7 RV Horror Stories from 2020

By Kyle & Olivia Brady | Founders of Drivin' & Vibin' | We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases.

7 RV Horror Stories from 2020

It’s no surprise that 2020 is full of horror stories. But with RV travel growing at an explosive rate, these new RVers have experienced horror scenarios in epic ways.

Today we’ve reached out the the RV community to hear what newbie mistakes they’ve made (and seen made). We’re sharing 7 of the worst horror stories.

And just in time for Halloween 🎃

Unfortunately, these tales are true. Let us all learn from others mistakes and have a wonderful 2021 camping season!

Let’s dive in.

Late Night RV Party Neighbors

The first story comes from Kimberly Button, Co-Founder of Couch Potato Camping. And, it’s a good reminding of The Don’ts of RV Park Camping.

Here’s what Button describes:

We were staying in a small, local RV Park. Our RV site was located next to a camping site. We were the only two sites occupied in the entire campground.

And why the RV host put them in the site next to us is beyond me.

A group of 6 young adults came in a Suburban. They were clearly not used to camping and had no intention of chilling out and relaxing in a tent. Instead, they wanted to party, get drunk and hang out by the car until they passed out in their tents which they barely knew how to put up.

Not only was the partying and blaring radio crazy loud until 2-3 a.m., but they kept the headlights on their Suburban on in order to light their party area. The car was parked so that the light was shining directly into our RV.

After putting up with it for quite a while, my husband got out of bed to open the door and ask them if they could turn off their lights. He wasn’t combative and asked politely.

Their response was to increase the sound of the radio blaring from the Suburban. Then turn the high beams on to shine even brighter into our RV.

Why didn’t we call the cops? Where was the campground host? Well, it was a small campground. The normal hosts had left for the season.

So there was a volunteer RVer staying there to help out the owners. He was half deaf and could barely walk. I doubt he heard the noise and surely wouldn’t be able to stand up to the partiers.

And we were scared about these idiots coming back in retaliation to do something to our RV or truck if we called the cops.

It was four men and two women all sharing two tents and something wasn’t quite right about that group.

Never Explore Without a Little Research First

The next RV horror story comes from Philip Weiss. It’s a story that resonates with way too many first time RV campers.

Here’s Weiss’ experience:

Very close friends of mine have RV and we decided to go camping to a popular state park this April.

On our way to the park, we decided to make a detour and search for one secluded lake that not many people knew of. We thought nature must be wonderful, so we turned on our map and immediately headed that way.

What we didn’t know is the quality of the road ahead of us. It turned out to be a dirt road with a lot of curves and bumps. Just before we reached the lake, we lost control of the RV and had to make a sharp turn which resulted in a flat tire.

So there we were, in the middle of nowhere with no spare tires (which we forgot to bring). There was nobody around that we could ask for help so we tried to fix the issue alone.

It took us 3 hours to realize that we couldn’t do anything so we called towing service that took another 3 hours to arrive. They had never heard of the lake and got lost multiple times on their way to us.

Once we realized that we had to go back to a major city and fix the issue, nobody wanted to go camping anymore.

We arrived back at midnight, after 12 long hours of traveling and trying to get out of that horrible dirt road.

Close the RV Door!

Alice Anderson, founder and creator of Mommy to Mom, has the perfect “mom RV camping” horror story.

Here’s her recounting of it:

My husband and I purchased a Jayco X213 travel trailer about 5 years ago to take our daughter and son camping every year. We live in Upstate N.Y. and love going to different KOA’s to experience the campgrounds while exploring new areas.

It’s fun to change things up and go on new adventures.

One thing that remains the same while we’re camping is us constantly needing to yell “close the door”. I love the outdoors but I’m not a fan of bugs in our trailer and it seems like our kids are always leaving the door open.

The one time I left the door open, I paid for it miserably.

I just needed to grab some napkins and go right back out. I slipped my shoes off and got what I needed.

