Monday, September 25, 2023


Beginner’s Guide to RVing Newsletter, Volume 3, Issue 29

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, July 14, 2022

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

RVing Basics

I’m concerned that if I buy a fifth wheel trailer and then use the unattached pickup truck for side trips that I’ll burn a lot of fuel. I’m wondering if it would be better to buy a motorhome and tow a small compact car that goes forever on a gallon of gas. What do you think?

Each way has its advantages and disadvantages. Keep in mind that with the motorhome-car combo, you’ll have two engines to maintain. The extra cost might be far greater than the extra fuel you’d burn with the truck on day trips. Our advice? Get out a calculator and figure out how many miles you’re likely to drive on day trips, and then estimate the costs both ways. Add in the advantage that you can use the truck for hauling when you’re not towing. Some motorhome owners who do not tow a dinghy rent a car at times. Enterprise can sometimes pick you up and take you to their office to complete the rental paperwork. In the long run, this can be far less expensive than owning and maintaining your own car.

I have a small truck. Can I pull a fifth wheel trailer?

Yes, a small one. Fifth wheels come in all sizes – some in short and lightweight versions that can be pulled by small trucks. You’ll need to verify that the hitch weight of the trailer when loaded does not cause the truck to exceed its Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) and that the total weight of truck and trailer does not exceed the truck’s Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR). And with a short-bed truck you will probably need a sliding hitch.

Can I remove a fifth wheel hitch from my pickup when I’m not towing?

Yes. Most hitches are securely attached to rails installed in the truck bed with four pins. Remove the pins and lift out the hitch. The hitch can be heavy, so be careful.

Remove ticks easily from people or pets!
It’s tick season! This Tick Twister Remover Set will remove ticks, large and small, without squeezing them, reducing the risk of infection. It does not leave the mouthparts of the tick in the skin. It’s the safest and easiest way to remove ticks and in just a few seconds. Helps prevent Lyme Disease. Keep one of these in your RV. Learn more or order.

Quick Tips

Be prepared for loose screws
It seems like most RVs have a few screws loose. Road vibration tends to loosen anything with a thread to it, so be sure to keep a set of screwdrivers and wrenches with you no matter how short the trip.

Lotta shaking goin’ on …
Plumbing fittings can come loose with road shaking. Check and tighten them all, including those in the “basement.” It’ll save you a lot of grief and expense.

Don’t forget the birds and the bees
Bugs, birds and bees: Cute in the wild, but lousy when they wind up in your exterior refrigerator or water heater compartments. Add “inspection and clean out” to your regular maintenance list.

Murphy’s Law regarding RVs
Putting off RV repairs will catch up with you in a hurry. The RV corollary to Murphy’s Law says that little problem will become your biggest problem when you have the least time, or you’re in the worst location, to fix it.

Don’t count on WiFi at the RV park
Depend on the internet for your living? Don’t always count on the advertised WiFi service at the RV park. Have an alternative plan or carry your own cellular “hotspot.”

Common Terms Used by RV Salespeople

HIGH PENNY: To adjust a customer’s monthly payment. For example, from $1,401.13 to $1,440.93. It is safe to assume that if the customer will pay $1,401.13 for an RV payment, he will pay $1,440.93 without giving it a second thought.

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

Pocket-sized Goo Gone is a must-have
Who doesn’t have a bottle of handy Goo Gone in their home and RV? We have several bottles in both. Now you can get this handy liquid in pocket-sized pen form, so you can keep it in your purse or in the glove compartment for easy reach. Goo Gone works to get rid of anything sticky like adhesive residue, gum, stickers (like price tags) and even stains! You’ll definitely want to buy one 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. Here is one response: 

“I would tell them: 1) Don’t buy new – the depreciation is nuts; 2) consider renting first to see what it’s like; 3) talk with a lot of people who have an RV about which type will be the best fit for you; and 4) expect that your first RV will be your trial RV, while you learn what it is you really want and need.
“If you aren’t going to be using it full time, consider sharing with someone who might have different needs than you. For instance, if you are retired and want to be a snowbird, consider sharing with a couple who have kids who want to use it to travel in summers. But make sure if you share that you are doing it with someone you trust AND that you have your agreements about repair and maintenance worked out in advance. RVs (especially class A and B) are expensive items to own if you are planning to use them only a few weeks a year!” — Karen Grace

Random RV Thought

If you are forced to park close to another RV for the night and plan to use your generator, make sure your exhaust is not shooting right into your neighbor’s rig. That could lead to a disaster.

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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.


  1. The trucks Max Payload Rating is often the critical factor in how much trailer a truck can tow.

    It’s on the door sticker.

    Tongue weight, Hitch weight, Passenger weight, Cargo weight and any dealer added accessories all count.

    • The term “small truck” is misleading. I have a full size 1/2 ton double cab pickup. I do not consider that a small truck. I also would not consider pulling a fifth wheel with it. Even the so called 1/2 ton towable ones would run weights to the limit. Plus, they are built with all lightweight materials including the frame.

  2. One advantage of a truck and trailer is that if you have truck trouble, you still have your camper to stay in. If your motorhome goes into the shop due to engine trouble as an example, you may have to get a hotel room.

  3. I realize that some drawbars are heavy, but when you settle in to your snowbirds nest for the winter, please consider removing it. I have seen several dual cab pickups, with gigantic drawbars, in Costco parking lots, backing into cars and driving off. The drawbars also stick out and if a customer meets a car, next to one of these lane hogging trucks, everything stops. Please think of others and remove them.

      • It means that the hitch is sticking out way beyond the allotted parking space and into the lane of travel in the parking lot. Also, did you ever cut it short around the back bumper when you forgot to remove hitch and put your shins into it? It doesn’t hurt that hitch one bit!

  4. For a 5th wheel hitch, look into an Anderson Hitch. I pull a 34 ft unit with mine and love it. You can take it out of the bed in under 5 minutes and reinstall it just as fast. Weighs just 30 lbs. Also easy to hitch and unhitch. I’ll never have anything else.

  5. All of the issues with motor homes (and advice) make me so happy that I have a standard pickup truck and a travel trailer! Much simpler.


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