RV Travel Guide: All You Need to Know About Traveling by RV

Got your heart set on an RV trip (or twelve), but a little bit intimidated by the process of actually learning, well, how to RV?

Although these big, seemingly-complicated vehicles can be overwhelming for beginners, in reality, they’re not that difficult to use. (Just think about how many people are successfully living the RV life — if they can, you can, too!)

There can be a bit of a learning curve involved when it comes to figuring out how to drive a very large motorhome or tow a travel trailer, and some of the interior fixtures work a little differently than the ones you operate at home. But in general, you can go from RVing newb to a confident traveler in no time… especially if you read this RV travel guide post, which is full of all the RV basics most of us don’t know when we’re first timers.

Read on for an overview on all the need-to-know components of a solid RVing experience, from deciding on a destination, learning what to pack (and what not to), getting comfortable behind the wheel, and more!

How RV Travel Differs

Even seasoned road trippers and tent campers will notice some significant differences in their travel style when they switch to the RV life. Here are a few major changes to be aware of and prepare for.

Choosing a Destination

Although any destination can be an RV destination, campers quickly find themselves drawn to certain types of areas that are easier for RVers to explore. For example, although cityscapes are full of adventure and discovery, it can be really difficult to find one that has RV parks in easily-accessible areas… and if you do venture to a major metro, you may be in for a whole lot of driving to get from your rig to the bustling downtown area.

Cities are also, of course, expensive, which can make them less appealing to some campers. And it is called camping, after all… so even though you have a cozy couch to kick back on and a TV to lounge in front of, most RVers find themselves wanting to be closer to natural, untouched areas.

Finding the Perfect Campsite

As anyone who’s even taken on tent camping knows, there’s more to finding a campsite than just looking for the nearest flat, dry area and putting down your tarp (or in the case of RVers, your stabilizing jacks… which we’ll come back to in just a moment!). Even wilderness areas generally have specific rules about where you can camp and how long you can stay there, and you may be required to pay fees even if there aren’t any developed amenities or hookups.

With RVing, it all gets a little bit more complicated… because the first thing you need to figure out is whether or not a given campsite can actually accommodate your vehicle’s size. Plus, if you want to take advantage of all the extras that make RVing so luxurious, like running water and A/C, you likely want to spring for a campsite with hookups (or a boondocking site that allows you to run your generator or, if you’ve got them, display your solar panels).

There are all sorts of different RV campgrounds out there, from public sites on state park land to private, resort-style campgrounds chock-full of extras. Click here to learn more about the different kinds of RV campgrounds.

Learning How Your Rig Works

Like we said above, RVs aren’t really that complicated, and you can totally become a pro in no time… but it does take a little bit of learning up front to get there, even when the fixtures seem similar to the ones you’re familiar with at home.

For example, your RV refrigerator works differently than the one in your house’s kitchen. It can be powered by either electric power or propane, and regardless of which fuel source it’s using, it needs to be very level in order to work properly and not break down. (That’s part of the reason those stability jacks we mentioned above are so critical… they also aid in ensuring your RV is level so all its features can function normally!)

The best way to get familiar with your rig specifically is to check with your dealer or owner’s manual — or, if you’re renting, the person you’re renting from. They should walk you through everything from how to start your RV’s generator to how to secure the kitchen cabinets, and rental agencies should also provide a customer service line to call if you run into confusion on the road. (Psst: RVshare offers a 24/7 roadside assistance option!)

RV Packing List

Once you’ve got a destination picked out, an RV to get there in, and you feel relatively comfortable with the basics of working the rig itself, you have to figure out what to bring along for the ride… and perhaps even more importantly, what not to! Even the biggest, most luxurious RVs are pretty limited when it comes to storage space, so if you bring too much stuff, you’ll be feeling claustrophobic in no time.

Fortunately, we’ve written a ton of great content about this issue, no matter where you’re going or what season you’re planning to travel there in. Check out the following RVshare posts to help you power through packing:

RV Camping Checklist

Packing your RV camping essentials is, well, essential… but as any RVer who’s ever driven away only to realize their RV antenna or front door step was still extended knows, it’s equally important to double-check your rig from top to bottom every time you get behind the wheel. While nothing on your RV should be excruciatingly hard to operate, there are a lot of little moving parts, and it’s all too easy to forget to close you fan vent or even drive off with your hose or electric plug still attached. (Trust us, we’ve been there… and it’s not pretty!)

We recommend making a camping checklist and doing a complete walkaround each and every time you move your RV, now and forever. Even once you consider yourself a camping expert, this list can help ensure you don’t make any silly mistakes. Hey, it happens to all of us!

Driving a Motorhome

One of the biggest barriers to entry for many people who would otherwise love to try out the RVing lifestyle… is actually driving the thing. Especially when you’re talking about large fifth-wheel travel trailers or Class A motorhomes, driving an RV can be downright intimidating.

And to be sure, it’s a little different than scooting around town in your sedan or even a pickup truck. But think about it this way: RVing doesn’t require any special licensing, and pretty much anyone can rent an RV and set off without needing special training. So long as you’re careful and take your time, you shouldn’t have a problem.

We have, however, written about common driving fears and misperceptions, as well as how to handle inclement weather and other issues. Check out the following RVshare blog posts if you still need some peace of mind as far as actually driving the rig goes:

RV Maintenance

Although first-time or even repeat renters don’t have to worry about much in the way of maintenance, if you fall in love with this travel style — which isn’t hard to do — you’re going to have to learn about creating a preventative upkeep schedule, DIYing as much of your maintenance as possible, and also finding trustworthy professional help when you need it. From RV roof maintenance to RV plumbing system basics, these issues are one of our most popular blog topics, so be sure to read through the following posts if you’re wondering what goes into keeping an RV ship shape.

From your first camping trip to your fiftieth, we know this special travel style will soon win your heart… and we’ll be here to help you along and celebrate your discoveries every step of the way.

