The best thing about going camping in an RV, apart from taking on the open road, is packing up the family and saying goodbye to the confines and routine of your everyday life. The experience can pull the family closer together and for me it always make me appreciate the finer things, like gorgeous sunsets and fresh air. These are all benefits you don’t get much of in the city.
One of my biggest worries when I hit the open road is the safety of my family traveling with me. There are many things we can’t control but I try my best to take care of the things that are in my control and at the top of that list is my driving. When I’m driving an RV trailer the stakes are higher. A heavier vehicle requires greater control and focus. For the past two years I’ve been using the Tekonsha 90195 P3 Electronic Brake Controller and it makes me breathe easier on these family road trips.
I have to say one of the greatest things about this proportional brake controller is how easy it was to set up. It came with a bracket for mounting and the entire thing was a breeze. I set up my brake controller within thirty minutes.
I haven’t tried many brands of proportional brake controllers but to be honest, given the experience I’ve had with this one I have no interest in trying another. Before I started using a proportional brake control I had heard countless reports about just how amazing they are but it wasn’t until about a year after using one that a near accident left me with a full appreciation for it. In one particular instance heading home from a camping trip with the family an impatient (I called them more than impatient at the time) driver swerved in front of us leaving me with very little time to react. Luckily for me, the brake controller did exactly what its manufacturer claims it does and I was able to stop our RV abruptly by slamming on the brake.
And that is the beauty of the proportional brake controller. It is able to adapt and respond to various braking situations differently. These controllers use digital sensors and the reason for the superiority of digital sensors is that they are definitely quicker to respond and are generally more accurate. With traditional brake controllers (before digital became available) the controller would sometimes send a weaker signal than what was needed by the driver, or worse, none at all. This could sometimes prove catastrophic, especially when navigating a downhill slope where a sudden stop was required.
I know firsthand what that scenario feels like and I am grateful for the peace of mind I get from using a proportional brake controller with a digital sensor, specifically the Tekonsha 90195 P3 Electronic Brake Controller. The peace of mind and an enjoyable driving experience at an affordable price are just a perfect combination. Better safe than sorry, always.
- Look for public free days at federal, state, and even community parks. USACE/COE has fee free days per annum, as do most states parks systems.
- Join a Discount RV Camping Club. The most popular being:
- Federal campgrounds nearly always give a 50% discount to folks holding the federal Golden Age Passport offered at national parks and monuments, and select BLM and Agriculture Forest Service offices.
- Moststate park systems honor the Golden Age Passport.
- Several state park systems will have state residents discounts for seniors.
The short answer is yes. Ebay.com RVs & Campers has recently become an increasingly popular way to buy and sell campers and RVs. The new popularity is mainly because it’s by far the best place to find a good price on an used camper or RV.
- You pay or make a refundable deposit for a camper, but never receive it.
- You pay for a vehicle and receive it but end up suffering a loss due to unethical practices from the seller.
As soon as you purchase a camper or RV on eBay, you’re automatically enrolled in the program. The protection is for up to $50,000 and you have a month to make any claims.
Even though you have this protection program, you should still do your homework before making a purchase. Here are some good references to get you started:
- How to buy a vehicle on eBay.
- Pros and Cons of Buying a Camper Online
- Accurate Ratings of Camper and RV Manufacturers
- Buying a Camper Guide
- Vehicle Purchase Protection program
Make sure you are at the correct camp site and it’s available.
Don’t block your neighbor’s access route to facilities or the exits.
If you’re arriving late, keep loud noises and bright lights to a minimum.
Treat it like your home. For many, campgrounds are a home away from home.
Know the rules and policies on dumping trash, smoking, parking, fire wood, washing dishes, showers, quite hours, speed limit, etc.
Use only the designated fire pits.
Leave no trace. Always leave your site as you found it (or better)
Leave enough wood to start a fire for the next person.
Be friendly and say hello to people passing by.
Don’t cut through other people camp sites without warning.
Teach your kids to have fun camping while respecting the rules.
Help your neighbor out if they need it.
I love dogs, but not everyone does. Keep pets under control and pick up their dodo if it’s on the trail!
Need a campground directory? Check out the 2013 Good Sam RV Travel Guide & Campground Directory.
If you look ing for campgrounds that are less crowded check out Off the Beaten Path: A Travel Guide to More Than 1000 Scenic and Interesting Places Still Uncrowded and Inviting.
If you want to learn how to buy a camper online, please look at our buying a camper guide.
Advantages of Buying a Camper Online:
- The biggest advantage is having all the options right in front of you. Being able to look at multiple dealerships and private sellers all together at the same time allows you to compare your options easily. Also, in person you will never get to look at so many options before making a purchase.
You avoid any pressure from sales people and show rooms. You can shop at you own pace on your own time.
