Wednesday, September 27, 2023


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!


Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh is an avid RVer and occasional work camper. Retired from 30+ years in the field of education as an author and educator, she now enjoys sharing tips and tricks that make RVing easier and more enjoyable.


  1. Good job Gail and right on course. I hope some of the prospective buyers get a chance to read this or something similar. Save a lot of heartache and anxiety for them. Some people adapt easily to change and challenges – and then there are others. Thanks for researching and writing.

  2. This statement in the article IS a myth: “…most dealers offer a variety of payment plans to fit almost any budget.”

    While on the surface the statement is true, in the context of overall affordability making a payment that “fits a budget” does NOT necessarily make a given RV “affordable.”

    RVTravel has an excellent article on what a 20 year loan, for example, can mean in terms of your finances. Too many buyers swallow the “affordable” 15 or 20 year payment options pill and soon find themselves terribly upsidedown on their loan. As the old saying goes: The poor person asks “How much is the payment” while the rich person asks “how much is it worth?” Look at value, depreciation, and total cost of payments (interest & principal), maintenance, storage, insurance, etc. to determine overall affordability.

  3. How about this myth: If you can store it you can take it. Some of these RVs have a lot of remaining storage capacity after their weight limit has been exceeded.

  4. MYTH: You can park at any Walmart. Not quite. City ordinances prevail over Walmart policy. Check local laws before assuming it’s a “go”.
    MYTH: Anyone can enjoy an RV. Not quite. If you lack mechanical aptitude, the failures sure to happen can be both frustrating and expensive. Just be ready.
    MYTH: RV’s are the best way to tour National Parks. Not quite. If your rig is large, fitting on the great roads can be tough. Parking can be tougher. Fueling can be brutal. Park outside the park, take the toad in.
    MYTH: You can RV forever. Not quite. We all come off the road sooner or later. Even the most hardcore full timers will eventually park their rig. Enjoy every minute you can while you can.
    MYTH: Workcamping is a great way to reduce costs. Not quite. Divide the “rent saved” by the hours worked and it’s about $7.26 an hour. If you have the time and desire to work a job, working part time at a fast food joint pays more for the same hours invested.
    MYTH: Most park managers are power hungry jerks. Not at all. All of the ones I’ve met are great people invested in trying to keep things rolling. They’re only human.
    MYTH: RVTravel is just another newsletter. Not true, it’s the best newsletter….

    • 😊 Awww, thanks, Vince. I was going to thank you for your excellent list even before I got to the last line. That caught me off guard. Have a great day! 😀 -Diane at

  5. Women can’t drive a rig. MYTH!
    As my Daddy taught me, point the front end and the back end will follow! I like driving our Ram 2500 with our 35 foot travel trailer.

  6. It is a home on wheels… meaning an expectation that all the systems work the same way as they do in a fixed location house, condo or mobile home. I have ‘mechanically challenged’ friend who kindly offers to help me when we stay near his home. Problem is that he can’t overcome a lifetime of living in a stick & brick house. Living in an RV isn’t difficult, but pretty much every system is different from a house system.

  7. Living in the Hurricane prone South, our RV doubles as an escape pod. It is always fueled up and ready to run, if necessary.
    Just saying.

  8.  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.

    • I’ll say it again. RV Travel would be a great place for a forum for reviews of dealerships. service facilities, and any other RV related business. Possibly organized geographically. Encourage people to post positive comments so others can benefit from the experiences. The negative comments are a given, people love to complain.

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

  10. 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

    • Well said .. Even Dave rarely mentions gcvwr. That and then knowing proper tire inflation are my top 2 concerns when asked about RV purchases.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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. 😫

    • 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.

  14. 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…

  15. 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!

  16. 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!

    • 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.

      • 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.

          • 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.

        • I was on I-40 from Kingman, AZ to Ash Fork, AZ and that was the roughest road I traveled the first half of 2022. Huge hunks of asphalt/concrete missing from both lanes but mostly in the right lane, so much so that my MH could not avoid the large deep potholes and irregular pavement. And I’m not talking about a pot hole here and there; it was the length of that reach. There were many more roads, while not as bad, that are in terrible shape. And I traveled some roads in the SW that were great. So I would say Uncle Swags that you haven’t traveled the west in the recent past.

        • The southbound lane of Atlanta’s I-285 West is prone to potholes from State Route 280 to Interstate 20.There was a big effort to fill them recently, but the volume of heavy truck traffic creates new potholes particularly in the middle and right lanes. Not only that, you risk getting forced onto I-20 West if you don’t stay well to the left, but then you risk running afoul of the law that requires you to keep right except to pass. It’s your call, but I keep left until I am well south of those potholes.

        • What a bunch of [bleeped] crap. ANYBODY who drives on our highways and interstates know they are just horrible. State and county roads aren’t much better. And it’s not the workers fault; we all know that.

      • 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.

        • Fuel economy has increased for most vehicles, and taxes are a set amount per gallon, so the money collected has decreased. Road construction and repair expense has continued to rise.

        • Money spent on mass-transit is money that will not have to be spent building, adding lanes, and maintaining new highways. The problem is cars have become more efficient and the overall gas tax proceeds have not kept up with inflation resulting in a depletion of the Highway Trust funds. Regulations have a pert in making US highway projects more expensive, but the hollowing out of the civil service sector in favor of private companies feeding at the federal and state trough also has a huge impact.

    • 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.

  17. 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.”

    • 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.

      • 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… is one scary experience to suddenly realize the car in front of you has stopped.

        • 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.

          • If that happens I let off the gas until there’s sufficient space to make me comfortable, then I bring it back up to 60 mph. I’m not in any hurry and if impatient drivers have a death wish… I prefer their decisions don’t involve me if there’s an accident.


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