A myth is a common statement or belief, widely known and even accepted as truth, but based on false notions or supposed ideas that have not been proven to be factual. Now that’s a definition mouthful! But I think you’ll agree that the following statements are RV myths (or at least partial myths):
- RVs are only for elderly, retired folks. Myth! Just look around the campground and you’ll see young families, forty-somethings, and yes, maybe a retired person or two. But in the last few campgrounds where we’ve stayed, we saw mostly young families enjoying the RV life.
- RVs are too … well, just too! Too expensive, too difficult to drive, and there’s too much to remember! Let’s take those statements one at a time.
- First: RVs are too expensive. Myth! You can find travel trailers priced under $10K. Since the pandemic buying frenzy, you may not have the selection of years past, but deals are out there. Preowned RVs offer great savings, as well. If you decide to buy new, most dealers offer a variety of payment plans to fit almost any budget.
- Second: RVs are too difficult to drive. It depends, but mostly myth. If you choose a Class A or a huge fifth-wheel RV, you will need to practice your driving skills before hitting the open road, but driving a Class B is much the same as maneuvering your family’s SUV. Some places even offer RV driving lessons to put you more at ease behind the wheel. And in most states, you are not required to have a special driver’s license to drive an RV.
- Third: There’s too much to remember when RVing. Myth! (With a caveat: Follow a list!) Yes, there is a learning curve when it comes to water holding tanks, RV appliances, and general maintenance. But you can find a ton of lists online to help you manage.
- RVs are only useful for long, extended trips. Myth! Yes, RVs are a perfect way to travel extensively, but they’re great for quick getaways, too! If you keep your rig packed with the basics, you can take off for a weekend or even just an afternoon at the lake.
- Full-time RVing is much less expensive than living in a sticks-and-bricks home. Myth! (For the most part.) If you like to boondock, camp at Walmart, or stay at other free venues, you may be able to put some extra cash into your pocket. But remember that if you stay in campgrounds, you’ll be paying for utilities, laundry facilities, TV cable, and more. In addition, you may have payments on your RV. With fuel prices on the rise, and RV parks raising rates due to high demand, you may not save as much as you’d think.
There are also RV myths that seem to be perpetuated by manufacturers and unscrupulous dealers. Here are a few statements to consider:
- New is always best! Myth! Preowned RVs often are a better value than buying new. Don’t fall for a salesman’s pitch. Do your homework before you buy. Check out sites like RV Trader or your local Facebook Marketplace for used RVs. Purchasing a preowned RV might just leave some cash to put toward your next road trip.
- Everything you need is included in the “starter kit” provided by the dealer of your new RV. Myth! Often the sewer hose is too short. You’ll probably need a longer one. If you’re staying in a campground, you’ll need a surge protector. And on it goes. Check online lists like this one from The Dyrt to make sure you’re really ready to take that first trip.
- “Four Season Living” means I can camp in subzero temperatures without a problem. Myth! Even RVs featuring special “all-season comfort” are not recommended for long stays in extremely cold temperatures. Water pipes can freeze and so can holding tanks. (Not a good situation.) Yes, you can buy heated hoses, tank heaters, and a skirt for your rig, but even these do not guarantee 100% success. Even propane and its regulator can freeze, leaving you shivering in the cold. Read this about propane freezing. Face it: An RV just isn’t insulated like your sticks-and-bricks home. Not even close!
- Your truck can pull it. Myth! (Depending on your truck, of course.) Just because you own a truck does not guarantee that it can pull any RV. Our personal mechanic generally recommends that folks tow no more than 80% of the truck’s towing capacity. Before you buy, make sure your truck can pull the RV. Check the truck owner’s manual, a trusted RV dealership, or ask your truck dealer.
- Your auto or home insurance policy covers your RV, too. Myth! Your auto insurance may cover liability for others while you’re traveling in the RV. But RVs require their own insurance. Read all policy descriptions carefully. Consider adding replacement insurance. In a catastrophic situation, you easily could be talking thousands of dollars to replace everything that’s damaged in your rig.
- RVing means you’re always on vacation. Myth! That black tank isn’t going to empty itself, people. There are RV maintenance chores to do, and your tow vehicle will require oil changes. You’ll also do all the regular interior upkeep and cleaning as you do at home. Depending on where you camp and the type of weather you encounter, you may end up cleaning more often than when living in a sticks-and-bricks home. (I have yet to see an RV “mudroom.”)
- Warranties will cover all unexpected RV expenses. Myth! Read the fine print. All of it. Do not rely solely on your warranty or even an extended warranty. Plan for surprises because they are sure to happen.
What are some RV myths you’ve heard? Are there some generalizations or myths that seem to ring true? Share them with us in the comments below, please!