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How to Conserve Power While Boondocking

How to Conserve Power while Boondocking

Boondocking is an incredible experience. It gives you the opportunity to escape into the middle of nowhere and enjoy all the peace and beauty offered by nature, while still taking full advantage of the comforts offered by your RV. The only real problem with boondocking is…well, the lack of RV hookups, requiring your to conserve power and water.

You see, electric posts and water spigots don’t just sprout up out of the ground wherever you happen to park your RV. This means when you head out into the wilderness, you aren’t going to be plugging in or hooking up a water hose for the duration of your stay.

Fortunately, there are ways to store power and water, and there are even ways to gather more of these things should you need to. That said, this gathering requires time, effort, and in some cases, money. Therefore, it’s best to conserve what you have in order to make your original stores last as long as possible.

In this article we are going to focus specifically on power while camping in the wilderness. We will give you tips for conserving energy, discuss the best power source for camping without hookups, and help you create an ideal boondocking battery setup.

By the end of this piece, you should have no trouble at all heading out into the woods or desert or on to an isolated beach and camping in comfort without any access to shore power whatsoever.

Conserving power while boondocking

Top Tips for Conserving Power in Your RV

As mentioned before, the most important thing to know how to do when boondocking is conserve your resources and make them last as long as possible. Fortunately, when it comes to electricity, this isn’t actually all that hard to do.

The tips below should help you conserve power, stretching it for quite a while, especially if you put all of them to use simultaneously.

Replace Your Lights

Our first and biggest tip is to replace all of the lights in your RV with LED fixtures. Why? Because LED lights require much less electricity than traditional RV lights.

On top of that, they don’t get hot. This is helpful when camping in the summer, as it means your RV won’t heat up just because you have the lights on. Of course, cooler lights are also better for safety reasons, making this particular upgrade a no-brainer.

Hang New Lights

In addition to replacing your light fixtures with LED lights, you could also choose to hang battery-operated lights in places where you use lights most often. Choose these battery-operated lights over the regular RV lights anytime you aren’t hooked up to power, making sure to keep replacement batteries close at hand.

This will allow you to light your house without using any of the power stored in your “house” battery bank.

Skip the Furnace

While most RV furnaces run on propane, the fans that blow the air out of the vents are run by electricity. This means that running your furnace, even just for a few hours, could wipe out your entire power supply.

For this reason, you will want to run your furnace very sparingly, if at all in order to conserve power. If you need to get warm, try layering your clothes, putting on a hat and socks, and using multiple blankets or a cold-weather sleeping bag before turning on the heater.

Invest in a Portable Heater

If it’s going to be so cold that you absolutely must run a heater, consider investing in a portable propane heater rather than using the RV furnace. These little heaters are quite powerful and can be safely used in an RV as long as you have a window cracked nearby (do not forget this step!).

They run off of small bottles of propane—meaning they won’t be dipping into your RV propane supply—and don’t require any electricity at all.

Use Battery-Operated Fans

Let’s say it’s hot out, rather than cold. If this is the case, you’re going to want some way to keep cool and keep the air moving. Since the A/C isn’t an option for most boondocking campers (considering the electricity required to run one), you might have to get creative.

We highly recommend parking in the shade when boondocking during the hot months. We also recommend drinking plenty of water, keeping all windows and vents open in order to catch a cross breeze, and most importantly, investing in battery-operated fans.

Place these fans in the windows on one side of the rig to pull in air from outside and push hot air out the windows on the other side. Consider placing a bowl of ice or a wet washcloth in front of a fan and sitting in front of the breeze to cool off. Just make sure you always keep fresh batteries on hand to keep those fans up and running throughout your trip.

Charge in Your Vehicle

If you’re like the vast majority of people these days, you have a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or some combination of these things that will need charging during your camping trip.

In some RVs, it won’t even be possible to charge these things via the outlets while boondocking. However, even if it is possible, we recommend skipping the RV outlets and heading instead to the car or truck. You can charge all of your devices in your vehicle without using any of your store RV power at all, and assuming it and your alternator are at full health, your vehicle battery will charge right back to full as soon as you drive it.

Put Away Electric Appliances

That coffee maker you like to use every morning? The amazing RV washer and dryer combo that cleans your clothes so well? The electric skillet that works so well for grilled cheese? Skip all of these things while boondocking in order to conserve power.

Instead, use the stove to make your sandwiches, and brew your coffee on a burner using a percolator. Clothes can be kept until you either hit a laundromat or wash them by hand and hang to dry.

Think of all the electric appliances you use every day and find ways to skip those pieces of equipment, either using something in their stead or putting those tasks off until you’re home with plenty of electricity within easy reach.

Pull Out an Ice Chest

Finally, there is the fridge. While most RV refrigerators can be run off of propane, they do require a small amount of electricity to stay up and running, even in this mode. For this reason, if you need to really conserve power, you might want to purchase a high-quality ice chest to use in place of your fridge during dry camping trips.

Power while boondocking

The Best Power Source for Camping        

Even if you use all of the tips listed to conserve power, you’re bound to need to top up your battery bank at some point during your trip. You have two good options when looking for a power source for camping in the wilderness: solar power and/or a generator.

Solar Power

Collecting solar power allows you to charge your batteries constantly by putting out solar panels and harnessing the power of the sun. This is fantastic as it is noiseless and doesn’t require you to purchase fuel of any kind. That said, getting a full solar setup together can be incredibly expensive.

If you’re interested in trying solar power out during your camping trips, you might want to invest in something like this power briefcase which holds a fold out solar panel. It’s easy to store in an RV and the cost is minimal, giving you the ability to try collecting solar power without investing in a full solar setup.

Generator

The generator option is slightly less expensive to begin with, generally more reliable, and some people even have it built into their RVs. That said, these appliances are noisy, plus they guzzle gas, making them expensive to use. Still, if you’re only using it to top up your batteries once in awhile, it isn’t too big of a deal.

A portable 2,000-watt generator such as this one will get the job done quite nicely. However, those who wish to run the A/C with their generator might want to look into something like this 3,500-watt option from Harbor Freight. Either way, you’ll have full batteries in exchange for some noise and some fuel.

…or Use Both

Of course, if you prefer solar power but can’t afford to use it exclusively, there is always the option of trickle-charging as much as you can using portable solar panels and topping off with the generator. This is a good middle ground that tends to satisfy many RVers.

Creating Your Boondocking Battery Setup

Of course, capturing all the energy in the world won’t do you any good unless you have a way to store it. This is where your RV battery bank comes into play.

Most RVs come equipped with a single house battery. This is fine if you only plan on boondocking for a day or so, but isn’t sufficient for a full trip. For this reason, we highly recommend expanding upon that single battery and creating a whole bank of power.

How many batteries you’re able to add to your bank will depend on the amount of storage space you have available and your cargo carrying capacity, but generally speaking, the more you can fit and afford (both weight- and money-wise), the better off you’re going to be.

The Best Battery for Boondocking

You may be wondering what kind of batteries you should be using to create this battery bank of yours. What are the best RV batteries for boondocking?

The truth of the matter is, any RV battery you buy will likely be fine. That said, the lithium-ion RV battery is the cream of the crop and is sure to give you everything you want from an RV battery. These batteries are small, lightweight, and charge very quickly. They are also maintenance-free, something many people don’t realize traditional RV batteries are not.

Unfortunately, lithium-ion RV batteries are also incredibly expensive, leading many people to look for something a little easier on the wallet.

If you’d like to learn about more kinds of RV batteries and the pros and cons of each, we recommend reading our article on the subject here.

Using Your Battery Power

Once you have electricity stored in your batteries, you will need to change that DC power to AC power. AC power is what appliances and outlets need in order to function, meaning the electricity in those batteries is pretty useless without some way to create AC power from it. Fortunately, we have inverters for this purpose.

Make sure you invest in a good quality inverter when building your battery bank. This will allow you to make use of the power you collect and store, so you can be comfy and cozy even in the middle of the wilderness.

These tips and tricks will help ensure you can enjoy any boondocking trip with access to enough electricity to meet your basic needs. That said, there is still water to consider. For this reason, we recommend you also read this piece on conserving water while boondocking in order to ensure you’re fully prepared for your dry camping adventure.

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How to Increase Towing Capacity on Your RV Rig

How to Increase Towing Capacity on Your RV Rig

When purchasing a towable RV, there are a number of things you need to consider. Floorplan, decor, and quality of the RV all come into play, of course. However, one of the most important things to consider is the weight of the RV and the towing capacity of your vehicle.

Today we’re going to dive deep into this subject, discussing why it’s so important to pay attention to towing capacity along with how to increase towing capacity and improve towing performance. After reading, you should have all the information you need to decide whether your truck can tow your desired RV and what kinds of adjustments you might need to make in order to make that happen.

Increasing towing capacity

Why You Might Need Towing Upgrades

Before we jump right into the ins and outs of increasing towing capacity, let’s look for a minute at the why behind these types of upgrades. Why is RV weight so important? What reason do people have to increase towing capacity on their truck or SUV?

Towing is hard on a vehicle. It has to work harder in order to get moving, and must have the ability to stop the load once it does get chugging along. Obviously, towing with an ill-equipped vehicle is unsafe. It’s also bad for the vehicle and could result in a number of very expensive problems that we’re certain you don’t want to deal with.

Because it’s so important to ensure your vehicle can handle a given weight before you hit the road, every vehicle manufacturer provides a tow capacity rating for every vehicle they put out. Before buying a travel trailer or fifth wheel, you’ll want to learn what the tow capacity is for your truck or SUV and stick with an RV that weighs less than that when fully loaded. The gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the RV is a good estimate of what it might weigh fully loaded.

If you can’t find an RV to suit your needs that weighs in under your truck’s tow capacity when fully loaded, you may be wondering, “Can I tow more than towing capacity?”

The answer? You will likely be able to get your vehicle to safely tow a bit more than it’s rated to. However, increasing tow capacity is complicated and expensive, making it a project that many people prefer to avoid.

If you’re up for the challenge, read on to learn how to increase towing capacity of a vehicle.

How to Increase Towing Capacity

So how do you increase the towing capacity of a truck or SUV so you can pull a slightly heavier RV? You make a whole slew of upgrades, of course!

The upgrades below will help to increase towing capacity, so you can tow more without damaging your trailer while still keeping your passengers and fellow drivers safe.

Get the Right Hitch

First and foremost, you will need to invest in the right type of hitch. Obviously, you will need to choose a hitch that is rated to handle the weight of your trailer. In order to help your vehicle tow a larger bumper-pull trailer, you’ll also want to seek out a weight distribution hitch.

The weight distribution system does exactly what you might think: It distributes the weight of the trailer throughout more of your tow vehicle’s frame instead of just the hitch receiver area. This helps your truck’s suspension and makes it possible for it to pull a larger amount of weight.

Use a Programmer

Most vehicles are set to give the user the best fuel efficiency possible without compromising too much in other areas. The problem is, this can take away from horsepower and torque, leaving you with a less powerful towing machine.

A vehicle programmer can remedy this by adjusting the settings in a truck’s computer, giving you the power you need to tow bigger loads.

Replace Axles

Even with more horsepower and torque, if your vehicle’s axles aren’t able to handle the weight of your trailer, you won’t be going anywhere. For this reason, we also recommend replacing your current axles with heavy-duty versions, making sure you change out the differential to the correct heavy-duty parts too.

Another way to do this is to use RV parts in place of the traditional truck parts. These are made to carry heavy loads and can usually fit onto a truck body. That said, this is a job best left to professionals, for the sake of safety.

Upgrade the Braking System

With the programmer and heavy-duty axles, you should at least be able to get going. However, stopping can also be a problem when towing a large load. In fact, more often than not, this is the bigger issue.

For this reason, you will definitely want to upgrade your truck’s brake pads and rotors, ensuring you get the beefiest options on the market. Additionally, you will want to install a trailer braking system on your RV and ensure it is calibrated correctly, so your trailer is actually helping you stop, rather than pushing you forward as you brake.

Improve Towing Performance

The upgrades above should be enough to get you going with your bigger load. However, you won’t necessarily get great performance out of your tow vehicle. Therefore, it’s good to know not just how to increase towing capacity of a truck, but also how to improve the towing performance so you have a smooth, problem-free ride wherever you may wander.

Here are our top tips.

Install a Bigger Radiator

Towing makes a vehicle work hard, and working hard can make it really hot under the hood. Seeing as a radiator’s job is to keep things nice and cool, it makes perfect sense that upgrading to a bigger radiator will keep things even cooler.

If your truck or SUV has two radiators, consider replacing both with larger versions, and be sure to replace the engine oil and transmission fluid regularly to ensure heat is diffused as evenly as possible.

Upgrade Suspension

We mentioned suspension before when discussing hitches. While that weight distribution hitch we talked about will help even things out and make the job a bit easier on your vehicle’s suspension, it may not be enough.

This is why many people choose to upgrade their vehicle’s suspension by replacing stock parts with more robust heavy-duty parts. Not only does this help distribute weight better, it will also give you a smoother ride and better steering control.

A popular option is to replace the current suspension with an air suspension system, which uses air bladders to absorb shock from the road and give you one of the best possible rides.

Enhance Your Intake and Exhaust

The last upgrade that many consider is an enhanced intake and exhaust system. This is the system that helps your engine “breathe”, and replacing the stock parts with high-end parts might help the engine give better performance. In addition to new parts, we also recommend better air filters that are replaced regularly.

Other Options

If you feel these instructions on how to increase tow capacity are a bit much, you aren’t alone. This is definitely a big project, and is best suited to a person who enjoys working on cars and doing upgrades on their own vehicles, or someone who plans to tow often and wants the best possible towing performance.

In most cases however, doing these upgrades is probably not the best option. It’s safer, easier, and better for the vehicle in question if you choose one of the options below instead.

