Packing the essentials

HI again! 🙂

RV life is great, and just like everything else, there’s some stuff you’ll need, and some stuff you might want. Here’s my pick of the essential gear, the stuff I use, and some stuff from what i’ve learned along the way.


  1. Connections!
    1. For getting power to your rig, you’ll need a power cord (which your rig should come with) and some adapters. You should have adapters to connect your rig to 50, 30, and 15 amp power connections, but keep in mind you’ll have one of those built in, depending on if your rig uses 30 or 50 amp power. Also note that you can run a 50 amp rig on 30 amps, albeit with an eye towards amp usage, and you can run a 30 amp rig on 50 amp, but you don’t get more power by plugging a 30 amp rig into a 50 amp outlet.
      You might also consider some kind of surge protection device. These can be expensive, but they’re far cheaper than replacing the electrical system in your RV if there’s a bad enough issue.
    2. For water, you should have one fresh water hose (make sure it’s drinking water safe!) that’s ONLY used for fresh water (not for anything else).
      You may want a second hose for gray water/sewer flushing/general hose use, and/or another fresh water hose to make sure you can reach the faucet (or as a backup!).
      I also use a pressure regulator to make sure the water pressure coming into my rig is not above the 55 PSI, per, the manufacturer specs for my rig.
      My primary regulator has a gauge and is adjustable, but my backup regulator is pre-set at 45 PSI, and doesn’t have a gauge.
      I also have splitters, shut-off valves, and 90 degree elbows for my particular setup, but that’s all up to you.
    3. For sewer, you need to have a sewer hose, an elbow (preferably clear so you can see the motion inside), and a threaded adapter.
      I also recommend an angled clear connector for the rig’s connection end, and mine has a hose connection that I really like for cleaning out the line.
      My kit has two main hoses, each extendable up to 10′ feet long, a coupler, caps for both ends of both hoses, a clear angled connector, a threaded sewer adapter, and a riser.
      The idea is to be able to connect to just about anywhere you go, so having all these pieces will make sure you can connect when you need to.
  2. Tools!
    1. Make sure you have a few tools on board, even if it’s just a few generic/multi use tools. At a minimum I recommend:
      1. Adjustable wrenches, one large, one small
      2. Channel locks, one large, one small
      3. Screwdrivers, either a multi-big driver, or Phillips #0, #1, #2, a small and medium flat head, a few torx drivers or bits, and anything specific to your rig.
      4. Allen wrenches! These are super handy when you need them.
      5. A small socket set can’t hurt, but check around in your rig and see what you might need to get stuff handled.
      6. A multi-meter. Even if you don’t know a whole lot about electricity, it’s still a great tool to have (and I can walk you through the steps to find the info you need for electrical issues!).
  3. Spare parts!
    1. I like to make sure I have spare stuff of anything important; the less I have to go run and find, the more I can enjoy camping!
      1. Fuses! (check the type of DC fuses used in your rig, and get an assortment of them to have on hand.
      2. Connections! Anything you use to connect your rig to the land, you should consider having an extra for. Some things matter more than others, so ponder on it awhile and figure it out as you go.
      3. Nuts, bolts, screws, and such. Even if they’re just generic sizes, make sure to have a few on hand for that ‘just-in-case’ scenario.
      4. Hose clamps! I’ve always kept a few different sizes of hose clamps around, and they’re super handy when you need them.
      5. Tapes! I always make sure to have electrical, gorilla, and plumbers tape on hand. These are the three most common tapes used, and painters tape is also handy for so many things.
      6. Spare tire/wheel seems obvious, but make sure you have it, and can get to it when needed. I have two spare wheel/tire combos ready to go since I travel so much, and if you’re full timing or travelling a lot, I recommend you do the same.


There’s a whole bunch of other stuff you can have on board, but these are the things that I believe you just have to have. The rest is optional! 🙂

Key differences

Hello again, faithful reader! So glad you’re back.

So let’s talk about some of the key differences between living in an RV and living in a house.


