Wednesday, May 31, 2023


Beginner’s Guide to RVing Newsletter, Volume 3, Issue 45

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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Friday, August 5, 2022 

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

RVing Basics

What does the term “boondocking” mean?

It means camping outside a campground, usually for free, and relying on onboard water supplies and 12-volt DC power systems. Many RVers boondock for weeks and even months on end during the winter on public lands in the Southwest. They charge their rigs’ deep cycle batteries with solar panels or by cranking up the generator now and then. By conserving water and liquid waste, they can minimize trips to the dump stations. In some popular desert boondocking spots, a “Honey Wagon” will come by to empty the waste tanks for a reasonable fee.

OK, then what is dry camping?

Some RVers use the terms “boondocking” and “dry camping” interchangeably, while others distinguish dry camping as any time you spend the night without hookups, and boondocking as dry camping in the “boonies,” i.e., away from campgrounds, parking lots and rest areas.

What’s a Snowbird?

An RVer who follows the sun. In the West that means heading to the Southwest when it gets cold and rainy in the north. In the East, it means heading to Florida. In the Midwest, it probably means heading to the Gulf Coast. Some RVers even venture into Mexico.

Hold the door open, will ya?
Reader Cliff Thomson recommended this product and we think it’s a great idea. He wrote: “We got tired of the hook breaking on our front door and on the front cargo door on our fifth wheel. So we bought two magnetic door holders from Amazon. Last week the door stayed open in a 35 mph wind. Since the magnet is spring-loaded a push will release it.”

Quick Tips

Use a clear sewer elbow
I know it isn’t very pleasant to view a stream of sewage, but a clear sewer elbow is very helpful in several ways. If you see a ton of toilet paper heading out it means the type you’re using isn’t being broken down properly and you can switch brands before a clog develops. You’ll know when the tanks have finished emptying. When performing a black tank flush you can monitor the color of waste water and will know when the water runs clear that the tank is clean. Thanks to Ray Burr at (Editor: Check out some clear sewer elbows at Amazon.)

Keep channel-lock pliers handy
Buy an old pair of channel-lock pliers at a yard sale and keep them in the utility compartment. Then you won’t have to remember to take them with you every time if you need to tighten the hose or unscrew a stuck sewer cap. They will rust so an occasional drop of lubricant helps. Buy a cheap cell phone belt carrier, use a hook-and-loop (Velcro) fastener, and hang your pliers from the compartment wall. Thanks to Ron Jones,

TPMS valve stem tip
William M. reminds folks with tire pressure monitoring systems of this important fact: If you are using a TPMS that attaches to the valve stem, always replace the stems with all-metal ones. The extra, albeit small weight is enough to work a rubber stem to the point that it can break off or start leaking. —Thanks, William!

How to make sure you get the right replacement faucet
Need to replace a faucet in your RV? Best to remove the old one, then shop for the new. Some RV faucets have different spacing than “house” faucets and you need to ensure the less expensive (or greater featured-filled) ones from the “big box” store will fit.

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: 

Buy your last RV first. Research what works for you. Do you want a big class A RV with a lot of room and bling? Do you want a van RV that only fits a couple of people but can go anywhere? Do you want a class C with a lot of sleeping room? How will you use it? If you are boondocking will you need solar? Do you want a residential fridge? Floor plan? Chassis type? Gas/diesel? These are all considerations – but realize if you don’t do your homework and purchase an RV that in a short time doesn’t work for you, you may lose a bunch of money when you upgrade to what you really want.” —Stephen Thomas Lemnah

You must keep road flares in the RV for emergency
You should always have road flares in your RV in case of an emergency. This pack of three bright, waterproof and shatterproof LED disks are perfect to keep tucked away. These bright lights can be seen from a mile away and can be used for traffic control, as a warning light or as a rescue beacon, and they can also be used for recreational activities such as camping and hiking. Learn more or order here. 

Random RV Thought

Periodically, check your RV’s stock of flashlight batteries. Make sure you have a couple of flashlights aboard your RV at all times. They come in handy in campgrounds and can be lifesavers in emergencies. It’s also a good idea to carry a battery-powered radio. Even better is a self-powered radio that operates after it is briefly hand-cranked. (We recommend this one, which also has a flashlight and USB phone charger.)

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Editor: Emily Woodbury

Editorial (all but news)
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Help desk:
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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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Brian Burry
9 months ago

It’s important to buy what you really want, because when you buy too small, too inadequate, you will end up losing money, every time you move up to the next step, to get what you finally want!
I have known several people to buy an old class C, then a newer class C, then a gas class A, to finally get their diesel class A. They wished they bought that first! Of course it’s not always possible, but if you can, you should consider it!

2 years ago

Metal valve stems won’t fit some RV wheels such as my Winnebago MicroMini.

2 years ago
Reply to  Irv

I’m surprised at that. Many types of metal stems. Just wonder what is different with those wheels that would preclude metal stems!

1 year ago
Reply to  Glenn

Just realized that there are 2 diameter size stem valve as I had to replaced

Bob and Charlotte Champlin
2 years ago

In Texas, “snowbirds” are called Winter Texans and they love us. When we arrive they say Santa Claus is here.

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