Uncover a Winter Wonderland: 10 Must-See RV Destinations for a Wintry Road Trip Adventure

Uncover a Winter Wonderland: 10 Must-See RV Destinations for a Wintry Road Trip Adventure

Image Credit: Ark PP / flickr

As the winter season approaches, the idea of embarking on a road trip adventure with an RV may seem counterintuitive to many. However, the winter season can bring about a unique and exciting opportunity to explore some of America’s most beautiful national parks and scenic routes. In this article, we will uncover the top 10 must-see RV destinations for a wintry road trip adventure, including tips for RVing in the winter, recommended RV campsites and services, and descriptions of the parks’ winter scenery and activities.

 

Uncover a Winter Wonderland 10 Must-See RV Destinations for a Wintry Road Trip Adventure- Yellowstone
Image Credit:
Yellowstone National Park / flickr

Destination 1: Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park, located in Wyoming, is a winter wonderland that transforms into a snowy paradise in the colder months. Visitors can enjoy cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and even ice fishing. RVers can take advantage of the park’s numerous campgrounds, with options ranging from rustic to modern. Some of the recommended RV campsites include Madison, Canyon, and Grant Village.

 

Uncover a Winter Wonderland 10 Must-See RV Destinations for a Wintry Road Trip Adventure- Glacier National Park
Image Credit:
National Park Service

Destination 2: Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park, located in Montana, is another popular winter destination for RVers. The park boasts picturesque views of snow-capped mountains, frozen lakes, and icy waterfalls. Visitors can participate in winter activities such as snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and ice fishing. RVers can stay at Apgar, Fish Creek, or St. Mary campgrounds.

 

Uncover a Winter Wonderland 10 Must-See RV Destinations for a Wintry Road Trip Adventure- Rocky Mountain
Image Credit:
National Park Service

Destination 3: Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park, located in Colorado, offers visitors a winter wonderland with numerous winter sports and activities, such as snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and sledding. RVers can stay at campgrounds such as Moraine Park, Glacier Basin, and Aspenglen.

 

Uncover a Winter Wonderland 10 Must-See RV Destinations for a Wintry Road Trip Adventure-Acadia National Park
Image Credit:
National Park Service

Destination 4: Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park, located in Maine, offers a unique and tranquil winter experience with scenic views of snow-covered forests and frozen lakes. Visitors can engage in winter sports such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and ice fishing. The park’s Blackwoods Campground offers RVers amenities such as electrical hookups and heated restrooms.

 

Uncover a Winter Wonderland 10 Must-See RV Destinations for a Wintry Road Trip Adventure-Joshua Tree National Park
Image Credit: National Park Service /
Raw Pixel

Destination 5: Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park, located in California, offers RVers a unique desert winter experience. Visitors can enjoy mild temperatures, clear skies, and breathtaking views of the park’s unique rock formations. Winter activities in the park include hiking, rock climbing, and stargazing. RVers can stay at Black Rock, Indian Cove, or Cottonwood campgrounds.

Uncover a Winter Wonderland 10 Must-See RV Destinations for a Wintry Road Trip Adventure-Bryce Canyon National Park
Image Credit:
Rob Lee /flickr

Destination 6: Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park, located in Utah, offers a unique and stunning winter experience with its red rock formations contrasted against white snow. Visitors can participate in winter activities such as snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. The park’s North and Sunset campgrounds offer RVers access to electrical hookups and heated restrooms.

 

Uncover a Winter Wonderland 10 Must-See RV Destinations for a Wintry Road Trip Adventure-Big Bend National Park
Image Credit:
Jonathan Cutrer / flickr

Destination 7: Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park, located in Texas, offers RVers a unique and quiet winter experience with its vast desert landscape and clear skies. Winter activities in the park include hiking, birdwatching, and stargazing. The park’s Rio Grande Village campground offers RVers access to electrical hookups and heated restrooms.

 

Uncover a Winter Wonderland 10 Must-See RV Destinations for a Wintry Road Trip Adventure-Great Sand Dunes National Park
Image Credit:
NPS Natural Resources / flickr

Destination 8: Great Sand Dunes National Park

Great Sand Dunes National Park, located in Colorado, offers a unique winter experience with its snow-covered sand dunes and breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. Winter activities in the park include sledding, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. The park’s Pinon Flats campground offers RVers access to electrical hookups and heated restrooms.

 

Uncover a Winter Wonderland 10 Must-See RV Destinations for a Wintry Road Trip Adventure-Mount Rainier National Park
Image Credit:
Mount Rainier National Park / flickr

Destination 9: Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier National Park, located in Washington, offers a unique and stunning winter experience with its snow-covered mountain and serene winter landscapes. Winter activities in the park include snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and sledding. RVers can stay at campgrounds such as Cougar Rock, Ohanapecosh, and White River.

 

Uncover a Winter Wonderland 10 Must-See RV Destinations for a Wintry Road Trip Adventure-Denali National Park
Image Credit:
Denali National Park and Preserve / flickr

Destination 10: Denali National Park

Denali National Park, located in Alaska, offers a unique and exhilarating winter experience with its rugged terrain and abundant wildlife. Visitors can engage in winter activities such as dog sledding, snowmobiling, and cross-country skiing. RVers can stay at Riley Creek, Savage River, or Teklanika River campgrounds.

 

Takeaway

Embarking on a wintry road trip adventure with an RV can be a unique and unforgettable experience, and America’s national parks offer some of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring winter scenery in the world. From Yellowstone National Park to Denali National Park, each of these 10 destinations provides visitors with a unique and stunning winter experience. To plan a successful winter RV trip, it’s important to be well-prepared and equipped with the necessary gear and supplies. Additionally, it’s important to check road and weather conditions before embarking on the trip.

 

FAQs

Is it safe to RV in the winter?
Yes, RVing in the winter can be safe as long as you are well-prepared and equipped with the necessary gear and supplies. It’s important to check road and weather conditions before embarking on the trip and to stay informed about any potential hazards.

What are some winter activities to do in national parks?
Winter activities in national parks can include snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, sledding, ice fishing, snowmobiling, and more. Check with each individual park for specific winter activities and recommendations.

Are there any specific RV campsites recommended for winter RVing?
Yes, many national parks offer specific RV campsites that are open year-round and equipped with amenities such as electrical hookups and heated restrooms. Some recommended campsites for winter RVing include Madison Campground in Yellowstone National Park and Apgar Campground in Glacier National Park.

What kind of gear and supplies do I need for a winter RV trip?
Some essential gear and supplies for a winter RV trip include warm clothing, snow boots, tire chains, a shovel, and extra food and water. Additionally, it’s important to ensure that your RV is equipped with a functioning heating system and adequate insulation.

How can I prepare my RV for winter RVing?
To prepare your RV for winter RVing, it’s important to ensure that all of its systems and components are functioning properly. This may include checking the heating system, water and plumbing systems, and tires. Additionally, it’s important to insulate the RV and seal any potential air leaks to ensure maximum warmth and comfort.

Should I Use Slide Out Supports?

Should I Use Slide Out Supports?

RV slide-outs are a miraculous invention because they dramatically increase the space inside your RV. That leads to a much more comfortable camping experience, but it also means you must consider whether installing RV slide-out supports is a good idea for your coach.

When a slide room is extended, a lot of weight is placed on the slide room extensions and supporting frame. This leads some RVers to ask the natural question: should I use RV slide-out supports?

What are RV Slide-out Supports?

what-are-rv-slideout-supports-04-2023
Photo by Camping World

Slide-out supports are a weight-bearing accessory with a wide, flat base at the bottom. The top secures under the frame of your slide-outs. They can be raised or lowered to accommodate your situation.

The Benefits of Slide-out Supports

Here are a few reasons to add slide-out supports for your RV:

  • Relieve stress on your slide-out extensions.
  • Reduce sag on the entire slide-out.
  • Reduce swaying and rocking when you’re moving around inside.
  • Stabilize fully extended slide-outs.

Are Slide Out Supports Necessary?

necessary-rv-slideout-supports-04-2023
Photo by Camping World

Once your slide-outs are extended, it’s time to consider if they warrant additional support. RV manufacturers design slide-outs to be safe and stable without supports, but extra support will extend the life of your slide-out and reduce maintenance needs.

They are also helpful when camping on uneven ground and essential when slide-outs contain heavy RV furniture or camping gear. Slide room supports are best for long-term RV living.

They’re most useful for full-time or seasonal campers that are set up in one place for a month or longer. They should also be used each time you set up camp if your slide-outs hold a lot of weight, but they’re not absolutely necessary, especially if you move camp frequently.

But be careful!

Technician Tip: Failure to support the coach chassis with jacks and/or stands before installing slide-out supports can damage the sidewall and/or the slide-out as the coach and slide-out would not be able to move together in the wind and as occupants move about inside.

Explore our selection of RV stabilizers.

How to Extend RV Slideouts

Regardless of whether you use slide-out supports or not, many slide-out issues can be avoided by operating them properly.

Complete these checks before extending your slide-outs:

  • Ensure your slide-out has enough clearance by knowing its depth and adding six inches.
  • Ensure all people and passengers are clear of the slide-out and its components.
  • Refrain from standing on the floor of the slide-out when extending or retracting.
  • Remove slide-out locks (if applicable).
  • Ensure the space around the slide-out inside your RV is clear – above, below, and on the sides. Items may have shifted during your drive. Check every time!
  • Ensure your RV battery is fully charged.

Now, here are the quick steps to using your RV’s slide-outs:

  1. Locate the slide-out control switch inside your RV.
  2. Depress the switch’s ‘Out’ or ‘Extend’ side to extend your slide-out.
  3. Listen for the slide-out motor winding down or groaning, indicating it’s time to release the switch. You may hear a clicking sound on some trailers when fully extended. You may also notice interior lights dimming as the slide-out seals.
  4. On Schwintek systems, hold the switch for five seconds once the room is fully opened (or closed) for the control board to complete its calculations. Failure to do so will cause the room to go out of synchronization over time.
  5. Visually, look for the fascia on the interior of the slide-out to set flush with your RV’s interior wall.
  6. Never extend or retract slide-outs partially. They must be fully open or closed to maintain their seal and keep the interior of your RV waterproof.

How to Manually Retract RV Slide-outs

Picture this: You’re packing up camp and hit the RV slide-out’s retract button to bring your slide in – nothing happens. You can do a few checks first, but the good news is that the main RV slide-out types can be retracted manually.

Watch the video above to learn how to manually retract your RV’s slide-outs, or check out our step-by-step written tutorial.

How to Troubleshoot RV Slide-outs

Here are a few more resources to help you problem-solve common RV slide-out issues.

Rack and Pinion

Learn how to troubleshoot issues if your RV has a rack and pinion – also known as a through-frame – slide-out.

Cable Slide-out

Here are some easy methods for troubleshooting your cable-driven RV slide-outs.

Schwintek Slide

Explore solutions for common issues with Schwintek slide-outs.


For full-time RVers, slide-out supports are a great investment. They’ll protect your slide-out from sagging when extended for a month or longer. For more full-time RV tips, here are a few great resources:

What other questions do you have about RV slide-out supports? Share in the comments below!

Tucker Ballister is our Technical Content Writer. He’s a lover of the open road and the proud owner of a 2021 Sunlite Classic travel trailer (his 3rd RV to date). Check out more of his RV adventures, gear reviews, and outdoor advice at thebackpackguide.com.
The Backpack Guide

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RV slide-outs are a miraculous invention because they dramatically increase the space inside your RV. That leads to a much more comfortable camping experience, but it also means you must consider whether installing RV slide-out supports is a good idea for your coach.

When a slide room is extended, a lot of weight is placed on the slide room extensions and supporting frame. This leads some RVers to ask the natural question: should I use RV slide-out supports?

What are RV Slide-out Supports?

what-are-rv-slideout-supports-04-2023
Photo by Camping World

Slide-out supports are a weight-bearing accessory with a wide, flat base at the bottom. The top secures under the frame of your slide-outs. They can be raised or lowered to accommodate your situation.

The Benefits of Slide-out Supports

Here are a few reasons to add slide-out supports for your RV:

  • Relieve stress on your slide-out extensions.
  • Reduce sag on the entire slide-out.
  • Reduce swaying and rocking when you’re moving around inside.
  • Stabilize fully extended slide-outs.

Are Slide Out Supports Necessary?

necessary-rv-slideout-supports-04-2023
Photo by Camping World

Once your slide-outs are extended, it’s time to consider if they warrant additional support. RV manufacturers design slide-outs to be safe and stable without supports, but extra support will extend the life of your slide-out and reduce maintenance needs.

They are also helpful when camping on uneven ground and essential when slide-outs contain heavy RV furniture or camping gear. Slide room supports are best for long-term RV living.

They’re most useful for full-time or seasonal campers that are set up in one place for a month or longer. They should also be used each time you set up camp if your slide-outs hold a lot of weight, but they’re not absolutely necessary, especially if you move camp frequently.

But be careful!

Technician Tip: Failure to support the coach chassis with jacks and/or stands before installing slide-out supports can damage the sidewall and/or the slide-out as the coach and slide-out would not be able to move together in the wind and as occupants move about inside.

Explore our selection of RV stabilizers.

How to Extend RV Slideouts

Regardless of whether you use slide-out supports or not, many slide-out issues can be avoided by operating them properly.

Complete these checks before extending your slide-outs:

  • Ensure your slide-out has enough clearance by knowing its depth and adding six inches.
  • Ensure all people and passengers are clear of the slide-out and its components.
  • Refrain from standing on the floor of the slide-out when extending or retracting.
  • Remove slide-out locks (if applicable).
  • Ensure the space around the slide-out inside your RV is clear – above, below, and on the sides. Items may have shifted during your drive. Check every time!
  • Ensure your RV battery is fully charged.

Now, here are the quick steps to using your RV’s slide-outs:

  1. Locate the slide-out control switch inside your RV.
  2. Depress the switch’s ‘Out’ or ‘Extend’ side to extend your slide-out.
  3. Listen for the slide-out motor winding down or groaning, indicating it’s time to release the switch. You may hear a clicking sound on some trailers when fully extended. You may also notice interior lights dimming as the slide-out seals.
  4. On Schwintek systems, hold the switch for five seconds once the room is fully opened (or closed) for the control board to complete its calculations. Failure to do so will cause the room to go out of synchronization over time.
  5. Visually, look for the fascia on the interior of the slide-out to set flush with your RV’s interior wall.
  6. Never extend or retract slide-outs partially. They must be fully open or closed to maintain their seal and keep the interior of your RV waterproof.

How to Manually Retract RV Slide-outs

Picture this: You’re packing up camp and hit the RV slide-out’s retract button to bring your slide in – nothing happens. You can do a few checks first, but the good news is that the main RV slide-out types can be retracted manually.

Watch the video above to learn how to manually retract your RV’s slide-outs, or check out our step-by-step written tutorial.

How to Troubleshoot RV Slide-outs

Here are a few more resources to help you problem-solve common RV slide-out issues.

Rack and Pinion

Learn how to troubleshoot issues if your RV has a rack and pinion – also known as a through-frame – slide-out.

Cable Slide-out

Here are some easy methods for troubleshooting your cable-driven RV slide-outs.

Schwintek Slide

Explore solutions for common issues with Schwintek slide-outs.


For full-time RVers, slide-out supports are a great investment. They’ll protect your slide-out from sagging when extended for a month or longer. For more full-time RV tips, here are a few great resources:

What other questions do you have about RV slide-out supports? Share in the comments below!

Tucker Ballister is our Technical Content Writer. He’s a lover of the open road and the proud owner of a 2021 Sunlite Classic travel trailer (his 3rd RV to date). Check out more of his RV adventures, gear reviews, and outdoor advice at thebackpackguide.com.
The Backpack Guide

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Source: Should I Use Slide Out Supports?

What Coleman Owners Love About Their RV

What Coleman Owners Love About Their RV

Coleman offers some of the most affordable and lightweight travel trailers on the market. Two of their newest trailers, the Lantern LT 17B and 17R are perfect for families and couples looking for a comfortable and easy-towing RV.

We asked Coleman owners what they loved about their RVs in the Camping World Facebook community, and they had a lot to say. Find out more below about Coleman’s newest make and models of RVs and what real Coleman owners think about their camping experience.

Coleman Lantern LT 17B Overview

Camper Specs

  • Length: 21’5”
  • Dry Weight: 2,985 pounds
  • Hitch Weight: 392 pounds
  • Sleeping Capacity: Up to 5

Coleman’s Lantern LT 17B has been trending recently as one of the most popular and affordable family travel trailers. The rear bunks are excellent for the kids but can also be used for storage space if you need a couple’s RV.

The queen bed and convertible dinette round out the sleeping areas in this towable camper. You’ll also love the ease of towing this lightweight trailer if you have a smaller truck or even some SUVs.

Shop Camping World’s inventory of Coleman Lantern LT 17B travel trailers.

Use our towing guide to determine your vehicle’s towing capacity.

Coleman Lantern LT 17R Overview

Camper Specs

  • Length: 21’5”
  • Dry Weight: 2,970 pounds
  • Hitch Weight: 380 pounds
  • Sleeping Capacity: Up to 3

In response to customers’ positive feedback on the 17B, they developed a similar floorplan for couples. The Lantern LT 17R replaces the rear bunks with a spacious dry bathroom and wardrobe closet.

The 17R features more interior floor space and 2-3 times more storage than the 17B. It’s also lighter and easily towable with smaller trucks and even some SUVs while boasting a convertible dinette when you need sleeping space for kids or guests.

See when Coleman Lantern LT 17R models will be available at Camping World dealerships near you.

What Owners Love About Their Coleman RV

The Coleman brand has a well-known reputation in the camping industry, and they make some amazing towable campers. We asked Coleman RV owners what they love about their RVs, and here’s what they said.

They Love Everything About It

Coleman Model: 2022 Coleman Lantern LT 17B

What They Love: “We love we have everything we need. It’s basic; that is all you need while camping.”

Coleman Model: 2022 Coleman 202RD

What They Love: “Love everything about it. Perfect for a couple.”

Coleman Model: 2022 Coleman Lantern 285BH

What They Love: “Love the outdoor kitchen and bunks in the rear that fits all our kiddos! Awesome travel trailer!”

They Love the Size

Coleman Model: 2023 Coleman Lantern LT 17B

What They Love: “I love how compact it is!”

Coleman Model: 2020 Coleman Lantern Toy Hauler

What They Love: “It’s comfortable and is a nice home away from home.”

They Love How Easy it is to Tow

Coleman Model: 2021 Coleman

What They Love: “The ability to pull it with my Tahoe.”

They Love the Interior

Coleman Model: Coleman Light 2955RL

What They Love: “We love the space and especially the fireplace.”

Coleman Model: 2020 Coleman Lantern 250TQ Toy Hauler

What They Love: “What I like about it is it is set up nicely inside. It’s only 30 feet long but has a lot of storage. I like the colors of the interior and good storage on the pass-through.”


