Friday, December 3, 2021


Beginner’s Guide to RVing Newsletter Volume 2, Issue 44

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!

Thursday, July 1, 2021

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

Tip of the Day: Should you carry water in your RV tank while traveling? 

RVing Basics

Do campgrounds have restrooms with showers?

Nearly all private campgrounds (RV parks) and many state and national parks have these facilities, but other public campgrounds may not. All but the most primitive have toilets, although in some cases this might mean an old-fashioned outhouse. Caveat: There may still be restrictions on the use of some of these facilities during the pandemic.

Can I pick my own campsite at a campground or is it picked for me?

In most public campgrounds you select your own spot from what is available. But in perhaps half of private campgrounds, the site will be assigned to you when you arrive. If you don’t like it, you can request another one, space permitting. Reservations at some campgrounds are becoming difficult to get. Be sure to plan ahead.

I see RVs with solar panels. Are they a good idea?

These RVers probably boondock or dry camp a lot — that is, stay in places without power for long stretches. You see this a lot in the winter in the Arizona desert. With solar panels, RVers can keep their rigs’ batteries charged or, at the very least, slow their discharge. Solar power has its limitations depending on factors such as time of year, weather, amount of tree cover and region of the country. But the answer for most RVers is ”yes.” Some are able to provide nearly all their electrical power needs from photo-voltaic solar panels mounted on the RV roof and stored in a bank of deep cycle batteries. For others, it reduces the time they need to run their generators when dry camping, saving fuel and eliminating noise and exhaust fumes.

Just bought a trailer or fifth wheel?
If so, you have a lot to learn. And here’s the best way short of having an expert teach you one-on-one. Let RV Education 101 walk you step-by-step through all the systems of your RV using written text, full-feature video segments…with downloadable segments, short video segments, related articles written by your instructor, helpful tips & tricks and more. Learn more about this exceptional program.

Quick Tips

Recycle gray water to help clean black water tank
Neil G. writes: “Another source of extra black water tank washout could be done by saving used dishwater and rinse water in buckets, etc., instead of the gray water tank, and dumping it down the toilet. The sudden flood helps dislodge ‘materials’ in the holding tank directly below the commode. Very helpful in dry camping, as well! Many dry-campers use this for their entire flushing process to save water.” Thanks, Neil

Handy reminders for specific items — so you don’t forget anything
“I used to hang my keys on the antenna crank but needed more reminders. Already using the bungees for normal purposes (binding hoses, etc), and with how cheap the balls are, I’ve been using a stack of them and keep each on the safely stored item (hoses, electric cord, jack handle, awning, antenna crank, etc.).  Each bungee ball is LABELED and gets hung on the nose jack while the item is deployed. I won’t hitch until all balls are back on their safely stored items again.” Thanks to Wolfe Rose

Grease fire suppression safety
Richard Smith passes along this reminder: “Please be aware that if you use a fire extinguisher too close to a grease fire it could also spread the fire due to the pressure. You should be about 5 feet away when you start to spray the extinguisher and then move closer if necessary.” Thanks, Richard! [Editor’s note: Some fire experts suggest even more distance from the fire to start with, six to eight feet, and moving closer as the flames diminish. And always remember to aim for the BASE of the fire, not the flames.]

Guidelines for putting your slides in, out
There is no one correct way to open or retract your slides in the RV, so follow your manufacturer’s recommendation. Some slides are designed to correctly go out and in after leveling. Some go out and in before leveling. Some slides won’t go out if the ignition key is in the “on” position but may come in. Some manufacturers may recommend that you start the engine to provide maximum power to the electric motors that operate the slides. Thanks to Ron Jones,

Boondockers Welcome — Stay at homes of RVers who welcome you in their driveways, yards, farmland or other space on their private property. Great alternative to crowded RV parks. Modest membership fee. Learn more.

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: 

“After seeing results of a blown tire, I knew why my RV mentor suggested we invest in a Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS) for our coach and tow. The peace of mind was well worth it. Even with new tires you may develop a problem the system will warn you about. Happy trails!” — Terry

Random RV Thought

When traveling with your RV and in no hurry to get somewhere, stay put rather than drive into headwinds. Wait until the wind is calm or, better yet, at your back. Your gas mileage will improve significantly.

Camco vent insulator keeps you warm or cool!
Is your RV too hot in the summer? Too cold in the winter? Camco’s vent insulator and skylight cover features a thick layer of foam which helps stop heat transfer, keeping you warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Installation is easy. The insulator is designed to fit standard 14″x14″ RV vents. Learn more or order 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!

Mosquito repellent spray for dogs and cats is a must for camping. Click here.

RV Travel staff


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.

Mail us at 9792 Edmonds Way, #265, Edmonds, WA 98020.

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1 year ago

On solar panels: If you plan on getting a motor home and plan to park it for any length of time without plugging it into a power outlet the engine battery will discharge to nothing. This is due to currents used by your radio (when it’s off) and other things. Consider an 18 to 20 watt solar panel to connect to the battery. It can be installed or just connected by alligator clips or cigarette lighter plug in. The start at about $21 and up. Mine was an 18 watt for about $20 . working over two years.

Cliff Thomson
1 year ago

We use bungee cords to hold our cabinet doors closed, Hook them across the handles when you have opposing doors, It’s bad when you catch a cabinet door with a slide-out or have a jar of salsa land and break,

1 year ago
Reply to  Cliff Thomson

All of our jars are kept in plastic bins on the shelves. Nothing falls out.

1 year ago

“Already using the bungees for normal purposes (binding hoses, etc), and with how cheap the balls are”

What balls? #SoConfused

Mike Albert
1 year ago
Reply to  GiselleOrchid

I think they are talking about the round bungee cords that are similar to a woman’s hair band or a bracelet. They are about six inches and have their ends secured by a plastic ball the size of a marble. (Or at least the ones I’ve seen.) You would wrap the entire thing around an item and secure it by pushing the ball under the strap.

Tony Grigg
1 year ago
Reply to  Mike Albert

Thanks! I didn’t know what he was talking about either. 🤔

myoldmill myoldmill
1 year ago
Reply to  Mike Albert

I was trying to figure out how he would use amy dog’s tennis balls!!!