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Help! Camping in My RV is a Nightmare

Help! Camping in My RV is a Nightmare

So, you bought an RV, but your first trip out was a nightmare.

Just because your first trip didn’t go exactly as planned doesn’t mean you should give up on RVing just yet. Especially considering the sizeable investment an RV is.

Over the last few months, we’ve received thousands of emails from newbie RVers. Today we’re sharing the most common challenges they’ve written about and helping them find solutions.

Let’s dive in!

Towing or Driving My RV is Terrifying

If you are terrified of driving your RV, know that you are not alone. Driving such a large vehicle down the road is definitely a daunting task. And honestly, a little fear is probably a good thing to keep you cautious.

Whether you’re worried about traffic, rolling your RV, or scraping on a low overpass, there are things you can do to minimize the risk and increase your confidence. 

First things first, make sure your tow vehicle is large enough for your RV.

Take back roads: Taking back roads means there is less traffic and fewer lanes to deal with. You won’t have to worry about merging on or off the freeway either. 

Use an RV Trip Router: Another option is to use an RV trip routing service. There are several services available that will give you safe driving directions for RVing. These routes will avoid steep grades, low clearances, weight restrictions, and more. You’ll have peace of mind knowing you have picked a route designed with your RV in mind. 

We use RV Trip Wizard, personally.

Check the Weight Distribution: If you’re RV feels unsteady on the road, make sure the weight distribution is correct. You may need to experiment with where things are in your RV or might need to make adjustments to the hitch to get this sorted out. 

Take an RV Driving Class: If none of these ease your concerns and you still feel nervous or dangerous while driving, you could take an RV driving class. This will help boost your confidence and keep you safer on the road. 

My Kids (or partner) Hate Camping

Camping with someone who hates camping makes for a miserable experience for everyone. You simply can’t enjoy yourself when you’re around someone grouchy.

If your kids or partner hate camping, here are a few things you could try. 

Get a cell booster & hotspot for internet connectivity: If your kids are all about technology a cell booster and hotspot will let them continue to use their devices while camping. Although you would probably love for them to spend more time outside and less on a phone, at least you can enjoy the camping trip with this tip. 

Let them decide the destination next trip: If your partner or kids get to have a say in where you’ll go on your next trip, they’ll be more likely to buy-in. They will feel appreciated for getting to help choose the location.

And if they still complain, you can remind them they chose to go there. 

Stay at different campgrounds: Different campgrounds have different amenities to offer. Maybe being able to splash around in the pool will be enough to get them hooked. Some may have more kids around to play with, which can also make things more fun. If the first campground seemed “boring” don’t give up before you have tried a few other places. 

Try an RV resort: Another option to hook your family on RV camping is to stay at an RV resort instead of just a campground. RV resorts have tons of amenities.

You’ll feel like you’re at an actual resort. Your kids and partner are bound to find something they’ll love doing. Once they are hooked, you could alternate between staying at an RV resort and a more traditional campground, so everybody wins. 

Black Water is a Mess

Dealing with the black water tank is no walk in the park. We get it. Let’s be honest, almost every RVer out there has probably had a less than pleasant black water tank mishap.

You aren’t alone, but that doesn’t make it any less gross. There are some things you can do to make emptying the black water tank less of an ordeal. 

Buy the best gear for dumping: The parts needed for dumping your tanks is one place you definitely don’t want to skimp on. High-quality materials are more costly, but they also work better.

Like a LOT better.

And do we need to remind you what is in your black water tank? Just pay the extra money and the experience will be much less painless (and less messy). 

Get thick gloves to use when dumping: Another solution is to have thick, strong, disposable gloves to wear when dumping your tanks. In the worst-case scenario, your gloves get dirty instead of your hands.

You’ll be tossing the gloves out anyway, so it isn’t that big of a deal. This keeps things cleaner and more sanitary so you don’t finish the task feeling totally gross. 

Suck it up, it’s the worst part of RV life: We hate to be the one to say this, but unfortunately, this is just one of those tasks you gotta do. RV life is awesome and you definitely should not let black water tanks take that away from you.

Besides, you probably only need to do it once or twice on your trip. For a few minutes of unpleasantness, you can enjoy endless hours of camping fun! 

Can’t Get A Reservation Anywhere

In the summer, it may seem like everyone is RVing. As RV life becomes more and more popular, you might have trouble finding a place to rent even in the offseason in more desirable locations. 

Luckily, we have a few solutions for you! 

Give Boondocking a Try: Boondocking is awesome because you don’t need a reservation and you can camp for free. If it seems like all the fancy RV resorts are booked up, you may find somewhere close by where you can boondock.

If you arrive early, you shouldn’t have trouble finding a spot to park most of the time. And it will be way less crowded than a sardine can… I mean, RV park. 

