Friday, June 2, 2023


Letter to the editor: RVers take, take, take—and contribute little!

We received this letter in our inbox from reader Karen M. Please read it through and then leave your thoughts in the comment section below. Thank you!

“Hello! I love the newsletter and found it several years ago while we were full-timing. I read it still even though I only take shorter trips now. However, I find myself on the cranky side when I read some of your articles. Of course, I am tired of the crowds, expanding costs and questionable manners of my RV neighbors, but when I really think about why I am not taking my motorhome out and why I get upset during discussions in your newsletter, it comes down to ethics. Mainly the idea that if you RV you can get everything
for free. Yet these people are still taking advantage of the roads, public services, and benefits that the rest of the world is paying for.

I heard a lot of talk from people boondocking about how they can get away for almost free. Then in the morning after they drive the ‘big’ RV away there is a pile of garbage and a disturbed natural site.

They complain because a park charges more for out-of-state campers. They say locals should be grateful because they are there buying gas and groceries, at the same time bragging about how much they can get for free.

State residents not only pay local taxes to maintain services but they also pay state taxes to cover the major cost of our recreation sites and campgrounds.

Maybe I am the only senior, no I am sure there are many many others, that believe we still need to contribute to society for the good of those who follow. But it seems some RVers have the attitude to take all they can and contribute as little as possible.

Does this ethic bother others, am I just too high and mighty? It certainly did color my impression of the people living full-time during my 16 months of RVing.

Respectfully, Karen M.”


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1 month ago

If it’s any consolation, boaters are similar. While boaters aren’t long term users, for the most part, the more recent ones we had encountered until leaving the experience, were loud and obnoxious and thought nothing of their barking dogs and rowdy group members, and that was more likely adults than children.

Marinas are strictly charged per night and the only “free” locations are open waters, rivers, coves, etc. I spent decades boating on larger vessels, 30-40′ and the value of the boat had no bearing on the class of the people involved. Fortunately I can’t say I ever saw any boaters tossing trash over the side, although I wonder how many dumped their heads instead of dealing with the often free pumpout boats.

I’d also correlate the behavior to certain political leanings, although admittedly I never did a true poll.

Scott Gitlin
1 month ago

You see that attitude in more situations – not just RVing.

Thomas Moeller
1 month ago

Littering is an attitude that needs adjustment, but has little or anything to do with RVing, but only with the attitude toward society in general. The same type people litter no matter where they are or what they drive or even when walking. They are selfish people. They had a clean spot and road and nature, they don’t care that other people won’t.

Bill Dunn
1 month ago

While traveling we do stay at WalMart {always calling ahead and shopping for whatever), Flying Js, Cracker Barrels, etc. We take ALL our garbage and pick up the RV “you owe me’s” garbage left behind to the dumpster. We feel we should leave these places cleaner than we found them. The inconsiderate dumping and over camping causes all to lose the extended convenience.
Shame on those dog lovers who don’t pick up after their dog.

Peggy Bowen
1 month ago

Boy, would I like to get things for free when camping. Last year in our months long trip, we spent roughly $160.00 per day. This would be campsites, food, restaurants, laundry, tours, out of state fees, tolls for roads, gas (6 mpg), and minor repairs to car and motorhome. This does not include the 6 new tires or major repairs we do when we are not ‘on the road’. We certainly don’t leave a mess for someone else to clean-up. We stay mostly in state or city campgrounds and make reservations as far ahead as we can. The daily total did not include the 2 months reservations we had to cancel due to medical issues.
I will say, the new campers we see have been an eye opener. They have no consideration for other campers, the campground, or local environment. Trash everywhere, dogs barking, kids driving their golf carts, and fires with food garbage, We are normally on the road 7 – 8 months a year for the last 14 years; and camped since 1999 to a lesser degree.

Chris P. Bacon
1 month ago

Where’s all this free stuff she’s talking about? Am I missing something???

1 month ago
Reply to  Chris P. Bacon

Good question. Nothing about this hobby or lifestyle is free – it’s quite expensive.