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Everything You Need To Know About an Electric RV Furnace

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If you’re staying in your RV for any amount of time…or if you’re traveling anywhere slightly chilly, you’re going to appreciate your RV furnace. It makes hopping out of bed in the morning (or in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom!) much more pleasant. But what kind of heater do you want?

Traditionally, RV furnaces run on propane. However, in recent years people have been exploring alternative fuels, with the most common of these being the electric RV furnace. If you’re thinking of investing in an RV electric furnace, here’s what you need to know.

Are Propane Heaters Better?

There’s a reason propane heaters are so popular. They’re easy. They’re convenient. They’ve been around for years. Also, most RVs have ducted propane heaters, which pipe air throughout your motorhome, allowing even heating throughout.

On the other hand, most propane furnaces are 70% efficient, or even less. Those wonderful ducts do run your air evenly, but you lose heat in the process. Also, your furnace is going to heat up your entire rig. Unless you have people in every area, you may not want or need the whole thing heated – you may want to save fuel and power by just heating one small area. Finally, a lot of RV parks include electricity in the fee you pay for your campsite, whereas propane is an added cost.

Are Electric RV Furnaces Better?

An electric furnace for RV is clean-burning and operates at peak efficiency. If you’re at a campsite that includes electricity, it’s going to be much cheaper to operate an electric RV furnace than a propane one. An RV electric furnace will also concentrate just on the area you want to heat, instead of the entire area of your rig, so you won’t waste energy heating unused spaces.

Electric Furnace Safety

Electric RV heaters usually have built-in safeguards to prevent overheating and tipping, but it can happen if you’re not careful. Be sure your furnace is secured and watch small children at all times.

Types of Electric RV Furnaces

Box-Style electric RV furnaces

The most common models of RV electric furnaces are small boxy models that have a ceramic heating element and fan used to pump heat out. You’ll want to check the wattage of your heater – most are between 500-1500 watts. A 500-watt heater is going to take much longer to heat an area than a higher watt heater. These heaters are fairly inexpensive – much cheaper than propane heaters. The 1500W Lasko heater is under $30, the 1500W oscillating tower heater is slightly more, and the Vornado vortex heater is the priciest but has three heat settings from 750W-1500W.

Electric Wall Heaters 

Another option is an electric wall heater – they’re more expensive, but you can have multiple vents throughout your rig like a ducted propane system. The Cadet 240V 1500 watt wall heater and the Marley 1500 watt wall heater are both good options.

Radiant Heaters

A third option is an infrared heater – also known as a radiant electric heater. They glow red when in use, and emit an infrared heat that’s absorbed by a body without significantly heating the surrounding air. You can find them online, and they are noiseless and great for focusing heat in one area. The Dr. Infrared Portable Space Heater is one great option – more expensive than the other two, but perhaps a great fit for your needs!

There you have it – while propane RV heaters are a great way to heat your space, electric RV heaters are another great option to investigate!

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RV Fresh Water Tank – What You Need to Know

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Having clean, fresh water to drink and use for cooking is really important when you’re out in your RV. Your fresh water RV tank may not be something you think about often, but it’s a very important part of your rig! Here’s what you need to know about your fresh water tank for RV.

How To Sanitize RV Freshwater Holding Tank

Whether you purchase a new motorhome, or a used one, you’re going to want to sanitize the RV water tank. It’s a simple process, but necessary to make sure you have safe water to drink. Here’s how to sanitize an RV fresh water tank:

  1. Fill your fresh water rv tank ¾ full with a solution of ½ cup bleach to 15 gallons of water
  2. If you can, drive around with the solution in the tank to slosh it around and get the solution to all parts of the tank.
  3. Let the solution sit in the tank for several hours.
  4. Open all faucets and drain the RV fresh water tank.
  5. Refill and drain the fresh water tank several times until you can no longer smell bleach.

Why You Should Sanitize RV Freshwater Tank

Even the smallest amounts of water left in the tank can provide a happy home for algae and bacteria. Your RV fresh water tank should be cleaned regularly so you have safe water to drink.

When To Sanitize RV Freshwater Tank

There are a few indicators that will let you know if it’s time to sanitize your tank. If any of the following are true, it’s time to clean!

  1. If the water in your fresh water tanks for RV has an odor or smells mildewy, you likely didn’t finish draining the RV fresh water tank completely and the tiny bit of water that was left stagnated.
  2. If your fresh water system hasn’t been used in more than a month, it’s time to sterilize it.
  3. If you used RV anitfreeze in your freshwater tank while storing it, you need to completely flush it out and sanitize. Also, always use RV antifreeze when winterizing your rig – never the antifreeze you’d use in a radiator. You’ll need to hook your RV up to an outside water source when you flush your antifreeze.

A lot of RVers think that if they’re not drinking water from the tap, they don’t need to sanitize the tank. In truth, if you’re using water for anything other than flushing the toilet, you need to sanitize your system and have a clean RV water tank.

Getting an RV Water Filter

If you’re concerned with keeping your RV water tank clean and the water drinkable, you also want an RV water filter. When shopping for a filter, think about how much water you plan to filter and look for one that isn’t too hard to install or use. You can choose between in-line filters, which you use at the entry point, compact canister filters, or reverse osmosis filters to purify your water.

RV Fresh Water Tank Repair

If your RV fresh water tank is leaking, or you just need to do RV fresh water tank maintenance, it is possible you can do the repairs yourself. If the damage is severe, you’ll want to hire a professional. For small cracks or holes, you can purchase RV holding tank patch kits and repair following the instructions. You may even want to purchase a kit to just keep on-hand in case you get a leak while you’re on the road.

You can also purchase portable RV fresh water tanks to take with you. A portable fresh water tank for RV is available at camping stores, Home Depot, and you can find them online as well.

