5 Things To Expect As A New RVer
First of all, a warm welcome to all the new RVers out there. You’ve signed up for great fun and adventure. And also, dear reader, I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but there is a bit of work involved.
After returning home the other day from yet another enjoyable outing with Nellie, our 30 year old 25’ Airstream Excella (she’s getting to be downright vintage—like her owner), I mentioned to my wife, “You know, you have to earn your fun when RVing.” No mints on the pillow at night, no room service, no room cleaning. You do everything yourself when you RV.
I think some folks are taken by surprise by this. I have read a bit of grumbling about various aspects of camping/RVing. It leads me to believe that many folks are getting into RVing while peering dreamingly through rose-colored glasses. Maybe the idealistic portrayal of RVing in advertising has unduly influenced them, the couple sitting outside their RV with glasses of Chardonnay while dreamingly watching the sun set over an idyllic lake.
Maybe they expect RVing to be some kind of catered, turn-key experience. I dunno. But what I do know is that, depending on your rig, RVing requires a bit of user involvement (more than a bit if you have a 30-year-old trailer!) — you earn your pleasure.
1. RV maintenance is never-ending.
First of all, as a new RVer, you should know that all RVs require ongoing maintenance. The work is seemingly infinite: greasing wheel bearings; rotating tires; incidental repairs (pretty common in a frequently moving little house vibrating at 4.0 on the Richter Scale); leak-proofing; cleaning and skin protection; the list goes on and on.
The best way to keep track of it all is with an online tool such as RV LIFE Maintenance. Not only can you keep all your maintenance records and documents in one place, but you’ll receive timely reminders via email when maintenance is due and potentially avoid a costly repair or serious accident.
2. Towing an RV takes practice.
Next, there’s moving your RV to your campground. If you’re towing a trailer it requires you to be knowledgeable about your hitch setup which takes some learning. As a new RVer, you will also need to know about the dangers of an overweight trailer and why it’s important to have an equalizer hitch with sway control.
If you’re towing a toad it takes time and knowledge to set things up. (A wee digression… A friend of mine set out on his first trip in his motorhome with his toad attached and forgot to put it in neutral. It took years for him to live down the truly impressive skid marks down the street and around the corner).
3. Driving an RV can be tiring.
The driving itself requires you to concentrate and be alert for a number of hours as regardless of your rig you are moving several tons more down the road than you usually do. Inertia becomes something demanding utmost respect. I really enjoy driving, but it can be tiring.
However, driving is easier with the help of useful tools such as RV LIFE Trip Wizard and the RV LIFE App With RV-Safe GPS. Plan your route ahead of time and you can spend less time worrying about where you’re going and more time enjoying the ride.
4. Setting up camp takes time.
Then there’s the work involved when you arrive at a campsite, again depending on your rig, but always something to do. With a trailer, you usually back into the site concentrating mightily in order to avoid providing amusing entertainment to your fellow campers. It’s particularly tense at Happy Hour.
Then you check for level, maybe have to add a couple of blocks with additional back and forth; unhitch and level fore and aft, stow hitch and stabilizer bars; extend stabilizers; connect to water, electricity, and sewer when available; extend awning(s); spread out ground mats; lower steps; unlock trailer and check inside for contents shifting; setup outside chairs and table; check to see that fridge is running on the correct source; if you’re like my wife, put checkered tablecloths and fresh flowers on tables.
Then, when you leave, the entire procedure is reversed, with the addition of draining your gray and black tanks.
5. RV life is the good life.
You work for your pleasure when you RV. One of the things that I admire about the RV crowd is that for the most part, it’s a bunch of can-do, self-reliant folks.
Most new RVers are aware of the work and skill level involved, accept and expect it, and enjoy the process. Judging by the numbers, they do their research such as by reading the great informative articles here on Do It Yourself RV and RV LIFE. But those who are not prepared to be involved in every aspect of RVing might give some thought to a nice hotel instead, where you’ll get a mint on your pillow. But we will miss you!
If you’re a new RVer and ready for the adventure, check out these 10 Common (And Costly) RV Mistakes so you can prepare yourself and prevent any accidents from happening.