Coleman offers a variety of lightweight and affordable RVs. Here are a few resources you can use to learn more about specific Coleman models:

Shop Camping World’s nationwide inventory of Coleman RVs.

Have you owned or rented a Coleman RV? Tell us the make and model and what you loved about it in the comments. 

Tucker Ballister is our Technical Content Writer. He’s a lover of the open road and the proud owner of a 2021 Sunlite Classic travel trailer (his 3rd RV to date). Check out more of his RV adventures, gear reviews, and outdoor advice at thebackpackguide.com.
The Backpack Guide

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Coleman offers some of the most affordable and lightweight travel trailers on the market. Two of their newest trailers, the Lantern LT 17B and 17R are perfect for families and couples looking for a comfortable and easy-towing RV.

We asked Coleman owners what they loved about their RVs in the Camping World Facebook community, and they had a lot to say. Find out more below about Coleman’s newest make and models of RVs and what real Coleman owners think about their camping experience.

Coleman Lantern LT 17B Overview

Camper Specs

  • Length: 21’5”
  • Dry Weight: 2,985 pounds
  • Hitch Weight: 392 pounds
  • Sleeping Capacity: Up to 5

Coleman’s Lantern LT 17B has been trending recently as one of the most popular and affordable family travel trailers. The rear bunks are excellent for the kids but can also be used for storage space if you need a couple’s RV.

The queen bed and convertible dinette round out the sleeping areas in this towable camper. You’ll also love the ease of towing this lightweight trailer if you have a smaller truck or even some SUVs.

Shop Camping World’s inventory of Coleman Lantern LT 17B travel trailers.

Use our towing guide to determine your vehicle’s towing capacity.

Coleman Lantern LT 17R Overview

Camper Specs

  • Length: 21’5”
  • Dry Weight: 2,970 pounds
  • Hitch Weight: 380 pounds
  • Sleeping Capacity: Up to 3

In response to customers’ positive feedback on the 17B, they developed a similar floorplan for couples. The Lantern LT 17R replaces the rear bunks with a spacious dry bathroom and wardrobe closet.

The 17R features more interior floor space and 2-3 times more storage than the 17B. It’s also lighter and easily towable with smaller trucks and even some SUVs while boasting a convertible dinette when you need sleeping space for kids or guests.

See when Coleman Lantern LT 17R models will be available at Camping World dealerships near you.

What Owners Love About Their Coleman RV

The Coleman brand has a well-known reputation in the camping industry, and they make some amazing towable campers. We asked Coleman RV owners what they love about their RVs, and here’s what they said.

They Love Everything About It

Coleman Model: 2022 Coleman Lantern LT 17B

What They Love: “We love we have everything we need. It’s basic; that is all you need while camping.”

Coleman Model: 2022 Coleman 202RD

What They Love: “Love everything about it. Perfect for a couple.”

Coleman Model: 2022 Coleman Lantern 285BH

What They Love: “Love the outdoor kitchen and bunks in the rear that fits all our kiddos! Awesome travel trailer!”

They Love the Size

Coleman Model: 2023 Coleman Lantern LT 17B

What They Love: “I love how compact it is!”

Coleman Model: 2020 Coleman Lantern Toy Hauler

What They Love: “It’s comfortable and is a nice home away from home.”

They Love How Easy it is to Tow

Coleman Model: 2021 Coleman

What They Love: “The ability to pull it with my Tahoe.”

They Love the Interior

Coleman Model: Coleman Light 2955RL

What They Love: “We love the space and especially the fireplace.”

Coleman Model: 2020 Coleman Lantern 250TQ Toy Hauler

What They Love: “What I like about it is it is set up nicely inside. It’s only 30 feet long but has a lot of storage. I like the colors of the interior and good storage on the pass-through.”


Coleman offers a variety of lightweight and affordable RVs. Here are a few resources you can use to learn more about specific Coleman models:

Shop Camping World’s nationwide inventory of Coleman RVs.

Have you owned or rented a Coleman RV? Tell us the make and model and what you loved about it in the comments. 

Tucker Ballister is our Technical Content Writer. He’s a lover of the open road and the proud owner of a 2021 Sunlite Classic travel trailer (his 3rd RV to date). Check out more of his RV adventures, gear reviews, and outdoor advice at thebackpackguide.com.
The Backpack Guide

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Source: What Coleman Owners Love About Their RV

How to Find the Right Vehicle to Tow Your RV

How to Find the Right Vehicle to Tow Your RV

Want to get more out of your RV? Subscribe to the Camping World YouTube channel, and never miss a video.

Here are a few tips to help you load your trailer for safe towing

Follow the 60/40 rule. Place 60% of the loaded weight in front of your trailer’s center axle and the remaining 40% behind it. Travel with empty holding tanks. One gallon of water weighs over eight pounds. Most RV freshwater tanks hold anywhere from 20-100 gallons. Depending on your model, that means you’ll carry an extra 160-800 pounds, just in freshwater weight. Alternatively, you can carry extra water in a portable water container. Pack efficiently. Carry only what you absolutely need for your trip. The more weight you tow, the more it will affect your gas mileage. Read more trailer-loading tips. Ensuring the safety of your towable RV starts by choosing the right tow vehicle. So here are a few more helpful resources:

Have questions about what kind of vehicle you should get to tow your RV? Drop them in the comments below!


Have questions about what kind of vehicle you should get to tow your RV? Check out our online towing guide!

Travel trailers and fifth wheels come in many sizes. Some can be pulled by SUVs or mid-size trucks. Others need a heavy-duty pickup truck.

Before you head to your local Camping World dealership to shop around, find out how much your vehicle can tow with Camping World’s tow calculator.

Let’s talk towing and help you find the best vehicle for towing a camper.

Know Your Trailer’s Weight Ratings

Every RV has a vehicle identification sticker to give you basic information about your trailer, including weight ratings, tire size, and more. Here are a few key terms to know.

  • Gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) = This is the total weight the RV can handle based on its axles and tire ratings.
  • Gross combined weight rating (GCWR) = The maximum weight allowed for the tow vehicle and the trailer when fully loaded.
  • Unloaded vehicle weight (UVW) = How much the trailer weighs as it rolls off the assembly line.
  • UVW includes any of the basic amenities inside – like the dinette, sleeper sofa, theater seating, and kitchen appliances – as well as the weight of batteries and LP containers. It does not include the weight of the passengers or cargo you’ll add, nor does it factor in the liquid weight you may carry with full holding tanks.
  • Cargo Carrying Capacity (CCC) = The maximum amount of weight you can load into your RV. Calculate it by subtracting the unloaded vehicle weight from the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR – UVW = CCC).
  • As an example, let’s say the GVWR is 3,500 pounds, and the UVW is 2,500 pounds. 3,500 – 2,500 = 1,000 pounds of cargo carrying capacity Any accessories added to a dramatic RV renovation, plus your camping gear, will reduce your RV’s cargo-carrying capacity. This is why we often preach the importance of lightweight materials and packing only what you need.
  • Hitch weight – also known as tongue weight – or pin weight (for 5th wheels) = The amount of weight exerted on your tow vehicle’s hitch ball or fifth wheel hitch.
  • Payload capacity = The amount of cargo weight your tow vehicle can hold. This includes the weight of all passengers and cargo inside the vehicle, plus the hitch weight of your trailer or fifth wheel.
  • Rear axle weight rating (RAWR) = The amount of weight your vehicle’s rear suspension is rated to handle.

The Bottom Line

Understanding all RV weight ratings is important, but you can find the best vehicle for towing your desired camper by looking closely at a trailer’s GVWR and hitch weight. Let’s take the 2023 Keystone Cougar Sport 2100RK, for example. The trailer’s GVWR is 8,500 pounds, and the hitch weight is 1,120 pounds. To avoid making the tow vehicle work to its maximum capacity at all times, it is recommended to have a towing capacity of at least 1.25 times the RV’s GVWR. Since the Cougar has a GVWR of 8,500 pounds, multiplied by 1.25 means we want a tow vehicle with a towing capacity of more than 10,625 pounds. 

The 2023 Ford F-150, for example, offers an average towing capacity of up to 11,300 pounds and a payload capacity of up to 2,238 pounds. This would be acceptable for towing the Cougar Sport and handling its pin weight, provided you don’t load more than another 1,118 pounds on the truck’s rear axle. In short, your tow vehicle should be rated to tow more than your trailer’s GVWR, and the whole combination – when fully loaded – must not exceed either vehicle’s GCWR. Your tow vehicle’s RAWR must also exceed the trailer’s hitch weight, plus any cargo in the truck bed or trunk that rests directly on the rear suspension. 

Input a tow vehicle’s year, make, model, and trim (or VIN) into Camping World’s tow calculator to view its maximum towing capacity and find RVs your vehicle can tow.

Find a Compatible Tow Vehicle

Smaller travel trailers, like pop-up campers, teardrop trailers, and lightweight towables, can sometimes be pulled by smaller vehicles. Family SUVs, minivans, and mid-size trucks are great options. You’ll need a full-size or heavy-duty pickup truck to handle larger trailers and fifth wheels and the extra weight placed on the rear suspension.

For fifth wheel towing, you need to know the pin weight of the fifth wheel and ensure it doesn’t exceed your tow vehicle’s RAWR. Most heavy-duty trucks have a RAWR somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 pounds. The pin weight of most larger fifth wheel trailers averages around 3,500 pounds. So there’s usually more than enough capacity to handle the weight. With that said, let’s look at some of the best vehicles for towing a camper and their weight ratings.

SUVs for Towing a Camper

The listed weights below are for 2023 models only. Actual ratings vary based on year, make, model, and trim. Please consult vehicle manufacturers for the most up-to-date tow vehicle weight ratings.

SUV Towing Capacity (lbs) Payload Capacity (lbs)
Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Up to 6,200 Up to 1,575
Dodge Durango SRT 392 Up to 8,700 Up to 1,722
Ford Expedition Up to 9,300 Up to 1,827
Chevrolet Tahoe Up to 8,400 Up to 1,927
GMC Yukon Up to 7,900 Up to 1,910
Nissan Armada Up to 8,500 Up to 1,649
Toyota Sequoia Up to 9,520 Up to 1,730
Audi Q8 Up to 7,700 Up to 1,500

Compact and Mid-Size Trucks for Towing a Camper

Mid-Size Truck Towing Capacity (lbs) Payload Capacity (lbs)
Jeep Gladiator Overland Up to 4,500 Up to 1,200
Ford Maverick Up to 4,000 Up to 1,564
Hyundai Santa Cruz Up to 5,000 Up to 1,749
Honda Ridgeline Up to 5,000 Up to 1,583
Ford Ranger Up to 7,500 Up to 1,905
Nissan Frontier Up to 6,720 Up to 1,697
Toyota Tacoma Up to 6,800 Up to 1,685
Chevrolet Colorado Up to 6,000 Up to 1,610
GMC Canyon Up to 6,000 Up to 1,670
GMC Hummer EV Up to 7,500 Up to 1,487

Diesel or Gas?

There’s a lot of heat in the gas versus diesel debate. Diesel engines offer excellent towing power, and they’re geared to handle big tow loads. You can take inclines with a loaded fifth wheel while hardly slowing down. It was once true that diesel tow vehicles had much higher maintenance costs, but newer gasoline models can be just as expensive. Newer gas engines also still pack plenty of power. Their gear ratios may mean you slow down more on steep inclines, but many see nothing wrong with that. For some, it simply comes down to the difference in their region’s gas and diesel fuel prices. It also comes down to what you’re most comfortable driving. Find a tow vehicle that will pull your RV and one you’re comfortable driving. The last thing anyone wants is an unsafe (and uncomfortable) RVer on the road.

How to Safely Load a Travel Trailer

Want to get more out of your RV? Subscribe to the Camping World YouTube channel, and never miss a video.

Here are a few tips to help you load your trailer for safe towing

Follow the 60/40 rule. Place 60% of the loaded weight in front of your trailer’s center axle and the remaining 40% behind it. Travel with empty holding tanks. One gallon of water weighs over eight pounds. Most RV freshwater tanks hold anywhere from 20-100 gallons. Depending on your model, that means you’ll carry an extra 160-800 pounds, just in freshwater weight. Alternatively, you can carry extra water in a portable water container. Pack efficiently. Carry only what you absolutely need for your trip. The more weight you tow, the more it will affect your gas mileage. Read more trailer-loading tips. Ensuring the safety of your towable RV starts by choosing the right tow vehicle. So here are a few more helpful resources:

Have questions about what kind of vehicle you should get to tow your RV? Drop them in the comments below!


Have questions about what kind of vehicle you should get to tow your RV? Check out our online towing guide!

Full-Size Trucks for Towing a Camper<
Full-Size Truck Towing Capacity (lbs) Payload Capacity (lbs)
Ford F-150 Up to 11,300 Up to 2,238
Ford F-150 Lightning Up to 10,000 Up to 2,235
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Up to 9,500 Up to 2,300
GMC Sierra 1500 Up to 9,400 Up to 2,270
RAM 1500 Up to 8,320 Up to 2,335
Toyota Tundra Up to 12,000 Up to 1,940
Rivian R1T Up to 11,000 Up to 1,384
Nissan Titan XD Up to 10,900 Up to 2,406

Heavy-Duty Trucks for Towing a Camper

Full-Size Truck Towing Capacity (lbs) Payload Capacity (lbs)
Ford F-250 Up to 22,000 Up to 4,323
Ford F-350 Up to 23,900 Up to 4,713
Ford F-450 Up to 30,000 Up to 6,288
Chevy Silverado 2500 Up to 14,500 Up to 3,900
Chevy Silverado 3500 Up to 14,500 Up to 4,572
GMC Sierra 2500 Up to 14,500 Up to 3,900
GMC Sierra 3500 Up to 14,500 Up to 4,572
RAM 2500 Up to 15,530 Up to 3,999
RAM 3500 Up to 15,130 Up to 4,644

Diesel or Gas?

There’s a lot of heat in the gas versus diesel debate. Diesel engines offer excellent towing power, and they’re geared to handle big tow loads. You can take inclines with a loaded fifth wheel while hardly slowing down. It was once true that diesel tow vehicles had much higher maintenance costs, but newer gasoline models can be just as expensive. Newer gas engines also still pack plenty of power. Their gear ratios may mean you slow down more on steep inclines, but many see nothing wrong with that. For some, it simply comes down to the difference in their region’s gas and diesel fuel prices. It also comes down to what you’re most comfortable driving. Find a tow vehicle that will pull your RV and one you’re comfortable driving. The last thing anyone wants is an unsafe (and uncomfortable) RVer on the road.

How to Safely Load a Travel Trailer

Want to get more out of your RV? Subscribe to the Camping World YouTube channel, and never miss a video.

Here are a few tips to help you load your trailer for safe towing

Follow the 60/40 rule. Place 60% of the loaded weight in front of your trailer’s center axle and the remaining 40% behind it. Travel with empty holding tanks. One gallon of water weighs over eight pounds. Most RV freshwater tanks hold anywhere from 20-100 gallons. Depending on your model, that means you’ll carry an extra 160-800 pounds, just in freshwater weight. Alternatively, you can carry extra water in a portable water container. Pack efficiently. Carry only what you absolutely need for your trip. The more weight you tow, the more it will affect your gas mileage. Read more trailer-loading tips. Ensuring the safety of your towable RV starts by choosing the right tow vehicle. So here are a few more helpful resources:

Have questions about what kind of vehicle you should get to tow your RV? Drop them in the comments below!


Have questions about what kind of vehicle you should get to tow your RV? Check out our online towing guide!

Source: How to Find the Right Vehicle to Tow Your RV

Travel trailers and fifth wheels come in many sizes. Some can be pulled by SUVs or mid-size trucks. Others need a heavy-duty pickup truck.

Before you head to your local Camping World dealership to shop around, find out how much your vehicle can tow with Camping World’s tow calculator.

Let’s talk towing and help you find the best vehicle for towing a camper.

Know Your Trailer’s Weight Ratings

Every RV has a vehicle identification sticker to give you basic information about your trailer, including weight ratings, tire size, and more. Here are a few key terms to know.

  • Gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) = This is the total weight the RV can handle based on its axles and tire ratings.
  • Gross combined weight rating (GCWR) = The maximum weight allowed for the tow vehicle and the trailer when fully loaded.
  • Unloaded vehicle weight (UVW) = How much the trailer weighs as it rolls off the assembly line.
  • UVW includes any of the basic amenities inside – like the dinette, sleeper sofa, theater seating, and kitchen appliances – as well as the weight of batteries and LP containers. It does not include the weight of the passengers or cargo you’ll add, nor does it factor in the liquid weight you may carry with full holding tanks.
  • Cargo Carrying Capacity (CCC) = The maximum amount of weight you can load into your RV. Calculate it by subtracting the unloaded vehicle weight from the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR – UVW = CCC).
  • As an example, let’s say the GVWR is 3,500 pounds, and the UVW is 2,500 pounds. 3,500 – 2,500 = 1,000 pounds of cargo carrying capacity Any accessories added to a dramatic RV renovation, plus your camping gear, will reduce your RV’s cargo-carrying capacity. This is why we often preach the importance of lightweight materials and packing only what you need.
  • Hitch weight – also known as tongue weight – or pin weight (for 5th wheels) = The amount of weight exerted on your tow vehicle’s hitch ball or fifth wheel hitch.
  • Payload capacity = The amount of cargo weight your tow vehicle can hold. This includes the weight of all passengers and cargo inside the vehicle, plus the hitch weight of your trailer or fifth wheel.
  • Rear axle weight rating (RAWR) = The amount of weight your vehicle’s rear suspension is rated to handle.

The Bottom Line

Understanding all RV weight ratings is important, but you can find the best vehicle for towing your desired camper by looking closely at a trailer’s GVWR and hitch weight. Let’s take the 2023 Keystone Cougar Sport 2100RK, for example. The trailer’s GVWR is 8,500 pounds, and the hitch weight is 1,120 pounds. To avoid making the tow vehicle work to its maximum capacity at all times, it is recommended to have a towing capacity of at least 1.25 times the RV’s GVWR. Since the Cougar has a GVWR of 8,500 pounds, multiplied by 1.25 means we want a tow vehicle with a towing capacity of more than 10,625 pounds. 

The 2023 Ford F-150, for example, offers an average towing capacity of up to 11,300 pounds and a payload capacity of up to 2,238 pounds. This would be acceptable for towing the Cougar Sport and handling its pin weight, provided you don’t load more than another 1,118 pounds on the truck’s rear axle. In short, your tow vehicle should be rated to tow more than your trailer’s GVWR, and the whole combination – when fully loaded – must not exceed either vehicle’s GCWR. Your tow vehicle’s RAWR must also exceed the trailer’s hitch weight, plus any cargo in the truck bed or trunk that rests directly on the rear suspension. 

Input a tow vehicle’s year, make, model, and trim (or VIN) into Camping World’s tow calculator to view its maximum towing capacity and find RVs your vehicle can tow.

