The space underneath your RV is a prime area for cold air to circulate and create freezing conditions that can, in turn, destroy the components that work to make your RV a comfortable home. In the winter, choosing the right RV skirting to fit your needs is an incredibly important task that needs to be considered far ahead of time.
With the right RV skirting, you can keep your RV warm and safe from the weather throughout the entire year, but getting the right skirting isn’t always that easy. You’ll need to consider your budget, the type of RV you have, the weather in which you hope to use it, and so much more.
This guide helps to first understand what skirting is, discuss some budget methods of creating skirting, and finally, how to choose the RV skirting that can help you get out in the cold weather, but avoid the chill that can so easily make its way inside.
Understanding RV Skirting
To begin with, it’s important to understand what RV skirting is and how it works. In its most simple form, RV skirting acts as a barrier between the ground and your RV to protect it from the cold air that comes along with winter. This cold air poses a threat to all of the plumbing that you rely on to make life comfortable and the skirting helps you to keep on living that way.
Not only does skirting help keep the cold air out, it helps keep the warm air you are producing with whatever heat method you use in. This can drastically reduce your cost of electric or gas consumption in order to save on money for future trips and living.
This protection between the ground and RV provides protection against pests, reduces wind resistance and drafts, and helps climate control inside of the RV. For anyone that’s spent time living in an RV, these are all incredibly important for comfort and proper maintenance.
Different RV Skirting Materials
There are a few different materials that manufacturers use for their skirting, and each one has its own level of benefits and drawbacks. Starting by understanding each material will be a good way to begin finding out which will suit your needs best.
Custom Vinyl- Custom vinyl skirting can be seen as the top tier of all RV skirting. It’s manufactured to fit your specific RV and is installed by the manufacturer to ensure the most secure fit. They fit to the RV via one of various different connection methods such as adhesive snaps, velcro, or T-style twist locks. While they are the best quality, they are also the most expensive to get.
Self-Installed Vinyl- This vinyl skirting is the more affordable way to get a high quality material to use for your RV. The company will provide all of the materials, but you have to do all of the labor in order to install the skirting. This can be super helpful if you are wanting to save a bit of money, but are also handy enough to install it by yourself.
Inflatable- Inflatable skirting is newer to the RV market, but is a great and easy solution to installing vinyl skirting. The skirting inflates and holds itself in place with the pressure formed from inflation rather than with any form of fastening, which makes it incredibly easy to install and take down by yourself.
DIY Skirting- If you’re hoping to save a lot of money and feel up to the task, there are a lot of different ways that you can make your own skirting from different materials. There are choices from making your own vinyl skirting all the way down to using hay bales to create the barrier necessary.
What is Homemade RV Skirting?
Making your own RV skirting is a feasible project for anyone with a little bit of DIY experience. As mentioned before, there are multiple forms of homemade RV skirting that span a wide range of difficulty and efficiency.
Homemade RV skirting comes along with its own list of pros and cons. Depending on the style you go with, you can make the skirting fully customizable to fit your individual needs while also saving a lot of money on your budget. This can also be easily done with on-hand, affordable materials such as hay bales, foam insulation boards, nylon tarps, and even plywood or particle board.
Pros of Homemade RV Skirting
Use of materials on hand
Cons of Homemade RV Skirting
Easy to mess up
Lack of manufacturer warranty
Can be difficult to store
What is 5th Wheel Skirting?
5th wheel skirting can be similar to traditional RV skirting, but it needs to be designed to accommodate the different shape of a 5th wheel camper. 5th wheel RVs are made to be on the move often and aren’t always disconnected from the truck that is hauling them. For that, the skirting needs to be fit to work around the truck bed, as well as be easily removable for when you are driving.
5th wheel skirting is just as necessary as the skirting for a normal RV. Your pipes are at a great risk when the cold weather comes and skirting is exactly what’s necessary to protect them.
How to Choose the Right RV Skirting for Your Needs
Knowing the climate that you’ll be in is one of the most important factors that plays into choosing the right RV skirting. For example, if the climate that you live in reaches drastically low temperatures, you need to consider higher end and more protective skirting. If you live in a more moderate environment, homemade skirting options may be enough to provide protection.
Duration of Stay
If your RV is fixed to a position for a long time, or even permanently, you can opt for certain skirting options that you may not normally consider. Plywood skirting can offer a functional and aesthetic value to the RV, but it’s almost impossible to make it portable. Nylon and inflatable skirts are easy to take down and install when you are moving around almost every day.
The type of RV you have may influence the style of skirting that you can use. Most companies will make skirting for almost every RV type, but you may want to start by understanding the specific skirting necessary for your RV before shopping.
Budget is unfortunately one of the biggest determining factors for many people shopping for an RV skirt. Custom-made nylon skirting can cost a lot of money but is a great investment. If your budget is significantly lower, you may need to consider a homemade option or be ready to do the installation yourself.
Various RV sizes can accommodate certain types of skirting more easily than others. With larger RVs, you will need more material, which means more to carry around and more material to pay for. Measuring your RV correctly will give you a good idea of what options are available for you.
If you’re installing the skirting on your own, you may want to try to understand how difficult it will be to install before purchasing. If you’re more mobile, then the installation difficulty will be incredibly important so you can get the skirting set up quickly each time you land at camp for the night.
Making the Right Choice: Comparing Your Options
RV skirting, 5th wheel skirting, and homemade skirting are all great options for getting the right fit for your rig. Each model also has its own list of pros and cons that may not be to your personal benefit. Choosing the right model will take a lot of research and spending time to make sure your skirt matches your needs.
Making the best choice means looking at all of your individual needs and circumstances.
For example, if you move around a lot, something that’s easy to set up and take down will be your best option.
If you’re staying put for a long time and are on a budget, you can build plywood skirts. If you have the money, custom-made nylon skirts are a great long-term option.
For certain 5th wheels, you may need to customize the skirting to fit your truck and protect the undercarriage of where the 5th wheel is hauled. Some skirts will only protect the lower portion, where your pipes are, and let in a lot of cold through other areas. \
Take all of your needs into consideration before making your choice and talk to others who have spent time in the process.
All in all, RV skirting is an incredibly important piece of equipment to have ready for your rig when the winter hits. The type of skirting is important to understand in order to provide the best protection possible for all of the pipes and gear inside the RV itself.
When you take the time to carefully consider the options and make an informed decision for your RV skirting, the result is bound to be positive, leaving you with an overall more comfortable and hassle-free life on the road.
Regarding RV living, having the right accessories can make all the difference. RV accessories enhance the overall experience and provide practical solutions to many common problems while living on the road. From temperature control to internet connectivity, the list of must-have RV accessories can be overwhelming. However, investing in these accessories can help make your RV more comfortable, functional, and enjoyable.
Investing in these top ten must-have RV accessories can provide a multitude of benefits and next to zero negatives besides the added cost of investment into your RV. Whether you’re a full-time RVer or just like to enjoy the occasional road trip with family and friends, these must-have accessories can seriously help make life on the road feel more like home. Some of the benefits of investing in must-have accessories include:
Improved comfort and convenience: RV accessories can make life on the road far more comfortable and convenient for everyone in the rig. For example, thermal insulation kits can help regulate the temperature inside your RV and minimize the need for heating and cooling equipment. RV skirting can protect your RV from the elements and pests, in addition, to helping maintain the temperature inside of the RV.
Enhanced safety and security: RV accessories can also improve safety and security on the road. For example, RV surge protectors can protect your electrical system from power surges. In addition, RV-specific GPS navigation systems can help you navigate unfamiliar streets, low bridges, and tight turns and avoid hazards on your trip.
Cost savings: While there may be a sticker shock to some of the items on our top ten must-have RV accessories, these investments can help you save money in the long run. For example, portable solar panels can help you save on energy costs by providing a renewable power source for your RV and the potential to not have to plug into shore power depending on your final setup. If you are plugging into shore power or running a generator while boondocking, having good skirting can help reduce the energy needed to keep the RV warm or cool.
Now let’s take a closer look at ten must-have RV accessories that can enhance your RV experience:
RV Snap-On Skirting:
RV snap-on skirting is a protective barrier that attaches to the bottom of your RV. It is typically made of durable fabric or vinyl. The price can vary drastically depending on the size and type of skirting you choose. For instance, stiff or rigid skirting will be the most effective and increase the R-value of your RV the best, but it will also be the most expensive option. Alternatively, soft skirting, usually made from vinyl rolls, is the best bang for your buck. It costs less than hard skirting and is typically easier to add/remove and store. However, it will not be as effective at insulating as hard skirting because there will inevitably be gaps at the base of the skirting if not weighed down, and the vinyl itself is not an efficient insulator. There are also plenty of DIY options using plywood, insulating panels, or spare vinyl.
Temperature control: RV skirting can help regulate the temperature inside your RV by providing an additional insulation layer.
Protection from elements: RV skirting can protect your RV from wind, rain, and snow, which can help prevent damage and keep your RV in good condition.
Pest control: RV skirting can also help keep pests, such as rodents and insects, from entering your RV.
Increased living and storage space: By adding RV skirting, you are, in essence, doubling the square footage of your RV and creating tons of additional storage space for anything that can be kept outside but needs a degree of protection, like bikes, extra shoes, outdoor equipment specific to the trip, etc.
Consider the material, size, and color when choosing an RV snap-on skirting. First, look for skirting made of a durable, weather-resistant fabric designed to fit your make and model RV and is appropriate to the climates where you will most frequently have your RV. Next, consider the color of the skirting and choose one that complements the color of your RV. Finally, look at the products made and distributed by EZ Snap. They produce high-quality, pre-cut RV skirting kits that do not require drilling holes in your RV.
A level RV is essential for maintaining stability and comfort and preventing damage to your RV’s chassis and suspension over time. A level RV also ensures that your appliances, such as your refrigerator, work correctly and that your plumbing systems can drain adequately.
There are several types of leveling blocks to choose from, including:
Plastic blocks: Plastic leveling blocks are lightweight and easy to use and are typically injection molded to fit the curvature of tires, maintaining a greater level of surface area contact and ensuring a solid hold.
Wood blocks: Wood leveling blocks are inexpensive and can be made from scrap lumber. However, you will want to connect the blocks with a rope or chain to ensure they do not slip, as there is less surface area in contact with the tire with a block.
Metal blocks: Metal leveling blocks are durable, can be used in extreme weather conditions, and tend to have much more intense traction to the tire in the form of tiny spikes that “bite” your tire. These are the most expensive and durable options but arguably one of the most effective and longest-lasting.
How to use leveling blocks effectively:
When using leveling blocks, start with a surface cleared of rocks and debris. Use a bubble level to determine which corner is the lowest. Place a stack of blocks under that corner leveling jack, then raise the jack until close to level. Rinse and repeat for the remaining three leveling jacks.
A dedicated RV GPS navigation system can help you navigate unfamiliar roads and avoid hazards like low bridges, narrow roads, and unexpectedly tight turns. RV GPS systems, similar to others, provide real-time traffic updates, which can help you avoid delays, save time, and enjoy your trip.
When choosing an RV GPS navigation system, consider elements such as:
Screen size: A larger screen size can make reading the map easier and navigating.
