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RV Camping Intro Guide

A Beginner's Primer To RV Camping

There are many people for whom a tent-and-hiking style camping trip simply will not work. Families with young children, older camping enthusiasts, and those who just don’t like to tent can still go out camping. Making use of all that a recreational vehicle has to offer is the perfect way to spend some quality camping time.

What is RV Camping?

In broad terms, RV camping is any type of camping from an enclosed vehicle attachment that resembles a living space. Most RV units include areas for sleeping (with beds), an area for dining and one for food preparation, a basic bathroom, and internal heating. There are several types of RV units. Here are some of the most familiar:

Campers: Campers are meant to be mounted on the box of a truck.

Motorhomes: Motor homes are probably the most popular form of RV. They are total units, and the cab can’t be detached from the living space. The types of motor homes are defined by the chassis they’re built around.

Fifth Wheels: Fifth wheels are trailers that are towed behind a truck. For the last decade, fifth wheel trailers were close to the motorhome in popularity. They offered a chance for the owner to park their unit and then leave it, using the truck to go and explore. This made them a good alternative to the heavier camper. As camper design has gotten lighter, however, the fifth wheel has seen a drop in popularity. Other trailer designs have been adapted so that they can be towed by SUVs.

All forms of RV come in many different sizes and with many additions. What you can get in an RV unit is only limited by what you can afford.

Affordability

When you are considering camping in an RV, affordability is your first priority. With the high price of gas, operating these heavy units for your camping excursions will take a bite out of the trip budget. RV units are also very expensive themselves. The best way to go about determining if RV camping is the best way for you is to rent a unit for a few weeks on your own. There are dozens of RV rental companies across the United States and Canada. Getting your RV camping experiences started by renting a unit for a time from one of these companies is a great way to anticipate your monetary needs if you decide to use one permanently.

Preparation

One of the truly great things about RV camping is that you are using a totally self-contained unit. Everything you need for a comfortable camping trip is right in the back. You do not have to worry about the availability of fire pits, the possibility of campfire bans, or the availability of running water. Even the weather won’t put a damper on your camping trip; an RV provides shelter from all the elements. In a tent, you would have to tough out cold, wind, and rain. In an RV you will stay warm and dry.

All of these conveniences do mean a little bit of extra work. RV units usually contain a water tank that you must fill before leaving on your trip. Make sure the tanks (usually propane) that your refrigerator and heater run on are also full and the valves are fully closed. Tightly shut any flaps inside the unit before leaving. Have the proper amount and length of extension cords and hose attachments. Latch any closets and the refrigerator door inside the RV securely.

Driving

If you are operating an RV unit, you are driving one of the heaviest vehicles most people will ever handle without additional training. This extra weight means that you are going to have to drive at a slower speed. Make sure to anticipate what is ahead of you; an RV unit is much harder to stop than other types of vehicle. You will have to take turns with care while towing a trailer. Remember that you have larger blind spots when you are towing a trailer too.

A large size RV unit means you need to take extra care when you are pulling into your camping spot. Use a very flat spot; most campgrounds have specific areas for RVs that have been selected because of their level area.

Camping

Once you have parked your unit, it is time to truly enjoy all the benefits of your RV. The additional area in the unit allows you to pack almost anything you want on your trip. Lawn chairs, bikes, backpacks, skateboards, even blow-up pools can be unloaded and you can begin enjoying your living space. You are master of the forest. Most campsites will offer electrical and water hookups. If they do not, your unit will draw its electricity from the vehicle battery. Don’t waste your energy, and run your vehicle from time to time each day.

When your trip is over, you will have to empty your septic tank. This job is not as hard as it may sounds but it is vital that you get rid of your waste in an area that is designated for the purpose. Almost all campgrounds have an area that is intended for dumping waste.

There is an RV for everyone’s needs. They can require less initial expense than buying a boat, or as much as a small house. There is virtually no limit to the places where you can stay in an RV. Because your whole living space is carried along with you, RVers are not necessarily doomed if they find that all the campgrounds in the area they wanted to stay are filled up. My family has spent a few nights in a camper in the parking lot of a shopping center before moving on to reserve a spot in a campground the next morning. You might even find that you grow to enjoy RV camping so much that you choose to spend most of your life living out of the unit!

Contributed By Marshall Krueger


For more camping tips on how to prepare for your trip, refer to "The Beginner's Guide To Getting You Started With Comfortable Tent Camping In 12 Easy Affordable Steps"

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