Upgrade Your Truck

If you absolutely must have a big trailer with lots of space and all the bells and whistles, and decreasing the weight of that trailer is out of the question, consider upgrading to a more powerful truck. While this is expensive, it’s definitely the safer bet over trying to increase the towing capacity of your current vehicle, especially if the trailer you wish to own is much heavier than your truck is rated to tow.

While shopping for your new truck, be sure to keep an eye on the tow rating. Keep in mind that a diesel vehicle will always be a stronger option, and a ¾-ton or 1-ton truck is preferred over a half-ton when towing a heavy load.

Choose a Smaller Trailer

Can’t afford a bigger truck? Pick a smaller trailer. There are plenty of great, lightweight trailers on the market, and by choosing something like a hybrid or a pop-up camper, you can have plenty of space in a relatively lightweight package. Not only that, you’ll probably save a nice chunk of change by picking a smaller RV, meaning you’ll have more money in the budget for campsites and fun activities on your RV adventures.

Go With a Motorhome

The last option is to go with a motorhome rather than a trailer. This will remove the need for a big truck entirely, as motorhomes are made to be driven on their own and will definitely be able to handle their own weight without issue. If you wish to have a vehicle to drive around once you arrive at the campground, a smaller car will do just fine.

All that said, motorhomes are quite expensive, so depending on your budget this may not be a good solution.

As you can see, there are many ways to get around a tow capacity issue and get out onto the open road. Whether you choose to upgrade your current vehicle in order to stretch the tow capacity, purchase a new vehicle entirely, or even choose a different RV, we’re certain you’ll find a solution that works for you and your budget so you can think less about towing capacities and more about hiking, fishing, campfires, and other camping fun.

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How to Quiet Down Your Generator

How to Quiet Down Your Generator

A generator is a fabulous thing when you’re an RVer. It allows you to have electricity wherever you may roam, giving you the opportunity to run your A/C in the middle of the desert or heat up a cup of coffee in a Walmart parking lot.

That said, even the best things in life have drawbacks, and generators are no exception. The biggest issue with generators? They’re loud. In fact, depending on what kind of generator we’re talking about, they can be extremely loud, making them nearly impossible to use if you have any neighbors at all.

If you happen to own one of these super loud generators, you may be feeling a bit disappointed that you can’t put it to good use without disturbing the sleep of everyone near you. Fortunately, there are ways around this problem. With a bit of effort—and sometimes a dash of creativity—you can quiet RV generator noise so everyone around you can have peace even as you run your A/C, microwave, or phone charger.

Wondering how to quiet down a generator? There are few different options out there. In this article, we will discuss ways to quiet a generator so you can travel comfortably and quietly no matter where you may roam.

Making a generator quieter

Making Generators Quieter: 3 Methods

So what are these methods for how to quiet your generator? There are three that we know of, and of those, two stand out as the ideal ways of quieting a generator.

The three methods are:

  1. Muffler
  2. Plywood
  3. Baffle Box

Each has its pros and cons (as we’ll discuss below), so you can choose the method that works best for you, your budget, and your travel style.

The Muffler Method

The first option for how to quiet a generator is the muffler method. An RV generator muffler works in the same way it would work on a vehicle. It captures the loud sound and, as the name suggests, muffles it. It does this by bouncing the sound around in a very precise manner, canceling out the sound along the way and releasing a much quieter noise out the back end.

Unfortunately, an RV generator muffler silencer is incredibly expensive. Additionally, in order for a generator muffler to be at all effective, it must be installed correctly.

Sure, you can get a bit of muffling power from a muffler that is rigged onto the generator exhaust pipe. However, in order to get the full effect, the muffler must be welded into place. Many people don’t have the tools or skills needed to do this job properly.

We also must mention that while a muffler works well on the type of generator installed inside of an RV, it isn’t always the best option for freestanding generators. This is because much of the noise of the appliances actually escapes out the sides of the generator, which aren’t covered as they would be on an in-RV generator.

In the end, while a muffler might offer relief from the noise of a generator, it is an expensive and complicated solution that doesn’t work as well as many would like. For this reason, we recommend looking into other options for how to quiet generator noise—unless you’re dealing with a generator that is installed in your RV.

Best Way to Quiet a Generator: The Plywood Method

The next method we listed is the plywood method. It can only be used on standalone generators, not those installed into the RV. However, if this is the type of generator you have, it is our favorite option for how to quiet generator noise because it works well, is incredibly inexpensive—you may even have what you need on hand already!—and absolutely anyone can put it together on their own.

To use this method, simply collect 4 pieces of plywood. The pieces need to be at least a bit bigger than the sides of the generator. Lean one piece of plywood onto each side of the generator, creating a sort of lean-to house around the appliance. This lean-to helps contain the noise and can easily drop sound levels by 10 decibels or more.

Want even more sound-reducing power? You can enhance this plywood method by using OSB or even sheetrock in place of the plywood. Another option is to paint your plywood—or OSB or Sheetrock—with a layer of tar to further absorb the sound.

It should also be noted that in order to ensure your generator doesn’t overheat and become damaged or cause a fire, it’s important that you build your structure with plenty of ventilation. Fortunately, this is easy enough to accomplish by placing the end of each sheet of wood a few feet away from the generator and then leaning it in, leaving a nice gap between the wood and the appliance.

Baffle Box for Generator

The plywood method above is fantastic in that anyone can do it and it’s super portable. That said, it isn’t exactly pretty to look at, and those who use their generators often might find that their lean-to tends to fall over or slip out of place. The answer? A generator baffle box.

A baffle box is simply a box that your generator can be placed inside of in order to contain the noise it creates. It works just like the plywood method, but looks a bit nicer, stands a bit stronger, and is less cumbersome to get set up each time you wish to use it.

Most people choose to build their own baffle boxes out of plywood, something that works well, is relatively inexpensive, and leaves a lot of room for customization, but requires a little bit of elbow grease. Still, most people find that the finished product is quite nice, making it worth the effort.

To make your own baffle box, just build a wooden box for your generator to fit inside. Make sure to add holes for ventilation, including a spot where the exhaust escapes. To make your baffle box even more soundproof, consider painting tar on the inside of the box or making an inner box and an outer box and putting insulation between the two to further muffle sound.

Some people will create a hole for refueling, removing the need to remove the box each time the generator needs to be topped off. Others will add a handle to make the box easier to carry.

Ways to make a generator quieter

Other Options

Besides the three noise-reducing methods listed above, there are a few other things you can do to ensure you aren’t bothering the neighbors or driving your own family crazy when running your generator. Try using these tips in addition to or instead of the methods mentioned above to find the perfect solution for your situation.

Move Away from RVs

The great thing about a portable generator is that it’s…well, portable. Try moving the generator as far from your RV and the other rigs around you to see if that makes things quiet enough to get some rest. Extension cords help make this possible, as does a lot of open space, making boondocking in the wilderness the perfect opportunity to give this a try.

Place on Solid Ground

Considering how loud generators already are, you definitely don’t need the sound created by a wobbly generator added to that. For this reason, you’ll want to make sure you place your generator on stable, solid ground where wobbling and vibrations won’t be an issue.

Shop for a Different Generator

Our last tip is also the most expensive option. Nevertheless, it does tend to solve the problem with the least fuss. If you own a big, noisy generator, your best bet might just be to go out and purchase a different one, ensuring the next generator you buy is less noisy.

Buying a Different Generator: What to Look For

Let’s say you do decide to start shopping for a new, quieter generator. Do you know what you should be looking for? Most people don’t. For this reason, we’re going to take a minute to discuss the kinds of things to keep an eye out for when shopping for a less noisy generator.

Enclosure

Generally speaking, you will be looking for an inverter generator with its own enclosure. These are much quieter than the larger, less-enclosed type that tend to be used on worksites and in emergency situations. Additionally, they are lighter, making them easier to travel with.

Sound Rating vs Power Output

Usually, the more power you get from a unit, the noisier it’s going to be. Fortunately, RVers don’t tend to need a ton of power. In fact, unless you’re wanting to run the air conditioner or microwave, a 2,000-watt generator should be sufficient for your RVing needs. A good, enclosed 2,000-watt inverter generator should only put out around 65dB, making it a relatively quiet option.

That said, those who wish to run things such as the A/C will require more power than a 2,000-watt unit can provide. At that point, a 3,500-watt generator will be needed. As long as you go for an enclosed unit, you should be able to find a fairly quiet 3,500-watt generator that is about equivalent to a 2,000-watt unit in terms of sound output.

Of course, your new, super quiet generator can also be surrounded by plywood or put in a baffle box to help silence it further and make it even more discreet.

Our Favorite Super Quiet Portable Generators

Prefer not to do the shopping yourself? No worries! We’ve done a lot of research on this very topic and have some excellent recommendations that we know you’ll be happy with. Try one of the generators below for a quiet experience that’ll keep you comfortable even in the middle of nowhere.

Honda EU2200i

This incredibly well-made and reliable piece of equipment is the favorite option of an enormous number of RVers. It’s lightweight for starters, and for those who only require 2,000 watts or so, it gets the job done quite nicely. Best of all, this generator produces a mere 57dB of sound, making it one of the quietest generators on the market.

Harbor Freight Predator 3500

The Harbor Freight “Predator” generators are also a fantastic option. They have a 2,000-watt unit that we love almost as much as the Honda generator mentioned above. However, the 3,500-watt unit is probably our favorite 3,500-watt generator on the market. It’s also reliable and easy to use, and like the Honda unit above, it puts out only 57dB of sound—an incredible feat, considering the power it’s putting out.

As you can see, there are a number of ways to get the power you need in your RV wherever you are, and without making a huge racket. Try one of these tips or employ a variety of them to create a surprisingly peaceful generator experience that most people would think impossible.

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Airstream Reveals Basecamp 20

The maker of some of the most iconic travel trailers in the world has just unveiled their latest model. They’ve taken their best-selling travel trailer, now known as the Basecamp 16, and added 4 feet…which means a whole lot of room for cooking, entertaining, or hanging out in your Airstream. Not only is the Basecamp 20 longer, it’s also taller and wider so it feels much more spacious. Let’s take a look:

Airstream Reveals Basecamp 20

The Basecamp trailers are made from the same aluminum as the company’s other travel trailers, but they don’t have the rounded iconic silhouette. Basecamps look more Space Age-y, with a back that turns up so it won’t drag, and large wheels to help you get over rocks and other obstacles in the road.

Along with being an overall bigger trailer than the Basecamp 16, the 20 also adds more room in other places. You’ll get a 27-gallon freshwater tank vs. the 21-gallon tank in the 16. You also get a 28-gallon gray water tank and a 21-gallon black water tank. The fridge is bigger, and the wheels are, too. The trailer sleeps 4 instead of just 2 like the Basecamp 16.

Airstream camping by lake

Features

1.) Storage

A rear hatch allows you to bring along kayaks, bikes, fishing gear, and more toys to play with at your destination. In total, the hatch allows you 126 inches of cargo depth from the hatch to the galley cabinets without anything in your way. The bench inside the trailer opens so you can store table legs, luggage, gear, and other items.

2.) Electronic device charging

Two pop-up charging stations in the kitchen are equipped with USB ports and 110V outlets so you can charge any electronic devices you bring along, from phones to tablets to computers.

3.) Kitchen features

The trailer has a kitchen sink, and a glass cover folds down over the sink when you’re not using it to allow for more workspace. A two-burner gas stove allows you plenty of room to cook meals, and again comes with a glass cover to go over the top. The kitchen also has a microwave and fridge and storage space for dishes, groceries, and kitchen staples.

4.) Wet bath

The bathroom includes a shower, sink, and toilet in a waterproof area – necessary since showering in the trailer will get the whole area wet.

5.) Heating & cooling

An optional air conditioner has a two-speed fan to keep everyone cool and comfortable on hot days, and the furnace and hot water heater keep you warm in winter. Tank heaters also help keep your tanks from freezing when the furnace isn’t running and automatically turn off when it is.

back of Airstream trailer

6.) The X-Package

With both the Basecamp 16 and the 20, you can opt for the X-package which comes with added things that make your trailer even more rugged and allow you to head through rougher terrain and more remote areas. The X-package includes:

  • a three-inch lift kit to allow for more ground clearance, letting you head over rocks, obstacles, and bumpy roads
  • Goodyear 235/75R15 Off-Road Wrangler Tires
  • Goodyear 235/85R16 Off-Road DuraTrac Tires
  • a steel double step
  • stylized aluminum wheels
  • solar front window protection
  • stainless steel front stone guard protection

7.) Other fun features & add-ons

Along with the optional X-package, there are other options you can choose for your trailer, as well as other cool features that come standard. Get some extra room with a tent, or move your kitchen outside with a gas grill leaving you more room inside your trailer for everything else! Optional features include:

  • a fully enclosed tent with Air-Tube technology – the tent is added to the trailer, allowing you more room to work and move about without being out in the elements
  • Airstream Power Plus Lithium Kit – the kit is dealer-installed so you don’t need to worry about it

Additional standard features include:

  • an LP low-pressure gas grill connection – build yourself an outdoor kitchen and you can take all that bustle and moving around inside the trailer outside, leaving you more room inside for other things
  • a fire extinguisher – very important regardless of where you choose to put your kitchen!
  • an Airstream logo entrance mat to keep dirt and mud out of your trailer
  • LP, smoke & carbon monoxide detectors to protect those inside the trailer
  • TRA Certification™ Green: Emerald Status. This is the highest rating you can get!
  • a 3-year Airstream limited warranty that is transferable
  • 3 years of 24/7 Coach-Net roadside assistance in case you have any trouble while you’re adventuring in your trailer
  • A/C condensation drain at ground level to help with condensation buildup inside your trailer

As you can see, the trailer options allow for many different lifestyles! If you’re likely to set up in one spot and make yourselves comfy with a big family, you may want to opt for the enclosed tent for extra room, or to get a gas grill and a few other devices to make an outdoor kitchen at your campsite.

