If you are new to RVing you will have a few beginner RV mistakes. There are so many things to learn when you first start RVing it can be overwhelming. The good news is that everyone makes mistakes and most are willing to share. These are 7 mistakes that we made and are sharing so you don’t make them as well.
Not fueling up before you go
Do you know how annoying (and not to mention scary) it is trying to tow a 40 ft trailer through a gas station filled with cars and people? We made this beginner RV mistake our first day on the road.
It’s especially awful when the fuel lanes are pointing towards the store front so you need to make a few tight turns to leave. People also seem to think that because you are moving slowly and carefully that they should try and zip around you so they can get back on the road.
Save yourself the hassle and gas up the night before.
If you drive a class A or need to fill up while towing, seek out truck stops. They have a higher clearance and truckers know everyone needs their space.
We also recommend checking out the TSD Fuel card if you have a diesel for huge savings at the pump.
As a side note, be considerate of truckers as well. Stay out of their way, don’t block pathways or intersections, and move away from the pump when you finish fuelling.
We made this beginner RV mistake a couple of times. Thinking we had a fairly easy drive ahead of us, only to get delayed for one reason or another.
Normally places with healthy food are in smaller shopping centers and drive-thrus or are just plain unhealthy.
Can you imagine trying to park a fifth wheel in a crowded shopping center? No, don’t even imagine it, it’s not fun. Or, have you been driving for what feels like a million miles with no food in sight? Looking at you West Texas!
Do yourself a solid and pack a lunch and snacks no matter how short you think your drive is. We use this awesome little Thermos lunch bag to keep our drinks and food cool in the car.
Have an extension cord
- Safe and Durable Construction: Extension cord is constructed with 100 percent copper wiring coated with a heavy duty flame retardant, heat resistant PVC sheath that serves as protection from outdoor elements, wear and tear. Listed with CSA
- Hassle Free PowerGrip Plug: The patented PowerGrip handle eliminates frustration by assisting users in safely and conveniently gripping, plugging, and unplugging the male and female ends without straining or damaging the cord
- Extended Length: Extends 25 feet long to provide sufficient length needed to reach distant power outlets and sources
- Multiple Uses: The PowerGrip Brand by Camco develops superior quality electrical equipment. Our extension cords and adapters provide excellent use at campsites, electric car charging stations and other outdoor use. Our products are compatible with most RVs, campers, trailers, and vehicles
- Safe and Durable Construction: Extension cord is constructed with 100 percent copper wiring coated with a heavy duty flame retardant, heat resistant PVC sheath that serves as protection from outdoor elements, wear and tear
- High Conductivity with a Flexible and Sleek Design: Bendable extension cord adapter allows easy conversion from a standard 50 Amp male to 50 Amp female. Rated for 50 Amp 125 Volts. Constructed with 6/3 + 8/1 gauge wires for superior conductivity
- Hassle Free Power Grip Plug: The patented Power Grip handle eliminates frustration by assisting users in safely and conveniently gripping, plugging, and unplugging the male and female ends without straining or damaging the cord
- Extended Length: Extends 30 feet long to provide sufficient length needed to reach distant power outlets and sources
This beginner RV mistake was because it had never been something we even thought of needing, until we pulled into a campsite in the heat of Las Vegas and began setting up, only to discover the electrical box was waaaaaay in the back.
Shocker, our cord didn’t reach. Trust us when we say it’s not fun hunting down an RV parts store after a long day of travel. Since it was Sunday, nowhere was even open!
Thanks to our friendly neighbors for letting us borrow a cord for the night so we could use our A/C overnight in Las Vegas Thousand Trails!
Buy an RV tire air compressor!
Dealing with tire issues is almost inevitable, so just be prepared as possible. We found out the hard way in week 9 that not all air compressors are created equal.
A gas station air compressor didn’t have what it needed to top off our trailer tires and we actually lost even more air.
Luckily for us, there was a commercial tire shop a few blocks down the road that could get us in working order. After that experience, we were convinced we needed an air compressor.
It took going to 5 different gas stations in Louisiana to find a working air compressor to finally learn our lesson with this beginner RV mistake and get us to cough up the bucks for the Viair that was recommended to us.
Do a comprehensive PDI
We hope you’re reading this before you buy your RV because this is key. Do a thorough PDI walkthrough when you pick up your rig!
We did a ton of research for things to look for in a walkthrough, and we inspected our rig for hours. Unfortunately, we got quickly overwhelmed without a checklist and they snuck two major issues by us.
The main issue was our oven didn’t work and it took us over 6 months to find someone who could fix it. We did get really comfortable using the convection oven microwave though.
It’s harder to get warranty work done when you move every week, so make sure you’re not heading out with issues with a thorough PDI inspection.
Don’t freak out when using your furnace for the first time
The first time we started our furnace the fire alarm went off. It was over 80 degrees in our rig when we did our PDI so we skipped testing the furnace (See previous beginner RV mistake).
During our shakedown trip, we had a cooler morning so excitedly tested the furnace. The smell of burning quickly filled the RV and the smoke alarm started blaring.
We opened all the windows and turned off the furnace. A quick inspection showed nothing wrong but a quick Google search told us that we were not the only ones to experience this.
The furnace sometimes has an oil residue, dust, or sawdust in it when new that will burn off during the first use.
It took us about a month to get the smell of burning to stop completely when using the furnace.
Use an RV specific GPS
Using Google Maps, Apple Maps, or Waze is great in your car or truck but a huge beginner RV mistake. They just don’t have what you need when driving an RV. We used to use CoPilot which has specific options available for your RV like height and length.
We now use RV Life GPS which is included with our RV Trip Wizard / RV Life Pro subscription. It has a better interface and usability then CoPilot. It even has a scary loud beep when you are heading toward a bridge that is too low.
My favorite function is that you can also modify your preference for roads. This allows us to set Interstates as the preference when in a hurry or two-lane country roads when we want to see some of the beautiful countrysides.
If you prefer a standalone unit, we have heard good things about the Rand McNally RV Tablet 85. It comes with a dashcam included and the ability to add a backup camera feed.
Those are our seven beginner RV mistakes that you can easily avoid! As we continue to make mistakes, we will continue to share them with you. Which mistake did you find most beneficial? What mistakes have you done?
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Last update on 2020-08-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API