New to RVing? Here’s what experienced RVers want newbie RVers to know

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By Nanci Dixon
It’s no secret that RVing is exploding in popularity. It was recently ranked “the safest way to travel in 2021,” after all. So what should folks new to RVing know? What are all those “etiquette” things more experienced RVers are always talking about? Are there unspoken rules that everyone is judging the newbie RVers on?

Below is a list of some of those rules learned from experience by longtime RVers.

Campsites

  • Don’t walk, cut through or let your kids ride a bike through another campsite. Even if a campsite is empty, it is considered poor manners to cut through. If the campsite is occupied it is downright rude! Experienced campers know this; newbie RVers may not be aware of this.

Pets

  • Pick up after your pets. Some of the major pet peeves about other campers involve pets. Especially dogs pooping and owners not cleaning up after them. And, of course, do not let your dog use another person’s campsite as a bathroom.
  • Stop that barking! The next thing that other campers want you to know is please stop your dog from barking. Don’t leave them outside unattended. If your dog barks while you are away, take them with you. An RV is closer to a beer cooler than a well-insulated sticks and bricks house. Sound carries.
  • Leash, leash, leash! Even the most well-mannered dog can become aggressive and highly excited in a new situation. You don’t want your dog to attack anyone or be attacked. Plus, many people are afraid of dogs and do not want an unleashed dog approaching them, friendly or not! Also, if you’re a newbie RVer, you may not know how your dog will react in this new environment.

Noise – Newbie RVers can be considerate RVers

  • Sure, it is really cool to have an outside TV, BUT if you must use it in a crowded campground use headphones or keep the volume down low.
  • The same goes for music – not everyone has the same taste in music nor do they want it blaring over the sounds of nature.
  • Observe the quiet time rules. That goes for generator hours too.

Keep it clean

  • Leave your campsite clean, or cleaner than when you arrived.
  • Only burn firewood. Remember, plastic, bottles, cans and aluminum foil do not burn! They just leave a mess for someone to clean up.
  • Don’t melt the picnic table! Keep your grill off the picnic table. Bring a stand or table with you.

Take care when dumping

  • Getting rid of the nasties can be nasty! Wear gloves and make sure everything that comes out of the tanks goes down the sewer. Secure the hose before pulling the tank lever.
  • Pull black water first, if needed. Black water should not be dumped until around 2/3 full. The water and amount in the tank help push it out and avoids “the stuff” hardening and clogging the tank. Pull gray water second to rinse the hose out.
  • Be mindful of the lineup behind you and don’t hog the dump station. When people are waiting to dump their tanks, it is not the time to flush out your tanks.
  • Rinse off the hose and any spillage in the area.
  • Move out quickly.
  • When at a full-hookup campsite, make sure the sewer hoses are secure. Be considerate of the next camper. Do NOT rinse hoses at the fresh water spigot. Do NOT put sewer hoses on the picnic table.

Electrical connections

  • Make sure the breaker is off before connecting the electric cord.
  • Turn the breaker off before disconnecting.

Follow the rules! – Newbie RVers, become familiar with them

  • Campgrounds usually pass out the rules when you register. If you’re a newbie RVer, be sure to read and follow them! They are there for a reason. As long as you follow these rules, you’ll most certainly keep other campers happy.

Newbie RVers should ask questions and talk to folks

  • People love to share the wealth of their knowledge. Especially if you’re a newbie RVer, don’t be afraid to ask questions.
  • Walk around and introduce yourself to your neighbors, especially if you’re staying for a length of time. Say “hi” and enjoy meeting some of the nicest people you will ever meet – including longtime and fellow newbie RVers.

Related:

Camp Etiquette tips from the National Park Service

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Kevin
22 days ago

Hello everyone. My issue with the rules has not been about what’s right and wrong. But instead has been about the lack of the staff enforcing them. I’ve seen sites where campers run their generators all night long etc, etc. It’s also difficult to ask someone to turn off their portable generator when the site next to them has a class A or similar camper with a built in generator running all night long.

Nelson Swiger
14 days ago
Reply to  Kevin

Keep in mind if there is a power outage that parks usually allow generators during quite hours if the person has medical equipment that must be powered.

DW/ND
24 days ago

What about blinking, flashing, bright lights on awning rails and on the ground or under and around an Rv? And excessive campfire smoke entering a neighbors windows etc? Loud parties with foul language. Remember the Golden Rule? “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”! Here endith today’s lesson.

Bob Weinfurt
24 days ago

Here are a few basics:
Treat others the way you want them to treat you.
I’m sure you would like to pull into a clean campsite. Even if it wasn’t, please clean it up and leave yours that way for the next camper.
Another tip: When leaving a campsite, pull out and take a look at where you were to see if you forgot something or trash that might have been blown under you RV.