Find a Compatible Tow Vehicle

Smaller travel trailers, like pop-up campers, teardrop trailers, and lightweight towables, can sometimes be pulled by smaller vehicles. Family SUVs, minivans, and mid-size trucks are great options. You’ll need a full-size or heavy-duty pickup truck to handle larger trailers and fifth wheels and the extra weight placed on the rear suspension.

For fifth wheel towing, you need to know the pin weight of the fifth wheel and ensure it doesn’t exceed your tow vehicle’s RAWR. Most heavy-duty trucks have a RAWR somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 pounds. The pin weight of most larger fifth wheel trailers averages around 3,500 pounds. So there’s usually more than enough capacity to handle the weight. With that said, let’s look at some of the best vehicles for towing a camper and their weight ratings.

SUVs for Towing a Camper

The listed weights below are for 2023 models only. Actual ratings vary based on year, make, model, and trim. Please consult vehicle manufacturers for the most up-to-date tow vehicle weight ratings.

SUV Towing Capacity (lbs) Payload Capacity (lbs)
Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Up to 6,200 Up to 1,575
Dodge Durango SRT 392 Up to 8,700 Up to 1,722
Ford Expedition Up to 9,300 Up to 1,827
Chevrolet Tahoe Up to 8,400 Up to 1,927
GMC Yukon Up to 7,900 Up to 1,910
Nissan Armada Up to 8,500 Up to 1,649
Toyota Sequoia Up to 9,520 Up to 1,730
Audi Q8 Up to 7,700 Up to 1,500

Compact and Mid-Size Trucks for Towing a Camper

Mid-Size Truck Towing Capacity (lbs) Payload Capacity (lbs)
Jeep Gladiator Overland Up to 4,500 Up to 1,200
Ford Maverick Up to 4,000 Up to 1,564
Hyundai Santa Cruz Up to 5,000 Up to 1,749
Honda Ridgeline Up to 5,000 Up to 1,583
Ford Ranger Up to 7,500 Up to 1,905
Nissan Frontier Up to 6,720 Up to 1,697
Toyota Tacoma Up to 6,800 Up to 1,685
Chevrolet Colorado Up to 6,000 Up to 1,610
GMC Canyon Up to 6,000 Up to 1,670
GMC Hummer EV Up to 7,500 Up to 1,487

Diesel or Gas?

There’s a lot of heat in the gas versus diesel debate. Diesel engines offer excellent towing power, and they’re geared to handle big tow loads. You can take inclines with a loaded fifth wheel while hardly slowing down. It was once true that diesel tow vehicles had much higher maintenance costs, but newer gasoline models can be just as expensive. Newer gas engines also still pack plenty of power. Their gear ratios may mean you slow down more on steep inclines, but many see nothing wrong with that. For some, it simply comes down to the difference in their region’s gas and diesel fuel prices. It also comes down to what you’re most comfortable driving. Find a tow vehicle that will pull your RV and one you’re comfortable driving. The last thing anyone wants is an unsafe (and uncomfortable) RVer on the road.

How to Safely Load a Travel Trailer

Want to get more out of your RV? Subscribe to the Camping World YouTube channel, and never miss a video.

Here are a few tips to help you load your trailer for safe towing

Follow the 60/40 rule. Place 60% of the loaded weight in front of your trailer’s center axle and the remaining 40% behind it. Travel with empty holding tanks. One gallon of water weighs over eight pounds. Most RV freshwater tanks hold anywhere from 20-100 gallons. Depending on your model, that means you’ll carry an extra 160-800 pounds, just in freshwater weight. Alternatively, you can carry extra water in a portable water container. Pack efficiently. Carry only what you absolutely need for your trip. The more weight you tow, the more it will affect your gas mileage. Read more trailer-loading tips. Ensuring the safety of your towable RV starts by choosing the right tow vehicle. So here are a few more helpful resources:

Have questions about what kind of vehicle you should get to tow your RV? Drop them in the comments below!


Have questions about what kind of vehicle you should get to tow your RV? Check out our online towing guide!

Full-Size Trucks for Towing a Camper<
Full-Size Truck Towing Capacity (lbs) Payload Capacity (lbs)
Ford F-150 Up to 11,300 Up to 2,238
Ford F-150 Lightning Up to 10,000 Up to 2,235
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Up to 9,500 Up to 2,300
GMC Sierra 1500 Up to 9,400 Up to 2,270
RAM 1500 Up to 8,320 Up to 2,335
Toyota Tundra Up to 12,000 Up to 1,940
Rivian R1T Up to 11,000 Up to 1,384
Nissan Titan XD Up to 10,900 Up to 2,406

Heavy-Duty Trucks for Towing a Camper

Full-Size Truck Towing Capacity (lbs) Payload Capacity (lbs)
Ford F-250 Up to 22,000 Up to 4,323
Ford F-350 Up to 23,900 Up to 4,713
Ford F-450 Up to 30,000 Up to 6,288
Chevy Silverado 2500 Up to 14,500 Up to 3,900
Chevy Silverado 3500 Up to 14,500 Up to 4,572
GMC Sierra 2500 Up to 14,500 Up to 3,900
GMC Sierra 3500 Up to 14,500 Up to 4,572
RAM 2500 Up to 15,530 Up to 3,999
RAM 3500 Up to 15,130 Up to 4,644

Diesel or Gas?

There’s a lot of heat in the gas versus diesel debate. Diesel engines offer excellent towing power, and they’re geared to handle big tow loads. You can take inclines with a loaded fifth wheel while hardly slowing down. It was once true that diesel tow vehicles had much higher maintenance costs, but newer gasoline models can be just as expensive. Newer gas engines also still pack plenty of power. Their gear ratios may mean you slow down more on steep inclines, but many see nothing wrong with that. For some, it simply comes down to the difference in their region’s gas and diesel fuel prices. It also comes down to what you’re most comfortable driving. Find a tow vehicle that will pull your RV and one you’re comfortable driving. The last thing anyone wants is an unsafe (and uncomfortable) RVer on the road.

How to Safely Load a Travel Trailer

Want to get more out of your RV? Subscribe to the Camping World YouTube channel, and never miss a video.

Here are a few tips to help you load your trailer for safe towing

Follow the 60/40 rule. Place 60% of the loaded weight in front of your trailer’s center axle and the remaining 40% behind it. Travel with empty holding tanks. One gallon of water weighs over eight pounds. Most RV freshwater tanks hold anywhere from 20-100 gallons. Depending on your model, that means you’ll carry an extra 160-800 pounds, just in freshwater weight. Alternatively, you can carry extra water in a portable water container. Pack efficiently. Carry only what you absolutely need for your trip. The more weight you tow, the more it will affect your gas mileage. Read more trailer-loading tips. Ensuring the safety of your towable RV starts by choosing the right tow vehicle. So here are a few more helpful resources:

Have questions about what kind of vehicle you should get to tow your RV? Drop them in the comments below!


Have questions about what kind of vehicle you should get to tow your RV? Check out our online towing guide!

Travel trailers and fifth wheels come in many sizes. Some can be pulled by SUVs or mid-size trucks. Others need a heavy-duty pickup truck.

Before you head to your local Camping World dealership to shop around, find out how much your vehicle can tow with Camping World’s tow calculator.

Let’s talk towing and help you find the best vehicle for towing a camper.

Know Your Trailer’s Weight Ratings

Every RV has a vehicle identification sticker to give you basic information about your trailer, including weight ratings, tire size, and more. Here are a few key terms to know.

  • Gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) = This is the total weight the RV can handle based on its axles and tire ratings.
  • Gross combined weight rating (GCWR) = The maximum weight allowed for the tow vehicle and the trailer when fully loaded.
  • Unloaded vehicle weight (UVW) = How much the trailer weighs as it rolls off the assembly line.
  • UVW includes any of the basic amenities inside – like the dinette, sleeper sofa, theater seating, and kitchen appliances – as well as the weight of batteries and LP containers. It does not include the weight of the passengers or cargo you’ll add, nor does it factor in the liquid weight you may carry with full holding tanks.
  • Cargo Carrying Capacity (CCC) = The maximum amount of weight you can load into your RV. Calculate it by subtracting the unloaded vehicle weight from the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR – UVW = CCC).
  • As an example, let’s say the GVWR is 3,500 pounds, and the UVW is 2,500 pounds. 3,500 – 2,500 = 1,000 pounds of cargo carrying capacity Any accessories added to a dramatic RV renovation, plus your camping gear, will reduce your RV’s cargo-carrying capacity. This is why we often preach the importance of lightweight materials and packing only what you need.
  • Hitch weight – also known as tongue weight – or pin weight (for 5th wheels) = The amount of weight exerted on your tow vehicle’s hitch ball or fifth wheel hitch.
  • Payload capacity = The amount of cargo weight your tow vehicle can hold. This includes the weight of all passengers and cargo inside the vehicle, plus the hitch weight of your trailer or fifth wheel.
  • Rear axle weight rating (RAWR) = The amount of weight your vehicle’s rear suspension is rated to handle.

The Bottom Line

Understanding all RV weight ratings is important, but you can find the best vehicle for towing your desired camper by looking closely at a trailer’s GVWR and hitch weight. Let’s take the 2023 Keystone Cougar Sport 2100RK, for example. The trailer’s GVWR is 8,500 pounds, and the hitch weight is 1,120 pounds. To avoid making the tow vehicle work to its maximum capacity at all times, it is recommended to have a towing capacity of at least 1.25 times the RV’s GVWR. Since the Cougar has a GVWR of 8,500 pounds, multiplied by 1.25 means we want a tow vehicle with a towing capacity of more than 10,625 pounds. 

The 2023 Ford F-150, for example, offers an average towing capacity of up to 11,300 pounds and a payload capacity of up to 2,238 pounds. This would be acceptable for towing the Cougar Sport and handling its pin weight, provided you don’t load more than another 1,118 pounds on the truck’s rear axle. In short, your tow vehicle should be rated to tow more than your trailer’s GVWR, and the whole combination – when fully loaded – must not exceed either vehicle’s GCWR. Your tow vehicle’s RAWR must also exceed the trailer’s hitch weight, plus any cargo in the truck bed or trunk that rests directly on the rear suspension. 

Input a tow vehicle’s year, make, model, and trim (or VIN) into Camping World’s tow calculator to view its maximum towing capacity and find RVs your vehicle can tow.

Find a Compatible Tow Vehicle

Smaller travel trailers, like pop-up campers, teardrop trailers, and lightweight towables, can sometimes be pulled by smaller vehicles. Family SUVs, minivans, and mid-size trucks are great options. You’ll need a full-size or heavy-duty pickup truck to handle larger trailers and fifth wheels and the extra weight placed on the rear suspension.

For fifth wheel towing, you need to know the pin weight of the fifth wheel and ensure it doesn’t exceed your tow vehicle’s RAWR. Most heavy-duty trucks have a RAWR somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 pounds. The pin weight of most larger fifth wheel trailers averages around 3,500 pounds. So there’s usually more than enough capacity to handle the weight. With that said, let’s look at some of the best vehicles for towing a camper and their weight ratings.

SUVs for Towing a Camper

The listed weights below are for 2023 models only. Actual ratings vary based on year, make, model, and trim. Please consult vehicle manufacturers for the most up-to-date tow vehicle weight ratings.

SUV Towing Capacity (lbs) Payload Capacity (lbs)
Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Up to 6,200 Up to 1,575
Dodge Durango SRT 392 Up to 8,700 Up to 1,722
Ford Expedition Up to 9,300 Up to 1,827
Chevrolet Tahoe Up to 8,400 Up to 1,927
GMC Yukon Up to 7,900 Up to 1,910
Nissan Armada Up to 8,500 Up to 1,649
Toyota Sequoia Up to 9,520 Up to 1,730
Audi Q8 Up to 7,700 Up to 1,500

Compact and Mid-Size Trucks for Towing a Camper

Mid-Size Truck Towing Capacity (lbs) Payload Capacity (lbs)
Jeep Gladiator Overland Up to 4,500 Up to 1,200
Ford Maverick Up to 4,000 Up to 1,564
Hyundai Santa Cruz Up to 5,000 Up to 1,749
Honda Ridgeline Up to 5,000 Up to 1,583
Ford Ranger Up to 7,500 Up to 1,905
Nissan Frontier Up to 6,720 Up to 1,697
Toyota Tacoma Up to 6,800 Up to 1,685
Chevrolet Colorado Up to 6,000 Up to 1,610
GMC Canyon Up to 6,000 Up to 1,670
GMC Hummer EV Up to 7,500 Up to 1,487

Diesel or Gas?

There’s a lot of heat in the gas versus diesel debate. Diesel engines offer excellent towing power, and they’re geared to handle big tow loads. You can take inclines with a loaded fifth wheel while hardly slowing down. It was once true that diesel tow vehicles had much higher maintenance costs, but newer gasoline models can be just as expensive. Newer gas engines also still pack plenty of power. Their gear ratios may mean you slow down more on steep inclines, but many see nothing wrong with that. For some, it simply comes down to the difference in their region’s gas and diesel fuel prices. It also comes down to what you’re most comfortable driving. Find a tow vehicle that will pull your RV and one you’re comfortable driving. The last thing anyone wants is an unsafe (and uncomfortable) RVer on the road.

How to Safely Load a Travel Trailer

Want to get more out of your RV? Subscribe to the Camping World YouTube channel, and never miss a video.

Here are a few tips to help you load your trailer for safe towing

Follow the 60/40 rule. Place 60% of the loaded weight in front of your trailer’s center axle and the remaining 40% behind it. Travel with empty holding tanks. One gallon of water weighs over eight pounds. Most RV freshwater tanks hold anywhere from 20-100 gallons. Depending on your model, that means you’ll carry an extra 160-800 pounds, just in freshwater weight. Alternatively, you can carry extra water in a portable water container. Pack efficiently. Carry only what you absolutely need for your trip. The more weight you tow, the more it will affect your gas mileage. Read more trailer-loading tips. Ensuring the safety of your towable RV starts by choosing the right tow vehicle. So here are a few more helpful resources:

Have questions about what kind of vehicle you should get to tow your RV? Drop them in the comments below!


Have questions about what kind of vehicle you should get to tow your RV? Check out our online towing guide!

Full-Size Trucks for Towing a Camper<
Full-Size Truck Towing Capacity (lbs) Payload Capacity (lbs)
Ford F-150 Up to 11,300 Up to 2,238
Ford F-150 Lightning Up to 10,000 Up to 2,235
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Up to 9,500 Up to 2,300
GMC Sierra 1500 Up to 9,400 Up to 2,270
RAM 1500 Up to 8,320 Up to 2,335
Toyota Tundra Up to 12,000 Up to 1,940
Rivian R1T Up to 11,000 Up to 1,384
Nissan Titan XD Up to 10,900 Up to 2,406

Heavy-Duty Trucks for Towing a Camper

Full-Size Truck Towing Capacity (lbs) Payload Capacity (lbs)
Ford F-250 Up to 22,000 Up to 4,323
Ford F-350 Up to 23,900 Up to 4,713
Ford F-450 Up to 30,000 Up to 6,288
Chevy Silverado 2500 Up to 14,500 Up to 3,900
Chevy Silverado 3500 Up to 14,500 Up to 4,572
GMC Sierra 2500 Up to 14,500 Up to 3,900
GMC Sierra 3500 Up to 14,500 Up to 4,572
RAM 2500 Up to 15,530 Up to 3,999
RAM 3500 Up to 15,130 Up to 4,644

Diesel or Gas?

There’s a lot of heat in the gas versus diesel debate. Diesel engines offer excellent towing power, and they’re geared to handle big tow loads. You can take inclines with a loaded fifth wheel while hardly slowing down. It was once true that diesel tow vehicles had much higher maintenance costs, but newer gasoline models can be just as expensive. Newer gas engines also still pack plenty of power. Their gear ratios may mean you slow down more on steep inclines, but many see nothing wrong with that. For some, it simply comes down to the difference in their region’s gas and diesel fuel prices. It also comes down to what you’re most comfortable driving. Find a tow vehicle that will pull your RV and one you’re comfortable driving. The last thing anyone wants is an unsafe (and uncomfortable) RVer on the road.

How to Safely Load a Travel Trailer

Want to get more out of your RV? Subscribe to the Camping World YouTube channel, and never miss a video.

Here are a few tips to help you load your trailer for safe towing

Follow the 60/40 rule. Place 60% of the loaded weight in front of your trailer’s center axle and the remaining 40% behind it. Travel with empty holding tanks. One gallon of water weighs over eight pounds. Most RV freshwater tanks hold anywhere from 20-100 gallons. Depending on your model, that means you’ll carry an extra 160-800 pounds, just in freshwater weight. Alternatively, you can carry extra water in a portable water container. Pack efficiently. Carry only what you absolutely need for your trip. The more weight you tow, the more it will affect your gas mileage. Read more trailer-loading tips. Ensuring the safety of your towable RV starts by choosing the right tow vehicle. So here are a few more helpful resources:

Have questions about what kind of vehicle you should get to tow your RV? Drop them in the comments below!


Have questions about what kind of vehicle you should get to tow your RV? Check out our online towing guide!

Source: How to Find the Right Vehicle to Tow Your RV
Maintaining Your RV: Seasonal, Annual, and Pre-Trip Checks

Maintaining Your RV: Seasonal, Annual, and Pre-Trip Checks

Subscribe to the Camping World YouTube channel for the latest RV service and maintenance tutorials.

Camping World’s RV product specialist Ian Baker and Camping World Service Technician Sean Harless provide helpful tips on maintaining your RV, including DIY maintenance tasks and frequently asked RV maintenance questions.

Guides to Maintaining Your RV

Make sure you download Camping World’s RV ownership and maintenance booklet to track your RV’s seasonal maintenance needs. Then you’re ready to learn more about the ins and outs of maintaining your RV.

For any task on this RV maintenance checklist, you can always schedule service at your local Camping World.

Washing Your RV

Recommended Frequency: After each trip

Use the right cleaning products to ensure you don’t damage your RV’s decals or exterior finish. Your RV’s finish will determine the right solution, so consult your manufacturer or owner’s manual to learn which products to use (and what to avoid) when you clean your RV.

Here’s a tutorial on how to wash your RV.

Checking RV Tire Pressure

Recommended Frequency: Before and after each trip

Your tires are the foundation of your RV. If you don’t maintain them properly by regularly checking tire pressure, monitoring tread depth, tracking tire wear, and covering them when your RV is sitting idle, you’ll decrease their lifespan and possibly endanger your next RV trip.

Here are some resources to help you maintain your RV tires:

Maintaining Stabilizing Jacks

Recommended Frequency: After each trip (or 2-4x per season)

This RV maintenance task might require the help of a certified technician, especially if your RV is equipped with an auto-leveling system. Those systems can put your entire RV, and anyone inside, in danger if they aren’t adjusted and maintained properly. Consult a service center to see if your stabilizing system needs to be inspected and adjusted accordingly.

If you have manual stabilizers, there’s a little more you can do on a regular basis. That includes inspecting the hardware securing the stabilizers to your RV’s frame and proper cleaning and lubrication.