However, if you’re ready for off-road adventuring, you may want the X-package with bigger tires and more ground clearance to get you to a place where you can boondock without coming across anyone else out there.

Either way, you can relax knowing your trailer is under warranty and that you can call someone 24 hours a day if you need any roadside assistance while you’re traveling.

If you’re interested in the Airstream Basecamp 20 but want to try it out before purchasing one, check RVshare! RVshare has tons of rentals of everything from Class A motorhomes to Airstream trailers. You may be able to rent the Basecamp 20, or at least a Basecamp 16, to take out for a few days and see if it suits you before you decide to purchase one.

Top 21 Podcasts for your Next Road Trip

Let’s face it, there’s only so much singing along to ’80s hair band music and playing air drums on your steering wheel you can take on a long road trip.

Even if you love a wide variety of music, after several hours you may find yourself longing for a change of pace. This is where podcasts come in. Whether you want to learn something new, discover the real details behind a crime, or get lost in a fiction story that feels like watching a TV series, there’s a show for every traveler.

Top 21 Podcasts for your Next Road Trip

From podcasts for kids to stories that will make you want to keep driving to hear what happens next, here are some of the best podcasts for your next road trip. Podcasts are indicated that are appropriate for kids…as for the rest of them, you may want to listen on your own first to be sure.

boys grinning

Podcasts for kids

The best podcasts for kids keep them entertained, maybe teach them a thing or two… and keep the adults in the car interested and listening as well!

1.) Brains On!

This podcast takes science questions from kids and gets real answers from experts on the subject. A new kid-host each week helps keep the show entertaining, along with silly songs, sound effects, and other ways to make things fun. Learn about everything from the science to bees to “what makes gross things gross?”

2.) Wow in the World

Hosts Guy Raz and Mindy Thomas share the latest inventions and news about science and technology in this NPR-produced podcast. Kids will learn a lot…and adults will, too!

3.) But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids

Another show that takes questions from kids and finds the answers. If you have a kid, you know those questions can seem simple – “Why is the sky blue?”…but end up having complicated explanations! “But Why” breaks it all down in an interesting fashion.

4.) Smash, Boom, Best

Since plenty of kids enjoy arguing…let them learn how to properly debate and defend their ideas! Smash Boom Best takes two “cool things” like dragons and unicorns, and debaters use facts and their own passion to convince people why their side is better. A kid judge picks the winner.

5.) The Past & The Curious

Hear fascinating, little-known stories about people in history in this fun and funny show for kids. Silly songs and quiz segments mean the lessons will likely stick with them.

If you like knowing more about a variety of stuff

6.) 60 Minutes

Since the news magazine show is interview-driven, it doesn’t lose much when it’s converted from TV to podcast. Take a deeper dive into news stories of the week with Scott Pelley, Leslie Stahl and the gang.

7.) Ear Hustle

Never been incarcerated at San Quentin? This podcast gives you a feel for what life is like in the infamous California state prison. Earlonne Woods and Antwan Williams, both former inmates, co-founded the podcast with Bay Area artist Nigel Poor. Hear from people inside the prison in interviews that can be funny, fascinating, and heartbreaking, and find out what life is like for people when they leave.

8.) Outside Podcast

Hear astonishing survival stories, learn about endurance athletes, or find out what life is really like in outer space. This show covers a wide variety of outside adventures from the near to the very very far away. The “Science of Survival” episodes in 2016 and 2017 are especially worth a listen.

9.) TED Radio Hour

Host Manoush Zomorodi explains some of the ideas TED speakers discuss, with snippets from their speeches on everything from creativity to city planning to solving conflict. This one could get you talking with your fellow passengers well after the show’s over.

10.) This American Life

Every week, podcast producers pick a theme and put together different kinds of stories based on that theme. They can be timely stories ripped from the week’s headlines or an uplifting episode about the joys of summer camp.

woman reading a book

If you’re a book lover

When book lovers aren’t actually reading (kind of tricky to do when you’re driving), they’re likely listening to an audiobook, or listening to a podcast about all the books they’re going to read when they get to their destination.

11.) What Should I Read Next?

Host Anne Bogel runs this show like a matchmaking game – guests tell her three books they love and one they hate and she suggests new books for them to read. You’ll end each episode with a reading list that grows by leaps and bounds (if you’re driving, don’t worry. You can go back and look at the show notes on her website later to note down those book recommendations.)

12.) Get Booked

Listeners write in and ask for book recommendations based on just about anything (have a trip coming up? Just read a really good book and want more like it?) and hosts Amanda and Jenn will come up with a nice long list of great next reads.

a podcast microphone

If you need a good belly laugh

Road trips are a great place for comedy podcasts. Laughing hysterically to yourself while jogging may get you some odd looks, but laughing in a car with others makes the hours fly by.

13.) Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend

Conan O’Brien invites people he enjoys talking to on his podcast. Since he’s a funny guy, usually the people he likes chatting with are funny as well…leading to an hour of hilarity.

14.) Comedy Bang! Bang!

This podcast started in 2009 and features a rotating cast of improv comedians doing outrageously ridiculous (and side-splitting) characters while talking to host Scott Aukerman. It will also lead you to other humorous podcasts so you could end up with an even longer listening list.

15.) How Did This Get Made

If you’re the sort of person who seeks out terrible movies on purpose and enjoy them because they’re terrible, this podcast is for you. Actors and co-hosts Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael, and Jason Mantzoukas delight in talking about awful movies and figuring out how in the world someone decided that making such a monstrosity was a good idea.

16.) Doughboys

If you love food and laughing (who doesn’t?), this podcast is for you. Comedians and co-hosts Mike Mitchell and Nick Wiger review chain restaurants, from drive-thrus to sit down spots, with a special guest each week. Rob Lowe, D’Arcy Carden, Gillian Jacobs and other guests have been on the podcast to discuss In-N-Out Burger, Chili’s, Dog Haus, and plenty more restaurants you may never have expected to hear an actual restaurant review about.

17.) Mission to Zyxx

Former members of the comedy group Upright Citizens Brigade perform this improv sci-fi sitcom set in outer space. Ambassador Pleck Decksetter and his ragtag band of explorers travel the Zyxx Quadrant on various missions. It’s hilariously funny – but it can get racy so best not to listen with kids in the car.

foggy, creepy evening with strange lights

If you like mystery…and a little creepiness

While many of us driving a lonely desert highway at 2 am crank up the happy music or silly stories and try to tune out the dark, some of you embrace it. These shows are for you.

18.) Welcome to Night Vale

The New York Times says this podcast sounds like “what might occur if Stephen King or David Lynch was a guest producer at your local public radio station.” The show is formatted as a series of community updates for a small desert town and features local weather, news, announcements from the Secret Police, mysterious lights in the sky, faceless old women…and much creepier happenings as well.

19.) Phoebe Reads A Mystery

Phoebe Judge got her podcast experience with Criminal, telling stories of real-life people who got swept up in committing or solving a crime. In this show, she reads a chapter an episode of a famous literary mystery, including a Sherlock Holmes story, Jane Eyre, and an Agatha Christie novel.

20.) The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel

This award-winning podcast is great for tweens and older…and adults will find themselves hooked as well! Mars Patel and his friends embark on a quest to find two of their missing buddies – whether they’re missing on Earth or elsewhere remains to be seen.

21.) Solve

If you always figure out the bad guy before a crime show is over, try your hand at this podcast where listeners play detective. Learn the facts of the case and the motivations of suspects through hearing interrogations and descriptions of the scene. At the end of the podcast, the narrator will tell you whether you got it right. A good one to listen to and discuss with passengers while you drive.

Teardrop Camper Prices: The Ultimate Guide!

If you like to travel with minimal fuss, but still want the comfort of sleeping in a bed and staying warm, a teardrop camper could be the perfect solution for you.

Teardrop campers were wildly popular from the 1930s to the 1960s, but they fell by the wayside as travelers replaced them with huge RVs and fifth wheels that included all the luxuries of home while they traveled. However, with the trend of minimalism and tiny homes, and the rise of all things vintage over the past few years, teardrop campers have risen to the forefront of trailer travel once again.

Teardrop Camper Prices

The advantages of teardrop trailers are clear. You can camp, but sleep comfortably in a bed. You’re out of the elements, and warmer than you would be in a tent. Because the trailers are small, they’re easy to tow and shouldn’t require you to purchase a new vehicle just to pull it. In fact, you can pull a teardrop camper with a motorcycle. They’re easy to set up and make camp. Their size also means they’re easier to store when you’re not using them. And – last but not least – they’re just so cute!

What affects the price of a teardrop camper?

Teardrop campers can range from $5,000 to more than $20,000, depending on their size and amenities. Generally speaking, small campers are from $5,000-$10,000, midsized campers are between $10,000 to $15,000, and larger trailers start at $15,000 and go up from there. You can choose from bare-bones models that are basically just a bed, to models with kitchens and wet baths (a bathroom with a shower that gets the entire bathroom wet). Campers also vary in their design and decor. Another factor you may want to consider, and that can affect the price of your camper, is its weight. There are campers available that are as light as 216 pounds!

How much does it cost to build a custom teardrop camper?

If you’re feeling handy, you can also build your own custom camper! There are YouTube tutorials on building an entire camper from scratch, which is the most inexpensive option. You can build your own camper for as little as $500, but $2,500-$3,000 is probably a more realistic price point. This blog talks you through every step of building your own camper.

You can also purchase a DIY teardrop camper kit, which includes the supplies and instructions you need to build your own camper. The price of these kits will vary, depending on whether you add on any extras, but you can find a base model for under $3,000. Some of the best-regarded teardrop camper kits are made by Big Woody Teardrop Campers, Chesapeake Light Craft, and The Teardroppers. You can purchase complete kits with everything you need, or often you can opt to purchase some of the parts and supply the rest yourself.

pop up trailer in a field

Is a popup camper better than a teardrop?

As with many decisions on camping equipment, whether you prefer a pop-up or a teardrop camper depends on you! Pop-up trailers are compact and inexpensive, but the pop-up roof can provide more room for you. The canvas can also make it feel more like you’re having an authentic camping experience. However, that same canvas can be a drawback – pop-ups can get stuffy in summer and cold in winter. If it rains, you’ll need to dry your trailer completely before storing it for long. Pop-up campers also require some work on your part to set them up and take them down.

Teardrop campers, by contrast, are easy to set up and take down because you don’t have anything to assemble. Your trailer is already set up! The hard sides of a teardrop camper mean you won’t be as vulnerable to cold or heat…or rain. You can also lock your camper securely. On the flip side, teardrop campers can be more expensive than popups. They’re also more tight – since nothing pops up or opens out, what you see is what you get in terms of space. This means they also have less storage space.

Ultimately you’ll have to decide what priorities are most important to you and choose a popup camper or a teardrop trailer based on your own personal needs.

Do teardrop campers hold their value?

Teardrop campers tend to hold their value well – much better, comparatively, than popup campers or expensive RVs and motorhomes. In fact, the increasing popularity of teardrop campers is a good thing and could help your teardrop camper hold its value even better.

Are Teardrop campers worth it?

Teardrop campers can definitely be a worthwhile decision for several reasons.

Low cost

As we mentioned above, the campers are very inexpensive compared to Class B or C campers, and definitely cheaper than large RVs and motorhomes. Since they’re lightweight, they will likely not require you to purchase a special vehicle just to tow one – you can probably use what you already have. Thanks to their signature teardrop shape, they’re also aerodynamic which means they won’t impact your gas mileage or the wear and tear on your vehicle as much as heavier trailers as well, saving you money once again.

Appealing and functional

Because you can build your own, or customize a teardrop camper you purchase, you can add features and decor that suit your personality and preferences. If you’re a vintage-lover you can make sure your camper is finished in a retro style. If you love the wood finish on some campers, you can have that on your own.

You can also customize your storage and amenities in your camper. If you’re a glamper who wants a bathroom and kitchen, you can choose a higher-end teardrop camper. If you’re a minimalist who just wants a place to rest your head, you can opt for a simple bed inside.

Easy maintenance

Because teardrop campers are simply constructed, there’s not a lot to maintain on them unless you have appliances to tend to. You don’t need to winterize them or do much at all. Because the campers are small enough to store in your garage, you don’t have to worry about covering and storing your camper for the winter.

teardrop trailer in the snow

What are the best teardrop camper brands?