- Ease of information. If you have questions about the camper you can quickly look up the answer from an outside source.
- No business hours. No traveling. Driving to dealerships can be really time consuming and depending on your work hours, it can be near impossible.
- If you buying a new camper, manufacturer websites allow to to customize easily.
- The coffee is better at your house.
Disadvantages of Buying a Camper Online:
- The location of the camper may be far away and require delivery.
- Sometimes dealerships don’t let you complete the purchase without actually coming down to the dealership
- No matter what, you are going to want to inspect the camper and have your own mechanic look at it (unless it’s a trailer of course).
- For some people there is some comfort in getting to know the previous owner of your camper. It’s hard to really trust someone without looking them in the eye first.
- No free show room coffee
In no particular order, here are 8 books that focus on the small camper / RV lifestyle we really enjoyed and think will be very helpful to you:
Repair/Maintenance Category: RV Repair and Maintenance Manual (RV Repair & Maintenance Manual) by Bob Livingston. This is just a great resource to have with you on the road. It has step by step instructions with lots of pictures for trouble shooting any random mechanical issue you may encounter.
Frugal Camping Category: 10-Minute Tech, Volume 2: Over 600 Time and Money Saving Ideas from Fellow RVersThe title says it all. This is the camper’s hacking guide. Its full of truly great tips on frugal camping. A lot of the advice in this book I haven’t seen anywhere else.
Cooking Category: The Original VW Camper Cookbook: 80 Tasty Recipes Specially Composed for Cooking in a Camper by Lennart Hannu, Steve Rooker and Susanne Rooker It’s full of fantastic easy to use recipes, but this book is more than just an outdoor friendly cookbook, it’s total eye candy. It has tons of great photos of food and vintage campers.
Camper Living Category: How to Live in a Car, Van or RV–And Get Out of Debt, Travel and Find True Freedom by Robert Wells. The author has lived in his small camper for 10+ years and know his stuff. This book focuses primarily on the economics of living on the road and how to get the most bang for your buck.
Renting Campers Category: RV Rentals: A Vacationer’s Guide by Kay Corby. This is a great book for people just starting out who are interested in getting a camper. You should always rent before you buy to make sure it’s a good fit for you and your family.
Beginner Category: Live Your Road Trip Dream: Travel for a Year for the Cost of Staying Home by Phil White and Carol White. This is probably the most thorough book I’ve seen on the process of planning and preparing for hitting the road. It’s also extemely well written.
Beginner Category: So, you want to be an RVer? by Kathy Huggins and John Huggins. Also owners of the “Living the RV Dream” podcast, Kathy and John are very knowledgable full-timers. This book covers all the basics of fulfilling the RV dream.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Jay Nelson‘s custom small campers:
1. The 1986 Toyota Pick-up Truck Camper
Somehow he managed to give it a classic, yet futuristic look at the same time.
2. The Honda Civic
I love the shape, it’s almost like being in the hull of a ship.
3. Last but not least, The Golden Gate:
This is an electric car that tops out at about 20 mph and gets about 10 miles per charge. It’s really got it all: sink, stove, toilet, and bed.
Want to know more? Got to: http://jaynelsonart.com/
Unlike small campers and RVs there is no nation wide company that offers popup camper rentals. So I’ve put together a list of good popup camper rental companies by region:
California: Tow Tally Camping
Colorado: Colorado Camper Rental
Florida: Family First Camper Rental
Georgia: Atlanta Rv Rental
Illinois: Art’s RV
Kansas: Midwest Camper Rentals
Kentucky: Louisville Greenwood RV Rentals
Maine: Destinations RV Maine
Michigan: HallMac RV Rentals
Missiouri: Byerly RV Center
New Hampshire: North East RV
New Jersey: 84 RV
North Carolina: Southern Pop Up Rentals
Wyoming: Adventure Camper
If you’re towing a pop up camper, your bike rack options are unfortunately somewhat limited. No matter what kind of pop up bike rack you buy, DO NOT purchase one that requires you to drill holes in your camper. Having holes in you pop up will lead to many problems down the line. That being said, I recommend you go down one of these two avenues:
Why we like it? Unlike many of the other pop up camper bike racks, you don’t have to drill into your trailer or bummer. The rack is easy to install and even easier to load and unload the bikes. Because the rack attaches to the hitch, it will fit on just about any pop up camper. I really like the fork mount style bike racks, mainly because it gives you peace of mind knowing the bikes are very secure on the rack and you’re not checking to see if your bikes are still attached in the rear view mirror every 5 minutes.
Although this style of rack is not as secure as option one, it has one simple advantage. The big advantage of this type of rack is you can still drive with the bikes after you detach the pop up trailer. The tent trailer is not needed to haul the bikes like it is in option one.