You should also know how to level and stabilize your RV properly to avoid unnecessary wear and tear on your stabilizing jacks.

Inspecting Seals

Recommended Frequency: Every 90 days

The seals on your RV’s roof, windows, doors, and compartments should be inspected regularly. This helps you avoid leaks and water damage that will result in much more expensive repairs on your motorhome or travel trailer.

Checking Your RV Battery

Recommended Frequency: Every 90 days

Checking the charge, cleaning the terminals, and inspecting the cables are three of several checks you should complete on your RV batteries every three months. Here are a few more resources to help you keep your RV batteries in good condition:

Maintaining Holding Tanks

Recommended Frequency: Every trip (and seasonally)

Your RV’s gray, black, and fresh water holding tanks require proper maintenance to avoid clogs and other septic issues. This can be a major learning curve for new RVers, so here are a few additional resources:

Sanitizing Your Fresh Water Tank

Recommended Frequency: Seasonally in the spring (or after 2-4 weeks of non-use)

Using an RV water filter is key to keeping dirt and corrosive chemicals out of your RV’s fresh water tank. But even with diligent filter use, you should sanitize your RV’s fresh water tank regularly. Here’s our complete step-by-step tutorial for sanitizing your RV’s water distribution system.

Flushing the Water Heater and Checking the Anode Rod (if applicable)

Recommended Frequency: Seasonally (usually during winterization and dewinterization)

An anode rod is a sacrificial element that attracts corrosive chemicals to keep them from damaging your water heater tank. Once it’s diminished, it must be removed and replaced to keep your water heater tank safe.

Packing Wheel Bearings

Recommended Frequency: Annually

This is a maintenance task that has quite a bit of nuance. You need the correct type of grease, specialty tools for removing and packing bearings, and expertise to inspect trailer brakes while your tire is removed. We highly recommend contacting a Camping World RV Service Center to schedule your annual wheel bearing maintenance.

Rubber Roof Maintenance

Recommended Frequency: Annually

Rubber RV roofs should be inspected and cleaned seasonally, at the very least. But they should also be professionally inspected each year to ensure all the seals are intact and there’s no significant damage to the roof membrane.

Of course, there are other types of RV roofs besides rubber, such as fiberglass and aluminum. Check your manufacturer’s instructions for the proper roof maintenance procedures for your RV.

Covering Your RV

Recommended Frequency: Anytime your RV will sit idle for an extended period

Installing an RV cover is the best way to prevent exterior fading and other weather-related wear and tear. RV covers are fairly easy to install, and they can save your roof, seals, windows, exterior decals or paint, and tires from harmful UV exposure, moisture, and other environmental factors.

Maintaining Your Air Conditioner

Recommended Frequency: Every 90 days

Cleaning the filter in your RV’s air conditioner is important for efficient operation. You can also look into blocking air vents, installing insulated window treatments, and other solutions to keep your RV cool when camping in hot climates.

Maintaining Slideouts

Recommended Frequency: Annually

Working on RV slideouts should be left to a professional RV technician. They are driven by complex systems, and you can significantly damage your RV if you aren’t careful. That said, there are ways to manually retract slideouts if you’re stuck in an emergency situation.

If your slide-out is stuck, here are a few resources to help you pull them in so you can make it to the nearest Camping World Service Center:

Inspecting and Maintaining RV Awnings

Recommended Frequency: Every 90 days

Awnings are a useful RV accessory for protection from sun and light rain. But they can easily be compromised if you don’t operate and maintain them correctly. Here are a few more resources to help you maintain your RV awnings:

Winterizing Your RV

Recommended Frequency: Seasonally

When your RV is sitting idle, and there’s the possibility of freezing temperatures, winterizing is essential to protect your plumbing lines, tanks, and fixtures from damage. Camping World offers a basic winterization and a complete winterization package. Contact a service center to find out which package is right for your RV.

Here are a few more helpful resources:

Dewinterizing Your RV

Recommended Frequency: Seasonally

When preparing for spring camping, you’ll need to flush the RV antifreeze out of your fresh water and wastewater systems. There are several other tasks that all RVers should know to get their unit ready to hit the road for camping season.

Here are a few more tutorials to assist with spring RV prep:

Other RV Maintenance

For more RV maintenance tips, check out our YouTube How to RV Playlist.


Meet the Speakers

ian baker rv product specialistHi folks, I’m Ian Baker! I have been an RV Product Specialist at Camping World for 4 years, so you can call me an expert in the RV industry! If I’m not at work, you’ll find me outdoors with my wife and kids – I am a family man at heart. I hope to answer many of your questions about maintaining your RV.

 

sean harless rv service technicianHi everyone, I’m Sean Harless! I am a Service Director for Camping World, based out of North Carolina. Let’s review the ins and outs of maintaining your RV. If I’m not at work, you’ll find me behind a barbeque with friends and family!

 

 

Subscribe to the Camping World YouTube channel for the latest RV service and maintenance tutorials.

Camping World’s RV product specialist Ian Baker and Camping World Service Technician Sean Harless provide helpful tips on maintaining your RV, including DIY maintenance tasks and frequently asked RV maintenance questions.

Guides to Maintaining Your RV

Make sure you download Camping World’s RV ownership and maintenance booklet to track your RV’s seasonal maintenance needs. Then you’re ready to learn more about the ins and outs of maintaining your RV.

For any task on this RV maintenance checklist, you can always schedule service at your local Camping World.

Washing Your RV

Recommended Frequency: After each trip

Use the right cleaning products to ensure you don’t damage your RV’s decals or exterior finish. Your RV’s finish will determine the right solution, so consult your manufacturer or owner’s manual to learn which products to use (and what to avoid) when you clean your RV.

Here’s a tutorial on how to wash your RV.

Checking RV Tire Pressure

Recommended Frequency: Before and after each trip

Your tires are the foundation of your RV. If you don’t maintain them properly by regularly checking tire pressure, monitoring tread depth, tracking tire wear, and covering them when your RV is sitting idle, you’ll decrease their lifespan and possibly endanger your next RV trip.

Here are some resources to help you maintain your RV tires:

Maintaining Stabilizing Jacks

Recommended Frequency: After each trip (or 2-4x per season)

This RV maintenance task might require the help of a certified technician, especially if your RV is equipped with an auto-leveling system. Those systems can put your entire RV, and anyone inside, in danger if they aren’t adjusted and maintained properly. Consult a service center to see if your stabilizing system needs to be inspected and adjusted accordingly.

If you have manual stabilizers, there’s a little more you can do on a regular basis. That includes inspecting the hardware securing the stabilizers to your RV’s frame and proper cleaning and lubrication.

You should also know how to level and stabilize your RV properly to avoid unnecessary wear and tear on your stabilizing jacks.

Inspecting Seals

Recommended Frequency: Every 90 days

The seals on your RV’s roof, windows, doors, and compartments should be inspected regularly. This helps you avoid leaks and water damage that will result in much more expensive repairs on your motorhome or travel trailer.

Checking Your RV Battery

Recommended Frequency: Every 90 days

Checking the charge, cleaning the terminals, and inspecting the cables are three of several checks you should complete on your RV batteries every three months. Here are a few more resources to help you keep your RV batteries in good condition:

Maintaining Holding Tanks

Recommended Frequency: Every trip (and seasonally)

Your RV’s gray, black, and fresh water holding tanks require proper maintenance to avoid clogs and other septic issues. This can be a major learning curve for new RVers, so here are a few additional resources:

Sanitizing Your Fresh Water Tank

Recommended Frequency: Seasonally in the spring (or after 2-4 weeks of non-use)

Using an RV water filter is key to keeping dirt and corrosive chemicals out of your RV’s fresh water tank. But even with diligent filter use, you should sanitize your RV’s fresh water tank regularly. Here’s our complete step-by-step tutorial for sanitizing your RV’s water distribution system.

Flushing the Water Heater and Checking the Anode Rod (if applicable)

Recommended Frequency: Seasonally (usually during winterization and dewinterization)

An anode rod is a sacrificial element that attracts corrosive chemicals to keep them from damaging your water heater tank. Once it’s diminished, it must be removed and replaced to keep your water heater tank safe.

Packing Wheel Bearings

Recommended Frequency: Annually

This is a maintenance task that has quite a bit of nuance. You need the correct type of grease, specialty tools for removing and packing bearings, and expertise to inspect trailer brakes while your tire is removed. We highly recommend contacting a Camping World RV Service Center to schedule your annual wheel bearing maintenance.

Rubber Roof Maintenance

Recommended Frequency: Annually

Rubber RV roofs should be inspected and cleaned seasonally, at the very least. But they should also be professionally inspected each year to ensure all the seals are intact and there’s no significant damage to the roof membrane.

Of course, there are other types of RV roofs besides rubber, such as fiberglass and aluminum. Check your manufacturer’s instructions for the proper roof maintenance procedures for your RV.

Covering Your RV

Recommended Frequency: Anytime your RV will sit idle for an extended period

Installing an RV cover is the best way to prevent exterior fading and other weather-related wear and tear. RV covers are fairly easy to install, and they can save your roof, seals, windows, exterior decals or paint, and tires from harmful UV exposure, moisture, and other environmental factors.

Maintaining Your Air Conditioner

Recommended Frequency: Every 90 days

Cleaning the filter in your RV’s air conditioner is important for efficient operation. You can also look into blocking air vents, installing insulated window treatments, and other solutions to keep your RV cool when camping in hot climates.

Maintaining Slideouts

Recommended Frequency: Annually

Working on RV slideouts should be left to a professional RV technician. They are driven by complex systems, and you can significantly damage your RV if you aren’t careful. That said, there are ways to manually retract slideouts if you’re stuck in an emergency situation.

If your slide-out is stuck, here are a few resources to help you pull them in so you can make it to the nearest Camping World Service Center:

Inspecting and Maintaining RV Awnings

Recommended Frequency: Every 90 days

Awnings are a useful RV accessory for protection from sun and light rain. But they can easily be compromised if you don’t operate and maintain them correctly. Here are a few more resources to help you maintain your RV awnings:

Winterizing Your RV

Recommended Frequency: Seasonally

When your RV is sitting idle, and there’s the possibility of freezing temperatures, winterizing is essential to protect your plumbing lines, tanks, and fixtures from damage. Camping World offers a basic winterization and a complete winterization package. Contact a service center to find out which package is right for your RV.

Here are a few more helpful resources:

Dewinterizing Your RV

Recommended Frequency: Seasonally

When preparing for spring camping, you’ll need to flush the RV antifreeze out of your fresh water and wastewater systems. There are several other tasks that all RVers should know to get their unit ready to hit the road for camping season.

Here are a few more tutorials to assist with spring RV prep:

Other RV Maintenance

For more RV maintenance tips, check out our YouTube How to RV Playlist.


Meet the Speakers

ian baker rv product specialistHi folks, I’m Ian Baker! I have been an RV Product Specialist at Camping World for 4 years, so you can call me an expert in the RV industry! If I’m not at work, you’ll find me outdoors with my wife and kids – I am a family man at heart. I hope to answer many of your questions about maintaining your RV.

 

sean harless rv service technicianHi everyone, I’m Sean Harless! I am a Service Director for Camping World, based out of North Carolina. Let’s review the ins and outs of maintaining your RV. If I’m not at work, you’ll find me behind a barbeque with friends and family!

 

 

Source: Maintaining Your RV: Seasonal, Annual, and Pre-Trip Checks

How Does an RV Furnace Work?

How Does an RV Furnace Work?

One of the greatest perks to camping in an RV instead of a tent is reliable cooling and heating. It’s much more comfortable to wake up and prep your coffee in a heated recreational vehicle than climbing out of a wet tent to light your camp stove and try to get a fire going. 

Just like residential units, RV heating systems require regular maintenance. But how can you service or repair an RV furnace if you don’t know how it works? To maintain an RV furnace, you’ll need to know how it works.

An RV furnace heats air and then circulates it through your RV using a fan. Most RV furnaces operate on DC power even when your RV is plugged into shore power, allowing them to work at a campground or when camping off-grid.

But there’s much more to it. So let’s dive into everything you need to know about operating, servicing, and troubleshooting RV furnaces.  

How Do RV Heating Systems Work?

heating-systems-how-does-an-rv-furnace-work-02-2023
Photo by Camping World

There are two main types of RV heating systems: forced air furnaces and hydronic heating systems. 

In forced air furnaces, outside air for combustion is force-fed through a sealed combustion chamber assembly and discharged to the exterior, while interior air of the RV is moved across a heat exchanger. This design ensures that no products of combustion are mixed with the interior air.

Hydronic heating systems use a heated surface to heat water that is distributed to radiators throughout the RV. That surface can be heated by burning fuel (i.e., propane or diesel), an electric element, or using primary engine coolant to heat that surface. Some hydronic heating systems heat potable water and can be used for engine preheating. 

Technician Tip: All RV heating systems should have a data plate containing the manufacturer, make, model, serial number, and input and output (measured in BTUs/hour) of the appliance. This plate helps you identify your appliance for specific service and maintenance procedures. Your owner’s manual can also help you understand the type of heating system you’re working with.

How Does an RV Furnace Work?

If you’re working with a forced air RV furnace, heat is distributed throughout your RV using a blower fan that’s powered by a small motor. Most forced air furnaces burn propane to heat air, but some utilize diesel fuel (more common with hydronic heating systems). 

Before we outline the process, let’s define a few key terms. 

A sail switch is the first safety switch in an RV furnace. It prevents your furnace from attempting the ignition sequence if the blower motor isn’t running at a minimum of 75% of its rated speed. 

A limit switch is the second safety switch. It opens at a preset temperature to prevent overheating. The limit switch is mounted on the heat exchanger or the burner assembly housing. It shuts off the burner but allows the combustion blower to continue running to lower the equipment temperature.

Safety Tip: The limit switch does NOT act as a thermostat. If your blower never shuts off, but your burner is cycling on and off at regular intervals, your RV should be inspected by a qualified RV technician immediately. This is a symptom of an overheating limit switch, which could result from blockages, faulty components, or LP gas adjustment issues that create a very dangerous situation. 

When you turn on your RV furnace, here’s a general overview of what happens if it’s working properly: 

  1. The thermostat is turned on and signals for heat. 
  2. An electrical current is sent from the thermostat to the time delay relay built into the circuit board, which closes to energize the blower motor after a delay of 10-20 seconds. If the motor isn’t reaching 75% of its rated speed, potential issues include low DC power, a faulty motor, a blocked return air inlet, or a blocked exhaust. 
  3. When the motor comes up to speed, the sail switch is moved by the airflow to close a micro-switch and continue the circuit. The micro-switch is set to require a minimum fan speed to close. If the motor isn’t running fast enough, you have a sticky switch, or there’s an airflow blockage that doesn’t allow the switch to close – the current will be interrupted. This circuit is independent of the thermostat and motor circuit.
  4. The sail switch closes, sending power to the limit switch, which then sends power to the circuit board. Under normal operation, the limit switch is closed and opens at a preset temperature to prevent overheating. 
  5. The circuit board delays ignition for 10-20 seconds, allowing the blower motor to purge any gas remaining in the combustion chamber.
  6. The circuit board opens the gas valve and sends a high-voltage current to the electrode.
  7. If ignition occurs, the electrode senses the flame and sends a current back to the control board, stopping the high-voltage spark and keeping the gas valve open
  8. If ignition doesn’t occur, the board will go into lockout mode and need to be reset before trying again. Most circuit boards will pause for 20 seconds, then try for 7 seconds. They’ll repeat this three times before going into lockout.

Technician Tip: A lockout can result from a faulty circuit board, faulty electrode, faulty gas valve, or any combination of these issues. If locked out, conduct a brief inspection (LP gas on, no airflow obstructions, proper voltage, etc.) and then switch the thermostat off and back on. The circuit board should provide three more tries. 

Download this RV furnace diagram for a visual example of RV furnace design. The pictured furnace is the Dometic DFMD30 Mojave Propane Heater. Yours may differ depending on the make and model. Consult your owner’s manual for the schematics of your RV’s furnace.

How to Reset an RV Furnace

reset-how-does-an-rv-furnace-work-02-2023
Photo by Camping World

To reset most RV furnaces, you’ll simply turn off the power switch, wait about 10 seconds, and turn it back on. If your model doesn’t have a power switch, turn off the main breaker to the furnace, wait 10 seconds, and turn it back on. 

If no breaker exists, remove and reinstall the fuse corresponding to your RV furnace. That’s why it’s important to have your RV’s circuit breaker panel properly labeled. 

Learn more about troubleshooting RV circuit breakers.

Where is My RV Furnace Located?

Your furnace location depends on the manufacturer and the floorplan. For example, the furnace in my Sunset Park Sunlite Classic is located below the refrigerator and to the left of my circuit breaker panel. 

Regardless of your floorplan, understand that the furnace itself won’t be visible. You will see a return air vent (or vents) inside your RV and the air intake/exhaust vent on the RV’s exterior. Here’s an example of what your return air and exhaust vents might look like: 

location-how-does-an-rv-furnace-work-02-2023
Photo by Camping World

Technician Tip: It is a good practice to locate the exhaust vent on the RV’s exterior and verify the exhaust is present and clear. We’ve seen too many campers lean a lawn chair against the vent, which could present a fire danger.

If you’re shopping for an RV, it’s a good idea to look for a model with an exterior access panel to service the RV furnace. This panel isn’t included on all RVs, especially entry-level travel trailers.

How to Turn on an RV Furnace

thermostat-questions-about-rv-air-conditioners-07-2022
Photo by Camping World

Most RV furnaces are controlled by a wall-mounted thermostat. Depending on your make and model, you may have a digital control panel or an analog thermostat. 

Most analog thermostats have a small On/Off toggle switch on top, and RVs with a digital control panel will have a display for turning your furnace on and off. In either case, your next step is to turn the thermostat up to a setting above the current ambient temperature inside your RV. 

If your furnace is functioning properly, you should hear the blower motor turn on and feel air blowing out of your interior vents. Within 10-20 seconds, you should hear the pilot light ignite and feel hot air coming out of your vents shortly thereafter. 

If you leave your furnace on, it should continue to cycle on and off to keep the inside of your RV at the desired temperature. 

How Much Propane Does My RV Furnace Use?

To operate your RV furnace, you’ll need an adequate propane supply. If you’re not already familiar, take the time to learn about connecting and turning on propane in your RV

The amount of propane your furnace uses depends largely on its BTU rating. BTU is short for British Thermal Units, which is a unit of heat measuring how much heat it takes to raise the temperature of one pound of water by 1℉ at sea level. 

A furnace with a higher BTU rating burns propane more quickly than one with a lower rating. So your first step will be determining your furnace’s BTU rating, measured in BTUs per hour. 

Before we get caught up in the numbers below, remember that your RV furnace won’t run continuously once you turn it on and adjust the thermostat. It will cycle on and off to regulate the temperature inside your coach. This is critical to remember when calculating how much propane your RV furnace uses. 

