Friday, June 9, 2023


Beginner’s Guide to RVing Newsletter #28

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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Thursday, August 13, 2020

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

RVing Basics

Is it hard to hitch a toad?
No, but it’s important to follow a routine so that you don’t forget anything. Position your toad, hook up the tow bar, attach safety cables, then the wiring and last the breakaway cable. Make sure to check over the complete hitch setup when you are finished. Once you do it a few times, it’s fast and easy.

Can I tow my current auto behind my motorhome?
You will want to check with the manufacturer. Damage can occur if a vehicle is not approved for towing. You also don’t want to void your warranty. And remember to check your motorhome’s total weight rating (Gross Combined Weight Rating, GCWR), the total weight of your loaded RV and any towed vehicle. Finally, since most states require supplemental braking in a towed vehicle, you’ll need to purchase either a portable system or have a permanent system installed. If you should get into an accident in a state where a supplemental braking system is required by law, you could get in a heap of trouble.

Should I be concerned about driving steep grades in an RV?
Yes, but the key is “take it easy.” Going up, this means watching your engine temperature (and transmission too, if yours has a temperature gauge) and going down it means saving your brakes. In both cases you may need to downshift and when descending, don’t ride your brakes – use short, hard brake applications to reduce your speed by 5-10 miles per hour and maintain control.

Quick Tips

Always extend both sets of steps
This safety warning is from Mike Sherman, a California Coast camp host: “I see a lot of newer travel trailers 25’+ having two entry doors, but many campers extend only one set to utilize for entry and exit. However, recently an elderly woman decided to use that second door to exit into the dark for some reason. She wound up in the hospital with 3 broken ribs and extensive bruising. Always extend both steps, even if you think YOU won’t use them – your spouse might. It also adds a second safe exit in the event of an emergency.” Thanks, Mike!

Easy non-skid shower stall floor
Shower stall floor too slick for safety? Cut a piece or two of non-skid mat (normally used in the kitchen cupboard to restrain unruly dishes) and lay it in the shower.

Adding more batteries to your RV?
Getting started with adding batteries to your RV for more storage? Consider using 6-volt golf cart batteries, as opposed to AGM (absorbed glass mat). The former are far more forgiving of “mistakes” like overcharging, and a whole lot less expensive.

Easy fire starters
Want fire starters for your campfire? Get a single one of those premanufactured fire logs, cut it up in pieces, and use the pieces for fire starters.

Turn down brightness on TVs to save power
“When boondocking, I turn down the brightness of my TVs. Most LED and LCD TVs have a power-saving setting which essentially darkens the picture. You can get the same power-saving results by turning down the brightness on any TV, then turn the contrast up slightly to improve the picture. This will work for tube-type TVs as well.” —Thanks to Joe Brignolo

We welcome your Quick Tips: Send to

Common Terms Used by RV Salespeople

GREEN PEA: This is a new salesman or sales business manager.

Another one next issue. Courtesy of the Burdge Law Office.

Say goodbye to goop!
Have you ever seen the sediment that collects in your water heater? You probably don’t want to. Camco’s water tank rinser is an easy-to-use gadget that is a must-have for any RVer. The tank rinser will get out all the yucky sediment that’s been sitting at the bottom of your water heater and, most importantly, will extend the life of it too. Read the many positive reviews, and get one for yourself 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: 

“When my best friend was first thinking about buying an RV, I told her there is nothing quite like waking up in a beautiful place and brewing coffee and enjoying it in that beautiful place. We live in a gorgeous country and RVing is a terrific way to see it up close.” — Martha H.

Random RV Thought

If you need to use your RV’s emergency exit, drape your bed’s cover over the window. It’s much easier and faster to crawl over that than the narrow edge of the window.

• 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!

Quick, inexpensive way to level your trailer!
Put your jacks up and down in seconds with minimal effort with this Camco scissor jack adapter. Just insert it in your drill and you’ll be level in a snap. And for about $7? A no-brainer if you’re tired of cranking your trailer up and down by hand. CLICK THE VIDEO to see a 30-second demonstration. Learn more or order.

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

This newsletter is copyright 2020 by


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Jacques Lemieux
2 years ago

The ad above for the adapter speaks of leveling the RV. These jacks are for stabilizing, not leveling! This page is for RV newbies. Why are you posting incorrect and possibly harmful information? Using these stabilizers to level can damage both stabilizer and RV!

2 years ago

We use sawdust in a egg carton, and old candle wax that we melt and pour over the sawdust. Tear off a part of egg carton and “come on baby light my fire”

Last edited 2 years ago by Tom
Roger B
2 years ago
Reply to  Tom

Another option is a product for starting charcoal grills called “Tumble Weeds”. They are a couple dollars for about a dozen @ Walmart and I think Home Depot.

2 years ago

heading for drill attachment should have read…Quick, inexpensive way to stabilize your trailer.

David Todd
2 years ago

I have read several times that you should not use the scissor jacks to level an rv. Too much weight and stress. Why are you suggesting a person buy the drill attachment.

2 years ago
Reply to  David Todd

The attachment works great, but only to stabilize your trailer, not level it.

Richard H
2 years ago
Reply to  David Todd

I purchased the attachment because I always struggle trying to raise and lower a scissor jack. Scissor jacks are used for many things and fumbling around trying to get one lined up and started has always been a problem

2 years ago

I realize you are an Amazon affiliate but please do not encourage new RVers to buy that jack adapter thing and use it in a noisy power drill or (even worse) a hammer drill or impact wrench. Everyone can hear that horrendous sound all over the campground.

2 years ago
Reply to  Marvin

Yes a hammer drill is completely unnecessary and loud. I have a 18 Volt Milwaukee drill that is quieter that my tongue jack and in low gear could probably raise the trailer off the ground.

Richard Hubert
2 years ago

Re: “Is it hard to hitch a toad?” 
(1) it was not made clear that the very last step of hooking up the TOAD is to check lights – Brake, Running, and Turn Signal lights on the TOAD should be duplicating the lights on the towing Motorhome.
(2) Driving up grades towing a vehicle – I have found that it is important to look ahead to upcoming grades in order to be sure that you gain as much speed (up to your top towing speed) before you hit the grade in order to have some momentum to help keep you moving up the hill. When I 1st began towing I was dismayed by the loss of speed going up many grades – because I approached them too slowly. The engine was not in it’s peak power band, I was not in a low enough gear, and I quickly lost my momentum. But I got some tips from experienced drivers and learned that it is important to try to maintain momentum and to downshift before starting the grade. What a difference!

2 years ago

For a DIY fire starter, we take an empty paper egg holder, melt the remains of candles, add dryer lint to the melted wax, and pour the waxy lint into the egg holder. When we are ready to start a fire, we can easily tear off one egg cup at a time.

2 years ago

For fire starter, I recommend individually wrapped Super Cedar pucks.
They can easily be cut in half or fourths if you don’t need the full puck.

2 years ago

When going down steep grades you should use the same gear you would use to go up that same grade. When I say “gear” I mean your transmission not your Adidas shoes and Nike jogging outfit.

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