Little Guy, Timberleaf, Oregon Trail’R, and Polydrop all make some great teardrop campers. Here are a few of our top choices:

1.) Little Guy Max

This trailer is just over 3,000 pounds and 6’7″ inches of headroom for tall people. The trailer has a good amount of storage, plenty of charging outlets, and LED lighting inside. It sleeps three and includes a dinette area and kitchenette.
Price: From $28,999

2.) TAB Teardrop Camper by nuCamp

This trailer has an indoor kitchen with a two-burner propane stove and fridge, with a seating area that converts into a queen bed. There is six feet of headroom, a TV and entertainment system, and an option to add either air conditioning, extra storage, or a bathroom. You can also add an outdoor shower.
Price: From $22,000

3.) Timberleaf Classic Teardrop Trailer

This teardrop trailer is fully insulated, with plenty of storage and a kitchen you access from outside the back of the trailer. The Timberleaf Classic is available in a variety of colors, and it weighs in at 1,500 pounds dry.
Price: From $21,500

4.) Oregon Trail’R FronTear Teardrop Camper

The Oregon FronTear is a great minimalist option, with a modern looking design, plenty of storage, and a double bed. There is also a small kitchen and a side table next to the bed. You can also add on options like an extra side table, a TV, and other add-ons.
Price: From $14,000

5.) Polydrop Teardrop Trailer

The Polydrop weighs only 760 pounds, but is well-insulated and has an outdoor kitchenette. The space-age design is sleek and there is storage tucked into several places. The Polydrop is meant to be taken off the grid. You can also opt for air conditioning, or an optional fridge. The trailer has a roof fan, LED lights, and 12V and USB outlets. The Roof-Rack awning rolls out from the side of the trailer to provide shade. There’s also a Roadshower on top of the trailer. While you’re out during the day, the sun heats the water for a nice warm shower.
Price: $9,000

6.) Earth Traveler T250LX Trailer

The Earth Traveler is a 100% carbon fiber trailer that weighs 216 lbs. It has pop-out sidewalls with tents, and pop-up roofs with tents in front and back. There are also UV awnings that you can set up to keep the sun off. This lightweight trailer is a great combination of a pop-up trailer and a teardrop.
Price: From $30,000

7.) The Meaner Bean Trailer

The Meaner Bean trailer is the first trailer to be made from a one-piece fiberglass shell, so it’s a very reliable, durable trailer. It has a queen foam mattress, upper cubbies for storage, and a laminated interior cabinet with a galley pass-through. There is recessed lighting, and plenty of clever storage.
Price: From $19,950

8.) Hütte Hut Teardrop Trailer

The Hütte Hut may be minimal on the inside, but it stands out for the retro styling and wood paneling. It’s lightweight and aerodynamic and easy to maneuver. The watertight wood provides shelter from the elements and keeps you warm and dry.
Price: $63,900

9.) Tiny Camper Mini Standard

This adorable mini teardrop still manages to pack in an actual sink, mini-fridge, and stove top in the rear galley. You can choose from a variety of paint colors, and even some prints of outdoor scenery. There’s a skylight over the bed so you can see the stars as you drift off to sleep.
Price: From $11,435

10.) Vintage Overland Great Escape Caravan

This Danish-inspired camper has a retro feel. It sleeps two people, and has a rear galley. It has clever storage, and a memory foam mattress. The exterior is aluminum, and the interior is hardwood to keep you snug and dry.
Price: From $15,000

From their non-fussy setup and minimal maintenance to their just plain adorableness, it’s clear to see why teardrop campers are having a resurgence at the moment! If you’re interested in buying or building a teardrop camper, the first step is to try one out and see if you like it. RVshare has teardrop trailers available to rent, along with a variety of other models. They also have 24/7 roadside assistance if you have any questions. It’s a great way to see if you think you might want to own one for yourself!

What’s the Best RV for a Family of Four?

What’s the Best RV for a Family of Four?

Are you looking to head out on a camping trip with kids in tow? A single kid is one thing, but if you and your partner have a couple of kiddos, you may be wondering what is the best RV for a family of four.

After all, you’re going to need enough sleeping space for everyone, and activities such as eating indoors (should the weather be bad) must also be taken into consideration. Of course, you’ll also need a way to store everything needed to take care of your family on vacation.

So what RV should you be looking for? Well, we can immediately rule out campervans and truck campers. While those types can work in some situations, they aren’t exactly comfortable for families with kids, especially not those with a couple of young campers. However, there are versions of nearly every other type of RV that will work quite well for a family of four (or even more).

Let’s check out some of our favorite RVs for families of four below.

Bets RV for a Family of Four: K-Z Escape Hybrid
Image source: K-Z RV

Hybrid: The Lightweight RV

Hybrid RVs are a fantastic RV type. These combine the light weight and portability of a pop-up camper with the structure and comfort of a traditional travel trailer. The result is a hard-sided trailer with beds that pop out from the sides and are housed in canvas enclosures. This creates more floor space and sleeping capacity without adding to the weight and length of the trailer.

For obvious reasons, hybrid trailers are the best option for families who want a trailer but can’t tow very much weight. It’s a great entry-level RV, and because of all the sleeping spaces provided, we love this option for people with kids.

Think a hybrid would be perfect for you and your family? If so, we recommend looking into the K-Z Escape E180RBT. This is one of the best RVs for a family of four because it folds up very small, doesn’t weigh much at all, and has enough sleeping space for ten people.

It also provides plenty of room for cooking and playing in the middle of the trailer, and even has a full bathroom on board—a must for those with small children.

Price of the K-Z Escape E180RBT: Unknown

Rent this RV here!

Best RV for a Family of Four: Jayco Jayflight Travel Trailer
Image source: Jayco

Travel Trailer: The Classic RV

If you’re able to tow a bit more, you might be looking for something with hard sides all around—canvas beds need not apply. This is where the traditional bumper-pull travel trailer comes into play.

We like traditional trailers because they provide an added layer of security. And because of their completely hard sides, it’s also easier to control the climate in a traditional trailer versus a hybrid.

As far as the best travel trailer for a family of four goes, we have to recommend the Jayco Jay Flight SLX 8 264BH. Various forms of this floor plan have been on the market for years, and for good reason: It’s simple and incredibly functional. This model provides families with everything they need to be comfortable in a relatively small and easy-to-tow package.

Price of the Jayco Jayflight SLX 8 264BH: $25,552

Rent this RV here!

Keystone Cougar Fifth Wheel
Image source: Keystone

Fifth Wheel: The Roomy RV

Those who have the ability to tow even more and wish to spread out while traveling might look into a fifth wheel trailer. This is the type of trailer that attaches to the bed of your truck rather than the bumper.

Fifth wheels are typically much roomier than travel trailers. They tend to have higher ceilings and be longer overall, making them feel more like a true home-on-wheels, often attracting people who plan to hit the road full-time.

Wondering which fifth wheel is best for a family of four? We really like the Keystone Cougar 368MBI. This is a mid-bunk fifth wheel with private sleeping spaces for both the parents and the kids. Besides the private bunk room, there is also a loft area, providing a third sleeping area for older children.

Price of the Keystone Cougar 368MBI: $45,995

Rent this RV here!

Jayco Greyhawk Class C
Image source: Jayco

Class C: The Road Trip RV

The next RV type on our list is a driveable one: the class C RV. This type of RV is large enough for a family of four to be quite comfortable, and super easy to pack up when it’s time to hit the road.

Class C RVs are relatively affordable while still offering plenty of amenities. Whether you’re looking for a slide model, a bathroom with a tub, or something else entirely, there is almost definitely a class C motorhome out there for you.

In terms of a class C RV for a family of four, we’d have to point you to the Jayco Greyhawk 31F. This RV features a private bunk area, meaning the kids will each have their own bed. On top of that, there’s a cab-over bunk, a sofa bed, and a table that changes into a bed, providing plenty of additional sleeping space.

Price of the Jayco Greyhawk 31F: $135,731

Rent this RV here!

Winnebago Vista Class A
Image source: Winnebago

Class A: The Luxury RV

Do you like the idea of a motorhome but are looking for something even more luxurious? The bus-style class A RV might just be for you. These large motorhomes tend to boast the most comfortable amenities and offer plenty of space.

Until recently, there weren’t very many class As that would work well for families, as they’re often designed with retirees in mind. However, that is no longer the case. Models such as the Winnebago Vista 31BE have small bunk areas as well as an optional loft bed over the cab.

Price of the Winnebago Vista 31BE: $146,512

Rent this RV here!

Can a Family of 4 Live in an RV?

All of the RVs listed above are great for vacationing, but what about living? These days we are seeing more and more people hit the road full-time. This is something that has traditionally been reserved for retired folks, meaning the full-time RV community was once composed almost exclusively of older people. However, that’s all changing now.

Thanks to the internet, working on the road is easier than ever before, and that means more young people can live this amazing lifestyle. Many people assume this younger full-time RVing crowd is mostly single people and couples without kids. But while there certainly are plenty of young people without kids traveling full-time, there are also an enormous number of families with kids who travel full-time as well, and that number is constantly growing.

So, can a family of four live in an RV? Absolutely! There are people doing it all over the country.

The key is to find the right floorplan for your family. Make sure you’re happy with the size of your rig, ensure everyone has a sleeping space they’re happy with, and determine whether a motorhome or a trailer will be better for your travel style.

The best way to do this? Rent first! A rental RV will give you the chance to try out a few different RV types and floor plans so you can choose the very best RV for your family of four to live in while you go on your epic full-time RVing adventure.

14 RV Night Driving Safety Tips

There may be times when you travel by motorhome that you find yourself needing to drive at night. Perhaps you just have a small way to finish going before you get to your destination, or you’re driving during the shorter winter months.

You may even choose to travel at night on purpose. You’ll encounter less traffic. Heavy winds tend to subside after dark. If you’re traveling with children, they often wind down after dark and may even fall asleep while you drive. It can be an exciting feeling driving past sleepy towns and knowing you’re one of a few people still out on the road while the world around you snoozes.

Driving an RV Safely at Night

Regardless of the reasons why you find yourself driving your motorhome at night, you could be nervous at the idea if you’re not used to it. We have some tips to keep you and your precious cargo safe while you’re driving during the dark.

man driving at night

RV nighttime driving tips

Many of these tips apply regardless of whether you’re driving a small car or a large RV and this is a helpful list for everyone who finds themselves driving at night! Some of these tips involve preparations you need to make before you leave on your drive, and some are things you need to do while you’re actually on the road.

Before you go:

1.) Get plenty of sleep

You don’t want to get drowsy on the road. Make sure you’re well-rested before you leave on your drive. Be willing to stop and make accommodations – perhaps at a rest stop or truck stop – to sleep if you need to along the way. While you’re on the road, have your seat upright rather than leaned back and relaxed. Keep the temperature a little cooler than usual. If you can, enlist a partner to sit up front and talk with you to keep you engaged and awake. Plan to stop and stretch your legs and get a snack that will give you energy. Stay hydrated.

2.) Clean your windshield, mirrors, and headlights

Dirt on windshields and mirrors is more noticeable in the dark and can impair your ability to see. Make sure all windows and mirrors you need to see out of are clean, and clean your headlights.

3.) Check your wipers

Windshield wipers that don’t wipe properly also make it hard to see in the dark. Make sure yours clear your windshield smoothly and don’t leave any streaks.

4.) Check your headlights

Along with making sure your headlights are clean, make sure they’re adjusted to shine where you need them. You may also find that RVs and trailers that are loaded and heavy will cause the headlights to shine at a different angle that an unloaded motorhome, so test your headlights while your rig is fully loaded before you start.

5.) Do a basic maintenance check

Breaking down on the road is a pain at any hour, but can be especially hard at night. Check your tires, oil, and other basic equipment to make sure it’s in good working order before you leave. You can’t prevent every mishap but you can cut down on the odds if you make sure your RV is in good working order before you go. Have the number of a 24/7 roadside service available – if you’re renting with RVshare, they have someone on-call around the clock to help you if you have trouble.

interior of vehicle at night

On the road:

While you’re on the road, practice these safety tips to help you drive at night.

6.) Go slow

Since you can’t see as far in the distance at night, you have less time to stop when you see an obstruction. Plan to drive slower – a vehicle driving 65 mph needs 50 more feet to stop than one traveling at 60 mph. When you’re planning how far you will drive, add in extra time so you don’t feel pressured to drive at your normal speed to get there.

7.) Use the high beams and fog lights

Drive with high beams on when you’re the only vehicle on the road (don’t use them when there is oncoming traffic because you’ll blind other drivers). Your fog lights illuminate a low, wide area so use them even if it’s not foggy.

8.) Cut down on inside lights

Inside lights can impair your ability to see the road and vehicles outside your RV. Cut down on cabin lights and other devices that may be a distraction inside. Dim your instrument panel – if it’s too bright, your eyes will have to adjust as they switch from the panel to the road outside. Make sure your GPS screen is on night mode as well.

9.) Watch for animals

Watch for deer and other animals in the road at night. If you see them, don’t swerve – you could lose control of your vehicle, run off the road, or hit another car or guardrail. Brake to a controlled stop. Here are more tips to avoid hitting a deer at night. The best plan is to go slow and keep your eyes peeled in areas where you may encounter wildlife.

RV set up at night under the stars

When you arrive:

Make sure you have a plan in place for how you’ll set up at your destination. If you’re headed to someone’s house, make sure they know what you’ll need to set up the RV (and make sure they’ll be awake when you get there!). Be mindful of neighbors and keep your voice low.

If you’re traveling with kids, have all their evening things together in one bag so they can easily brush teeth and get ready for bed. You may even want to have them get pajamas on and brush their teeth before you leave. Nothing is more frustrating than arriving at your destination, tired and wanting to sleep, and having to rummage through stuff to find what you need!

If you’re headed to a campground:

10.) Have an extra set of eyes

GPS devices are handy but they’re not always accurate. If you’re headed to an out-of-the-way campground or wilderness area it can be helpful to have a partner who can spot signs and help you find your way to the campsite.

11.) Make sure the campground will be open

Some campgrounds or parks close their gates at a certain time, or don’t take arrivals after a certain hour. Check ahead of time to be sure you can get to your site, and know the campground number in case you end up arriving late.

camper set up at night

12.) Book a pull-thru

If you’re arriving late, a pull-thru site is going to be much easier to set up than a site that requires you to back in. If you do have a back-in site, get out of your RV and manually inspect the spot before you drive in. Check for branches and for obstacles you might hit in front before you begin to drive. Keep in mind that the area will not be well-lit and try to make sure the space is as clear as possible.

13.) Have lights handy

Keep several flashlights and extra batteries where you can get to them easily to help you while you set up. You may need to use them to find your site number, and you’ll want your travel partner to flash them on any obstacles while you’re trying to park.