Having clean, fresh water is important! If you follow these steps, and learn a little about your RV water tanks, you’ll be on your way to having pure, healthy water to drink while you’re on the road.

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RV Antenna – 7 Things You Need To Know

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While it’s nice to be out and away from distractions, enjoying the outdoors and the peace and quiet, you’ll likely want an RV antenna for several reasons. You may want an RV TV antenna so you can keep up on news, or watch your team play – or even to keep up on the weather in the area. An RV radio antenna lets you listen to music while you cook or relax. A wifi antenna for RV means you can find local places to go, or check in at home, or even pay your bills while you’re on the road. Perhaps if you’re escaping for a weekend, you won’t need these things…but if you head out on longer trips, or spend entire seasons in your RV, you’ll need to connect to the outside world. Let’s take a look at these different antennas:

Best RV TV Antenna

To pick up signals from local stations, you’re going to need an HD antenna for RV. You can choose either an indoor or an outdoor antenna for RV. An outdoor RV television antenna is attached to the roof of your rig, requiring you to raise it when you stop, and lower it before heading back out on the road. In fact, remembering to lower the antenna may be your biggest challenge with this option. If you do choose an outdoor RV antenna mount, look for one with a lower profile that isn’t as likely to get broken.

An indoor RV HDTV antenna is easier to position and control, and you’re not as likely to break it off driving down the road. However, it also doesn’t have the same range and it needs a spot to be stored when it’s not being used. Regardless of which kind you get, remember that you need an RV HD antenna – all stations now transmit in HD so you need a TV antenna for RV that is HD also.

RV Antenna Boosters

An RV TV antenna booster can help you get more channels as well. Snap the booster on your outdoor TV antenna and it will boost the signal, helping you receive more channels with better reception.

Also, keep in mind that many campgrounds offer free cable TV service, so you may want to take advantage of that as well.

RV AM FM Radio Antenna

If you’d like to get local radio stations as well, you may want an RV radio antenna to help boost radio reception in your rig. Be aware that you’ll need to drill a hole and thread the wires for the antenna, but it’s likely a job you can do on your own.

Wifi RV Antenna

An RV wifi antenna can also be either an indoor or outdoor antenna. An outdoor one can be mounted on the exterior of your RV, while the indoor antenna is a small device that sits on a desk, or attached to a window indoors and plugs into your laptop. If you work out of your RV at all, an RV wifi antenna may be a lifesaver for you.

As always, it’s a good idea to do some research and read RV antenna reviews to see which one might be the best RV antenna for you and your needs.

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How To Select The Best RV Appliances

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Once you have an RV, it’s time to give some thought to the RV appliances you’re going to use in it. But before going out and purchasing every shiny new appliance you think you might need, it’s worthwhile to sit down and consider a few things.

Questions To Consider Before Purchasing RV Appliances and Accessories

You can read lots of advice on the best RV appliances to purchase, but all of it may not necessarily apply to you. Think about how you’re mostly going to be using your RV before considering what to purchase. Some things to ask yourself:

  • Who will I be traveling with? A family of four (or more!) is going to need very different things than an adventurous single person or a couple
  • How long will I be traveling in my RV? If you’re living full-time, or for an entire season, in your RV, you may want things like a dishwasher or washing machine while weekend travelers may not need those
  • What are my habits? If you’re out hiking or kayaking or sightseeing all day, you may want kitchen appliances for RV like a slow cooker or Instant Pot. If you enjoy relaxing closer to home and enjoy cooking and entertaining, you may not
  • How much space do I have? Another consideration when you’re looking at an RV appliance is where you will put it. Kitchen appliances and washing machines may be convenient, but you don’t want to feel cramped in an already small living space

RV Appliances To Consider

Depending on your space and habits, here are some of the best RV appliances to think about for your rig.

  1. A refrigerator a lot of people like to upgrade from the fridge that comes with their RV. Depending on the size of your vehicle, you may even want to investigate a full size unit. You’ll need to know the amount of space and the size you have available, and you’ll certainly want to read reviews of RV refrigerators before purchasing one. This is another time when you’ll want to consider your own RV use – if you’re just using it on weekends, you’ll need a much smaller fridge than if you live in it full-time.
  2.  A dishwasher – they may not be traditional appliances for RVs, but a dishwasher can be a wonderful addition if you find yourself doing a lot of cooking and cleaning up afterward. Think about how much water a dishwasher will use, whether you have the gray tank capacity for the water waste, and whether you have the cabinet or counter space for one,
  3. A washing machine – another excellent idea if you spend a lot of time in your RV and don’t want to hoard your quarters for laundromats and campground laundry rooms! For space considerations, many RVers prefer an all-in-one unit that washes and dries. Be sure to consult a professional first to make sure you have adequate water and electricity, and proper ways to dispose of all the waste water.
  4. An Instant Potsince this appliance works as both a pressure and a slow cooker, it saves space. It’s also a great idea for busy people who want to spend all day out and about, then come back to a meal that was either cooking all day, or that can be made in just minutes.
  5. A mini-blender/food processor – another space-saving appliance that can take the place of several utensils
  6. A coffee pot – definitely essential for a lot of people! There are several space-saving options for portable coffee pots
  7. A tankless water heaterwhile these have long been used in European campers, they’re now gaining popularity here in the U.S. as well. Talk to a professional before purchasing one, and consider whether your RV runs on propane (most tankless heaters do), whether it comes with a shut-off valve, and how complicated it might be to install
  8. A dehumidifier – condensation in your RV is always a concern, and a dehumidifier is a good purchase to keep everything else running well
  9. A combination microwave/convection oven – another great space-saver! Convection ovens use circulated air to increase the speed of cooking and baking your food
  10. A vacuum – you can get a central vac that stays installed in your RV (this is considered a value-adding option), though they’re notoriously low on suction. You could also purchase a portable vac of your own to keep in your rig. Either way, you’ll likely want something to help you keep your living space clean and free from dirt and dust.