David Stansbury
1 month ago

Yes, it’s all true. Feel better now? You can’t change the world. Get over it. Go RVing and for God’s sake try to enjoy yourself. Jeez.

1 month ago

Dear Karen,

It’s sounds like a boomer complaining about other boomers. Imagine that…a boomer or Gen Z taking and taking and taking, and never giving back. Trashing the planet for their own benefit. #Americatoday 🤣

1 month ago
Reply to  Trever

Sounds like someone fits the description and doesn’t enjoy being called out for it…

1 month ago

Dear “KAREN” I find your letter to be laughable, extremely vague, biased, and lacking facts to substantiate your claim of “unquestionable RVers.” First of all there is nothing free about RV camping. Secondly, in regards to boondocking, it applies to tent campers as well. Sometimes these areas do require a permit. Third, as far as trash is concerned, tent campers can be just as unquestionable, and obnoxious. I’ve been camping for over 30 years in tents and in RV. I have never seen trash left behind at a campsite. That is minus an empty box of beer sitting in the fire pit. Fourth, It’s the character of the person not how the person chooses to camp that determines how someone leaves a campsite. Fifth, I’d love for you to explain how RVers don’t have ethics, in addition to having entitlement issues
by “taking it all and contributing nothing.” You were on the road for 16 months. So it looks like you’re guilty of bragging about free s*** and taking advantage of the world’s generosity!

1 month ago
Reply to  Vonirish

Gee, I can’t help but wonder why you’re so offended. A little too close to home maybe??

1 month ago

Yes I also RV full time. We have a beautiful country and I wish more people would respect it as such. I am a retired military veteran and it saddens me to see the trash that humans leave behind themselves. Side by side-by-sides are the worst. They throw their trash wherever. It only takes a few to destroy it for all. I clean up whenever I can even on my walks. Freedom isn’t Free . Please don’t take it for granted.

John Paul zwaduk
1 month ago

Yes I RV full time and yeah there are really rude and disgusting people that don’t care about only themselves leaving trash and other things around camp ground

Doug BeVier
1 month ago

We camp at mainly private parks, and on occasion if needed we will camp at public parks. But it doesn’t seem to matter what park, we find those who do not pick up after themselves or their pets. It seems to be the times where pey don’t think the rules include them.

Then those who think I paid x amount of money to camp here and they should have someone to pick up after them. People have no idea what it cost to maintain a facility. And since covide things have gotten more expensive, and help is harder to find. Then to find good help.

Doesn’t matter what kind of park you go to, the problems seem to be the same.

Phil Chase
1 month ago
Reply to  Doug BeVier

I have turned, picking up trash, into a hobby !!! I have 2 grabbers. One is 5 feet long. I take cleaning the Earth very seriously !!!

Denise W.
1 month ago
Reply to  Phil Chase

I also do this when hiking and kayaking. Maybe picking up litter will become thing for more people. Keep up the good work.

1 month ago

You’ve got bad apples in every group. There are people who leave/throw out trash who live in sticks and bricks…there are the homeless who leave trash everywhere. I’m sure there’s an equal amount of RVers who clean up after themselves. Why do some people just look for the negative?

Susan Shade
1 month ago

I agree with Karen M. article. We left RV’ing for same reasons. Sad to see damage being done to ecosystem by boondocking off road. Not all do this but we were seeing it more & more.

1 month ago

I travel to see family.
I don’t live freely off of others. I do spend money on stuff in the various towns I cross through.
There are two different people mentioned here.
#1 freeloaders who have no respect, they use, abuse and trash places. Parking in prime spots. Leaving s pile of trash behind.
#2 people like me, I try to stay as far away from other rugs as possible, leaving larger areas for either the larger rugs or, newbies (can’t park straight). Whatever I pack in I pack out. Frankly, I try not to pack In much.

Although I see and understand your frustrations, you really have to see that it really is the few that are ruining it for everyone.

Wishing you more Happy Trails.

