Monday, June 5, 2023


Beginner’s Guide to RVing Newsletter, Volume 3, Issue 42

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!

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

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

RVing Basics

I like the idea of boondocking but I wonder how I would get along without being able to plug in my electrical appliances.

A generator, of course, will allow you to use all the electrical appliances you’d use at home. A very inexpensive alternative, however, is to buy a small power inverter, which plugs into a 12-volt socket (cigarette lighter) and will convert your onboard 12-volt power into household current. You won’t be able to run major appliances with a small inverter, but they provide enough juice for TVs, battery chargers, computers and other low-power devices. You can buy these at Walmart or Amazon.

Serious boondockers outfit their RVs with solar panels, additional deep cycle batteries and more powerful, permanently installed inverters. If they watch their power usage (as well as water) they can stay in one place for weeks at a time without ever hooking up. Of course, in the dead of winter when the sun doesn’t shine much, they won’t have much power to work with.

Is it okay to smoke in campgrounds?

We’ve never seen “no smoking” signs, but there could be a few campgrounds out there that ban the practice.

What about alcohol?

A sign at a campground or RV park may warn “No alcohol,” but we don’t interpret that to mean it’s prohibited inside your RV. It’s probably meant to keep campers from partying outside.

Quick Tips

Can you reach necessities when slides are in?
When the slides are in (drive-ready), this is a good time to check to see if you can reach the necessities that may be obstructed when they’re in. Can you get a jacket or umbrella out of the closet? Can you reach the pet food? Plan where things are stored so you can adjust as needed before it becomes a problem — on that occasion when a slide will not operate or you are simply parked too close to an object and cannot put out the slide. Thanks to Ron Jones,

Save money if you need or want to replace some RV furniture
Is some of your RV furniture getting along toward retirement? Buying new RV furniture can be nearly as costly as buying it for the sticks-and-bricks home — at times even more so. Don’t despair: Call around to a few RV dealers. You may find that some folks, on taking possession of a new RV, wanted to “upgrade” their stuff and dealers may have “trade out” furniture in stock for a lot less than “new” prices.

Easily keep your shower clean
Want to clean your shower easily and keep down the buildup of minerals or (gag!) mold and mildew? As soon as you’ve completed your shower, wipe down the walls with an auto chamois or a microfiber towel.

Leveling your RV with your phone
In addition to our tip below about putting a marble or ball on your table or countertop to see if your RV is level, we received this from William P.: “I have an app on my Samsung phone called SwissArmyKnife that has a level as part of the tools. I just lay it on the counter or floor near the fridge and it shows me how much off the RV is and in what direction. I have tested it using a regular carpenter’s level and it is right on. Easy to use and does not add to that box of tools that takes up so much room!” Thanks, William!

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: 

“Read all you can, talk to as many people as you can and join Escapees.” — Marilyn Bintz

Let your drill clean your RV, really!
This 4-piece cleaning brush attachment connects right to your drill – no more scrubbing for you! Deep-clean virtually any surface with hardly any effort. The drill brushes are perfect for grout lines, corners, tiles, tubs, showers, carpets, wooden furniture, windows, shower doors, siding, linoleum, stoves, counters, fiberglass, grills, marble, and more. You can even wash your dishes if you want! Learn more or order here.

Random RV Thought

One way to see if your RV is level is to place a marble, golf ball or another round object on your dinette table or kitchen countertop. Watch which direction it rolls and see where your RV is the lowest. Of course, we’re assuming your table is level.

Directory of RV parks with storm shelters
In case you’re on the road with your RV and the weather report is showing a tornado headed your way, have this list handy.

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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10 months ago

Most campgrounds prohibit smoking inside buildings, playgrounds or public shelters.
As far as smoking outside, except for the ignorant people that throw their butts on the ground, it’s not really much different than having campfires or outdoor grills being used. Then you have the ones that think nothing of throwing trash on the ground while they are walking. I see more litter than butts in most campgrounds.

1 year ago

My two concerns of what is accessible when the slides are in are getting to the bathroom and when we buy groceries while traveling that I can get stuff into the fridge. As to “No Smoking”, today I saw a sign in a drive-thru at a fast food restaurant that said no smoking while in the drive thru.

1 year ago

One will never get an RV perfectly level when using auto leveling devices such as those in a motorhome. Before shutting down my engine I use a 2 foot level to see how close I am to level, this tells me how much blocking I need under the tires and also under the Jack’s so they do not stroke out. (its amazing how close I can get). It is important to make sure the tires are not off the ground when up on the jacks, you have more stability when the tires are supported and the jacks and frame are not taking all of the stress. I would think this would also apply to tag behinds and fifth wheel RV’s

M. Will
2 years ago

The day that I need an app on a smartphone to level my travel trailer I will sell it and stay at home!! Its not rocket science!!

1 year ago
Reply to  M. Will

I don’t think he’s suggesting it’s the only way to do it. My iphone has a level app also. It’s a circle that shows 360 degree circle. When all is green it’s level front to back and side to side.
I also carry a 6 inch torpedo level.
To each their own.

josh caine
1 year ago
Reply to  M. Will

I love our Levelmate pro, it allows me to pull forward or back and try to find side to side level from the drivers seat of the truck.

2 years ago

I wish public parks would ban smoking. I get so tired of seeing cigarette butts on hiking trails and the smell of that smoke just ruins your time when you are trying to enjoy nature.

Last edited 2 years ago by Snayte
2 years ago

For electric power when boondocking look up “car generator”. It hooks to your car/truck battery and gives you power from your vehicle when idling. Don’t know how safe it would be to use on a motor home with a big v8 or v10. That’s a lot of exhaust.

Terri Carlson
2 years ago

Sounds old school. But my hubby uses a level on the end of our bumper. Works. You must realize we are still very new to R.Ving. In fact second month….

Lauren Baker
2 years ago
Reply to  Terri Carlson

that works only if the the bumper is level it self. Have seen many that are not level to start with.

Brian Jensen
2 years ago

I have an app called Precise Level that I use.

2 years ago

Re leveling with phone. I guess this is for motorhomes that can level from inside? I have bubble levels on the front, rear and both sides of my travel trailer. Easy.

Robert Mc Greevy
2 years ago


How much weight get removed from the Pin when I install a weight distribution system for my travel travel trailer.

Is there a rule of thumb or do we need to go to a scale to measure the difference?

1 year ago

A weight distributing hitch transfers weight from the back wheels to the front wheels. I don’t think it changes the Pin weight.

2 years ago

We use a small squeegee to dry the shower. OXO makes one with a blue blade. Avoid ones with black blades unless they guarantee they won’t mark. (Learned years ago at home.)

I installed a stick-on cone-shaped soap holder in the shower to hold the squeegee.

Sam Linkous
2 years ago

As a somewhat experienced RVer I still enjoy reading your newsletter and find helpful hints often. I will say, though, that advice about using generators should always be paired with advice on when and where is best to use them. Many people camp for the quiet and peace it offers and don’t want to hear a generator running and disrupting that peace and quiet. So if you’re in a position where you feel you have no choice, please find an area that allows generators that has a designated area for generator users, and be respectful as to how much you run it.

2 years ago
Reply to  Sam Linkous

I would like to add, be mindful of any neighbors, there proximity, and wind direction. the last thing we would want to do is asphyxiate a neighbor.

Roger B
2 years ago
Reply to  Sam Linkous

Our inverter generator is very quiet but we still follow the quiet hours rules. I also point the exhaust end away from other campers.

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