While I was putting my sneakers back on, I held myself up with my hand by the door jamb, and wouldn’t you know someone finally decided to close the door! Only it wouldn’t close when my husband pushed it because my thumb stopped it.

I had a nasty cut right at my cuticle and cried like a baby. I still can’t put my shoes on in that spot. Thanks 2020!

The RV Black Tank

Tony Barthel of Stressless Camping is sharing a rather stressful RV horror story today!

Here’s Barthel’s insight:

Boy have I seen some crazy stuff this year with all the new RVers but this is something that we shared on our podcast this week that bears repeating.

Many newer RVs feature a black tank flush which is simply a little sprinkler inside the black tank that helps to clean it out. Essentially you attach a hose to this and run the black tank flush as part of the cleaning process.

While every manufacturer very specifically recommends not running the black tank flush with the gate valve (through-way flush valve) closed, I don’t know any experienced RVer who follows this advice.

Essentially the logic is, if you fill the black tank about one-third of the way full, it will help in cleaning out that tank and may also restore proper functionality to the sensors.

Well this new RVer was flushing their black tank and was doing so the way he had been told, with the black tank gate valve closed. As adults we can easily become distracted and this RVer did.

Forgetting that the black tank flush was running he attended to whatever had distracted him from the cleaning process and then followed his wife’s suggestion that they walk around the campground. Meanwhile, the black tank flush was running. With the gate valve closed.

Many RVs have a vent tube plumbed so that both gray and black tanks join at one point and vent up through the roof of the RV. Since water, like human behavior, takes the path of least resistance that was the path the black tank’s contents took when the tank was filled.

Once the gray tank was also filled, the combined contents then proceeded out the shower drain.

When Mr. and Mrs. New RVer returned to their brand new $85,000 fifth wheel they saw the water running out the door of the coach and Mr.

New RVer knew exactly what had happened. Unfortunately, this is not something covered by the warranty on the RV and they’re still waiting to hear what the insurance company is going to do.

RVing with Kids (and Bathroom Horror)

Tory Jon, Owner of Camper FAQs, shares his slightly tame RV horror story.

Tory recounts:

I suppose this isn’t a true horror story, but it was definitely a costly and messy experience that sums up 2020.

We just got back from a trip to Estes Park with the kids and this time we brought along our niece and nephew (who have never been camping in an RV before).

While we were all sitting outside the RV our niece went in and used the bathroom quick and came right back out. No big deal… or so we thought. The toilet valve stuck and water starting overflowing right into the bathroom.

Luckily, my wife went in not long after and noticed it before it got too bad. But, clean up wasn’t fun and there’s definitely some buckling in the laminate floor, which will need to be replaced.

We just chalked it up to being 2020! 🙂

Runaway Tow Vehicle

Jean Marie, a member of the Drivin’ & Vibin’ online community, has a super scary RV horror story.

Here’s what Jean experienced:

While driving on Hwy 191 in Bondurant, WY I drove threw an unmarked major dip in one of their intersections and my RV and tow car bounced so severely that the weld attaching the hitch to my Honda Fit separated.

The result was that I ended up towing only my front bumper and the rest of the car rolled into oncoming traffic!

My car was totaled and did significant damage to the car it hit, but fortunately no personal injury. Needless to say, I almost had heart failure when I looked in my rear camera and only saw the bumper!

Please note, the speed limit was 30 and I doubt I was even doing 25. 

Trashed Campsites from Coast to Coast

Kristin, from The Wayward Home, experienced the RV horror of heavily littered campsites.

Here’s her story:

When we were living in our van March-June, we were appalled by the amount
of trash! One campsite in the Prescot National Forest was destroyed – the
firepit was packed with trash, including alcohol bottles and plastic.

Out on BLM land near Las Vegas, we found beer cans all over the ground at a
remote site along with shells from a shotgun.

I was wondering just how long public lands are going to remain open if
people continue trashing them. It’s simply appalling.

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