Living in an RV isn’t just for the experts. There’s RVing for beginners too, and it’s where all of us start. Before you decide to buy an RV, you can rent an RV for a short period of time. If you’re only planning on going on a single RV trip then renting one is your best bet. Already know you’re going to be RV camping often or even start living in an RV fulltime? Then it’s time to buy (though we’d still recommend first renting different RV classes so you’re sure of what you want). This guide is aimed at those who have recently purchased an RV or are planning on doing so soon. If that isn’t you, however, don’t let it stop you from reading on!
RoverPass Guide: RVing for Beginners
Take a Short “Practice” Trip
Anyone who has ever run a marathon will tell you that it wasn’t their first race. The same truth applies here: don’t let a cross-country road trip be the first time you drive your RV outside of the city you live in. If you’re looking to live in your RV as you travel across the US, ease into it. Start with a short weekend trip where you only camp out a night or two. Get a feel for your vehicle and how many amps it can handle. Maybe get to know a few other RVers and learn some tips on how to prevent and fix the most common breakdowns (more on this in the next section).
You should also make sure you’ve driven your RV along similar terrain before you take a long road trip. Obviously, you can’t drive through mountain ranges if your entire state is flat. But you can still take test drives down steep, winding, and narrow roads near most large cities (or in them). Doing so will give you more confidence and experience when you encounter these passes further away from home.
Bring the Tools You May Need
Another reason you’ll want to test our your RV before going on a long trip is for this reason: when it comes to forgetting something at home, the closer you still are, the better. The is especially true with forgetting your toolkit.
A toolkit with basic tools and spare parts is a necessity for all RVers. Whether you like getting your hands dirty or not, there are some common breakdowns that every RV driver on the road should know how to fix. Tools like T-handle style lug wrenches and tire pressure gauges for flats, and jumper cables for dead batteries. Spare parts such as lug nuts, bolts, extra fuses, and electrical connectors.
Have a Solid Plan in Place
While winging it on your first long RV trip can sound like it will be fun in theory (or, technically, as a hypothesis), in practice, it’s a disaster (a very bad hypothesis). Instead of winging it, only to find that every RV park you attempt to stay at has no open sites available, you should reserve your spot ahead of time.
Planning your RV trip allows you to choose the best route and scope out the top-rated RV parks along the way. It also allows you to formulate answers to important questions like: “What part of the country do I want to explore most?” “How much will the entire trip cost?” “What will the weather be like along the way?” and, once that’s answered, “What clothing should I pack?”In other words, before you leave your driveway you should know your route, budget, destinations, and campgrounds you’re going to stay at. You should also be prepared for setting up camp when you arrive at each site. Locate hookups, if present, and pull up close to them to connect later. Level your RV with blocks, if necessary, and stabilize it with wheel chocks. Super simple stuff.
RVing for beginners isn’t too arduous. If you’re already a practiced tent camper and drive a larger vehicle, it’ll be a breeze. It won’t take you long to adjust to the “feel” of driving your RV, and you’ll be ready for a long road trip in no time. Even if you’ve never driven anything larger than a sedan, you’ll adjust faster than you might think. Nowadays, most RVs really do handle like cars. (If you’re feeling unsure about driving an RV, look out next week for our guide to doing so for the first time.)
The most important part about RVing for beginners is remembering to have fun. As long as you plan ahead, bring the tools you need, and are comfortable with driving your vehicle, your first RV trip will be stress-free. Soon, you’ll be the expert RVer giving advise to the beginners.