Next up in our series of specialized camping articles is camping with an RV. An RV is an abbreviation for a recreational vehicle. This ambiguous term can cover a unit ranging anywhere in size from being a trailer to a bus-sized, four-wheeled living unit. RV camping can be a lot of fun because it combines the essential element of a long distance road trip with a mobile home. In this article we will introduce the concept of RV camping and we hope you will be inspired to try it out one day!
To Buy or to Rent, that is the question
Firstly, we recommend that you rent an RV instead of actually jumping head on into buying one. Try out the concept first before you make serious commitments. Besides, try to be realistic and calculate how many days a year you are likely to spend RV camping in the coming years. Compare the cost of renting a decent unit with the cost of buying one. Which way would you benefit the most financially? There is a tipping point from whereon it is more economical to buy a unit instead of renting, but it is tough to find where that point is. Whether or not you are not troubled by such trivial financial concerns that buying an RV invokes in the minds of most ordinary people, it is time to move on to the next step.
How to choose your RV?
Choosing the perfect RV, whether for rental or for a final purchase is a tough decision. Try to let your lifestyle make the choice for you. Obviously, for the majority of us, financial constraints are the number one filter that all choices must go through. Then come preferences and lifestyle factors. Do you go with a big family? Rent a bus. Are you going with your sweetheart for a weekend getaway? Get a smaller, lighter unit to fully enjoy being close to each other. Do you own pets? Check whether the rental agent allows pets to be carried in the vehicles before you take them onboard.
Basically, the larger the party you are likely to travel with, the more we recommend that you rent or buy a larger RV. The more you prefer hard-to-access, extreme locations and adventures, the more likely you are to be in need of a lighter, four-wheeled vehicle.
Different units have different comfort additions. Some RVs come with sophisticated kitchens and fully equipped bathrooms while others will cram only the most basic of amenities in as little space as possible. The price is usually strongly in correlation with these comfort factors so be prepared to pay more for a moving palace!
Now that you supposedly selected your RV, it is time to prepare for the big trip. The two principal factors that you must take into consideration are the location and the length of your stay. This should help you in planning ahead with food and clothing.
As for preparing your RV unit, which is the real task here, there are number of steps you need to go through before setting off. First things first, make sure that the water tank of the RV is filled, the batteries are loaded, the gas tanks are filled up and that you have loaded everything inside as planned. Next, it is important that before you begin driving, you secure every door, flap and latch that could possibly swing open by itself. You do not want things falling out and making a mess behind your back. Finally, it is highly recommended if not required that you do not have any passengers in the living area of the RV while you are driving. Every passenger should be seated with a seatbelt on to maximize road safety.
Driving an RV
First of all, always make sure that you have the adequate licence and qualifications required to drive an RV by the states you drive through. Sitting in the driver’s seat of an RV can be a very daunting task even for an experienced driver. The cars are usually massive, heavy and not at all easy to navigate. When you drive an RV, please make sure that you drive below the speed limit at all times at a pace that is comfortable for you (without obstructing traffic of course). An RV is significantly heaver than your normal car and thus has a higher inertia. It will be harder to stop the vehicle and it will be harder to make it change the direction of its motion. Always follow the car ahead of you in safe breaking distance since you will take more time to slow down if the vehicle in the front breaks suddenly. Also, remember that there are a number of blind spots in your field of vision when driving an RV that would normally not bother you in a smaller car. Take care to look around carefully as you navigate, especially in residential areas. Try to park your RV on a flat area (most camp sites offer specially designated parking place for RVs).
How to make the most of an RV trip?
The benefit of the RV compared to other forms of camping is that you are practically carrying half your home with you. Make the most of this opportunity! Take with all the things you could have not brought along otherwise. RVs are great to carry bikes, small grilling units, pets, sports equipment and inflatable pools. Get creative and have fun! Be sure to hook up your RV to the local electricity and water supply so that you don’t run out of the necessary resources!
Ending an RV trip
Usually, our articles end at the point where you have fun. However, with the RV, you have some additional responsibilities at the end of your trip. You should always empty the wastewater tank. This should always be done at a designated area, which most campsites conveniently offer. For the exact steps of emptying your septic tank, refer to the manufacturer’s guide. You should also make sure that you clean the unit thoroughly so that no food or other material stays behind to rot. For other maintenance tips, refer to the user manual of the RV!
We sincerely hope that we could whet your appetite for RV camping. It is a lot of fun and represents a sort of lifestyle. It is certainly not for everyone, but everyone is encouraged to try it at least once. The experience is unlikely to be forgotten!
We are interested in your input. Have you ever gone camping with an RV? Share your tips, experiences or anecdotes below in the comment section!