How Can I Save On RV Appliances?

That’s a pretty long list of appliances above, and some of them don’t come cheap. There are a few things you can do to try and save, however. Look for used RV appliances for sale. Used RV appliances should, of course, run cheaper than their newer counterparts. You can look for RV appliances for sale on places like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, or on various RV forums. Also, if you have an appliance, rather than replacing it, see if you can purchase RV appliance parts to repair it. Finally, look for sales on Amazon and elsewhere to see if you can bring the cost down.

While none of these RV appliances are essentials, they all work to make life on the road a little easier. You could use this list as a guideline, and upgrade your appliances as you have the time and money to do so.

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RV Awning Repair – Read This Before Starting Your Repair

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RV awnings may not be a necessity – you can certainly operate and use an RV without one – but they’re a very useful accessory to have. Not only do they make your rig look nice and cheerful, they lessen the wear and tear on your motorhome…and on you if you like relaxing next to it.

Because they’re made of fabric, well-used RV awnings are going to need some repair after a few years. Here are some tips on RV awning repair if you should need to do that at any point.

When To Do RV Awnings Repair

You should repair your RV awning the moment you notice a problem. Check the awnings periodically to make sure they’re in good condition, and check them at the beginning of each season for any tears or holes. It’s much better to find awning damage before you head out on a trip than to discover a leak when it’s dripping on you! Also, repairing the damage as soon as you see it prevents it from getting worse.

How To Repair RV Awning – Small Spots

If you tear or hole is under three feet, you may be able to fix it easily yourself with RV awning repair tape. You should be able to find RV awning repair tape at hardware stores, RV retail stores like Camping World, or online at sites like Amazon. Prices vary, but you should expect to pay less than $20. Most tapes are 15ft long, though some are wider than others. Although it’s more expensive, you may want to buy thicker tape if you need to cover a hole or a larger rip. Eternabond tape is another option – it’s much more expensive (around $50 on Amazon), but it’s much more powerful and holds much more effectively. You should know that it’s not transparent, however, and your repair will show.

A lot of RV awning repair parts can also be gleaned from tent repair kits, which run from $5-$20 at most camping and outdoor stores.

How To Repair An RV Awning – Large Holes

If your repair is longer than three feet, you’ll need to purchase fabric of the same color and consistency as your awning and patch up the tear. You may be able to find matching fabric from the retailer where you bought the original awning, or at a fabric store. Using fabric scissors, cut a square or rectangle of your matching fabric to the correct size for your hole or rip. Apply to the spot using water-resistant RV glue like Amazing Goop, which is just $8 on Amazon.

Once your square is properly applied, use the fabric scissors to trim any loose edges to your repair is as unnoticeable as possible.

Tips On Repairing Your RV Awning

There are a few things you can do to make your RV awning repair go more smoothly. Before you begin the repair, wash the awning to get off all the dirt or other debris. Dry it with a towel and be sure the fabric is completely dry before beginning your repairs.

When you apply awning tape, push the tear together while the fabric is on a flat surface, then apply the tape (you may want a repair partner to help you keep everything in place). Take your time when positioning everything so you can get it in the right spot. Be sure to push out any air bubbles. If you make a mistake and place the tape incorrectly, rather than pulling it up and trying again, apply another piece. Put awning tape on both sides of the fabric at the location of the tear.

There are many YouTube videos that offer tips on repairing RV awnings as well, and you might find it helpful to watch some before beginning the process.

With some patience and a few small items, you may be able to save yourself a lot of money in the long run by repairing your awning instead of having to replace the entire thing!

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RV Awnings – Read This Before Buying One

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RV awnings are an accessory – but one that can serve many different purposes. Your new RV awning can block the sun or rain, can provide some seclusion and privacy, and can even showcase your own individual style in your home away from home! It’s definitely worth doing some research to find the best RV awnings for your rig.

Different Kinds of RV Awning

There are several different kinds of RV awnings for sale. Door and window awnings offer shade inside your rig, and protection from rain. A slide out awning for RV will protect the top of your slide-outs from debris and rainwater. RV patio awnings give you more living space in front of your rig once you’re parked. You can even create an RV awning room – set up an entire RV awning extension outdoors just by putting up some fabric.

Buying or Making an Awning for RV

If you need a new awning for RV, you can choose RV awning material that is either acrylic or vinyl fabric. Acrylic lets air circulate and is made of woven cloth that repels water. Although it isn’t waterproof, acrylic generally dries within a few hours of getting wet. Vinyl awnings are mildew resistant (but not mildew proof), they easily collect dust and dirt, and they are susceptible to mildew when exposed to heat and high humidity.

It’s also possible to make a DIY RV awning. There are lots of good tutorials online showing you how to make awnings, including this one from Do It Yourself RV.

RV awning prices can run the gamut from inexpensive to – well, the sky’s the limit! Find discount RV awnings online, as well as used RV awnings if you’d like to save some money. On the other end, you can have someone make you custom RV awnings if you have a particular style, or unusual measurements for your awnings. Whatever your budget and parameters, there’s an RV awning for sale that will meet it.

Cleaning and Maintaining Awnings for RV

Once you’ve decided on an RV awning, you’ll need to know how to care for it. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Keep it mildew and dirt free – Hose your RV patio awning or other awnings off occasionally to keep it free of dirt and mildew. Never scrub an acrylic awning or you could remove the water retardant finish. Use a special RV awning cleaner if needed.
  • Inspect your RV awnings – Make sure they don’t have any tears and that the RV awning hardware is in good shape.
  • Don’t leave them unattended – When you go to bed for the night, or head out from your campsite, make sure to take down your awnings so they aren’t blown over and damaged, or taken down by water collecting on top. After a rainstorm, make sure to lower one part of the awning so the water can drain off.
  • Keep them dry – Don’t put your awnings away wet or you may get mold. Let the awnings dry in the sun before packing them away.
  • Check your insurance – A lot of insurance brokers keep awnings out of the coverage if an accident happens. Know whether you have coverage for your awnings and either make a separate policy to cover the RV awnings or plan on the money to repair or replace them if anything goes wrong.

