Do You Always Drive Around With Your Trailer Hitch?

Have you ever heard anything about trailer hitches being hazardous on your truck when not in use? Well, apparently the answer is a resounding yes!  The following video will show how it can affect your driving.  Do you keep your hitch on your truck all the time?

When you think about it, hitches are used to pull boats, RV trailers, jet skis, work trailers and more.  Logic would stand to show that many people have hitches on their cars.  Let’s find out why it can be dangerous.

Roughly 40 percent of vehicles on the highway have a receiver hitch (sometimes referred to as a trailer hitch). Many times when a vehicle is finished towing, the ball mount is just not removed from the hitch. This result’s in a collision from the rear there’s a 22 percent increased chance of a whiplash injury to passengers. Learn more in this one minute video. [RV Videos]

While I had thought about hitches sticking out and the accidents that they may cause, that statistic really makes me think of the importance of removing your trailer hitch when not in use.  Check out the video below for some more information.

 

Looking for a GPS for Your RV?

Rand McNally has just launched its first “RV Only” GPS device called the TripMaker RVND 5510.  How many times have you been in a car and saw the functions brought to you through a GPS and wondered how this could help you on your next RV vacation?  Just a couple more weeks to find out as they have marked June for its release.

Take a look at some of the features this RV GPS device allows:

– RV-Easy Routing with a base of award-winning navigation from Rand McNally, the TripMaker RVND 5510 layers on all the information needed to have an enjoyable and safe trip in an RV.  The routing includes legal (including propane and other RV-only), height and weight restrictions, right- or left-turn preference based on 11 different RV types, and a quick reference to the Rand McNally Road Atlas. Turn-by-turn spoken and text directions keep the driver focused on the road ahead.

– The TripMaker RVND features more than 14 million points of interest – including festivals, and national, state, and regional parks.  Other key information includes:
•    RV campgrounds, RV dealers and service, parking and rest areas, travel centers with detailed amenities such as dump stations, propane availability and more.
•    Detailed exit information and available amenities on upcoming interstate exits.
•    RVer Tools such as checklists for set up and take down, maintenance logs, trails back to your campsite, and quick mileage calculators.
•    Pet-friendly locations including parks, animal hospitals, and beaches.

In addition to routing and tools critical to RVers, the TripMaker RVND features Rand McNally Editor’s Pick Content – proprietary data provided by our editorial staff with video and photos.  The content includes:
•    Best of the Road – three-to-four day adventures including unique stops, photos of the locations, maps and more to plan a memorable adventure.
•    Regional Trips, Scenic Tours, Weekend Getaways, and City Trips.
•    12,000 researched locations that will make any trip exciting and unique.

How would you use a device like this on your RV travels?  Are you gonna purchase one upon their release?  Leave us a comment below and let us know what you think about it!!

[Source: RV Business]

 

Basic RV Battery Information

Is there a more annoying sound than turning your RV key and realizing your battery is dead?  Making sure your battery is working properly is very important.  If you ever had this happen to you, check out the following information to help you out the next time!!

Some Basic Battery Info

In today’s RVs everything relies on 12-volt batteries to function–everything from the roof air conditioner to the refrigerator. Once the roof air conditioner and the refrigerator are turned on they run on 110V, but the computer used to start the air conditioner and refrigerator uses the 12-volt. In addition, your water heater and your furnace are also all 12-volt operated.

Without your batteries in working condition none of these things would work properly and the simplest daily functions in your RV would be impossible to carry out.

The type of batteries in your RV should be deep cycle batteries. This just means essentially that they are designed to store a large amount of power, discharge that power very deeply, and recharge over and over again.

To get the most out of your deep cycle battery and have it last as long as possible before you have to pay for a replacement, you’ll want to spend the few minutes it will take to maintain it.

