One couple’s top five RVing frustrations

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By Mike Wendland

Mike and Jennifer Wendland publish the excellent website/blog Roadtreking, “Celebrating the RV Lifestyle.” Although the Wendlands are enthusiastic about their RV lifestyle, Mike takes an opportunity here to describe the couple’s top five RV frustrations.

Deplorable campground conditions
This, we believe, is one of the biggest scandals of the RV world. There are many campgrounds that could more accurately be described as overcrowded slums. What amazes me is that they have good reviews in the big publications, which tells me that either the reviews are phony, the publication doesn’t physically inspect the campgrounds or they are so out of date they are worthless.

Some campgrounds are just way too crowded.

Just this year we’ve stayed in campgrounds where the sewers are clogged, the bathroom toilets are clogged, the sites are dirty, the restrooms have bugs and broken windows, the water hookups leak, electric pedestals are dangerously loose and shorting out and the help is surly and indifferent.

We need to put pressure on campground associations, reviewing sources and sometimes local health departments. Filthy, ill-kept campgrounds really do damage to the entire RV industry and need to be exposed, run out of business or forced to clean up.

Unscrupulous RV dealers
Yes, there are some of them, too. I hear a lot from readers about RV dealers who do shoddy service, bill for work or parts they didn’t install, price gouge and promise a certain delivery to get a sale but then keep backing off the date after purchase. Another complaint I’ve heard more than once is about salesmen who badmouth certain models (which are good sellers) so they can move out inventory on models they haven’t been able to sell. I recommend that new buyers get at least two quotes from competing dealers and get everything in very detailed writing before buying.

RV Class Discrimination
There are too many RV parks and resorts that refuse to allow Class B or C motorhomes to stay there. This often comes from communities that want upscale RVers but don’t want pop ups and tents and so they make zoning laws or regulations prohibiting overnight camping by units under a certain length. So even though a Class B or Class C motorhome may have cost as much as the Class A behemoths, they are not allowed entry. Personally, these resorts are not where I want to stay. If we wanted a subdivision, we’d have bought a vacation home instead of an RV. But a lot of folks have written me over the past two years who resent being excluded from RV resorts and I see their point: Such RV class discrimination is just wrong.

People who burn trash in their campfire rings
Burning your RV garbage in the campsite firepit is hazardous to your health and the health of those who are nearby and have to breath it. The typical household trash generated by RVers contains a lot of plastics and paper treated with chemicals, coatings, and inks. Besides the smoke, the ashes that remain contain concentrated amounts of these toxic materials that can blow away or seep into the soil and groundwater. Please, stop burning garbage!

Inconsiderate neighbors
This a broad class and includes people who don’t pick up after their pets, cigar smokers who stink up entire campgrounds, campers who insist on watching TV outside with the volume turned loud, those who arrive late at night after most people are asleep and proceed to shout directions and back up instructions as they set up camp, dogs left alone to bark and bark and bark, neighboring campers who use profanity in every other sentence and people who leave campground restrooms and showers filthy.

* * *
The simple way for us to avoid most of these frustrations has been to spend more and more time boondocking or alone by ourselves or with a few friends in state and national forests. That has been when we’ve most enjoyed RVing.

The more we RV, the more we are finding that big campgrounds are just not our thing.

How about you? What are your biggest RV frustrations and how do you get around them? Please leave a comment.

##RVDT1318

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33 Comments
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Rory R
5 months ago

One thing I notice in the RV community is class discrimination. This isn’t one sided either, class B owners always describe Class A RV’s as behemoths, etc. Class A owners describe class B’s as tin cans or some other name. I don’t understand why. Maybe a class A owner pulls in and the last large site has a class B nestled in it, when there are several smaller sites that the class A can’t fit into. The RV community as a whole is one of the most helpful groups, period. When one is in trouble, others come to their aid almost immediately. Why doesn’t that filter over into things like loud music/tv’s, cigar smoking, large smokey campfires, and parking inappropriately. There is a new one, beating the reservation system, reserving a site for the max amt of time under one spouse’s name and then reserving a site under the other spouse’s name, so they can extend their stay, while others can’t get in, because of their double booking. When looking for a CG with hookups, I don’t depend just on “customer reviews”, I look at Google Earth so I can see how the CG is setup. If spaces are too close together, I keep looking. I guess I have ranted enough, so dajazzman out…….

Sandy B
5 months ago

New category, RV age discrimination. We have a beautiful 1965 Airstream that has been renovated. Many RV campgrounds in the West have a 10 year RV age rule. So when we call for reservations we are told that we can’t stay as our camper is older than 10 years. Occasionally I’ll send a picture of her and they can finally see how beautiful she is and then we are allowed in. Many times our camper is the talk of the campground with people wanting to see the inside as she’s so iconic!

Michelle Smedley
5 months ago
Reply to  Sandy B

I would love to see your Airstream!