An RV awning isn’t necessarily essential for operating your rig, but it will go a long way towards making your experience more pleasant. From providing shade, to protecting your privacy, to showcasing your style – your awning for RV is a fun purchase that packs a big punch!

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RV Backup Camera – Read This Before Buying One

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It takes a bit of skill to drive an RV. Most people can master the art of RV driving, but an RV backup camera can be a great help, especially when you’re just getting used to driving a vehicle that’s much bigger than you’re used to. There are a few things to consider when buying a backup camera for RVs.

The Types of RV Backup Cameras

There are basically two types of RV backup camera systems – wired RV backup cameras and wireless RV backup cameras. With a wired RV backup camera, a cable is connected from the camera on the bumper to a monitor inside the vehicle and images are transmitted through that cable. Wireless RV backup cameras have a wireless transmitter and receiver. They should be checked for interference to make sure your signal is strong.

Features of an RV Backup Camera

RV backup cameras should have several features to ensure they do their job properly. The camera should have a wide field of view so you can easily see what’s behind you. The width of the camera viewing angle is its field of view. A wider field of view means the camera lets you see more of the area behind the rear bumper. Most people recommend you get a camera which has a 90° or greater field of view.

You’ll also want enabled night vision on your camera. The best quality night-vision cameras have infrared LEDs, which are a special feature that helps drivers see camera images when it’s dark. Cameras that don’t have night vision mean that you’ll have to rely on your tail lights to help you see images from the backup camera at night, which will not light things up well and you’ll have more trouble seeing.

Finally, you’ll want to check on weatherproofing for your camera. Cameras rated IPx7 are waterproof and can be immersed in water. An IPx6 rating means the backup camera can withstand powerful jets of water directed at it. Cameras can also be designed to be freezeproof to temperatures of 15° below zero.

How To Install The Backup Camera

If you want an RV backup camera that’s easy to install, the wireless cameras are your best option. Wired cameras require more technical help to get the cable wired properly and everything in its correct place. Although wireless RV cameras are more expensive, when you consider the cost of installing a wired RV backup camera you may actually save money buying the wireless model.

A backup camera will not only put you at ease while driving a larger vehicle, it can be an important safety measure as well. A quality backup camera for your RV can be an important purchase for your rig.

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5 Things You Need To Know About Your RV Battery

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An RV battery is one of the most important parts of your rig. None of the appliances or features of your motor home will work without one. So while they may not be much fun to play around with, it’s essential to understand your batteries for RV if you want to have a pleasant trip.

Battery RV Basics

Everything in your RV runs on a 12v RV battery system to function. Your battery is simply an electrical power storage device – it stores power in the form of chemicals so that it can be used later. RV house batteries are deep cycle batteries designed to store large amounts of this power, so they can work over long periods of time. Your deep cycle batteries can last you up to five years if you keep them properly maintained.

Keeping Your Battery For RV Charged

Batteries should always be above a 50% charge. If they drop below that, recharge them! If they go below a 20% charge, that can affect their RV battery life – they may be permanently damaged and won’t function at 100% again. Also, 12v RV batteries give off slightly more voltage when they’re fully charged. You can see the state of your charge by using an RV battery monitor or digital voltmeter. You can keep your battery charged longer by disconnecting the ground wire so it doesn’t drain while in storage. Also, keep in mind that it always takes less time to drain your batteries than it does to recharge them again.

Every time your RV is connected to an electric outlet, your batteries charge. An RV converter/charger that converts the power from the grid into a 12v DC and channels that to the adapter is already fitted on your RV. If you don’t have one, get a three-stage charger for your motor home. The three-stage charger is much more effective than the inbuilt charger during storage.

The three stages of the charger are: the bulk charge, which your inbuilt charger gives – that should get your RV battery up to 80 or 90% charge; the acceptance charge which slowly tapers off as the battery gets close to full charge, and the final trick of power to the batteries until they’re fully charged – and keeps the trickle coming to keep the battery topped off until you remove it from the charger.

Making Sure You Have Enough Battery Power

Since everything in your rig runs on 12v, you need 12v of power. You can get this, of course, with a 12v battery…but you can also create an RV battery bank. By combining two 6v RV batteries in series with jumper cables, you can get the 12v of power you need while keeping the amperage the same. You can also have RV batteries in parallel, which increases the current while keeping the voltage the same. To do this, you connect two positive terminals with two negative terminals, creating a negative negative and a positive positive. The batteries then drain equally. Finally, you can have RV batteries in series, which would increase the voltage and amps. You need at least four batteries, and can connect two sets of batteries in parallel together to form a series power bank.

RV Battery Storage

If you store your RV for the winter, there are a few things to do to make sure your RV coach batteries stay in good condition. Leaving the batteries as they are all winter will cause them to discharge little by little, leaving you with a flat battery in the spring. This is back for the life of the battery. Also, freezing can kill your flooded battery, whereas a charged battery won’t freeze. To avoid these problems, consider removing your batteries from your rig and storing them at home. Check the voltage once a month and charge them if they’re below 80%.

If you can’t take your batteries out, disconnect the house batteries to avoid “vampire devices.” Appliances like smoke detectors, fridges, and propane detectors can all slowly drain the battery, even when they’re off. Charge the batteries as they naturally discharge, and charge your battery fully once a month. Check on your batteries monthly while your vehicle is in storage to be sure they’re functioning properly.

RV Batteries For Sale

You can purchase RV batteries many places including auto parts stores, RV stores, camping stores, and even on Amazon. You can also read reviews online to decide the best RV battery for your rig.