RV Battery Maintenance – Filling With Distilled Water

With proper maintenance an RV battery lasts an average of 5 years. To achieve a longer life span one important thing you’ll want to do is keep your batteries full with water (distilled water is recommended).

To get started remove the battery cap and give a look in there. You’ll see a tube going into each cell with slits up the sides. These slits allow the gases to flow from cell to cell. Fill until the water touches the bottom of the tube and be careful not to overfill.

If you overfill and cover the slits in the side of each tube you will see liquid oozing from your caps and making a mess of everything around there. Battery trays and connections will all stay cleaner if you take care not to overfill and maintenance is done correctly.

When To Get A New Battery

If the lead plates are not covered in water when you check them chances are good you need to get a new RV battery. At this point, if the battery is not completely ruined then you’ve at least taken a lot of the life out of it.

The best and most inexpensive way to avoid this problem is to not let the water get that low. If you regularly follow the above maintenance strategies you will maximize the lifespan of your battery and only have to worry about this when it’s unpreventable.

Charging Your RV Batteries

There is nothing more important than keeping your battery’s connections clean with the above process, but it is also important to keep them consistently charged.

When doing this, keep in mind realistic timeframes to charge up. If your RV batteries are reading low on the monitor, it will take around 72 hours to charge them. If you just charge them for a day, as some owners may do right before a trip, they will only have 1/3 of the total charge.

Think of your batteries as a 5 gallon water bottle. You can pour the water out quickly and easily–that’s apparent enough. But imagine the only way you can fill the bottle back up is through a separate hole the size of a pencil. The refilling will take much more time. In other words, it is much easier to drain your batteries than it is to recharge them.

It doesn’t hurt your batteries to be low on charge, but it will make your life easier just to keep them charged up.

When storing your RV for two months or more, you will want to make it so your batteries do not discharge. To do this, simply disconnect the ground wire. Your batteries cannot discharge without this ground (unless the battery is already bad, of course).

Dry CampingIf you try dry camping–that is, camping with no electrical hook ups–all you need to do is run your generator three hours in the morning and three hours in the evening and you will be fine forever.

If you don’t have a generator consider getting solar power, it works extremely well and I highly recommend it. However, if you don’t have a generator or solar power and want to go camping, the key is just to not bring your kids (They never seem to turn a light off! Ha!)

Other Relevant Info

Most RVs have a 2 amp draw (or more) on the engine starting battery even when the batteries are turned off using the auto disconnects. This is the factory setting. I don’t like it this way, so don’t get mad at you RV technician, it isn’t his/her fault.

Having the RV plugged into 110V shore power will not charge the engine battery, so if stored for a long time, disconnect the grounds at the engine battery. They only charge when the engine is running.

NOTE: To all RV owners, if you are plugged into 110V shore power remember to leave your house battery’s disconnect on. Batteries won’t get a charge if they are off and it overworks your converter charger big time if the disconnect is not on. You should have the engine battery off because remember it won’t get charged from the converter anyway.

I hope this was helpful info for you and your RV health!  Please leave a comment with more suggestions or good RV battery stories!

[Source: Money Saving RV]

Stabilizing Your Fifth Wheel

What happens when you travel a good distance to get to your destination then you realize that the5th wheel isn’t stable? Don’t panic. It happens all the time, and with the right tips, it doesn’t have to be a tremendous hassle.

Uneven Ground Makes an Unsafe RV

First, check for a shaking sensation. When your 5th wheel is unstable, this may be your first clue. Besides the fact that it is probably uncomfortable, this unstable nature could be hazerdous to your family or others. That is why it is always crucial that you find level ground for your trailer.

When at a campsite, you do not always have the options that you really want as far as parking goes, but finding the most level ground possible is of the upmost importance. Every campsite strives to be as level as possible, but with RVs constantly coming in and out, it is understandable that it could change the landscape.

5th Wheel Stabilizer

When the ground is not even, a stabilizer comes in very handy. They attach towards the front, typically at the king pin to act as a stabilizer to level the fifth-wheel and reduce movement. They are available in both electric and manual styles for your convenience and easy use.

