The Business of Work Camping: Making our new-to-us RV livable

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By Sam Suva

What happens when the current camper becomes the old camper? Well, we find out a great deal about our lives over the past few full-timing years. Let’s take a look back at buying the new camper and moving in.

We had a near-and-dear-to-our-hearts Class A (bus type) motorhome that had faithfully served us for 6 years as our hearth and home. It had all the amenities that we wanted at the time we moved out of our sticks-and-bricks: a shower, a refrigerator, a stove top and oven, a large living room/dining room slideout and stabilization jacks. It was ideal for our escape from stationary living.

However, we noticed some issues with drivability. It was a gas motorhome, so the chassis was at maximum capacity when loaded, the steering became sluggish, and when the big trucks passed us on the highway, the whole motorhome would sway like a sail in the wind.


We had heard that diesel motorhomes were more stable and more dependable, so we started to search for our next home. Of course we wanted some upgrades like another slideout for the bedroom and a washer/dryer combination. We eventually found one in our price range, made a deal on it and brought it home, sort of (that’s another story!).

Once home, we were faced with the daunting task of moving our stuff. Daunting? Why, we had already downsized and we were moving into a larger unit, so what was the big deal?! It turns out, we had filled the drawers and cubbyholes, the basement storage and the corners of the camper to the brim! We were bulging at the seams!

Never again, we cried! We would be careful this time – just the basics and some amenities. There were also the repairs and upgrades to the new diesel motorhome.

Immediately we checked to make sure the LP detector and the smoke detector were on and functioning, and we installed two fire extinguishers.

The utility systems would all need to be completely checked out. This means plugging in the motorhome and using the plumbing and both electrical systems before we occupied it.

  • Sinks, showers and toilets would need to be operated and tested to make sure they held water and they evacuated water as they should.
  • The converter, electrical outlets and lights all operated and was not a potential fire hazard.
  • All the fuses and the circuit breakers were found, checked and mapped.
  • The windows and doors would need to be operated and cleaned of debris.
  • The roof needed a good cleaning, any repairs to the roof membrane would need to be addressed and caulking would need to be filled in.
  • We had a few leaks around the vents in the roof that stained the ceiling in some areas, mostly in the cabinets on the outside walls.
  • Potential small animal holes near wiring, cables or water lines that came through from the outside would need to be filled and secured.

That takes care of making sure the RV is ready to sustain us without too much drama. In the next article we will explore what we did to make it comfortable.

See you down the road,

Sam

Sam Suva and his wife are work campers. They began work camping more than 10 years ago and have spent a lot of time working as they traveled. In this new weekly feature, they will share their experiences with you, with an emphasis on how to incorporate work camping into a full time RV lifestyle.

Read more articles about Work Camping.

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