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That’s just not true! 13 common myths about RVing

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!

##RVT1008

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John Koenig
4 months ago

 a trusted RV dealership,” Yeah, where are you going to find one of those???? MOST RV dealers want to sell what is on their lot NOW. Service? We may be able to “fit you in” in six ~ eight weeks (and then will have to wait for parts that are unavailable).

I expect that there ARE some dealerships that DO care about their customers BUT, those are few and far between. The current fiscal and political climate has made what was already a difficult situation even worse. The last BIG shake up between 2008 ~ 2014 saw MANY RV builders either shut their doors or, were “absorbed” by larger RV conglomerates. I understand that any company needs to turn a profit but, it has become acceptable to screw over employees, local communities and their customers if it means they’ll make another $0.05 profit. Building a product that you hope will last through the warranty period is, in my opinion, a POOR business model.

Michael Galvin, PhD
6 months ago

The first definition of “myth” is “a traditional or legendary story, usually concerning some being or hero or event….”

Loneoutdoorsman
4 months ago

Yo Brainiac
‘Gail correctly defined myth as it related to her story.

BillyBogey
3 months ago

Smooth!!

Bob p
6 months ago

The myth about can your truck pull it is totally a myth, it’s not a matter of CAN it PULL it but CAN IT HANDLE it? Pulling it is just a part of it, manufacturers brag about towing capacity. Controlling it and stopping it are the big concerns, TT present a large “sail” for crosswinds and semi’s pushing their massive wall of wind aside as a passing situation presents. Even though manufacturers advertise great pulling power the average 1/2T truck really isn’t much more than what a station wagon frame was a few years back and therefore not capable of controlling a long trailer, the same applies for the braking system. You have to look at the GCWR, Gross Combination Weight Rating, some are very low depending on the model of truck you have. If your truck weighs 6000 lbs and has a GCWR of 10,000 lbs you have to subtract everything you put into the truck including your weights, the dog, picnic cooler, etc. from that weight leaving the rest for trailer weight

Ray
6 months ago

How about “Build quality is better than ever.” Or “You can carry all your stuff in the space this baby has”. There are so many over-loaded rigs with bare minimum suspensions it isn’t funny.

Dave
1 year ago

Warranties are troublesome. I have a warranty but often wonder if I should have purchased it. Jury is still out. I’m leaning against a warranty. Just have a good emergency fund if you RV and you’ll be happier.

Last edited 1 year ago by Dave
Sharon B
1 year ago

There’s a lot of people who think they are RV’rs. Many should not be on the road especially the recent rush of the newby group nowadays. There’s lots of irresponsible people out there. I’m staying in my campground for a long time just stay alive. 😫

Randy
2 months ago
Reply to  Sharon B

Absolutely! We were going to leave one site a couple of weeks ago and the winds were 30 mph with gusts to 45. We asked the campground owners if another couple of days was in the works (high winds and storms were predicted for the next day too). They had no one booked for our site so we stayed. A younger couple pulled out that day. I saw them packing up and I told him about the wind. I had talked to them earlier in the week and knew they were brand new at RV-ing. He was a “tough guy” and basically said, “So, what?” Two days later we saw their RV on the side of the highway on its side on our way home. I hope no one was hurt.

John
2 months ago
Reply to  Sharon B

Sharon
Remember you were a “newbie” once

Carson Axtell
1 year ago

On the positive side, negative myths about RVing might help winnow the chaff from the grain when it comes to self-selection of who participates in such a fast over-crowding pastime, IMO…

Brian Burry
1 year ago

Since when does traveling to enjoyable places have to mean “Camping”?! We want to go to the Ocean, Rivers, Lakes and places we want to visit but not actually camp. If we wanted to just camp, we would have never purchased our RV. We like the conveniences of home, so Glamping is just fine with us, to enjoy the water views and/or be in areas we enjoy so much. To each his own, we love having the conveniences of home and truly not roughing it at all!

Mike
6 months ago
Reply to  Brian Burry

Amen

Ellen
1 year ago

While we were shopping for a Class C, after having started RVing with a fifth wheel, a salesman actually told us, “A motorhome is great because while one of you is driving, the other can be making sandwiches.” I don’t know of any road in the US smooth enough for that, much less how illegal being out of a seat and seatbelt that is!

Sharon B
1 year ago
Reply to  Ellen

Many of the roads in the US should not even be called a road. That’s including some of the expressway is that really need desperate repair. Shame on the USA for not being proud enough to have good roads for our safety.

Uncle Swags
1 year ago
Reply to  Sharon B

That’s a bunch of bull. I have driven across the country on almost every interstate in the country and many state and county roads and while there is construction going on all over the place, our highway system is outstanding. You insult the incredible people who envisioned, engineered, built and maintain our incredible transportation infrastructure. Every competent, able bodied construction worker is currently employed so spending more money will only enrich political coffers and create marginally worse roads. The real problem is the people on the roads – proof positive that the human race is devolving and becoming more stupid by the day.

peterb
1 year ago
Reply to  Uncle Swags

where do you drive that the roads are in good shape? Not so out west

Bob p
6 months ago
Reply to  peterb

Drive on TN I 40 or I 24, they were several years ago the best roads in the country, ask any truck driver, but they are so neglected now that it’s dangerous to drive the speed limit.

Bob p
6 months ago
Reply to  Sharon B

It’s not a matter of pride, it’s the government side tracking highway funds to mass transit in the cities so bus and subway riders don’t have to pay what their ride should cost. After all mass transit riders are local voters where many highway users are transients passing through who don’t vote locally. If fuel taxes were used exclusively for highways and road they would all be smooth as glass. Look it up.

Bill
1 year ago
Reply to  Ellen

We used to regularly do this in our Class B’s where we could be seated, braced against something, or holding on while we made a sandwich, took a shower, slept, etc. In our Class A’s we don’t because there is too much space between the counter/shower stall/edge of bed/etc. and anything to hold on to or brace against. It’s like a boat, one hand for the ship and one for yourself.

Steve
1 year ago

The idea that staying in “campgrounds” means you are paying for utilities, laundry facilities, TV cable, and more is a myth. In the West, a campground is a public facility–National Park, Forest Service, BLM, BuRec, COE, state park, county or city park–that may or may not offer any of those amenities. Many may not even have cell or OTA TV reception. Those amenities are provided by private RV parks, which are, IMHO, not “campgrounds.”

Bob p
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve

Come east of OK,TX,KS etc. you’ll pay for all that, be very thankful you have all that free stuff.

Crowman
1 year ago

Make sure your truck can pull it but you better ask the other end of the equation. Can it stop it in time?

Dave
1 year ago
Reply to  Crowman

Trailer brakes help stop too. Very important. No truck can stop a trailer alone. Find a remote stretch of road. Unhook your trailer brakes (,i.e., disconnect the electric plug-in), get the trailer up to 50 MPH and try to stop it with truck brakes. You will be surprised!!! After trying that experiment, I never again said my truck must be able to stop my trailer. I need to know how to manage both systems and use them skillfully.

Mike Sherman
1 year ago
Reply to  Dave

Dave is correct. A lot of folks jump in an RV and drive it like a car until they learn to back off, and slow down. I stick to the slow lane….50-60 mph max and leave 100 yards between me and the vehicle in front of me. And pay attention…..it is one scary experience to suddenly realize the car in front of you has stopped.

Bob p
6 months ago
Reply to  Mike Sherman

If you’re leaving 100 yds between you and the car in front of you you must be in reverse as most cars pass me and pull back in front of me within 25 yds.

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