Traffic updates: Real-time traffic updates can help you avoid delays and save time.
Voice commands: Voice commands can make it easier to use the GPS system while driving
Some popular RV GPS navigation systems include:
Garmin RV 890: This GPS system is designed specifically for RVs and provides real-time traffic updates, voice commands, and a large 8-inch screen.
TomTom Go Camper: This GPS system provides customized routes for RVs and includes features such as campsite reviews and alerts for low bridges and narrow roads.
Solar power is a renewable and environmentally-friendly source of power for RVs. Portable solar panels can provide a reliable source of power for your RV, even when you’re off the grid, extend the duration of your trips, and expand the possibilities of where you can go.
There are several types of portable solar panels to choose from, including:
Foldable solar panels: Foldable solar panels are lightweight and easy to transport but tend to be more expensive as they are more modular than rigid panels and typically restricted in power production due to the nature of the folding design limiting the physical size of the panel. These are an excellent option for supplemental power as they can be easily moved with shadows throughout the day.
Rigid solar panels: Rigid solar panels are durable and can be mounted on your RV’s roof, these come in a wide variety of options, but you will want to look for monocrystalline panels as they are much more efficient and what most modern solar power systems will be using.
Flexible solar panels: Flexible solar panels are lightweight and can be curved to fit the contours of your RV’s roof. These are the most expensive option, but for a good reason, as they are the lightest and most durable option. They can also be customized to your RV more than the other options and easily be removed.
Consider the power output of the panels, power requirements of your RV, size, and weight when choosing a portable solar panel. In addition, look for a solar panel that is easy to install and has a high-efficiency rating, can connect to your current system or has a standalone battery system, and can meet your personal power requirements.
Clean water is essential for maintaining good health in your RV. Unfortunately, water sources in RV parks or campsites may contain bacteria, viruses, or other contaminants that can cause illness and damage your trip. So you need to have your own trusted water filtration system on (and off) the road.
There are several types of water filters to choose from, including:
Inline water filters: Inline water filters are installed directly into the water line and are designed to remove sediment, chlorine, and other impurities. These are a great “first defense,” You should always have one in your RV to install on spigots before the water enters your holding tank.
Under-sink water filters: Under-sink water filters are installed under the sink and provide clean drinking water to your RV faucet. This should be used with an inline filter for clean drinking water from unverified sources.
Portable water filters: Portable water filters are lightweight and can filter water from any source. These are typically found in camping stores designed for backcountry or emergency settings. They are highly effective but very slow and have limited fill rates.
Countertop or in-fridge water filters: These are filters that are filled up with unpurified water and are typically filtered using a gravity system and kept on your counter, such as a Berkey filter, or in your fridge, such as a Brita.
A surge protector protects your RV’s electrical system from power surges and other electrical issues, which is especially important in places like RV parks or campgrounds, whose power stability is unknown.
There are several types of RV surge protectors to choose from, including:
Portable surge protectors: Portable surge protectors can be used at any RV site and are easy to install.
Hardwired surge protectors: Hardwired surge protectors are permanently installed in your RV and provide continuous protection.
When choosing a surge protector, consider the level of protection, the size of your RV’s electrical system, and the type of plugs and connectors you need.
Blinds are an essential accessory for any RV, providing privacy and light control that you may not realize you need until the moment you need it. They can also help regulate the temperature inside your RV by blocking out sunlight and reducing heat transfer in and out of your RV. RVs aren’t the most insulated things in the world, so anything you can do to help retain heat goes a long way.
There are several types of RV blinds to choose from, including:
Roller shades: Roller shades are made of fabric or vinyl and can be rolled up or down to control the amount of light that enters your RV. These are the “classic” kind of shades that you may see and are the most durable and lightweight option.
Pleated shades: These are made of a paper-like material and can be opened and closed by pulling on a cord. Pleated shades are relatively durable for their material. Still, they can only take so much abuse if left down while operating your RV.
Cellular shades: Cellular shades are made of a honeycomb-like material and provide superior insulation but are quite delicate in comparison, so consider spending the extra money on a more durable material if given the option.
When selecting blinds for your RV, consider factors such as the material, color, and size. Look for blinds made of durable, lightweight materials designed to fit your RV windows, and consider your specific need for blinds. When installing blinds, follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and use the appropriate tools and hardware.
Thermal Insulation Kits:
Proper insulation is critical for maintaining a comfortable temperature inside your RV for you and your family. With adequate insulation, your RV can become more comfortable and warmer, making sleeping, relaxing, or working easier and feel more like your home away from home.
There are several types of RV insulation kits to choose from that will create a much better traveling environment for you, including:
Foam insulation: Foam insulation is easy to install and provides excellent thermal insulation. You can cut it to tight tolerances custom to any nook and cranny in your RV. However, foam insulation is not the most durable thing in the world, so be careful when removing and storing it.
Reflective insulation: Reflective insulation is designed to reflect heat and is ideal for hot climates as it reflects heat away from your windows and traps the cool air inside. Also, very durable and easy to store as it is flexible and can be folded or rolled up.
Insulation blankets: Insulation blankets are lightweight materials placed over windows and doors to reduce heat transfer. Insulation blankets are the easiest to install as you don’t need to be exact. In fact, they are thick curtains you put over your windows or can even hang up to create “walls” to trap heat within specific areas of your RV.
When installing insulation in your RV, following the manufacturer’s instructions carefully is essential. Wear gloves and protective clothing, as certain insulation materials, such as fiberglass, can irritate the skin. Consider hiring a professional insulation installer if you’re uncomfortable doing the work yourself.
A Wi-Fi booster can help you stay connected to the internet while on the road. This is especially important for remote workers or those who need to stay connected to the internet while traveling or have a stable video call with friends to show them how great of a time you’re having in your RV.
There are several types of RV Wi-Fi boosters to choose from, including:
Wireless range extenders: WIFI range extenders enable you to receive a signal from further away, such as when you get assigned the furthest RV parking space from the building that holds the WIFI router for the campground. Another use for them is to transmit a signal further; for example, if you have Wi-Fi in your trailer, you can boost the signal to reach you further away if you have a nice spot you would like to relax AND have WIFI.
Cellular signal boosters: Cellular signal boosters can boost the strength of your RV’s cellular signal, providing faster internet speeds and excellent internet connectivity when needed. These use your wireless provider, typically valid for folks using a mobile hotspot in their RV.
Satellite internet: Satellite internet provides internet connectivity in remote areas where other types of internet may not be available and is the fastest and most reliable form of wireless internet. Also, the most expensive option and typically requires lengthier contracts.
When choosing a Wi-Fi booster for your RV, consider factors such as the strength of the signal needed, the number of people needing WIFI in your RV, and the speed of the internet connection you need.
Having the right accessories can significantly enhance your RV experience. From ensuring your RV is level and well-insulated to staying connected, this article’s 10 must-have RV accessories can dramatically improve your comfort and enjoyment while traveling.
Discover five of the most common RV problems associated with year-round maintenance and learn about do-it-yourself measures you can take to prevent them.
RV ownership is a wonderful way to spend more time in nature and travel in style, but some of the most common problems can lead to extensive damage if not addressed properly. Your vehicle will be exposed to the elements throughout the year leading to typical wear and tear. Some of the most common problems RV owners deal with include leaky windows, mold, mildew, inefficient insulation, roof damage, and awning deterioration. In this article, you’ll learn about the best DIY solutions for maintaining your vehicle and moving through the seasons with confidence.
It is important that you address common RV issues promptly, as they can become worse over time and lead to significant deterioration of your vehicle. You should also be taking preventative measures to decrease the chances of these problems occurring in the first place. Engaging in regular checks of areas of your RV such as the seals, caulking, pipes, bathrooms, and roof will ensure that you identify any issues and can take action.
EZ Snap products provide a great do-it-yourself solution to the five most common RV issues detailed in this article. Created using patented technology, years of experience, and high-quality material, EZ Snap makes a great choice for addressing some of the afflictions your vehicle might deal with as you use it throughout the year.
Leaky windows are an extremely common problem with RVs and can be a pain to deal with. Here are a few tips for identifying this problem in your vehicle and confidently stopping the drip!
Recognizing the Symptoms
There are a few steps you can take to confidently identify the signs of window leaks in your RV. First, ensure that you are regularly inspecting the windows and their seals in your vehicle for an indication of leaks or water damage. Look for any sections of the caulking that have dried out or pulled away from the windows. Second, you’ll want to inspect the skylights in your vehicle for similar signs of outflows, water trickling, or damage.
Left untreated, leaky windows are bad news for your RV. If the caulking or other sealant around your windows becomes too damaged or cracked, it risks needing to be entirely replaced, which is a costly endeavor. A water leak in the windows can damage the vehicle and your belongings inside if it is not identified quickly. Small leaks involving a slow drip of water have the potential to be the most damaging, as they are less likely to be noticed and have the capacity to run inside the wall panels, causing mold and mildew.
The EZ Snap Solution: Window Shades & Skylight Covers
Using EZ Snap window shades and skylight covers is a great way to stop window leaks from damaging your RV. The patented technology in EZ Snap products allows these screens to effectively block the sun’s heat and damaging UV rays, protecting the delicate window seals inside your vehicle. The mesh in the window shades is designed to block 90% or more of the sun’s harmful UV rays while having minimal view distortion so you can enjoy your surroundings while remaining protected.
With EZ’s “No-Drill” system, fitting window shades or skylight covers in your RV has never been easier. After deciding the optimal fastener location for your shade, you can cut the material to size on-site to perfectly fit your window. The unique materials used to construct EZ Snap products are durable and contain “Non-Fray” properties to ensure high quality and ease of installation. Each EZ Snap kit also comes with a washable layout pencil so you can mark out the sizes and shapes of your windows on the shading mesh. Once you’re finished with the installation you can wipe the markings right off with a damp cloth.
Left untreated, mold and mildew can seriously damage the interior of your vehicle and your health. Here are some top tips to identify and banish this pesky problem in your RV using EZ Snap products!
Identifying Mold and Mildew in Your RV
Anywhere in your vehicle that is most, damp, or dark is at risk for developing a mold or mildew problem. Some of the most common places for this issue to form in an RV are the bathroom and plumbing, the roof, under the mattress, on the walls, and in the carpet. If you smell a musty or stale smell in the interior, that could be a sign of some unwanted guests.
Mold and mildew can cause physical damage to the spaces inside your vehicle, but this problem is unique in that it can also have an impact on your health. Health risks associated with mold and mildew include allergic reactions, asthma and trouble breathing, and skin rash. Mold and mildew are especially dangerous if you have pets or kids, but it is never ideal to have them in a living environment like the interior of your RV.
The EZ Snap Solution: Ventilation & Proper Sealing
After identifying mold or mildew in your RV, the first step you’ll want to take is to remove it by applying bleach or another type of mold remover to the affected area. To prevent the problem from returning, you’ll want to keep the interior humidity down and make sure the vehicle is ventilated and has proper sealing. One way you can do this is by putting a dehumidifier in your interior living space. There are two types of dehumidifiers that work best in an RV environment: non-electric and electric dehumidifiers. Non-electric dehumidifiers usually consist of a bag, pouch, or tub with crystals that attract and absorb water from the surrounding environment. Electric dehumidifiers use batteries or plug into the wall and suck warm air out of the environment using a fan, trapping condensation as it cools down.