Let’s provide an example: 

RV and Furnace Specs (let’s use specs for the Keystone Cougar 30BHS)

  • Propane Capacity: 60 pounds
  • Furnace BTU Rating: 30,000 BTUs/hr
  • Electric Fireplace BTU Rating: 5,500 BTUs/hr

RV Furnace Propane Consumption Calculator

To start, we must remember that propane containers can only be filled to 80% of their total capacity. So while the Cougar’s advertised propane capacity is 60 pounds, its actual capacity is 48 pounds (60 x 0.8 = 48). 

We can calculate the total BTUs of 48 pounds of propane from there. 

1 pound of propane = 21,548 BTUs

48 pounds of propane = 1,034,304 BTUs

If our total propane supply accounts for 1,034,304 BTUs, we can divide that by our furnace’s BTU rating to estimate how many hours our furnace would run before that supply is exhausted. 

1,034,304 BTUs / 30,000 BTUs/hr = ~34.48 hours

If we run our furnace and electric fireplace simultaneously, you can actually reduce your rate of propane consumption because you’re also relying on electric heat: 

30,000 BTUs – 5,500 BTUs = 24,500 BTUs

1,034,304 BTUs / 24,500 BTUs/hr = ~42.22 hours

You can insert the appropriate figures from your RV into the example above to calculate how much propane your RV furnace uses. But remember that these calculations are based on 100% run time operation. 

Other variables, such as cold weather and your desired temperature setting, impact your furnace’s potential operating hours on a full LP supply. For instance, you can roughly double the number of hours your furnace will operate if you estimate a 50% duty cycle (i.e., your furnace will run for half the time you’re camping). 

Here are some tips on conserving propane in your RV.

Technician Tip: Remember there are other propane appliances in your RV. The calculations above represent only the available operating hours for your RV furnace, but they can be used if you know the BTU ratings of your RV’s other appliances, such as your water heater, refrigerator, stove, oven, and outdoor grill. 

How to Clean an RV Furnace

clean-how-does-an-rv-furnace-work-02-2023
Photo by Camping World

Pet hair can be a problem for certain RV furnaces. For starters, cleaning and disinfecting your RV after every trip keeps it in the best shape possible, and it’ll help your RV furnace run more efficiently. 

Inside your RV, use an RV vacuum to keep dust and dander to a minimum. You can remove the return air vent to vacuum dust and pet hair around your furnace unit on some floorplans. Just turn the furnace off before doing so. 

Outside your RV, use a portable air compressor to remove dust, debris, pet hair, and insect nests from your furnace’s exhaust tube. This is a good thing to add to your seasonal maintenance list when winterizing your RV in the fall and dewinterizing it to prep for spring camping.  

Technician Tip: Please note that forced air furnaces (not hydronic heating systems) are designed to operate without filters. If you were to acquire and find a way to install a filter on your forced air furnace, it would void any existing warranties and create a potentially dangerous situation.

Troubleshooting RV Furnaces

Troubleshooting your RV furnace can be complex, but we have a few downloadable resources to help. You can also schedule a service appointment at your local Camping World Service Center for a professional furnace inspection. 

Here’s a decision tree for troubleshooting RV furnaces. 

And here’s another specifically for thermostat-related issues. 

Beyond that, you can do some basic troubleshooting with the right tools. 

Measuring Line Voltage Using a Digital Multimeter

line-voltage-how-does-an-rv-furnace-work-02-2023
Photo by Camping World
  1. Measure incoming voltage at the wire connections on the side of the furnace. The nominal voltage should be 10.5 to 13.5 volts DC under an unloaded condition. If less than 10.5 VDC, the blower motor won’t spin fast enough to activate the sail switch.
  2. Turn the furnace on and verify the ignition. 
  3. Measure the voltage at the wire connections on the side of the furnace. The nominal voltage should be 10.5 to 13.5 volts DC under a loaded condition. 

If measurements found are outside the acceptable range, you may have an issue with your RV’s DC power supply (i.e., your battery). Consult your service manual for further furnace diagnostic tips. 

Evaluating Proper Airflow

airflow-how-does-an-rv-furnace-work-02-2023
Photo by Camping World
  1. Open all discharge registers and any closeable registers inside your RV and verify air discharge by feel (or using an airspeed indicator). 
  2. Ensure that airflow isn’t hindered by throw rugs or other floor coverings. Hindering your furnace’s airflow can cause the limit switch to open. 
  3. Verify that the discharge is warm and check that no carbon monoxide is present using a carbon monoxide test. 
  4. Check the opening size for the furnace’s return airflow, ensuring it matches your unit’s operating manual specifications. 

Other tests are required to verify the proper operation of your RV’s propane system – not to mention the added complexity of hydronic heating systems. If and when you’re feeling overwhelmed and stuck, please don’t hesitate to contact your local Camping World Service Center

Do you have any other questions about furnaces and RV heating systems? Ask away in the comments below.

Tucker Ballister is our Technical Content Writer. He’s a lover of the open road and the proud owner of a 2021 Sunlite Classic travel trailer (his 3rd RV to date). Check out more of his RV adventures, gear reviews, and outdoor advice at thebackpackguide.com.
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One of the greatest perks to camping in an RV instead of a tent is reliable cooling and heating. It’s much more comfortable to wake up and prep your coffee in a heated recreational vehicle than climbing out of a wet tent to light your camp stove and try to get a fire going. 

Just like residential units, RV heating systems require regular maintenance. But how can you service or repair an RV furnace if you don’t know how it works? To maintain an RV furnace, you’ll need to know how it works.

An RV furnace heats air and then circulates it through your RV using a fan. Most RV furnaces operate on DC power even when your RV is plugged into shore power, allowing them to work at a campground or when camping off-grid.

But there’s much more to it. So let’s dive into everything you need to know about operating, servicing, and troubleshooting RV furnaces.  

How Do RV Heating Systems Work?

heating-systems-how-does-an-rv-furnace-work-02-2023
Photo by Camping World

There are two main types of RV heating systems: forced air furnaces and hydronic heating systems. 

In forced air furnaces, outside air for combustion is force-fed through a sealed combustion chamber assembly and discharged to the exterior, while interior air of the RV is moved across a heat exchanger. This design ensures that no products of combustion are mixed with the interior air.

Hydronic heating systems use a heated surface to heat water that is distributed to radiators throughout the RV. That surface can be heated by burning fuel (i.e., propane or diesel), an electric element, or using primary engine coolant to heat that surface. Some hydronic heating systems heat potable water and can be used for engine preheating. 

Technician Tip: All RV heating systems should have a data plate containing the manufacturer, make, model, serial number, and input and output (measured in BTUs/hour) of the appliance. This plate helps you identify your appliance for specific service and maintenance procedures. Your owner’s manual can also help you understand the type of heating system you’re working with.

How Does an RV Furnace Work?

If you’re working with a forced air RV furnace, heat is distributed throughout your RV using a blower fan that’s powered by a small motor. Most forced air furnaces burn propane to heat air, but some utilize diesel fuel (more common with hydronic heating systems). 

Before we outline the process, let’s define a few key terms. 

A sail switch is the first safety switch in an RV furnace. It prevents your furnace from attempting the ignition sequence if the blower motor isn’t running at a minimum of 75% of its rated speed. 

A limit switch is the second safety switch. It opens at a preset temperature to prevent overheating. The limit switch is mounted on the heat exchanger or the burner assembly housing. It shuts off the burner but allows the combustion blower to continue running to lower the equipment temperature.

Safety Tip: The limit switch does NOT act as a thermostat. If your blower never shuts off, but your burner is cycling on and off at regular intervals, your RV should be inspected by a qualified RV technician immediately. This is a symptom of an overheating limit switch, which could result from blockages, faulty components, or LP gas adjustment issues that create a very dangerous situation. 

When you turn on your RV furnace, here’s a general overview of what happens if it’s working properly: 

  1. The thermostat is turned on and signals for heat. 
  2. An electrical current is sent from the thermostat to the time delay relay built into the circuit board, which closes to energize the blower motor after a delay of 10-20 seconds. If the motor isn’t reaching 75% of its rated speed, potential issues include low DC power, a faulty motor, a blocked return air inlet, or a blocked exhaust. 
  3. When the motor comes up to speed, the sail switch is moved by the airflow to close a micro-switch and continue the circuit. The micro-switch is set to require a minimum fan speed to close. If the motor isn’t running fast enough, you have a sticky switch, or there’s an airflow blockage that doesn’t allow the switch to close – the current will be interrupted. This circuit is independent of the thermostat and motor circuit.
  4. The sail switch closes, sending power to the limit switch, which then sends power to the circuit board. Under normal operation, the limit switch is closed and opens at a preset temperature to prevent overheating. 
  5. The circuit board delays ignition for 10-20 seconds, allowing the blower motor to purge any gas remaining in the combustion chamber.
  6. The circuit board opens the gas valve and sends a high-voltage current to the electrode.
  7. If ignition occurs, the electrode senses the flame and sends a current back to the control board, stopping the high-voltage spark and keeping the gas valve open
  8. If ignition doesn’t occur, the board will go into lockout mode and need to be reset before trying again. Most circuit boards will pause for 20 seconds, then try for 7 seconds. They’ll repeat this three times before going into lockout.

Technician Tip: A lockout can result from a faulty circuit board, faulty electrode, faulty gas valve, or any combination of these issues. If locked out, conduct a brief inspection (LP gas on, no airflow obstructions, proper voltage, etc.) and then switch the thermostat off and back on. The circuit board should provide three more tries. 

Download this RV furnace diagram for a visual example of RV furnace design. The pictured furnace is the Dometic DFMD30 Mojave Propane Heater. Yours may differ depending on the make and model. Consult your owner’s manual for the schematics of your RV’s furnace.

How to Reset an RV Furnace

reset-how-does-an-rv-furnace-work-02-2023
Photo by Camping World

To reset most RV furnaces, you’ll simply turn off the power switch, wait about 10 seconds, and turn it back on. If your model doesn’t have a power switch, turn off the main breaker to the furnace, wait 10 seconds, and turn it back on. 

If no breaker exists, remove and reinstall the fuse corresponding to your RV furnace. That’s why it’s important to have your RV’s circuit breaker panel properly labeled. 

Learn more about troubleshooting RV circuit breakers.

Where is My RV Furnace Located?

Your furnace location depends on the manufacturer and the floorplan. For example, the furnace in my Sunset Park Sunlite Classic is located below the refrigerator and to the left of my circuit breaker panel. 

Regardless of your floorplan, understand that the furnace itself won’t be visible. You will see a return air vent (or vents) inside your RV and the air intake/exhaust vent on the RV’s exterior. Here’s an example of what your return air and exhaust vents might look like: 

location-how-does-an-rv-furnace-work-02-2023
Photo by Camping World

Technician Tip: It is a good practice to locate the exhaust vent on the RV’s exterior and verify the exhaust is present and clear. We’ve seen too many campers lean a lawn chair against the vent, which could present a fire danger.

If you’re shopping for an RV, it’s a good idea to look for a model with an exterior access panel to service the RV furnace. This panel isn’t included on all RVs, especially entry-level travel trailers.

How to Turn on an RV Furnace

thermostat-questions-about-rv-air-conditioners-07-2022
Photo by Camping World

Most RV furnaces are controlled by a wall-mounted thermostat. Depending on your make and model, you may have a digital control panel or an analog thermostat. 

Most analog thermostats have a small On/Off toggle switch on top, and RVs with a digital control panel will have a display for turning your furnace on and off. In either case, your next step is to turn the thermostat up to a setting above the current ambient temperature inside your RV. 

If your furnace is functioning properly, you should hear the blower motor turn on and feel air blowing out of your interior vents. Within 10-20 seconds, you should hear the pilot light ignite and feel hot air coming out of your vents shortly thereafter. 

If you leave your furnace on, it should continue to cycle on and off to keep the inside of your RV at the desired temperature. 

How Much Propane Does My RV Furnace Use?

To operate your RV furnace, you’ll need an adequate propane supply. If you’re not already familiar, take the time to learn about connecting and turning on propane in your RV

The amount of propane your furnace uses depends largely on its BTU rating. BTU is short for British Thermal Units, which is a unit of heat measuring how much heat it takes to raise the temperature of one pound of water by 1℉ at sea level. 

A furnace with a higher BTU rating burns propane more quickly than one with a lower rating. So your first step will be determining your furnace’s BTU rating, measured in BTUs per hour. 

Before we get caught up in the numbers below, remember that your RV furnace won’t run continuously once you turn it on and adjust the thermostat. It will cycle on and off to regulate the temperature inside your coach. This is critical to remember when calculating how much propane your RV furnace uses. 

Let’s provide an example: 

RV and Furnace Specs (let’s use specs for the Keystone Cougar 30BHS)

  • Propane Capacity: 60 pounds
  • Furnace BTU Rating: 30,000 BTUs/hr
  • Electric Fireplace BTU Rating: 5,500 BTUs/hr

RV Furnace Propane Consumption Calculator

To start, we must remember that propane containers can only be filled to 80% of their total capacity. So while the Cougar’s advertised propane capacity is 60 pounds, its actual capacity is 48 pounds (60 x 0.8 = 48). 

We can calculate the total BTUs of 48 pounds of propane from there. 

1 pound of propane = 21,548 BTUs

48 pounds of propane = 1,034,304 BTUs

If our total propane supply accounts for 1,034,304 BTUs, we can divide that by our furnace’s BTU rating to estimate how many hours our furnace would run before that supply is exhausted. 

1,034,304 BTUs / 30,000 BTUs/hr = ~34.48 hours

If we run our furnace and electric fireplace simultaneously, you can actually reduce your rate of propane consumption because you’re also relying on electric heat: 

30,000 BTUs – 5,500 BTUs = 24,500 BTUs

1,034,304 BTUs / 24,500 BTUs/hr = ~42.22 hours

You can insert the appropriate figures from your RV into the example above to calculate how much propane your RV furnace uses. But remember that these calculations are based on 100% run time operation. 

Other variables, such as cold weather and your desired temperature setting, impact your furnace’s potential operating hours on a full LP supply. For instance, you can roughly double the number of hours your furnace will operate if you estimate a 50% duty cycle (i.e., your furnace will run for half the time you’re camping). 

Here are some tips on conserving propane in your RV.

Technician Tip: Remember there are other propane appliances in your RV. The calculations above represent only the available operating hours for your RV furnace, but they can be used if you know the BTU ratings of your RV’s other appliances, such as your water heater, refrigerator, stove, oven, and outdoor grill. 

How to Clean an RV Furnace

clean-how-does-an-rv-furnace-work-02-2023
Photo by Camping World

Pet hair can be a problem for certain RV furnaces. For starters, cleaning and disinfecting your RV after every trip keeps it in the best shape possible, and it’ll help your RV furnace run more efficiently. 

Inside your RV, use an RV vacuum to keep dust and dander to a minimum. You can remove the return air vent to vacuum dust and pet hair around your furnace unit on some floorplans. Just turn the furnace off before doing so. 

Outside your RV, use a portable air compressor to remove dust, debris, pet hair, and insect nests from your furnace’s exhaust tube. This is a good thing to add to your seasonal maintenance list when winterizing your RV in the fall and dewinterizing it to prep for spring camping.  

Technician Tip: Please note that forced air furnaces (not hydronic heating systems) are designed to operate without filters. If you were to acquire and find a way to install a filter on your forced air furnace, it would void any existing warranties and create a potentially dangerous situation.

Troubleshooting RV Furnaces

Troubleshooting your RV furnace can be complex, but we have a few downloadable resources to help. You can also schedule a service appointment at your local Camping World Service Center for a professional furnace inspection. 

Here’s a decision tree for troubleshooting RV furnaces. 

And here’s another specifically for thermostat-related issues. 

Beyond that, you can do some basic troubleshooting with the right tools. 

Measuring Line Voltage Using a Digital Multimeter

line-voltage-how-does-an-rv-furnace-work-02-2023
Photo by Camping World
  1. Measure incoming voltage at the wire connections on the side of the furnace. The nominal voltage should be 10.5 to 13.5 volts DC under an unloaded condition. If less than 10.5 VDC, the blower motor won’t spin fast enough to activate the sail switch.
  2. Turn the furnace on and verify the ignition. 
  3. Measure the voltage at the wire connections on the side of the furnace. The nominal voltage should be 10.5 to 13.5 volts DC under a loaded condition. 

If measurements found are outside the acceptable range, you may have an issue with your RV’s DC power supply (i.e., your battery). Consult your service manual for further furnace diagnostic tips. 

Evaluating Proper Airflow

airflow-how-does-an-rv-furnace-work-02-2023
Photo by Camping World
  1. Open all discharge registers and any closeable registers inside your RV and verify air discharge by feel (or using an airspeed indicator). 
  2. Ensure that airflow isn’t hindered by throw rugs or other floor coverings. Hindering your furnace’s airflow can cause the limit switch to open. 
  3. Verify that the discharge is warm and check that no carbon monoxide is present using a carbon monoxide test. 
  4. Check the opening size for the furnace’s return airflow, ensuring it matches your unit’s operating manual specifications. 

Other tests are required to verify the proper operation of your RV’s propane system – not to mention the added complexity of hydronic heating systems. If and when you’re feeling overwhelmed and stuck, please don’t hesitate to contact your local Camping World Service Center

Do you have any other questions about furnaces and RV heating systems? Ask away in the comments below.

Tucker Ballister is our Technical Content Writer. He’s a lover of the open road and the proud owner of a 2021 Sunlite Classic travel trailer (his 3rd RV to date). Check out more of his RV adventures, gear reviews, and outdoor advice at thebackpackguide.com.
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Source: How Does an RV Furnace Work?

How to Critter Proof a Pop Up Tent Camper

How to Critter Proof a Pop Up Tent Camper

Tent campers (also called pop-up tent campers and tent trailers) are a nice go-between for those that still love tent camping but want to be off the ground when they sleep. The thing is, all kinds of critters also love pop-up tent campers

Because many folding tent campers feature screens and fewer hard materials, they’re easier for pests to invade – and they love chewing through the screens. That said, some of these tips apply to keeping critters out of all types of RVs

How to Critter Proof a Pop-Up Tent Camper

Here are a few tips to help you critter proof your pop-up tent camper, whether you’re putting it away for the winter or getting it ready for a trip.

Store Food Properly

store-food-how-to-critter-proof-a-pop-up-tent-camper-02-2023
Photo by Camping World

Food is the biggest reason critters make their way into your camper. Be it insects, mice, or something larger, the aroma of something delicious will bring them out in droves. 

Keep food sealed in airtight food storage containers or zipping plastic baggies. Because space is limited inside most pop-up campers, consider using a hard-sided camping cooler for sealed food storage. If your campsite has a food locker, use it.

When camping, it’s also a good idea to cook outside when you can. This keeps food odors from lingering inside your tent camper and attracting curious critters.

Additionally, remove all foods from your RV refrigerator and pantry if you’re putting your camper away for the winter. Then, do a thorough cleaning to remove aromas. Remember, plastic containers won’t stop a dedicated animal from getting into your RV.

