Beginner’s Guide to RVing Newsletter #106


Welcome to the Beginner’s Guide to RVing from The information we present here every Monday through Friday is for brand-new RVers – those in the market to buy their first RV and those who just purchased theirs. If you are an experienced RVer, this material may be too basic for you.

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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

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DID YOU MISS reading this morning’s RV Daily Tips Newsletter? Good stuff there.

RVing Basics

Campground check-in
When you first check into a campground, locate your site and conduct a site survey. Identify where the campground connections are and where to locate the RV so you have easy access to all connections. If you have a slide-out make sure there are no obstacles in the way. Allow plenty of room for extending the awning. —Tip from Mark Polk, RV Education 101.

Control trailer swerve
The most unusual aspects of trailer towing involve swerve control. When a swerve starts, the natural instinct is to apply the tow vehicle brakes, but that is the WORST thing to do. Slowing down will help, but not by using tow vehicle brakes! Apply the trailer brakes independently until the serve is controlled before starting to brake the tow vehicle. Unless the swerve is severe, the trailer brakes will correct it without any other action. —From Trailers & Fifth Wheels Made Easy

Universal lid fits all your pots and pans!
This incredibly handy universal pot and pan lid will fit [almost] every pot and pan in your RV kitchen! Works with fry pans, pots, saucepans, skillets, stockpots, woks, cast iron pans and more! Eliminate kitchen cabinet clutter with this multipurpose, compact lid. Don’t you wish you had known about this sooner? Learn more or order.

Quick Tips

TV antenna self-destruct
If you raise your RV’s antenna to watch television, be darn sure you crank it down before leaving the campground. A good way to ensure you do not drive off with the antenna up is to hang your vehicle keys from the crank on your ceiling when it’s raised. You’ll need the keys to drive away; grabbing them will remind you to lower the antenna.

Slideout tip
Never extend your slideout only part way when settling into your campsite. It either has to be all the way, or keep it fully retracted. If it rains and the slideout is only extended part way, it will not seal properly with the RV, and rain could seep in. That could cause damage, which could go unnoticed and cause rot, which would mean a very costly repair. And be sure to lubricate your slides from time to time to keep the rubber from drying out and therefore not sealing properly. This product could help.

We welcome your Quick Tips. Submit them here. Thanks!

2021 Zinger ZR259FLToday’s RV review…

In today’s column, industry insider Tony Barthel reviews the new 2021 CrossRoads Zinger ZR259FL Travel Trailer. As he reports, “It’s nice to see such a unique floor plan and one that’s very usable in a relatively towable package.” Learn more.

Did you read Tony’s review yesterday of the 2021 Little Guy Max Travel Trailer? If you missed it, you can read it here.

For previous RV reviewsclick here.

“If you could tell someone new to RVing just one thing, what would it be?”

From the editors: We asked our readers this question recently. Here is one response: 

“For newbies who want a trailer, I advise to BUY THE TRAILER FIRST! I’ve spoken with many RVers who have gone the ‘typical’ way of getting the tow vehicle first. When done that way, the choice of the trailer is LIMITED! It’s VERY easy to go overweight in an RV and if the trailer you’ve fallen in love with has a weight rating that EXCEEDS the tow vehicle’s ratings. You then have to choose between buying a more capable tow vehicle OR risk the easy mistake of being overweight (a REALLY BAD option). Having a trailer that needs a more capable tow vehicle is a disaster waiting to happen (especially going downhill around a curve on wet/snowy pavement). Ignore these simple facts at your own peril.” —John Koenig

Random RV Thought

A terrific place to pause on your RV travels is at a library. And the price is right – free admission! Search for local or regional magazines: They may provide ideas of things to see and do. And the same goes for the local newspaper, which will not only provide quick clues about local news and events but about the residents and their culture. Most libraries have a section devoted to regional history. Browse through a book or two. You will learn things about the area that you would never learn otherwise. In small libraries, consider donating a book you’ve read. It will be appreciated.

Where have you been all my life?
A useful quick tip from electricity expert Mike Sokol: “I used to drag out a bottle of Windex and a roll of paper towels to clean the inside of my windshield periodically, but unless I was home to think about and do the task right then, chances are I would forget about it until the next time I had to drive at night. My wife just gave me a pack of Windex Wipes for my truck, and now I can clean up the inside of my windshield any time it gets a film of streaky dust. Works great.” Buy them here.

• If you’re a member of Facebook, be sure to sign up for our groups RV Buying Advice, RV Advice and Budget RV Travel. For a list of all our groups and newsletters, visit here.

• If you buy a defective RV and are unable to get it fixed or its warranty honored, here is where to turn for help.

• If you need an RV Lemon Law Lawyer, Ron Burdge is your man.

Why you should never finance an RV for 20 years!

Read previous issues of Beginner’s Guide to RVing newsletters here.

RV Travel staff

Need help? Contact us.

Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Editors: Emily Woodbury, Diane McGovern.

Everything in this newsletter is true to the best of our knowledge. But we occasionally get something wrong. We’re just human! So don’t go spending $10,000 on something we said was good simply because we said so, or fixing something according to what we suggested (check with your own technician first). Maybe we made a mistake. Tips and/or comments in this newsletter are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of or this newsletter. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Regardless of this potential revenue, unless stated otherwise, we only recommend products or services we believe provide value to our readers.

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4 months ago

I am going to somewhat disagree with the “newbie” advice. There is so much information available online that I suggest you search and “buy” both the camper and tow vehicle in cyber-land. The cost of campers and trucks have a huge affect on what you can buy and afford. The comment below is good but most “newbies” will not be putting out upwards of $150K for their first unit. You can literally “cyber-buy” your rig online, know the costs and what you can afford, plus review most camper info without even seeing the units. Just my humble opinion. Good Luck!

Leonard Rempel
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve

My RV was new, Chevy 3500 was 3 years old.
There will always be financial implications to purchases, but this was empirical information and not financial advise.

Leonard Rempel
4 months ago

Totally agree on the “newbie” advise!

This summer I bought my 35′ Montana 5th wheel, THEN I bought my Chevy 3500 dually diesel, after extensive research beforehand. So much power and control that I sometimes check my mirrors to see if it is still there!

Also a tip for Newbies of which I am a six month RV owner, so I know what I speak of.
Go a little overkill on the tow vehicle and you won’t regret it. I have spoke to quite a few RV’ers already in my travels who have overloaded their truck. If you can afford it, the dually diesel’s add stability and the exhaust brake for downhill descents is worth it’s weight in gold!