Learn to RV from the Experts
Getting started with your new RV can be daunting. Like anything else in life, it gets easier with experience.
To give you a head start, we’ve compiled this list of 20 RV tips and tricks that are bound to get you out and safely enjoying RV life, without having to go through the experience part.
20 RV Tips And Tricks Every Camper Should Know
These are hacks that every camper should know, regardless of their experience level.
1. Use an RV departure checklist
There is nothing like getting on the road and finding out that you forgot to unplug your shore power cord. There are a lot of things to remember before you pull out.
A visual checklist, either printed or on your smartphone, will help to ensure you don’t forget anything. Print out this free RV Departure Checklist and keep it somewhere easy to access.
2. Know the height of your rig
Find out how high your rig is. Write the height on a label or piece of masking tape, and put it on your dashboard. Watch for low-hanging branches and take note of the height of overpasses before you proceed. Use an RV-safe GPS to make sure you have a safe route.
3. Level your RV before filling your freshwater tank
Leveling your RV before filling your tank will ensure that you are really getting a full tank.
4. Mount towel bars (and other things) on your walls with exterior grade Gorilla mounting tape
Exterior grade Gorilla mounting tape adheres to RV walls much better than Command strips or anything else we’ve found.
5. Use Command broom holders to hold flashlights or wrenches
3M Command broom holders are great for keeping flashlights and wrenches handy in your basement storage areas or inside the RV.
6. Replace your RV showerhead
This trick will help to conserve water, while still having decent water pressure. The Oxygenics showerhead makes it possible to enjoy longer, better showers in the RV. Read more about replacing your RV showerhead from Do It Yourself RV.
7. Use an Instant Pot Pressure Cooker
The Instant Pot pressure cooker will allow you to make almost effortless, delicious meals in a lot less time than traditional cooking methods.
You simply put the ingredients in, set it, and the Instant Pot takes it from there. Bonus: You can vent the Instant Pot outdoors, so cooking won’t add to the humidity levels in your RV.
Get recipe inspiration from Do It Yourself RV
8. Bring a basic tool kit
Be prepared to make minor repairs if you need to by having a basic tool kit with just the essentials. This includes a screwdriver or cordless drill, a few different bits, some screws, an electrical tester, and wrenches like a torque wrench.
9. Pack a hairdryer
A hairdryer can be used for more than just giving you good hair. You can use a hairdryer to thaw frozen pipes or to blow warm air onto cold kindling when lighting a campfire.
10. Pack some pine cones
What? Pine cones?
Yes! Pine cones aren’t just for Christmas decor. Pine cones are also nature’s perfect firestarter and readily burst into enough flames to start kindling when you put a flame to them.
11. Plan an RV-safe route
Use the RV LIFE App and RV LIFE Trip Wizard to plan your route and find amazing camping spots that are perfect for your camping style. Get RV-friendly directions, read reviews, and find important campground information, all in one convenient tool.
12. Turn the propane valve off before you travel
Traveling with your RV’s propane valve open is crazy. Our rolling rigs are subjected to shaking equivalent to an earthquake as we travel. This shaking causes many things to loosen or even come apart, and propane connections and lines can come apart as we travel. This definitely presents a fire hazard in your RV.
13. Pack a first aid kit
Be prepared for emergencies (including the four-legged family members) by packing a first aid kit for both humans and pets.
14. Bring a collapsable storage tote or two
Collapsible storage totes can be used to tote campfire supplies like s’mores ingredients, napkins, glasses, and beverages, and make decent impromptu tables to put campfire essentials on.
15. Bring board games and other activities for family fun
Board games will help your family enjoy time indoors if the weather gets too ugly to play outside. Here are a few great board and card games that you can easily play in the RV.
16. Pack a pizza stone
A pizza stone will help to even out the heat in your RV’s propane oven so you can bake amazing meals. And of course, you can always use it to make pizza! Pizza stones do break, so be sure to protect them by wrapping them for travel.
17. Repurpose your dishwater
When you are boondocking, your time off-grid and unhooked will be much better if you don’t run out of water. Washing and rinsing dishes uses more water than anything besides your RV toilet, so it makes sense to repurpose your dishwater. Use a basin to wash your dishes, and then use gray water to flush your toilet.
18. Make sure your campfire is really out before leaving it
Abandoned campfires are one of the leading causes of forest fires. Not all of these fires were intentionally left smoldering.
Campfires heat the ground underneath them hot enough to reignite anything combustible in your firepit hours later. No one wants to be “that guy/girl” so use lots of water or dirt to thoroughly smother your campfire when you are done with it.
As a rule of thumb, you should be able to put your hand comfortably on the ground in your fireplace before you leave.
19. Make a headlamp into a lantern
Strap a headlamp (light side in) to a 1-gallon jug of water to make a lantern that lights up your campsite. Opaque, white jugs work best for this camping hack.
20. Wash your clothes as you travel
This camping trick from Travels With Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck is so simple and effortless we’ll be using it all the time.
Put dirty clothes, water, and laundry soap into a five-gallon bucket with a tight lid. Make sure the lid is on snug because if it isn’t it makes a huge mess. Find a place in your rig where you can make sure the bucket will stay firmly in place. If you have a place to secure it, even better.
Every bump you hit and turn you take will agitate the clothes in the bucket as you drive, just like a washing machine does. After an hour or two of driving, your clothes will be perfectly clean, ready to be rinsed and hung to dry in the fresh air.
Find more RV mods, hacks, tips and tricks
You can find more RV tips and tricks from the community on iRV2 Forums. There are also lots of RV Youtubers and bloggers that share useful tips on the nomadic lifestyle. Check out this video from CrazyLadyCrankyDog on tips for food storage:
Lynne lives, travels, and works full-time in a Forest-River R-Pod 180 with her 2-pointers, Jolene and Annabelle. Lynne has been an enthusiastic RVer for over 35 years. And then one day in 2019, she began full-time RVing as a lifestyle experiment. She quickly fell in love with the convenience, freedom and minimalist lifestyle offered by full-time RV living. Lynne is a professional writer and has been a professional dog trainer since 1995. You can read about her travel adventures on her R-Pod Adventure blog, R-podyssey at: http://www.rpodaventure.com