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RV Battery Box – 7 Things You Need To know

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Your RV batteries are very important! Without them, you can’t power anything in your vehicle, or even get it moving in the first place. Since it’s such an important piece of equipment, you want to take a little time to make sure it’s protected. You need an RV battery box to shield your battery from the elements and to keep you safe.

Sometimes you can purchase batteries with the RV battery boxes included, but if they don’t come with one, or if you need a replacement, they’re easy enough to find. Here are some things to consider before you purchase an RV battery box.

1. Know what type of battery you have

Your RV runs on two kinds of batteries – the started battery gets the engine going, and the deep cycle batteries operate everything in your rig when you’re camping and not connected to shore power. Starting batteries are usually 12v and should never be used as deep cycle – sometimes called “house” – batteries. House batteries are often 6v and provide a steady flow of energy for long periods of time. You can also use 12v batteries, or 6v batteries wired in-series, for your house batteries.

2. Battery Prices

Do some online research (and check this site, of course!) to get an idea of battery prices and what you should expect to pay. For help picking the very best battery without getting scammed, this article is very helpful.

3. More on RV battery boxes

Now that you understand your battery, why do you need a battery box? The battery box is a lightweight carrying case that will protect your battery from any water, grease, or other liquids that might leak into the engine compartment and ruin it.

Some people recommend an RV battery tray in lieu of a battery box. Those are trays that are used to strap batteries into place, but they don’t actually protect your battery from leaks and water damage. Battery boxes will protect your battery much better.

4. Battery box features

The most important feature of an RV battery box is whether it can accommodate your battery. Most boxes fit most batteries, so this shouldn’t be too much of a concern, but you should check to make sure before purchasing a box that the battery will fit. Also, if you have a dual-purpose battery, make sure you purchase an RV dual battery box for it.

Many boxes feature patented designs with locking tabs that secure the top to the rest of the box to make sure it stays fastened, and have holes for the cables. Also, make sure the box is resistant to acid, oil, and exposure to the elements. You’ll also want proper ventilation to allow air to circulate. Check the specifications of the box to see how temperature-resistant it is if you’re going to be in extreme heat or cold.

5. Vented RV battery boxes

As mentioned above, ventilation is important in a battery box as well. Vented RV battery boxes include a kit so you can install the battery indoors. They can be useful, but they are more expensive and more complicated to install than a standard battery box. If you do want a battery inside your rig, talk to a local dealer to see how much that will cost before committing.

6. Battery box prices

In general, RV battery boxes are pretty inexpensive. The NOCO snap-top battery box for a single 6v battery is currently under $10 on Amazon, and an Attwood battery box is around $18. A vented battery box is more – the Lavanture plastic vented box is currently around $30 on Amazon. A dual box is the most expensive – around $90 for this Dual Battery Box.

7. Where to buy RV battery boxes

We pointed out a few places online where you can purchase RV battery boxes – Amazon sells them, as well as dealers like Camping World. You can also find them on the individual websites for the makers of the boxes. Stores like Home Depot, Walmart, and Batteries Plus also have a variety of boxes. Do a little online sleuthing and price comparing to find the best deal – and don’t forget to factor in shipping if it isn’t offered free!

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Selecting The Best RV Covers – Read This Before Buying One

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We get it – thinking about covering up your RV isn’t very exciting. RVs are made to be driven! They’re made for adventure! For travel on the open road!

However, there may come a time when you need to tuck it away for the winter, or for a month or more while you’re doing other things. You’re going to need to look into RV covers.

What does an RV storage cover do?

An RV cover will protect your rig from rodents, bugs, UV damage, and the general wear and tear that affects vehicles sitting outside for long periods of time. It can save you time in not having to clean as much, and money in not having to make repairs. It’s an investment that will definitely help in the long run!

Usually, RV covers are made from polypropylene or polyester. There are more layers added for the roof of the cover, for added protection, and the fabrics are treated with water or UV repellent. You also want your fabric to be breathable so moisture doesn’t get trapped and cause mildew. The more expensive the cover for RV, the better it will fit. Covers for rv will have zippers to allow access to the door, and the best RV covers are lightweight and easy to handle. Custom RV covers cost more, but they provide better protection as well.

What to think about with an RV parking cover

Consider the following factors when you buy an RV parking cover.

  • Type – different RV storage covers are made for different models so be sure the ones you look at will work for yours
  • Size – you want your RV storage cover to fit snugly. Measure your rig first, and then purchase a cover in the right size
  • Material – where will your RV be stored? Some materials are better for dust and dirt, some are good for snow or rain.

Here are a few great RV storage covers to look at, based on RV cover reviews:

  • ADCO makes both standard and custom-fit RV covers in a variety of fabrics that stand up well to the elements
  • CAMCO makes great heavy-duty covers for snowy climates, with triple-layer top panels that repel water and vents to keep mold and mildew from growing

How to cover your RV

Before you cover your RV, be sure to wash it first to get any debris and dirt off. If dirt gets trapped inside, it can cause scratches.

You’re going to want a buddy to help when you cover your RV. If you’re on the roof, it helps to have someone below on the ground. First, take the cover out and spread it on the ground so you can see how it should fit. Figure out where everything goes and how to fasten it on. Also, before you start, make sure you can safely climb onto your RV’s roof if that’s required, and that it will hold your weight. When you put the cover on, make sure it’s tightly fastened or it can come loose during harsh weather. Be sure to cover your wheels and tires as well.

With a little research to find the best RV cover for your rig, you can be sure of keeping it well-protected and in good shape for years to come!

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RV Electrical – Everything You Need To Know: Read This First

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One of the great things about RVing is that you can have the conveniences from home while you’re on the road. You can stay warm at night, see to read when it’s dark, and wake to a nice, fresh-brewed cup of coffee in the morning…all thanks to your RV electrical system.

It’s important to understand your RV electrical systems somewhat before you head out. Knowing how your RV electrical supply operates can help you troubleshoot problems, or more importantly, avoid them in the first place! Here’s a little bit of information to help you understand your RV electrical system and how it works.

