He does this. She does that. It all works great until…! Here is how splitting RV duties can kick you in the behind.
It’s a very effective strategy, really. Splitting the duties between travel partners certainly has a lot of perks.
It means faster setup and teardowns. It means each is doing what they’re most comfortable with. And it usually means less arguing!
But there is one big pitfall of splitting RV duties that we don’t talk about enough. It can leave us stranded, helpless, and alone, both literally and figuratively.
What is the biggest pitfall of splitting RV duties?
The biggest pitfall of splitting RV duties is not being self-sufficient if something happens to your traveling partner. Whether it’s an emergency situation on the road or you lose your traveling partner, you need to know how to do certain things on your own.
Many people have the organizational mindset that she does the inside stuff and he does outside stuff. This usually works but both need to know how to do everything to set up, pack up, drive, and park your rig. If your partner gets really sick, hurt, or dies while traveling, you’re suddenly left with trying to cope with moving the RV on top of everything else that is happening. Take the time to learn your rig and practice. Hopefully, you will never need the knowledge.
Too many RVers have learned the hard way that they didn’t know enough about their rig (inside and out) to handle it on their own if need be.
Splitting RV duties is still a great idea
Don’t get me wrong, splitting RV duties is still a great idea. But just because you split duties doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know how to do the other’s job. It means the opposite, actually. You do need to know how to do the other person’s job or at the very least, know what their jobs are.
After all, you can’t even ask for help if you don’t know what you need help with!
How to learn the other person’s RV duties
Learning what and how your travel partner does things is a process. I certainly don’t recommend you flat-out swap duties for a trip. That would be overwhelming and likely ruin the trip for everyone.
Instead, learn bit by bit and take the following steps one step at a time.
Make a list of each other’s set up/tear down duties
You can’t do what you don’t know needs to be done. And the best way to learn this is to shadow your travel partner.
Yes, each of you could make a list of your own duties but you may take something for granted. It’s more helpful and actually more efficient for one person to take notes while the other person does their duties.
Just start by making an overview checklist. I suggest silently observing unless you don’t know how to notate it. That way, your partner can go through their motions without distraction.
The list could look something like this:
Start in kitchen
Clean and put all dishes securely in their place
Throw away expiring food and take out trash
Put cloths between pots and pans so they don’t rattle
Wipe down counters and cabinets
Put aside drinks and snacks for the drive
Move to the bathroom next…
By shadowing them, you not only learn what they do but what order they do it in. Through experience, we learn how to be more efficient so you can save yourself from learning this by watching instead.
When it comes to technical stuff like disconnecting hoses and cords, pull out your phone and record it. If anything is particularly difficult, ask your partner to make a how-to video. Just have them explain what they’re doing as you record them.
Try it firsthand
The next step is to try things firsthand. But, don’t try to do it all firsthand at once. On your next travel day, swap one or two duties. Then the next travel day, swap one or two more. We all learn best by doing, so you gotta try doing it.
There are two ways to do this. One is to attempt it on your own and then have your partner review it after. The other is your partner can quietly observe as you do it.
I recommend the first method if possible since it can be nerve-wracking or frustrating to have someone watching over your shoulder. But sometimes it really is best to have them by your side.
If you’re an observing partner, note that I wrote: quietly observe. Try to silently observe and only speak up if asked or if they’re about to make a critical mistake.
And again, note that I said critical. If the mistake can easily be corrected, let them make it. That’s probably how you learned to do it, too.
Accept that you can’t do it all
There are some duties that the other person simply can’t do. For instance, one partner may not be able to lift the bike in the rack or hitch up the toad.
But identifying these can’t-do duties is very important. It’s better to know what you can’t do so you can come up with solutions.
Or, it can save you time in an emergency situation from trying to do something that you just can’t. You’ll know right away to say “forget it and leave it behind!” or to immediately seek help.
Sometimes, the solutions to can’t-do duties are drastic but necessary.
The point is, no matter how big or small the can’t-do duty is, you can give yourself time to figure out a solution by identifying it now, not during a crisis.
How do you split RV duties? Has splitting RV duties bit you in the behind? How did you learn what and how things needed to be done?
