Before we set out for the open road in 2014, we had come to the hard-core realization that RV life is vastly different than living in sticks and bricks house. By sharing our RV life skills and how we do it now, we hope others won’t have to learn the hard way like we did. Bear with me in my tongue-in-cheek approach to keep things light in this blog piece. It’s what keeps things going for us. And, we’ll get to that in #5.
Camping season has already begun in most parts of the country! It’s time to head out for weekend campouts or perhaps you’re outfitting your new or new-to-you RV or camper. You’ll definitely need the right outdoor accessories to help make your camping excursions fun! Before you head out to your campsite, here’s a list of our 13 must-have RV & camping accessories.
Stained glass…who doesn’t love gazing through the many colors when the sun shines through? It reminds me of when I was a little girl staring at the stained glass windows in church instead of paying attention to the gospel and readings. I’d study every color, every soldered line, and the artistic characters. I was thinking, “why couldn’t we apply that to our home on wheels?” Not that we want our RV to look like a church but adding a little artistic impression is a good thing.
Living in an RV can pose anxious moments in the event of inclement weather. If you’re driving on the road, it’s best to find a safe exit and place to park to wait it out. Anytime you park at a new campground or RV park, its a good idea to locate your closest storm shelter, have an evacuation plan and be able to act on it immediately.
When you buy an RV or camper, they all have the same interior features unless you special order one. Even then, almost all of them have very little in custom decorating or necessary features fitting to our own individual needs. Its up to the new owner to make it their own. We’ve made our own modifications that made our RV lifestyle a little easier and more comfortable.
As full-time RVers, we’ve become seasoned enough to give our assessment of what attracts us to certain RV parks, resorts and campgrounds. Consider this article as a ‘Letter to RV Park and Resort Developers, Owners and Managers’.
Almost every week it seems, on one or more of the RV related Facebook group pages we frequent, a topic we call ‘RV Wars’ happens and sometimes…no…EVERY time, it gets very heated. Comments end up getting deleted by the Admin of that group or the discussion is just plain shut down. They always end badly…ALWAYS!
I kid you not, some of them get so heated, it just makes you want to stick your head in a block of ice and stay there. The looming question that always takes center stage is “Motorhome vs. 5th Wheel/Towable” As with any topic like that, ‘opinions’ are like *ahem…clears throat*well…you know. Motorhome owners seemingly always claim their controversial ‘easier and faster setup/take down’ or ‘the wife can make sammiches or use the bathroom while going down the road’ while 5th Wheelers brag about ‘better floor plans and more space’ and ‘RV maintenance is simpler and easier because it doesn’t involve an engine’. Its like watching a scrappy hockey game; posters typing punches back and forth about how much better “theirs” vs. “ours” are.
We are members of approximately twenty RV related Facebook groups. On a good note, if it weren’t for those groups, I don’t know where we’d be…well, yes…we’d be broke and be living in a S&B again. There’s such a plethora of good information and lessons shared from other fellow RVers who have BTDT. Some of the groups we frequent are ‘RV Tips’, ‘RV Parks’, ‘RV Roads and Routes’, ‘Military Retired RVers’, ‘RV 5th Wheels’, ‘RV Healthy Eating’, etc. Mostly, we are just readers but if its a subject we are quite fluent with, either by experience or mistake, we do try to help others saving them from costly mistakes or headaches we’ve endured. That’s how its SUPPOSED to work, right?
Anyways, this morning, I rose with the sun, grabbed my big cup of hot joe and sat down to see what excitement I missed our favorite pages since during the eight hours I slept. All was going well until…yeah, until I start reading a new member post the forbidden, nails-on-the-chalkboard question that had me snort coffee out of my nose. There it was, staring right back at me on the computer screen…“Hi! We are newbies and were wondering what is the best RV type we should buy?” Now if that ain’t a loaded question, I don’t know what is. If only facebook groupies knew how to use the ‘search bar’ for said group’s page and typed that question instead of posting it, we wouldn’t have this come up almost every week…oh, and my laptop screen would be cleaner, but I digress. We wouldn’t have these perpetual ‘forgive me if this has been posted before but…”; its like watching the movie ‘Groundhog Day’.
Hold onto that thought…
*Grabbing another cup of coffee…with rum*
…which brings us to the point of this blog entry. You want answers, right?
Look, there is no right or wrong answer or best or worst RV out there. Its all a matter of perception and opinion. Everyone’s journey and dream is different. There is no ‘one size fits all’. Our perspective and experience will be different from others. We each find what fits our situation, family size, interests, toys, cost, floorplans, etc. So when someone posts that unnerving comment, “well, motorhomes are better easier…” or “5th wheels are so much better because…” or the bold faced question in the previous paragraph, you can begin to understand why it is such a controversial subject. So to help with that, we’ve compiled lists that may help answer those unnerving questions or comments.
