RVing Basics

Very good book, worth to have and keep, so I will not cover all good parts, only morsels.

Tow vehicle

  • Towing package (bigger radiator, transmission oil cooler, stiffer springs etc) is better installed by manufacturer, so buy towing variant of a truck.
  • Stiffer springs are good for carrying load but uncomfortable ride when not towing.
  • Turn signal - needs to be upgraded too to carry load of trailer signals. If same lights are for braking and signaling turns, trailer's brakes can brake on turn signal.
  • Diesel is good for towing because has bigger torque.
  • Rear axle ratio: higher number (4.10:1) is better for towing (it gives less mpg when not towing) and is expensive to change than non-towing 3.73:1.
  • Automatic transmission is recommended and allows to tow more. Overdrive should not be used when towing.
  • Crew cab is heavier than regular cab, so towing rating is lower.
  • 2W drive is usually rated to tow more than 4W drive.
  • Pickup camper: has high center of gravity and needs stiff springs.

Galley (Kitchen)

  • Counter area is at premium, select carefully
  • Sink cover (to increase counter area): where you place it if is not over sink?
  • Dining table opposite galley is can double as work counter area.
  • Rear galley has bad weight distribution: fridge, range are far behind axles, and has lots of bounce (same with bathroom). Mid galley has better weight distribution and less bounce.
  • Living room in middle has worst view. Best view is from rear.
  • Dinette has storage space, unlike "nicer" freestanding table/chairs, and can convert to extra bed.


  • Check knee space when sitting on toilet, elbow and head space when taking shower.
  • Some shower (most water use) drains to black water tank - fills very quickly and harder to dump (but easy to flush). Some camps provide only gray water sever drain onsite, black water has to be dumped.

Storage space

  • Open shelves: when moving, stuff can fall. Check all doors, some cover equipment and not storage space.
  • Even if space is available, using it might push GVWR and/or towing capacity, so you cannot use it.


  • To recharge during driving, size of alternator and distance to batteries matters. On MH, batteries s/b next to engine, on trailer, in front..
  • Some converters can charge batteries (can deliver 13.8 volts), some cannot.
  • Check fuse panel, mark each fuse with appliance (remove and see what stopped working).
  • Paper cup with crease is great to add distilled water to batteries.
  • Baking soda dissolves corrosion: 1 oz water, 1/2 teaspoon of soda, pour on, wipe with paper towels.


  • Hitching: Hitch should "point" to coupler.
  • Right turn: is hard. Sometimes 3 left turns around a block is easier than right turn.
  • Sharp turns are easier on 5W, because it pivots on wheels: make turns slowly, sometimes tires might roll of the rims.
  • Don't break continuously, but press-and-release (to let brakes to cool down). If engine overheats: turn off A/C, lower gear. If you have to pull to side: set park brake, raise hood and let engine run (add little throttle to get air through radiator) for 15 minutes.


  • Have light on outside so you can see person when you are in the dark. Ask them to show you identification, police is OK with this.
  • If you see someone cruising around or pulling in a site without camping gear, note license number and vehicle make. They might be thieves.
  • Lock hitch on your trailer so it cannot be stolen as a whole.
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