Monday, January 17, 2022


Beginner’s Guide to RVing Newsletter Volume 2, Issue 86

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!

Monday, August 30, 2021

If you did not get an email notifying you of this newsletter, sign up here to get one every time it is published.

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

Today’s Tips of the Day:
Campground neighbors too close? Create privacy with a DIY screen
Ask Dave: LP stove and oven won’t light. Why not?
RVelectricity: Emergency generator CO poisoning reminder

RVing Basics

I hear it’s important to have a surge protector to protect my RV from damage

Yes, it’s important to have a surge protector to protect your RV from damage, but be aware that not all surge protectors are created equal. You really want one that has a built-in EMS (Electrical Management System) function with a relay that can disconnect your RV from dangerous power situations. Expect to pay around $250 to $400 for an EMS Surge Protector. The inexpensive $100-or-less models only deal with electrical spikes (from, for example, nearby lightning strikes) but won’t turn off power to your RV if the pedestal voltage gets too high, too low, or the ground is lost. Both Southwire Company and Progressive Industries make EMS surge protectors that will help keep you and your RV safe from electrical harm.

What do I do about power when my RV is not plugged into an electric outlet?

Your RV’s 12-volt electrical system (powers lights, water pump, fans, etc.) takes care of most things you need. Most RV refrigerators run on LP gas. Without “shore power” from an electrical hookup you’ll be without your air conditioner, microwave oven and television. A small electrical device called an inverter can change your 12-volt RV power into something a laptop computer or other low-power devices need. If your “shore power”-hungry devices need 300 watts or less, a suitable inverter can be had for less than $50. At that amount of power, these inverters will need to be connected directly to your RV battery with what looks like jumper cable clamps. It’s best to purchase a “pure sine wave” inverter, as the power they provide can be used by most any device, provided you don’t exceed the power output. Larger inverters can be wired into your RV and will support bigger devices, but require more expertise than we can include here.

For articles from RV electricity expert Mike Sokol explaining everything you need to know about power pedestals, surge protectors, appliances in your RV, etc., click here.

slideout-seal656Protect your RV’s slideout with this rubber seal lubricant
If you don’t take care of your slideout you’re asking for problems including dangerous, costly water damage. This rubber seal lubricant from Thetford prevents fading, cracking and deterioration. It cleans, conditions and shines, keeping seals flexible and protected from sunlight destruction. It is also useful on door seals and window seals. It’s a mineral oil product and also acts as a lubricant. Learn more or order.

Quick Tips

A caulking cartridge preservation trick
Face it, who wants to throw away half a tube of roof caulking? It’s expensive, and you never know when you’ll need it. So you stick a bolt or screw down the snoot, maybe wrap it with a turn or two of electrical tape, and HOPE the next time you need it the goop will flow. And many times, it doesn’t. Here’s a trick we haven’t tried, but we pass it along for your consideration: When you’re done with the sealing job, get the pressure off the tube’s contents, pull a little bit out of the end of the tube (maybe with a screw or bolt), then fill up the void with petroleum jelly. Supposed to keep the air out and the contents usable. When ready to use next time, push out the petro-jel and wipe the tube clean before squishing the good stuff. And, to be safe, make sure to throw away the first bit of the sealant, lest there be an unwelcome reaction between the goop and the ersatz seal.

Close the toilet lid
Keep the toilet lid closed so nothing falls into it accidentally. Once it’s in there it’s difficult to get out – not to mention it’s very messy.

“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: 

“RENT first. The lifestyle is not for everyone. Tried to tell a friend. They bought a 30-foot Class C. Two trips and sold at a huge loss. They did not like the lifestyle.” —Dick and Alana O’Kelly

Easily clean those stubborn bugs off your RVsponge91FkFZCzPZL__SL1500_
The Microfiber Mesh Bug and Tar Sponge has millions of tiny fibers embedded in the microfiber cloth that grabs and holds the dust and dirt. It is so effective it even cleans without chemicals, saving both time and money. The secret of this sponge lies in its unique, double-layer microfiber mesh. Older nylon bug sponges can harm your clear coat, but this one is completely paint safe. Learn more or order.

Random RV Thought

RVers who drive motorhomes or tow vehicles with loud diesel engines who leave a campground at daybreak often wake up their neighbors.

“What’s the best modification you’ve made to your RV?”

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

“At this point, we have replaced the really uncomfortable ‘L’-shaped couch/hide-a-bed that was in our 5th wheel with a residential power reclining love seat/theater seats, and I removed one of the stock armchairs and replaced it with a euro-recliner and ottoman that I bought. Hubbie had to build a platform with rolling wheels, mounted on the slide-out, to put the love seat/theater seats on. Now we are both comfortable.” —Brenda Bilton

• 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, Darian Armer 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.

Editorial (all but news)
Editorial (news)
Help desk:
 Contact us.

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

This newsletter is copyright 2021 by

Related Articles


Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Donald N Wright
4 months ago

Random thought: guys and gals who drive diesels like to make noise, wake up their neighbors, so everyone looks at them.

4 months ago

Random defense: I wanted no propane in my Class C and the manufacturer only supported propane and diesel furnaces. So I drive a diesel as quietly as I can and the furnace shares the fuel tank.

James Starling
4 months ago

Some TVs are 12 volt, good for rainy days.

Dr. Michael
4 months ago

For the partly used caulk issue, has anyone had any experience with the following product: AirTite – Preserves Open Caulking Tubes (2 Pack) : Industrial & Scientific

4 months ago
Reply to  Dr. Michael

That might work. I always put a large screw down the open end. Also, the contents only have a certain shelf life. A brand new tube will go bad after a year or years sitting in my garage.

4 months ago
Reply to  Dr. Michael

It has 93% positive reviews on Amazon and no meaningful negative reviews.

4 months ago
Reply to  Dr. Michael

The AirTite has been working for me. Only negative is when I make a small opening in the snoot, the AirTite splits the snoot a little.

Richard Hughes
1 year ago

In Idaho, we never had the luxury of an ice house because the season was never long enough. One year, an early thaw caught a co-worker at.a.steel manufacturing plant unaware. The ice was too unstable to return the vehicle to shore. He had driven over the ice to a small island about two hundred yards off shore. Monday morning he came to work and shared his misfortune. When spring runoff came the island sometimes became submerged. I suggested we build a floating bridge. With the boss’s OK, we loaded several of the tanks we manufactured and iron from storage. Once at the lake we began floating tanks, welding steel plates and soon had a bridge to the island. Once the new pickup was safely on shore we dismantled the bridge, loaded the trucks and were back to work by quitting time.

4 months ago
Reply to  Richard Hughes


1 year ago

We also removed the L-shaped couch with a recliner sofa by RecPro. So comfortable and our 2016 Holiday Rambler Vacationer looks so much bigger!

4 months ago
Reply to  Judy WIEMER

We are also looking for recliners for our class A. The biggest question I have is how to get them through the door…

4 months ago
Reply to  TIM MCRAE

On most home recliners the back can be removed from the seat by just pulling the back upwards making it very easy to get in the door. Just make sure you tie down the foot rest so it doesn’t come out pinching fingers.