When installing EZ Snap products in your RV, there are steps you can take to ensure the shades and skirting provide proper ventilation. To combat mold, mildew, and condensation, the EZ Snap fasteners are designed to hold the shades away from the wall by a small amount to allow air to pass through. The AIRFLO spacer for plastic or dome skylights provides an extra gap between the shading mesh and the surface of the window.
Inefficient Insulation: Keeping Your RV Comfortable Year-Round
Whether you stay in your camper occasionally or year-round, inefficient insulation can be an annoying problem that affects your comfort and energy consumption while traveling. Here are a few ways to identify insulation problems in your vehicle and remedy them with EZ Snap products!
The Importance of Proper Insulation
Inefficient insulation can cause a whole host of issues in your RV if left untreated. It can affect your comfort by making it difficult to regulate interior temperature. With improved insulation, you can be sure to have more efficient energy consumption and an overall more enjoyable experience traveling in your vehicle. Additionally, poor insulation can negatively affect the undercarriage as wind and dissipation of heat can cause pipes to freeze and crack in extreme temperatures. This can impact the function of your vehicle’s bathroom and be extremely costly to fix, so it is a good idea to take preventative measures before this occurs.
To identify areas in your RV with poor insulation, you’ll want to do regular checks of the vehicle. Check the caulking around the doors, windows, and vents to ensure that it is not cracked or leaking. The sealants around storage compartments are often the culprit in situations with poor ventilation, so be sure to look there too. The efficiency of energy consumption greatly depends on the type of RV you have. If you have an exposed undercarriage, you’ll need to be more proactive with insulation than if you have an enclosed one.
The EZ Snap Solution: RV Skirting & Window Shades
To improve the installation in your RV and keep it comfortable year-round, EZ Snap has an array of excellent products. Both RV skirting and window shades are easy to install and great for keeping the energy consumption of your vehicle at an optimal level. Properly installed shades can improve the temperature in your RV’s interior by up to 15 degrees.
To install EZ Snap RV Skirting and Window Shades, you’ll want to measure your vehicle before ordering the kits to ensure you get the correct size. The window shades, skylight shades, and RV skirting kits all include EZ Snap’s patented “No-Drill” system, allowing for easy installation that does not permanently affect your vehicle. When installing the RV skirting specifically, you’ll want to use pins to attach the skirting to the ground and lock it in place.
The roof of your RV is specifically at risk for damage because it is constantly exposed to the elements and difficult to inspect. Here are a few of the most common roof issues, their causes, and some information on how to use EZ Snap products to create a preventative solution!
Common Roof Issues and Their Causes
When it comes to your vehicle, the roof issues you might deal with depend on the type of roof your RV has. If you have a rubber roof, you’ll want to inspect the rubber membrane regularly for any signs of puncture or tearing. Metal roofs are at higher risk for denting or structural damage, and fiberglass roofs run the risk of cracking. These issues can be caused by trauma, such as a stray branch brushing against the top of your roof, or from wear and tear over time.
Left untreated, the consequences of roof damage can be significant for your RV. Structural damage to your roof can cause leaks and seepage of water, which can cause mold and mildew and be costly to repair. Roof damage can also lead to ventilation problems if the cracks, punctures, or tearing allow cold air to seep in. When it comes to roof maintenance, it is better to take steps to prevent these issues from happening before anything gets out of control.
The EZ Snap Solution: Roof Vent Covers & Protective Films
To be proactive and protect your RV’s roof from future damage, try EZ Snap’s range of products. Roof Vent Covers and Protective Films are easy to install yourself and shield your vehicle’s roof from the elements and general wear and tear. The roof vents in your RV are a common place for leaks to happen, so the vent covers are perfect for mitigating this issue.
As with all EZ Snap products, the Roof Vent Covers and Protective Films come with everything you need for an at-home or on-the-road installation, including detailed instructions. Safety is always a concern with doing anything regarding your RV’s roof, so make sure you are in a good location with a stable surface for a ladder before beginning to install. If you’re using the EZ Snap adhesive studs in the installation, consider using the EZ Snap Primer Pen for 3M Studs. Though this can vary, it is common for roof surfaces to have more problems with adhesion, so the primer pen can help affix the stud and keep it from becoming detached at any point.
Awning Wear and Tear: Extend the Life of Your Outdoor Living Space
Life on the road is complete with a good awning, which provides a nice shady spot for you to spend time outdoors when you’re parked. Here are some tips for using EZ Snap products to promote your awning’s longevity.
Recognizing Signs of Awning Deterioration
Awning wear and tear is a common issue for RV owners, as the fabric can easily deteriorate when exposed to the elements. One of the most obvious problems is torn or ripped fabric material in the awning shade. If exposed to heavy rain, it is also possible for the fabric to develop mold or mildew, which can smell and contribute to health issues. Rain can also collect on the RV awning and cause it to stretch out and sag over time.
The impact of awning deterioration on your RV experience can be great if you’re traveling in an area with very sunny or rainy weather. The awning provides a nice shady spot outside for eating meals, engaging in recreational activities, and socializing outdoors when you’re on the road. If your awning falls out of use, you lose a crucial space for the enjoyment of your vehicle.
The EZ Snap Solution: Awning Shades & Cleaning Tips
To promote protection and longevity in your RV’s awning, try EZ Snap awning shades. All EZ Snap products are comprised of high-quality materials and patented technology to ensure they are long-lasting, and the awning shades are no exception. If you need to store the awning shades at any point, the EZ Snap HD vinyl storage bag is a great way to protect your shades when stored. The Velcro seal at the top of the vinyl storage bag ensures additional protection from mold, mildew, and the elements during your off-season.
One way to keep your RV’s awning in top condition is to refrain from leaving it open when not in use, especially in inclement weather. Some windy conditions can be especially extreme, and it’s not unheard of for an RV’s awning to be ripped off or damaged if left open in a big storm. You’ll also want to clean the awning on a regular basis using a gentle solution. Try a small amount of dish soap mixed with warm water and be sure to rinse thoroughly!
Owning an RV can be a very rewarding experience, but there are a lot of problems that can come up whether you’re on the road or off-season. Some of the most common problems you’ll need to address when maintaining your RV are leaky windows, mold and mildew, inefficient insulation, roof damage, and awning wear and tear. These problems are best addressed early, and many EZ Snap products such as window and skylight shades, awning shades, and roof vent covers can prevent these issues from getting out of hand.
Regular maintenance and upkeep are extremely important for keeping your RV free of common problems. Regular inspection can help you identify issues such as mold, mildew, discoloration, cracks in the caulking and sealant, water leaks, and more.
For more information about EZ Snap products, visit the EZ Snap website to see everything they have to offer to keep your RV in good condition. Featuring patented technology and east-to-install designs, you will be able to use EZ Snap products year-round to prevent wear and tear.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
FAQ 1: Can I install EZ Snap products on my own or do I need professional help?
All products on the EZ Snap website are designed for easy installation on your own. Each EZ Snap kit comes with everything you need including easy to read instructions for affixing it to your RV. If you’re more of a visual learner, the website also has videos showing you how to install the EZ Snap shades on your vehicle. You don’t need any special tools or experience!
FAQ 2: How long do EZ Snap products typically last?
EZ Snap products are comprised of high-quality materials and patented technology and are designed to have a long lifespan. After extensive testing in places like the Sun-Belt States, EZ Snap mesh has been proven to have a life expectancy of at least 10 years. They also offer a limited lifetime warranty on their products.
FAQ 3: Are EZ Snap products compatible with all RV models and types?
Yes! Because EZ Snap products are made of “Non-Fray” Diamond-Weave skirting material, it is easy to trim them to fit your vehicle no matter the size. Be sure to measure the dimensions of the area you need to cover before ordering the products to ensure you have enough material. The material does not require any hemming or sewing, just cut to size and follow the easy installation instructions for a fabulous fit.
FAQ 4: Can I customize EZ Snap products to fit my specific RV needs?
Yes! Because of the patented technology used in EZ snap products, customizing them to fit your RV’s needs and dimensions has never been easier. The EZ Snap RV skirting, window shades, and skylights are all made of “Non-Fray” material, meaning you can trim them to fit your vehicle on-site before installation.
FAQ 5: Where can I purchase EZ Snap products and find more information?
You can purchase EZ Snap products and find more information by visiting their website at https://ezsnapdirect.com/. There are many different products to choose from to protect your RV from common problems and typical wear and tear. Their website also has a tool where you can enter your RV details into a calculator and get an instant price estimate for RV skirting or window shades, which is super useful for planning and budgeting!
RVs present a fun, practical, and cozy way to travel and explore the outdoors while enjoying many home comforts. They are, however, difficult to maintain, especially in severe weather. RV skirting is a wise investment that can help with these issues by offering insulation, keeping out unwelcome pests and debris, lowering energy costs, and improving the comfort level of your RV. In this article, we’ll go through the advantages of RV skirting and give you the knowledge you need to properly select, install, and maintain the ideal skirting for your vehicle and individual requirements.
Benefits of RV Skirting
Improved Insulation. RV skirting is a barrier to prevent cold air from transferring from the ground to the RV’s underside, lowering heat transfer and greatly enhancing the RV’s insulation value. This function is especially important during harsh weather, such as the frigid winter. RV skirting may keep an RV warm, preventing the freezing of water pipes and the need for heating systems, which lowers energy use and costs.
Reduced Energy Bills. By improving insulation, RV skirting can reduce energy bills and the need for heating or cooling systems. RV skirting can also prevent the loss of cool air in the summer, ensuring that the RV remains comfortable even in hot weather.
Protection from Pests and Debris. Rodents, insects, and other pests are deterred from entering RVs by RV skirting, which serves as a barrier. Moreover, RV skirting can prevent dirt, rocks, and other debris from building up underneath the RV, lowering maintenance needs and ensuring the RV stays sanitary.
Increased Comfort and Living Space. RV skirting can provide additional living space by enclosing the RV’s underside. This feature can be handy when the RV is parked for an extended period, providing a physical barrier for temporary storage underneath your RV
Types of RV Skirting
Hard-Sided skirting. Hard-sided skirting is often constructed from solid and lightweight materials like PVC, fiberglass, or aluminum. It offers a secure and semi-permanent barrier around the RV’s underside, shielding it from the weather and vermin. Hard-sided skirting can also improve insulation, reducing energy consumption and costs. However, hard-sided skirting can be more expensive than other types. The installation process can be complicated, requiring specialized tools and skills.
Soft-Sided skirting. Soft-sided skirting is typically made of flexible materials like vinyl or treated canvas. It offers an affordable and adaptable substitute for hard-sided skirting, enabling RV owners to change the skirting’s height or remove it entirely. Soft-sided skirting is a standard option for RV owners because it is simple to install and store. Yet, compared to hard-sided skirting, soft-sided skirting is less robust. It may require more maintenance to prevent damage from weather and pests.