RV Battery Systems

For starters, your RV has three batteries. One is a 12-volt DC automotive system under the hood, and is what powers your RV when you drive it (like your car battery). One is a 12-volt DC coach system, commonly called the “house batteries,” and the last one is a 120-volt AC coach system.

The house batteries run smaller appliances inside your rig like the water pump and the lights. They’re often – but not always – charged when the RV is running, and they also charge when you hook up to power. The 120-volt AC battery runs larger appliances like the air conditioner and coffee maker, and it gets its power from an external RV electrical hookup or a generator.

RV Electrical Hook Up

Your RV will come with either a 30-amp or a 50-amp plug, depending on the size of your rig, so you can connect to external RV electrical power. The greater the power your RV can handle, the more appliances you can run inside. Because 30-amp plugs have a three-pronged plug and 50-amp plugs have four prongs, you may want RV electrical adapters. 50-amp power isn’t always available at campsites, so you’ll want to be able to convert your plug at the RV electrical box. If you do that, just remember you won’t be able to run as many of your appliances because you’ll be operating with less power.

There are a few things to keep in mind when you plug in your RV electrical system at a campground. First, make sure every electronic device in your rig is powered off. Actually, it’s best to unplug them completely. This way, if there’s a problem with the RV electrical connection, you won’t fry all your electronics. You can also invest in a polarity tester, which allows you to test the campground’s power before you plug in so you can be sure the wiring is good. Polarity testers are around $40 on Amazon, but the investment may save you more if it prevents melting your computer! You may also want to consider a surge protector.

Know Your Appliances

Not everything you use draws the same power. Know which of your devices use just a little power, and which are electricity hogs. For the most part, anything that generates heat or makes things cold draws a lot of power and you can’t run too many of them at once, especially on 30 amps of power. Also, kitchen appliances use more electricity that most other devices. The microwave, coffee maker, and toaster are all big power draws, as are the air conditioner, and the power required for a slide out. TVs and radios use relatively little power.

RV Electrical Maintenance

Check your RV electrical wiring before a trip. Make sure your batteries’ connection points are secure, nothing is damaged, and everything is clean and not corroded. Check your RV electrical plugs to be sure they’re in good shape and there is no fraying or wear. Also, it’s a good idea to know where your RV electrical panels are in your rig. If your appliance shuts off abruptly, the first thing to do is check to see if a circuit tripped or a fuse blew.

RV Electrical Safety

Always use extreme caution when you’re working with electricity. Turn off power at the source before working on anything, treat all electrical wires as though they’re live, and use tools with non-conducting handles. If you don’t have experience working with electricity, or you’re not comfortable doing it, have your RV electrical service done by someone who specializes in RV electrical repair – it’s just not worth risking your vehicle or your life.

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RV Hose – The Ultimate Guide: Read This First

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There can be a lot to learn about your RV. One of the most important things you should know about, however, is your hoses. The hoses are responsible for all of the most important parts of running your RV – washing, cooking, drinking, and eliminating dirty water and…other stuff. It’s very important that you know your hoses, check them often to make sure they’re in good shape, and never mix them up!

Your RV has five types of RV hoses. Let’s look at each of them:

The Water Hose

The water hose is hugely important – and one you need to make extra sure is safe and hygienic. Keep it well away from the sewer hose and other sources of contamination. Water hoses are made from materials that have been determined safe to carry drinking water. If you’re going to do a lot of winter camping, you may want a heated RV hose. A heated hose for RVs can function in weather as cold as -30°F and is a great option if you’re going to camp when it’s cold. Be sure to check that your heated hose is safe for drinking water and carry several lengths and hose fittings, just in case you need them.

The RV Propane Hose

Your RV propane hose is important for everything from heating your RV to cooking your food. If you’re going to be cooking in your RV, consider a Camp Chef RV connection hose that will connect directly to the RV’s propane, rather than requiring an extra tank for your stove. However, you may instead want an RV quick connect propane hose to run your portable barbeque or grill outdoors. As you can tell, there are a variety of RV propane hoses and fittings – consider what you’re going to be using your fuel for when you look to purchase RV propane hoses.

The Sewer Hose

You’ll want to purchase a new RV sewer hose for your rig, because the hoses that come with RVs aren’t very good quality. Make sure you get plenty of length, and spend the money to get a good, sturdy hose that will hold up well.

The Flushing Hose

The flushing hose is used to wash out the sewer hose and any connections to the black or gray tank. This hose also needs to stay clear of the others to avoid contamination, especially with the water hose.

The Exterior RV Shower Hose

This is hugely helpful for cleaning off everything from dirty pets to rinsing off salt, sand, or dirt from your daily adventures. Depending on how often you plan to use it, you may want to look for a sturdy hose that can stand the test of kids and can even rinse off the outside mess of your vehicle if you need.

While some people get into the bad habit of tossing all their hoses into a box to store them, you don’t want to do that! Cross-contamination can be a real health concern, and you want to be safe. Consider some RV hose storage like a hose reel or RV hose carrier to keep things separate and safe.

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7 Things You Need To Know About RV LED Lights

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RV LED lights can be a great asset if you live in your RV full-time, or if you travel in it often. They’re especially convenient if you like dry camping (boondocking). The lights are energy efficient and last a long time without needing to be replaced. Because of this, they’ll draw less power, which is great if you’re not connected to a power source. If you want to change your incandescent and halogen bulbs to LED RV lights, here’s what you need to know.