Inspect Your RV for Entry Points

looking for gaps in an RV

Nearly every RV, including motorhomes and travel trailers, has gaps for water and LP lines, electrical wiring, and steel cables to operate the lift mechanisms. These gaps are often larger than necessary to make installation easier. 

Unfortunately, these make excellent entry points for mice and other pesky creatures. Finding gaps requires crawling underneath your pop-up tent camper with a flashlight. You’ll also need a partner inside to identify entry points as you shine the light. 

Once you find the gaps, it’s possible to fill them to reduce the chances of critters entering your camper. However, it’s important to recognize that modifications can void any existing warranties you may have. So you may begin by contacting your warranty provider to inquire about the terms of your policy before you continue. 

That said, critters can absolutely total a pop-up tent camper in a few short weeks, so mitigation is essential. Minimal expanding spray foam mixed with steel wool is an old, albeit effective, solution for filling potential entry points. 

Installing a full belly plan or small wood or metal plates over the individual openings must be done with the utmost care to avoid damaging plumbing and LP lines, electrical wiring, lift mechanism cables, or your camper’s suspension.

Utilize Rodent and Insect Repellents

repellents-how-to-critter-proof-a-pop-up-tent-camper-02-2023
Photo by Camping World

Dozens of old home remedies seem to work for that lucky guy on the message board. Some are actually worth a shot. Here are a few examples:

Explore Camping World’s complete selection of insect and rodent repellents.

Finally, poison can be used to mouse proof a camper if you exercise extreme caution. Using safe bait stations is a good idea if you choose this option, as they restrict the size of the animal that can get to the bait. 

These must be strategically placed and monitored, especially when RVing with children or pets. The safest choice is to place these inside or in underneath compartments when your camper isn’t being used for an extended period. 

Always consult the manufacturer’s safety warnings and use proper protective equipment when handling poison for the purpose of critter control. 

Remove Cushions and Store Your Camper in Travel Mode

cushions-how-to-critter-proof-a-pop-up-tent-camper-02-2023
Photo by Camping World

For the cost of replacing a mess of chewed screens and mattress pads, it’s probably worth your time to remove the tenting and cushions and store them in a safe place for the offseason. Mice love to use cushions to steal insulation for their winter homes, so removing them certainly beats repairing or replacing them later.

Whether you remove cushions or mattresses before storing your pop-up camper or not, it should always be stored in travel mode. That means with the pop-up down and locked in place. Even then, opening and inspecting your camper once a month is recommended to address issues before they progress to a point where expensive repairs are needed. 

Clean Out Storage Compartments

compartments-how-to-critter-proof-a-pop-up-tent-camper-02-2023
Photo by Camping World

Speaking of the offseason, it also won’t hurt to clean out your camper’s storage compartments. We’ve seen rodents create shelters inside ski boots, watersports equipment bags, and just about anywhere they can find a source of insulation. 

It takes a little extra time, but emptying your camper and storing your camping gear inside a garage can eliminate the temptation for critters to create a seasonal home. If you do keep your gear in your camper, it’s a good idea to pack everything into hard-sided storage boxes

Awesome Pop-Up Tent Camper Trailers

Small pop-up campers are a great option for new RVers. They allow you to experience the benefits of RV living without overpaying before you find out if this is the right choice for your travel desires. 

Here are a few popular pop-up tent camper trailers: 

Forest River Rockwood Freedom 1940LTD

  • Open Length: 20’2”
  • Dry Weight: 1,608 pounds
  • Sleeping Capacity: Up to 5

The Rockwood Freedom 1940LTD is as lightweight and compact as they come. It features a two-burner stove that can be closed and carried outside if you don’t opt for the outdoor griddle add-on. Cooking outside is another great way to reduce the temptation for critters to explore your tent camper. 

Shop Forest River Rockwood Freedom pop-up campers at Camping World.

Forest River Rockwood Hard Side A213HW

  • Open Length: 21’2”
  • Dry Weight: 2,670 pounds
  • Sleeping Capacity: Up to 3

The Rockwood Hard Side A213HW eliminates many of the issues of pop-up tent campers by removing the tent walls and replacing them with hard-sided walls. That design provides additional insulation, but you will find slightly minimized headroom on one end of the camper because of the A-frame style. 

Check out Camping World’s Forest River Rockwood Hard Side pop-up camper inventory.

Livin Lite Quicksilver 10.0

  • Open Length: 20’2”
  • Dry Weight: 1,190 pounds 
  • Sleeping Capacity: Up to 5

If you’re looking for a used pop-up tent camper to dip your toes into the RV lifestyle, the Livin Lite Quicksilver 10.0 is one of the most affordable options out there. It’s also lightweight and off-road capable, designed to comfortably sleep a large family in the two 60” x 84” beds plus a convertible dinette. 

Shop Livin Lite pop-up campers at Camping World.


Use Camping World’s Towing Guide to determine the towing capacity of your current vehicle. That’ll allow you to choose a pop-up trailer you can tow safely without putting too much wear and tear on your tow vehicle. 

Check out this tutorial to learn about RV weight ratings to ensure safe towing. 

Do you have any ideas for pest-proofing a pop-up camper? Leave a comment and let us know.

Tent campers (also called pop-up tent campers and tent trailers) are a nice go-between for those that still love tent camping but want to be off the ground when they sleep. The thing is, all kinds of critters also love pop-up tent campers

Because many folding tent campers feature screens and fewer hard materials, they’re easier for pests to invade – and they love chewing through the screens. That said, some of these tips apply to keeping critters out of all types of RVs

How to Critter Proof a Pop-Up Tent Camper

Here are a few tips to help you critter proof your pop-up tent camper, whether you’re putting it away for the winter or getting it ready for a trip.

Store Food Properly

store-food-how-to-critter-proof-a-pop-up-tent-camper-02-2023
Photo by Camping World

Food is the biggest reason critters make their way into your camper. Be it insects, mice, or something larger, the aroma of something delicious will bring them out in droves. 

Keep food sealed in airtight food storage containers or zipping plastic baggies. Because space is limited inside most pop-up campers, consider using a hard-sided camping cooler for sealed food storage. If your campsite has a food locker, use it.

When camping, it’s also a good idea to cook outside when you can. This keeps food odors from lingering inside your tent camper and attracting curious critters.

Additionally, remove all foods from your RV refrigerator and pantry if you’re putting your camper away for the winter. Then, do a thorough cleaning to remove aromas. Remember, plastic containers won’t stop a dedicated animal from getting into your RV.

Inspect Your RV for Entry Points

looking for gaps in an RV

Nearly every RV, including motorhomes and travel trailers, has gaps for water and LP lines, electrical wiring, and steel cables to operate the lift mechanisms. These gaps are often larger than necessary to make installation easier. 

Unfortunately, these make excellent entry points for mice and other pesky creatures. Finding gaps requires crawling underneath your pop-up tent camper with a flashlight. You’ll also need a partner inside to identify entry points as you shine the light. 

Once you find the gaps, it’s possible to fill them to reduce the chances of critters entering your camper. However, it’s important to recognize that modifications can void any existing warranties you may have. So you may begin by contacting your warranty provider to inquire about the terms of your policy before you continue. 

That said, critters can absolutely total a pop-up tent camper in a few short weeks, so mitigation is essential. Minimal expanding spray foam mixed with steel wool is an old, albeit effective, solution for filling potential entry points. 

Installing a full belly plan or small wood or metal plates over the individual openings must be done with the utmost care to avoid damaging plumbing and LP lines, electrical wiring, lift mechanism cables, or your camper’s suspension.

Utilize Rodent and Insect Repellents

repellents-how-to-critter-proof-a-pop-up-tent-camper-02-2023
Photo by Camping World

Dozens of old home remedies seem to work for that lucky guy on the message board. Some are actually worth a shot. Here are a few examples:

Explore Camping World’s complete selection of insect and rodent repellents.

Finally, poison can be used to mouse proof a camper if you exercise extreme caution. Using safe bait stations is a good idea if you choose this option, as they restrict the size of the animal that can get to the bait. 

These must be strategically placed and monitored, especially when RVing with children or pets. The safest choice is to place these inside or in underneath compartments when your camper isn’t being used for an extended period. 

Always consult the manufacturer’s safety warnings and use proper protective equipment when handling poison for the purpose of critter control. 

Remove Cushions and Store Your Camper in Travel Mode

cushions-how-to-critter-proof-a-pop-up-tent-camper-02-2023
Photo by Camping World

For the cost of replacing a mess of chewed screens and mattress pads, it’s probably worth your time to remove the tenting and cushions and store them in a safe place for the offseason. Mice love to use cushions to steal insulation for their winter homes, so removing them certainly beats repairing or replacing them later.

Whether you remove cushions or mattresses before storing your pop-up camper or not, it should always be stored in travel mode. That means with the pop-up down and locked in place. Even then, opening and inspecting your camper once a month is recommended to address issues before they progress to a point where expensive repairs are needed. 

Clean Out Storage Compartments

compartments-how-to-critter-proof-a-pop-up-tent-camper-02-2023
Photo by Camping World

Speaking of the offseason, it also won’t hurt to clean out your camper’s storage compartments. We’ve seen rodents create shelters inside ski boots, watersports equipment bags, and just about anywhere they can find a source of insulation. 

It takes a little extra time, but emptying your camper and storing your camping gear inside a garage can eliminate the temptation for critters to create a seasonal home. If you do keep your gear in your camper, it’s a good idea to pack everything into hard-sided storage boxes

Awesome Pop-Up Tent Camper Trailers

Small pop-up campers are a great option for new RVers. They allow you to experience the benefits of RV living without overpaying before you find out if this is the right choice for your travel desires. 

Here are a few popular pop-up tent camper trailers: 

Forest River Rockwood Freedom 1940LTD

  • Open Length: 20’2”
  • Dry Weight: 1,608 pounds
  • Sleeping Capacity: Up to 5

The Rockwood Freedom 1940LTD is as lightweight and compact as they come. It features a two-burner stove that can be closed and carried outside if you don’t opt for the outdoor griddle add-on. Cooking outside is another great way to reduce the temptation for critters to explore your tent camper. 

Shop Forest River Rockwood Freedom pop-up campers at Camping World.

Forest River Rockwood Hard Side A213HW

  • Open Length: 21’2”
  • Dry Weight: 2,670 pounds
  • Sleeping Capacity: Up to 3

The Rockwood Hard Side A213HW eliminates many of the issues of pop-up tent campers by removing the tent walls and replacing them with hard-sided walls. That design provides additional insulation, but you will find slightly minimized headroom on one end of the camper because of the A-frame style. 

Check out Camping World’s Forest River Rockwood Hard Side pop-up camper inventory.

Livin Lite Quicksilver 10.0

  • Open Length: 20’2”
  • Dry Weight: 1,190 pounds 
  • Sleeping Capacity: Up to 5

If you’re looking for a used pop-up tent camper to dip your toes into the RV lifestyle, the Livin Lite Quicksilver 10.0 is one of the most affordable options out there. It’s also lightweight and off-road capable, designed to comfortably sleep a large family in the two 60” x 84” beds plus a convertible dinette. 

Shop Livin Lite pop-up campers at Camping World.


Use Camping World’s Towing Guide to determine the towing capacity of your current vehicle. That’ll allow you to choose a pop-up trailer you can tow safely without putting too much wear and tear on your tow vehicle. 

Check out this tutorial to learn about RV weight ratings to ensure safe towing. 

Do you have any ideas for pest-proofing a pop-up camper? Leave a comment and let us know.

Source: How to Critter Proof a Pop Up Tent Camper

How Do RV Water Systems Work?

How Do RV Water Systems Work?

RV water systems supply potable water to various fixtures – kitchen and bathroom sinks, toilets, indoor and outdoor showers, etc. In this article, we’ll focus on the design and function of your RV’s water distribution system and provide tips for using and maintaining it properly. 

How Do RV Water Systems Work?

Most RV water systems can operate as self-contained systems – meaning you draw from a tank of potable water on board. This tank is usually called your freshwater holding tank. This must be sanitized regularly to ensure safe water for drinking, dishes, and more. 

Potable: (adj.) safe to drink

Your RV water system pumps water throughout your coach using a water pump – a device that pressurizes the plumbing lines to drive water from the freshwater tank out through your faucets, fixtures, and hot water heater. The water heater must be turned on to heat water, which the pump distributes to hot water lines. 

Your RV water system also heats and distributes water to fixtures when connected to a city water source. A check valve in your water pump prevents your fresh water tank from filling when connected to city water. Another check valve at the city water inlet prevents water from flowing backward out of the inlet when the pump is running.

City water: (n.) a municipal water supply. In the case of RV parks, it can sometimes refer to water pulled from a local well and distributed via underground mains to campsite spigots. 

RV Water System RV Plumbing Diagram

Here’s a quick diagram of the basic design of RV water systems: 

RV Water System Diagram-how-do-rv-water-systems-work-02-2023
Photo by Camping World

Disclaimer: This general diagram may not be 100% accurate for all RVs. Consult your owner’s manual or contact your RV manufacturer for an up-to-date diagram of your RV’s water system.

RV Water System Components

Here are the various components you’ll find in most RV water distribution systems:

Pressure Regulator

pressure-regulator-how-do-rv-water-systems-work-02-2023
Photo by Camping World

Most RVs require the use of an external pressure regulator installed at the spigot if you’re connecting to city water. However, some units have a built-in regulator at the city water connection on the RV’s exterior wall. Most regulators also have backflow preventers and strainers to keep debris out of your RV’s water system. 

External and built-in models protect your water pump and system components from damage that can be caused by unregulated city water pressure. City water hookups can have pressures at high as 150 PSI (pounds per square inch). A pressure regulator reduces that pressure to an acceptable level for your RV – usually between 40 and 50 PSI. 

Learn more about why you need a water pressure regulator for your RV.

RV Water Filter Systems

filter-systems-how-do-rv-water-systems-work-02-2023
Photo by Camping World

Some RVs are equipped with a water filter built into the distribution system. Others require installing an external water filter at the spigot (but after a pressure regulator, if applicable). 

Onboard filtration systems are typically installed in an underneath compartment or under the kitchen sink. They are usually cartridge-style filters that remove impurities that affect the incoming water’s texture and taste.

Onboard and external water filters must be replaced regularly according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. Water quality standards differ dramatically from region to region and campground to campground, so some water filtration mechanism is vital to safe RV adventures. 

Learn more about getting clean drinking water in your RV.  

Potable Water Tank (Fresh Water Tank)

water-tank-how-do-rv-water-systems-work-02-2023
Photo by Camping World

Potable water tanks are often made of polyethylene or a similar plastic material. The number of gallons of water these tanks hold depends on the make and model, as well as sometimes based on supply chain availability.

Most RVs have a permanent fresh water tank built into the RV in manufacturing, but some have a small, removable tank. Permanent RV potable water tanks are filled via a labeled fill port on most RVs’ off-camp side – opposite the main entry door.

In-line Strainer

inline-strainer-how-do-rv-water-systems-work-02-2023
Photo by Camping World

Most modern water pumps include a built-in strainer, but older RVs may have a separate in-line strainer installed between the water tank and the pump. These inline filters are simple screens that collect dirt, sand, and other debris before they can damage your water pump, check valves, vacuum breakers, and faucets. They do not filter the same impurities as a water filter.

Water Pump

RV water systems distribute water in three main ways: by a demand pressure system, a city water pressure system, or a manual pump system.

A demand pressure system utilizes a water pump powered by a small 12-volt motor. Most RV water pumps pressure to a range of 40-50 PSI. An internal pressure switch turns the pump off when the set pressure is reached. 

Most water pumps are also equipped with a strainer and check valve. The strainer removes large sediments that could damage the pump. The check valve prevents water from flowing backward through the pump into your potable water tank when connected to city water. 

A city water pressure system relies on the pressure supplied by a potable water source from a spigot. It requires a water pressure regulator to decrease pressure to a safe level for RV plumbing. 

A manual pump system utilizes a foot or hand-operated pump to pressurize the system and distribute water from the tank to the fixtures.  

Technician Tip: There was a fourth method for water distribution – air pressure. This method utilized an onboard air compressor to pressurize the system in place of a water pump. But it was more common on older RVs and is rarer to find now. Should you come across a pneumatic system, become fully trained in the use and maintenance of the system before use.

These systems will contain a very high volume of pressure, and severe injury can occur if extreme caution is not exercised. Also, the compressor must be food grade and likely oilless. Using the wrong compressor or maintaining it incorrectly can contaminate the potable water system.

Most RV fresh water distribution systems are designed to utilize two potential supply sources – demand pump (via your portable water tank) and city water are the most common.

Shut-Off Valve

shut-off-valve-how-do-rv-water-systems-work-02-2023
Photo by Camping World

The shut-off valve in an RV water system keeps water in the tank if repairs are required in other parts of the distribution system. Closing the valve allows for repairs without draining the tank.

Piping/Tubing

piping-how-do-rv-water-systems-work-02-2023
Photo by Camping World

According to NFPA 1192, the piping that transports water from that tank to your fixtures must be rated for use with potable water. Pipes and tubes transporting hot water must also be rated for hot water use.

The most common piping material used in today’s RVs is CPVC or polyethylene cross-link tubing (PEX). Other common materials include PVC and polybutylene. The materials must be rated for hot and cold installations, and the requirements for material, type, size, installation, and support are all outlined in NFPA 1192. 

Water distribution piping is often red or blue but may be transparent or opaque. RVs with red and blue piping make identifying hot and cold water lines easier, but additional testing is required to determine if the lines are hot or cold for models with transparent or opaque piping.

Accumulator

accumulator-how-do-rv-water-systems-work-02-2023
Photo by Camping World

An accumulator tank is mostly found on higher-end units but can be added to any unit by a professional RV technician. It’s a small water storage tank (usually made of ABS plastic or metal) that’s located downstream from the water pump to help maintain consistent water pressure, reduce water sputtering, and minimize the cycling of the water pump. 

Internally, an accumulator is divided into two halves, separated by a rubber membrane. The user will pressurize half of the accumulator by adding compressed air through a Schrader valve, typically to 30 PSI. The water system will add pressurized water to the other half. 

When there is no demand on the system, the pressure is stored inside the tank and will be immediately released when a fixture or valve is opened. This provides immediate high-pressure water flow without delay. The water system then keeps the water flowing. 

If the water pump is being used, the accumulator will absorb the pulsations caused by the pumping action. This provides a smoother, more city-water-like experience. The air pressure is adjustable to fine-tune the performance to the user’s preference.

Water Heater

RV water heaters supply hot water to your fixtures and run on 120-volt AC power, propane, or both. Many RV water heaters today are known as DSI (direct spark ignition) water heaters. That means there’s no pilot light to be lit manually before each use. 

Water heaters that use propane must be listed for RV use because they must be designed and tested for the added vibrations and bouncing that come with the RV lifestyle. You’ll also see ‘on-demand’ or ‘tankless’ water heaters in many new RVs. 