DIY Skirting allows RV owners to create skirting using readily available materials, such as plywood or foam insulation. DIY skirting can be a cost-effective and customizable option, allowing RV owners to adjust the skirting’s size and shape according to their needs. However, DIY skirting requires some skills and tools to build and install. It may provide a different level of insulation or protection than other types of skirting. Still, DIY will inevitably be the least expensive option.
Choosing the Right RV Skirting
Material. RV skirting is available in various materials, including vinyl, fabric, and insulated options. Vinyl is the most common material for RV skirting due to its durability and weather resistance. However, fabric options are also available, which can be more breathable and flexible. Insulated options are ideal for cold climates as they help to retain heat and keep your RV warm.
Size. Ensure you measure your RV carefully before purchasing an RV skirting kit. The skirting should fit snugly around the base of your RV to provide optimal insulation.
Ease of Installation. RV skirting should be easy to install and remove, especially if you plan to move your RV frequently. Look for skirting with complete installation instructions, and consider purchasing skirting with quick-release buckles or snaps for easy removal.
Cost. RV skirting can be pricey, exceptionally if you choose an insulated model. But, making a long-term financial investment in high-quality skirting can save you money by lowering your heating and cooling expenses. Compare the prices and quality of different options to find the best one that fits your budget.
Climate. Consider the environment you will be camping in when choosing your RV skirting. If you plan to camp in colder climates, the insulated skirting will be your best option to keep your RV warm. A breathable fabric skirting option may be more suitable if you camp in warmer temperatures.
Installation Process of RV Skirting
Measure the perimeter of your RV: Before spending lots of money on your new RV skirting, be sure to accurately and precisely measure the perimeter of your RV to ensure you order the correct amount of material. Be sure that you measure the height that your skirting will be installed, as there are variations in most RV designs as you go higher or lower on the exterior.
Assemble the necessary tools: Likely tools that you will need are a tape measure, a drill, a hammer, a staple gun, a utility knife, and an extra set of hands is priceless.
Install the mounting hardware: Mounting hardware is used to attach the skirting to the RV. Install the mounting hardware and follow the manufacturer’s instructions before starting. Some will require drilling into the exterior of your siding, while others, such as the RV Skirting Kits sold by EZ Snap, use a powerful yet removable adhesive that does not require you to drill into your RV.
Cut the skirting material to size: With your tape measure, determine the required length of the skirting cloth before cutting it to size. With a utility knife, trim the fabric to the proper length.
Install the skirting material: Attach the skirting to the mounting hardware starting at one RV corner. Pull the skirting tight and secure it to the hardware. Continue this process until you reach the end of the RV.
Trim the excess skirting material: Use a sharp utility knife to trim any leftover skirting material. Consider saving larger pieces to use as patches for future repairs and wear the proper PPE to stay safe while cutting your skirting material.
Clean regularly: Regularly cleaning your RV skirting (and your RV itself) will significantly prolong its lifespan. Use a soft-bristled brush and hose to remove dirt and debris from the skirting. Avoid harsh cleaning chemicals as they may damage the material; mild soap is best. Check with the manufacturer for their recommendations.
Check for wear and tear: Inspect your skirting for any signs of wear and tear; if you notice any holes or tears, be sure to repair them immediately to prevent further damage to your skirting and the underside of your RV.
Protect from UV exposure: UV rays can cause damage to your RV skirting over time. To prevent this, consider applying a UV protectant to the skirting material and storing it in a cool, dry place when not in use.
Store properly: When not in use, be sure to store your skirting in a dry, cool place away from pests. Avoid exposing it to direct sunlight or extreme temperatures, as this can cause damage to skirting over time.
Cost of RV Skirting
Hard-sided skirting. The cost of this kind of RV skirting, which ranges from $800 to $2,000, makes it the priciest choice. The price varies according to the materials used, the RV’s dimensions, and customizing options.
Soft-sided skirting. Costs for this sort of RV skirting range from $400 to $800 on average and up to $2000 for higher-quality alternatives like the RV skirting kits provided by EZ Snap. These are less expensive than the hard-sided version and often considered the most efficient skirting based on cost: effectiveness. The size of the RV and the materials used, like canvas or polyester, have an impact on the price.
DIY skirting. This is, of course, the most economical choice because you can literally make the skirting yourself out of anything you have lying around; plywood, tarps, and foam insulation are common choices. Depending on the materials used, the ability to source used or recycled materials, and the size of the RV, the price of this option could realistically range from $50 to $800.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Installing RV Skirting
Not measuring accurately: One of the most common mistakes when installing RV skirting is not measuring accurately. Measure your RV’s dimensions and add just a few inches to your measurements to ensure a perfect fit and accommodate materials that may shrink or expand with temperature variations.
Choosing the wrong material: Choosing the inappropriate material for your RV skirting can cause problems such as mold, mildew, and tears. Be sure to select a material suitable for the climate and weather conditions where you will be using your RV.
Not securing the skirting properly: It is crucial to connect it firmly to the RV to prevent it from falling off or blowing away in the wind. Use secure clamps, zippers, or straps to hold the skirting in place.
Environmental Impact of RV Skirting
Using vinyl RV skirting can have a positive environmental impact over time by improving the energy efficiency of individual RVs. By reducing air infiltration and blocking drafts, vinyl skirting can keep an RV cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. As a result, there is far less of a need to run your heater or air conditioner, resulting in lower energy consumption and fewer carbon emissions. Moreover, vinyl skirting can aid in shielding the underbelly of the RV from the weather, extending the vehicle’s life, and lowering the need for replacement parts, all of which reduce waste and environmental effects.
Regulations for RV Skirting
State or country-specific regulations or guidelines for RV skirting may apply, so it is essential to research the rules in your area before installing skirting. Regulations may cover factors such as materials used, height, and other requirements for installation. Compliance with these regulations is necessary to avoid penalties and ensure the safety of the RV.
Maintenance and Care
Regular maintenance and care are essential for ensuring the longevity of your RV skirting. Different types of RV skirting require additional care and maintenance methods. For example, soft-sided skirting requires regular cleaning to prevent mold and mildew buildup. In contrast, hard-sided skirting requires occasional repairs and painting to maintain its appearance.
Here are some tips for maintaining and caring for your RV skirting:
Clean the skirting regularly to prevent mold and mildew buildup.
Repair damages promptly to avoid further damage.
Store the skirting properly (and dry) when not in use.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and read thoroughly before starting.
Keep a low-wattage lightbulb under the RV at night to deter rodents and other pests from building nests.
RV skirting is a valuable investment for any RV owner looking to improve their comfort and efficiency. With improved insulation, reduced energy bills, and protection from pests and debris, RV skirting can enhance the RV living experience.
When choosing RV skirting, it is essential to consider factors such as climate, budget, material quality, and RV type. In addition, researching and comparing different types and brands of RV skirting can help make an informed decision.
Proper installation and maintenance are essential for ensuring the longevity and effectiveness of RV skirting. Following the manufacturer’s instructions and avoiding common installation mistakes can prevent damage and provide proper insulation.
In addition, understanding state or country-specific regulations and guidelines is vital to avoid legal issues and ensure compliance.
Investing in RV skirting and maintaining it can provide years of comfort and energy savings for RV owners.
Recreational Vehicles, also called RVs, offer a leisurely, convenient, and comfortable method of travel. But like any motor vehicle, they also require regular maintenance to operate safely and to avoid costly and unforeseen pit-stops. By performing the simple and routine maintenance checks in this article, you will ensure that you and your family have a smooth, fun, and exciting journey to your destination! After all, road trips are a staple to domestic travel in the US and should be time spent seeing the natural beauty of the country while relaxing with friends and family. By the end of this article, you will be ready to take on your next big road trip with peace of mind behind the wheel as we will discuss comprehensive RV checklists and some recommendations on must-have equipment, such as RV skirts and other innovative products by companies such as EZ Snap.
When planning an RV trip, one of the most important things that must be done is a proper and thorough maintenance check. This is a comprehensive check of all your RV’s major and critical systems, like tires and electrical systems, which ensures that you have a functioning vehicle that will provide a smooth and safe journey. Neglecting pre-trip checklists and maintenance oftentimes leads to unexpected and costly repairs that offer nothing but stress and anxiety during your travels. In this section, we will be going over the most important components of a pre-trip maintenance checklist and what to do in the event something unexpected comes up, or you run into issues during your pre-trip inspection.
What to inspect before leaving for a trip in your RV
Tires- Be sure to thoroughly inspect each tire (including your spare!) for tread depth, tire pressure, and overall condition. Check your manufacturer’s recommendations to get the best tire pressure for your RV, and just do a simple visual inspection of the inside and outside walls of each tire. Do you see any bald spots, or even worse, wire showing through? If so, it’s as good a time as any to get those tires replaced to avoid any dangerous blowouts on the highway.
Brakes- Check the callipers, brake fluid level, and brake pads if you have them. This can all be done with a simple visual inspection, but if you’re having difficulty seeing the brake system, try turning your wheels to one side to get better access for your inspection. Your brake pedal should also feel firm when you press on it.
Lights- You will want to ensure that all of your lights are working properly before you hit the road as well so the drivers around you can see you and know when you are turning, changing lanes, or slowing down/stopping. It is easiest to have a helper with this one to tell you if your lights are working or not when you test them. One of you will get in the driver’s seat, turn the engine on, and shout which lights you’re currently testing-brake lights, front and rear turn signals, hazard lights, taillights, and headlights (high and low beams)…see why its easier to have a friend? Alternatively, you can set your phone up to record video in front of, and then behind your vehicle as you run through all the combinations of lights, check the video to make sure all is working!
Electrical- This can be a little trickier, especially if something is not working properly, but your first course of action is to simply start the engine…if it starts up without a problem, you’re looking pretty good, if not, it will likely be a trip to the shop unless you are mechanically inclined. Easy and important things to check though (whether it started on the first try or not), is to look for corrosion on your batteries (yes you likely have two in an RV, one to start the engine, and a “house” battery to run the RV when parked). It will look like pink or blue crystals built up on the battery terminals and is easily removed with a wire brush and baking soda/water mixture, be sure to wear properly fitting protective equipment like rubber gloves and safety glasses. You will also want to do a visual check on your alternator and any other electrical components including your fridge, heating system, A/C, 12v outlets, etc.
Mechanical- Do you know when your last oil change was? If not, consider getting another done before your trip. Did you know that engine oil not only breaks down with mileage but also with time? Old oil can be as bad for your engine as heavily used oil, as the components break down over time and the lubricating quality does not work after a certain number of months. The recommendation is to get an oil change every 3,000-5,000 miles or every 6 months. Does your engine make any kind of whining or screeching sound when you start it up? Probably a loose belt that needs to be replaced. How about when you turn your wheels, does it make a groaning noise? If so, you may be low on power steering fluid or have an issue with your power steering pump.