We have a beautiful 1995 Hawkins Motor Coach, with a one year old paint job. Have had similar issues. Sometimes a pictures helps, most of the time we call someplace else or boondock. We also get folks coming to look at & talk about our coach.

Clint
5 months ago

I disagree with your comments about the exclusion of certain RV’s in some resorts. This is still America and business owners and consumers still have choices.

Abe Loughin
5 months ago

I get that there’s campgrounds that pack rigs in so tight that you don’t have room to open an awning, but the picture used make the point is obviously an RV rally and not an actual campground.

Fred
5 months ago

I could not have said any of that any better. Those are exactly my gripes from our past 10 years of fulltiming. We too spend a high percentage of our time boondocking & those are our most memorable times.

mdstudey
5 months ago

I am with you. The further from people the better.

Nancy
5 months ago

I love to travel but hate to be tied down. Places that fill up with reservations is a pet peeve. Wish there were more walk up sites in campgrounds.

Roger
5 months ago

We only use private parks for one night stops along the way just for hookups – usually Passport America places at about $20/night. Otherwise our longer stays are at Corps of Engineers, State Parks and Military Base campgrounds. Best of both worlds – spacious sites often on water and relatively low cost.

Donald N Wright
5 months ago

I have been blessed to avoid the RV Ghettos, that are usually filled with the biggest RV’s with limited space between sites.

Valeree Clegg
3 years ago

Just started my rVing last year. Not into rv parks, boondocking has fit my lifestyle, or state parks work when I can’t find suitable blm land.

Robert
3 years ago

Wow,

Reviews don’t add up from my past experiences. Some folks could stay at a 6-star hotel and complain about everything. I like the idea of using google earth to check out a park, as far as reviews go we have tried to rely on them in the past but some folks like one situation and other folks don’t. I do however not agree with the comments about the cost of your rig having any bearing on how you act or conduct yourself. Rude and inconsiderate people come in all wealth brackets. Considering we are planning to travel 6-7 months a year in a couple of years all this talk about how hard it is to find a campsite is a concern. Well maybe boondocking will have to be our place of choice.

Chief Bill
3 years ago

RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH! With all of the resources available today, there is no reason to stay in a dumpy, tight campground. When I plan a trip, whether a multi-stop or a single stop, I spend time to make sure the campground is a place I want to stay in. First I determine my stops. I then look at reviews on line, RV Park Reviews, Good Sam, Trip Advisor, etc. After identifying several with good reviews, I then look at the campgrounds on Google Earth to check out site locations, spacing, and facilities. If they pass that test, then I will look at the parks web site. A good web site can often indicate the quality of the park. I have used this method for the past 10 years and very seldom have problems with bad parks. If one does slip in, pack up and leave. RVing is supposed to be fun, with a little planning, it can be.

Chuck Woodbury
3 years ago
Reply to  Chief Bill

Yup, that’s the way to do it, Chief Bill. What I would add is that a lot of people are not fans of RESEARCH, RESEARCH, etc., and just want to travel and be spontaneous. They didn’t sign on to the RVing lifestyle to spend their time doing analysis over where to stay. I agree with you, though, that by doing the type of research you suggest , chances are far greater for a pleasant camping experience than a bad or marginal one.

Gman
5 months ago
Reply to  Chuck Woodbury

You can talk with your neighbors at CG’s your in. Ask them their take on CG’s they’ve been to, pros and cons. RV’ers by nature are keen on this subject and they’ll spill the beans. Best “google search” you can get, haha.

Alvin
5 months ago
Reply to  Chief Bill

Write the book Chief. I think you’re living in a dream world where you can pick and choose as you state. I’ll buy your book and maybe convert from a man of nature, sticking as far away from the awning to awning set as I can get, to a utopian RV lifestyle you say exists.

KellyR
5 months ago
Reply to  Chief Bill

Chief Bill, that may work for one that plans out their entire vacation or travels, but I am of the spontaneous type of traveler. I may do 500 miles a day or 100 miles a day, it all depends upon what catches my fancy at the moment. I’m a “I wonder what is down this road”, type of guy – small town to small town. I grab the nearest campground I can find for the night. Therefore, REAL reviews, and a very minimal standard for campgrounds should be expected. Some counties are not doing due diligence in seeing to the sanitary conditions for the campgrounds, like they are or should be doing for motels and restaurants within their jurisdiction.

Terri Foxx-Wishert
3 years ago

One of the things that I utilize are the reviews of a campground before we book. A single bad review doesn’t take a site out of the running, but several poor reviews will take a park out of the running. For the most part, the people we meet are nice and thoughtful. After all, most of us have spent a considerable amt of money on our rigs, and so have our neighbors. There are exceptions.

Irv
5 months ago

I agree. In addition, several poor reviews for different things don’t concern me that much. However if there are several poor reviews for the exact same thing, that’s a big red flag.

