Updated on June 26, 1999.
We have now been traveling around the country living full-time in our RV, a 34 foot fifth-wheel trailer pulled by a three-quarter ton pickup, for a little over a year. We have learned a lot in that time. Here is a collection of tips for those of you who are considering this lifestyle. Even those who have been on the road for some time may find a useful tip or two.
BTW, the latest tip is at the top of the list, so you can stop when you reach the tips you have read before, unless you are like me and suffer from "old-timer's disease."
Tip 8: When mailing small gifts or other items we have found it simpler to send by priority mail using these boxes. There is no extra charge for the priority boxes and they come in several sizes.
Tip 7: If you have your mail forwarded to you by priority mail, you can use the envelope as storage for maps, campground flyers, etc. Simply turn it inside out. Another Escapee, Pat Long, suggests using it wrong side out for mailing items to others by regular postage.
Tip 6: If you are shopping for an RV that will have slides, check how much room you will have with the slides in, which is where they will be if you are traveling. Can you still fix lunch, reach the potty, find your sunglasses, take a nap? For some, these can be important considerations.
Tip 5: If your black water tank is partially full and starting to smell, and you are not ready to dump, give it a shot of one tablespoon baking soda with a little water. That will help control the odor without adding harmful chemicals to the environment.
Tip 4: When you are parked at a site with sewer hookups, leave the valves to your holding tanks closed until the tanks are at least three quarters full. This provides a higher pressure surge of water that will do a better job of cleaning when you dump. Then dump the black water first. Close the valve to the black water tank and dump the grey water. This flushes the sewer hose and leaves a less smelly residue in the hose. When you have finished, close the valve to the grey water tank so you can collect water for the next dump.
Tip 3: Wash dishes in dishpans, then dump the soapy and rinse water into the toilet rather than down the sink. This adds fluid to the black water (better for cleaning) and leaves room in the grey water tanks. For most people this is a better balance, especially when you are boondocking.
Tip 2: Take a look at our RV Travels Report on Products That Work on the Road for suggestions about some of the more useful products we have found for the RV lifestyle.
Tip 1: If you are going to be parked for several days, when you disconnect the trailer power cord from your tow vehicle, cover the connector on the cord with a sandwich bag and secure it with a rubber band or tie wrap. Wasps and mud-daubers love to build their nests in the holes of the connector, which can be a real problem the next time you try to hook up.