14.) Be mindful of the neighbors

If you arrive late at night, keep your voice and activities to a minimum. If you can avoid hooking up sewer or water, wait until morning to do that. Be careful of making too much noise or shining too many lights late at night.

Drive safely, everyone!

What’s the best RV for a family of 6?

As a parent of four children (making us a family of six), I know there are some considerations that have to be made for larger families! Some arrangements that work great for a family of four don’t always fit a family of six. Along with considering the size of your family when choosing a motorhome or planning a vacation, you also have to think about the ages of the kids, what kinds of things you like to do for fun, and your schedule as a family. Does everyone go to bed around the same time, or are you going to need space to put early birds down to bed before the night owls want to sleep? Will you need to plan outings during the day that make it easy to corral a baby and a toddler, or do you have older children that don’t require constant supervision? Most parents of large families make these decisions constantly, sometimes without even realizing it. But when you’re planning a family RV trip, it’s good to think about these things ahead of time.

RVs lined up and camping at the beach

What’s the Best RV for a Family of Six?

When you’re looking at RVs for larger families, of course you’ll begin by making sure everyone has a place to sleep! Again, this can depend on your children’s ages – younger kids can sometimes share a bed, or snuggle up in smaller spaces, but if you have a 6-foot tall teenager you’ll need to make sure there’s a space to accommodate him. Once you have sleeping space for everyone, you’ll want to look at a few other amenities as well. It is possible to survive on the road with six people and one bathroom, but if you have the option to have two that’s certainly preferable. You’ll also want to look at seating in the dining area, and if there’s an entertainment area you’ll want to make sure there’s space for everyone there as well. Definitely take advantage of picnic tables and outdoor spaces when you’re set up to camp, but you’ll want to have space inside in case of rainy, hot, or otherwise unpleasant weather.

Great RVs for large families

Here are a few RVs that work well for larger families. If you’re considering purchasing one, you may want to rent using RVshare first to see if it suits your family.

1.) Newmar Bay Star Class A Motorhome

With seven different floor plans to choose from, and models that sleep up to 8 people, you’re sure to find a motorhome model that suits your family’s size and lifestyle. You can have up to three slideouts to provide even more room for your family. The Bay Stars doesn’t compromise luxury for space, either – it comes with vinyl ceiling panels, wall art, a soundbar system, and more entertainment options and decor choices. You can choose to have a fireplace and other amenities, and there’s a spacious kitchen for cooking indoors.

2.) Thor Miramar Class A Motorhome

The Miramar offers five different floorplans and sleeps up to 10 people. Several of the floorplans include outdoor entertainment or kitchens, which can free up space indoors while you’re working outside. A stowaway coffee table offers you the option of more space when you’re not using it. Solid surface kitchen counters and vinyl ceilings give the motorhome a classy look to accompany it’s room.

3.) Holiday Rambler Admiral Class A Motorhome

This RV has five different floor plans and sleeps up to nine people. It’s an affordable motorhome for families, and some models offer outdoor entertainment so you can move some of your activities outside and free up space indoors. The kitchen has great storage and a large fridge so you have plenty of space for cooking for a big family.

4.) Fleetwood Bounder Class A Motorhome

The Bounder has seven floorplans and can sleep up to 8 people. Some of the floorplans include outdoor entertainment, and one includes two full bathrooms which is a great advantage with six people! You can also get solid surface countertops, vinyl ceilings and floors, and beautiful interior decor.

5.) Newmar Mountain Aire Class A Motorhome

The Mountain Aire has nine floorplans and sleeps up to six people. The spacious interior gives everyone plenty of room to spread out, and the three slideouts mean even more space. Design features include maple cabinets, feature ceilings, tile flooring, and hardwood window frames.

trailer parked and camped at a campsite

There are some great fifth-wheel options for families as well.

6.) Coachmen Chaparral 373MBRB

The Chaparral is almost 42 feet long, giving everyone plenty of room. This fifth wheel has three bedrooms for extra privacy, and has sleeping space for two adults and up to five kids, along with a foldout couch that could sleep two more. It also has two full bathrooms, one of which has a bathtub. It also has an outdoor entertainment system, allowing you to move outside and free up room inside the RV.

7.) Grand Design Solitude 3740BH

This fifth wheel has a bunkroom that can sleep up to six kids, with a large storage area for all of the toys, clothes, books, and other things that six kids require! There is a half-bath attached to the bunkroom as well. In the living space, you can opt for a table and chairs, or a super sofa which is a great choice for a large family. The sofa seats four adults and folds out into a bed for more sleeping space. You can add a washer and dryer in the master bedroom, which can save a lot of hassle (and coins!) in a family with a lot of kids. There’s also a large closet and space for a king bed.

trailer set up to camp

Can a family of 6 live in an RV?

A family of six can definitely live in an RV! You’ll want to plan some things out ahead of time – do you have young children who need a daily nap? If you have kids in a variety of ages, what will the older ones do during that time and where will they be? If this will be your permanent living situation (at least for a month or more), you’ll also want to divide up chores and establish ground rules. It will be more important than ever to have everyone pick up after themselves in a small space, and kids are capable of helping with a lot of the daily procedures that need to be done in order to keep things humming on the road.

You may also want to include them in travel and other decisions. Kids are often much more interested in activities when they’ve had a hand in the planning, and it helps them build valuable skills as well.

For tips on homeschooling while on the road (also called “roadschooling”) check out our “Roadschooling 101” article to help you get started. For more tips on RVing fulltime with a family, check out our helpful article here.

Parents of large families know that it can be a lot of work to take their crew on the road – but it’s a rewarding and exhilarating experience when you do!

Want to Give Full-Time RVing and Homeschooling a Try? Tips From a Family on the Road!

Kids and parents across the nation are getting settled into their new routines – whether that be heading back to school or turning dining room tables into classrooms.

Some families are deciding on a different option, though. And that is to take the leap into trying full-time RVing! While making a change this big has plenty of unknowns, it makes sense for many to choose to give the RV lifestyle a try with so many schools and employers offering remote work and education.

To get first-hand insight on what it takes to learn and work from the road full time, we chatted with Julie, who is just starting out full time RVing. She, her husband, and their four children, ages 6 months – 10 years, recently moved into a 2019 Grand Design Momentum 395M (a 42’ fifth wheel). Read on for her tips on adjusting to homeschooling and their plans for life on the road!

Fifth-wheel RV trailer

How to Decide to RV Full Time

Try RVing as a family first

Four years ago, our family purchased our first RV. We quickly realized how much we loved the RV lifestyle. We enjoyed being outdoors and exploring different areas, but we also looked forward to the simplicity of life in the RV and spending more quality time together. Whenever our trips would come to an end and it would be time to pack up to come home, we were always so sad. 

Consider work and schooling arrangements

Two years ago, I mentioned the possibility of going full time. My husband was nearing retirement eligibility and I could work from anywhere – why not just live in the RV? My husband initially thought it was unrealistic, but quickly warmed up to the idea. We spent a few months pondering how it would work before putting an 18-month plan in place to make it happen. 

Think about your “why” – what do you hope to gain from this experience?

The obvious answer [for what I want my kids to experience] is adventure and exploration. I want them to experience first-hand what they are learning about – historical landmarks, animals, cultural celebrations, state capitals, ethnic foods, and so on. 

Beyond that, my hope for them is to gain an appreciation for experience over possessions. I want to challenge and empower them to try new things, make new friends, and learn new skills. I want them to be consistently immersed in diversity of people, places, and cultures. I want them to see that there is a huge world beyond their home state. And, most importantly, I want us all to experience quality time as a family. 

Mother, father, two boys, and a baby on a backpack sit on a ledge overlooking a valley

Tips for Adjusting to Road or Homeschooling

Release expectations, be flexible, and remember – learning opportunities are everywhere

Most importantly, remember to give yourself some grace!  Homeschooling is drastically different from a structured school environment, and does not, and should not, look the same. Not only will you spend many less hours schooling than you are used to, but there will be convenient learning opportunities at every turn. Don’t overlook the educational value in the day-to-day: make a recipe to learn fractions, use grocery shopping to learn budgeting or how to count money, take a nature walk for a science lesson, watch a movie to learn about other cultures. Along those same lines, there are countless ways to incorporate free community resources – national and state parks, museums, and libraries to name a few. Have fun and don’t stress!

Have test runs

One of the key things that we did was trial runs to see what worked for us. Over the summer, I set aside a few days a month and we would play school. It gave me a lot of insight into how to juggle schedules, each child’s learning styles, how I needed to adjust my teaching style, what types of curriculum worked best, and what types of space and supplies we needed. 

Boy slouches over notebook and laptop

How to Set Up Homeschooling in an RV

Keep space and weight of RV top of mind

Homeschooling in an RV provides its own challenges that must also be considered. RVs have limits to both space and weight, so purchasing endless books, school supplies, and equipment is not practical. Similarly, we don’t always have the best internet, so an online program can be problematic as well. If you are in an RV, be sure to ponder all of those factors before you begin shelling out money on homeschooling items.  Another tip is to invest in supplies that are reusable – dry erase boards and markers, wipeable worksheets and workbooks, and magnetic manipulatives are some great examples.

Be flexible on where you set up to learn for the day

Because space is limited in RVs, having a dedicated homeschooling space is not always possible. Right now, we do not have a dedicated space and our boys move around each day. They usually find themselves at the kitchen table, but sometimes they cozy up on the sofa and oftentimes they head outside to the picnic table. 

Get creative when you can have a dedicated space

While they enjoy the change of scenery, one of our upcoming projects will be to convert a space in the garage of our toy hauler for desks that we can use for both homeschooling and work. Because that will be a multi-purpose space, we will use desks that fold up for easy storage and stools that we can tuck away when not being used. 

Organize, organize, organize!

Another key factor is organization. In order to keep clutter to a minimum, invest in storage cubes or drawers. Label them so that you can easily find what you need and so that the kids can help clean up at the end of each day. We have a magazine box for each child that holds their curriculum books and a storage cube that holds their supplies. We store those in the benches of our kitchen table so that the boys can access anything they need at any time.

Boy smiles and holds a snake

Balancing Work and Homeschooling

Have a schedule and plan ahead! For anyone balancing homeschooling and work in a house, being in an RV really isn’t that different. The one exception being the limited amount of quiet spaces to take conference and video calls. As a business owner, it is crucial that I have time to work every day. I have found that the key is carving out dedicated time for my business early in the morning before the kids wake up and late at night after they go to bed.

During the daytime hours when the kids are awake, my time is mostly dedicated to teaching and quality time with the kids. If I have to work during the day, I make sure to plan independent activities that they can complete without my involvement or have my husband run PE class while I finish my work.

Boy stands next to the entrance sign of Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & Visitor Center

Embrace the freedom of living on the road!

We really do not have a concrete plan [for where we plan to go] at this point; I think that’s part of the fun of this adventure! Since we are leaving in the winter months, we know that we will head south first to avoid freezing temperatures as much as possible. Then we will make our way west. Ultimately, we hope to see as many of the national parks and landmarks as possible and use those to educate our children.

Our initial plan is to travel for one year and then reevaluate. If we like it and we have more to see, then we will keep going. If it isn’t the life for us or we feel like we’ve seen enough, then we will settle down. Or maybe we will have a hybrid lifestyle where we balance RV life and a sticks-n-bricks home.

Two young boys overlooking a valley

Thanks so much, Julie, for the awesome tips on RVing full-time as a family! For more tips on roadschooling, check out the posts below:

Meet the Owner Series: The Jones Family

At RVshare, our goal is to make RV travel a reality for everyone. Through transactional rental, we empower owners to become entrepreneurs, and renters to find adventure on the open road. Building a connection between RV owners and renters goes beyond a simple service – it is the foundation for memories made that will last a lifetime.

Today our spotlight is The Jones Family from Missouri!

Husband and wife

Tell us a little about yourself!

I am a wife and mother of 7 wonderful children, 10 grandchildren. We bought our first RV 8/18 to use for ourselves with plans to rent it out to cover our payment. Our first rental went out 2 days after we purchased it. We were so successful we purchased our second RV 4/19. We have 22 5 Star reviews. We treat each renter like family. We have several repeat renters and many of our renters have come from a referral from a friend

Why did you decide to rent out your RV?

Originally to cover our payment and make a little money for us to travel with.

How many RVs do you rent out today?

Travel trailer

https://rvshare.com/rvs/details/1193509

Travel trailer with slide outs extended

https://rvshare.com/rvs/details/1129996

What is your favorite RV and why?

Jayco, because they are built strong with good craftsmanship. We have had no issues with ours.

Why did you choose to use RVshare?

My son’s friend was an RVShare owner and he said he was success his first year.

What advice would you give to new RV owners?

Go above and beyond for your renters and treat them like family. Yes, this is a business for us but we can still treat each renter like family and they will come back time after time as ours does.

What’s the biggest mistake you see first-time renters make?

When you are explaining all the aspects of the RV they are not paying attention because they think they know how to “camp”.

What has been your favorite RV trip and why?

NASCAR race in Kentucky and Kansas. We loved meeting other NASCAR fans.

What is your dream RV vacation?

Taking 6-8 weeks and seeing the USA from coast to coast. 

Thanks for sharing, Donna!

Family photo with about 20 people of all ages

Join Our Community of RV Owners

If you rent on our site, are you part of our RV owner’s Facebook community? Here we share updates to our platform and get your feedback, in addition to providing a space for owners to connect and share ideas and tips. And if you don’t rent out your RV, we’d love to have you! Here’s why we think you should rent out your RV on RVshare.

How to Keep Sentimental Items Without Crowding Your RV

A popular reason people choose the RV life is because of their desire to downsize. Brick and sticks houses become cluttered with closets full of trinkets and boxes lined up in basements. But with an RV, that’s not really an option. Pairing down to just the essentials is key for living in a small space. Most of the items you bring aboard need to serve one function or another, and there really isn’t a lot of room for much else.