At home, the power is ‘always on’ (except when something knocks it out).
In an RV, power is supplied by ‘Shore Power’, which is plugging your RV into the power pedestal at the park, by a generator, by batteries with an inverter, or maybe even by solar power!
It’s also important to note that some things in the RV are DC powered, and some are AC powered.
I talk more about electrical systems in the category “Light it up”, but the key idea is that you’ll have to get power somewhere.


At home, your water is provided by the city, or via a well, and just like your power, it’s ‘just there’ (unless there’s a problem).
With an RV, you’ll generally have an on-board system which consists of your freshwater tank and a water pump, and then your waste tanks.
You also have the option to connect to ‘water supply’ at your campsite, but make sure to understand your system and your connections first! (That’s why you’re here reading my blog, isn’t it? :P)


At home, your waste is handled by a city sewer connection or a septic tank, but either way I bet you don’t think about it much unless it’s not working.
In an RV, you have two types of waste water, Gray and Black.
Gray water is anything that goes down the drain of the sinks or the shower.
Black water is anything that went down the toilet.
It’s important to know the difference because there’s an order to dumping those tanks, AND, some places allow gray water drainage at site, while most do not.
Another important note is that your black tank acts as a septic tank, so you should NEVER leave it open when you’re connected to a sewer connection.
The gray tank, however, is fine to leave attached and open with a sewer connection.

Those are the main things to keep in mind when we’re talking about the difference between life at home, and life in an RV. Some of the ways those differences will matter to you are:

Shower time
Your water heater will only be 6 or 10 gallons (unless you have an on-demand water heater), so shower time will be shorter than at home. You’ll also want to leave a little time between running hot water for dishes, and taking a shower.

Most homes come equipped with a 200 amp service panel, which means you can plug in all your stuff and have a party. In an RV, you’ll usually only have 50, 30, or even 20 amp service, so you’ll have to consider what’s plugged in, how many amps it takes (see the category “Light it up”), and what else is operating on your AC power.

Luckily, there are so many awesome things about RV life that these things are just notes to bear in mind, not even enough to qualify as a hassle! 🙂

So what is RVing?

Well faithful reader, i’m glad you asked!
RV stands for ‘Recreational Vehicle’, which simply means any vehicle built for the purpose of recreation. For the sake of this category, rest assured we’re talking about RV’s meant for use on land, like motorhomes, travel trailers, and the like. For a long list of terms, see this post.

The whole point of any RV is to get out and enjoy nature with the bonus of bring ‘house and home’ along with you. Whether you’re a weekend warrior exploring local spots, or a full-time on the road RVer seeing the whole country, recreating in the great outdoors with an RV is an awesome way to travel, explore, and enjoy vacation time.

There’s lots of useful posts in my blog, so do make use of the search box if you have questions. If you’re just getting started with RVing, here’s what I suggest:

  1. Before buying an RV, go to the largest RV dealer near you and look at all the different models, types, floor plans, and options. Do keep in mind you’re looking at new (or nearly new) models, and an older model may not have all those features, but this gives you a basis to start making some smart decisions.
  2. When you’re ready to camp, rent one first!
    If it all possible, rent an RV of some kind, whether it’s a motorhome you drive around, or a travel trailer already setup for you, just get out there and spend some time with one.
  3. When you decide you’re ready to buy, start small.
    I suggest you buy a gently used model, and invest the least amount of money possible into a quality RV to get you started.

I’ll talk about parts and pieces of the above points in later posts, but let’s close with this:
The more you know about RV’s, the better decision you can make. To get more information, you need to spend time in, around, and near RV’s!

Let’s get started!

So you’ve decided that you want to get started in RVing, and you’re looking for all the information you can get. You’re already off to a great start, because my blog is full of useful information for all walks of RVers, and i’m constantly adding more!

This category will target those who are completely new to RVing, so i’ll be keeping things as plain and simple as possible, while exposing you to the terms and ideas common in RV life.

So pack a lunch, buckle up, and let’s go have some adventure!

Introductions are in order

So this category is about my new pup Scout, and about life in an RV with a dog.

