Beginner’s Guide to RVing Newsletter #31


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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Tuesday, August 18, 2020

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

RVing Basics

What is a brake controller?
Brake controllers are smart devices that are installed on a tow vehicle to provide much improved trailer braking control. If your trailer is equipped with electric brakes (and almost all are) you’ll need a brake controller to operate them.

Doesn’t stuff rattle around when you are on the road in the RV?
RVers do have to take steps to deal with the consequences of the inevitable bumps and sudden stops encountered on the road. Rubberized shelf liners help things stay put. Many folks use plastic, silicone and other non-breakable dishes and cookware. Precautions are necessary with breakables. You’ll find lots of tips on packing and stowing in RV publications and forums. Be sure before leaving for a day of travel to check drawers and cupboards to be sure they are loaded properly and their doors are securely shut.

Are fifth wheels harder to back up?
Not harder, just a little different. The “hinge” point is a lot closer to the driver, so the response tends to be a little quicker. Plan on practicing for a couple of hours before you try to back it into a campsite.

Don’t scream, just fix the screen!RV Travel Newsletter Issue 912
This roll of screen repair tape is just what you need to fix those torn or ripped screens in your home or RV. Don’t waste money on a new screen! Cut as much tape as you need, stick it over the torn patch and you’re good to go. Learn more or order here.

New Facebook Group:
So you just bought your first RV? Now what?Click here to join.

Quick Tips

Help your fridge keep its cool
RVing in hot, sunny weather and the refrigerator isn’t keeping its cool? If the fridge is on the awning side of the rig, keep your awning out to keep the “back side” of the refrigerator shaded. If not, add your own fridge awning with a piece of shade cloth.

Keep a short sewer hose handy
Use a real short (3′) sewer hose when dumping tanks at the dump station. Park close, then you  don’t have to drag out (and clean) the long one.

Don’t forget to check for size restrictions at campground
Check ahead before checking in at the campground: Make sure the campground or park doesn’t have size restrictions that your rig exceeds.

Easy clothes line
Dog owners, need a quickie clothes line? Stretch out Rover’s retractable cable and you’re all set.

Fire safety tip
Check your RV fire extinguisher(s) regularly – at least once a month. Take it off the rack and check the pressure dial to make sure it’s in the “good” range. Turn “powder” or “dry chemical” extinguishers upside down and thump them on the bottom to loosen up the chemical – if it settles and hardens in the bottom, your extinguisher is useless.

We welcome your Quick Tips: Send to

Common Terms Used by RV Salespeople

GRINDER: This is a buyer who, no matter what the salesman offers, wants more for less.

Another one next issue. Courtesy of the Burdge Law Office.

If you could tell someone new to RVing just one thing, what would it be?

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

“Actually, three things:
#1 – The dealership service department will not help you after you drive off the lot. They exist primarily to get the RV off the lot. The time waiting for an appointment for warranty work counts against the warranty time period.
#2 – Demand any statement or promise made by the dealership or salesperson be in writing and signed by management.
#3 – Video all interactions with a GoPro camera and save the file. It may be useful in the future.” — John Hartmangruber

8 things to keep in your RV in case of an emergency
• Lifestraw • Flashlight • First Aid Kit • Fire Extinguishing Aerosol Spray • LED Road Flares • Solar-Powered Phone Charger • Fire Starter • Freeze-Dried Food

Random RV Thought

An excellent way to make instant friends in a campground is to walk with a cute dog (heck, even an ugly dog!). Your fellow campers will comment, which opens the door to further conversation and maybe even a new friendship.

• 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 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!

Read previous issues of Beginner’s Guide to RVing newsletters here.

Staying organized is important in a small space like an RV. Click here for the best small-space organizers.

RV Travel staff


Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Editors: Emily Woodbury, Diane McGovern.

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.

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1 month ago

Doesn’t stuff rattle around when you are on the road in the RV?” I almost fell out of my chair when I read that. I’m sure 99% of people who have been RVing for a while can think back to their first trip and remember stuff falling out of cupboards and rolling around. Brings back so many good(????) memories. By the second trip, you’ve learned to keep everything closed and bought the flexible ties to keep all the cupboards closed, but stuff still happens with noisy vents and the roll of paper towels flying around! Took me about 5 trips before I got all of the “What the heck was that” noises fixed. That’s half the fun of a new RV!!!!

Steve Foth
1 month ago

The link for the screen repair tape leads to an expensive roll. Do some searching, they offer a 2″ x 20′ for $7.99

Richard Hubert
1 month ago

Re: 8 things to keep in your RV in case of an emergency”

You list a lifestraw as the very 1st item? Not sure why – as that would be way down my list.

At the very top of my list would be tools! Emergencies come in many forms, but for an RVer you can be sure that they will usually be in the form of some equipment breakdown- where very often some common tools can help resolve the situation. So every RVer should have a selection of screwdrivers, pliers, wrenches, etc..

You also list freeze dried food. But having some fresh water is actually a greater requirement. Not only is water much more urgent and critical to survival but you cannot do much with freeze dried food without water to hydrate it.

Finally – you list a solar powered phone charger – but not a phone? Just seems that you would list a phone before the charger as a charger by itself is not very useful.

But in reality there is much more than 8 items to have to prepare for emergencies. Lots more.