Certain water heater installations may also include a bypass kit for easier winterization. This kit eliminates the need to fill the water heater with antifreeze to protect the tank and your hot water lines from freezing temperatures. Bypass kits can include 1-3 manual shut-off valves.

Technician Tip: Winterization shut-off valves should NOT be closed when winterizing a tankless, on-demand, or hydronic (boiler) water heater, as they MUST be protected from freezing by displacing all water with RV antifreeze.

Fixtures

fixtures-how-do-rv-water-systems-work-02-2023
Photo by Camping World

Most RVs are equipped with the following common fixtures: tubs, toilets, indoor and outdoor showers, and kitchen and bathroom sinks. These fixtures are the final element in your RV’s water distribution system before the water enters your RV’s plumbing system for waste collection. 

Approved RV fixtures must be listed and installed by the terms of that listing, such as those stipulated by the National Sanitary Foundation (NSF) and the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO). 

Low-Point Drains

low-point-drain-how-do-rv-water-systems-work-02-2023
Photo by Camping World

The low-point drains in an RV water system allow you to drain the system using gravity. However, the potential for low spots in the distribution system requires blowing out the lines using an air compressor or filling them with RV antifreeze when winterizing your RV.

Technician Tip: Due to the potential for freeze damage, there is no warranty at Camping World for the Basic Winterize Package (blowing lines out with compressed air). The Complete Winterize package includes blowing the lines out with compressed air and filling the lines with RV antifreeze, which carries Camping World’s standard warranty. 

Contact a Camping World Service Center to learn more about RV winterization services.

How to Maintain Your RV Water System

Now that you understand the basic operation of RV water systems, here are some tips to help you keep yours running smoothly and efficiently: 


When you know how it functions, anything is easier to work on or troubleshoot. Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of RV water systems. Still, you can always contact an RV service advisor at your local Camping World Service Center if you need assistance. 

Do you have any questions about RV water systems? Let us know in the comments below.  

Tucker Ballister is our Technical Content Writer. He’s a lover of the open road and the proud owner of a 2021 Sunlite Classic travel trailer (his 3rd RV to date). Check out more of his RV adventures, gear reviews, and outdoor advice at thebackpackguide.com.
The Backpack Guide

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RV water systems supply potable water to various fixtures – kitchen and bathroom sinks, toilets, indoor and outdoor showers, etc. In this article, we’ll focus on the design and function of your RV’s water distribution system and provide tips for using and maintaining it properly. 

How Do RV Water Systems Work?

Most RV water systems can operate as self-contained systems – meaning you draw from a tank of potable water on board. This tank is usually called your freshwater holding tank. This must be sanitized regularly to ensure safe water for drinking, dishes, and more. 

Potable: (adj.) safe to drink

Your RV water system pumps water throughout your coach using a water pump – a device that pressurizes the plumbing lines to drive water from the freshwater tank out through your faucets, fixtures, and hot water heater. The water heater must be turned on to heat water, which the pump distributes to hot water lines. 

Your RV water system also heats and distributes water to fixtures when connected to a city water source. A check valve in your water pump prevents your fresh water tank from filling when connected to city water. Another check valve at the city water inlet prevents water from flowing backward out of the inlet when the pump is running.

City water: (n.) a municipal water supply. In the case of RV parks, it can sometimes refer to water pulled from a local well and distributed via underground mains to campsite spigots. 

RV Water System RV Plumbing Diagram

Here’s a quick diagram of the basic design of RV water systems: 

RV Water System Diagram-how-do-rv-water-systems-work-02-2023
Photo by Camping World

Disclaimer: This general diagram may not be 100% accurate for all RVs. Consult your owner’s manual or contact your RV manufacturer for an up-to-date diagram of your RV’s water system.

RV Water System Components

Here are the various components you’ll find in most RV water distribution systems:

Pressure Regulator

pressure-regulator-how-do-rv-water-systems-work-02-2023
Photo by Camping World

Most RVs require the use of an external pressure regulator installed at the spigot if you’re connecting to city water. However, some units have a built-in regulator at the city water connection on the RV’s exterior wall. Most regulators also have backflow preventers and strainers to keep debris out of your RV’s water system. 

External and built-in models protect your water pump and system components from damage that can be caused by unregulated city water pressure. City water hookups can have pressures at high as 150 PSI (pounds per square inch). A pressure regulator reduces that pressure to an acceptable level for your RV – usually between 40 and 50 PSI. 

Learn more about why you need a water pressure regulator for your RV.

RV Water Filter Systems

filter-systems-how-do-rv-water-systems-work-02-2023
Photo by Camping World

Some RVs are equipped with a water filter built into the distribution system. Others require installing an external water filter at the spigot (but after a pressure regulator, if applicable). 

Onboard filtration systems are typically installed in an underneath compartment or under the kitchen sink. They are usually cartridge-style filters that remove impurities that affect the incoming water’s texture and taste.

Onboard and external water filters must be replaced regularly according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. Water quality standards differ dramatically from region to region and campground to campground, so some water filtration mechanism is vital to safe RV adventures. 

Learn more about getting clean drinking water in your RV.  

Potable Water Tank (Fresh Water Tank)

water-tank-how-do-rv-water-systems-work-02-2023
Photo by Camping World

Potable water tanks are often made of polyethylene or a similar plastic material. The number of gallons of water these tanks hold depends on the make and model, as well as sometimes based on supply chain availability.

Most RVs have a permanent fresh water tank built into the RV in manufacturing, but some have a small, removable tank. Permanent RV potable water tanks are filled via a labeled fill port on most RVs’ off-camp side – opposite the main entry door.

In-line Strainer

inline-strainer-how-do-rv-water-systems-work-02-2023
Photo by Camping World

Most modern water pumps include a built-in strainer, but older RVs may have a separate in-line strainer installed between the water tank and the pump. These inline filters are simple screens that collect dirt, sand, and other debris before they can damage your water pump, check valves, vacuum breakers, and faucets. They do not filter the same impurities as a water filter.

Water Pump

RV water systems distribute water in three main ways: by a demand pressure system, a city water pressure system, or a manual pump system.

A demand pressure system utilizes a water pump powered by a small 12-volt motor. Most RV water pumps pressure to a range of 40-50 PSI. An internal pressure switch turns the pump off when the set pressure is reached. 

Most water pumps are also equipped with a strainer and check valve. The strainer removes large sediments that could damage the pump. The check valve prevents water from flowing backward through the pump into your potable water tank when connected to city water. 

A city water pressure system relies on the pressure supplied by a potable water source from a spigot. It requires a water pressure regulator to decrease pressure to a safe level for RV plumbing. 

A manual pump system utilizes a foot or hand-operated pump to pressurize the system and distribute water from the tank to the fixtures.  

Technician Tip: There was a fourth method for water distribution – air pressure. This method utilized an onboard air compressor to pressurize the system in place of a water pump. But it was more common on older RVs and is rarer to find now. Should you come across a pneumatic system, become fully trained in the use and maintenance of the system before use.

These systems will contain a very high volume of pressure, and severe injury can occur if extreme caution is not exercised. Also, the compressor must be food grade and likely oilless. Using the wrong compressor or maintaining it incorrectly can contaminate the potable water system.

Most RV fresh water distribution systems are designed to utilize two potential supply sources – demand pump (via your portable water tank) and city water are the most common.

Shut-Off Valve

shut-off-valve-how-do-rv-water-systems-work-02-2023
Photo by Camping World

The shut-off valve in an RV water system keeps water in the tank if repairs are required in other parts of the distribution system. Closing the valve allows for repairs without draining the tank.

Piping/Tubing

piping-how-do-rv-water-systems-work-02-2023
Photo by Camping World

According to NFPA 1192, the piping that transports water from that tank to your fixtures must be rated for use with potable water. Pipes and tubes transporting hot water must also be rated for hot water use.

The most common piping material used in today’s RVs is CPVC or polyethylene cross-link tubing (PEX). Other common materials include PVC and polybutylene. The materials must be rated for hot and cold installations, and the requirements for material, type, size, installation, and support are all outlined in NFPA 1192. 

Water distribution piping is often red or blue but may be transparent or opaque. RVs with red and blue piping make identifying hot and cold water lines easier, but additional testing is required to determine if the lines are hot or cold for models with transparent or opaque piping.

Accumulator

accumulator-how-do-rv-water-systems-work-02-2023
Photo by Camping World

An accumulator tank is mostly found on higher-end units but can be added to any unit by a professional RV technician. It’s a small water storage tank (usually made of ABS plastic or metal) that’s located downstream from the water pump to help maintain consistent water pressure, reduce water sputtering, and minimize the cycling of the water pump. 

Internally, an accumulator is divided into two halves, separated by a rubber membrane. The user will pressurize half of the accumulator by adding compressed air through a Schrader valve, typically to 30 PSI. The water system will add pressurized water to the other half. 

When there is no demand on the system, the pressure is stored inside the tank and will be immediately released when a fixture or valve is opened. This provides immediate high-pressure water flow without delay. The water system then keeps the water flowing. 

If the water pump is being used, the accumulator will absorb the pulsations caused by the pumping action. This provides a smoother, more city-water-like experience. The air pressure is adjustable to fine-tune the performance to the user’s preference.

Water Heater

RV water heaters supply hot water to your fixtures and run on 120-volt AC power, propane, or both. Many RV water heaters today are known as DSI (direct spark ignition) water heaters. That means there’s no pilot light to be lit manually before each use. 

Water heaters that use propane must be listed for RV use because they must be designed and tested for the added vibrations and bouncing that come with the RV lifestyle. You’ll also see ‘on-demand’ or ‘tankless’ water heaters in many new RVs. 

Certain water heater installations may also include a bypass kit for easier winterization. This kit eliminates the need to fill the water heater with antifreeze to protect the tank and your hot water lines from freezing temperatures. Bypass kits can include 1-3 manual shut-off valves.

Technician Tip: Winterization shut-off valves should NOT be closed when winterizing a tankless, on-demand, or hydronic (boiler) water heater, as they MUST be protected from freezing by displacing all water with RV antifreeze.

Fixtures

fixtures-how-do-rv-water-systems-work-02-2023
Photo by Camping World

Most RVs are equipped with the following common fixtures: tubs, toilets, indoor and outdoor showers, and kitchen and bathroom sinks. These fixtures are the final element in your RV’s water distribution system before the water enters your RV’s plumbing system for waste collection. 

Approved RV fixtures must be listed and installed by the terms of that listing, such as those stipulated by the National Sanitary Foundation (NSF) and the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO). 

Low-Point Drains

low-point-drain-how-do-rv-water-systems-work-02-2023
Photo by Camping World

The low-point drains in an RV water system allow you to drain the system using gravity. However, the potential for low spots in the distribution system requires blowing out the lines using an air compressor or filling them with RV antifreeze when winterizing your RV.

Technician Tip: Due to the potential for freeze damage, there is no warranty at Camping World for the Basic Winterize Package (blowing lines out with compressed air). The Complete Winterize package includes blowing the lines out with compressed air and filling the lines with RV antifreeze, which carries Camping World’s standard warranty. 

Contact a Camping World Service Center to learn more about RV winterization services.

How to Maintain Your RV Water System

Now that you understand the basic operation of RV water systems, here are some tips to help you keep yours running smoothly and efficiently: 


When you know how it functions, anything is easier to work on or troubleshoot. Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of RV water systems. Still, you can always contact an RV service advisor at your local Camping World Service Center if you need assistance. 

Do you have any questions about RV water systems? Let us know in the comments below.  

Tucker Ballister is our Technical Content Writer. He’s a lover of the open road and the proud owner of a 2021 Sunlite Classic travel trailer (his 3rd RV to date). Check out more of his RV adventures, gear reviews, and outdoor advice at thebackpackguide.com.
The Backpack Guide

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Source: How Do RV Water Systems Work?

A Guide to Portable Air Compressors for Your RV

A Guide to Portable Air Compressors for Your RV

Do you know how important it is to maintain the right pressure in your RV’s tires?

Many RVers neglect proper tire care, but you should only do so at your own peril. Your RV’s tires are its foundation – you’ll only go as far as your tires allow. While we’ve covered tips for tire care before, you should know how portable air compressors can help with tire maintenance. 

A portable air compressor is a compact, lightweight tool that provides compressed air for inflating RV tires, performing RV maintenance, and various other purposes.

Here’s everything you need to know about portable air compressors for your RV.

Why Do You Need a Portable Air Compressor?

why-portable-air-compressors-for-your-rv-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

Here are several reasons to keep a portable air compressor in your RV: 

  • Maintain proper tire pressure without paying for air at gas stations.
  • Blow dust and pet hair out of your intake and exhaust tubes on the furnace and blower and flue tubes on the water heater.
  • Clean off your RV patio mat or campsite pad. 
  • Inflate your stand-up paddleboard
  • Put air in your bicycle, e-bike, ATV, or dirt bike tires.
  • Power portable tools that require compressed air. 

What’s the Difference Between a Tire Inflator and a Portable Air Compressor?

difference-portable-air-compressors-for-your-rv-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

Honestly, there’s not much difference. Tire inflators are meant for the specific purpose that their name suggests. Portable air compressors are more versatile and can be employed for myriad uses. 

Generally, tire inflators move high volumes at lower pressures, while compressors move a lower volume but continue to do so up to much higher pressures. There’s a broad crossover between the two, and the performance will ultimately depend on the models you’re comparing. 

How to Use a Portable Air Compressor

Technician Tip: Start by consulting the operating manual that came with your portable air compressor. There may be variations in the exact operating procedures recommended by different manufacturers.

Here are the basic steps for using most portable air compressors:

1. Check the recommended PSI for what you’re inflating.

tire-portable-air-compressors-for-your-rv-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

RV tires, paddleboards, bike tires, and other inflatables will have a recommended air pressure measured in pounds per square inch (PSI). Here are some examples of average ranges for different inflatables: 

  • RV Tires: 35-100 PSI
  • Inflatable Paddleboards: 8-15 PSI
  • Mountain Bike Tires: 25-50 PSI
  • ATV Tires: 4-8 PSI
  • Dirt Bike Tires: 6-18 PSI 

Using a tire gauge, check the current pressure of whatever you’re inflating compared to its recommended pressure. For RV tires, check the pressure when the tires are cold, meaning you haven’t driven within the last three hours. 

2. Connect the compressor to its power source.

connect-to-power-portable-air-compressors-for-your-rv-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

Most portable air compressors for RV use will come with a 12-volt adapter plug. Some also come with alligator clips to connect directly to your RV battery. Others will require a 120-volt AC outlet. 

Consult your compressor’s manual to find the right power source and connect it safely. 

3. Connect the air hose. 

connect-air-portable-air-compressors-for-your-rv-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

One end connects to your air compressor if it isn’t permanently connected. The other will connect to your RV tire, paddleboard, bike tire, or whatever you’re inflating. This will require the appropriate adapter for whatever you’re filling (i.e., tire chuck for RV tires, Schrader or Presta valve for most bike tires, Boston or Halkey Roberts valves for paddleboards, and other watersports inflatables). 

4. Turn on the compressor. 

turn-on-portable-air-compressors-for-your-rv-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

You may only need to run your compressor for a few seconds for smaller inflatables. This is also true if you’re topping off RV or bike tires. Getting a compressor with a built-in gauge is the easiest way to ensure you’ve reached the recommended air pressure. Otherwise, you’ll need to disconnect the compressor from whatever you’re filling and check with a pressure gauge

5. Disconnect the compressor and store it properly. 

disconnect-and-store-portable-air-compressors-for-your-rv-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

Once your inflatables are at the desired pressure, disconnect the compressor, cap the valve on your tire or inflatable, and store the compressor safely in its case. If yours didn’t come with a case, consider using a storage bin that allows you to seal your compressor and protect it between uses. 

Technician Tip: Portable air compressors can get very hot during use. Allow yours to cool in a safe place before storing it away. 

How Do You Choose a Portable Air Compressor for your RV?

Here are a few factors to help you select the right portable air compressor for your RV: 

Size and Weight

size-portable-air-compressors-for-your-rv-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

We are talking about “portable” air compressors, but some models are much larger than others. The kind you’ll want for your RV must easily fit in one of your underneath storage compartments. It must also be light enough to move and easily set up wherever needed. 

Cubic Feet Per Minute (CFM)

CFM is defined as “a measurement of airflow volume, determined by how many cubic feet of air pass by a stationary point in one minute.” For practical purposes, a compressor with a higher CFM rating will fill inflatables more quickly. 

Technician Tip: Remember that CFM can vary depending on temperature, atmospheric pressure, and humidity levels. 

Pounds per Square Inch (PSI)

psi-portable-air-compressors-for-your-rv-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

Most manufacturers advertise the maximum pressure that their compressors can achieve. This is especially important when you need a compressor that can fill larger RV tires, such as those on class A RVs. Ensure your compressor can fill tires to the recommended pressure stated by your RV’s manufacturer. 

Duty Cycle and Run Time

This is the length of time a compressor can run at a full load before needing to cool down. Overheating can be problematic with cheaper portable air compressors, which is why many nicer models include an automatic overheating shutoff feature. 

Power Source

Look closely to ensure you can use the air compressor in various settings. The best models offer multiple power adapters for 12-volt and 120-volt capability. When RVing, the main emergency scenario in which you’ll need an air compressor is addressing flat tires on the side of the road. 

If you have a nail in your tire, or a slow leak, an air compressor could help get you to a safer place to assess the tire and make a patch or a change. In this case, a compressor with 12-volt capability is essential.

Air Hose and Power Cord Length

hose-length-portable-air-compressors-for-your-rv-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

The lengths of your compressor’s air hose and power cord determine whether you can reach all your tires. This is especially important for longer RVs, and you’ll simply need to ensure you can reach every tire to fill them evenly, according to your RV manufacturer’s recommendation. 

Learn the importance of following your RV manufacturer’s recommendation and other essential information about RV and trailer tires.

What is the Best Portable Air Compressor for your RV?

best-portable-air-compressors-for-your-rv-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

Because the most common use for a portable air compressor amongst RVers is filling tires, let’s start there. The best portable air compressor for your RV should be rated to fill your tires to the manufacturer’s recommended air pressure (PSI). 

Check out this review of the TireMinder RV AIR Compressor.

You’ll also want something light and compact to move easily and store in your RV. Most RVers will be fine with a tire inflator or a hand-carry air compressor, neither of which is really meant for air tools. 

If you have some RV DIY projects in mind, you’ll need a more powerful compressor rated for the tools your project calls for. 

Shop portable air compressors and tire inflators at Camping World.


From keeping the right amount of air in your tires to quickly inflating paddleboards so you can get out on the lake, a portable air compressor is a great addition to your RV toolkit. Here are some other resources to help you complete your RV tool collection: 

Do you have any questions about portable air compressors for your RV? Let us know in the comments below.

Tucker Ballister is our Technical Content Writer. He’s a lover of the open road and the proud owner of a 2021 Sunlite Classic travel trailer (his 3rd RV to date). Check out more of his RV adventures, gear reviews, and outdoor advice at thebackpackguide.com.
The Backpack Guide

follow me

Do you know how important it is to maintain the right pressure in your RV’s tires?