Plumbing- The job that one unfortunate soul gets stuck with-every single. time…It’s not a pretty job, but it needs to be done regularly to ensure a properly functioning toilet in your RV, if we wanted to be camping, we have brought a tent, right? You will want to check all of your tanks and “Summerize” tanks by rinsing out and flushing the winterizing RV treatment that you should be using every year. This includes your water tanks, black tanks, and gray tanks, which hopefully were properly cleaned and treated after your last trip, otherwise, you’re in for one heck of a cleaning job that nobody wants to do. You will want to check and test your lines, water heater, and water pump for overall functionality and any leaks by putting water in your system and testing out each component-turn the water heater on, test each sink with open cabinets to look for leaks, flush the toilet, then look under the RV to ensure there are no visible leaks. You’ll also want to test your drinking water hose for leaks before departure, they can be expensive on the road.
Propane- Check the dates on your propane tanks to ensure they are still within the legal, usable date. When that is verified, connect your propane tank to your RV, and test all of the propane appliances and lines by turning them on (stove, oven, 3-way fridge), and spraying soapy water over the main propane lines to look for leaks (presented as bubbles on the hose).
Exterior- Look for any chipping paint, loose parts, dry rot, etc. Do a thorough walkaround of your RV to visually inspect the all-too-often flimsy fenders and wheel wells to ensure everything is still connected and sturdy. While you’re at it, check the spare tire holder to ensure it is sturdy, and get under your RV one more time to check for any alarming rust or damage to your frame, slider motors, axles, etc. If something looks “off”, it is likely worth a closer inspection by you or a professional.
Interior- This is not just for creature comforts, but also safety. Make sure to inspect all of your emergency exits and that the hatches and hinges are all functional. Check the date and functionality of your fire extinguisher and all of your fire alarms and your VERY important carbon monoxide alarm. Other than that, make sure you have all your insulating window covers (regardless of season), extra blankets, pillows, towels, etc.
If you do happen to find an issue during your pre-trip inspection, it is very important to have the issue fixed before departure, which is also why it is important to do this checklist at least a week in advance, and once again the day before you leave. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time for last-minute discoveries that will put anyone’s safety in harm’s way.
Depending on the severity of the issue, you may have to bring your RV into a shop to see a professional to get you back on the road safely. It is very important to not attempt any repairs on your RV that you are not comfortable with or lack the experience to complete properly, such as a brake job. Consider purchasing roadside assistance insurance that includes a rental car and hotel in the policy before your trip as well.
Engine and Transmission
The engine and transmission are arguably the most important parts of your RV because, without them, it’s just a big hard-sided tent that you can’t move! The engine and transmission are what deliver the power and directional torque to move your RV, and need special attention and maintenance to work properly, especially as more miles are put on your RV. Once again, any neglect in maintaining the engine and transmission of your RV has a high likelihood of leading to costly and unexpected repairs on the road, so be sure to pay close attention before it’s too late.
Best practices for maintaining your RV engine>
Oil changes at regular and recommended intervals. As mentioned earlier, most manufacturers advise changing your oil every 3,000-5,000 miles or every 6 months. This is essential to keep the very hot and very fast-moving metal components of your engine properly lubricated. Ever seen old motor oil with shiny flakes in it? That is ground metal from engine components due to an improperly lubricated system…which is very bad.
Replacing oil and air filters at regular intervals. Every oil change typically means a new oil filter, and new air filters to ensure the flow of everything is at peak levels and there are no restrictions along the system This helps keep your fuel economy at its most efficient as well, which is an essential factor for many on long RV trips.
Check fluid levels regularly. Just because you haven’t hit those 5,000 miles or 6 months, doesn’t mean the oil in your engine is not breaking down. Especially on a road trip in your RV, be sure to check your oil levels every time you fill your gas tank. Also, while you’re at it, be sure to check all of your system fluids as necessary, such as your brake fluid levels, windshield wiper fluid, coolant, and power steering fluid.
Check belts and hoses for wear. As mentioned earlier, this is a pretty easy one to hear when you start your engine or turn your wheel. Most of the time, your belts let you know when they need some attention via a very high-pitched squeal, which is the sound of the belt slipping. If it’s constant when you turn the engine on, it’s likely your serpentine belt, if it is only when you turn your wheels, it is likely the power steering belt. Hoses can be a bit trickier as they are typically for compression (air) in your engine. If you’re having a loss of power or notice a hissing noise, break out that spray bottle of soapy water from earlier when we checked your propane system, and spray the compression hoses to look for leaks.
Check your batteries. We already went over this one, but it’s important enough to mention again in this article as it is a very common startup issue that can be easily remedied without much mechanical knowledge. Big thing is to check for corrosion, which will present itself as blue or pink crystals building up on the battery terminals. Oftentimes when this is the issue, all you have to do is remove the clamps from the terminals, and scrape or brush away the corrosion. Baking soda in water works wonders, but be sure to wear proper protection including rubber gloves and eye protection.
Best Practices for Maintaining your RV Transmission
Very similar to engine maintenance, transmission maintenance largely involves changing lubricating fluids and filters at regular, manufacturer-recommended intervals.
Change fluids at regular intervals as recommended by the manufacturer. Typically, transmission fluid is recommended to be changed every 30,000-50,000 miles.
Replace the transmission filter on your RV with every transmission fluid change. This helps to keep your transmission fluid clean and free of debris.
Check for leaks around your transmission and repair immediately if a leak is found, one way to passively keep an eye on this is to look at the ground under your RV to see if there are any fluids near the transmission.
Drive conservatively whenever possible, this reduces the strain on your transmission when shifting gears and will prolong the life of your factory RV transmission.
Exterior Maintenance of your RV
Exterior RV maintenance is more important than most people think before RV ownership. RV’s are typically built to have a greater focus on being lightweight than ultra-durable, and that requires a little more TLC than your normal motor vehicle. Being constantly exposed to the elements, road debris, salt in the winter, etc., they are prone to leaks, rust, and potentially rot (depending on where they are kept). Use the following checklist to ensure the longevity of your RV’s exterior.
Clean your RV regularly. Regular cleaning of your RV removes dirt, road grime, grease, oil, insects, and other debris that can cause damage to your RV over time. Similar to a car, you want to hose the exterior down before scrubbing with a soft, microfiber brush or towel to avoid scratching the paint during cleaning.
Check the roof for leaks after big storms, snowfall, and taking out of storage. Also, be sure to check all windows and the cabinets along the corners of the wall and ceiling- sometimes leaks like to hide in there and you won’t find them until you see visible water damage. Consider purchasing and applying RV roof sealant every 5-10 years. Be very careful walking around on the roof of your RV as well, especially if there isn’t a ladder attached from the factory as that typically means the roof is not designed to be regularly walked on. Just like walking around in an attic, be sure to look for the studs and only step on those studs, otherwise, you may send a leg through your roof!
Clean and dry the awning after every trip and before storing it for the off-season. Just like a tent, you never want to roll up and store a wet awning as it will grow mold and mildew that will deteriorate your awning and can cause potential health implications. Use a soft brush and a mild cleaner to clean your RV awning.
Check your tires (including your spare tire!). This one has come up a few times now… may be due to the high importance of having tires in good condition! Be sure to check your tires’ tread depth, sidewalls, air pressure, and visual condition periodically, and every time you depart on a trip. You’ll want to keep a keen eye out for any bulges or bald spots as well, which means that the tire needs to be replaced ASAP.
For a high-quality line of products designed to protect your RV and improve your overall quality of time while traveling, consider checking out EZ SNAP. EZ SNAP specializes in exterior RV products such as RV skirting, RV insulation, and RV sun protection. EZ SNAP is most famous for its RV skirting, which is used as a barrier around the bottom of your RV to prevent wind, rain, snow, and dust from entering the underside of your RV while parked and camping. Not only does EZ SNAP skirting help prevent unnecessary damage to the undercarriage of your RV, but it also provides the best layer of insulation that you can get for your RV. If you have ever camped or slept in a hammock without any insulation under your body, you know what we’re talking about. The wind that blows under the RV is a huge heat drain and will reduce the overall interior temperature of your RV by several degrees, at best, skirting eliminates this.
Maintaining your RV Interior
Maintaining the interior of your RV can be as important as maintaining the exterior of your RV due to safety and health implications. Maintaining the interior of your RV is what ensures you have the comfort and safety of home while on the road, and the following checklist will help achieve that goal.
Clean the interior regularly, including the floors during and after every trip to maintain a non-slip and clean entry to your home on wheels. It is very difficult to get into the heating system of an RV, and most often the heat registers are on the floor. You will want to ideally vacuum the floor of your RV every few days on the road and especially when you return so debris and dirt do not end up in your heating ducts, then blowing everywhere inside your RV when you need to turn the heat on, leading to a higher risk of respiratory illness or allergies. Also with the kitchen oftentimes in the most heavily trafficked area, there is a higher risk for grease splatters on the floor that can create a slipping hazard. You will also want to dust, wipe down surfaces, and remove any travel dust that may have entered during your trip.
Check appliances for functionality. Turn on all your systems before departure so you can ensure a safe and comfortable experience. Test the stove, refrigerator, freezer, heating, A/C, any slide-outs, water tanks, water systems such as sinks and showers, circuit breaker box (have spare circuits), and any other interior systems that are critical to your safety and comfort. You will also want to make sure that all appliances that run on either propane OR electricity are functional in all modes; for instance, make sure if you have a 3-way fridge that the house batteries, propane tanks, and shore power are all working properly before leaving for your trip.
Check for any water or fluid leaks, particularly in overhead cabinets that occupy the corner between the wall and ceiling, that’s a great place for water damage to hide. Looking under your sink and clearing out any pea traps is also a great idea before leaving on a trip to ensure your plumbing is not backed up in any way. Fill your water tank and turn on each sink and shower, one at a time to isolate any potential leaks. Having a helper to quickly look for leaks under cabinets is also very useful to quickly pinpoint leaks while minimizing water damage.
Test electrical systems, as previously mentioned, turn on all systems one at a time to isolate any issues and get them repaired immediately by a professional if problems are discovered.
While checking for leaks, if any water damage is found, also keep a keen eye out for mold damage that could create long-term health implications. This can look like anything from dried water stains to black spots with fruiting bodies of mold growing. If you can see mold, it is a problem that will need professional remediation and potential replacement of insulation, wall paneling, roofing, cabinetry, etc.
Check all emergency systems such as your smoke detectors, CO alarms, fire extinguishers, and med-kits. Restock anything that needs to be restocked and replace anything that needs to be replaced. There will be expiration dates on most of this equipment that you can refer to, or simply replace with fresh batteries before your trip.
Maintaining your RV Electrical and Plumbing Systems
Drain and flush the water systems after each trip and properly winterize your tanks every Autumn. This will help prevent any clogging due to hard water or mineral deposition and make it difficult for mold and mildew to colonize your tanks.
Use water softeners to minimize mineral deposition in your tanks and lines, further increasing the longevity of your factory systems.
Check all electrical connections such as fire alarms, radio, hitch connections, etc.
Use surge protectors when connecting to shore power or a generator to add one more level of electrical protection to your trip. They make special surge protectors for RVs that should always be used when plugging your RV into a power source.
Properly Storing your RV
Properly storing an RV is a very important part of RV ownership to mitigate damage from the environment, pests, and other factors that can cause wear and tear to your vehicle while it sits waiting for the next trip.
Some essential tips for storing your RV are:
Clean your RV every time you return from a trip.
Empty the water tanks and make sure they are dry before storing them for an extended period.
