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Guide to RV Camping: Essential Tips for the Open Road

Imagine waking up each morning to sunny skies or starry nights outside your RV window. As you sip coffee at the campsite, you plan your day filled with natural beauty and outdoor adventure. With thoughtful preparation, you can make this free-spirited RVing lifestyle a reality.

This comprehensive guide shares essential tips to plan an amazing RV trip from start to finish – from choosing the right rig to packing strategically, trip planning, camping skills, road navigation, resources and more. These RV hacks ensure you get the most out of your time on the open road.

Choosing the Right RV

Consider factors like RV type, length, amenities, age and towing capacity when selecting the ideal rig for your needs and travel style. For example, a family of 5 might opt for a 30-foot motorhome with bunk beds.

Consider your needs when picking an RV:

Type – Motorhomes for convenience or travel trailers for affordability? Fifth wheel for storage?

Length – Shorter RVs are easier to maneuver. Make sure it fits your campsites.

Amenities – Kitchen? Bathroom? Bunk beds? Outdoor kitchen? Entertainment system?

Age & Condition – Inspect used RVs thoroughly before purchasing. Newer ones have fewer issues.

Towing Vehicle – Ensure your vehicle can handle the RV’s weight when packed.

RV Driving Tips

Master RV road skills like proper mirror adjustments, wide turns, using spotters, and cautious descending before hitting the road. For instance, always take turns extra wide to allow clearance for your RV’s tail.

Practice these techniques for stress-free driving:

Adjust Mirrors – Set extended mirrors before hitting the road.

Allow Extra Space – Leave ample braking room between vehicles.

Take Wide Turns – Swing wide on turns to allow room for your RV’s tail.

Use Spotters – Have a passenger help guide tight maneuvers.

Avoid Tailgating – Maintain large cushion between you and the vehicle in front.

Left Turns – Swing wide before turning to avoid clipping corners.

Descend Slowly – Downshift and take mountain roads slowly to prevent overheating brakes.

Gas Stops – Allow extra space when refueling. Pay at the pump rather than maneuvering to the station.

Trip Planning Strategies

Plot your optimal route accounting for space, reservations, stops and more. For example, use RV apps to map out travel legs under 200 miles and reserve campsites in advance.

Map your route for success:

Know Your Route – Plot your route accounting for tight turns, low clearances, steep grades, etc.

Plan Stops – Identify places to refuel, restock, stay overnight, dine, and sightsee.

Make Reservations – Book RV sites, campgrounds, and activities in advance when possible. Sites fill fast!

Download Apps – Use RV-friendly GPS apps like RV Life, AllStays Camp & RV to search sites and plan.

Have Backup Options – Research backup campsites in case your desired one is full.

Factor in Driving Time – Limit long drive days to prevent exhaustion. Gauge time based on your rig.

RV Camping Tips

Follow best practices for arrival like stabilization, conserving resources, and being a considerate neighbor on your site. For instance, only run loud generators during reasonable daytime hours.

Master life on the campsite:

Arrive Early – Get there with plenty of daylight to park, unhitch, and level your RV.

Assess Site – Ensure pad is level, pipes/power work, and site meets your needs before unhitching.

Stabilize RV – Use blocks and levels to stabilize and avoid shifting overnight.

Conserve Resources – Limit water usage and rely on battery power. Use campground bathrooms when possible.

Use Generators Wisely – Run at reasonable daytime hours. Park so noise doesn’t disturb neighbors.

Leave No Trace – Keep campsite clean. Follow all campground rules and pack out all trash.

Be Neighborly – Keep voices and music low late at night when others are sleeping.

Watch Supplies – Make dumps and refill fresh water regularly. Stock up at grocery stores.

See the Sights – Bike or walk to town attractions rather than moving your RV constantly.

Packing Your RV

Strategically use space and organizers, go vertical, and only pack essentials to maximize every inch. For example, use over-door shoe organizers for extra storage.

Maximize every inch:

Lightweight Gear – Choose folding, compressible items. Multipurpose tools and apparel.

Use Space Below – Store gear underneath in exterior compartments.

Prioritize Organizers – Use containers, racks, over-door hangers to manage stuff.

Go Vertical – Install extra shelving or racks on walls to open up floor space.

Only Bring Essentials – Avoid clutter.

Balance Loads – Distribute weight evenly so axles don’t carry too much.

RV Maintenance Tips

Perform critical routine maintenance like dumping tanks regularly, testing detectors, and inspecting your roof and tires. For instance, always check tire tread and pressure before each trip.

Perform regular care and checks:

Dump Tanks – Empty gray and black tanks regularly to avoid blockages and odor. Use RV-safe toilet paper.

Check LP Gas Levels – Ensure you have adequate propane supply for appliances.

Inspect Roof – Clear debris, check seals around vents. Reseal if cracks appear.

Change HVAC Filters – Swap air conditioner filters monthly so airflow doesn’t suffer.

Check Tires – Inspect for adequate tread depth and proper inflation before each trip.

Test Alarms – Ensure LP gas and CO detectors are functional.

Wash Exterior – Rinse road grime to prevent damage to exterior.

Ready for adventures? This comprehensive RV guide covers everything needed for incredible road trips. Follow these tips to cruise into the sunset while creating lifelong memories. Now let’s hit the road!