But what about keepsakes that don’t serve any purpose other than holding memories of loved ones or a special time in our lives? Maybe a cherished family heirloom, collection of photos, or a well-loved childhood toy comes to mind. In this post, we’ll walk through some solutions to balance preserving memories, space, and weight in your RV.

VW bus RV parked in front of house next to palm tree

Tips For Downsizing

First, let’s talk about how to start downsizing. One way or another, there are bound to be things you’ll need to get rid of when moving into your RV! Before you start to get rid of anything, though, take your time to carefully go through your belongings. If you’re finding it difficult to separate things because of sentimental attachment, take a breath and remember the memories you have with that item will always be with you. You are not your belongings – a common mantra for minimalists (or those aspiring to be!). 

Once you are in the right headspace, begin to sort through everything. When doing this, really think about what you will actually need, the space available, and what will add to the weight of the RV. Separate into piles of sell, donate, and keep – though, we’ll be revisiting the keep pile at least once more. For most people, big furniture items are among the easiest to decide to sell because these items simply won’t fit in the RV. To help downsize, check out these posts:

Lace doily repurposed to dreamcatcher

4 Ways to Keep Sentimental Items in Your RV

Now that you’ve started to downsize, let’s revisit your “keep” pile from above – and go through it again with a little more critical of an eye. Again, carefully consider the space you have and the weight the item will add to your RV. Sort once more into sell, donate, and *must* keep. For items you are still torn about or are must-keeps but can’t necessarily fit into your RV, here are our tips!

Take a photo of the item

Sometimes all we really need from the item is to see it and have our memories come rushing back. Whether it’s a knick-knack or a child’s artwork, this is easy! Simply take a photo of the item, and maybe write a little note about it, too! It’s especially helpful if you…

Convert to digital photo albums

While time-consuming, scanning old family photos from their hard copy albums to a digital cloud has a few benefits. Of course, there is the space-saving aspect. But this is also great because they can never be lost or destroyed – your photos stay safely tucked away in the cloud. It also makes it easier to share pictures with loved ones!

Share the item with a loved one

Something that could have us holding onto an item is that we cherish it so much we want to know it will go to someone who will love and appreciate it just as much as we do. A great solution is to gift the item to a family or friend. You can even ask them to store it for you if you have a set timeframe of when you’ll be back for it.

Repurpose the item

A great way to preserve a keepsake is to repurpose it into something else. Consider the following ideas:

  • Clothing items, especially sports tees, can be sewn into a blanket.
  • Turn doilies or tablecloths into curtains, throws, or wall-hangings.
  • Frame letters, embroidery swatches, recipe cards, or other flat items. (Keep in mind limited wall space, though!)
  • Get creative with your own drawer-pulls and cabinet handles. Brooches, small toys, silverware… Virtually anything can be used!

Going through our belongings can be challenging and rewarding at the same time. But it is worth it for the peace of mind that comes with a clean and tidy RV! Keep your RV clean using the guides below:

Why Fall 2020 is the Perfect Time to Try RVing

Without a doubt, this year has been an odd one. Personally speaking, our spring break and our summer months looked nothing like they have in previous years. Instead of long trips and exotic vacations, many people have been opting to stick close to home or to go on shorter trips than usual.

The RV business, however, is booming.

Why Fall 2020 is the Perfect Time to Try RVing

RVshare’s own research shows that demand for RVs is up and still climbing, and many people are planning longer trips in these motorhomes, rather than weekend getaways.

There are likely a few reasons for this. Traveling in a self-contained RV, with the same companions for an entire trip, definitely limits your exposure more than airplane trips or road trips where you’re stopping at hotels.

Also, with many students now remote- or home-schooling, and with a lot of adults working remotely, many people aren’t limited by having to stay in one place anymore. They’re taking the opportunity to travel in their non-working hours, and they’re working from their RV, or even outside at a picnic table, from a campground with wifi.

a campervan on the road

Why try RVing now?

If you haven’t yet taken the opportunity to try RVing, fall of 2020 may be the perfect time. Most businesses and governments have had time to establish their health rules and regulations, so there shouldn’t be as much confusion about which places are open and what you’re allowed to do. People are becoming accustomed to practicing social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands, and generally practicing good hygiene.

This fall is also a great time for an RV trip because, if you have been sticking close to home like a lot of people, you may be getting a little stir-crazy by now and you’re ready for adventure!

Finally, for many places you may be looking to explore, fall is the perfect season to visit. The heat of the summer has subsided, but you usually won’t encounter snow just yet. In cooler areas or mountain regions, you may see beautiful fall foliage. Also, if you’re visiting places that thrive on summer or winter tourism, you may find deals on food or activities when you come in the off-season. One word of warning – some restaurants and shops shut down altogether during their downtime, so if you have your heart set on a particular activity, check ahead of time to make sure it will be available.

Which RV should you choose?

If you’re going to rent an RV for your fall RV trip, RVshare makes the process easy! They have a variety of motorhomes and trailers in every size, all over the country. If you’re new to RVing, they make the process of renting a motorhome easy. You can choose to rent an RV to drive to your destination, or you can often opt to have the owner set your RV up right at your campsite for you. RVshare also has 24/7 roadside assistance so if you have any questions at all about your rental, there’s someone on-hand who can help you.

The size of RV you choose is going to depend on a few things. You’ll want to consider the size of the group you’re camping with, how long you’ll be traveling, and where you’re going.

Class A

Class A motorhomes are the large bus-style RVs you see on the road. They can sleep between 4-10 people, and start at 21 feet, going up to more than 40 feet in length. They’re great for large groups or families, or if you’re traveling for a long period of time and like to have some room to yourself! They’re also a good option for people who want to be completely self-contained. Class A’s come with kitchens, bathrooms with showers, and sometimes even a washer and dryer. You can seriously limit your exposure to others with a Class A if that’s a priority for you.

a campervan set up and ready for camping

Class B

Class B campervans are the smallest vehicle. They are about 8-20 feet and sleep 2-3 adults. They are a great option for solo campers, couples, or a very small family. Because they’re smaller, they’re much easier to drive and to maneuver narrow or windy roads, and they’ll fit just about any campsite. On the downside, unless you’re going solo, there’s not much room for privacy and personal space.

Class C

Class C campers are a good mix of the above two categories. They’re between 20-38 feet and sleep from 4-8 people. Class C RVs often include bathrooms and kitchens, but aren’t as large and unwieldy (or as expensive) as Class A motorhomes.

Trailers

You can also choose to rent a trailer. If you do, make sure you have a vehicle that is capable of towing the trailer you choose – they range in size from small, lightweight teardrop trailers to massive fifth-wheel trailers that can offer as many amenities as a Class A motorhome. Remember, if you don’t have a tow vehicle capable of towing a trailer, the owner may be willing to set it up right at the campsite for you.

Why families should try RVing

If you have a family, this fall could be the perfect time to try RVing with them. For one thing, you can keep the kids more contained in your own space. You’ll have your own eating and sleeping spots, and can use your own bathroom, cutting down on a lot of public places where kids can spread and pick up germs. Kids also love the novelty of getting out of their own beds and trying something new. It almost doesn’t matter where you take them in your RV – they’ll probably be thrilled to shake up their routine! This is also a great time to make memories as a family and to get outside and explore national parks or other natural areas after a few months of being stuck close to home.

colored pencils and art supplies

Try roadschooling

Families can also homeschool (or rather, roadschool) children while traveling in an RV, and the stops you make as you travel can supplement what they’re learning in school. Plan a science lesson, and then visit the Space Center in Houston, or an observatory or planetarium. Learn about U.S. history and visit the places your children are reading about. Or study ecology and natural life and then hit up a state or national park to learn more about the plant and animal life there. If school is meant to prepare kids for the real world, it makes sense to do things out in the real world that tie in to their lessons.

Interested in learning more about roadschooling and getting practical tips from parents who have done it? Check out How to Homeschool While RVing – Roadschooling 101. We share everything you need to know, including how to decide if roadschooling is right for your family, and what research you need to do before you begin.

Try a local trip

If you’re nervous about taking a long road trip with kids, you can always be a tourist closer to home. In fact, we’ve noticed that there are a lot of areas near our home that we haven’t explored because we were busy planning trips to farther-off places. Shake up your routine and take your RV to a state park near your home, or to another local campground.

Why others should try RVing

Families aren’t the only ones who can benefit from taking to the road this fall! Whether you’re single, a couple, or want to embark on a road adventure with a good buddy, now’s the time! If you’re an adult who is working remotely, you may also find that this is the perfect time for traveling in a motorhome.

a computer, coffee, and work from home supplies

Working from home (or RV)

By now, most people who are working remotely have figured out the tools they need to function as a team. Whether you use Zoom, or another videoconference service, you can fire that up from the road as well. Just be conscious of your background, especially since you’re operating in close quarters in an RV. Scope out a quiet space if you need one for calls, and check to make sure there aren’t any bathrooms or mirrors behind you during your call that could accidentally broadcast anything you don’t want to share with a group!

If possible, set up a workstation or have a spot you can return to each day when you need to work. Have a plug so you can charge your computer, and keep earbuds or headphones, a microphone if you need it, and any other tools you need for your job in one spot so you can find them easily. If you do have children, make sure you have a plan to keep them occupied while you’re working. You may even find that without the distraction of coworkers dropping by to chat, having to get up to rummage for office supplies, and all the other small interruptions that happen in an office full of people, you could finish up your work much quicker.

For more tips on working from home, check out tips from the RVshare staff as they discovered for themselves what worked and what didn’t.

Tips for everyone

If you’ll be either roadschooling or working remotely while you’re RVing, there are a few steps you’ll want to take to set yourself up for success.

1.) Gather your supplies

Some school supplies like pencils, markers, and paper are easy to restock on the road. But others like physical textbooks, specialized equipment, or teaching materials may need to be sent to a physical address, or you may need to work a little harder to find a store that sells them. Make sure you know before you embark on a trip what you need and where you can get it.

Likewise, if you’re working from your RV, make sure you have whatever supplies you need to accomplish your job. You likely need a computer – probably a laptop which can store away easily while you’re traveling. Will you need headphones or earbuds? A router for your motorhome? Is there any specialized equipment for your occupation that you need to get ahead of time?

2.) Determine how you’ll get online

Check with the campgrounds where you plan to stay to make sure that they have, in fact, reopened and that they have reliable wifi. It’s very possible more people than ever will be using that wifi and working from their own RVs, so make sure they’re set up to handle all of you.

One option that a lot of us who work from home use as a fallback – running to a local coffee shop to use their wifi – may not be available to you now. Make sure you have a backup option if the campground wifi goes down. You can check with local eateries to see if they are open and allow people to linger, especially if they have outdoor seating. Some libraries are opening in a limited capacity. You can also look into setting up a mobile hot spot. Check with your cell phone carrier to see if this is an extra fee and if you need to know anything else. If you choose this option, you’ll also want a nearby place to charge your phone because using the service drains your battery quickly.

a camper set up next to a large woodpile

3.) Plan your daily schedule

It’s easy to get wrapped up in work, and sometimes even in school (yes, really!). Make sure you have a set schedule for your work or school hours, and that you stop according to your schedule. There’s not much fun in working from an RV if you never get out and explore your surroundings! If you know this is a challenge for you, you could even look into booking a timed event like a ranger talk or tour. Many museums and other attractions also require people to register ahead of time for a certain time. That way, you’re forced to stop work in order to get to your event on time.

4.) Plan ahead

Many museums, parks, and other places to visit have moved to a reservation system to ensure that they don’t have too many people inside their facility at the same time. If there is a place you really want to visit, check out their website before you go to make sure they’re open and to see what their specific guidelines are for visiting.

This year has thrown a lot of us for a loop. We haven’t gone on the trips we usually plan each year, and we’ve missed out on activities we look forward to. Some of us have had to cancel trips we’ve been planning for a long time. But this fall could also be an opportunity to try something new and make new memories in the midst of a crazy time.

Hybrid RV: Camper & Trailer Hybrids

What is a Hybrid RV?

Hybrid campers are an interesting breed, for sure. A cross between a pop-up camper and a traditional bumper-pull travel trailer, these awesome RVs include a hard body and roof, but have pop-outs made of canvas, giving the user more interior space to work with without the added length or weight. They are lightweight, spacious, and perfect for many camping families.

Hybrid trailers first hit the market in the late 1990s. Because they’re a relatively new addition to the RV market, they are often left out of RV type lineups, and some people are completely unaware they even exist. This is unfortunate because the hybrid RV fills a void that no other camper can, meaning they might make camping possible for people who believe an RV is out of reach for them due to their vehicle type and/or the number of people in their family.

hybrid RV hitched to pick up truck parked at campsite

Benefits of a Hybrid RV

There are many reasons to choose a hybrid camper. In fact, for many, these “crossover” RVs check a variety of boxes that no other RV type can check off, making it a no-brainer to purchase one.

Wondering what benefits a hybrid travel trailer might provide? Below are some of the biggest benefits and most common reasons people end up choosing a hybrid over other types of RVs.

Weight, Length, and Space

If you’re looking for an RV that can fit the whole family but is still relatively easy to tow, a hybrid might be just the thing. They aren’t any lighter than hard-sided campers that match them in size when folded up. However, their pop-outs—which add hardly any weight—allow the camper to expand to a much bigger size once parked.

These pop-outs remove the need to have beds taking up valuable floor space, and offer more sleeping space than most other travel trailers, meaning you get more usable space in a smaller and lighter package that can be towed by a small truck or SUV.

Ease of Set Up

Unlike pop-up campers which can be a real pain to get set up, hybrid RVs are very simple to set up. The beds fold out very easily and can even be popped out by one person working alone, as long as that person is tall enough. Aside from this simple step, the rest of the setup process is identical to the process for a hard-sided camper.