Until next time, safe RV travels, and I’ll see you on the highway!
Road trips are still very much a trending means of travel and here are some tips to know before you plan one
Traveling by RV is amazing. You have the freedom to choose your routes and move based on your schedule. Preparation is vital for the success of any road trip.
Adapting to the RV lifestyle can be overwhelming—overwhelmingly fun. Sure, there are a few things here and there to get used to but, overall, it’s an adventure you’ll wish would never end. The beauty of a road trip is the journey—it isn’t just about reaching your chosen destination. With that being said, it’s important to remember that the journey is often long and proper preparation is the key.
To relieve any stress or anxiety you may have about the RV lifestyle and to help elevate the fun of it all, I’ve gathered 30 RV hacks and tips to help ensure your next trip is your best trip.
1. Create an RV Departure Checklist
There are certain RV camping essentials you need to take with you such as your RV paperwork (insurance, registration details, roadside assistance documents, and road maps). Whether it’s a physical copy or one stored on your phone, having a checklist available can save you the trouble of leaving something behind or having to turn around once on the road.
2. Kitchen Essentials
If you plan to prepare meals in your RV (and why wouldn’t you?), you’ll need to ensure you have all the equipment and supplies you need. For example, you’ll require bowls, plates, cutlery, cups, pots and pans, knives, chopping boards, and matches. You’ll also need to pack products to clean these items once you’ve used them such as sponges, detergent, and trash bags.
3. Bedroom Essentials
The RV checklist for the bedroom includes linen and bed sheets, duvets and blankets, pillows, and laundry essentials. You might also want to pack towels in your bedroom because RVs usually lack storage space in the bathroom.
Fully stock your bathroom with your bathmat and toiletries. Toiletries could include a toothbrush, toothpaste, liquid soap, shampoo and conditioner, lotion, deodorant, and a hairbrush. And don’t forget the toilet paper and bathroom cleaning products too.
5. Clothing Essentials
Nobody wants to go away and realize they only have one pair of underwear and socks, so make sure you pack your clothes carefully. Work out the number of days you’ll be away and decide which clothes you want to take and how frequently you’ll do laundry.
Your clothing pack list should also be influenced by the location and time of year. For example, if you’re going on vacation to the coast make sure you pack sunscreen, sunglasses, and your swimsuit. If you’re heading to the mountains be prepared for all four seasons.
6. Entertainment Essentials
You won’t spend all your time outside and on the go, so you’ll want to pack some entertainment. The type of entertainment depends on you and your family and the amount of space you have in your RV. Some examples of entertainment essentials include music, movies, laptops, games, puzzles, toys, and books.
7. Personal Essentials
Personal essentials you’ll need during your RV travels include your smartphone and charger, credit card and cash, and campground and RV park confirmations. Another personal essential might be medications.
8. Grocery Essentials
A major positive about RV travel is that you are self-sufficient meaning you can be off-grid and explore the backcountry. However, if you’re planning on going off-grid and away from stores make sure you think about the grocery packing list. Since you’ll need sufficient food in your RV to last during your time in the backcountry, pack plenty of canned goods, vegetables, fruit, nuts, and cereals.
Whether you plan to go off-grid or not, you’ll also need camping supplies. These may include flashlights, maps, pocket knives, a compass, water filters, and ropes. If you plan to do specific camping activities such as hiking, fishing, or kayaking, you should also pack these items.
10. First Aid Essentials
Accidents can happen which is why it’s important to be prepared and ensure your first aid kit is fully stocked. Ensure that your kit includes bandages, band-aids, antiseptic wipes, disposal plastic gloves, a thermometer, and any other medications or creams you might need. You might want to pack some insect repellent and bite and sting ointment.
Familiarize yourself with the items in the first aid kit and know how to properly use them. Check your first-aid kits regularly, at least every three months, to replace supplies that have expired.
If you travel with pets, pet first aid manuals are also available.
When hitting the road in your RV, you’ll a good pair of sunglasses, regardless of whether you’re heading to the beaches or to the mountains. No one wants to stare into the sun for hours on end, not to mention that driving without sunglasses can be dangerous. Do yourself (and your eyes!) a favor and remember your shades.