I adopted Scout from the LaGrange Humane Society on December 29th, 2017, and we quickly began adapting to life together in an RV. She’s a quick learner, full of energy, loves to take naps in between excursions, and insists on scouting out every single molecule of space in the TT, which means nothing is safe from her! 🙂



Chill, no chill

I’m having all kinds of fun down here in Georgia, but the weather is a special kind of adventure here these days.
So far, in the last 10 days, it’s been as warm as 65 degrees, and as cold as 20 degrees; all of that in 10 days!!
Luckily, i’ve got an oil-filled heater, and let me tell you, it’s SO NICE to have on the COLD nights. I wish i’d known the difference sooner, but now that I do, i’d like to share a little of my research with you.
When it comes to electric heaters, which are awesome while you’re connected to shore power (unless you’re on a metered connection!) there are a few different things to consider:

  • Convection heaters warm the air around them, which means they take awhile to heat up a whole room, but they do a great job of keeping the room warm for a long time. Radiator heaters fall into this category.
  • Radiant heaters warm the objects around them, which are great for immediate heat, and work best for short term use.
  • Here’s a link to more useful information about heating types.


In my TT, I have a small space heater in the bedroom, and a large oil-filled (radiating type) electric heater in the main room. I also have a large space heater for the big room, but when it drops below 40 outside, the oil filled heater does a much better job of keeping the place warm.

The other thing I really like about the oil-filled heater is that it helps to keep the floor, and under the floor, warm, which means the furnace doesn’t have to run nearly as much to keep the place warm!

One last note on space heaters: I much prefer the type of heaters that have analog thermostats, the kind with a knob and switch, instead of a digital thermostat so that if/when I trip a breaker, or if the power goes out temporarily, I don’t have to run around resetting heaters every time. Instead, the switch and knob stay where I left them, and when power comes back, they’re automatically on and running again.

Alphabet soup for RVer’s

Letters and numbers and acronyms, oh my!

There’s a lot to learn about RV life, but it’s never been easier with all the tools the internet has to offer. Often times when you’re browsing the forums, digging around in social media, or surfing youtube, you’ll find an alphabet soup of initials, acronyms, and short hand that can be confusing at first. Let’s shed some light on these terms:


  • RV: Recreational Vehicle. Technically, any vehicle that’s designed specifically for recreation, but usually means something to do with living out in the wild.



  • MH: Motorhome. A unit that you drive, camp in, and enjoy life with.
    • Class A:
    • Class B:
    • Class C:
  • TT: Travel Trailer. This is a unit that you tow with another vehicle, usually known as a ‘Tow Rig’. Another post about towing.
    • Bumper Pull: This is a trailer that you pull with a ball connection behind your truck, attached on, or near, the bumper.
    • Fifth Wheel: This is a trailer that connects using a pin on the trailer, and a plate on the truck. You’ve probably seen a lot of these on tractor trailers all over the place, but they’re also popular in the RV world. By placing the tongue weight directly over the rear axle, you gain more control, and a higher tongue weight capability.
    • Gooseneck: This is a trailer that works much like a Fifth Wheel, but instead of a pin and plate, the Gooseneck has an arm that sits down on a ball mounted in the bed of the truck. Gooseneck trailers are most common in Agriculture use, and allow a higher tongue weight, and better control, by placing the tongue weight directly over the rear axle.
  • Other towing:
    • TOAD: This is a car that’s towed behind a Motorhome, not on a trailer of any kind.
    • Tow Dolly: This is a two-wheel, short trailer that’s designed to have one end of a car on it, but the other end of the car rolls freely on the ground behind the trailer.
    • Car hauler: This is a longer trailer, usually with two axles, that’s designed to tow a car completely off the ground.
    • Enclosed trailer: This is a trailer that’s fully enclosed, like a box trailer, and can be used for a wide variety of purposes. Sometimes people will haul cars or motorcycles in these, other times they’re just for carrying extra stuff on the road. Especially handy for full time RV’ers.



There’s several different types of camp sites, camp grounds, and connections for these.
A camp SITE is the individual site where you set up camp.
A camp GROUND is a collection of camp sites, and often include other amenities such as bath houses, laundry, a pool, and other such facilities.
When we’re talking about hook-ups, there’s two main types:

Primitive Camping: These are camp sites without any kind of connections. Great for boondocking, sometimes these sites aren’t even level or groomed in any way.