Polly O
1 month ago

Having been a seasonal full-time rv-er for the past 5 years, I have had similar experiences as the author. Which is why I prefer being nomadic so I can avoid places that attract the “me first” crowd. We have stayed at places that are proactively managed to ensure everyone has a peaceful and pleasant stay.

Dan Hunter
1 month ago

I was a boy scout in an earlier life. I still adhere to those camping rules: pick up after yourself and leave the site in better shape than when you arrived.

Not all of us RVer’s are junk monkeys. Just as not all non-RVer’s are polite, respectfull, or attentive drivers. There is that 10% in any group that is an issue.

Today, with the rising cost of everything, everybody is trying to get by as cheaply as they can. So why is that a problem when talking about RVing?

And when you talk about “taking”, do you have any idea how much money RVer’s drop into the local economy? Perhaps you’d like us to “take” our money somewhere else?

Please use a little smaller brush when you talk about “all RVers”.

Common sense
1 month ago
Reply to  Dan Hunter

Take take take. The queen rubes her eyes is his wallet.

1 month ago
Reply to  Dan Hunter

RVer’s contribute very little to local economies. The whole point of having an RV is to not have to rely on local amenities and services. You bring as much with you as you possibly can. Gas is thier single biggest expense and very little of that money stays local.

1 month ago

As a kid we camped 3 weeks a summer in our 16′ trailer. Late Spring, Summer, and early Fall we were at a park somewhere AT LEAST once a month to “cook out’ with friends and family. Fire pits and grills always had some sort of trash in them to be cleaned out before we could use them. I know – it was us kids job. Pop bottles littered the ground – a good thing, we got 2 cents each. There were 140 million people here when I was a kid – now there are over 330 million. That is just short of 2 million more people spreading more trash. I mean more trash in that McDonalds et. al. weren’t around to create take out trash. We covered the usable earth with concrete so we could travel to places without concrete. So, we can complain about it or be happy we have running water, in-door plumbing and electricity – even in our RVs. I would prefer less concrete, no electricity and kerosene lamps, but that is just me. I’m still going camping.

1 month ago
Reply to  KellyR

Was that written with a hammer and chisel on a cave wall before being transfered to an electronic screen? Just curious.

I do love the irony you pointed out on the ‘…. pouring of concrete in order to travel for no concrete…’. You did nail that.

Last edited 1 month ago by Cancelproof
1 month ago
Reply to  Cancelproof

I chiseled that when I was a kid in the Black Hills. You can find it out there somewhere. In my lifetime I have traveled more gravel roads than hard roads. I just get tired of people talking about trash. It has been around in my forever and it will be around – not that I like it at all. It amuses me that everyone that reads RVT are so perfect. (They don’t know that I snuck in here.)

1 month ago
Reply to  KellyR

Happy Easter, Ramadan. Passover or even candy day, Kelly R. Safe travels. Thanks for the laugh. 🤣😂

Sandi Pearson
1 month ago

There is obviously some truth here, especially regarding trash! My husband does trash detail often because he hates litter! At Lake Mead another camper commended him and grabbed a bag and joined the effort. At a Texas COE site he collected 3 contractor size trash bags… mainly cans because the lake is so low all the cans thrown in the lake were visible. Reminds me of the old litter commercial with the Native American and the tear. My generation said don’t be a litter bug…. but that mantra has passed with time… need to bring it back!

1 month ago

Some if not the majority of the states take the park entrance fees and put them directly into the states general funds which is used across the board to operate the state. The paradox that state parks have is that they are being used more than ever since the start of COVID with less funds being allocated for their operation along with the cost of supplies and manpower that have risen. Approximately 80% of federal entrance fees go to that park and the remainder goes to those that do not charge a fee, combine it with rising cost and it’s a huge issue. I have my senior park pass so I am not up to date on price increases however I do know that crowding is a big issue that also increases the amount of trash and damage park’s receive. Unfortunately we have many people using the parks that are disrespectful and PIGS!

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