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Category Archives: RV Camping Tips & How Tos

Guide To Towing Behind Your RV

Ofen times, enjoying the thrill of the open road traveling by RV includes towing another vehicle, boat or off-road toys behind you. This is often called “dinghy towing” and is very popular among RVers today. Motorhomes continue to grow in size, stature and luxury and life on the road has never been more comfortable. Follow this complete guide to towing behind your motorhome for seamless travel while towing.

Traveling with an extra vehicle, or “dinghy,” is practically a given in today’s age of large motorcoaches. Admittedly, parking at the grocery store or turning around in the parking lot isn’t fun in a 40-footer. A dinghy simplifies such tasks and alleviates the need to break camp for a jug of milk. Dinghy’s also provide an extra vehicle in case of emergency and extra storage space if you fill the RV storage.

Towing a dinghy does come at a cost. Towing will affect acceleration, fuel economy and braking of any RV to a certain degree. Proper selection of a dinghy and the correct equipment will allow you to safely and efficiently enjoy the benefits of a supplementary vehicle.

The first step in selecting a dinghy to tow is to check that the manufacturer has approved the vehicle for flat towing. Most passenger cars and light trucks can be used as a dinghy with the proper tow packages.

Proper dinghy preparation, from auxiliary braking systems to lights, are essential for safe RV travel. It is crucially important to prepare your dinghy with the proper equipment for towing, this can be done yourself or with the help of a certified towing equipment dealer. One of the most important
aspects of dinghy prep involves connecting the wiring between the two vehicles. Tail, brake and turn signals on the back of the dinghy are required in all 50 states and all Canadian provinces, so this isn’t a step that you can overlook.

The equipment used to tow small passenger vehicles, light trucks or boats behind motorhomes typically does not need extensive maintenance. Grease on the hitch ball will usually meet your needs when a tow bar is used. Wheel bearings should be repacked every year on a tow dolly, and if the dolly has brakes, they should be inspected annually. The most important aspects for safe towing are the necessary equipment, installed and used properly, along with vigilance.

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Posted by on August 4, 2011 in RV Camping Tips & How Tos

 

Go Green – Making RV Travel Eco Friendly

Highway leading to beautiful mountains

RVers have a responsibility to protect and preserve the environment while on the road. With this Guide to Green RVing, you’ll find products, practices and conservation tips to help you do your part to preserve the great outdoors on your next road trip.

Green RV Products:

Solar Panels on the roof of your RV can generate enough electricity to run many RV appliances when paired with an inverter and your motorhome battery. Utilize solar panels to maximize efficiency while on the road and parked at camp.

Enzyme-based and bacterial formula toilet chemicals use natural composting action instead of formaldehyde, which can have many damaging effects, to break down solids in holding tanks.

Awnings and window coverings help to deflect sunlight from streaming into your RV on hot days, thus requiring less energy to keep the coach cool.

Ceiling fan/vent combinations can be used in two ways: on cooler days, turn off the air conditioner and use the 12 volt/fan combination to move air into and around the RV’s living space and sleeping areas; and use the combination to help circulate warm or cool air throughout the RV, both greatly reduce costly energy needs.

Install a water-saving shower head in your RV bathroom. Typically, these shower heads use 30-70% less water than standard heads and produce less gray water (thereby, less need for disposal!)

Minimize water-use when washing the exterior of the motorhome by purchasing a no-rinse cleaner.

Use a rechargeable lantern instead of gasoline, propane or other carbon-based fuel powered versions. To increase its eco friendly potential even further, keep batteries charged using portable solar power.

Green RVing Tips:

Dry laundry in the fresh air. Set up a campground clothesline or bumper-mounted clothesline instead of using the dry cycle on your RV washer/dryer or the campground facilities’.

Let laundry collect in the hamper longer. Wait longer between wash loads and let enough laundry collect to have full loads of whites, darks and brights to run fewer loads and save energy and water.

Install a patio light timer so lights come on only at dusk, or dark even, and turn off automatically in case you forget to switch them off before turning in for the night.

Keep RV and tow vehicle engines well tuned to conserve energy and reduce emissions. See our Spring Preparation article for more details about annual services to keep your RV in the best possible working condition.

Recycle as you travel. It is important to keep in mind that while you are on the road, and on vacation, recycling doesn’t take a backseat. Separate garbage from recyclables while on board and take note of campground recycling categories to assure proper use of the campground’s system.

To reduce the amount of air pollution and ash from spreading, keep campfires small. Do not place anything in a campfire that will not burn, such as plastics, foils or metals.

These simple and easy-to-follow tips for “greening” your RV travels can help reduce your carbon footprint and preserve your favorite road trip destinations for generations to come.

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2011 in RV Camping Tips & How Tos

 

RVing: Weekend Getaways

RVing doesn’t have to always be in the form of a grand getaway. Enjoy your RV all year long by taking weekend trips whenever you have the free time. Plan excursions with friends, as a couple or with the kids to nearby locales; try a local festival, a close by lake, sporting event or explore a neighboring city.

Any Time is the Perfect Time

Woman driving RV with man reading the map

Summer isn’t the only season for RVing. Spring, Fall and even Winter can be great RV travel seasons. If your RV is winterized it can handle the elements in any location, during any season. Prepare your RV early to enjoy the blooming flowers and early sunshine of Spring on the road; and take a trip toward trees to enjoy the changing colors and falling leaves in Autumn.

