Welcome to the Beginner’s Guide to RVing from RVtravel.com. The information we present here every Monday through Friday is for 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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June 8, 2022
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DID YOU MISS reading this morning’s RV Daily Tips Newsletter? Good stuff there.
What’s a recreation vehicle?
Although the term can be loosely stretched to include just about any vehicle that is used for recreational purposes, a recreation vehicle (RV) is generally a transportable, motorized or non-motorized vehicle that is used for temporary living and contains, at the very least, a bed for sleeping. Most RVs, however, also contain a kitchen area, bathroom, dinette and often an area with a couch or lounge chairs. Recreation vehicles are highly mobile, unlike mobile or manufactured homes, which are intended to be towed once to a location where they will serve as a home. RVs are generally between 12 and 45 feet long, with most in the 15- to 35-foot range.
Is there a difference between a recreation vehicle and a recreational vehicle?
No. For years, the RV industry used the term “recreational vehicle” to describe its products. But in the early 2000s, it began using the term “recreation vehicle” instead.
Are tiny houses RVs?
No. They are not recognized by the RV Industry Association, and are not required to meet the manufacturing standards of traditional recreation vehicles. Although tiny homes are in the news a lot today, you rarely see them in RV parks or campgrounds.
I’ve heard that travel trailers can sway in windy conditions. Couldn’t this be dangerous?
It can be. The good news is that equalizing hitches, also called load distributing hitches, greatly reduce sway and improve control. These are highly recommended for heavier trailers. Another less expensive option is installing a sway-control unit. Larger trailers will require two, but a sway-control can do much to smooth out buffeting winds, particularly when being passed by a big truck when heading downhill. But in high winds it’s a good idea to slow down regardless of which type of RV or hitch you have.
Don’t put anything extra down toilets
What’s safe to put down the RV toilet so as not to create damage or dumping problems? Toilet paper is fine (you don’t need to buy special, high-priced, TP). Use far cheaper Costco toilet paper, which works fine. As a general rule, if you didn’t eat it or drink it first, don’t put it down there.
Some possible financial help to buy an RV
In the market for an RV but aren’t sure you can afford it? Check with your tax consultant – you may be able to write off the loan interest on your tax return. The money you save there might be the edge you need if you’re getting an RV loan.
Don’t use stabilizer jacks for leveling
Don’t try to use trailer stabilizer jacks to bring your rig up into level – most are designed simply to give more stability to the rig once leveled. Using these to try and level a rig can cause damage.
Keep a hose just for dumping tanks
Dedicate a hose strictly for use in tank-dumping operations. Use it for rinsing hoses, flushing tanks, etc. But be sure to keep it completely away from your fresh water hose to prevent cross-contamination. If you can, find a suitable container to keep it safely stored.
Secure your RV awning while traveling
Reader Mark Walsh says he gets peace of mind regarding his RV awning while traveling. How? “I use a large piece of Velcro wound several times around each arm of the awning up near the top. I have to use a picnic table or ladder to get it there but it takes away the worry.” —Thanks, Mark
Shopping for an RV?
Here are some new RV shopping tips from a former RV salesperson (Tony Barthel).
Must-have products for RVers:
• Free RV Camping in the American West
• 50 States, 500 State Parks: An essential guide to America’s best places to visit
• Propane, methane and natural gas leak detector
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