No matter what 2017 brought to the table in your life, it was undeniably a big year. Many of us will remember it as the year of the transcontinental eclipse; maybe, for some of you, it was the first year you ever tried RV camping!
But along with lots of great memories, 2017 also brought some lessons, particularly for us campers. From figuring out why we should join Passport America to learning more about the best National Parks for RV camping, we here at RVshare had lots of learning opportunities — and we can’t wait to pass them on to our readers!
So without further ado, here are the best RV camping tips we learned in 2017, perfect to help make 2018 an even better camping year for both beginners and veterans alike.
RV Camping Checklist
Here’s one big 2017 takeaway: planning your destinations ahead of time can be critical to happy camping.
Many of us learned this while trying to find our way into the path of the famous August solar eclipse. Since many of us didn’t know about the event until the last minute, we found ourselves without any palce to go on the big day! And even if we could find an RV park, we might have faced extremely inflated prices, thanks to the insanely skyrocketed demand for accommodations at the time.
Lesson learned: It’s a good idea to look into upcoming events at the beginning of the year to ensure you can schedule time and find a place to camp during whatever excitement catches your eye. Maybe it’s a music festival or a different type of celestial happening, but no matter what, you’ll have more access to the best places to go RV camping at the destination if you book ahead of time! The annual Farmer’s Almanac can be a great resource for this kind of planning, as can researching goings-on via the internet. We also publish news about upcoming festivals and events right here on the RVshare blog!
In fact, if you really want to double down on finding awesome, affordable camping, your best bet is to look into a Passport America membership. There are a lot of discount membership clubs out there for campers, of course, but Passport America is the only one with almost 1900 participating RV camping grounds across the country (and more joining the program every day — seriously!). When you camp at any of the participating Passport America locations, you’ll get 50% off your campsite fees. That’s a remarkable savings, especially considering the low annual cost of the membership. At less than $50 per year, it’ll easily pay for itself the very first time you use it!
Must-Haves When RV Camping
The only better deal than Passport America is finding free RV camping by boondocking, which, as you likely know, that means forgoing the comforts and conveniences afforded by electrical, water, and sewer hookups. But for the most rugged, outdoor-loving campers, there’s nothing like the peace and tranquility of camping off the grid in the woods!
Finding the best places to boondock can be tricky, though; you can’t just pull over on the side of the road and set up camp, despite common misconceptions. Even if it’s not marked, much land is privately owned and therefore off limit to campers.
One of the very best resources for finding land suitable for dispersed camping is the BLM, or Bureau of Land Management, website. The BLM can give you all the details on the land available for public use across the United States.
Another option that isn’t usually free, but is still both exhilarating and serene, is to take on RV camping in a National Forest or National Park.
Not every one of these government reserves allows RV camping, and costs and facilities will also vary by location. For instance, the most popular National Parks, like the Grand Canyon, sometimes charge $10 per night or more for campsites even without hookups, though this is still much less than most privately-owned campgrounds. However, the natural surroundings and proximity to outdoor activities in these locations is, of course, unbeatable.
Not sure where to start as far as planning your 2018 camping itinerary? The Rand McNally Road Atlas and the National Park Guide can go a long way toward sparking your imagination. Give them a look and see what there is to see out there this year!
RV Camping Accessories
Deciding where to go is important, of course, but any RV trip can be vastly improved by bringing along the right camping equipment! We’ve written a whole lot about our favorite gadgets, gizmos, and accessories this year, but here are a couple of stand-outs:
An Instant Pot
So many campers swear by this adaptable and capable piece of cookware, and it doesn’t take up much counter space at all — perfect for a small RV kitchen!
Good outdoor camping furniture
When it comes to fun things to do while RV camping, it’s hard to beat sitting outside around the fire with a nice cold beer or fresh, hot s’more. A towel on the ground is fine and all, but it’s a new year: go ahead and gift yourself some nice folding camp chairs to make your chill-out sesh more comfortable. A nice, big cooler is always helpful, too — that way you don’t have to go inside every time you want to crack open a fresh one!
Looking for more fun camping accessories? Check out the following posts:
- 8 New and Exciting RV Accessories We Can’t Wait to Try This Year
- 12 RV Camping Accessories for your Next Trip
- 10 RV Accessory Must-Haves that Won’t Break the Bank
- How to Properly Stock your RV for Happy Travels
RV Camping Apps
Along with the right planning and accessories, 2017 also opened our eyes to a host of great camping apps, like Allstays, InRoute, Gas Buddy and more. Read our write-up of all our favorite RV camping apps here.
So, what did you learn about camping in 2017 that’ll make your future trips that much brighter? Let us know!
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