Eric Eltinge
3 years ago

I own a 2015 Winnebago ERA B-class motorhome. After 2 years of use, I wish there were more Good Sam 10/10/10 campgrounds. They keep the 2/4/8 legged critters away. The new Indian casino RV parks are excellent. It makes no sense to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to camp with poor white trash. Most private campgrounds are the same as Motel 6, even in CA. These are people you would never associate with in your business or private life. The only legal discrimination is to go more expensive.

KellyR
5 months ago
Reply to  Eric Eltinge

I’ve not had someone refer to me as “poor white trash” before (those who stay at Motel 6). I guess that is why I drive a humble $100,000 Class B, who has stayed at Motel 6.

Alvin
5 months ago
Reply to  KellyR

Kelly there is only “white trash” . I personally cannot recall trash being referred to as any other colour – when it comes to thrashing humans..

Robbie
3 years ago

So many RVers don’t consider the cost of that fire ring, table and hook ups that RV parks offer. Why would anyone pay to put up with the RV park aggravations?

We’re boondockers who full time out west, we never make reservations and very rarely do we have any problem finding the perfect spot away from others.

Tommy Molnar
3 years ago

I’m just glad we live in the west where there is lots of room to boondock and avoid RV parks as much as possible. I pity the poor folks that live east of the Mississippi (or even east of the Rockies!) who are trying to break into the RV’ing lifestyle. We read every week about the huge uptick in RV sales and wonder where everyone is going to ‘camp’.

Paul
3 years ago

I have seen a lot of the dirt parking lots with full hookups. One in Colorado Springs was so tight that if your neighbors had their slide out as well as your own you had to move sideways between the rigs. Entertain at your site, forget it. And overpriced, well it is a tourist location after all was one owners comments. And KOAs are really getting expensive and some are definitely not worth the money.

Bob Godfrey
3 years ago

Some things we’ve seen during our years of traveling – the woman who decided to trim her toe nails with her foot on the eating surface of a campground picnic table. The woman next to us in our motorhome who decided to brush her teeth outdoors just outside our living room slideout and then lifted her pajama top to wipe her mouth and exposed herself! (Wasn’t worth the view either.) Her husband who decided to clear his sinuses by expelling the contents of his nose while facing our living room.
These are some examples of “living the dream” as many people tell us we are doing!

Alvin
5 months ago
Reply to  Bob Godfrey

Bob, guess what, there’s an entire world awaiting you on the other side. Nature – no toe nail trimmers, maybe a little “exposure” sometimes, but not the ugly kind you state. There’s room for everyone in the great outdoors, but it’s (thankfully) not everyone’s bag. Most folks NEED to be close to others or at least in site of the ugly.
In over fifty years of active RV’ing we have seen it all, and run like hell from it at every opportunity – a feat that admittedly is getting more difficult as time goes along.

PeteD
3 years ago

The first few years we traveled in our RV we never made a reservation anywhere. We even drove into NPs and got a sight no problem. Now the weekend warriors have every hole in the wall booked up on Friday and Saturday night while the campgrounds are empty all week. Now we are thinking of giving up RVing altogether. The spontantious travel is almost a thing of the past. We never had a plan. We would get up in the morning and start driving, sometimes 50 miles or maybe 200 depending on where our noses led us. the RV might be for sale after this summer’s travel. We will see just how much worse it is this year. The dream is slowly becoming a nightmare.

Sue N.
3 years ago
Reply to  PeteD

Ditto what Pete said. We have been full-timing the last 3 years and doing extended RVing (8-9 months a year) the 10 years before that. It’s just not as spontaneous and fun any more so we bought another house and will just go out once or twice a year for a month or two. Hate having to make reservations so far in advance now and don’t like the crowded conditions. We’re fortunate to be able to stay at military RV parks across the country but even they are getting harder and harder to make reservations. We, too, are considering just selling our 5th-wheel and either give up RVing or get something smaller that will fit into more remote campsites. We used to do a lot of free boondocking on public lands; might get back into doing that.

Alvin
5 months ago
Reply to  PeteD

Well Pete we’re with you on this one. The end may be in sight for us too. Plenty fed up with the politics, the ugly, the inconsiderates et al.. Lately, especially on a long weekend we would stay home and “campout” in our backyard which has a fine space to set the RV up. The place is deserted, that is until the hum of tires on pavement starts about 3:00 the last day of the holiday .

Carol- Leah Loran
5 months ago
Reply to  PeteD

After 23 years full timing we have quit and for that very reason. Our wonderful lifestyle has turned into a full time job

Alvin
5 months ago

Full time job ! Good way to describe it Carol-Leah.
That guy who researchs and plans every future move, is going way beyond why we leave the house and hit the road.
Life until retirement was planned out everyday for us, work,sleep,work sleep. Working for the weekends and holidays.
Retirement in 2005 changed that, no plans, no commitments, and no worries (within reason) It’s getting very close to being too big of a pain in the bottom to bother anymore.

KellyR
5 months ago
Reply to  PeteD

Pete, we totally agree to the tee.