Flexibility

While a pop-up camper must be completely set up before you can go inside, a hybrid RV can actually be used without popping out the beds. This is handy in a few instances.

For one, if you arrive at a campground after dark or in the middle of a rainstorm, it is possible to go straight inside without dealing with any outdoor setup.

Another time this might come in handy is if you stop to stay the night in a rest area or parking lot. In this case, you could leave the pop-outs in and instead sleep on the fold-out couch, or you can fold down the table bed.

Weather Protection

A hybrid travel trailer also offers more weather protection than a pop-up. While the tent-like pop-outs aren’t the best place to be when it’s very windy or rainy, these can be pulled in while you wait out the bad weather, and you will be left with a hard-sided camper that provides protection from the elements.

Cons of a Hybrid RV

What about cons? There are, of course, drawbacks to owning a hybrid trailer as well. While these can all be worked around, they are things that might make you think twice about purchasing a hybrid rather than a traditional hard-sided camper. This is especially true if you plan to live in your RV full-time, but these cons will affect you even if you only plan to use the rig on weekends.

Read on to learn the top three drawbacks of owning a hybrid pop-up camper.

Less Temperature Control

Unfortunately, the canvas pop-outs do let in the heat and cold, making it much more difficult to control the temperature in a hybrid camper. This is a bigger problem in extreme heat and extreme cold, and less of an issue in spring and fall or in places with mild weather year-round.

Leaking and Canvas Damage

Hybrid campers are also more prone to leaks than other types of campers. This is because the water tends to seep in around the canvas pop-outs. On top of that, canvas can be damaged relatively easily. Rips, holes, and mold are all things to look out for.

If you plan to purchase a used hybrid trailer, we recommend looking very carefully for problems with the canvas, as well as water damage around the pop-outs. Continue watching for these things once you own your hybrid, and you should be able to nip any problems in the bud.

Security Issues

While it isn’t something to worry about in most cases, hybrid campers do not offer the same sort of security hard-sided campers would. The fabric pop-outs could be cut, meaning someone could very easily enter your RV if they really wanted to.

That said, this is highly unlikely in most campgrounds, and even more so out in the wilderness. In fact, we’d say bears would be the bigger concern when boondocking, and those aren’t likely to bother you as long as you put food away properly.

More Noise

Finally, there is the noise issue to contend with. Because canvas does nothing to block out sound, you can pretty much count on listening clearly to anything happening outside.

Again, if you’ll be camping in the middle of nowhere, this isn’t really a concern, but those staying in busy campgrounds might have a problem with this, especially if they camp with small children who go to bed earlier in the evening.

Parked and set up hybrid RV

Hybrid RV Interiors

If you’ve never had the opportunity to step foot in a hybrid RV, you may be wondering what you might expect the interior to look like. The answer? For the most part, these unique trailers look much like their hard-sided camper cousins. They feature a kitchen area, a dinette for eating, and some have a couch. A bathroom is present—though a wet bath is sometimes used to save space—and a few hybrid campers even feature slide-outs, adding more living space.

Quite possibly the only noticeable difference between a hybrid and a traditional trailer is the presence of the aforementioned canvas pop-outs. In most cases, these pop-outs are on one or both ends of the RV, but they can also be present on the side of the trailer.

The pop-outs contain beds that fold down out of the wall, creating a small, tent-like structure where the bed lives when in use. When the bed is folded in, it is flush (or nearly flush) with the rest of the wall. This means that unlike a slide-out, a pop-out will not eat up your floor space when pulled in, but you will not be able to use the bed with the pop-out in this position.

Hybrid RV Exteriors

The exterior of a hybrid trailer is also very similar to that of a hard-sided bumper-pull trailer. It has four hard-sided walls, a rubber roof, and one or two axles, depending on the size of the trailer. You’ll also find all the same hookups, meaning you can have electricity, water, and sewer in your tiny home-on-wheels, just as you would in a traditional trailer or motorhome.

Again, the difference is all in those canvas pop-outs. From the outside, these pop-outs look like small tents attached to the sides of the trailer when folded down. When folded up, they appear to be doors or slide-outs of some sort, and are flush with the hard-sided exterior walls.

Some people may be completely unaware of the fact that a trailer is a hybrid until those pop-outs are folded down.

How Much Does a Hybrid RV Cost?

While pop-up campers are much cheaper than hard-sided trailers, hybrid campers tend to cost about the same as their traditional counterparts. That is to say, an 18-foot hybrid camper would be priced in the same ballpark as an 18-foot hard-sided camper.

That said, because of their pop-out beds, hybrid campers actually give you more bang for your buck in terms of sleeping space and floor space. Those beds folding out of the wall can easily turn your 18-foot trailer into a 26-foot one without any added weight or cost. In this sense, though it may not seem like it at first glance, a hybrid RV offers excellent value.

Want to find the cheapest hybrid out there? Expect to pay around $18,000 for the least expensive models. Meanwhile, those looking to go big will shell out around $40,000 for the biggest and fanciest hybrid campers there are.

What is the Lightest Hybrid Camper?

If you’re looking into purchasing a hybrid pop-up camper, chances are you’re doing so to sleep several people in the lightest possible trailer. Therefore, it only makes sense that many people are wanting to know about the weight of these campers.

Generally speaking, a hybrid RV will weigh between 3,000 and 7,000 lbs. Of course, the final weight depends on the length of the trailer, whether it includes a slide-out, what kinds of appliances and amenities are packed inside, and how much stuff you pack into it.

If you are looking for a super light hybrid, something like the inTech Flyer Explore may be your cup of tea. Just be aware that the cargo carrying capacity on the smallest and lightest hybrid trailers is very low, making it difficult to pack everything a family might need on a camping vacation.

As you can see, hybrid campers are a very unique type of RV that can serve a niche audience very well. If you think a hybrid might be the right choice for you but want to try one out first, considering renting before buying.

We have plenty of hybrid campers available right here on RVshare, so finding something to suit your needs shouldn’t be an issue at all.

How to Protect Your Dog’s Paws During Winter Hikes

Just like humans, dogs can get antsy being cooped up inside during the winter months! Your furry friend still needs regular exercise, and it’s always more fun to bring a buddy along on a hike. However, just like you need different gear to hike in winter, your dog needs some extra protection as well.

How to Protect Your Dog’s Paws During Winter Hikes

The cold snow and ice, and the salt and other products sometimes used to melt ice can be harmful to your dog, especially if he’s on a long hike with you. You’ll want to make sure you know how to protect dog paws in winter before you bring your dog along with you. There are several products out there that you can use for dog paw protection. Once you settle on one, try it out with your dog on a short walk around the neighborhood to make sure he finds it comfortable before heading out on a long hike with him.

How to protect dog paws in winter

There are a few things you can do to make sure you’re protecting dog paws in winter. For starters, make sure your dog is groomed. Long hair, especially around their feet, can attract ice balls, salt crystals, and ice-melting chemicals that stick to his fur. Be sure your pup gets groomed regularly, with the hair and nails trimmed. Also, after a walk or hike, be sure to wash and wipe your dog’s paws to get any salt or other muck off their feet. This will also help to keep them from licking the chemicals off their paws, and possibly making themselves sick.

If your dog is elderly, a puppy, or a short-haired dog, check with your vet before planning a long hike – those dogs are most susceptible to the cold. You may also want to consider a sweater for your dog, along with foot protection. You also want to be careful not to wash your dog too much during cold weather. Baths can remove essential oils that are already on your dog and lead to dry, itchy skin. If you do bathe your dog, be sure to use a moisturizing shampoo formulated for pets.

Dog paw protection

It’s important to protect your dog’s paws during the cold. You may want to try one – or several – of these ideas on your pup this winter!

1.) Paw wax

Just as your hands and lips can get cracked and raw during the dry, cold winter months, so can your pup’s. The ice-melting chemicals can make dry paws even worse. Paw wax works like lotion or lip balm to keep your dog’s paws from painful cracking and sores. Look for a non-toxic paw wax (sometimes called paw balm) to apply to your dog’s paws. To apply, clean your dog’s feet, dry them, and then apply the balm to the pads of your dog’s feet and in between the toes. Here are a few paw balms that are safe to use on your dog:

You can also make your own paw balm. This recipe from the American Kennel Club uses shea butter, coconut oil, and beeswax – the same ingredients in a lot of premium skin products for humans. If you have dog-owning friends and family, you could even make a big batch of this paw balm and package it up for some very unique Christmas presents. Their pups will thank you for it!

2.) Petroleum jelly

You can rub petroleum jelly on the pads of your dog’s feet before heading outside. It will act as a barrier and help keep salt and other chemicals from irritating their paws.

3.) Dog Hair Trimmers

You may want a small trimmer so you can keep the area around your dog’s feet clear of fur. This will keep ice crystals and ice-melt chemicals from clinging to your dog’s paws. Here are a few to try:

4.) Dog Booties

Dog booties for snow may look a little silly but they offer a whole lot of protection for your dog’s paws. The booties keep their paws off the cold ice and snow, and keep ice-melt chemicals, salt, and other irritants from getting in between your dog’s pads and toes. They also protect against cuts from ice, sticks, or other objects that could be buried in the snow. With doggie booties for cold weather, you don’t need to worry about washing dirt and chemicals off your dog’s paws after a hike.

You may need to practice with your dog to get him used to the booties – many dogs have a hard time figuring them out at first. Have him walk around in the booties and get used to them several times before you try taking him on a longer walk or hike. Here are a few cute booties to look at for your pup:

5.) Dog Wipes

It’s important to clean the chemicals, salt, and grime from around your dog’s paws after a walk. These grooming wipes have aloe vera and other natural ingredients so they’re safe on your pup’s paws.

Salt on dog paws

To prevent salt on dog paws, try coating them in petroleum jelly before you go on a walk. Alternatively, you could try a set of dog booties. Definitely make sure to clean your dog’s paws afterward and put some moisturizing pet balm on the pads of their feet.

Your pets need time outdoors in winter, and it’s a lot of fun to bring them along on hikes. Many dogs are thrilled to frolic in snowdrifts and to chase snowballs and dig in fresh powder. With a little prep work ahead of time and some attention to their paws after you’re done, you can make sure that your dog’s feet stay healthy and whole all winter long!

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How to Dehydrate Food for Your Camping Trip

When you’re headed on a camping trip, you may want to consider bringing dehydrated food along for snacks and meals. Dehydrated food is a great option because it’s lightweight and easy to pack. Dehydrating your own food also offers you more meal choices – there are only so many backpacking meals available, but when you make your own dehydrated food the options are endless.

How to Dehydrate Food

Dehydrating food also lets you control your nutrition – if you have special dietary needs, you can plan your meals around that. Dehydrating also ensures you keep many of the nutrients in the food you prepare. Dehydrating food can also be cheaper than using only pre-packaged backpacking meals, and it means you can safely bring a lot of foods that usually require refrigeration like meat along with you on your trip.

There are certain foods that lend themselves to dehydrating, while others aren’t suited to the process. Good foods to dehydrate include:

  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • legumes including beans and lentils
  • rice, pasta, and other grains
  • low-fat meat or seafood
  • herbs
  • sauces that don’t include fat, dairy, or eggs

There are other foods you do not want to dehydrate, either because the food will be unsafe to eat, or because it just won’t work. Foods to avoid dehydrating include:

  • food with fats in it – dehydration requires moisture to evaporate and fats do not evaporate. This will leave moisture in your food and it can spoil
  • nut butters – these contain a lot of fats and for the above reason, aren’t a good option
  • avocados – again, too high in fat
  • olives
  • dairy – you can find powdered products like powdered milk or sour cream powder that you can use instead
  • eggs – trying to dehydrate eggs can lead to salmonella. There are some egg crystals and powdered eggs that you can use instead

How to dehydrate food without a dehydrator

You may be wondering how to dehydrate food, especially if you don’t have a dehydrator. It’s not a complicated process, and you can master the art of dehydration without any extra equipment. Before you dehydrate fruit, you’ll want to give it a bath in lemon juice and water to preserve the flavor and color of your fruit. You may want to blanch certain vegetables – usually any vegetable you wouldn’t normally eat raw – in boiling water to preserve their color and kill any bacteria. If your fruit or veggies are large, cut them all into the same shape so they can be evenly dehydrated. You’ll want them cut in 1/4 inch strips.

How to dehydrate food in an oven

To dehydrate food in your oven, line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mate. Arrange your fruits or veggies on the sheet. You can group them close together, but they shouldn’t touch or overlap. Set your oven to the lowest temperature – about 180°F – and put your sheet on the middle rack. Leave the oven door open slightly and let the food bake for at least an hour. When fruit is properly dehydrated, it will be slightly bendable but not sticky. Vegetables will be crisp like chips.

How to dehydrate food in a microwave

You can also dehydrate fruit, vegetables, and herbs in the microwave. Arrange your fruits or vegetables on the glass tray in your microwave, making sure you don’t overlap your food. Pat the slices gently with a paper towel to absorb any moisture. Then, microwave your food. This article from The Food Network gives you microwave times for several fruits and other foods.

How to dehydrate food with a dehydrator

To dehydrate food using a dehydrator, cut pieces into a uniform size, about 1/4 inch thick. Soak fruit in a lemon juice and water solution to prevent browning. Blanche or steam any vegetables that you wouldn’t normally eat raw, and tough vegetables like carrots. You can also use frozen vegetables that you have thawed. Place your vegetables in a dehydrator and set the temperature to 125°F and allow them to dehydrate until they are crisp or hard. This should take between 4-12 hours. Fruit should be dehydrated at 135°F. Drying time for fruit will vary, depending on the fruit. You’ll know your fruit is done when it is no longer sticky. You can test for doneness by cutting a few pieces in half and squeezing them. If no moisture comes out, the fruit is done.

