Author Topic: RV/Motorhome/Camper Master Thread  (Read 3334 times)

Offline Something Fishy

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RV/Motorhome/Camper Master Thread
« on: August 10, 2016, 03:54:32 PM »
There's a lot of discussion on this topic sprinkled throughout the forums, mainly in individual planning, destination, and trip report threads. I think it would be beneficial to have a single master thread to discuss it all in one place.

I'll begin by referencing as many existing discussions as I can find strewn about.

Trip Reports featuring an RV/motorhome/camper:
PBaruch - Iceland
PBaruch - Utah and Arizona
Something Fishy - Alaska Part 1, Part 2
Something Fishy - Iceland
AJK - New Zealand
LookBeforeYouLive - RVing across the country

Discussions:
RVs and Shabbos
Some more Shabbos discussions
General RV rentals and discussions
General RV rentals and discussions, thread 2
Tri-state area RV rentals
RV in Banff?
@yehuda's Iceland camervan discussions - begins here and continues on and off for a while
Campers and CC insurance

If there's anything I missed, please post.
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Offline Galitzyaner

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Re: RV/Motorhome/Camper Master Thread
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2016, 04:04:14 PM »
Thanks for starting this! Long overdue!
Tried searching but could barely find anything thanks to the fantastic DDF search feature which will give me any word that has an R and a V together  ::)

Offline Something Fishy

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Re: RV/Motorhome/Camper Master Thread
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2016, 04:06:22 PM »
Thanks for starting this! Long overdue!
Tried searching but could barely find anything thanks to the fantastic DDF search feature which will give me any word that has an R and a V together  ::)

You're welcome.

In the future, Google this: rv site:http://forums.dansdeals.com/. Works wonders.
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Offline Galitzyaner

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Re: RV/Motorhome/Camper Master Thread
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2016, 04:08:12 PM »
So I'll start (repost from another thread that I just asked this, but noone answered yet anyways):

Thinking of doing a motorhome trip from AZ to UT next week.
Had some questions beforehand though, which I hope some of you RV pros can answer.

1) I don't have much experience driving vans, let alone trucks (other than a uhaul for a day).
How easy do you find the driving?
I recall years back when I went to the Grand Canyon for example, there are a lot of very steep very narrow very windy roads on which it seems that you're on the edge of a cliff etc.
Do you feel comfortable/safe driving on such roads -of which there are many in national parks- with an RV?
When you go down unpaved or bumpy roads, do you feel like the whole vehicle is about to fall apart and all your luggage falls out of the closets and from the bed on top of the driver (whatever that's called)? (I've been in RV's before, but haven't driven or slept in one)

2) How mobile can you be? Can you access all roads with the RV? Aren't there roads with restricted access?

3) How's the gas expense? Do you fill Regular?

4) How do you feel safe and secure sleeping inside?
There's some strange fear inside of me that it's easy for trouble-makers to break in while you during the night; a fear I don't feel as much in hotels.
Please explain to me how/why you feel safe and thereby extricate my silly fears.
Which leads me to my next question..

5) How do these camping sites work? Is there anywhere safe to park (without the above fears) besides camping sites?
Is there security on camping sites? Or are they simply always safe?
If I'm in the desert (e.g. near GC), it anyways cools down at night, so I wouldn't need the generator for AC.
But if I'm somewhere hot, what's cheaper, using the RV generator at $3.50/hr or camping sites where you plug in?
Is it really impossible to get into a camping site last minute?

6) RV tech: How does the fresh water system work for the sink, shower, and toilet? You fill up water or the rental company fills up?
How long does it last?
I understand that it's the responsibility of the renter to empty the 'holding tank' before returning the rental. Please excuse my ignorance with all these issues but is this a simple easy procedure? Or do I have to 'get my hands dirty'? ;)

7) Any other tips or important issues to be aware of before renting an RV?

I'd greatly appreciate any input from anyone here that's traveled to national parks with a motorhome.

TIA!!!

Offline Galitzyaner

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Re: RV/Motorhome/Camper Master Thread
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2016, 04:09:10 PM »
You're welcome.

In the future, Google this: rv site:http://forums.dansdeals.com/. Works wonders.
Lol! I do that when I'm extremely un-lazy! ;)

Offline shulem92

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Re: RV/Motorhome/Camper Master Thread
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2016, 04:10:08 PM »
You're welcome.

In the future, Google this: rv site:http://forums.dansdeals.com/. Works wonders.
Best Google feature ever btw! #JustSaying

Offline Something Fishy

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Re: RV/Motorhome/Camper Master Thread
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2016, 04:46:16 PM »
So I'll start (repost from another thread that I just asked this, but noone answered yet anyways):

Thinking of doing a motorhome trip from AZ to UT next week.
Had some questions beforehand though, which I hope some of you RV pros can answer.

