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Click here to watch the video below on what to consider when shopping for RVs and motorhomes. Whether you're looking to learn a little more about the fulltime RV lifestyle or are interested in what considerations should be made before purchasing your coach, this video could be very helpful.
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Setting Up Camp
RVers are some of the friendliest, most helpful people you will ever meet. Don’t be surprised if you pull into your site and your neighbor, whom you never met, is right there to assist and offer advice. Never be afraid to ask for help – everyone was a newbie at one time. RVs vary, so this checklist is not meant to be all-inclusive. It is just a list of the high points to be sure you have it covered when you first go to a campground in your RV.
When you arrive
- If you’re new to RV camping, at check-in, ask if the campground provides an escort service for first-timers. A seasoned staffer will guide you to your site and assist you in getting parked and leveled.
After arriving at your assigned site
- Determine if you need to back in or if it is a pull-through site. Know where your water, electrical, and sewer hookups are on your RV. Position the RV so you have easy access to the hookups on the site.
- Be sure there are no low-hanging branches or other obstacles that will interfere with the RV. If you have a slideout or awning, be sure there is room on either side for those to fully extend.
Once positioned at the site
- Apply the parking brake if you have a motorhome (as a safety precaution, slideouts will not operate if the parking brake is not engaged).
- The ground is not always flat, so level your RV as necessary, using blocks or stabilizing jacks if your RV is equipped with them.
- Chock the wheels securely to keep the RV stable on the site. If you are in a towable RV, disconnect the unit from the tow vehicle and stabilize the trailer hitch.
- Manually pull the entry steps out or, if yours are electronic, turn the switch off so the steps stay out when the door is closed. (Don’t forget to turn the switch back on before leaving or to pull up your steps before driving away.)
- If you have slideouts, remove the travel locks or brace bars. Whenever you are operating slideouts, keep all windows closed for safety and have someone on the outside watch for people, clearance and obstacles in its path.
- Make a connection. Plug the electrical shore power cord into the campsite receptacle that matches the amperage requirements of your RV. Electrical adapters may be needed, but keep extension cord use to a minimum.
- Switch your refrigerator to the AC setting to draw on the electricity rather than your propane.
- Always use a white potable RV drinking water hose. Attach it to the tank on the side of your unit and run the other end to the campground water supply. Turn on the water and check for any leaks.
- When you are hooked up to a water supply, you don’t need the 12-volt water pump. The pump is used to draw water from the fresh water tank when an external source is not available.
- If you have sewer service at your site, wear latex gloves to remove the cap from the sewer hose valve and attach the sewer hose to the sewer drain outlet. Be sure to turn it so the locking tabs securely lock in place. Place the sewer hose seal in the campground sewer connection. Attach the other end of the sewer hose in the seal and securely connect.
- Prop a rock or sewer hose support under the hose to create a slight slope from the RV down to the sewer connection so everything drains smoothly.
- If you are hooked to a sewer connection, you can open the gray water tank valve to allow sink and shower water to drain directly into the sewer. It is the smaller of the two valves. Never leave the black water tank valve open.
The finishing touches
- Turn the main LP gas supply valve on at the tank or bottles.
- Now it’s time to set up the exterior of your home away from home. Put an outdoor carpet mat down if you have one.
- Set up the lawn chairs and put the awning out per the manufacturer’s instructions – be sure to close and secure your awning if storms or winds are expected.
Now relax and enjoy your getaway! RVers often ask to tour your RV if it’s a model they are unfamiliar with and likewise will invite you in to see theirs.
Taking a trip in your RV can be a great way to get away from the stresses of everyday life. It is also an ideal way to spend time with friends and family. Let's take a look at some of the best accessories that will help to enhance your next RV getaway:
1. 50-Foot 30-Amp Extension Cord
Most rigs usually come with a standard 25-foot cord. While you will be parked in close proximity to the power source of the campground the vast majority of the time, there will occasionally be a time when you will need a longer cord. You might run into a situation where the power source for your parking space is broken. However, the person next to you has two plugs. Having a long cord in a situation like this will prevent you from having to park your RV extremely close to your neighbor.
2. Camper Leveler With Wheel Chock
You do have the option to buy only the chocks. However, it makes no sense to do this when you can buy a chock with a leveler built inside for a reasonable price. They are readily available at retailers everywhere. Make note of the weight cut-off. You will find some that can go all the way up to 5,000 pounds, but there are some models with a lower capacity rating.
3. 12-Volt Crock Pot
The microwave, stove and grill are the three most common ways to prepare food during a trip in your RV. A 12-volt crock pot is an excellent way to make some tasty meals that you can't make with the other devices. It can hold up to 1.5 quarts, uses your cigarette lighter for power and can make the food on your trip a little more interesting.
4. Awning for Rain Protection, Privacy and Shade
If your rig is missing an awning, you need to pick one up immediately. You will wonder how you ever got along without one. You will want to find one made from a fabric that is mildew-resistant. They come in many colors, so you are sure to find one that matches your current color scheme. It would be wise not to try the cheap route when buying an awning. Get a custom-made awning that is specifically designed for your particular RV. You can pick one up from a dedicated retailer.
