RV Setup - 10 Tips to Enjoy the RV Lifestyle

It's a beautiful day today. You bounce out of bed like a two year old colt, the smile on your face just can't be moved on. Today is the day, today says freedom, today is the first day of cleansing the daily drudge, the stress, the routine, putting it all behind you. Today yells ROADTRIIIIIP.

You've lovingly packed up your brand new RV, all shiny and clean, glistening in the dawns early light. You loaded it up over the days before and every storage bin, every cupboard, nook and cranny seems perfectly designed for something and you have thought of everything. The pantry is full to the brim and the fridge is bursting at the seams. Colourful clothes for every "just in case" occasion are neatly folded, the more formal wear hanging in anticipation in the wardrobe. The shoes are under the bed with the extra blankets, pillows sheets and towels, the rods are stored, the kayaks are on the roof, the chainsaw is in the storage bin with the tool kit, camp chairs, table, outdoor heater and mozzie lamp. The BBQ is all gassed up, the bikes are secured in the rack next to the surfboard, so what are you waiting for?

Lets get going!!

It's a scene practiced every day as more and more people discover the magic, the freedom and the stress free lifestyle called RVing but very quickly, novices to the lifestyle can discover that if they are not careful, stress can be introduced if you do not really know what you are doing. 

It's like anything and as the old saying goes "practice makes perfect" and it sure does.

Experienced RVer's, reading this now are probably smiling to themselves and shaking their heads slowly, remembering their first RV experience and how much they have learnt since, especially from talking to others out on the road.

Three keywords are very appropriate guidelines for any RVer no matter how experienced - Planning, Restraint and Understanding. For the newbies, understanding comes very quickly with experience but by adding an element of planning and restraint, whilst uncomfortable, just may send your enjoyment factor north and your stress levels south.

Some of the tips discussed today could help you really think about your life on the road.

Tip 1 - Many RVer's Just Take Too Much Stuff, "Just in Case"

The last thing you will want to do is arrive at a classic campsite on the river or lake then spend so much time searching storage bins and cupboards for the things you need while you are there. It becomes annoying and frustrating and don't forget, every kilogram of unused items are costing you money in extra fuel usage.

Tip 2 - Understand Your RV's Weights

For your safety and the safety of others on the road, you need to understand how much you can load up your RV. The manufacturer sets a Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) or Gross Trailer Mass (GTM) which is the maximum weight of the RV. The tare weight is the actual weight of the RV if you took it over a weighbridge empty. The difference between the GVM or GTM and the Tare is the carrying capacity. It is illegal to exceed the GVM.

Tip 3 - Keep Clothing to a Minimum

The RV life is simple and uncomplicated. Clothing is casual and as most RVer's tend to follow the sun, the standard uniform is a t-shirt, shorts and thongs with a pair of jeans or slacks and a nice polo or two in reserve for eating out or the club. The point is, you don't need to take a lot of clothing, particularly if the weather is warm and if you need an extra item, pick it up from a local shopping centre. Local Vinnies stores can be fun to shop at and cheap too.

Tip 4 - Plan Your Menu

Dining at your RV can be a real joy, not so much because of the food but more because of the ambience of the location you are at. Much of the dining pleasure is outdoors, mainly simple, often barbecued and accompanied by a salad and bread. Cans of food can be heavy and demand a lot of space and should be left at home. Everyone's taste is different but be prepared for simple healthy meals with few ingredients and cooking will cease to be a chore.

Tip 5 - Heathy Eating from Roadside Stalls

Of course pick up your basics from a supermarket but you will see as you drive along that often there are roadside stalls selling cheap local produce picked that very day, jams lovingly preserved in traditional farmhouse ways, flavoursome goods to tickle your taste buds, natural and fresh all ready for your evening meal.

Tip 6 - The 3 Golden Rules of RVing

RVs no matter the type are the perfect freedom machines. See a dirt road? Go down it to see what's there; possibly the best fishing spot you have ever experienced. So the Golden Rules? Keep your fuel tank topped up, your water tank the same and sufficient basics in your pantry like long life milk because you may not know where you will be tomorrow. Rule number four? Leave nothing but footprints.

Tip 7 - Finding Water

Water is everywhere and is usually free. The most accommodating places to source water are service stations that usually have no qualms about letting you fill your water tanks especially if you buy fuel from them but even if you are not, they are usually ok with it. Another source can be roadside rest areas although many of them are on tank water and Tourist information centres can often be a source of water finding knowledge.

Tip 8 - Washing Your Clothes

Not that you will have too many clothes to wash but the obvious places to go to are either a local Laundromat or pay for a night in a caravan park and use their laundry facilities. Some RVs have washing machines on board but in the interests of water conservation, they do often use a lot of water. One home grown method is to half fill a bucket and put it in the shower cubicle, add some suds and the clothes that need washing. Then as you drive, the clothes are agitated in the bucket and simply need rinsing when you reach your destination.

Tip 9 - Setting Up for the Evening

Caravan parks are plentiful and varied and free camping is a wonderful experience with many fantastic free camps around the country. Either way, you should try and access either during daylight hours say by 4pm. Free camps in particular where the terrain may be uncertain, at least you can see where you are attempting to set up and pick the best place before any others arrive. Many smaller caravan parks close at dusk and you may not be able to gain access after dark.

Tip 10 - The Night Time Routine

Each evening just as you are calling it a night, the simple routine is to put away your camp table and chairs in a storage bin and put away the awning unless you have your awning pegged or tied down. The last thing you need is a strong wind come up during the night that might take your awning away. If free camping, it is also a security measure so if you are uncertain of noises or activity outside, you can drive off at a moment's notice, a very rare thing indeed.


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