12. Turn the propane valve OFF before traveling
This should definitely be on the departure checklist, but fire safety is worth stressing more than once. Traveling with your RV’s propane valve open is a fire hazard. With all the shaking that occurs on and off the road, propane connections can loosen or come apart entirely while in transit.
13. Create a Campground Setup Checklist
A setup checklist will ensure everything is set up as it should be. You checklist should include:
Check the site for low hanging branches or obstacles on the ground
Locate the electrical, water, and sewage hookups
Pull your RV in, close to the hookups, and level it with blocks or stabilizing jacks, if necessary
Make sure the circuit breaker on the pedestal is turned off before connecting the power cord to the electrical pedestal
Connect the water hose using a pressure regulator
Attach your sewer hose to the drain hook-up and dump the black water tank followed by the gray water tank—be sure to wear disposable vinyl gloves for this process
14. RV Tool Box
A basic tool kit could quickly become your best friend. You never know when you’re going to need a screwdriver to tighten/loosen something or a hammer to pound something in place.
Just about anything in your RV that can snap, crack, rip loose, tear, bend, leak, spark, or fall off will do exactly that at the most inconvenient time. Something will need to be tightened, loosened, pounded flat, pried, or cut. To help you deal with everyday problems and annoyances, maintain a well-equipped tool box in the RV (always store on curb side).
15. Gorilla Tape
Gorilla Tape is a brand of adhesive tape sold by the makers of Gorilla Glue and available in several sizes and colors including camouflage, white, and clear. Gorilla Tape can solve many problems while on the road—and you can do most anything with this stuff. RVers have used it to temporarily repair a sewer hose, keep a driver’s side window from continually falling, and even affix the coffee maker to the counter so that it doesn’t move during travel.
16. Assorted Fuses
Vehicle fuses can blow at any time so it’s a good idea to keep extras around in a variety of sizes. But remember—something caused it to blow in the first place. Address the original issue as soon as possible.
17. LED Flashlight
Flashlights are a must-have on any road trip.
18. Deep Cell Batteries
Batteries are life. They keep everything running especially when you’re off the grid. Batteries also die if you don’t keep them adequately filled so they can maintain their charge. Check batteries monthly and add distilled water as required.
19. Potable Drinking Water Hose
RV potable water hoses are lead and BPA free. I recommend traveling with two hoses since you never know how far your RV will be parked from a city water connection.
20. Heated Water Hose
A heated RV water hose is required for winter camping. This product will give you safe drinking water even when temperatures dip below freezing. These hoses cost $100 or more, depending mostly on length, but will save you a lot in frozen pipes. A heated hose has a heat strip along the side of the hose that heats up when plugged into a 110-volt electrical connection. Some brands are rated to keep water flowing at minus 40 degrees.
21. RV Sewer Hose
A high-quality sewer hose is essential to avoid any unpleasant leaks or malfunctions. I prefer Camco RhinoFLEX kit that includes a 15-foot hose, a fitting that connects to your RVs sewer outlet, an adapter that fits any sewer connection, and storage caps for each end. The durable hose is reinforced with steel wire so you can shape it as needed. Also carry a 10-foot extension—you’ll be glad you did.
Emptying the RV black water tank is probably the most common reason to have disposable vinyl gloves around. But, they can also be used for a variety of other things like cleaning and handling food. Yes, you should absolutely use disposable gloves for sewer tasks.
23. Translucent Sewer Hose Elbow Fitting
If your sewer hose kit doesn’t come with a transparent connector, I recommend adding this accessory to your list. Clear connectors will give you a good idea of when the tank has been fully emptied. That way you won’t be stuck guessing when a good time is to close the connection.
24. RV Sewer Hose Support
This product helps to hold the sewer hose in place and prevent a failed connection between the RV and dump station. It’s a recommended accessory if you’re camping at a site for long periods of time and want to avoid other travelers from tripping or moving your sewer hose connection. Also, some areas require the use of a sewer hose support.
25. Heavy Duty RV Dogbone Electrical Adapter
Every RVer needs to carry a few power adapters often referred to as dogbones to make sure that they can connect to whatever power is available to them. These power adapters will have a smaller, lower amperage plug (male blades) on one end and a larger/higher-amperage receptacle (female terminals) on the other end. Look for UL-listed versions of these adapters preferably with rigid grab handles. They do not change the power output.
