Friday, October 22, 2021


Beginner’s Guide to RVing Newsletter Volume 2, Issue 108

rv travel logoWelcome 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.

This newsletter is funded primarily through advertising and voluntary subscription contributions from our readers. Thanks to all of you!

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

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

Today’s Tips of the Day:
Is it worth it to inflate tires with nitrogen?
Ask Dave: How does a weight distribution hitch work?

Today’s RV Review:
Tiny Honda N-Van camper

RVing Basics

Roadside emergency kit

Pat suggests an item or two that you may not have thought of to put in your “roadside emergency kit.” “I would suggest adding road cones [orange safety cones] and blinking lights [LED road flares] to the emergency kit. We found some that collapse at Harbor Freight. We also got reflective vests for the kit too. Found a red tote bag at a thrift store with plenty of space to store it all.” Thanks, Pat, for helping us stay safe out there.

Trailer tow ball height

If your tow vehicle is too low or too high, the trailer weight isn’t distributed evenly on the axles, which can lead to damage. Adjust the height of your tow ball so that the trailer is level when hitched to the tow vehicle and on level ground. Your trailer axles will love it, and so will you – much easier walking about in a level rig.

Quick Tips

Weight capacity declines at high altitude
Tip from Mark Polk, RV Education 101®
The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) is the maximum permissible weight of the tow vehicle when fully loaded for travel. The Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) is the maximum permissible weight of the fully-loaded tow vehicle and the fully loaded trailer together. Let’s say, for example, we have a tow vehicle with a GCWR of 14,000 pounds and a GVWR of 8,800 pounds. If the vehicle were loaded to its GVWR, this means we can tow 5,200 pounds before we exceed our GCWR.

At 10,000 feet, we’d need to reduce these ratings by 20 percent to maintain performance. That would mean our GCWR is 11,200 pounds and the GVWR is 7,040 pounds, limiting what we can safely tow to 4,160 pounds. A simple rule of thumb you can use to add a built-in margin of safety is referred to as the 75 percent rule. Multiply the GVWR and GCWR by 75 percent. Subtract the GVWR from the GCWR and this is the amount you can tow. In our case it would be 3,900 pounds, which is below the 4,160 pounds we could safely tow if we were 10,000 feet above sea level.

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

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

“Get an experienced RVer to teach you how to drive it/back it, after you get it!” —Jef and Brenda

The best book on RV electricity, hands down!
RV Travel contributor Mike Sokol is America’s leading expert on RV electricity. Mike has taken his 50+ years of experience to write this book about RV electricity that nearly anyone can understand. Covers the basics of Voltage, Amperage, Wattage and Grounding, with additional chapters on RV Hot-Skin testing, GFCI operation, portable generator hookups and troubleshooting RV electrical systems. This should be essential reading for all RVers. Learn more or order 

Random RV Thought

It could be successfully argued that one of the most exhilarating parts of an RV trip is the week leading up to when it begins. The daydreaming is magnificent.

• 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! Staff

Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Editor: Emily Woodbury. Associate editor: Diane McGovern. Senior editors: Russ and Tiña De Maris. Senior writers: Nanci Dixon, Tony Barthel, Mike Gast. Contributors: Mike Sokol, Gail Marsh, Roger Marble, Dave Solberg, Dave Helgeson, Janet Groene, Julianne Crane, Chris Guld, Machelle James, James Raia, Kate Doherty, J.R. Montigel, Clint Norrell, and Chris Epting. Podcast host and producer: Scott Linden. Special projects director: Jessica Sarvis. Moderators: Gary Gilmore, Linda Brady. Financial affairs director: Gail Meyring. IT wrangler: Kim Christiansen.

Honorary CorrespondentsLoyal readers who regularly email us leads about news stories and other information and resources that aid our own news-gathering efforts.
Tom and Lois Speirs • Mike Sherman • George Bliss • Steve Barnes + others who we will add later. 

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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Donald N Wright
23 days ago

“Walmart Camera advertisements”, I never see them at my Walmart.

23 days ago

What a terrible tip re: Trailer tow ball heightWeight distribution is the main issue re: towing level, tow ball height is a small part of that.

Don Creamer
10 months ago

The article on high altitude towing should be read by any RVer who is coming to the Rockies. I live at 8,300 feet and find it amazing how many people never think about the effects of high altitude. I’m not even mentioning physiological effects either. My wife is a RN at one of the hospitals in Colorado Springs, CO. I can’t tell you how many times she has had a patient who was admitted with heart or breathing issues due to not taking altitude into consideration when coming out here. Your tow vehicle is also impacted, as stated in the article.

10 months ago

I just ordered Mike Sokol’s book on Kindle.

But I do have a question for the audience:

Is there such a thing as repair manuals for RV’s and, if there are, are they brand/model specific like a Chilton’s for automobiles? I am figuring that there must be something out there so the mechanics can follow.

Roger B
10 months ago
Reply to  Michael

Probably not, even the owners manuals for most units are not specific to the exact model they are delivered with. Service information is usually limited to what you can find in the various forums by other owners.

Richard Hughes
10 months ago

Each trip is exhilarating to us. For the past 30+ years, each time we pull out, we say “We are off on another great adventure.”

Bob M
10 months ago

I bought some small orange cones at Dollar Tree For $1.