Let’s face it, RVing mishaps are inevitable. No matter how many years we’ve been on the road, most of us have probably endured at least one of the embarrassing mistakes listed below. When it happens to you, take comfort in knowing that every RVing mishap eventually leads to a great campfire story.
1. Skipping the departure checklist
Every safe and uneventful RVing adventure starts with repetition. Routines are phenomenal ways to ensure your ship sets sail without a hitch. If you travel with a partner, try divvying up the duties into “inside” routines (like securing cabinets) and “outside” routines (like unhooking utilities).
2. Chatting with neighbors when getting ready to leave
Sure, it’s sad to say goodbye to new and old friends but save the farewells for your goodbye party the night before. RVers should know better, however, many times well intentioned Chatty Cathys will distract you from the business at hand.
3. Forgetting to close vents and windows before departure
Vents and windows are easy to ignore when you’re getting ready to go. The end result could cause water damage or worse. Again, it comes down to making sure this task is given to the “inside duties” person.
4. Leaving the RV stairs down when pulling away
Manual entry steps are easy to forget when you’re preparing to move. A total walk-around before you leave prevents embarrassing stair damage when you pull up curbside.
5. Neglecting to retract scissor jacks
Scissor jacks are good at hiding out. It’s likely that every RVer with manual rear scissor jacks will forget to retract them at some point. The damage can be so severe that it ruins your jacks and warps your frame. I know, because it happened to me (see above).
6. Forgetting to put the antenna down
Every RV trip departure requires things to go up, down, inside and out. Antennas and satellite dishes are one of the most common items that people neglect to inspect before moving. Just like scissor jacks, it takes extra effort to look up on the roof and ensure that equipment is stowed.
7. Ignoring weather warnings
The laid-back RVing lifestyle takes a bitter turn when weather goes bad. While outrunning a storm works in the movies, it’s a dumb idea when you’re pulling your ten-thousand pound home on wheels. Keep a close eye on the weather and play it safe to avoid putting yourself in the middle of Mother Nature’s wrath.
8. Pretending that strange sound doesn’t exist
Did you ever turn up the radio when you heard a strange sound coming from your car? You might be able to get away with it in a passenger vehicle, but ignoring strange sounds in a RV could lead to expensive damage. Investigate noises quickly or pay the price.
9. Pulling in without investigating
If you like to boondock in public forests you’re likely to encounter low tree branches, rutted roads and soft sand that can swallow RVs whole. Even if other campers say your RV will be fine in that new camping spot, always take time to park your rig and do a quick walkaround before driving in. The roof you save could be your own.
10. Looking for that “perfect” campsite
Have you ever seen RVers pull into a campground and drive around a half-dozen times until they choose a spot? Those campers are suffering from “perfect spot syndrome.” We all dream of the beautiful lakefront campsite depicted in REI catalogs but the truth is there is no perfect spot. Every campsite has pros and cons. Once you can accept this, the real magic happens and a memorable journey starts unfolding in front of you.
This is just a short list of the best top ten RVing mistakes most of us will make, if we haven’t already. When it comes to specific RV makes and models, the list of dumb RVing mistakes grows much longer. If you want to confess some of your own, do it below in the comments section. We promise we won’t tell!
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.