There are many kinds of stabilizing jacks available: C-shaped stabilizer, telescoping jack stabilizer, hydraulic jack, and tripod jack. While many campers use the tripod jack, you will need to do a little analysis to find with is right for you.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoaDPhMSygw&feature=player_embedded

Checking the Adjustments

The most important part of a stabilizer is its ability to adjust. Make sure you check out the footpads of the stabilizer to make sure they move so that they can perform height adjustments. These footpads, even when attached to the trailer, should be capable of move inward and outward.

Along with the moveable footpads, your stablizer also needs to make the smaller adjustments to make sure you get it perfect. Generally, these are made with a turn screw adjacent with a stabilized adjusting level. Remember, if it is not easy to adjust, then you won’t use it. Therefore, thoroughly check the ease of adjustment before you buy.

Checking the Weight Limit

Finally, you should definitely check out the weight capacity of the stablizer you choose. . For example, a stabilizer that will hold up to 5,000 lbs will cost you around $100. But be prepared to pay more the bigger your RV is.

A stabilizer makes traveling in your Fifth-Wheel much easier and safer. Once you start using one, you’ll wonder how you ever camped without it.

 

Awning Upkeep

If you are planning on using your RV for this upcoming summer, you need to make sure that your awning is in good shape.  Whether vinyl or acrylic, awnings have become a must have when enjoying your RV.  It could be as simple as having a place to take a break from the elements or just giving your RV that at home feel.  With the awning out, we try to convey a warm feel to people in the area that we are “open for business” so to speak.  When someone sees an open awning, they usually feel that the people are welcoming or that they are there for an extended period of time.

Not only does it give you shade from the sun, but using different add ons, you can customize the outside of you RV to your specific tastes.  For some, the overhang is good enough, but for others, certain touches can add a little pizazz.  If you are worried about bugs during those humid summer months you may choose to add a screen that can attach right onto your awning to keep them away.  Another way to spruce it up would be to add some lights to give you a little more coverage than a fire can typically give.  There are plenty of other options out there for you to personalize your patio area.

With all of the bonuses that an awning offers, it is very important that you keep it in tip top shape.  As their use is tied into keeping you protected from the rain, it is safe to assume that it will get wet at times.  This situation, compounded with the fact that for a good majority of the time it is rolled up or stored away, can be a breeding ground for mold and mildew.  Because of these deteriorating situations, it is necessary to maintain you awning with a lot of care.  Not only after it becomes stained or needs replacement, it is imperative that you do some preventative care.  One way to prevent would be to make sure that the awning is completely dry before it is stored away.  This moisture is sure to cause some sort of problem if not taken care of.  In an instance where this is not possible, such as leaving your destination during a rain storm, you should just be prepared to unroll it and let it dry as soon as you get the chance.  And if you do not use you awning for a while, it might be a good idea every once in a while to check on it for any kind of problems before it gets to the point where you need to replace it.

Finally, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the mechanical aspects of your awning as well.  Whether it is a automatic awning or one you crank by hand, knowing what to do in the situation could prevent a bad situation should it malfunction.  If you are unaware of how to fix a problem while on the campground, try to ask a neighbor for help or just use that imagination you have to find a solution.

Remember the awning is only is as good as you keep it, so make sure you are diligent in keeping it in the best shape as possible.  What kind of awning do you use?  Do you customize yours or just sit back and enjoy the shade?  Let us know in the comment section below!

Privacy Outside Your RV

The privacy of an RV, when compared to camping with a tent, is one of the pluses for owning such a vehicle.  It provides safety while inside, as well as privacy from the eyes of neighbors.  But what happens when you are enjoying a beautiful day outside of your RV and need a little more privacy?  That’s where the new product, “Wallup!” comes in.  The manufacturer of this ingenious invention was searching for a way to get the privacy people need at places such as an RV campground.  The director of Walluping Industries, Aaron Inman, had this to say:

The Wallup! is described as the “do it all, easy to haul, won’t fall, portable wall” and can be erected with minimal skill or effort and does not require the use of strings or other attachments to stand straight upright and stay standing upright.