5. Child Gates
You will put these across stair, kitchen and bathroom entries of RVs containing small children. You can also use them to create a perimeter on the patio for a small child, protect your food and cooler from pets and to corral your pets. The gates made with interlocking panels are ideal because you can change the gating size. You can find these at major retailers and stores that specialize in baby products.
6. Spare Sewer Hose
Abrasive rocks, animal damage and improper storage are just a few of the things that can go wrong with your sewer hose. It is also possible that a fellow camper could damage your hose by driving over it. Having an extra hose with you can be a lifesaver when you really need it. You can pick one up at a store that sells RV parts.
7. Rear View Trailer Level
This device enables you to take all of the guesswork out of leveling your rig. It can let you know if the trailer is level front and back as well as side to side. You will no longer need a spotter to tell you this. Simply attach it to the front of the trailer. Make sure you can see it in the rearview mirror. It is especially useful for RVs that contain a fifth wheel.
8. Gardening and Disposable Gloves
When you're dealing with sewage lines, old water hookups or even mechanical things that require the use of a wrench they help protect your hands, keep them clean and give you extra grip. You may also consider getting some disposable gloves for handling sewer hoses and sewer hook-ups that previously were connected to other campers' sewer tanks. You can get gardening gloves and disposable gloves at Walmart, Home Depot etc.
Having the best RV accessories can make your RV trips that much easier and enjoyable.
Brian Hawkins works as part of the internet development team at Dave Arbogast RV Depot in Troy, Ohio, where he writes about the RV industry daily. When he's not covering the RV lifestyle he enjoys camping with his wife and children.
Water leaks coming from RV windows should not be taken lightly. Doing a simple leak repair on your RV window by merely patching up the source of the water leak is not enough. The moisture that gets into the walls and the molding can cause the wood around the area to rot and become a breeding place for molds. Water leaks can also cause delamination of the walls in your RV, creating those nasty looking ripples and bubbles you see on the outside of your vehicle. The rust that forms around the different parts of your RV windows can also cause them to get stuck, making them even harder to open and close.
Repairing a water leak in your RV window can be a lot easier than you might think. All it takes is finding the right window replacement parts to have on hand and a bit of guidance. Below is a comprehensive step to guide you through the entire Do-It-Yourself RV Window leak repair for the capable Do-It-Yourselfer.
Steps to Repair an RV Window Water Leak
1. Clean the RV window area Before you go straight to doing leak repairs on your RV windows, make sure that the area is first cleaned thoroughly with the use of a household cleaner, water and sponge. Not only will this help get rid of dirt and other foreign objects around your RV windows. By cleaning the windows with water, you will be able to really find out if the water leak is coming from your RV windows or from another area of your RV like the roof.
2. Scrape off the old caulk Caulk refers to the material used to make your RV windows watertight. Poor maintenance, weathering and time can cause this to lose the ability to prevent leaks and moisture to come into your RV. Scrape off the old caulk so that it would be a lot easier to replace the moldings of your RV windows.
3. Remove the molding of your RV windows The next step is to remove the moldings of your RV windows. Unscrew the window brackets and carefully pry out the window molding, window, and window screen. Then with the use of a pry-bar, carefully pull the entire molding away from the window.
4. Clean your RV windows With a rag or cleaning sponge and a window cleaner, thoroughly clean your RV windows to get rid of any remaining dirt and caulk on its surface. Rinse this with water and allow this to dry completely.
5. Replace the RV window molding Get your new RV window molding and push this onto the window. Apply a single coat of waterproof caulking to seal the molding and keep it watertight. Give it time to dry completely before placing back the screen and screw the window back into the housing.
6. Remove and Replace the window latch Unscrew the old window latch from the window and window house and inspect it to check for any rusting, breaks, or damage to see if it needs to be replaced. If it is still in good condition, screw it back onto the window. Otherwise, get the pieces of your new window latch and align them to the holes before screwing them and setting them in place. Carefully open and close the window latch to loosen it.
Caring for Your RV Windows
Poor maintenance is one of the main causes for RV windows to deteriorate more quickly and cause you to replace window parts more often. Taking proper care of your RV windows can help you prevent water leaks, requiring you to replace the different window parts less frequently. Here's some simple ways on how to properly care for your RV windows:
1. Dust before washing Take a small paint brush and dust your RV windows before you wash them. This will remove a lot of the dirt which can scratch the caulk and molding while your scrubbing down your RV with soap.
2. Choose the right RV cleaning products Another way to take proper care for your RV windows is to choose the right cleaner for it. Cleaning products with a high alkaline content can weaken the caulking on your RV windows, making them less watertight and more susceptible to water leaks.
3. Use cotton cloths when cleaning your RV windows When cleaning your RV, never use polyester or microfiber cloths. While they may seem to feel softer than cotton cloths, these actually can rub off the caulking and sealants around your RV windows.
Following these steps should get you through the worst of times of a leaking window if you don't want to disrupt your family trip. But if you still don't feel confident enough to tackle the task of repairing your leaking window, you can always swing by Motorhomes of Texas. Our service department will get you back into traveling shape!