Is Full-Time RVing The Right Lifestyle For Me?

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You are probably wondering, since you clicked on this article, what it is like to live in an RV full-time as your only residence. You’re trying to find out if it’s right for you. Of course, full-time RV life is not without its issues. There’s still the mundane tasks of everyday ‘normal’ life. There’s no escaping certain chores, no matter how you choose to live. There are also going to be new challenges to be had. Let’s take a look at some of the challenges that might dissuade you from living as a full-time RVer. ‘Life’ doesn’t stop because you live full-time in an RV. You’re still going to have to do stuff you don’t want to do.  Of course, you still have to do chores like run errands, pay bills, make dinner, and clean ‘house’. You know, everyday life stuff.

How will you earn money? How will you choose where to go? Will you need good cell reception for internet? Are you going to have solar for power or a generator? How will you find water and sewer dumps? It’s a little more like caveman living. You will have to ‘hunt’ for these things! 😂 (Full disclosure- I have done it on my own, but now my traveling partner does most of the work of finding these things!)

The good news is boondocking is almost always free, you get way better views than in a campground, and you have much more privacy and peace and quiet. This may be a major factor in your decision. It can make or break living the lifestyle for some. Think about if you are the type of person who likes these types of challenges of if you prefer a more ‘luxe’ lifestyle. If you’re ‘luxe’, you may be a campground/stick in one spot kind of person. Also, keep in mind that the more expensive campgrounds are going to be the nicer ones. If you want ‘luxe’, you will be paying a very high price for it.

8 Tips For A Happier Camping Pet

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Your pet is going to have their own idea of how much they like or dislike your imposing a move or trip on them. What we can offer here are ways to help them acclimate to their new situation.

1. Keep Things Familiar

Your pet usually has a schedule at home. A food schedule, walking schedule, a time that you come home, entertainment time and so on. When you go on a trip, try to keep some of that schedule the same. Bring the things they use from home such as their bedding, food and water bowls and any toys that they like to play with. Make an effort to feed them around the same time you usually do at home. ​This isn’t rocket science, but it might not cross your mind until it’s too late. Your pet(s) will appreciate your keeping some things familiar to them. Your payback just might be that they don’t bark or meow incessantly. They will also settle in faster.

2. ​Exercise Your Dogs As Much As Possible

Dogs need stimulation. The best stimulation you can give them is a structured walk. No, we don’t mean taking them out to a dog park and letting them run around with crazy energy. This is akin to letting kids out to play at recess. When they come back in, they are even MORE wound up than they were before recess. Dogs need a mental challenge and a structured, calm, LONG walk is the #1 best way to achieve this. It will get you off of the couch at the same time. What are you doing on the couch on a camping trip, anyway?

3. Don’t Put Them In Your Trailer While Driving​

We understand that not many dog or cat owners out there use a harness/seat belt for their pets when in transit. This was going to be our #1 recommendation, until we saw a video about how many of them fail. We still believe the car will be safer and more comfortable than in your trailer. Why not in the trailer? First, you aren’t there with them so their fear factor is likely to rise​. To them, they are riding alone in what to them could be a building having an ongoing earthquake. They don’t know what’s going on really, so why throw them back there to be alone and scared?

4. Watch Where You Leave Them

As you hopefully are already aware, most RVs can quickly get hot in the sun, much like a car can. If you are camping in an RV park, and you have your A/C on, be aware that the power can shut off without notice, leaving your pet(s) in a very deadly situation if your windows are all closed and it’s a hot sunny day. What can you do to prevent disaster for your pets? ​First, never leave your windows closed and fans not running if the temperatures are going to be even as high as the low 70’s. You should have a good idea of how quickly and how much hotter than the outside temperature your rig gets before you ever leave your pets in your rig at temperatures over 70.

5. Get Them Ready

If you never take your cat or dog in the car for trips, it’s a very good idea to acclimate them to the motion and feeling by taking short trips before your big one. Start with a simple around the block drive. Don’t get all excited before asking them to get in the car, stay calm and assertive. Praise them if they are behaving properly but don’t get too overzealous about it. Once they realize the car isn’t going to kill them, start extending the duration of your trips. Treats may help them learn to associate the vehicle with positive things, but only give the treats when they are being calm, not if they are shaking or are barking/hiding.

6. Bring Their Medications And Vaccination Records

This may seem like another no-brainer, but people do forget these things. If your dog or cat needs a daily medication at home, he’s going to need it on the road as well! Don’t forget these items. It’s just a good idea to have their vet records as well. Don’t want to haul the paper? Scan it into an app on your phone.