Camp somewhere that doesn’t require reservations: Some campgrounds don’t require or accept reservations. Sometimes you can camp at state parks without a reservation, and they often have openings.

The only downer would be if you drove all the way there and everything was full. 

Book well in advance: If you book well in advance, you’ll have many more RV parks to choose from. Although some fill up many, many months in advance, for most places you can get in if you call a month before to book a site. 

Travel more in the offseason: We know summer is a popular time for RVers. If you have the flexibility, traveling in the fall or spring will mean less crowding. And if you want to get really brave, you could even RV in the winter. 

It’s Lonely on the Road

If you are a full-time RVer, you will definitely run into the feeling of loneliness at some point in your journey. When you’re on the road, it is hard to make friends. But luckily, there are a few programs designed just for RVers that can help you build community wherever you are. 

Join an RV community

Here are a few online communities designed with RVers in mind. These communities help you connect and meet up with fellow RVers while you’re on the road. We recommend you check out Xscapers and Escapees. Both cost $49.95/year to join which is a small price to pay considering all the benefits. 

Xscapers: This community is part of the Escapees RV club, however, it caters to RVers who are working on the road. With so many digital nomads, the RV lifestyle is becoming more and more popular with people. Xscapers lets you connect with others like you so you can have friends while on the road.  

Escapees: This club isn’t only for working RVers. Anyone can join it. Families, singles, retirees, you get the idea. It is another option for meeting people while on the road and learning a lot from more experienced RVers along the way. 

Don’t Give Up Yet! 

If your first RV trip was a total bust, don’t give up. There are lots of ways to solve common problems.

And also, remember, the problems are common. Many RV bloggers make RVing seem like a carefree, simple lifestyle, but that isn’t always true.

Every lifestyle has its challenges, and RVing is no different. But, we know that if you keep at it, you’ll soon come to see all the amazing things RVing has to offer.

Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA

To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).

You should give it a try!

As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.

Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers that love to score the best site! 

We’ll send you the 50 Best Free Campsites in the USA (one per state). Access the list by submitting your email below:

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  1. Reggie Capitan says:

    Cautiously tell people to use back roads, especially if they have large class A or 5th wheel….the back roads can cause much white knuckle driving…

  2. Kyle & Olivia Brady says:

    Great point, use the backroads with the RV specific router

  3. Cindy Klaudt says:

    Thanks so much for all the great information! I am one of the readers that left a message asking if Rving was really for me. My husband and I have now visited 5 Ga State Parks and loving it! Great advice to not give up and other campers are SO HELPFUL! Love your blog. Cindy Klaudt

  4. Eric says:

    Besides a trip wizard nothing beats a great copilot

  5. Bob says:

    You missed one option if your partner hates camping.
    Find another partner! Lol!

  6. Mike spollen says:

    Make sure you have aaa or good sams club for tire battery etc problems also maybe towing option through aaa up to 200 miles. Helped me with my class c many of times.

  7. Alex B says:

    Camping is the greatest thing me and my family have ever experienced. We’re on our fourth travel trailer. Before purchasing travel trailer or rv people should talk with other people who are owners of travel trailers and rvs, ask questions there is no stupid question. We have people come up to us and ask questions all the time, on multiple occasions I have helped people to back up their travel trailers and rvs.

  8. Margaret L Lee says:

    I have Rv’d all my life. I now full time for the last two years. I think people have a misconception that camping is like an amusement park for there kids. This is so far from the truth. Unless you stay in the city, you must appreciate our lands. I see so many times people leaving trash and excrement on the side of the roads when boondocking. I have seen people emptying the holding tanks on the dirt roads. I think if you are going to invest your life to camping you must.understand that our national parks and public lands are precious. Respect the wild life. With the budgets depleted we must all be aware and keep our public land clean so generations can enjoy them for years to come.
    Thank you for letting me express my opinion

  9. Amber Dawn Whitmire says:

    I’m purchasing my first Trailor. And purchased a 1500 chevy Truck. I’m looking forward to a New Life with kids, well teens. 13yrs -up….going off from Society. My kids need to unplug….We’re a conservative Family and I thought investing in 1 would be a great opportunity for my pre teen to explore and experience reality instead of classroom

  10. Beth S says:

    When bringing kids who hate camping, especially teens, let them bring a friend along. This cuts down a lot of the whinging and gives them a buddy to hang out with and someone to help find the all-important phone signal so they don’t lose their Snapchat streaks. I’ve even found them more willing to get involved with camp chores…

  11. Heather Warner says:

    Don’t want to deal with black water…composting toilet. You cant always depend on having somewhere to dump blackwater…which can be a pain if you get a leak inside. At this point in life and dealing with regular house plumbing issues, Id rather use a camp bucket than be doused in black water.