Monday, September 25, 2023


Beginner’s Guide to RVing Newsletter, Volume 3, Issue 86

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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Monday, October 3, 2022

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

RVing Basics

I hear it’s important to have a surge protector to protect my RV from damage

Yes, it’s important to have a surge protector to protect your RV from damage, but be aware that not all surge protectors are created equal. You really want one that has a built-in EMS (Electrical Management System) function with a relay that can disconnect your RV from dangerous power situations. Expect to pay around $250 to $400 for an EMS Surge Protector. The inexpensive $100-or-less models only deal with electrical spikes (from, for example, nearby lightning strikes) but won’t turn off power to your RV if the pedestal voltage gets too high, too low, or the ground is lost. Both Southwire Company and Progressive Industries make EMS surge protectors that will help keep you and your RV safe from electrical harm.

What do I do about power when my RV is not plugged into an electric outlet?

Your RV’s 12-volt electrical system (powers lights, water pump, fans, etc.) takes care of most things you need. Most RV refrigerators run on LP gas. Without “shore power” from an electrical hookup you’ll be without your air conditioner, microwave oven and television. A small electrical device called an inverter can change your 12-volt RV power into something a laptop computer or other low-power devices need. If your “shore power”-hungry devices need 300 watts or less, a suitable inverter can be had for less than $50. At that amount of power, these inverters will need to be connected directly to your RV battery with what looks like jumper cable clamps. It’s best to purchase a “pure sine wave” inverter, as the power they provide can be used by most any device, provided you don’t exceed the power output. Larger inverters can be wired into your RV and will support bigger devices, but require more expertise than we can include here.

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

Quick Tips

A caulking cartridge preservation trick
Face it, who wants to throw away half a tube of roof caulking? It’s expensive, and you never know when you’ll need it. So you stick a bolt or screw down the snoot, maybe wrap it with a turn or two of electrical tape, and HOPE the next time you need it the goop will flow. And many times, it doesn’t. Here’s a trick we haven’t tried, but we pass it along for your consideration: When you’re done with the sealing job, get the pressure off the tube’s contents, pull a little bit out of the end of the tube (maybe with a screw or bolt), then fill up the void with petroleum jelly. Supposed to keep the air out and the contents usable. When ready to use next time, push out the petro-jel and wipe the tube clean before squishing the good stuff. And, to be safe, make sure to throw away the first bit of the sealant, lest there be an unwelcome reaction between the goop and the ersatz seal.

Close the toilet lid
Keep the toilet lid closed so nothing falls into it accidentally. Once it’s in there it’s difficult to get out – not to mention it’s very messy.

“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: 

“RENT first. The lifestyle is not for everyone. Tried to tell a friend. They bought a 30-foot Class C. Two trips and sold at a huge loss. They did not like the lifestyle.” —Dick and Alana O’Kelly

Easily clean those stubborn bugs off your RVsponge91FkFZCzPZL__SL1500_
The Microfiber Mesh Bug and Tar Sponge has millions of tiny fibers embedded in the microfiber cloth that grabs and holds the dust and dirt. It is so effective it even cleans without chemicals, saving both time and money. The secret of this sponge lies in its unique, double-layer microfiber mesh. Older nylon bug sponges can harm your clear coat, but this one is completely paint safe. Learn more or order.

Random RV Thought

RVers who drive motorhomes or tow vehicles with loud diesel engines who leave a campground at daybreak often wake up their neighbors.

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

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

“At this point, we have replaced the really uncomfortable ‘L’-shaped couch/hide-a-bed that was in our 5th wheel with a residential power reclining love seat/theater seats, and I removed one of the stock armchairs and replaced it with a euro-recliner and ottoman that I bought. Hubbie had to build a platform with rolling wheels, mounted on the slide-out, to put the love seat/theater seats on. Now we are both comfortable.” —Brenda Bilton

• 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!

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.


  1. I fold a piece of “Gorilla” duct tape over the cartridge nozzle. Squeeze it tight and then twist the flaps toward each other. Store the cartridge on end with the nozzle facing up. The sealant will flow back into the cartridge and not cure in the nozzle.
    I have one tube of roof sealant that I have been using for 6 months.

  2. Question on replacing seating – in my case, dinette benches with chairs. Do you need a way to secure the chairs when you are travelling, so they don’t bounce into something?

    • Yes they do. They have straps that are attached to the floor with brackets that looks like a hat section. ___|*****|___ . Don’t remember what there name is. The recliners in my travel trailer are secured with them.

  3. Random thought: guys and gals who drive diesels like to make noise, wake up their neighbors, so everyone looks at them.

    • Random defense: I wanted no propane in my Class C and the manufacturer only supported propane and diesel furnaces. So I drive a diesel as quietly as I can and the furnace shares the fuel tank.

    • Donald, I can’t agree with you on this. If these folks yearn for attention, they would do better installing bull horns on the cab of their vehicle and playing “On the Road Again” from their horn when they pulled out of the campground (thank goodness that practice has pretty much run its course).

    • That might work. I always put a large screw down the open end. Also, the contents only have a certain shelf life. A brand new tube will go bad after a year or years sitting in my garage.

    • The AirTite has been working for me. Only negative is when I make a small opening in the snoot, the AirTite splits the snoot a little.

    • The little red “caulking [covers]” pictured below this item on Amazon work like a charm. I currently have 3 open tubes of caulk using these to seal them.

  4. In Idaho, we never had the luxury of an ice house because the season was never long enough. One year, an early thaw caught a co-worker at.a.steel manufacturing plant unaware. The ice was too unstable to return the vehicle to shore. He had driven over the ice to a small island about two hundred yards off shore. Monday morning he came to work and shared his misfortune. When spring runoff came the island sometimes became submerged. I suggested we build a floating bridge. With the boss’s OK, we loaded several of the tanks we manufactured and iron from storage. Once at the lake we began floating tanks, welding steel plates and soon had a bridge to the island. Once the new pickup was safely on shore we dismantled the bridge, loaded the trucks and were back to work by quitting time.

  5. We also removed the L-shaped couch with a recliner sofa by RecPro. So comfortable and our 2016 Holiday Rambler Vacationer looks so much bigger!

      • On most home recliners the back can be removed from the seat by just pulling the back upwards making it very easy to get in the door. Just make sure you tie down the foot rest so it doesn’t come out pinching fingers.


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