Recommended electric adapters include:
50-amp RV plugged into 30-amp source
50-amp RV plugged into 15-amp source
30-amp RV plugged into 15-amp source
26. RV Stabiliser Jack Pads
Prevent hydraulic or electric jacks from sinking into the ground by using RV stabilizer jack pads. Available in sets of four they are solidly constructed of durable polypropylene with UV inhibitors. Interlocking for convenient storage they are available with a handy strap.
Check the age of the tires—RV tires usually age out before they wear out. Check the sidewalls for cracking. Use a high-quality truck tire pressure gauge to check that all tires are properly inflated. Under-inflated tires can increase fuel consumption by up to 4 percent, according to International Energy Agency. Proper inflation also reduces the incidence of tire failure and blowouts.
28. Electric Management System
There are four electrical issues an RVer can encounter while traveling: surges, miswired pedestals, high/low voltage, and wiring issues inside the RV. We’ve had a power surge, situations where pedestals were miswired, and both high and low voltage situations. Fortunately, our Progressive Electric Management System has protected us from all of these situations.
Check out the units available from Progressive Electric Management Systems or Surge Guard. Both portable and hardwired units are available.
29. Carbon Monoxide Detector
Carbon monoxide (CO) is produced when fuel is burned. LP-gas, gasoline, or diesel-fired equipment in and around your RV creates CO. Most of the gas appliances vent to the outside; however, a blocked flue, exhaust pipe, or even a breeze in the wrong direction can bring CO inside the RV. Generators are frequent offenders especially in tight quarters such as an RV rally where the exhaust can flow from one RV to another.
CO detectors generally have a 10-year lifespan from the time they are first activated. If the CO detector in your RV uses a battery, it should be replaced annually. Use only the type of battery recommended by the manufacturer. Many, but not all detectors have a low-battery and/or an end-of-life signal.
30. Smoke Detectors
Everyone should be aware of smoke detectors mounted in RVs. The simple act of making toast can set them off as can smoke from a campfire or outside grill. They can be annoying but they will save your life in the event of a fire. All they require is a new battery every year.
Other considerations, supplies, and equipment include fire extinguishers (one in the galley, one in the bedroom, and one outside of the RV in a basement compartment, plus one in the toad/tow vehicle), NOAA weather radio, heavy-duty whistles, emergency waterproof matches, jumper cables, ice/snow window scrapers, work gloves, and blue tarp.
Now that you know the top 30 hacks to make your road trip more fun, are you ready to hit the open road? Plan your route with one of the many online tools available today and don’t forget to take photos of what you see. Happy travels!
I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.
You’re out on the road in your new recreation vehicle for the first time and you commit that huge mistake that tells the world you’re a newcomer to the world of RVing. It’s embarrassing and there may be a mess to clean up, but it wouldn’t be so bad if there weren’t witnesses to see your mistake.
For the first couple of years of RVing it seemed I learned something new every time I pulled into a campground. Sometimes, it was not the most enjoyable experience but a learning experience.
Everyone makes rookie RV mistakes, but you can avoid the worst ones if you do your homework ahead of time. Here are the most common mistakes new RVers make—and how to avoid them.
The most horrifying mistake a new RVer can make is driving off while you’re still connected to water, sewer, and/or power. The damage is expensive, and it’s extremely embarrassing.
Also make sure you lower the satellite dish and TV antenna, retract the awnings and slides, and pick up and stow any jack pads, leveling boards, or wheel chocks prior to departure.
And don’t forget to check head lights, tail lights, and signal lights, front and rear.
Using Your RV before Learning How
It’s Sunday morning and you’ve had your first awesome camping experience in your newly purchased RV. Before leaving the campground, you make a pit stop at the dump station only to realize you have no idea what to do. As you search through the manual, you realize you have a line of vehicles behind you waiting to dump.
There are many new procedures you need to learn—from simple things to more complex items. Before leaving home on your first camping trip, read through your operator’s manual and conduct a practice run of the major procedures, including hooking up utilities, leveling the RV, extending and retracting the slideouts, and dumping gray and black water.