Winterize your RV by emptying the water tanks, and water heater, and using a specialized RV antifreeze that can be placed down each sink, shower, and toilet drain.
Cover your RV with a high-quality RV cover to prevent environmental damage from the weather, sun, pests, etc.
Disconnect batteries and keep them in a warm place until ready for use, and always connect to a battery tender to keep the charge and health of your batteries up.
Tips for long-term storage of your RV:
Use a climate-controlled RV storage center. These are the most expensive option, but also the most guaranteed option for keeping your RV properly stored when not in use.
Check your RV regularly by removing the cover, inspecting for water or rodent damage, and regularly repairing what needs to be repaired.
Use tire covers to keep your tires out of the sun and to minimize any dry rot and exposure to the elements.
Consider RV-specific storage products such as EZ-SNAP skirting, window covers, and tire covers. There are also specific anti-mold cleaners that are very useful and great to have.
As we have been discussing at length in this article, preparedness while traveling in your RV is critical to avoid costly accidents, and to ensure a smooth, safe, and fun trip for everyone. Some emergency supplies that should be kept in every RV include but are not limited to
Basic first aid kit to treat injuries and know how to use it in the event of an emergency. You should be able to treat minor injuries and illnesses while on the road or camping.
Emergency food and water supply need to be kept in a safe location and out of sight, such as under the main bed. This should not be kept anywhere that wildlife, other travelers, or cold temperatures can get to. Not much sense in having extra water if it’s frozen!
Flashlight/headlamps, and extra batteries in the event of a power outage in the evening.
Portable, hand-crank radio for weather and emergency reports
Tool kit with basic hand tools for minor repairs
Emergency warmth such as blankets, hats, gloves, hand warmers, and propane heaters such as a Mr. Buddy heater.
Even with all the planning in the world, accidents and emergencies can still happen. It is best to stay calm and know exactly what it is that you need to do in any given situation, and the only way to ensure that is through training and practice. In the event of an emergency on the road in your RV, be sure to
Stay calm. Easier said than done, but staying calm not only helps to make more logical decisions but also aids in keeping those around you calm, which fosters a much better environment to figure out what comes next.
Take an emergency preparedness course such as the Wilderness First Responder course offered by organizations such as NOLS Wilderness Medicine, which specializes in backcountry medical stabilization and emergency preparedness in a remote setting.
Follow safety protocols while driving. If you need to pull over or make an unexpected stop, pull over as slowly as you safely can, turn on your hazard lights (that you checked to make sure worked before leaving), and evaluate the next move from there.
Dial 911 to activate emergency services if you need emergency or medical assistance.
Have a plan for emergencies and discuss it with your group before you depart on your trip, such as a meeting place if separated, informing friends about your location, and sharing emergency contact information with everyone.
Additional Tips and Tricks for Maintaining your RV
Owning an RV is no simple task, and it comes with a lot of upkeep, maintenance, and preparation. However, if you follow the tips in this article and the following list of additional tips and tricks, you will be off to a fantastic start to a relaxing and rewarding travel experience.
Keep a regular maintenance schedule so you’re never guessing what is “due” or needs to be looked at more closely.
Check the roof regularly for leaks and damage, as this is one of the first places where damage will inevitably occur over time.
Use high-quality cleaning products that are specifically made for RVs, as they will be gentle enough to use on the paint, yet strong enough to remove dirt and road grime.
Check tire pressure and maintain it at the manufacturer’s recommendations. Also do visual inspections of tires regularly, looking for bulges or bald spots.
Find reliable RV specialists in your area to help diagnose and repair things outside of your ability. These are also great places to get advice as you build a relationship… don’t just go and ask for free advice.
Join RV clubs and forums. This is where you go for free and knowledgeable advice from experienced RV owners.
Use RV and tire covers to protect the exterior of your RV.
Always keep a basic toolkit and fire extinguisher on board for emergencies and minor repairs.
Q. What is the best way to maintain an RV’s exterior?
A. The best and easiest way to maintain your RV’s exterior is by cleaning it after every trip and storing it under an RV cover.
Q. How often should I perform an RV pre-trip inspection?
A. RV pre-trip inspections should be completed a few times before leaving on a trip. For example, check all the major systems that would require a trip to the shop at least 4-6 weeks before you leave. Other pre-check items can be done during the week of departure, such as checking tire pressure and your smoke and CO alarms.
Q. What supplies should I keep in my RV for emergencies?
A. As discussed earlier, you will want to keep extra food and water, blankets, flashlights, batteries, fire extinguishers, first aid kits, and an emergency plan that is shared with the group.
Q. How do I find a reliable RV maintenance professional in my area?
A. The easiest way is a simple web search for local RV dealers or shops. Also, ask any friends you have in the area who own an RV and read reviews online.
Discover Park Passes & Discounts for the Ultimate Road Trip Experience
The Rest of Your Life
Everyone works towards retirement; however, few actually plan for it.
Many plan financially for a time when daily work obligations end, but how many consider what to do with all of the time? “I’ll play golf,” “I’ll spend time with the grandchildren,” ” I’ll work in the garden,” does this sound familiar?
As longevity increases, thanks to modern medical advances, retirement is also extended. Retirees have spent most of their adult life paying for a house and may still have a mortgage or ongoing rental costs. Do you want to spend your “golden years” in a “golden cage”?
There is another option that is exciting and stimulating. Haven’t you always wanted to see the Grand Canyon?
A Recreational Vehicle (RV) is the answer. The term “recreational vehicle” can describe a fifth wheel (living space pulled behind a vehicle), a motorhome (living space with locomotion), a camper, or an all-inclusive “travel trailer.” It can also be a converted van for minimalists.
What an RV really is, however, is freedom. The freedom to explore and enjoy retirement.
Most seniors don’t realize that many discounts are available to minimize adventure costs. The federal government, individual states, cities, and private enterprises offer reduced prices for many places to camp, national and local parks, historical sights, museums, amusement venues, restaurants, and more for those of a certain age.
Before everyone owned a handheld computer (cell), it was difficult to access these benefits. Now, however, it is all at the explorer’s fingertips. So now is the time to unlock the best RV deals for seniors and discover park passes and other discounts for the ultimate road trip experience.
No one would argue that aging comes with some negative consequences. Consider the alternative. Many studies show that seniors who keep their minds and bodies active live longer and live happier. Exploring the wonders of America can do both.
The federal government encourages seniors to engage positively by offering an America Beautiful-the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass, commonly called “The Senior Pass.” The pass provides free access and significant discounts at National Parks and other federal recreation areas. However, the passes are not free.
A lifetime Senior Pass costs $80. The government made it easier by extending yearly passes for $20. When a senior purchases four yearly passes, it automatically converts to a lifetime benefit. But be aware there are 16 free National Parks. However, there may be other costs, camping or parking fees, for example.
Passes can be purchased at any federal recreation site for a legal resident 62 years or older. They can also be purchased online at https://store.usgs.gov. In addition to the entrance, the pass provides discounts on some camping sites, swimming, and boat launches. Check the website of the park to find specifics.
City park passes for seniors are available in most communities. Each state has its own guidelines. For example, the senior pass in California allows a yearly $1 discount for day vehicle use and a $2 discount for family camping. Over time, these discounts add up. Again, check the city’s website to find the specifics. In general, the passes can be purchased at the park or online.
Are you or a traveling companion on active duty, retired military, veteran, or a Gold Star Family member? The federal government offers a free lifetime Military Pass to thank you for your service. The Interagency Military Pass provides free admission and basic facility fees at the following agency areas:
The free Military Pass does not cover camping fees, tours, or reservation fees. In addition, it will not help with concessions or group fees. Receive your free pass online at https://store.usgs.gov and select “MilitaryPass.”
One of the benefits of the RV lifestyle is the community. Multiple online sites and blogs specifically address senior discounts for the RV and other expenses along the way. One way to save money is by an RV Club. RV clubs make a financial deal with campgrounds for a discount. You save money, typically 25% per night, and the campground gets more business. Check out the Good Sam Club.
Save a buck on food, gas, and supplies. Keep a record of restaurants that offer senior discounts. If you have a Costco card, the gas prices are lower. Fill up there. You can also buy a gas discount card online, offered by several companies. AARP card? More discounts. As you start your voyage, talk to other RVers, find out how they save money with senior discounts and spend time searching online.
A good idea is to rent an RV for a trial run. You may find it isn’t for you before laying out a lot of money. Several companies offer senior discounts. Don’t jump at the first RV rental place; compare and ask each if they provide a “maturity” discount.
One way to approach a trip is to select a place you want to see. Then, research what else is of interest along the way. For example, on your way to the Grand Canyon, stop in Cawker City, Kansas, to see the world’s largest ball of twine.
–Nature– The diverse national parks and natural wonders of America span all 50 states (Hawaii may be hard to reach) and change with the seasons. There are unlimited places and things to experience.
-Coastal Adventures- Do you like the beach? Start in Maine in the spring and end up in Florida for the winter driving along the coast. Next year. Start in Port Townsend, Washington, and get to Mexico for warmer weather.
-History- If you are a history buff, map a trip that hits all the civil war battlegrounds or head to the Alamo.
-Big Cities- Start in the largest city closest to you and pick a direction. Visiting and comparing foods, lifestyles, and local activities will introduce you to many new experiences.
Don’t just show up, Do your due diligence. Research campground locations (did you know Walmart allows RVs overnight in their parking lot?). Find safe areas ahead of time and read what other RVers had to say about a destination. Being prepared is a safety measure.
Now you have committed to the vagabond lifestyle, get started. The first order of business is selecting an RV that meets your needs. The first and most important consideration is choosing a rig (slang for RV) that you can handle. It doesn’t matter what else the RV offers; if you can’t drive and park it, it doesn’t matter.
There are three categories of RVs:
Class A Motorhomes are strong, large, and heavy. These are similar to the high-end tour bus a band might use on the road.
Class B RVs are similar to an oversized van. They are tiny; however, they are the least expensive, provide the cheapest gas mileage, and are the easiest to drive and park.
Class C combines the other two classes. There is an overhead sleeping compartment and more living space. They may have slide-outs for additional inside space while parked. Another benefit is the ability to tow a car or motorcycle trailer behind.
Packing and Preparing
One thing you must accept is that less is more. While some things can be stored, it becomes a matter of priority. Bring your favorite coffee maker and pictures of the grandchildren. Leave unnecessary knick-knacks, wall art, superfluous dishware, and anything else you will not need and can do without. Remember that more items in a small space equals clutter.
Another concern for traveling seniors concerns well-being. Bring as much as possible if you are on medications, and consider having refills available through a national brand pharmacy for easy refills. As you plan your escapades, always research hospitals or clinics along the route in case of emergency.
If you have any physical limitations, find ways to accommodate potential difficulties. For example, if you have a class C rig and arthritis of the knees, climbing up to reach the sleeping area can be a problem. Buy a collapsible stool. Consider where your RV hooks up to water and electricity. Are you able to reach and strong enough to make secure couplings? You may need a large wrench and a flat roller, such as car mechanics use.
Additionally, it is important to consider the use of RV skirting for both winter and summer to protect your RV from harsh weather conditions and reduce energy costs. Make sure that your skirting is properly fitted to the contours of your RV to prevent air infiltration.
