We have officially crossed the 3 month mark of full-time RV Life. We began our journey on October 23rd, 2018 without ever spending any time living in, driving in, staying in, or even maintaining a RV previously. We certainly are newbies in every sense of the word. Because of this, we decided to put together a short, but growing list of lessons learned. Some of these lessons were learned the hard way.
- Black Tank and Sewer: Handle with Care. Literally, do not take the black tank for granted. Nothing is worse than your wife telling you that she had trouble sleeping at night because the smell took her out of REM. Don’t skimp out on a good sewer hose. Camco makes a “Rhino” branded hose that is pretty resistant to kinks, bumps, and the weather. Additionally, make sure you pick up the translucent elbow with a hose connector to flush your drain pipe should you need to. This next lesson cannot be understated. When going number 2, make sure you fill the toilet with plenty of water before making your deposit. I repeat, make sure you add plenty water before making your deposit. I repeat, make sure you add plenty of water to the toilet before you go. If you don’t, you’ll end up with what has been termed as the “poo pyramid”. No that isn’t a typo. The water acts as a permeable substance to keep “things moving”. For you medical professionals, think of the water as tons of cilia helping fluid move within the human body.
- Propane is Expensive and goes fast. If you enjoy cooking at home, please know that the use of propane and cooking can be used up quickly. Especially in the winter when your RV’s Heater is on and running when the temp drops below your thermostat setting. In order to prevent weekly trips to different propane stores for fill-ups, we recommend using multiple ceramic space heaters throughout your RV. They are life savers! Nothing is worse than running out of propane especially when hungry and it’s 30 degrees outside.
- Invest in a dehumidifier. Especially in the winter. Regulating humidity in a RV is no easy task. The main issue you face is the threat of condensation and it possibly leading to development of mold. Many dehumidifier’s these days have a tank that will hold the water sucked from the air in your RV and will auto-shutoff once the tank is full. There are many different sizes to choose from, so pick one that closely fits the size of your RV.
- Heated water hoses and frozen lines. Even though these potable water hoses can be terribly expensive, nothing is worse than having NO running water. No showers, no drinking water, unable to use the bathroom, etc. Heated hoses connect directly to the campgrounds spigot on one end and the other end connects to your RV’s fresh water hookup. There’s an electrical plug that goes into a power outlet on your control panel. The hose contains an electrical current that works to keep the line heated. Usually these hoses come in either 25 or 50 feet in length. Buy one. Don’t second guess. Frozen lines and pipes can happen and in some cases, there’s not much you can do but wait for them to thaw. There are a few things you can do as “preventative maintenance” before the temp drop below freezing. Take a trip to Home Depot and pickup, Insulation Tape, Foam for wrapping pipes, hand towels, duct tape, and a medium (10–13 gallon) trash can. If you are using a water filter, wrap the insulation tape around it as well as any piping or hose connections not part of the heated hoses. Make sure there aren’t any leaks and wrap the hand towels around the connection points and use the duct tape to seal them to the insulation tape. Lastly, take the trash can and cover the entire spigot. PRO-TIP: Don’t make this mistake. Whatever you do, don’t run the water on the inside of your RV like you might in a normal house. You’ll be left with full grey water tanks. In winter, you might have a frozen sewer line and this will limit your ability to dump the tanks. Speaking of sewer hoses, if you are on a level campsite, make sure before any below freezing temps arrive you ensure that all remaining fluid is drained out of the hose! If you don’t, you’ll have frozen chunks of all types things in your sewer hose.
- Buy rain boots. Do it. It seems like the common trend at most RV parks and campgrounds is mud and puddles of water. At our site, it just stays muddy. Particularly on the side where the drain for the sewer and compartment where the controls are. I’ve essentially ruined a great pair of Columbia hiking boots because of this.
- Underrated purchase: Felt carpet wraps for our 5th Wheel metal steps. Wow, talk about underrated. So initially we didn’t even know these were a ‘thing’. When it rains or worse, when it’s freezing out these steps can be slippery. The Camco Carpet stair wraps are a life-savor…hmm literally.
Well, there you have it. In our short, but tough first 3 months of full-time RV Living, we’ve experienced everything we mentioned above. For other newbies out there or those looking to go full-time, we’d might suggest to start in the warmer months or at the very least, stay in the Deep South for winter. Might make some things easier and a little less challenging.
Stay tuned for more!