Saturday, December 2, 2023


Fulltime RVer – Keeping a log

By Russ and Tiña De Maris

Do you keep a log in your RV? Before you respond, “Yeah, several, in the basement storage for when we want a nice campfire” – Beware, we’re talking paper, not wood, here.

But enough beating around the tree. Many RVers have found keeping a travel log is not only fun, it can be beneficial when you “come back this way again.” There have been some places in our travels where we’ve seen some wondrous beauty; but, alas, the memory sometimes fails when we try to make our way back there. Having a note in writing as to “just where and what” can help as the old gray matter begins to slow down.

Keeping an RV log can be useful in so many ways. If you keep track of the miles you’ve driven pulling your trailer, you’ll have a better handle on how long your tires last; and if you service your axle bearings by “miles driven,” you’ll know when the maintenance interval has rolled around.

Keeping track of the RV parks you’ve stayed in, listing site numbers for particularly loved (or level) spots and dollar costs for staying there can really help when trip planning and making reservations. On the other hand, you may find having the information on that “RV park from hell” handy when sitting around the campfire and chatting with others who may be headed back where you’ve been.

So what works for an RV log book? There are commercial log books available that have preprinted forms that make it easy to post your data. Other folks print and photocopy their own forms and use a three-ring binder to keep the pages in place. Still others have found that just keeping a spiral-bound steno pad on the flight deck can provide them with just what they need on an inexpensive and easy basis.

We’ve tried to locate a suitable app for use with Android tablets but, so far, nothing really seems to have shaken out. This could be a hot lead for you smart developers out there!

Regardless of what you decide to use for keeping a record of your travels, what might you find useful to keep track of? Here’s a list of possibilities – and from your own needs you can probably develop even more:

• Miles: Odometer readings for both tow vehicle and trailer.

• Expenses: Fuel costs, station where purchased (could be an indicator of where to go next time), oil, maintenance, even unexpected repairs. Fuel economy notes are really helpful, both from a planning perspective but also recognizing that your rig may need mechanical attention.

• Campground data: Name, address, site number, things you liked (or hated) and costs.

• Weather: Combined with a date, this may give you a good idea for trip planning next time. Maybe that snowfall you encountered when towing your fifth wheel was memorable – but not something you want to do again!

• Restaurants and attractions: Your new “favorite greasy spoon” and “that place where we bought Grandma all those neat knickknacks” could be repeat trip items.

• Friends met: You could log their names and contact information here, as a backup for when you lose your address book.

And be sure to keep your log book handy. A side pocket or glove box near the “navigator’s” seat, complete with a pen, makes the process easy to do every day.



Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña went from childhood tent camping to RVing in the 1980s when the ground got too hard. They've been tutored in the ways of RVing (and RV repair) by a series of rigs, from truck campers, to a fifth-wheel, and several travel trailers. In addition to writing scores of articles on RVing topics, they've also taught college classes for folks new to RVing. They authored the book, RV Boondocking Basics.



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alison (@guest_21022)
5 years ago

Bill, a truly wonderful post! Brings back so many great memories of working with the young men as a scoutmaster and participating in testimony, spiritual thought and reflection sessions around the campfires, on rest breaks during hikes, and other times. Also brings to memory one of the most powerful times that I felt the spirit as a youth myself. On the shores of Lake Superior while traveling to the Boundary Waters, we had pulled up driftwood logs to form a circle of seating. We had Bishopric and Stake Presidency members in our group and we had a testimony/sacrament meeting there on the shore. Passed the sacrament cup in this case a cup from the mess-kit. All of us dressed in our finest camping duds The spirit was strong on that shore as both the youth and the adult leaders shared their testimony of Father in Heaven, Jesus Christ, and the gospel. It is truly amazing what can happen when we acknowledge and testify of God, Jesus, their creations, and the gospel while out in those creations.

Glenda Alexander (@guest_20577)
5 years ago

I keep my trip journal in a Word document (one for each year). When I want to refresh my memory, I just do a search of the document(s). For each trip I include statistics like this:
Total Miles Driven:
Weather Conditions:
Road Conditions:
RV Park:
Park Conditions:
Gasoline Price: $ at (city)

Gord (@guest_20576)
5 years ago

In addition to a log book I try to take a photo of each spot we stay at. I also try to take a few pics of the campground. It’s a great way to jog the old memory.

Mark Elliott (@guest_20585)
5 years ago
Reply to  Gord

If you use Google Photos/Google Maps you can jump from a picture to a map showing exactly where the pic was taken because GPS data is automatically included in the photo. Geeks on Tour have written on the subject on RVTravel and their web site so you can search on their name and find very easy directions on using this great tool. And if memory serves me correctly I believe they’ve also written about using maps as a routing tool with photos pinned as poi’s so you can retrace your travels and see pics of stops you made along the way.

Ed (@guest_20540)
5 years ago

I have set up an Excel Spread sheet for the information I want to record. I have tabs for coach information, Serial numbers and model numbers for the equipment installed, a tab for service performed one for mileage, a trip log tab and can add other tabs as needed. The advantage to a spread sheet is all I have to do is enter some basic information and it calculated the MPG, time on the road, miles traveled or any other detail I want to figure out.

Mark Elliott (@guest_20582)
5 years ago
Reply to  Ed

If everyone knew how to use a spread sheet it would be their primary if not sole method of note taking and it’s not hard at all to learn the basics which is all you need for entering travel and maintenance information which allows you to later review notes by category/date etc.
Just search on the phrase “how to use excel” and get all the free instruction you could ever want.

Paul S Goldberg (@guest_93930)
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Elliott

My spread sheet has tabs for every year we have been on the road starting in 2001. Data includes campground/boondocking information as well as club, if any, and cost per night. Travel distance for the year and the day as well as fuel consumption, now diesel for main engine and generator as well as propane and DEF. Also major replacements – tires and other repairs. For greater detail I write a blog/journal about campsites and activities we undertake at each locale. That goes back to 2002! our first cross country trip. We have crossed the country every year since and the list of campgrounds has been helpful. I keep looking at special logging software that is now available and find it more cumbersome than what I have been doing, but then my system has evolved through several iterations over the years.

Last edited 3 years ago by Paul S Goldberg
john stahl (@guest_20503)
5 years ago

I keep a record on just about everything I do with my RVing.

Jacques Marcotte (@guest_20502)
5 years ago

Check the app “Diary”. It’s basically just a blank page, no forms, but it does the trick for me.

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