When on the road for extended periods, someone must know your itinerary. Call, text, or email that person on a routine basis. If anything untold should happen and you don’t make the expected contact, your contact can notify officials and have a good idea of where to find you.
Exploring the country is good for your health and well-being. There are different-sized RVs to fit all needs. With a little time planning and research, you can save a lot of money. It is exciting and gives you direction and purpose after a lifetime of working. You stay mentally stimulated and see and learn new things.
Or, you could sit in front of the TV with a beer and watch I Love Lucy reruns day after day. Get up and get moving; live life; it’s not over until it’s over. Most people today will spend 10 to 30 years as retired seniors. So, get busy and start logging the discounts that are due to you as a senior. And get on the road.
There’s nothing quite like the freedom that comes with owning an RV trailer. Beautiful mountain vistas, mesmerizing oceans, and exciting adventures are easily at your disposal when you can haul your accommodations behind your vehicle. An RV trailer is defined as a trailer that is outfitted with living quarters and is hauled behind a tow vehicle using a hitch. This is in comparison to a motorhome, which does not need to be towed because the RV, itself, is drivable.
Types of RV Trailers
There are many different types of RV trailers to fit the needs of a wide variety of travelers:
Pop-up trailers – These look similar to a box and are only a few feet tall when being towed. At the campsite, the owner raises the “lid” by turning a crank or pressing an automatic crank button. Then, beds slide out on either side. The slide-out beds and middle living area are protected from the elements by canvas walls and clear, vinyl, zippered windows. The central part of the pop-up camper might be big enough for a small kitchen, table, and bench seats.
Truck campers – This kind of camper is the one exception to the “towed” part of the RV trailer definition. A truck camper doesn’t need to be towed because it sits in a truck bed and does not have wheels. Usually, the bed area extends over the cab of the truck.
Hybrid trailers – This kind of trailer is a cross between a pop-up camper and a travel trailer. They mostly have rigid exterior walls in addition to slide-outs with canvas walls.
Travel trailers – These are what most people think about when they hear “RV trailer.” They widely vary in size and often feature hard-wall slide-outs. Most of the time, they are big enough to have a full (albeit small) bathroom.
Fifth-wheel trailers – Fifth-wheel trailers are larger than most travel trailers. Instead of connecting to a bumper hitch, they attach to a large hitch that must be installed in the bed of your truck. Some 5th wheels are suitable for winter living with RV Skirting.
Sport-utility trailers – They come equipped with living space on the front end, as well as a garage and ramp on the back end. People who travel with motocross bikes, ATVs, or other sports-utility vehicles often use them because they can simply roll their “toys” into the back of the trailer and camp simultaneously.
It’s not hard to see the numerous benefits of having your own hotel-on-wheels. Traveling with an RV trailer gives you more control over your vacation. Headaches over canceled flights and questioning the cleanliness of highly-used hotel mattresses will be no more. Additionally, you can forgo expensive restaurants by making your own food in your RV kitchen.
RV Trailer vs. MotorHome
When comparing a motorhome to an RV trailer, there are many reasons why people often opt for the latter. It’s all about flexibility when you’re traveling. Will you want to leave the state park or KOA and explore after making yourself at home? In a motorhome situation, you would have to pack everything up and take your home with you while you adventure beyond the front gates.
On the other hand, if you own an RV trailer, all you would have to do is unhitch your truck or SUV, and bam! You would be free to drive wherever you want, leaving your accommodations at the campground. Backcountry dirt roads or tight parking lots wouldn’t be an issue for you.
Here’s one more factor to consider: most motorhomes are not equipped with crash-tested car seat hookups in the passenger area. Therefore, if you have young children, your truck or SUV would be a safer place for them to ride.
When you’ve been wishing for too long and are finally ready to purchase your own RV trailer, it’s vital to consider the following factors.
What Size Do I Need?
Of course, you’ll need to think about the number of people who will be using the RV trailer regularly. But it’s more than just looking at the number of people that can sleep in any given trailer. Sure, you might be able to fit seven occupants into a 23-foot-long trailer, but you might like more elbow room than that would allow for your seven-person family.
What kind of storage space will you need in your RV trailer? This depends on how many days you plan on spending away from home. Consider how much food and clothes you plan to bring, and ensure your trailer comes with all the cabinets and shelves you will need.
When deciding what size you need, consider where you plan to take your RV trailer. Do you want to drive on narrow, steep roads and sleep in the middle of the Rocky Mountains? In that case, a smaller pop-up camper might be more suitable than a large-and-in-charge fifth-wheel trailer.
Deciding on an RV trailer type and size will only be relevant if your truck or SUV is capable of towing it. Check your vehicle manufacturer’s specifications for your tow rating. You’ll add the weight of the trailer to the weight of passengers and cargo to come up with a total towing weight.
Everything that goes into your vehicle and trailer, including gas, water, suitcases, mountain bikes, etc., must be calculated into the total towing weight. And just to be safe, make sure your vehicle’s tow rating is well above what you calculate the total weight to be.
What Amenities Do I Need?
RV trailers can come with an endless number of add-ons and amenities, so what are your priorities? Do you need a bathtub for your toddler? Private sleeping quarters? A full kitchen? As you look at different brands and models, your “must-have” features might change.
For example, you might start by looking for a four-bed travel trailer for your four-person family, but come to find out that two of the beds need to be converted from the kitchen table and bench seats. Knowing this, you may consider upgrading to a six-person trailer with two bunk beds. Converting the table and sofa into beds every night during your vacation really cuts into family fun time, so it’s no wonder why you would change your mind. This is just one instance of how priorities can change when looking at different amenities.
How Much Can I Afford to Spend on an RV Trailer, and How Will I Pay for it?
The answer to this question might impact the number of amenities that can fit on your priority list. Consider how you’re going to pay for your new trailer. Are you going to pay cash or get an RV or personal loan? If you need to get a loan, how much can you afford to spend monthly to pay it back? Here are the differences between different types of RV loans and personal loans:
RV loan from a bank – Almost any bank can provide you with an RV loan just like they would a car loan (but they are not the same). You might do this before visiting the RV dealer to determine your budget ahead of time. Your lender may or may not require your RV to be inspected before they will approve the loan, which could cost a couple of hundred dollars.
RV loan from a dealer – After choosing your perfect RV trailer, the dealer will likely present you with many financing options. Sometimes, going through the dealer for RV financing can give you a certain amount of negotiating power on the asking price.
Personal loan – A personal loan might be the right decision if you need to borrow less than $10,000. After obtaining a lump sum payment from the lender, you can show up at the dealership with cash in-hand.
The best things in life require regular care and attention, and an RV trailer is no different. Proper maintenance will help your recreational investment to keep going strong after decades of use.
Regular Inspections and Tune-Ups
Depending on your state, you might be required to have your RV trailer inspected yearly, just like your regular vehicle. Most states require inspections for trailers that are over a specified weight.
Whether or not yearly inspections are required for you, you should regularly have an RV mechanic check your tires, brakes, and other mechanical components for any problems. You could avoid a major accident by doing so.
Retired seniors are rewarded with many perks, and they deserve them. One of the easiest perks to overlook is travel. There’s nothing like exploring the unexplored. And, being a senior allows you to enjoy the sights and beauty of America’s parks and campgrounds.
But how should you travel? Why not an RV? It’s rising in popularity, and the average age of seniors living in RVs has gone down.
While the freedom to hit the road immediately may be calling, it’s important to take precautions when choosing a vehicle and deciding when to begin your travels.
Do you have medical issues that could interrupt your trip or disabilities that require more accessibility options for your RV? These are just a few things to consider out of a multitude.
So, we’ve compiled a guide to safely get you on the road!
You Might Want To Rent First
Often people rent houses before buying them. It allows the tenant to understand what they like and don’t like about the home.
It’s a good idea to treat an RV the same way. If this is going to be your new home or camping home, then there is going to be an adjustment period. There may or may not be homesickness problems, but there will definitely be a downsizing transition.
To deal with this, it’s recommended that you try RVs of varying sizes and consider what things are most important to bring with you while camping.
There are so many types of RVs that it can be confusing to choose one. Here’s a list of the types of RVs that suit seniors:
Class A Motorhomes: These come operating with gas or diesel. They’re the most luxurious type of motorhome with regular home appliances (refrigerators, showers, microwaves, etc). Diesel-powered motorhomes have a smoother ride with stronger torque than gas motorhomes. This would be great for seniors with a lot of money and accessibility needs.
Class C Motorhomes: They are smaller than the class A motorhomes, shrinking the bathroom, and bedroom space. You’ll recognize these mostly with a bunk over the cab. While it’s smaller than class A motorhomes, it offers more maneuverability and better parking access (some parks and campsites don’t allow class A motorhomes). This would be perfect for a senior without mobility issues that can downsize.
Class B Motorhomes: You’ll recognize these as camper vans or sprinter vans. Because they’re so much smaller, they will move like a car and can park in the same spaces. Most class B motorhomes lose the typical appliances like a washer, dryer, and fridge.
Tow Campers: Come in various sizes. You’ve seen them on the road before, both long and short. These would complement seniors with a truck or vehicle that can tow a camper. They also require extra maintenance because you’ll have to check the tow’s bearings and tires.
As we stated earlier renting is a smart option because you can see what RVs best fit your lifestyle. If you’re eager and are bent on buying one outright, or you’ve already rented and are at the buying stage, then consider buying an older model.
It’s no secret cars depreciate quickly. They hold value, as well as two-ply toilet paper, holds water. New RVs are the same, losing a good chunk of value within the first years.
Many feel that it makes more sense to buy an RV older than five years to get the most bang for your buck!
If you’re visiting campsites and you’re enjoying the outdoors at night, then it’s important to have ample light. Some campers come with a lamp, but if yours doesn’t there are plenty of automatic lamps that’ll light your doorway.
A lamp near the door will help light your steps as you enter and exit the van, and it’ll double as a safety feature to see who’s knocking on your door.
Medication and Doctors Appointments
Safety also includes staying up-to-date on medications and appointments. Inform your doctor of your trip plans, so that they can give you information that’ll help you stay on top of your health.
Also, plan your trip with doctor’s visits in mind. Do you have any appointments within the next year? If you do, plan your trip so that you’ll loop around back home with more than enough time to make your appointment.
Finding RV Campsites
Now that we’ve covered the important safety features, we’ll move into the fun topics, like finding places to camp.
While you can go the old-school route and use a map to find the campgrounds, it’s recommended that you use Google Maps. Google Maps makes finding a campground near you as easy as typing “campground near me.”
Of course, you can change this by typing in the location you’re going, like, “campgrounds in central Florida.” This will help you find campsites at your desired location with the best ratings, so you don’t have to worry about bad customer service.
Google Maps will also route you around traffic and construction, so you can have a stress-free drive.
With RV living on the rise and the age of senior campers lowering, campgrounds are bustling. This will make it harder to get reservations at popular campgrounds. So, to ease the pain of hearing that your favorite campground is booked, book ahead.
Some campsites will have their phone numbers displayed on Google or booking information on their website. Be sure to inform the campground workers of your vehicle’s size as it’ll affect where you’re able to park.
