close all windows, cupboards, and drawers. Open and close slide outs. Check all window shades. Furnace Turn on the furnace, check the temperature.

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Kitchen

Electric

Check all outlets, after lights and power have been on for at least 20 minutes, feel all switch plates. When we purchased our used 2008 Select Suite fifth wheel (2017) from a dealer, they let us spend the night in it and plugged everything in. That’s when we noticed one of the light switches become almost to hot to touch. The dealer fixed it.

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They also put all new tires on and replaced the old flooring in the bathroom. We would not have known most of the issues if we hadn’t spent the night in it before we purchased it. We should have also hired a professional RV Inspector.

Make Sure the Refrigerator is Working. Check the temperature. The last thing you want to do is replace a refrigerator. You could spend 2 grand or more- especially for a gas-electric refrigerator.

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Double Door RV Refrigerator

You also want to see if you smell any form of ammonia or mold. The smell of ammonia and mold is tough to get out of a fridge. Ammonia indicates that the cooling unit isn’t working efficiently.

Also, if you see yellow stuff, almost like a liquid or powder, inside the  RV refrigerator, could indicate the cooling unit isn’t working properly. And it can cost you a thousand bucks to get a new cooling unit.

Moreover, you want to check the refrigerator from the outside. Your refrigerator has a spot outside where the fridge can drain. All refrigerators that are gas-electric have a drain spot.

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Check the drain spout to make sure it didn’t freeze over the winter. This can cause rust to the compressor of the refrigerator, and can also rot the wood supporting the compressor.

Go Under the Rig

Look to see if it has a fully enclosed underbelly. This is important if you want to stay in the RV a little bit longer than usual during the season, or if you’re a full-time RVer.

Another reason is to see how the rust looks like. A little rust is no big deal, however, it is a big deal if you see one with excessive rust, especially by the leaf springs or the axle.

If you see that your propane line is rusted, it is pretty normal for propane lines to rust. Our propane line was completely rusted through, the dealer replaced that also.

Tanks, Faucets & Drains

Fill and empty tanks, make sure there are no leaks. Look for leaky faucets, make sure water drains properly.

Buying an RV - Don't Buy a Lemon

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Check the Water Heater, is there hot water? Take out the vent closing to the water heater, and take a look at the system. If it is expanded out or bulged out, that could mean the water heater isn’t working. The expansion is caused as a result of the ice being frozen, therefore pushing out the pipe and there is usually a crack. If that’s the case your water heater will not work and could leak into your RV.

Are there Bubbles on the Walls of the RV?

Having bubbles on the walls isn’t something to worry about on an aluminum sided camper. However, for a fiberglass sided camper, if there are bubbles on the wall, or if you realize the wall is separating from the camper, itself, then that could indicate a cosmetic issue.

Buying an RV - Don't Buy a Lemon

RV Groovin Life

Travel Trailer

It could also indicate that you’ve had some water damage coming down the side of the coach and eventually the bubble will keep expanding till it gets to an edge. And by the time this happens, that side of the wall can completely rip off.

Checking RV Tires

Usually, you run out of sidewall before you run out of the tread. So you want to carefully examine the tires for any kind of cracking.

Buying an RV - Don't Buy a Lemon

RV Groovin Life

Check to see if the RV has a spare tire. Make sure you know the age of the tire. Even if it’s a new RV, don’t assume that the tires are new.

Slide-Outs & Awnings

One thing you need to pay attention to is the seal on your slide. Something that most people miss when they are checking their seals is they look to make sure there is no water. But what you want to do is, you want to reach your hands underneath the seal, and you want to feel for any type of gap, that could prevent the bottom seal from making contact with the floor.

Buying an RV - Don't Buy a Lemon

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Haas RV Campground

Another way you can do this is to look really low, and when you realize there is any form of lighting coming in during the day, then it meaning you have to pay attention to it.

Is the Awning manual or electric? Check the mechanisms of the awning. Are the mechanisms bent? Does the awning open smoothly and quietly? Is the fabric faded or worn?

Buying an RV - Don't Buy a Lemon

RV Groovin Life

Propane Tanks

Check for leaks on tanks and if they have been certified? And what is the capacity of the tanks?

Buying an RV - Don't Buy a Lemon

RV Groovin Life

 

RV Inspections

Can I have a Third-Party Check Out my RV? Yes, you can. If you want to purchase a new or used RV, you can use NRVIA.org.

NRVIA.org is a site that provides you with certified and professional third-party RV inspectors anywhere within the United States. Personally, I highly recommend that any first-time RV buyer uses this website to find a professional inspector to inspect the RV before you purchase it.

Buying an RV - Don't Buy a Lemon

RV Groovin Life

Check with your dealer to be sure they’re okay with a third-party inspection of the RV on your behalf, even if the dealer claims to have looked through the RV thoroughly.

Inspectors from NRVIA.org take anywhere from 7 to 8 hours to check the RV thoroughly and provide you with a detailed report. You’d be shocked at what that report will show in need of repair that you wouldn’t even notice if you were the one inspecting it.

Red Flags

After thoroughly checking the RV and you do not see any of these red flags, then go ahead and sign that sweet deal. Two or more of these red flags means you should rethink this purchase.

Buying an RV- Don't Buy a Lemon

RV Groovin Life

Talk about these issues with a professional inspector and dealer. Is it repairable, what is the cost and what is the dealer willing to do? If you don’t feel comfortable with your options, it’s time to walk away. Don’t let anyone pressure you to sign a purchase agreement unless you’re absolutely sure of your decision!

You can always leave and come back later. Even if the dealer claims someone else is interested. It’s your money!

Why we walked from what we thought was a sweet deal

We walked away from what we thought was the perfect deal. It was a private seller, exactly the price and fifth wheel we were looking for. Put a $500 deposit to hold it for 30days, which they agreed. We then purchased a truck two weeks later to tow it.

Buying an RV - Don't Buy a Lemon

RV Groovin Life

We contacted the seller to arrange a time for us to get the fifth wheel. The seller then informed us he was not including the hitch that was on the fifth wheel. It would be another $1000 dollars to include the hitch! What?! We were so upset!

Now, what do we do? We had 2 weeks to be out of our house that we just sold. We told the seller to forget it! The seller kept our deposit. And we were about to be homeless. Within a few days, we found the fifth wheel we have now and are so happy the first sweet deal fell through!  So don’t get discouraged, be patient. You will find the perfect RV!

Buying an RV - Don't Buy a Lemon

RV Groovin Life

So finally let’s take a quick recap to help you avoid buying a lemon:

  • Know who you’re dealing with.
  • Check out the Roof
  • Check the AC and Vents
  • Run All Appliances
  • Check the Side Wall
  • Do not Overlook the Wallpaper
  • Check the Walls
  • Examine the Slides
  • Inspect the Floor
  • Make Sure the Refrigerator is Working
  • Go Under the Rig
  • Check for Bubbles
  • Scrutinize the Tires
  • Check the Water Heater
  • Check All the Seals
  • Have a third-party from NRVIA.org check if possible.
  • Know the Lemon Law
  • Be willing to walk away

 

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Our Winter Escape to Navarre Beach RV Park in Florida

 

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RV Groovin Life

Bonnie