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]

Hey Minnesota, Are Gas Pricing Effecting Your RVing?

Remember those days in the not so distant past where you could leave a gas pump paying under $2 a gallon?  Seems like a pleasant dream at this point.  With all the political drama taking place in the Middle East, the ramifications are felt here mostly at the pump.  According to most sources, the average RV gas tank size is roughly 55 gallons, and with the national average for gas hanging around $3.54, you are looking to spend about $195 for a full tank of gas.  While some prognosticators have predicted that the price will exceed $4 and maybe even reach as high $5, it is unknown how this will effect RV travel plans this summer.  Doing a little research, I found a 2006 study of 702 RV drivers in dealing with higher gas prices at the time.  They concluded:

“Most people think that as gas prices go up, RV use goes down,” says Richard Coon, head of the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association. “We haven’t seen that happen.

Owners and renters “change their habits, but they don’t stop going.”

In the association’s April survey of 702 RV owners, two-thirds said they intended to use their RV more this summer than last, and nearly one-third planned to use it the same amount. What’s more, 37% said the cost of fuel — a typical Class A motor home gets about 10 miles a gallon, and takes 100 gallons to fill up — would not affect their plans.With airfares and hotel bills increasing, RV travel is “still a bargain,” says Bob Calderone of Cruise America, a Mesa, Ariz.-based RV rental company. For a typical family of four traveling 150 miles a day, higher RV gas costs amount to “the difference between hamburgers and cheeseburgers at McDonald’s,” he says. Advance reservations for the company are on par with last summer, which set a record for U.S. bookings.

So will you do what the majority of the people in the study do and change your RV habits or will the recent spike in gas prices force you to curb RV time? Leave a comment and let us know what you think!

[Source: USA Today]

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]

 

Minnesota RVers, Do You Have Campground Etiquette?

Etiquette is always important, but certainly varies by circumstances.  The golden rule always applies, but depending where you are, you have to aware of your surroundings.  This is especially evident in a campground setting.  Thinner walls and more crowded areas with people you might not know can certainly affect how you should or do act.  I found a list of some reasonable rules for RV living from The Marine Web that you all might find interesting.

  • 1. Ground Rules: Usually when you register for a particular park, they give you a copy of their rules: following these rules is the first of such manners. These rules will specify when you should not be making noise, driving carefully around the park, rules related to cooking etc.
  • 2. Eliminating Pet Peeves: If you are bringing your pet along on your vacation, make sure it does not disturb or harm anyone else! Your dog will need to be taken care of, cleaned up after and kept on a leash to avoid bothering the neighbors at all. Remember, your dog may be well-behaved but you’ll still have to be careful.
  • 3. Rig Parking: In a number of cases, it will not be clear how to orient the rig on a site; the only guide being a hookup for electric and sewer. Ground rules will require you to stay on your side of the hookup and not encroach in any way. If all people are situated in the same way, everyone will get more camp site.
  • 4. Arriving Late: Try not to do that but even if you do, make sure you avoid disturbing your neighbors who might be trying to rest for a long day. This means not talking loudly, quickly parking your RV & setting up and reducing the general noise level while you do the necessary work.
  • 5. Connecting the Sewer: This will also require you to be discreet and to do it right. Usually, the connection should face the side where your neighbor has their patio area.
  • 6. RV Cleaning: Most of the time, campgrounds don’t allow you to wash your RV with open water in order to avoid muddy areas, high water bills and general wastage of water. They will give you a water bucket for the most minimal cleaning but even if you are allowed to wash your RV, be very careful not to waste the water or allow it to splash on someone else’s area.
  • 7. Don’t Trespass: When everyone is sharing the campsite, they’re all paying for their spots and it is against most rules to be on someone else’s spot without their permission and consent. One of the major campground etiquette requires you to treat your neighbor’s or someone else’s area as their personal property and stay away from it unless invited or permitted.
  • 8. Campfire: Before you make one, be sure that it is allowed in the regulations copy. Keep it safe and make it properly and most importantly, don’t use it as a trash can for your cans and other garbage.
  • 9. Be Tidy: Make sure you do that to keep your neighborhood clean; RV vacationers tend to be laid back but being dirty and sloppy is very hard to deal with so don’t be messy.
  • 10. Treating others: Whenever you are unsure of any campground rules, try putting yourself in the other person’s shoes and act only if you’ll like to be treated in the same manner. Otherwise, don’t!

I know there has to be some funny stories out there where maybe people didn’t use as much etiquette as the list above might suggest.  Leave your stories and comments below!