7. Get Them Microchipped

If you haven’t done this already, now is the time. If your pet gets out and runs away, their collar with name and phone number is their best friend. However, if they lose their collar somehow or you had it off, say to give them a bath, then the chances of you ever getting them back is extremely low. Microchipping will be the only hope if someone finds your pet and takes them to a vet to see if they are microchipped.

8. Be A Good Neighbor

Let’s be honest. If you have a dog  that you KNOW barks incessantly when you leave, you shouldn’t be bringing them  with you to an RV park if you plan to leave them in your rig. It’s just totally inconsiderate.

 

How to Park an RV

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You’ve finally made it to the campground. But before you can run off to the lake or go for a hike, the first order of the day is to park and level your RV so that your refrigerator will operate properly and you don’t find yourself in bed at night with your feet higher than your head.

Never assume your site will be flat or level. That would make parking an RV too easy. Due to the nature of camping, chances are higher that your site will be rutted, gouged and somewhat uneven.

But don’t fret. You can still get your RV into your spot, and leveled so it operates properly, with a few easy steps. Here’s how:

How to Park an RV

With many campsites designed to accommodate smaller vehicles, easing your 30-foot long fifth-wheeler or even longer motorhome into some spots can be a challenge.

How to Level an RV

There are several reasons to make sure your RV is level, including proper refrigerator operation and safe slide out extension (if you have them). You’ll also want to stabilize your rig so that it doesn’t sway when you move about inside or in windy conditions.

Many luxury motorhomes and trailers come equipped with exotic self-leveling systems, with hydraulic or electric rams that extend at the touch of a button and level the coach automatically. For rigs without this nicety, leveling blocks or ramps and a small bubble level are required.

Leveling blocks or ramps don’t have to be expensive. They can be as simple as a stack of 2×10-inch boards. Or, you can step up to interlocking RV leveling blocks. Made of high-strength plastic, these blocks are touted as being able to bear the weight of even the largest motorhomes and trailers.

1) With your RV positioned in the site where you want it, place the bubble level on the floor to determine if the unit is level both front-to back and side-to-side. If you have slide outs, extend them now to see which way your trailer or motorhome leans. Then retract them for safety.

2) Next, mark some lines in the dirt in front or back of the tires on the side that needs to be leveled.

3) Now pull your rig forward (or back it up) so that the tires are clear of the lines. Place your boards or blocks in position. If you determine that you’ll need several layers of boards or blocks to get your rig level, build them in a ramp configuration.

Don’t try to force your RV to climb up more than 2 inches at a time.

4) Move your motorhome or trailer up onto the levelers, making sure to keep the tire footprint completely on the boards or blocks. Don’t let your tires overhang any edge as this can cause damage.

5) Now check the bubble level again and adjust the height of the boards or blocks as needed so that your rig is level side-to-side. When all looks good, place wheel chocks in front or behind the tires (depending which way the site slopes) to keep the trailer from moving. You can then disconnect your trailer from your tow vehicle and use the trailer’s hitch jack (or a fifth-wheel’s “landing gear”) to fine-tune the front-to-rear level.

For motorhomes, put the transmission in “park” and set the parking brake.

How to Stabilize Your RV

Now that your RV is level, you’ll want to stabilize it so it doesn’t rock back and forth when you walk around inside. You should use stabilizing jacks to accomplish this.

Note: These should never be used to level a rig, as they weren’t designed for that purpose.

Stabilizing jacks come in several configurations. The most common is the scissor jack, which is usually bolted or welded to the trailer’s frame at the front and rear.

Pop-up tent trailers are frequently equipped with a drop-down style jack, which, as the name implies, drops down from the frame.

To use the stabilizing jacks after you’ve leveled the RV:

1. Lower the jacks following the manufacturer’s instructions. To save time and give the foot of each jack a larger base, slide a couple of short 2×4- or 2×6-inch boards beneath each foot. This is especially helpful if the ground is loose or sandy.

2. Once the jack foot is in contact with the ground, give the crank a few extra turns to provide the trailer a secure footing. Check the bubble level to make sure your RV remains level. Do this for all four corners.

And that’s how to park and level an RV! Your RV is now safely in the campsite and ready to enjoy. When you get ready to leave just reverse these steps, remembering to raise the jacks to their travel position, and collect and store your leveling boards or blocks.