Not Knowing the Size of Your RV
First time RVers often have a difficult time managing the large size of their RV. Usually, cornering and parking are the toughest tasks. Also, ensure know your height and width.
No Plan No Prep
Many new RVers make their first mistakes before they even hit the road. The key to success is in the planning. For a smooth, worry-free trip, make sure you consider all of these things:
Your budget. Set aside more money than you think you’ll need—especially for food, fuel, and camping fees. Also, be sure to set aside enough money specifically for an emergency.
Your route. Avoid narrow roads with sharp turns, and highways with low bridges or tunnels. There are apps for this.
Your reservations. Many an RVer has been denied entrance to a campground because they didn’t have a reservation. Popular camps fill up quickly and RV sites are limited.
Your necessities. RVs are tiny places, making it easy to overpack. Make sure you only bring what you need.
Not Using a Checklist!
These newbie RV mistakes can be avoided by using a checklist before, during, and after your trip. Update your checklist with every trip—you’re bound to learn a lesson or two as time goes on.
Not Doing a Walk Around?
There are many things that must be done when breaking camp with your RV. Often, a checklist is followed to assure that each item has been readied and checked before hitting the road.
Generally, the last item to be completed is a full walk around. This involves the driver walking entirely around the vehicle and checking everything, verifying that all slides and awnings are fully retracted and locked, jacks are up, all appendages are disconnected from the services and stored, the hitch is secure, tires are fully inflated and not damaged, windows and vents are closed, antennas are down, and no kids, items, or other obstructions lie under the vehicle. The ground should be checked to make sure no fluids are leaking.
Remember—everyone’s an RV newbie at some point, and we’ve all made some of these newbie mistakes. You’re in good company, so keep your sense of humor, a toolbox, first aid kit, and consider yourself officially a veteran RVer.
I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.
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.
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.
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.
Factors such as family size, whether you want to tow it, or need a bathroom play a role in your choice.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Checklists can make your RV arrivals and departures easier and safer
If you’re new to RVing, you’re smart to wonder about how to drive and operate your RV properly. It’s your home away from home, and should be treated as
such. And RVing with Rex has you covered with answers, tips, ideas, and more,
so you can hit the road with confidence.
From inspecting and maintaining your RV to knowing how to
depart from a campsite and set up procedure upon arrival at a new campground or
RV park, having a plan helps everything run more smoothly and ensures you’re
informed and in control every step of the way.
Below is a Departure and Setup checklist to help get you
started. It is meant to be a starting point for your own list.
Lower antenna and satellite dish
Return slide-outs to their travel position
Secure loose items inside cabinets
Close and latch shower and closet doors
Close and latch oven, stovetop, and refrigerator doors
Close and latch all internal doors (bathroom, bedroom, etc.)
Close roof vents and windows
Turn off propane-powered appliances
Close propane tank valve
Clear the RV of trash
Stow steps, hand rails, etc.
Close and latch external door(s)
Check tire pressure on all tires
Disconnect all hookups (electricity, sewer, water, cable,
Remove stabilizing jacks, raise leveling jacks, and store
leveling blocks (as applicable)
Hitch trailer to tow vehicle or dinghy/toad to motorized RV
Test hitch connection by driving forward
Check signal lights, 4-way lights, brake lights, headlights,
and fog lights
Do a final walk-around
Arrival and Setup
Once you’ve arrived at your campground, RV resort, or final
destination, it’s time to park, set up, and relax. Here are some basic
Check in with campground office/park ranger station
Obtain directions to campsite
Upon arrival at your site, do a walk-through, and determine best location for RV and toad/tow vehicle
Drive into campsite (pull through or back in)
Check parking job (space, alignment with hookups, clearance
for slide-outs and basement bins)
Lower leveling jacks until RV is supported
Unhitch RV and park toad/tow vehicle
Extend steps and restore hand rails and slide-outs to their
Open propane tank valve
Connect to hookups (electricity, water, sewer, cable, satellite)
Raise antenna and satellite dish
Set up outdoor gear and awnings
Return items to their parked storage positions
I find that a great part of the information I have was
acquired by looking up something and finding something else on the way.