Improved Camping: These are camp sites that offer some kind of hookups. For tent sites, it’s usually just power and water, but for RV’s, we’re usually talking power, water, and sewer.

Power can be 20, 30, or 50 amp service, and sometimes there’s a combination of two, or even all three, at one spot. When you call ahead or check out the website for a camp site, make a note of what power options that have available. (Another post on amp numbers).

Water connections are usually just a standard garden-hose style spigot, just like you’d find at home. Sometimes you need a pressure regulator, but we’ll talk about that in another post.

Sewer connections are really nice to have, especially when you’re going to stay in one place for awhile, so you can dump your waste tanks any time you want. Most of the time this is a 4″ white (or black) pipe with a threaded fitting on the end that you screw a connector into, and then connect your sewer hoses to.

Some campgrounds have local cable channels available through a cable connection at your site. If they it, you can use a regular TV cable to connect your rig to the campground connection.


Camco Dogbone Circuit Analyzer

When I bought my TT I realized that I would need some kind of external circuit protection since I didn’t have anything built in. My TT does have a circuit breaker panel, but in the event of major electrical issues at a park, I didn’t have anything to protect my home on wheels!
I did a lot of research before I bought one, and the first one I bought was a $250 circuit protection device that was great, but it wouldn’t work with an extension cord, so I had to send that one back. That device was designed to keep tabs on volts, amps, and ohms of the power source, and included a power ‘cut-off’ feature, but it wouldn’t function if I used it with an extension cord, which is something I wanted to be able to do if ever needed.
So, back to the drawing board, and I finally settled on the Camco ‘Dogbone’ circuit Analyzer for it’s combination of function, price, and simplicity.
This one has built in surge and fault protection, which is great if there’s too much voltage or amperage, but it won’t do anything for under voltage or under amperage. It does let me know with the built-in lights if there’s a polarity or ground issue with the power source, so I always plug this in first, then plug my TT into it.
This device is terrific; it’s fairly light and compact, not at all difficult to operate, and has no moving parts to worry about breaking. I also like that the whole unit is weather resistant, and while that seems like it should be obvious, there are devices on the market that are not weather resistant, so be aware of that when you’re shopping for one.
So what do you use for your RV electrical protection?

Towing connections

Bumper pull? Fifth wheel? But I have a dually, so wouldn’t it be a seventh wheel? Or an eighth since I have a spare, too?? What in the world do these things mean?!?!

Well dear reader, i’m glad you asked! Today we’re going to talk about hookups, and i’m not talking about dating ;).

(More info coming soon!)

When we’re talking about towing, there’s two primary parts:
The Tow Rig: This is the vehicle doing the towing. Often a pickup truck, this can be any vehicle that’s capable of towing your trailer.
The Towed Vehicle: This is what’s being towed, and is usually a trailer, though it’s possible to tow other stuff too (another post!).

Winter weather water ways

Lots of talk about heated hoses, freezing water, and how to camp when it’s cold outside, so let me share a little about my setup.

I’m in GA now, without a heated hose, and here’s my system:
1) I’ve got two electric space heaters inside, both energy efficient, and both set to keep it around 62-65° inside, which is comfy for me in sweats.
2) I have the furnace set to 55°, so anytime it’s too cold for the space heaters to keep up, the furnace kicks in, which also keeps the belly warm.
3) I keep my freshwater tank no more than 3/4 full so I have water on board if I need to disconnect from the park, but with enough room for expansion if it were to happen.
4) If the weather is going to be 30° or less for more than four hours overnight, then i’ll go disconnect and drain my exterior hose after my shower, but before bed.

Remember that water starts to freeze at 32°F, BUT, that doesn’t mean all of the water inside a tank, or even a hose, will freeze at once.

Also, anytime your FURNACE is on, you’re heating the living area AND the under belly, which includes the tanks. This means, in theory, you could simply fill up your tank, keep the furnace on low, and live all through the winter (emptying your waste tanks and filling your fresh tank(s) as needed), but this means you’ll be using more propane (since your furnace uses the most propane of all your gas appliances).

Since I bought my TT in April of 2017, the lowest temp i’ve been in is 17°F (low for the night), and with the system called out above, I didn’t have any trouble at all! 😀