Places You Can Park Your RV Overnight
Sometimes you might get tired when you’re driving. Maybe you’ve been driving all day and didn’t make it to your destination, or maybe you just need a nap. Either way rest is important on the road, so you’ve got to know where you can park.
Here is a list of some overnight parking areas:
State Rest Areas: Rest areas are state-owned places for families to take a break from the road. That break could be to use the restroom, eat food, or nap. Your camper’s size will determine parking options. Class A, C, and Tow Campers will be parked on the side with the eighteen-wheelers. Class B campers can be parked near the cars. The amount of time you can spend there will be dependent on the state you’re in. If you can’t find that information, then try not to stay longer than necessary as someone else might need your parking space.
Truck Stops: Truck Stops are like rest areas except the space is private property, so the amount of time you can park there is usually shorter. They offer bathrooms, food, and amenities like showers and washers. You’ll see these every so often off of major highways. TA, Pilot, Flying J, and Buc-ee’s are some of the names of truck stop franchises.
Walmart: Walmart, like Truck Stops, are private property, so parking will depend on the staff’s rules. You may prefer to park here because most Walmarts allow overnight parking, and they’re not as loud as truck stops.
Senior Parks Pass
The freedom to travel and see America’s beauty is nice and all, but it’s even better to do it at a discounted cost. Seniors over 62 can visit 2,000 recreation sites with the National Parks & Federal Recreational Lands Senior Pass. That includes National Parks as well.
Getting a senior pass will also give you a discount on amenities offered at National Park campgrounds and recreation sites!
Slow Trips Are Better Than Fast Ones
It’s important to be punctual when booking trips, but make sure you have time for exploring. While the destinations you have planned will be grand, try to enjoy the journey just as much. Find restaurants, cook dinner in the wilderness, fish rivers, and make friends on the road!
Becoming a senior camper is something that must be planned. With finances and health at risk, there’s no way that a senior can jump in. So, we hope our Beginners Guide to RV Camping for Seniors has instilled in you the confidence to make plans and explore America’s beautiful landscapes!
Featured Image Credit: Deposit Photos, Lic # 264277866
Nobody on this planet can tell you as a disabled person what you can and cannot do. All you need is the will and the tools to get you where you want to go. What I will share with you are options for making your life experiences and dreams a little more possible and a little more convenient. I was told as a young man, “Sometimes life doesn’t always fit. Sometimes you must make some adjustments.” I’m coming straight at you as an 80% Disabled Veteran who deals with day-to-day physical challenges; however, my disabilities don’t stop me from being an RV owner who enjoys the open road and the majestic sites that seem to envelop this great land that we know as America. I believe that your RV is your magic carpet to experience this great country.
A special needs RV can make what was once difficult or impossible, enjoyable. Today’s RVs can be custom modified to meet every need of the disabled. Most importantly, especially for those who are mobility impaired or using a wheelchair or electric cart, modern RVs are equipped with hydraulically lowered and hoisted ramps or a wheelchair lift. Getting in and out of your rig is as simple as pushing a button. Just like homes and apartments, RV floorplans can be customized to meet the 36’’ spacing required for wheelchairs. Bathrooms are designed to be spacious to accommodate your wheelchair and tubs are equipped with seats and 60’’ handheld shower hoses.
So which type of RV best suits your needs? It’s up to you. If you want to go basic and least expensive you may want to consider a pop-up (tent) trailer with a ramp for access. In most cases, you’ll have to rely on the campgrounds for bathroom and shower facilities. In the mid-range price, you have the pull-behind, hitch or fifth-wheel towed camper. These units will be larger and have a bathroom that can be modified to meet your needs. The big boys, class A (think bus) and class C (think bigger than an airport shuttle) are homes on wheels. They have it all. These motorhomes are driven by you and can spare you the physical strain of hitching and unhitching a pull-behind. Driving controls can be modified to meet your needs. Foot controls can be replaced with hand controls. With these amazing new vehicles, there is nothing to stop you from enjoying this beautiful country.
Handicapped Accessible Campgrounds and Parks
Campgrounds can be quite difficult to navigate for those of us with disabilities. Even though accessible campground work for everyone with mobility challenges, basic campgrounds are mostly void of paved surfaces for wheelchair access and accessible bathrooms. I live in Colorado and have visited and stayed a night or two at several of Colorado’s accessible campsites. In my native Colorado, which is home to Mesa Verde National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, and Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park; one park stands out above the others when it comes to wheelchair and disability access.
The park is The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve just Northeast of Alamosa, Colorado. The trip runs about 230 miles south and west of Denver and should take you about 3- and one-half hours to traverse. The views are incredible. With the expansive seas of sand, the dunes would normally be inaccessible to wheelchairs, but the park has loaner wheelchairs for adults and children that are equipped with giant, balloon tires that glide over the fine sand. The chairs do require an adult to provide mobility but, nonetheless, these chairs will get you out to incredible scenery and remarkable views in comfort. I stay at the KOA campground in Alamosa. It offers spacious pull-through RV lots, plenty of paved paths to handicapped-accessible bathrooms, and full hookups, including fresh water and electricity. If you’re in Colorado, go check out the beauty at one of our nation’s largest sand dunes. Remember to reserve your chair ahead of time.
Good ‘ole Yellowstone. Yellowstone is one of the most iconic parks in the world. Those that haven’t visited it have read about it or at least seen it on National Geographic documentaries. Want to go and see Old Faithful? It’s easier now than ever. The park has made wheelchairs available at the main lodge so you can comfortably visit the geyser when it erupts roughly every hour during the day. Pathways that are accessible have made their way around the park offering access to everything from sightseeing to flyfishing. I found that nearly all campsites have at least one accessible site. If you really want to get outdoorsy, Yellowstone has made accommodations for mobility devices in their backcountry campsites. Make your dream come true. Go visit the land of wonders and amazement. The National Park Service has made a huge effort this century to make the park accessible and enjoyable for all.
At 277 miles long, 18 miles wide, and 6,00 feet deep, the Grand Canyon is a spectacle to behold. You’d think that handicapped access to this amazing gorge would be impossible. The park will complement your experience by offering “smart” wheelchairs that have built-in guides that show all shuttle stops around the park that will conveniently return you to the park lodge and parking. Several wheel-chair accessible trails will take you to the South Rim where majestic views of the park abound. If you don’t want to get out of your car, the park offers people with mobility issues a special park pass https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/accessibility.htm that grants folks permission to traverse normally off-limits roads around the park and soak up the sights that most visitors do not have access to.
There are many, accessible parks in the US, including national, state, county, and city. The last one I will mention for its accessibility is Acadia National Park in the great state of Maine. This park is one of the few that has miles of beachline on the east coast of the US. It’s rocky and rugged but has some of the most picturesque beaches in the country. One thing to note, you can view nearly all these scenes by wheelchair. You can stay at any one of the many KOA campgrounds around the state and you will find large pull-through and back-in RV lots with plenty of paved access around the campgrounds. The campground I stayed at provided reliable and easy access to 30- and 50-amp service and full hookups. Just imagine you can run your microwave, TV, and washer and dryer at the same time (if equipped with these appliances).
Top 5 Most Accessible, Wheelchair-Friendly National Parks
Here are a few things to consider when you are planning for your trip this next spring or summer: wide, paved paths that are accessible, parking lots with ample accessible parking, including extra-wide spots for mobility device vans, free accessible shuttles, and parks that have accessibility maps that show what sights and scenes are available to enjoy.
Image Credit: Deposit Photos Lic # 264549036
Social Security and Medicare
I’m not Social Security age, at 53, but I know plenty of folks who are, some of whom have varying degrees of disability. Most of these wonderful people started out apprehensive about their ability to afford an RVing lifestyle on a fixed budget, but quite a few of these folks have committed to the lifestyle change and made the change to RV life. Varying Social Security payments average between $18,000 and $35,000 a year, as of 2022. These days, those numbers seem on the low side. But look at it this way, without a house payment, the cost of commuting to and from work, and the kids out of University, RVing may not hit you as hard in the wallet as you may think. I would recommend you take a virtual trip to the Social Security website to make plans – http://www.ssa.gov. The folks that I’ve talked to at various RV parks and campgrounds have pretty much confirmed that if you plan and do it right you can live the RV life on a fixed budget.
If you’re on Medicare and RVing, you’re in great shape. You are covered nationally. Some plans may restrict you to certain states or regions, and that can be a problem. Nobody wants to drive across the country for medical care. The Affordable Care Act is also a viable option for folks traveling around the country. Keep in mind that the Individual Mandate has been overturned so you won’t be penalized for not having medical insurance.
Medications and Special Equipment
One challenge of living on the road is access to prescription medicine and special equipment. A little planning can go a long way to make sure you have your needs met if you’re out of pocket for a few weeks or months. As a Veteran, I fill my prescriptions through the VA pharmacy in Denver. I usually inform my doctor of my travels and he can get my medication filled in advance. You do need to verify in advance that all your meds (such as painkillers) can be filled in advance. It also would be wise to check state and local laws regarding which medications can be transported across state lines. Bring a copy of all prescriptions. If you have any medical issues while on the road, it will make things much easier for you and the medical providers that treat you while away from home.
While on travel, loss or damage of a prosthetic device, sensory aids, crutches, and wheelchairs can be a challenge. I know that the VA can ship your required special equipment from your primary care provider’s hospital or clinic to another VA clinic that is closer to your travel location. It’s best to check with your medical provider to see what processes they have in place to get your replacement medical devices as quickly and conveniently as possible.
Parking a 35-foot RV can be a challenge, but don’t let it be a barrier to your RV lifestyle. I have yet to see dedicated accessible parking spots for RVs; however, most RV sites are spacious enough to accommodate campers with disabilities. Now, that’s not to say that they don’t exist. While you travel make sure you equip your RV with either accessibility plates or a placard. As far as parking goes, my home state of Colorado has a weight and size restriction for oversize vehicle parking in accessible spots. My Class C is just too big, so I try to get creative when parking – legally of course. I’ve also noticed that Walmart is RV friendly, but if you want to park at Walmart keep in mind that you should park in an area that is not keeping shoppers from parking closer to the store. Go ahead and head in yourself. I’ve found out that most Walmart and Super-Walmart locations are well stocked with all your RV needs.
Pumping gas can be a bit of a challenge in an RV, either a motorhome or pull-behind. Don’t let that stress you out. A little planning and knowledge of the law can make your travels much smoother. Firstly, know the height of your RV. That can help you avoid making unintended contact with low-clearance bridges, tunnels, and gas station awnings. Look for oversized gas stations that serve semis. And, secondly, know the law. Gas stations are required to aid disabled folks with full-service gas pumping at no additional charge. Go to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) website for details – https://www.ada.gov/gasserve.htm
Regardless of your mobility challenges, there is an RVing lifestyle out there for you. RV companies have fielded some of the most modern rigs that will meet your disability needs. National, state, and even local campgrounds and parks have been updated in the last twenty years to ensure you have access to the best views and all the amenities available to guests. Do not let your disability hold you back. Get out there and enjoy the beauty and serenity of the great outdoors.