Tuesday, March 21, 2023


Beginner’s Guide to RVing Newsletter Volume 3, Issue 85

Welcome to the Beginner’s Guide to RVing from RVtravel.com. 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, September 30, 2022

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

RVing Basics

How do I plug my RV into the power pedestal?

First, you will have three choices of plugs, 20 amp (looks like your wall outlet at home), 30 amp and 50 amp. Few RVers can get by with 20 amps: It’s not enough power to run much more than lights, a TV and a few other low-energy appliances. Most of the RVs on the market today are wired for 30-amp and 50-amp service. You can tell by the plug. Be sure to turn the breaker switch off before plugging in or unplugging your RV. Once plugged in, flip the switch.

My RV is rated for 50 amps. Can I plug it into a 30-amp hookup at a campground?

Yes, you can. Get a quality dog-bone adapter (see below) from a respected company such as Camco. The one you want has a 30-amp male connector on one end and a 50-amp female connector on the other. But realize that while a 50-amp outlet can provide a total of 12,000 watts of power, a 30-amp outlet can only provide 3,600 watts of power maximum. So you won’t be able to run everything at once in your RV without tripping a circuit breaker at the pedestal.

What‘s a dogbone adapter?

It’s an electrical adapter with a pair of power connectors separated by a foot-or-so-long piece of heavy black wire. They allow you to connect a 50-amp shore power cord from your RV to a 30- or even 15-amp electrical outlet, or visa versa. They sort of look like a cartoon version of a bone that a dog carries in his mouth, hence the name “dogbone.”

For articles from RV electricity expert Mike Sokol explaining everything you need to know about power pedestals, appliances in your RV, dogbone adapters, etc., click here.

Quick Tips

A case for RV driving school
Being skilled at driving (and backing) your RV not only makes you safer, but it can add a lot of joy to your RVing experience. When you’re backing into a campsite with half a dozen people watching you and you haven’t backed your rig since last year (or even if it was only last month), you’re probably not going to get it right the first time – maybe not even on the fifth try. This situation takes some joy out of your RVing experience.

The best way to learn to drive your rig is to take a course with a certified instructor and let him or her teach you in your own RV. … Or get some cardboard boxes and go to a Walmart parking lot early on a Sunday morning when it’s almost empty and practice turning, backing, etc. It’s not as good as taking a course, but you can learn a lot this way. And if you run over a cardboard box, it’s no big deal.

Remember, reading a book and practicing is not the same as actually taking an RV driving course. Even if you get the book, still make plans to take a driving course as soon as you can. I’m an instrument-rated pilot with over 2,000 hours of flying time, but I haven’t flown much in several years. I remember reading an article in one of the flying magazines that said that doctors had the highest accident rate of any group of pilots. The reasons the article gave were that doctors didn’t take enough time to do an adequate preflight check of the plane or the weather, they didn’t fly enough to stay proficient, and they were overconfident. In other words, they had more confidence in their ability to fly than was justified.

Make sure this doesn’t describe you when you’re driving or towing your RV. In addition to the safety factor, imagine pulling into a campground and backing your rig (motorhome, fifth-wheel, or camper) perfectly into your camping space the first time – even with everyone watching. That in itself makes the cost of the driving course worthwhile. From RVing: Less Hassle—More Joy: Secrets of Having More Fun with Your RV—Even on a Limited Budget  Available on amazon.com.

“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: 

“If the unit you are looking at has over-the-cab space, check to be sure it has proper water drainage and is caulked. If the interior structure has been weakened by water damage, which is not visible from the outside, it causes rot and invites termites. Thus, a sagging upper bed or total collapse as you’re bouncing down a road.” —Linda Kreimeyer

Random RV Thought

On a hot summer day, a campsite with a good shade tree is a wonderful thing. On a crisp, cold but sunny winter day, a campsite without a tree is a wonderful thing.

“What’s the best modification you’ve made to your RV?”

From the editors: We asked our readers this question. Here is one response: 

“Took down all valances and cornice boards. Replaced with curtains. What a change to the looks and homeliness. Also painted the bathroom white and put in a tile backsplash. Re-covered the headboard with black vinyl to go with the new curtains.” —Mel

• 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 RVtravel.com 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!

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Editor: Emily Woodbury

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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 RVtravel.com or this newsletter.

RVtravel.com 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 Amazon.com. 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.

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This newsletter is copyright 2022 by RV Travel LLC.


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1 year ago

One of the other reasons doctors have a higher death/accident rate in aircraft is that they tend to buy more complicated planes and are not experienced enough with their operation. The old Beechcraft Bonanza with its split tail had been known to take a good many doctors- in fact the plane took on the nickname of “doctor killer” for many years. Although not quite the same, some rv’ers buy too much rig for their skill levels.

Jacques Lemieux
1 year ago

In the discussion on hooking up to shore power. I was disappointed to see no mention of using surge/low voltage protection device. #1 thing to do to protect your investment (whether used or brand new) in my estimation.

2 years ago

“Dogbone” adapters also enable 30-amp RVs (like mine) to plug into the 50 amp connections on the park pedestal, when needed. Reverse connections from the article— 30 amp female to 50 amp male.

1 year ago
Reply to  TechiePhil

This has been handy for me twice in 5 years when the 30amp connection didn’t work but the 50amp connection was fine. Neither time was in a private campground so who knows how long it would have taken for an electrician to show up.

Mike Sokol wrote that this is somewhat dangerous because the breaker won’t trip until 50+ amps rather than 30+ amps.

2 years ago

Iove to see a picture of the redo of curtains . Sounds great.

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