[Source: Marine Web]

 

 

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]

Pet Rules of the Road

Traveling with pets can be difficult and expensive.  Extra fees for taking them on airplanes and deposits at hotels (if they allow pets at all) can be cumbersome.  Not to mention if you leave them at a kennel, the cost of your trip can skyrocket.  RVs allow for more freedom when it comes to pets, although it is necessary for you to properly prepare yourself and your RV to have them as travel companions.  Pedata RV Center has recently released a list of 8 safety tips for you and your furry friends.

1. Can your pet travel? If your pet has never traveled try a short road trip before heading out on a long vacation. Some animals have a hard time traveling and will actually become sick. Discover this before you are hours from home

2. Check your pet’s tags. They need to be updated prior to departure if any of the information is old.

3. Make sure that your pet’s tags include a cell phone or other number that will actually be accessible to you while on the road.

4. Consider other identification devices like the chips that can be implanted in order to find a lost pet.

5. Have the appropriate health certificate. Taking your pet across state or international border lines requires a health certificate signed by a veterinarian.

6. Verify that your pet will be welcome at your final destination before leaving on your trip.

7. Bring a portable kennel for times when your pet will be left unattended.

8. Always keep your pet leashed. If you have a pet that you frequently allow unleashed remember that you are in new territory with unknown distractions and stimulants. Introduce a leash in unknown circumstances. Better safe than sorry.

Do you bring your pets along with you on your trips or board them somewhere local?  Leave a comment below and let us know!

 

5 Tips for Motor Home Renters


 

Planning a trip across the country or just to a place too beautiful to fly over?  Maybe traveling in a RV is the way to go.  There are a number of benefits to traveling long distances in a motor home.  Benefits include, however are not limited, to convenience and general comfort.

Even with all the wonderful stories people read about RV excursions, people seem to still be wary of this pastime.  One of the biggest concerns is the cost of buying an RV.  If you are interested in traveling by RV, although cannot afford the cost of owning one, you may want to think about renting one.  Keeping that in mind, if you are not careful motor home rentals can get expensive.  Below are a short list of some tips to think about when renting an RV:

Be aware of All Of Your Options

First, knowing all of your options is of the utmost importance.  Exhaust all of your options in terms of local RV rental providers.  They usually have multiple businesses to pick from.

Next, inspect the kinds of motor homes available for rent.  For comfort, as well as safety, secure a large enough RV that can comfortable seat everyone in your group.  For example, you wouldn’t try to fit a party of nine people into a RV built for six.  Also look at features, such as number of electrical outlets, onboard television, movie players, and so forth to maximize the enjoyment had on the trip.

Research Rental Costs

If you want to reduce the cost of your next outing, always compare prices.  In addition to comparing the average rental price for different businesses, also look at the various motor homes.  You want to get the most out of your money, so after choosing the size of the RV, being selective on additional features may allow you to trim in areas you don’t need.

Read All Fine Print

When renting an Motor home, you’ll be required to sign a agreement.  This agreement is comparable to one that you would sign if you were renting a car.  With that being said, never believe that all rental contracts are the same.  Always fully read an RV rental contract, including the fine print.  Never sign anything that appears too suspicious.  When in doubt, ask to take the contract home and review it first.

In keeping with reading all fine print, it is important to know all Motor home rental rules and restrictions upfront.  Often, these policies and restrictions are highlighted on a rental contract, although there is nothing wrong in getting additional information.  Make sure to be aware of rules that limit the number of people allowed , age requirements for children, and so froth.

Be Cautious With Use

Being cautious is an essential piece of renting an RV.  If you are not watchful, you may be financially responsible for any damage that occurs.  Some tips may be to keep food and drinks covered or in spill proof containers while moving, don’t make foods while driving that may cause harmful stains, and so forth.  Also, for those who have kids, be sure to set some ground rules.  Making sure you are cautious on the road is very important, especially dealing with underpasses and stopping at your campground.

Returning On Time is Important

Returning your rental on time will allow you to keep the cost of your rental low.  Late rentals may incur late charges.  These late charges, should they exist, should be outlined on the motor home rental agreement.  If you know your behind schedule and won’t make it in time, be sure to contact your motor home rental company to inform them of the delay as soon as possible.

In closing, RV renters are encouraged to look at all of their rental options, research prices,  examine rental contracts, use caution, and return their RV rentals on time.  These steps, when properly executed, can not only help to improve the overall quality of your next RV trip, they can also help to keep the expenses associated with that vacation a little more reasonable.  How have your experiences been with renting RVs.  Share your stories below in our comment section!

 

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]