RV Camping Tips: What Beginners Need to Know 

November 12, 2020

RV Camping Tips: What Beginners Need to Know 

RV camping is a massively popular outdoor activity. Indeed, it is the second-largest recreation industry, bringing in billions of dollars. 

While RV camping does follow similar principles to basic camping, there are some differences. The main difference is that you're responsible for a large vehicle that requires specific preparations. 

Being aware of safety, vehicle proportions, and campsite rules are critical factors to consider as an RV owner or renter. You should also make budget plans and pack emergency tools and supplies before heading out on the road.

If you're a new RV owner, there are some things you should know and do before going out on a trip. This article will give you the RV camping tips you need to have a successful holiday with friends or family

RV Safety Tips 

To truly enjoy a holiday, you should be aware of RV safety. While some safety points require common sense and a knowledge of vehicles in general, others are specific to RV campers. 

If you are towing a trailer, make sure you've securely attached it to the primary vehicle. If there are any other additional ‘floating’ storage containers, make sure these are equally secure. 

Before leaving, check the height and width of the RV. If there are bridges on your route, you'll want to make sure you fit through and under them without any scrapes or bumps. 

Once you arrive at your campsite destination, make sure the vehicle is secure with locks. Pay special attention to your RV wheels, which should always remain locked while parked. 

Top Tip: Always lock your wheels when parked. 

Get to Know Your Vehicle 

When you buy a new car, one of the first things you do is take it for a test drive. The same process should apply to an RV camper. You must know how it functions and what it's like to drive before taking it on a camping trip. 

One difficulty with RV driving is that the vehicle may be larger than the ones you usually drive. Unless you already have experience driving a bulky vehicle, you should practice driving the RV. You want to get used to the different dimensions. Preferably, it would be best if you experimented on quiet roads without much traffic.

Before taking your RV for a drive, you should explore the interior workings. Make sure you know how to use the lights, heating, air conditioning, and other functions before taking it out on the road. 

Top Tip: Take your vehicle out for a test drive. 

Budget for Your Trip

Owning a vehicle can be expensive, and an RV camper is no different. You need to consider costs before buying or renting one, and forming a comprehensive plan will be useful. 

You should always consider costs such as insurance, gas refills, and breakdown recovery. Planning for additional expenses such as repairs is also vital. If you opt for RV rentals, the costs will be different so make sure you bear this in mind, too. 

Once you've determined specific vehicle budgets, you can think about the camping trip. Different campsites will have their own parking reservation costs, so look around to get the best deal first. 

Top Tip: Save money by working out relevant costs.  

Pack Tools and Spare Parts 

The last thing you want is to have an issue with your vehicle and not have the necessary tools to deal with the problem. With this in mind, you should always pack appropriate tools before you leave, just in case. 

Make a checklist of the things you might need. These essentials might include:

  • Jump leads (in case of battery failures)
  • Tow-ropes
  • A wrench for tightening loose parts
  • Other spare odds and ends such as screws and bolts

Packing the right equipment is particularly crucial if you're not going to a specific campsite. Out in the wild, you never know what you might need. 

Top Tip: Prepare an emergency tool kit.

Watch Out for Load Limits 

Federal highways have specific load limits, and you might need permits, depending on the vehicle's weight.

Your RV load weight can impact your budgeting costs and the way your vehicle behaves on the road. Checking the limit of your model before taking a trip is a necessary task to put on the check-list. 

If you're towing a trailer, you need to consider load limits. An overly heavy load will affect the RV's balance, making your vehicle harder to steer. 

Traveling with a heavy load, even without a trailer, will also increase your gas costs. You can reduce weight by packing light and traveling without large water barrels in your vehicle. 

Top Tip: Travel without heavy water barrels.   

Know the Best Place to Park 

Before setting out on your camping trip, you should look at a map or check out the RV campsite space to check out the best places to park. You'll need to consider the size of your RV and where it would fit best. 

Some campsites may have size regulations, so check these first. Many sites may also vary in parking costs, so make sure you do some thorough research. 

You should always book to reserve a slot to ensure there is a space free for you. On the day itself, make sure you check in on time and leave at the appropriate hour as well. The more efficient you are, the less time you will waste. 

Top Tip: Make a pre-booked parking reservation. 

Learn Campsite Rules 

If you're taking your RV to a campsite, you must know the rules. The grounds should provide these, and you should make sure you read them. 

Rules might include limits on your vehicle's size, noise pollution after certain times, and litter. If you respect these rules, you shouldn't have any problems. 

Other rules to consider might be whether you can bring pets with you. If you have a dog you'd like to bring, you'll want to make sure you find a campsite which accepts them. 

Top Tip: Check whether your precious pets can join you.

Setting Up an RV Campsite 

When setting out on a camping trip, you should allow a few hours of daylight to set up camp. It will take you much longer if you don't arrive until the evening and have to set up in the dark. 

Once you've arrived and have parked up, you should disconnect any attached vehicles, such as a trailer. You can place this neatly beside the RV, with security locks if necessary. 

Park at an angle where you have enough space for an outdoor seating area, especially if it's the summer. You can then set up a gazebo area to give you more space during your trip. 

Top Tip: Park with enough space for an outdoor seating area.

Tank Dumping Preparations 

If you're camping for an extended period, you'll need to consider tank dumping regulations. 

Different national parks and RV campgrounds will have RV dumping rules, so you'll need to research this information thoroughly.

Your sewage tank will fill up reasonably quickly, and you can't dump waste in the bushes, so prior arrangements will be necessary. 

Have a look online at the campsite to see if any disposal stations are nearby. There may be facilities for doing this on the camp already, so do your research first. You can check out your tank capacity before heading out, too. 

Your campsite should have black and gray tank deposit areas. The black tank is where sewage waste goes, and the gray is for siphoning water used for washing up and showering. 

Importantly, when you take an RV camper on a trip, you should be sure to pack sewage gloves and potentially a bit of tank tubing. These tools can help you dispose of your waste cleanly and efficiently. 

Top Tip: Research RV tank depositing rules. 

Tidy Up After Your Trip 

For the sake of the environment, you should tidy up properly before leaving your campground. A thorough sweep includes disposing of any plastic waste, pet waste, and other odds and ends you've brought with you. 

Campsite rules will be clear about waste, so you should be sure to comply. You don't want to end up with a fine for failing to respect the site. 

If there aren't any trash cans nearby, you should pack up the waste into a neat bag and put it in your RV. You can have these set aside to put in your trash at home. Don't just leave your bags lying around for campsite watchers.

If you've rented your vehicle, you should also make sure this is clean before taking it back to your RV rentals company. 

Top Tip: Leave your camping spot as you found it.


If you would like to learn more about RV vehicles, don't hesitate to Join Our Mailing List today. With this, you'll receive regular updates, including further RV camping tips and advice on how to look after vehicles properly. 

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