A Few Tips For The First Time RVer

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So you’ve decided to take that leap from tent camping to RVing. Can’t say that I blame you there. Now that you’ve done your shopping and purchased your first RV you are ready to go right? Hold on a minute, there are a few things that you should consider before you just hook up, jump in and hit the road.

First, the dealership where you purchased your RV should have done a walk through with you to show you how everything works and where everything is. You should do it again on your own just to make sure you remember everything. I always double check everything before setting out for the first time as well. Make sure you write down anything you see that is not working properly or shows damage. You can take your new RV back to the dealership for repairs after your first trip and they will usually address everything on your list.

Second, Do you have everything you will need? Before loading your RV for the first trip, make a list of the items that you will need for the length of time you are gone, then make sure you got everything. I have forgotten stuff even when I had a list. Some of the things you will want are toilet paper, pillows, extra blankets, chairs, food (obviously), dishes, hoses for water hook-up, water pressure regulator, electrical cord adapter, drain hose for holding tank, mosquito repelent, a door mat and a large carpet for outside the RV. You might also want to invest in some throw away latex gloves for when you are draining your holding tanks. Make sure you have the obvious things like toothbrushes etc. It is okay to forget things now and then. Most items can be purchased at a store near the campground. I have made the horrible mistake of forgetting pillows before, luckily we were camping fairly close to home so I didn’t have to buy more! Also you might want to take some indoor entertainment in case of bad weather.

Third, consider the length of your RV when making reservations. Many parks have limits on the length of RV they can fit. Many state parks can not handle longer RV’s because the roads leading to the park as well as inside the campground are too winding or narrow. One example is Richardson Grove State Park in Northern California. To get to one area of the campground you have to go through a narrow S that is lined with huge redwood trees. Check ahead before you go to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

Last and most important, take your patience. You will need it. If you’ve never backed a trailer or motorhome into a campsite or helped somebody back up you could get very frustrated very fast. Remember that you are new to this and once you have done it a few times you will get a routine down. Work out the hand signals ahead of time or get radios to talk to each other so that nothing is missed. For the person helping back up, always remember, if you can’t see the driver in the mirror or otherwise, they can’t see you! No point in doing hand signals if you can’t be seen right? Get parked and set up then sit back relax and enjoy the rest of your vacation!

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