Many RVers neglect proper tire care, but you should only do so at your own peril. Your RV’s tires are its foundation – you’ll only go as far as your tires allow. While we’ve covered tips for tire care before, you should know how portable air compressors can help with tire maintenance. 

A portable air compressor is a compact, lightweight tool that provides compressed air for inflating RV tires, performing RV maintenance, and various other purposes.

Here’s everything you need to know about portable air compressors for your RV.

Why Do You Need a Portable Air Compressor?

why-portable-air-compressors-for-your-rv-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

Here are several reasons to keep a portable air compressor in your RV: 

  • Maintain proper tire pressure without paying for air at gas stations.
  • Blow dust and pet hair out of your intake and exhaust tubes on the furnace and blower and flue tubes on the water heater.
  • Clean off your RV patio mat or campsite pad. 
  • Inflate your stand-up paddleboard
  • Put air in your bicycle, e-bike, ATV, or dirt bike tires.
  • Power portable tools that require compressed air. 

What’s the Difference Between a Tire Inflator and a Portable Air Compressor?

difference-portable-air-compressors-for-your-rv-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

Honestly, there’s not much difference. Tire inflators are meant for the specific purpose that their name suggests. Portable air compressors are more versatile and can be employed for myriad uses. 

Generally, tire inflators move high volumes at lower pressures, while compressors move a lower volume but continue to do so up to much higher pressures. There’s a broad crossover between the two, and the performance will ultimately depend on the models you’re comparing. 

How to Use a Portable Air Compressor

Technician Tip: Start by consulting the operating manual that came with your portable air compressor. There may be variations in the exact operating procedures recommended by different manufacturers.

Here are the basic steps for using most portable air compressors:

1. Check the recommended PSI for what you’re inflating.

tire-portable-air-compressors-for-your-rv-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

RV tires, paddleboards, bike tires, and other inflatables will have a recommended air pressure measured in pounds per square inch (PSI). Here are some examples of average ranges for different inflatables: 

  • RV Tires: 35-100 PSI
  • Inflatable Paddleboards: 8-15 PSI
  • Mountain Bike Tires: 25-50 PSI
  • ATV Tires: 4-8 PSI
  • Dirt Bike Tires: 6-18 PSI 

Using a tire gauge, check the current pressure of whatever you’re inflating compared to its recommended pressure. For RV tires, check the pressure when the tires are cold, meaning you haven’t driven within the last three hours. 

2. Connect the compressor to its power source.

connect-to-power-portable-air-compressors-for-your-rv-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

Most portable air compressors for RV use will come with a 12-volt adapter plug. Some also come with alligator clips to connect directly to your RV battery. Others will require a 120-volt AC outlet. 

Consult your compressor’s manual to find the right power source and connect it safely. 

3. Connect the air hose. 

connect-air-portable-air-compressors-for-your-rv-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

One end connects to your air compressor if it isn’t permanently connected. The other will connect to your RV tire, paddleboard, bike tire, or whatever you’re inflating. This will require the appropriate adapter for whatever you’re filling (i.e., tire chuck for RV tires, Schrader or Presta valve for most bike tires, Boston or Halkey Roberts valves for paddleboards, and other watersports inflatables). 

4. Turn on the compressor. 

turn-on-portable-air-compressors-for-your-rv-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

You may only need to run your compressor for a few seconds for smaller inflatables. This is also true if you’re topping off RV or bike tires. Getting a compressor with a built-in gauge is the easiest way to ensure you’ve reached the recommended air pressure. Otherwise, you’ll need to disconnect the compressor from whatever you’re filling and check with a pressure gauge

5. Disconnect the compressor and store it properly. 

disconnect-and-store-portable-air-compressors-for-your-rv-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

Once your inflatables are at the desired pressure, disconnect the compressor, cap the valve on your tire or inflatable, and store the compressor safely in its case. If yours didn’t come with a case, consider using a storage bin that allows you to seal your compressor and protect it between uses. 

Technician Tip: Portable air compressors can get very hot during use. Allow yours to cool in a safe place before storing it away. 

How Do You Choose a Portable Air Compressor for your RV?

Here are a few factors to help you select the right portable air compressor for your RV: 

Size and Weight

size-portable-air-compressors-for-your-rv-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

We are talking about “portable” air compressors, but some models are much larger than others. The kind you’ll want for your RV must easily fit in one of your underneath storage compartments. It must also be light enough to move and easily set up wherever needed. 

Cubic Feet Per Minute (CFM)

CFM is defined as “a measurement of airflow volume, determined by how many cubic feet of air pass by a stationary point in one minute.” For practical purposes, a compressor with a higher CFM rating will fill inflatables more quickly. 

Technician Tip: Remember that CFM can vary depending on temperature, atmospheric pressure, and humidity levels. 

Pounds per Square Inch (PSI)

psi-portable-air-compressors-for-your-rv-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

Most manufacturers advertise the maximum pressure that their compressors can achieve. This is especially important when you need a compressor that can fill larger RV tires, such as those on class A RVs. Ensure your compressor can fill tires to the recommended pressure stated by your RV’s manufacturer. 

Duty Cycle and Run Time

This is the length of time a compressor can run at a full load before needing to cool down. Overheating can be problematic with cheaper portable air compressors, which is why many nicer models include an automatic overheating shutoff feature. 

Power Source

Look closely to ensure you can use the air compressor in various settings. The best models offer multiple power adapters for 12-volt and 120-volt capability. When RVing, the main emergency scenario in which you’ll need an air compressor is addressing flat tires on the side of the road. 

If you have a nail in your tire, or a slow leak, an air compressor could help get you to a safer place to assess the tire and make a patch or a change. In this case, a compressor with 12-volt capability is essential.

Air Hose and Power Cord Length

hose-length-portable-air-compressors-for-your-rv-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

The lengths of your compressor’s air hose and power cord determine whether you can reach all your tires. This is especially important for longer RVs, and you’ll simply need to ensure you can reach every tire to fill them evenly, according to your RV manufacturer’s recommendation. 

Learn the importance of following your RV manufacturer’s recommendation and other essential information about RV and trailer tires.

What is the Best Portable Air Compressor for your RV?

best-portable-air-compressors-for-your-rv-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

Because the most common use for a portable air compressor amongst RVers is filling tires, let’s start there. The best portable air compressor for your RV should be rated to fill your tires to the manufacturer’s recommended air pressure (PSI). 

Check out this review of the TireMinder RV AIR Compressor.

You’ll also want something light and compact to move easily and store in your RV. Most RVers will be fine with a tire inflator or a hand-carry air compressor, neither of which is really meant for air tools. 

If you have some RV DIY projects in mind, you’ll need a more powerful compressor rated for the tools your project calls for. 

Shop portable air compressors and tire inflators at Camping World.


From keeping the right amount of air in your tires to quickly inflating paddleboards so you can get out on the lake, a portable air compressor is a great addition to your RV toolkit. Here are some other resources to help you complete your RV tool collection: 

Do you have any questions about portable air compressors for your RV? Let us know in the comments below.

Tucker Ballister is our Technical Content Writer. He’s a lover of the open road and the proud owner of a 2021 Sunlite Classic travel trailer (his 3rd RV to date). Check out more of his RV adventures, gear reviews, and outdoor advice at thebackpackguide.com.
The Backpack Guide

follow me

Source: A Guide to Portable Air Compressors for Your RV

How to Use a Portable RV Waste Tank

How to Use a Portable RV Waste Tank

Using a portable RV waste tank is similar to the process of emptying your gray and black water tanks. These portable waste tanks are ideal for long-term camping destinations with “partial hookups,” meaning – there isn’t a sewer connection at the campsite, but there might be a dump site at the campground or nearby.  

Full hookup sites are often more expensive and harder to find than partial hookup sites. That’s why portable waste tanks are really useful to have on hand.

Learn more about portable waste tanks and why you might need them.

What is a Portable RV Waste Tank?

what-is-how-to-use-a-portable-rv-waste-tank-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

Portable RV waste tanks serve as temporary holding tanks, allowing you to transport waste to the dump station without moving your RV. Some have two round three-inch openings, and others only have one. Most also have a waste tank vent opening that serves as a pressure relief valve.

Here are a few nicknames used for portable waste water holding tanks:

  • Blue boys
  • Tote tank
  • Honey pot
  • Toilet tote
  • Toot wagon
  • Cutlass supreme

If your tank has two three-inch openings, the top opening is your tank fill, and the side opening is for dumping the tank. If your tank has one three-inch opening, you’ll use that to fill it, seal it during transport, and empty it again into an approved dump station.

What You’ll Need to Use a Portable RV Waste Tank

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Most heavy-duty portable waste tanks for RVs come with the required sewer accessories. For sanitary use, you’ll need the following: 

Again, the required accessories are included if you choose a product like this Camco Rhino Waste Tank.

How to Use a Portable RV Waste Tank

Start by consulting your tank’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommendations for safe use.

Wear gloves and any other personal protective equipment (PPE) you prefer when dealing with RV waste. Then, here’s how to use your portable RV waste tank. 

Empty your RV’s Holding Tank(s) into the Portable Tank

empty-into-tank-how-to-use-a-portable-rv-waste-tank-01-2023
Photo by Camping World
  1. Connect a 90-degree clear elbow to the fill opening on top of the tank. A clear elbow is recommended to see when the tank is close to its capacity.
  2. Attach one end of your sewer hose to the clear elbow and the other to your RV’s holding tank outlet. 
  3. Open the waste tank vent and empty your tanks into your tote the same way you’d empty them at a dump station – black tank first, then the gray water tank.

Technician Tip: Remember that your portable waste tank usually has less room than your RV’s tank capacity, so you may need to empty one tank at a time and make several trips.

  1. Close your holding tank valves and screw the waste tank vent shut before detaching the sewer hose from your RV’s tank outlet. Cap your RV’s outlet before proceeding.

For tanks with two 3-inch openings: 

Connect the detached end of your sewer hose to the dump opening on the side and leave the clear elbow and the other end of the hose connected to the fill opening.

For tanks with one 3-inch opening: 

Detach the sewer hose completely and cap both openings (on your RV and the portable tank). Cap the sewer hose before transporting it and the tank.

Transport your Portable Tank

transport-tank-how-to-use-a-portable-rv-waste-tank-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

Transport your portable RV waste tank to the nearest dump station. Most can be rolled by hand or attached to your truck hitch and towed at slow speeds – a recommended max of 5 MPH. If you must travel a longer distance, be careful to secure your portable tank in an open truck bed, so it doesn’t move around while in transit. 

Empty Your Portable RV Waste Tank

empty-how-to-use-a-portable-rv-waste-tank-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

Start by positioning your portable waste tank near the sewer drain connection at the dump station.

For tanks with two openings: 

  1. Detach the sewer hose and 90-degree connector from the tank’s fill opening and cap the fill opening. 
  2. Attach the 4-in-1 adapter to the 90-degree connector and screw or place the connector into the dump inlet.
  3. Open the waste tank vent and pull the handle on the dump opening to empty its contents. You may need to tilt your tank to empty it as the level drops.

For tanks with one opening: 

  1. Remove the fill opening cap and attach one end of your sewer hose. 
  2. Attach your 90-degree clear elbow connector and 4-in-1 adapter to the other end and screw or place the connector into the dump inlet. 
  3. Open the waste tank vent and lift the end opposite the fill opening to empty it. You may need to lower and raise your tank several times to empty it completely.

How to Clean a Portable RV Waste Tank

clean-how-to-use-a-portable-rv-waste-tank-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

Rinsing out your portable RV waste tank is the final step in proper use. Do this while your sewer hose is connected and the tank valve is open (for two-opening waste tanks). 

  1. Remove the waste tank vent cap completely and attach the female-to-female drain hose adapter. 
  2. Connect the dump station’s rinse water hose to the adapter and turn it on to let freshwater flow through your tank. 
  3. Rock your tank gently back and forth to dislodge waste particles. 

For tanks with two openings: 

It may be helpful to close the side tank valve, fill your tank halfway, then rock it back and forth before opening the valve and draining the tank. 

For tanks with one opening: 

You’ll need to fill your tank partially, shut the water off, and tilt it to rinse and drain. 

Final Safety Tips for Using a Portable RV Waste Tank

Here are a few more things to consider: 

  • Clean all the sewer accessories you use with your portable waste holding tank after each use. 
  • Remember that your portable tank’s capacity is typically less than your RV’s holding tank capacity. It may require multiple trips to empty your holding tanks completely.
  • Read the manufacturer’s instructions before towing your waste tank behind your truck to ensure safe, sanitary transportation.

Now that you know how to use a portable RV waste tank, check out some of our best-selling portable tank models for dry camping or state parks without full hookups. Once you have yours, you’ll enjoy more comfortable extended stays and expanded campground options.

Do you have any questions about using an RV portable waste tank? Let us know in the comments below.

Tucker Ballister is our Technical Content Writer. He’s a lover of the open road and the proud owner of a 2021 Sunlite Classic travel trailer (his 3rd RV to date). Check out more of his RV adventures, gear reviews, and outdoor advice at thebackpackguide.com.
The Backpack Guide

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Using a portable RV waste tank is similar to the process of emptying your gray and black water tanks. These portable waste tanks are ideal for long-term camping destinations with “partial hookups,” meaning – there isn’t a sewer connection at the campsite, but there might be a dump site at the campground or nearby.  

Full hookup sites are often more expensive and harder to find than partial hookup sites. That’s why portable waste tanks are really useful to have on hand.

Learn more about portable waste tanks and why you might need them.

What is a Portable RV Waste Tank?

what-is-how-to-use-a-portable-rv-waste-tank-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

Portable RV waste tanks serve as temporary holding tanks, allowing you to transport waste to the dump station without moving your RV. Some have two round three-inch openings, and others only have one. Most also have a waste tank vent opening that serves as a pressure relief valve.

Here are a few nicknames used for portable waste water holding tanks:

  • Blue boys
  • Tote tank
  • Honey pot
  • Toilet tote
  • Toot wagon
  • Cutlass supreme

If your tank has two three-inch openings, the top opening is your tank fill, and the side opening is for dumping the tank. If your tank has one three-inch opening, you’ll use that to fill it, seal it during transport, and empty it again into an approved dump station.

What You’ll Need to Use a Portable RV Waste Tank

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Most heavy-duty portable waste tanks for RVs come with the required sewer accessories. For sanitary use, you’ll need the following: 

Again, the required accessories are included if you choose a product like this Camco Rhino Waste Tank.

How to Use a Portable RV Waste Tank

Start by consulting your tank’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommendations for safe use.

Wear gloves and any other personal protective equipment (PPE) you prefer when dealing with RV waste. Then, here’s how to use your portable RV waste tank. 

Empty your RV’s Holding Tank(s) into the Portable Tank

empty-into-tank-how-to-use-a-portable-rv-waste-tank-01-2023
Photo by Camping World
  1. Connect a 90-degree clear elbow to the fill opening on top of the tank. A clear elbow is recommended to see when the tank is close to its capacity.
  2. Attach one end of your sewer hose to the clear elbow and the other to your RV’s holding tank outlet. 
  3. Open the waste tank vent and empty your tanks into your tote the same way you’d empty them at a dump station – black tank first, then the gray water tank.

Technician Tip: Remember that your portable waste tank usually has less room than your RV’s tank capacity, so you may need to empty one tank at a time and make several trips.

  1. Close your holding tank valves and screw the waste tank vent shut before detaching the sewer hose from your RV’s tank outlet. Cap your RV’s outlet before proceeding.

For tanks with two 3-inch openings: 

Connect the detached end of your sewer hose to the dump opening on the side and leave the clear elbow and the other end of the hose connected to the fill opening.

For tanks with one 3-inch opening: 

Detach the sewer hose completely and cap both openings (on your RV and the portable tank). Cap the sewer hose before transporting it and the tank.

Transport your Portable Tank

transport-tank-how-to-use-a-portable-rv-waste-tank-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

Transport your portable RV waste tank to the nearest dump station. Most can be rolled by hand or attached to your truck hitch and towed at slow speeds – a recommended max of 5 MPH. If you must travel a longer distance, be careful to secure your portable tank in an open truck bed, so it doesn’t move around while in transit. 

Empty Your Portable RV Waste Tank

empty-how-to-use-a-portable-rv-waste-tank-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

Start by positioning your portable waste tank near the sewer drain connection at the dump station.

For tanks with two openings: 

  1. Detach the sewer hose and 90-degree connector from the tank’s fill opening and cap the fill opening. 
  2. Attach the 4-in-1 adapter to the 90-degree connector and screw or place the connector into the dump inlet.
  3. Open the waste tank vent and pull the handle on the dump opening to empty its contents. You may need to tilt your tank to empty it as the level drops.

For tanks with one opening: 

  1. Remove the fill opening cap and attach one end of your sewer hose. 
  2. Attach your 90-degree clear elbow connector and 4-in-1 adapter to the other end and screw or place the connector into the dump inlet. 
  3. Open the waste tank vent and lift the end opposite the fill opening to empty it. You may need to lower and raise your tank several times to empty it completely.

How to Clean a Portable RV Waste Tank

clean-how-to-use-a-portable-rv-waste-tank-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

Rinsing out your portable RV waste tank is the final step in proper use. Do this while your sewer hose is connected and the tank valve is open (for two-opening waste tanks). 

  1. Remove the waste tank vent cap completely and attach the female-to-female drain hose adapter. 
  2. Connect the dump station’s rinse water hose to the adapter and turn it on to let freshwater flow through your tank. 
  3. Rock your tank gently back and forth to dislodge waste particles. 

For tanks with two openings: 

It may be helpful to close the side tank valve, fill your tank halfway, then rock it back and forth before opening the valve and draining the tank. 

For tanks with one opening: 

You’ll need to fill your tank partially, shut the water off, and tilt it to rinse and drain. 

Final Safety Tips for Using a Portable RV Waste Tank

Here are a few more things to consider: 

  • Clean all the sewer accessories you use with your portable waste holding tank after each use. 
  • Remember that your portable tank’s capacity is typically less than your RV’s holding tank capacity. It may require multiple trips to empty your holding tanks completely.
  • Read the manufacturer’s instructions before towing your waste tank behind your truck to ensure safe, sanitary transportation.

Now that you know how to use a portable RV waste tank, check out some of our best-selling portable tank models for dry camping or state parks without full hookups. Once you have yours, you’ll enjoy more comfortable extended stays and expanded campground options.

Do you have any questions about using an RV portable waste tank? Let us know in the comments below.

Tucker Ballister is our Technical Content Writer. He’s a lover of the open road and the proud owner of a 2021 Sunlite Classic travel trailer (his 3rd RV to date). Check out more of his RV adventures, gear reviews, and outdoor advice at thebackpackguide.com.
The Backpack Guide

follow me

Source: How to Use a Portable RV Waste Tank

Is RVing With a Toad Right For You?

Is RVing With a Toad Right For You?

Should I RV with or without a toad? