Ten Tips For a Better RV experience
As campers and RV’rs become more experienced, some like to say seasoned, they have learned how to create a better camping experience. From small to not so small problems, that arise from time to time, they have come up with solutions that are simple and inexpensive.
For example, what to you do with that little red tube, that comes with the WD 40, so you don’t lose it before you get to use it a second time? Or, what do I do with all those remotes that seem to be multiplying like rabbits inside our trailer/RV? Or, maybe you had an unexpected expense for the generator you bought a couple of years ago and you really would like to avoid that happening again. What’s the solution to these problems and others that I might come across?
On that note, I went to a local RV show to have a look around at some of the RV trailers, Fifth Wheels, Motor Homes and displays along with a seminar or two. The one seminar that I found particularly interesting was all about these kinds of issues and how to fix them so our RV lives can be a little easier. So, over the next few weeks, I will be writing several blogs of ten tips for a better RV experience that I hope you will benefit from.
SO, HERE GOES…..
#1 – Silicone Sprays and WD40 – We talked about the reality that some of us have a hard time hanging on to that skinny little straw that comes with the WD40 can or those cans that spray silicon lubricant. This is an easy fix. All you have to do is save that straw out of you next McDonald’s soft drink.
Take about 6-7 inches of the straw and squish up one end and melt it a little but not too much that it burns. Another way to plug up the bottom end is to use a Hot glue gun, The kind used in to do crafts. If you have one of these, you could squeeze a little of that hot glue in the bottom end and when it hardens it will be safe to put the straw in, and presto…..no more lost straws.
#2 – Ever backed into a fence, tree or perhaps another RV with your trailer or motorhome? Well, that never needs to happen again. The next time you park your trailer, in the spot where you want it to be, measure the distance from the back of the trailer/motorhome to the back of the tires and add an extra 12 inches to that measurement, write it down on a piece of paper and put it somewhere you will remember.
The next time you are backing your trailer/motorhome into place, make sure you have a couple of low-lying concrete blocks that are painted white. Now, remember that measurement you took earlier? Measure that distance from the wall or tree, or whatever your are backing into, and place the blocks. Now, back in slowly and when you feel the bump you’re there.
#3 – 50 Amp Cords – These cords are really hard to wind because they are heavy duty, a comparison would be trying to coil up a stiff garden hose.
The solution, here, was to get your hands on a 5 Gal. plastic bucket/paint can that has a lid. Put a large hole in the lid, about 1.5 inches bigger that the size of the plug and another hole in the bottom side. Put the male end into the pale and out through the bottom leaving about 2′-4′ sticking out.
Make sure the lid is on the pale with the female end pulled through and plug it into the trailer. With the bucket in hand, walk to the electrical supply box and plug in the male end. When it’s time to pack up just unplug both ends, leave the short end sticking out and coil the long end onto the bucket, store it and your good to go.
You never need to uncoil any more than you need and it coils back up easier when putting it back in the bucket.
#4 – Door Bells – Have you ever thought about having a Door Bell on your trailer or motorhome? Nowadays they make a door bell that is wireless and is really easy to install. They are available at your local hardware store and are battery operated.
All you do is put the chime component somewhere on the inside and the button on the outside of the entrance door. It was suggested that the button part could be attached with a piece of Velcro and that if you chose this method, be sure to take it off and store inside while traveling, otherwise it might get blown off.
#5 – Rodents, (mice, rats, squirrels) – It doesn’t happen to everyone but a few people have had issues with these little trouble makers. Mothballs DO work but they don’t smell very good.
Something else that has been found to work well is dryer or fabric softener sheets. Just stick one of these in a few strategic places like cupboards and drawers and a couple just laying around and the will not only keep the mice and others away, it will keep the trailer smelling pretty good too.
#6 – Firewood – This works very well and saves time building a fire. If you buy the big 40 lb. bags of dog food for your pet, save them and fill them with kindling and firewood and you’ve got a fire in a bag. It stops the mess inside your RV or in the back of the tow vehicle if you transport it that way.
On a side note…..If you are traveling south across the US border, or north as well, be sure that your firewood is easy to see and not hidden somewhere out of site. They are very strict about what your wood looks like and where it came from.
If you are unsure about the regulations, go on-line and search US Customs or just give them a call and ask a few questions. If they discover something they can’t see they WILL pull you over to their inspection area and make sure your not hiding anything. This could be a huge waste of time and potentially spoil a much looked forward to vacation.
#7 – Remote Controls – With more and more advancement in modern technology it seems that there are more of these coming into the RV. There are controls for the TV, the stereo, the awning and the pop outs, and more often than not they sometimes go missing for a while.
A great way to avoid having that problem is to stick a 1″-2″ piece of Velcro to the remote a strip of the other part on a wall or some other appropriate place. Just stick all those remotes to this strip and you will never loose another remote.
#8 – Plastic Grocery Bags – Most of us bring these home from the grocery store. If you’re like us, you like to use them in your RV for garbage. Well, sometimes we have garbage cans that are deeper than the bags and when they get too heavy they tend to drop into the can be a bit messy to get back out.
Here is an easy solution….Take two of those sticky-backed cupboard hooks, turn them upside down and stick them to the sides of your garbage bucket. Loop the handles of the bag over these hooks and your bags won’t fall into the bin again. They are cheap and they are easy to apply.
#9 – Gas Generators – This one simple tip could save you 100’s of dollars down the road. I don’t have one of these, at least not yet, but my ears perked up a bit when I heard this particular tip.
Lots of RV’rs carry a generator with them to help run some of the equipment, (like air conditioners), in their trailers when there is no available power source and apparently some of them, RV’rs, don’t use them for a long period of time and, when they do, they discover that their generator doesn’t work properly or has seized and they end up either replacing it or spending a lot of money to have them fixed.
One way to get longer use out of your generator is to run it for at least 1 hour, once a month, at 70% load. This is like exercise for you generator. It helps keep the parts lubricated and the alternator working properly to produce the power when you need it.
A good way to remember to do this is to keep records on a calendar or chart and mark down every time you use or start it up. You could mount this chart/calendar on the inside of the compartment where your generator is stored and you will always know when the last time you started it up.
#10 – Last But Not Least – (more to come) Many times RV’rs will store their trailers/motorhomes for a long period of time and when they bring them out of mothballs and get everything hooked up, they discover that the heater doesn’t work, or something else that requires 12-volt power. They can’t figure out why so they call the dealer, take it in, only to have the dealer tell them that they hooked up the battery cables the wrong way. Hopefully, they will show you how to fix it and not charge you for the service.
In order to avoid this from happening again, now that you have the cables hooked up in the proper order, take a piece of paper and draw a diagram, (like this one that I drew), of how the cables are attached to the terminals, get it plastic laminated and store it in the compartment or some other suitable place where you can find it and use it every time you have to connect your batteries. Problem solved, money saved.
Watch for the next addition of “How to Create A Better Camping Experience” and as always, if you have a question or comment, please feel free to leave one here.