1) I don't have much experience driving vans, let alone trucks (other than a uhaul for a day).
How easy do you find the driving? It takes a few minutes to get used to, but any reasonably good driver will have no problems. Backing up and turning are a little different than you're used to, but they do a good job explaining it to you before you head out.
I recall years back when I went to the Grand Canyon for example, there are a lot of very steep very narrow very windy roads on which it seems that you're on the edge of a cliff etc.
Do you feel comfortable/safe driving on such roads -of which there are many in national parks- with an RV? If the road is not safe for an RV, it will be clearly signed that RVs are not allowed here. Go to the NPS website for your park, all the info is there.
When you go down unpaved or bumpy roads, do you feel like the whole vehicle is about to fall apart and all your luggage falls out of the closets and from the bed on top of the driver (whatever that's called)? (I've been in RV's before, but haven't driven or slept in one)I sometimes found the rattle of the kitchenware annoying, but nothing ever fell out - all the drawers and cabinets have latches for this very reason. Luggage goes in the trunk underneath, so that's a non-issue. The camers I had in Iceland were a bit different, as there was no real proper storage space, so yes we did have a suitcase come flying every now and then :D. But with a regular RV you have nothing to worry about.


2) How mobile can you be? Can you access all roads with the RV? Aren't there roads with restricted access? Sure there are. The rental company will restrict you from some, and roadside signs will restrict you from others. But in my experience that wouldn't be reason enough to pass on an RV.


3) How's the gas expense? Do you fill Regular? Depends on the exact model. The RV I had in Alaska took regular, and the Icelandic ones were diesel. The fuel economy is better than you'd expect. Far more than a car obviously, but not prohibitively so.

4) How do you feel safe and secure sleeping inside? Never once felt unsafe.
There's some strange fear inside of me that it's easy for trouble-makers to break in while you during the night; a fear I don't feel as much in hotels.
Please explain to me how/why you feel safe and thereby extricate my silly fears. The doors have double locks, there are usually plenty of neighbors, and why in the world would someone break into a motorhome when he knows that the occupants will wake up the instant he tries opening the door?
Which leads me to my next question..

5) How do these camping sites work? Reserve ahead of time, especially during popular times.
Is there anywhere safe to park (without the above fears) besides camping sites?I wouldn't, plus it may be illegal.
Is there security on camping sites? I've never seen.
Or are they simply always safe?I never felt unsafe, even in more secluded sites.
If I'm in the desert (e.g. near GC), it anyways cools down at night, so I wouldn't need the generator for AC.
But if I'm somewhere hot, what's cheaper, using the RV generator at $3.50/hr or camping sites where you plug in?The generator is for emergencies only, really. Most campsites won't even let you run it past 10 or 11, due to the noise. Always use the campground hookup rather. confirm if you need a regular line or a hi-voltage line for the AC ahead of time, as not all campgrounds offer hi-voltage.
Is it really impossible to get into a camping site last minute?That's a loaded question... Depends on your risk aversion level, where and when you are, possible alternate options...

6) RV tech: How does the fresh water system work for the sink, shower, and toilet? You fill up water or the rental company fills up?Comes full, but you'll likely need to refill a few times. Pretty much all campgrounds and many gas stations have facilities, often for free.
How long does it last?Depends how much you use...
I understand that it's the responsibility of the renter to empty the 'holding tank' before returning the rental. Please excuse my ignorance with all these issues but is this a simple easy procedure? Or do I have to 'get my hands dirty'? ;)Pretty straightforward and clean, so long as you don't inhale too deeply ;)

7) Any other tips or important issues to be aware of before renting an RV?Look into insurance, remember that it takes a couple of hours to check out, note the pickup and return times (may not be what you like), find out about airport transfers, always check the floor plans before choosing a model, remember that most places are closed Sundays.

I'd greatly appreciate any input from anyone here that's traveled to national parks with a motorhome.

TIA!!!
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Offline Galitzyaner

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Re: RV/Motorhome/Camper Master Thread
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2016, 04:49:36 PM »
In response to PBaruch answering me in the thread I originally asked the question, I have some more questions:

What is a pull-through site? What is a back-in site? And what's the difference between that and a campground parking spot?

"Expect to get 8-10 miles per gallon"
Wow!!!

"buy plenty of toilet chemicals"
Can you elaborate please what you mean by "toilet chemicals"?