Nikki Harnish
24 days ago

That’s a great list. I would add one more rule. Don’t “help“ someone back in or set up unless they have actually asked for your help.

David Binkley
24 days ago

All of these newbie “rules” are pretty much the same as anyone should use in normal day to day life. Sad to think people are so dense as to have what appears to be zero common sense anymore.

Pat
24 days ago

Why is walking through an unoccupied campsite a no-no?

Warren G
24 days ago
Reply to  Pat

It’s like walking through your yard at home.

Gary
24 days ago
Reply to  Warren G

No, it’s like walking through the vacant lot next door.

Laurie
24 days ago
Reply to  Pat

I agree, if it’s unoccupied, who cares. I’ve been RV’n for over 35yrs, never heard that.

Cynsan
24 days ago
Reply to  Pat

Maybe the camp host just finished cleaning and preparing it for the next occupant. We rake the sites, so please don’t add footprints. Or bicycle tire prints.

HDDRvr
24 days ago
Reply to  Cynsan

Really…seriously? I can see NOT leaving trash or debris…but footprints. That’s going a little overboard.

Cynsan
24 days ago
Reply to  HDDRvr

We take pride in how we care for our camp loop. People tell us how much they appreciate all we do. There is no “going overboard”. They reserved it and they deserve that it should look the best we can make it for their arrival.

Admin
RV Staff (@rvstaff)
24 days ago
Reply to  Cynsan

Make sense to me, Cynsan. Thank you for taking such good care of your campsites and your campers! Have a great afternoon. 😀 —Diane at RVtravel.com

john stahl
24 days ago

This list should be handed out to everyone entering the RV park, state park, national park, or any other type of park. A very, very good list.

Ian Anderson
24 days ago

Pulling the black water dump valve first is wrong, wrong, wrong. If your dump hose is not correctly hooked up you will have quite a mess on your hands. You should release the grey water valve first to check on the integrity of the hookup, but only briefly, say 4-5 seconds then close it quickly. If all is well go ahead and dump the blackwater followed by the grey to rinse out the dump hose.

Sink Jaxon
24 days ago
Reply to  Ian Anderson

This is what I do, and once it happened. I was in a hurry and thought I had the bayonet connection on correctly (it wasn’t) so just a little gray water dripped out, thankfully! I readjusted and it was good to go.

Last edited 24 days ago by Sink Jaxon
Joe
24 days ago

One time while waiting in line I watched a fella get doused with black water because he did not secure the connection properly. I think better instructions from a seasoned RVer should read.

Getting rid of the nasties can be nasty! Wear gloves and make sure everything that comes out of the tanks goes down the sewer. Secure the hose before pulling the tank lever.

Briefly pull the gray water handle to make sure the hose is secured properly and no leaks

Pull black water, if needed. Black water should not be dumped until around 2/3 full. The water and amount in the tank help push it out and avoids “the stuff” hardening and clogging the tank.

Pull gray water again to rinse the hose out.

Kamwick
24 days ago

Uh oh! Been RVing for years and didn’t know it wasn’t okay to cut through an EMPTY campsite.  😯 

Will mind my P’s and Q’s from now on.

Kirk Pfeffer
24 days ago
Reply to  Kamwick

I’m with you on this one. Not sure who Nanci is but anyone can put together a list of what they think is acceptable and many will agree with them. I agree with her list with the exception of walking through empty sites. Particularly if the empty site is around a lake where there is often limited access to the lake. People too often think their site extends to the lake and no else should trespass across THEIR property if they are walking around the lake.

Dave Gobel
24 days ago

Nanci’s article is right on the money. The only problem is “newbies” don’t read this newsletter. It’s up to the campground to update their “rules and regulations” and enforce them. And it’s up to us “experienced” campers to gently remind the newbies of what’s expected in an RV park. Maybe a reminder to the campground owners association would help

Rosy
24 days ago
Reply to  Dave Gobel

Agreed! Many State Parks we’ve been in lately could and should do a better job of teaching and rule enforcement. These parks certainly have plenty of rules. The TX State Park we are currently in has six park hosts that live here full time. We’ve been told a Park Host is an ambassador not a rule enforcer. From the looks of many Host’s campsites they are definitely not a good example either! It’s a nice thought that experienced campers share their knowledge with new campers. But after 50+ years of camping and six years full time, simply sharing knowledge is not enough.

Nelson Swiger
14 days ago
Reply to  Rosy

Before you blame the camp host. We have tried to enforce rules and had the park superintendent essentially tell us it is the park police’s job to enforce and in other parks the superintendent had no problem with us enforcing. The park we are in right now, the superintendent is cool with us reminding campers of the rules. And your comment about some camp host aren’t good examples is unfortunately true, but it is a very small group as with any job. Park hosting is a job.