6 Great Tips for RV Beginners

Here are six quick tips for every RV beginner to consider

Have you ever loaded up a camper and ventured into the wilderness? RVing might not be everyone’s idea of a great vacation but that hasn’t stopped it from growing in popularity over the last few years. With many favorite summer activities closed by COVID-19, more people are turning to RV trips to have a safe and exciting vacation this year. Even if you’ve never gone RVing before, now is the perfect chance to try.

Fifth wheel trailers at Canyon Vista RV Park, Gold Canyon, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

RVs are exciting and they come with some new challenges, ranging from finding the right RV to getting comfortable with driving your home-on-the-road. This is all part of a journey that will bring a sense of freedom and discovery to your life.

Here are six quick tips to consider before you pile in and head out.

Class A motorhomes at Hilltop RV Park, Fort Stockton, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tip 1: Choose the Right RV For You

There is no right or wrong choice. Each type of RV has features that are attractive to some RVers, and less attractive to others. It’s really not a matter of a towable is better than a motorized, or vice versa, rather, it’s a matter of what will fit best with your RVing lifestyle.

Fifth wheel trailers at Katy Lake RV Resort, Katy, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Factors such as family size, whether you want to tow it, or need a bathroom play a role in your choice.

Class C motorhome rental from Cruise America at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tip 2: Decide Whether to Buy or Rent

This isn’t always an easy decision, with pros and cons for both. However, when you consider a few key factors, the answer becomes clearer.

Buy: You plan to go RV camping often or full-time and you have storage for the times when you aren’t traveling.

Rent: You plan to go on a single trip, or want to test the waters before making a purchase.

Class C motorhome at Lost Dutchman State Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tip 3: Get to Know Your RV

With little road experience, it’s especially important that RV beginners take time to learn how the RV works, even if it’s a rental. If something breaks, you should be able to assess the problem, and potentially fix it. This saves time and money spent on a mechanic.

Know how to hook up and use electric, water, and sewer servies © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

When you get to know your RV, you’re less likely to make operational errors. For example, if you don’t know how many amps your main breaker can handle, there’s a good chance you’ll blow it. This is a potentially expensive error that can be avoided by getting to know your rig.

Class A motorhome traveling north to Page, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tip 4: Take a Practice Drive

Many find driving an RV easier than they thought, but it’s important to practice. Get in the driver’s seat and adjust the mirrors, seat belt height, lumbar support, and armrests so you’re comfortable, and make sure you can easily turn your head to see in all directions. Become familiar with all switches and controls.

Class A motorhomes on Utah Scenic Byway 12 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Then take your RV for a drive around a big parking lot practicing backing up, turning, braking, and parking. It’s best to have a partner to assist with the backing up. Finally, take your it for a drive on the road over varied terrain, if possible.

Once you know the intricacies of driving an RV, you can make necessary adjustments. For example, if your drawers pop open you need to find a way to keep them shut.

Learn the correct way to use a dump station © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tip 5: Pack Tools and Spare Parts

Pack a well-stocked tool kit and store on the curb side of your RV. Include basic tools and items that may need to be replaced including LCD flashlights, spare fuses, LCD lights, jumper cables, nuts and bolts, WD-40, silicon spray, duct and gorilla tape, and cleaning supplies. Be sure to bring spare parts that are unique to your rig.

Know how before you go © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tip 5: Don’t Wing It

The urge to be spontaneous is tempting when your home is on wheels. There’s a certain pleasure in going where you want, when you want. However, it does help to have a solid plan in place especially if it’s your first RV trip.

When planning your RV trip, consider:

Use a pressure regulator when hooking up to city water © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tip 6: Use a Campground Setup Checklist

Pulling into your RV campground is just the start. A set-up checklist will help you keep everything in order and make the process go as smoothly as possible.

Use an electric management system to protect against surges and high and low voltage © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Walk your RV site before you pull in to ensure you have the adequate space and clearance for your vehicle checking for low hanging branches and obstacles on the ground. Locate the hookups, including electric, water, cable TV, and sewer. Level the RV if needed. Test that the hookups are working properly.

Worth Pondering…

Our wish to you is this: drive a little slower, take the backroads sometimes, and stay a little longer. Enjoy, learn, relax, and then…plan your next RV journey.