In just a few minutes it assembles into a 6-foot high by 12-foot wide freestanding wall. The most amazing thing, Inman said, is it won’t fall over in winds excess of 15 mph and when it’s time to pack up the Wallup! collapses back into its tote bag.

The heavy duty poles and solid steel stakes used to secure the product are the secrets to helping it stay up, even in strong winds.

Now a little cold or difficulty lighting a fire outside your RV or tent can be diffused by the makeshift walls that “Wallup” provides.  Does this product look like something that you could use on your next RV trip?  Leave a comment below and let us know!

[Source: RV Daily Report]

 

 

Protect Your RV from the Elements

With all the perks that come along with purchasing an RV, there is certainly a lot of work that goes into keeping an RV in optimal condition.  While we would all like to have a garage that could hold our RV, leaving it outside is sometimes the only option we have. Rain, snow, changing temperatures, sunlight, and falling debris such as acorns and bird droppings can really take its toll on the exterior of the RV.  There are alternatives such as RV covers to give you a layer of protection.

With the above mentioned forces plus many others, a cover could certainly be of use to all RV owners.  As opposed to a tarp, covers are made to keep water off and allow the right amount of air flow.  The writers at rvwheelcovers.org have put together a nice article about the pluses of using an RV cover.  Here’s an excerpt:

If you intend to store your RV for a long time, the best option is to buy a custom fitted cover. When selecting the cover for your RV, it is important to take the measurements of the RV from one end to the other, while ensuring that you provide an allowance for the 5th wheel, bumpers, ladders and propane tanks attached to the vehicle. If you have to choose between two RV covers which near the size of your RV, select the larger cover. This is because it is better to have an over-sized cover than a small one which you have to stretch over the RV. Stretching the RV cover is likely to lead to damage due to stress.

When shopping for an RV cover, you should look for one which is able to block sun damage, is water resistant, and fits well onto your unit. Some RV covers are quite functional even when the RV is in use, and are thus able to protect your unit even while you are out in the park. Always remember to remove your cover before driving off in your RV. There are also covers available for your RV tires. These slip over the tires when not in use and are able to protect the tire rubber against damage when in storage.

Always keep a patch kit for your RV cover in the event that you get tears or rips. Taking some time to patch up your RV cover while on the road is much more cost effective than having to buy a brand new cover. For this reason, you should ensure that you conduct regular inspections of your RV covers to check that they are in tip top shape. Be sure to replace any cover which has lost its overall integrity and can no longer withstand the vagaries of harsh weather.

As you can see by the above, it is recommended to use an RV cover whenever storing an RV outside in the elements.  While we usually look at the fun stuff involved with RVs, it is important to remember that it is an investment and needs to be treated accordingly.  Do you use a cover?  Let us know by leaving a comment.

[Source: RV Wheel Covers]

Satellite TV for RV

While most RV users have in the past have relied on watching TV while hooked up at whatever campground/park they set up at.  As with much of the world, the state of RV TV technology has exploded over the past couple years.  As with expansion in any technology explosion, the market has spread out to various different practices and packages when it comes to watching TV in your RV.  Once satellite TV came along, it changed the way people viewed the medium, not only in their houses, but in their RVs!!  This was accomplished by either having a detached satellite dish that was either propped up by a tripod or connected to the roof of your RV.  Heck, you can even take your dish from home and connect it to your RV using an adapter that would allow you to use it when travelling.  Just make sure that if your dish is affixed to the top of the RV you make sure that it has been taken down or is under clearance level.  The last thing you want is to look in your rearview and see the dish laying in the street behind you.