For an in-depth look at dehydrating food, this article from Fresh Off The Grid answers just about any questions you may have.

Backpacking food

When you’re looking for foods to bring along backpacking, you want them to be lightweight. They can’t require refrigeration or be too sensitive to the squishing or smashing that might occur in your backpack. They’ll also need to be healthy foods that give you the energy you’ll need for each day of walking and whatever other activities you have planned. Dehydrated food is obviously an excellent choice. You may also want a water filter straw if you’ll be near a water source – that can cut down on the amount of water you have to bring along. You may also want to see our list of the Best Hiking Snacks for ideas to keep your energy up during the day. We’ve also included a few suggestions below for meals you can bring backpacking.

Dehydrator recipes

Just because you’re roughing it doesn’t mean you have to give up flavor on your trip! Here are some delicious recipes for dehydrated meals you can make while backpacking.

Breakfast

Lunch or Dinner

Snacks

Find The Best RV Tire Covers & Motorhome Wheel Covers

Your motorhome’s wheels are what get you from A to B, but unless they’re damaged, you may find yourself not thinking much about them. Unlike other features, often the wheels get overlooked when it comes to storing and protecting them. However, you spent a lot on those wheels and tires! You want to make sure they stay protected when they’re not in use, so they’re ready to take you on the road at any time.

In this article, we’ll explain why it’s important to cover your RV’s tires when not in use both to prolong their life and prevent damage.

Best RV Tire Covers

There are a few different types of RV tire covers to choose from, so how do you know which are the best for you? We’ll look at some of the best RV tire covers and help you decide which ones might suit you and your rig. Here are a few great options:

1.) Classic Accessories OverDrive Deluxe RV & Trailer Wheel Cover

These white tire covers come as a 4-pack and fit RVs and trailers with 24-27 inch diameter tires that are up to 8.5 inches wide. The elastic back panel gives the covers stretch so you’re sure of a snug fit, and the vinyl wipes clean and has a soft, non-scratch backing. The covers come with a three-year warranty and the set also includes a storage bag.
Price: $55.48 for set of 4

motorhome driving on highway

2.) Camco Vinyl Wheel & Tire Protector 

This set of two protectors gets great reviews from customers. They fit tires from 30-32 inches, and protect from sun, dirt, weather, and more. The tire covers have a buckle and strap design so they’re easy to put on and take off and you can adjust them to fit your tires. The protectors are also weatherproof.
Price: $23.32 for set of 2

3.) ADCO Designer Series Tyre Gards

Another set of RV tire covers with rave reviews from customers. These guards are made from heavy-duty flannel-backed vinyl that repels liquid. They offer UV protection and help prevent cracking on your sidewalls. The tire guards have a velcro rear fastening system so they fit snugly. They also come with a 3-year warranty.
Price: $63.33 for set of 4

4.) TCP Global Canvas Wheel Tire Covers

These covers fit tires up to 28 inches. A wire-embedded rod sewn into the cover can be bent so it fits well over the tire. The covers protect your wheels from sun damage, rust, dirt, and more and are made of breathable canvas. They fit up to 6 inch deep-wide tires.
Price: $23.96 for set of four

5.) AmFor Tire Cover

These RV tire covers are easy to install and remove when you want to pack up. They’re also easy to clean. They’re made of thick, aluminum material that is waterproof and has a thick cotton wool lining. The hook fasteners keep the covers securely on your wheels and they fit tires that are 27-29 inches in diameter.
Price: $24.75 for set of four

6.) Leader Accessories RV Tire and Wheel Covers

These tire covers are made of very durable, heavy-duty waterproof vinyl with a soft, non-scratch backing. They fit tires from 29-31.75 inches in diameter. To clean, you just need to wipe the covers with clean water. An elasticized back hem and eyelet with a cord ensures your covers fit snugly and won’t get blown off your tires. They also come with a three-year warranty.
Price: $54.99 for set 0f four

7.) Explore Land Tire Cover

These fit tires from 26-28.75 inches in diameter. The covers protect your tires from sun damage, rust, dirt, and more. They’re easy to clean with just clean water. They’re also water-resistant and durable, and they have a soft, non-scratch backing. An elastic cord means the covers fit snugly around each tire and they stay on in high winds. They also come with a three-year warranty.
Price: $41.99 for set of four

8.) Classic Accessories Wheel Cover (OverDrive RV Dual Axle)

If you’re looking for dual axle RV covers, these are a great choice! They slip on and off easily, and are made of waterproof, wipe-clean vinyl with a soft, non-scratch backing. They are UV and mildew resistant. They have two rear eyelets to secure the bottom flaps so the covers look neat and are nicely tucked in.
Price: $28.82 for one

9.) ELUTO RV Tire Cover

These covers fit 27-29 inch diameter wheels. They have a waterproof oxford and cotton wool lining. They prevent sun damage, tire oxidation, corrosion, and damage due to frost. The hook design makes them easy to install and ensures the covers stay on in windy conditions. They come with a one-year warranty.
Price: $24.66 for set of four

10.) Camco 45346 Spare Tire Cover

This fits a 27 inch diameter tire. The heavy nylon thread ensures the cover is weatherproof, even at the seams. The cover protects your spare tire from dirt, rain, sun damage, and more. The vinyl material is durable, cleans easily, and looks classic.
Price: $16.42 for one

11.) Tsofu Spare Tire Cover

This tire cover is waterproof and durable. It’s made from thick vinyl that wipes clean easily and has a soft, non-scratch backing. The cover will protect your spare tire from sun damage, rain, mud, and rust. The cover is easy to install and remove when you need it. An elasticized back hem and quick-connect clips mean it will fit your tire snugly.
Price: $16.55 for one

motorhome camping under night sky

How are RV tire covers measured?

RV tire covers come in both single and double axle sizes. Since RV tires are different sizes, you’ll want to make sure you have covers that fit your particular type and size of tire. If you need to know how to measure for RV tire covers, look for the tire code on the sidewall of your RV tire and match it with the tire covers you want to purchase.

If you can’t find the tire code, you can also measure your tire from tread to tread across the rim and use that to purchase your tire covers. If you can’t find tire covers to fit your wheels, it is also possible to have custom RV tire covers made to fit.

Are RV Tire Covers Necessary?

You spent a lot of time and money on your RV wheels and tires. It makes sense to spend a little bit more on a product that will protect your investment and ensure those wheels and tires are able to get you around for a good long time. Tire covers for your RV will protect your tires from a lot of wear and tear. They guard against the harmful UV rays constantly bombarding your tires that come from sunlight. Those rays can break down your tires and damage the rubber, causing your tires to harden and crack. RV tire covers can also prevent the cracking that can happen on the sidewalls of your tires.

RV tire covers also prevent dirt and grime, which can coat your tires if they’re unprotected, and can contribute to the overall wear on your wheels and tires.

What to look for when buying

As with most RV purchases, you’ll want to do a little research before you buy RV spare tire covers. Your choice will depend on the size of your motorhome, how often and where you plan to use it, and how much you are able to spend on your tire covers.

Tire Cover Styles & Colors

Shield-style covers protect just the front side of the tire, while bag-style covers go over the entire tire. They usually come in both black and white, and both colors are helpful for reducing UV exposure. Black may be the more practical choice since dirt and grime won’t show up as easily, however black does heat up more and if you’re going to be in very hot areas a lot of the time you may want white after all.

Tire Cover Materials

Motorhome tire covers are available in a variety of materials. Vinyl covers are the most common, but you can also find covers made from heavy canvas, or hard-shell aluminum cases. When you’re looking at various materials, make sure the covers you choose are made from a UV-resistant material. You’ll also want to consider how easily the covers pack up and store while you’re actually driving your RV.

Tire Cover Fastenings

How do you keep your tire covers actually on your tires? Well, that depends. Some motorhome tire covers zip closed around the wheel, and others are just draped over the wheel. Covers can also be fastened with a cinch, or with bungees or grommets. Hard-shell covers will snap or lock into place. If you’re going to be putting on and taking off the covers yourself, make sure whatever closure you choose is one you can easily operate.

RV Tire Cover Price

As you can see from our list above, you can find tire covers at many different price points. You may even discover as you look around that the most expensive cover is not necessarily the best cover for your vehicle. Talk to other motorhome owners, read reviews, and do some price comparing before you choose your covers to make sure you spend the right amount and get exactly what you need.

Best RV Tire Cover Brands

As you’re shopping for tire covers for your RV, you’ll notice some familiar brands for RV accessories. Camco and ADCO are both great, trusted brands that make quality RV tire covers. Classic Accessories also offer sturdy covers that fit a variety of vehicle wheels. TCP Global also makes tire covers that hold up well and offer great protection for your wheels.

Are RV Tire Covers Waterproof?

Along with UV protection, most RV tire covers are also waterproof. If you’re going to be parked, with the covers on, for any length of time you’ll want to check the packaging or manufacturer’s description to make sure yours are waterproof so they don’t get destroyed during a rainstorm or other weather event.

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Even RV Renters Should Be Clear on Their Water Filtration Choices

water

Virtually every RVer knows the value of clean water. That’s because so many of them have experienced dirty water firsthand.

Campgrounds – where many RVers obtain their water supply – are notorious for low water quality. Though you may think it’s relatively clean, it can be filled with large particulates like sediment, rust, and silt. What’s worse, it may also contain harmful contaminants like lead or mercury, as well as nuisance contaminants like sulfur gas (which produces that familiar rotten egg smell). On top of all that, water quality varies from campground to campground: there is a big difference between purity, quality and type from one location to another. And even if the water is safe, it may still have an unpleasant smell or taste.    

Keep in mind, we aren’t just talking about drinking water. Obviously it’s critical to have potable water (suitable for ingestion), but you’ll also want the cleanest water possible for cooking and rinsing. The jury is out on how clean water needs to be for bathing, but the rule of thumb remains, the cleaner the better. After all, who wants to take a smelly shower?

If RV renters think we’re talking just to RV owners, think again. Often, renters don’t think in terms of water quality, either because they are inexperienced or because they assume the RV they rent will include some type of water filtration system. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t. A little advanced planning can avoid an unpleasant discovery once you reach your campground.

But whether you’re going for a month-long vacation or a short weekend excursion, nothing will put a damper on the proceedings faster than a water supply that is foul-tasting at best and unhealthy at worst. That’s why renters should be knowledgeable about the best water filtration systems available, and how each one performs its function.  

Buying bottled water is certainly an option but it has far too many drawbacks, most of all for the environment. (For an eye-opening perspective on the impact of bottled water waste, check out The Water Project website.) The better solution is to filter your water at each campsite. It’s less costly and far more environmentally friendly. And, for the coffee lovers, bad water makes for bad coffee, and pouring bottle after bottle of water into your coffeemaker seems wasteful.

This may sound obvious, but before you invest in any kind of filtering system, ask the owner you rent from if their coach is already fitted with one. If it is, your problem is already solved. If not, there are a few options that can work well for all of your clean-water needs.

Before diving into the water, so to speak, a quick note about microns (µ), the unit of measure for filtration: A micron is an abbreviated term for “micrometer,” or a millionth of a meter (1/1,000,000 meters), which is about .00004 inches. For size comparison, a human red blood cell is about 5 microns across, while a human hair is about 75 microns across. In other words, size does matter – the smaller the micron size the more impurities it filters out.

While there is a wide selection of water filtration choices available to the RV owner, it’s hard to justify options like a single canister system, dual canister system, or, at the top of the line, a reverse osmosis system. As a renter, you should be looking at options that are low cost, easily installed, and can be just as quickly removed when your trip is done. With that said, there are two ideal solutions to consider:

Water Filter Pitchers

If you want to filter just your drinking water, a water filter pitcher can get the job done quickly and effectively. There are numerous brands; make sure you pick one that focuses on heavy metals and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) to rid the water of the iron and sulfur taste and smell. Pitchers with granular activated carbon (GAC) filters, despite their prevalence, are ill-suited to the task; solid-block carbon is by far the better medium. (NOTE: This is true for virtually all filtering products, not just water pitchers. And while a pitcher with solid-block carbon may not fill quite as quickly as one with GAC, it’s simply because the solid-block is removing more contaminants. Much better to wait a few extra seconds and get cleaner water.)

Water filter pitcher on picnic table

Inline Filters

If you want filtered water for your whole coach (which we highly recommend), pick up an inline water filter that attaches to your campsite spigot and drinking water hose and connect it to your RV. We suggest mounting the filter near the spigot; however, if you insist on mounting on the coach water inlet, make sure to use a flexible hose or 90° angle hose fitting, which will allow the heavy filter/hose to hang straight down without exerting too much pressure on your water inlet fitting.

You can purchase an inline filter, along with any necessary hose fittings, at most RV centers and camping websites, not to mention on Amazon. Assuming you purchase a high-quality filter, you can safely use it for all purposes, including drinking and cooking. This is by far the easiest solution, and you can be up and running for your next trip in no time. Make sure to check out the CLEAR2O RV & Marine Inline Filter, it filters at one Micron and removes most of the concerning contaminants, creating a much better campground water experience for you and your family.

Even as a renter, you deserve the best water you can get, not only to ensure the safety of everyone in your RV family but to maximize your enjoyment of the RV experience. The two options outlined are the most practical for a renter, based on performance and cost. But ultimately, if you spend a little time doing your homework up front, you have a far better chance of outfitting your RV with the best filtration product(s) to suit your needs.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Keith Bernard is president and CEO of CLEAR2O, one of the leaders in water filtration technology and products. The company’s line of products includes filtered water bottles, pitchers, in-countertop filtration, whole-house filtration and on-the-go RV filtration systems.