Book Tickets to an Out-of-Town Show or Event

For a weekend concert, show or other event in a near by city, pack up the RV and hit the pavement. Enjoy the festivities at night, go sightseeing during the day and enjoy a relaxing weekend away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Best of all, you won’t pay for two nights in a hotel and you’ll be back in the swing of things by Monday morning.

Family Getaway

One of the best ways to bring a family closer is to travel the open road together. Pack up the family and spend a great weekend at your favorite campground. Or make the trip an adventure and spend the weekend somewhere new. Spend a relaxing weekend with campfires by the lake or make it an activity-filled weekend of miniature golf, bike riding and fishing together.

Lodge-On-Wheels

Your RV is your very own lodge-on-wheels. Pick a lake, river or forest location and experience it just as you would from a bungalow, but through the glass window panes of your very own motor home. Choose a new destination every weekend; you will have all of the luxuries of a cottage, but in a new setting each time and without the lodge fees.

Nothing clears the mind quite like a weekend getaway. Pack up the RV, pick a destination and leave your troubles behind!

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2011 in RV Camping Tips & How Tos

 

RV Clubs

General Interest Clubs

General interest RV clubs offer information, services, ways to save money, organized RV trips and rallies for members and much more. These clubs are geared toward the general public, full-time RVers, summer vacationers, even those who don’t own an RV and are just interested in the RV lifestyle.

RV parked at a campground site in the hills

Good Sam Club is the world’s largest RV owners community. Good Sam Club is a one-stop resource for all things RV; from benefits and RVing tips to discounts and monthly giveaways.

Services and benefits offered by the Good Sam Club include: club activities to interact and meet other members, such as events and tours and volunteer opportunities; discounts on products and services; access to emergency services; extended warranties; financial services; parking rights information; insurance offers only available to Good Sam members; member-only publications; RV information and travel services.

Escapees is a club primarily for full-time RVers. The club offers S (Support), K (Knowledge) and P (Parking) for their members. S.K.P.’s… Say it fast and you have “Escapees.”

Services and benefits offered by Escapees include: mail forwarding service; pharmacy drug program; RV advocacy e-news; on going Escapades (get-togethers,) email; calling cards; free Escapees travel guide with over 1,000 commercial parks listed, discounts and more.

Family Campers & RVers is a club aiming to encourage families to participate in recreational activities, including camping, no matter if by tent or RV.

Services and benefits offered by FCRV include: access to Campventions and other campouts; participation in organized camping trips, raft trips, bicycle rides or other activities; Camping Today magazine (published 10 times per year,) and discounts on RV supplies at various campgrounds across the nation.

The Family Motorcoach Association is an international organization for families who own and enjoy the recreational use of motorhomes. With approximately 109,000 active member families, FMCA is the world’s largest motorhome owners group.

Services and benefits offered by FMCA include: Family Motorcoaching Magazine with timely news concerning motor home technology, the RV industry, and the association; educational programs that enable members to participate in important RV-related education programs; mail forwarding service; trip routing; emergency road service and technical referral program; and campground discounts.

RVing Women is a social and recreational organization established by and for women interested in RVing. Membership is open to all women 18 or older interested in RVing; owning one is not a prerequisite!

Services and benefits offered by RVing Women include: friendship and networking; general and technical RV information online through forums, in person through seminars and in the RVing Women magazine; membership directory including contact information of women RVers across the United States, Canada and Mexico; Park ‘N Stay, information about members offering hospitality for women RVers on the road; discounted services; RVW merchandise and more.

Campground Discount Clubs

Camping sign

Campground discount clubs offer RVers discounts to various campgrounds across the nation and in Canada and Mexico on occasion. These clubs focus on discounts, but provide many other services as well.

Members of Happy Camper Club camp for half price at nearly 1,200 USA and Canada campgrounds and RV parks.

Other services and benefits offered by Happy Campers include: Happy Camper Club Camping Guide – Filled with helpful information such as RV park pricing, directions, amenities and pet information for each Happy Camper Certified Campground; free online trip planner; free participation in the Community forum on the Happy Campers website; free daily RV news feed; and a money back guarantee if you aren’t completely satisfied with your membership!

Members of Recreation USA can camp for as low as $10.00 per day at campgrounds throughout the US.

Services and benefits of the Recreation USA club include: discount camping; no contract to sign; receive a free membership to All Campgrounds For Less with Recreation USA membership; select the date you wish your membership to begin; Immediate membership (Your membership cards can be e mailed to you, with your regular cards mailed within 2 business days); all club info is available on the web site…state maps, full page of info for each park, a link to each park’s website if they have one, and lots of other info on their links pages.

Thousand Trails members enjoy a diverse range of options for enjoying their travels and the outdoors. Thousand Trails is the largest private system of RV camping and outdoor preserves in America. The properties are known as preserves because the organization strives to protect the nature and beauty of the natural environment.

Services and benefits offered by Thousand Trails include: multiple destinations, from Disneyworld to Las Vegas; 24-hour security and gated premises; RV friendly campsites; rental cabins and cottages; cleanliness and natural scenery; caring staff and friendly members; and resort-style amenities.