For hypothetical comparison, we’ve listed the much debated pros and cons of motorhomes vs. towable (5th wheel and Travel Trailer) RV’s. The pro/con lists of motorhomes are merely what we’ve read from other’s opinions since we don’t nor haven’t owned one. The pro/con list of 5th wheel/Travel Trailer Pros are based on our personal experience, perspectives and what we’ve read. Note: this comparison is based on same length/size and owner experience.
MOTORHOMES – Class A or C
Easier to set up/take down (this is hugely debatable)
Huge windshield for awesome viewing and photography
Comfy passenger seat with platform area for laptop computer working in transit
Passenger(s) can watch tv/movies while in transit
Passenger(s) can make sammiches or go pee while in transit
Generator enabled at the push of a button from inside
Driver/Passenger(s) don’t have to leave the inside of the coach
Large propane tank which results in less visits for refill
More comfortable ride in transit
Price tag; much more expensive unless you hit the lottery or heir to the queen
Engine and Maintenance Costs are significantly higher
Two vehicles to finance; Motorhome and Toad (transportation vehicle)
Insurance Cost is higher; don’t forget to add in the Toad
If your engine breaks down, could cost $$ for lodging while motorhome gets serviced
Built in generator malfunction requires garage service
Bigger Propane and Fuel tanks scream OUCH at the pump
While in transit, driver and passenger(s) hears every shake, rattle and roll of everything inside
must use high clearance/truck stop type fuel stations because of height
5th WHEEL or TRAVEL TRAILERS
Affordability (new and pre-owned)
Maintenance is much simpler and less costly
Space inside RV is not taken up by engine, transmission or cockpit
Don’t lose RV home to a garage if mechanics needs to go for service
More floor plan options and roomier
More homey feel; residential recliners, fireplace, large entertainment centers
Larger kitchen/galley with island
Storage is inside the RV (cabinetry) and not underneath
Extra storage space in truck bed away from hitch (if needed)
Insurance is substantially less
Easier to resell
Can fuel truck at any fueling station without tow
No making sammiches or potty breaks while in transit; need rest stops
Setup/Take Down requires precise hitching/unhitching & leveling
Smaller windshield and cockpit
Must be proficient in large vehicle towing and backing up
Most states disallow passengers to ride in the trailer in transit
Lighter in weight means less stability during transit
Riding all day in a pickup truck can be uncomfortable
We hope to clear up the big raging debated misconception regarding setup/take down comparison. Class A owners claim it takes less time to setup/take down than a 5th wheel/travel trailer. Both still have to secure their belongings inside and prepare to bring in the slides; each are done ‘inside’.
Both still have to hook up or unhook utilities outside (ie. electric, water & sewage) taking the same amount of time. The only difference we’ve observed is that Class A owners can auto-level from ‘inside’ whereas 5th Wheel owners must level or auto-level from an ‘outside’ cargo compartment, however, that said, if both measured on a stop watch, the task length pretty much equals.
Class A owners claim that 5th Wheel Owners must take extra time to hitch and unhitch however, if Class A owners are towing a toad, they still have to take that same time to hitch or unhitch their toad, sometimes taking longer. As well, Class A owners claim in foul weather, they can pull into a campsite or park, lower their jacks and be done with it while its assumed that those towing a 5th wheel or travel trailer must get out to unhitch to do the same. Not true. If its nasty weather, as 5th wheel owners, we can stay hitched, level the front jacks quickly to take the weight off of the hitch and go inside to put the slides out. We can properly unhitch and fully level in the morning or when the weather breaks.
There probably are more that we’ve not listed but it gives you a basic idea. Really, its six of one; half dozen of the other. All in all, if we were to compare the same level of experience of setup/take down of a Class A vs. 5th Wheel/Travel Trailer, they’d be about the same. The thing is, its your journey and clock. Don’t let anyone dictate, compare or boast about how much better, easier or nicer theirs’ is to yours. Its whatever works for you, your family and your journey. Enjoy it, regardless of where the steering wheel is located or if your RV leads or follows. So, we don’t get why there are these ‘RV wars’. Who cares! We certainly don’t and neither should you.
Welcome to our blog! I guess this means we’re ‘big time’ now. We ask that you all be patient with us as we try out this blogging thing. Unless you’re a internet wizard (which we are not), this doesn’t come easy for us but we’re willing to give it a go.
We’ve read several other RVers blogs and figured we want to do the same.
As I write this entry, we are pleasantly parked at Cheatham Annex Naval Station “Kings Park” near Williamsburg, Virginia. Its a beautiful sunny day outside while I try my hand at blogging ‘inside’ while the Captain is doing outside chores.
So, please be patient as I chance this thing called ‘blogging’.