  • LED lights for RV produce more light with less power. They’re a great energy-saving option! 12v LED lights for RV consume 0.12 amps, versus the 1.6 amps that a traditional 12v incandescent bulb uses. When you consider that you may be using ten or more bulbs in your RV, the amount of power you’re going to be saving with 12v LED RV lights is exponential.
  • RV LED lights cost more to purchase, but save you money in the end. The initial cost will be more than traditional bulbs, but by saving power and not having to replace them as often, you end up saving money.
  • RV LED lights don’t burn as hot. Halogen and incandescent bulbs tend to heat up after they’ve been on for a while. LED lights for RV stay cool, meaning they are safer to use.
  • 12v RV LED lights come in a variety of colors. You can choose natural light, cool light, or warm light. Natural lights mimic sunlight and look the most like stepping outdoors. Cool light is usually brightest, and seems the most “white.” Warm light offers a gentle blush and looks the most like other indoor lights.
  • You can get RV LED lights for a variety of places in your vehicle. You’ll find LED RV awning lights, interior RV LED lights, RV LED tail lights, and exterior RV LED lights that are motion sensitive or have bug repellant.
  • Know how many bulbs you need. RVs can have up to (or more than!) 24 bulbs – know how many you need, and what sizes and styles, before you head to the store.
  • RV LED lights are easy to install. You change RV LED lights the same way you change regular light bulbs – simply unscrew the other bulb and replace it with an LED light for RV.Items in post:

RV LED lights can be a valuable asset for RVers, especially those who enjoy boondocking. They’ll not only save you money, they’ll save you precious power as well!

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RV Mattress – Don’t Buy One Until You Read This

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After a long day on the road…after stopping and finding your site and setting up camp for the night…after making something to eat and cleaning everything up and tucking your RV in for the night…a nice, soft RV mattress to rest your head on sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

The thing is – not all mattresses for RVs are created equal. The one that came with your RV may not be comfy. If you need to replace your mattress, you’ll need to think about a few things ahead of time. Here’s how to choose the best RV mattress.

What Kind of Mattress Do You Want?

There’s a good chance you can’t just get a regular mattress to put in your RV. For one thing, a lot of RV beds are a different size from standard sized mattresses. In fact, RV bed mattresses that have standard labels like “twin,” or “queen” are often a few inches shorter or narrower than mattresses you’d use in your bedroom at home. Also, often RV mattresses are lighter than standard ones, which means less weight on your rig. That’s not to say you can’t put a standard mattress in an RV – just measure carefully, and make sure you know how much extra weight you’ll have.

You also have the option of purchasing an air mattress for RV – for either your bed or your sRV sofa bed mattress. An RV air mattress is a great way to save room and money (and that’s definitely not going to send you over your weight requirement!). On the other end of the spectrum, if you have extra money and want complete control over the size and shape of your mattress, you could have a custom RV mattress made.

How Big of a Mattress Do You Need?

To determine how big of a mattress you want, you’ll need to measure your frame.

  • Measure the bed frame from one side to the other side. This will determine the width of mattress you’ll need.
  • Measure from head to foot, which will determine the length you’ll want.
  • Measure from the top of the mattress down to the bottom to determine the height. Slide outs will be the biggest factor in how careful you need to be about the height. If you don’t have anything in the way of the mattress, this measurement isn’t necessary.

The most common mattress sizes are:

If you have bunk beds, you’ll need truck mattresses for those.

Once you know the dimensions of your RV mattress, you can check on who sells them. Camping supply stores like Camping World often offer mattresses and bedding, and you can shop online for RV mattresses also. Check RV mattress reviews on websites you trust and do some research before making a decision.

Finally, if you have an affordable mattress you don’t want to replace but you want a little more cushioning, consider memory foam toppers or other bedding. You could even toss an egg crate mattress pad on there for a little extra padding. Mattress toppers aren’t hard to find – you can even get a standard sized one at a store like Walmart or Target – if you can’t find exactly your size, you can buy a little bigger and cut it down, or a little smaller and center it (you probably don’t need it reaching all the way to the ends of the mattress).

With a little research beforehand, you can be sure your RV mattress will be a warm welcome at night after a hard day on the road!

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RV On Demand Hot Water Heater – Read This Important Info…

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Hot water is one of the beautiful comforts of home you can continue to have when you travel in your RV! There’s nothing better after a long day of driving or exploring than a nice, hot shower. And while there are several kinds of water heaters available that make these hot showers possible, you may want to consider an RV on demand hot water heater. Here’s why…

An Instant Hot Water Heater For RV Means You Never Run Out of Hot Water

Most RV water heaters hold either 6 or 10 gallons of water. That gets used up pretty quickly when several people need to shower! With an on demand hot water heater for RV, you get the water you need, heated only when you need it.

An RV On Demand Hot Water Heater Saves Fuel

A water heater that uses a tank has to heat all the water in that tank, but since an on demand RV hot water heater only heats the water you need, you save fuel by not heating extra water. It doesn’t have to keep unused water at a set temperature, waiting for you to use it, and therefore using less propane overall.

An RV Instant Hot Water Heater Means You Don’t Need a Storage Tank

Save room in your rig! Since an on demand water heater for RV is tankless, you don’t need to take up room with a water tank.

Good Options For On Demand Water Heaters For RV

The following RV on demand hot water heaters are all very popular, with great reviews:

  • Rheem Performance 24 kw Self-Modulating 4.6 GPM Electric Tankless Water Heater

Know The Size You Need For Your On Demand Water Heater For RV

Not all tankless hot water heaters are the same size. Measure the space for your device to be sure it will fit. You may need to adjust the opening in the sidewall or order a different tankless water heater, so be sure you know the space that’s available for your device before you buy one.

Where To Buy An RV On Demand Water Heater

There are several places you can purchase a tankless water heater for your RV. Your RV dealer may have them and be able to install them for you. Also, big stores like Home Depot carry some models as well. Finally, you can find on demand RV hot water heaters online. Look on the website of the manufacturer, as well as on Amazon and eBay for possibilities.

Hot water is one of those perks that makes camping in a motorhome worthwhile, and on demand water heaters for RV make sure those perks are always there! With a little research, you can be sure to find the RV instant hot water heater that works best for you and your travels.

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