What about if you would like to watch TV while you are in motion?  While this might have seemed like a pipe dream years ago, the technology has caught up and it is now available.  CampingWorld.com recently did a story on the different levels of service and had this to say about “The In-Motion RV Satellite”:

Do you want to watch TV while you’re on the road? With an in-motion RV satellite you can do just that. These systems can acquire a satellite signal even when you’re moving, so your family can enjoy their favorite TV programs while you’re on the way to your campsite and beyond. In addition, many of these systems offer dual hook-ups, so you can hook up more than one TV at once.

You want to look for an in-motion RV satellite that offers digital video broadcasting (DVB) signal acquisition for the fastest results, and one that is compatible with all the satellite networks, like DISH and DIRECTV. You also want an in-motion RV satellite that can use the standard satellite network receivers, so you don’t have to invest in another receiver when you buy your in-motion RV satellite.

How cool is that? So now instead of being forced to keep the family or children occupied with a variety of DVDs while in route to your destination, you can now have plethora of shows brought to you by the different satellite companies.  I don’t know about you, but the idea of having the NFL package in a moving RV is quite enticing.

What kind of TV system do you have in your RV and would you suggest it to other owners?  Leave a comment below and let us know!

[Source: Camping World]

 

Facebook for Campgrounds

The internet has given the world a pulse on what’s going on in our area as well as areas foreign to us.  This has allowed us to be able to connect to not only people, but to places.  Finding out about attractions and different areas as easy as clicking a button.  Even Social Media such as Facebook can be good for not only keeping up with friends and loved ones with comments, pictures and posts, but catalog our trips as well.

With all this additional information at the consumers fingertips, it is no surprise that even campgrounds are getting involved in order to reach their ever widening customer base.  While most campgrounds already have their own websites to tout their business, Social Media networks such as Facebook have largely gone unused up to this point.  But luckily BigFamilyVacation LLC has developed a Facebook application that allows for the company to combine the informational aspect of their personal website with a more friendly, interactive nature of Facebook.  The ability for people to post personal comments and pictures allow perspective patrons to get a more personal view than they might be able to get somewhere else.  The application also has a place for you to enter the zip code of your destination and it will produce all of the campgrounds in the area to give a traveler a better idea of what resides in the particular area.  The “Campground” application contains over 1,400 campground listings (including phone numbers, addresses and photos) from the website www.greatrvspaces.com to assist the user in their decisions.  Don Sumner from BigFamilyVacation LLC added:

“We know that there are now many thousands of people who are enthusiastic RV travelers, who regularly use Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family, such as kids and grandkids, while on the road. We think this application will provide a great resource to help them plan where to stay at their next destination.”

Have you used this application before?  Do you think it would be something that you would find helpful on your next vacation?  Leave a comment below and let us know!

[Source: American Banking News]

New Accessory: My Camper Kitchen

Have you ever pulled up to your campsite after a long day of driving, get ready to start cooking and remember you forgot the foldable table or utensils?  Just like in your kitchen at home, there are many parts and pieces that can be forgot or go missing if not properly cared for.  Certainly can be frustrating.  In comes a new product designed for RVs and camping in general to help out with such an instance.  The “My Camp Kitchen”, is a one stop shop for all your cooking and grilling needs (minus the grill of course).  Compact design and the ease to assemble should make this a very popular holiday gift this season.  The following is a video put together by the website in order to show how portable and easy this outdoor cooking set is:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4vVIK6O94o

No more dragging a picnic table over or worrying about the sturdiness of your favorite folding table anymore.  Not only that, but this wonderful package also has storage for tupperware and even non-perishable foods.  As you can see in the video, this piece also has room not only to prepare your foods, but also for a single burner for those jobs that cannot be completed on the grill.

How well do you see this product fitting into your RV travels?  Leave a comment below and let the rest of us know!!

[Source: My Camp Kitchen]