"I'd recommend buying insurance from the RV rental facility"
Cruise America told me it includes insurance, you recommend more?

BTW, why don't they put backup cameras in RV's?

Thanks!

Offline Something Fishy

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Re: RV/Motorhome/Camper Master Thread
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2016, 04:56:56 PM »
In response to PBaruch answering me in the thread I originally asked the question, I have some more questions:

What is a pull-through site? What is a back-in site? And what's the difference between that and a campground parking spot? Pretty self-explanatory; pull-though you just drive up to, it's much simpler. And while we're on the subject, aim for campgrounds that advertise level sites. It's a real PITA to need to use leveling blocks.

"Expect to get 8-10 miles per gallon"
Wow!!!
Depends a lot on the size of the camper of course. I had a 26-footer (IIRC) and I got somewhat better gas mileage.

"buy plenty of toilet chemicals"
Can you elaborate please what you mean by "toilet chemicals"?
Stuff that keep your toilet from stinking up the place. The rental company gives you some, but more may be handy. I didn't have a need for it, but that was in Alaska, not the broiling Southwest...

"I'd recommend buying insurance from the RV rental facility"
Cruise America told me it includes insurance, you recommend more?
You should probably get some of the additional coverages, like gravel and the like. Chipped windshields are too common...

BTW, why don't they put backup cameras in RV's?
Surprisingly, no. Of course some may have, but the trend seems to be no.

Thanks!
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Offline Galitzyaner

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Re: RV/Motorhome/Camper Master Thread
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2016, 05:21:57 PM »
"5) How do these camping sites work? Reserve ahead of time, especially during popular times."
Well, I'm talking about next week...  Is there still any point?

Are there any apps for RV's that can tell you closest campsite or place to get new water or empty holding tank?

"Is there anywhere safe to park (without the above fears) besides camping sites?I wouldn't, plus it may be illegal."
Wow, that's interesting. So you mean it can be illegal to just park by the sidewalk on any random side street in a random neighborhood?

Offline Something Fishy

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Re: RV/Motorhome/Camper Master Thread
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2016, 05:28:58 PM »
"5) How do these camping sites work? Reserve ahead of time, especially during popular times."
Well, I'm talking about next week...  Is there still any point?
Uhhh, how would I know? I don't even know where you're going... Look around your destination, and check out some campgrounds. Most have pretty good websites and will tell you if there are vacancies or not.

Are there any apps for RV's that can tell you closest campsite or place to get new water or empty holding tank?
No idea, I've never looked.

"Is there anywhere safe to park (without the above fears) besides camping sites?I wouldn't, plus it may be illegal."
Wow, that's interesting. So you mean it can be illegal to just park by the sidewalk on any random side street in a random neighborhood?
Yes, you will most likely get ticketed.
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Offline Galitzyaner

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Re: RV/Motorhome/Camper Master Thread
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2016, 05:45:22 PM »
"5) How do these camping sites work? Reserve ahead of time, especially during popular times.
Well, I'm talking about next week...  Is there still any point?
Uhhh, how would I know? I don't even know where you're going... Look around your destination, and check out some campgrounds. Most have pretty good websites and will tell you if there are vacancies or not."

I was asking in a general sense, not being specific. PBaruch mentioned in his post to book a year in advance. He didn't mention any specific location, so I asked in a general sense as well, if reserving the week before makes sense.

Any US CC CDW protections cover motorhomes?

Offline Something Fishy

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Re: RV/Motorhome/Camper Master Thread
« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2016, 05:48:07 PM »
"5) How do these camping sites work? Reserve ahead of time, especially during popular times.
Well, I'm talking about next week...  Is there still any point?
Uhhh, how would I know? I don't even know where you're going... Look around your destination, and check out some campgrounds. Most have pretty good websites and will tell you if there are vacancies or not."

I was asking in a general sense, not being specific. PBaruch mentioned in his post to book a year in advance. He didn't mention any specific location, so I asked in a general sense as well, if reserving the week before makes sense.

Any US CC CDW protections cover motorhomes?

Yes, it never hurts to look. Even the most booked-up place will have cancellations now and then.

There's a link in the first post discussing the CC question. I don't think it was ever clearly resolved; I'd suggest paying for the extra coverages from the rental place.
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Offline Galitzyaner

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Re: RV/Motorhome/Camper Master Thread
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2016, 05:58:02 PM »
Great. Thanks for your help!

Offline Galitzyaner

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Re: RV/Motorhome/Camper Master Thread
« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2016, 08:12:36 PM »
Where do you put a baby in an RV?
How practical is it for a couple with one baby?