Friday, December 8, 2023


Beginner’s Guide to RVing Newsletter, Volume 3, Issue 115

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.

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

Friday, November 11, 2022

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

RVing Basics

Get a non-contact voltage tester

This simple-to-use little device (non-contact voltage tester) is, I feel, a must-have for any RVer who hooks up to a power pedestal. It is very easy to use. With it you can safely check the campground power outlet for any possible faulty wiring that could damage your RV electrical systems or cause an unsafe condition. It is one of the only ways you can check for a condition called “Hot Skin” condition [a term coined by Mike Sokol based on his research] and where the RV metal frame becomes electrified and very dangerous. Thanks to Ray Burr at for this tip.
Read more from Mike Sokol on hot-skin conditions here and here.

Insulate your bed for a cold winter night

Mike B. shares this timely tip: “My fifth wheel has a slide for the bed so when extended, the head of my bed is sticking out into open space. During cold months, I find myself piling on the covers but still feeling cold. The cold is coming from under the bed and through the mattress. I still have the insulated pads from my tenting days. Those pads were put on the tent floor to keep the cold from getting through from the ground to me. I discovered that using those pads under the mattress in the RV solves the problem of cold air getting to me from outside. If that’s not enough, try laying an open sleeping bag on top of the mattress under the fitted sheet. Winters in Colorado get really cold at night but my urge to take the RV out of storage is as strong as ever.” Thanks, Mike!

3-in-1 NOAA radio, flashlight and charger must-have for RVers
This emergency hand-crank radio is a necessity for RVers. Keep it somewhere safe – you never know when it will come in handy. The 3-in-1 radio is also a bright LED flashlight and a smartphone charger. The radio can be charged via solar charging, hand cranking or a USB plug. You’ll want to buy one here.

Quick Tips

Protect your dump valves from freezing
Beware the freezing weather, and if you’ve a smaller RV where your dump valves are “low and outside,” you may want to pitch them a protection in the form of a quart or two of “pink” antifreeze. Just pour the stuff down the drains and toilet after you’ve dumped your tanks. The RV antifreeze will migrate to the valve slider to help keep it from freezing shut. Thanks to Steve Willey for the thaw-tfull tip.

Don’t buy an RV that smells musty!
We often hear of RVers who want to know what magic potion can eliminate “that musty smell in an RV.” If you’re shopping for an RV and smell that musty odor, STOP! Musty odors are often attached to water damage – a terminal issue. Look closely for signs of water stains, including inside every single cabinet. If you find water stains or feel a “soft” wall or ceiling, RUN, don’t walk, away from that rig.

“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: 

“Checklist, Checklist, Checklist. This one piece of advice will save you much grief on both packing for your trip, as well as packing up and getting back on the road…. Checklist….” —Badwolfe

Random RV Thought

Always keep your motorhome or tow vehicle’s fuel and propane tanks filled up in case you need to rush out of town in an emergency.

Secrets of RVing on Social Security
Author Jerry Minchey takes you on a journey that shows you how to travel around the country and live the fascinating RV lifestyle for far less than to live in your sticks-and-bricks home. Among other things, he explains step-by-step how to enjoy a fulfilling RV life on just your Social Security income. Learn more or order.

• 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!

rv travel logoContact information

Editor: Emily Woodbury

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

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 2022 by RV Travel LLC.


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Bob (@guest_146374)
2 years ago

Per the dump valves. I used a connector made for the dump outlet and covered it with some 1/4 inch hardware cloth to keep any vermin out. When store for the winter, after dumping the tanks, I put the connector on and leave the valves open. No way the valves can now freeze closed.

travelingjw (@guest_146373)
2 years ago

I strongly agree with purchasing a non-contact voltage tester. Since I read Mikes column I have tested every single pedestal prior to plugging in my EMS. It provides one with a level of confidence to move forward. In one case my EMS reported an error code and I was able to contact the park manager to address the situation. Electrical issues can be life and death!

Richard Hughes (@guest_106390)
2 years ago

Those silver sided, foam insulation sheets from home improvement stores are a great, under mattress insulator. They block the cold and reflect any heat from above. I had a unit that had poor sidewall insulation. I glued the insulboard to the walls around the bed and ceiling, covered it with felt held in place with spray glue and fancy headed tacks, for esthetic appeal. The foam adds very little weight and keeps both heat and cold out.

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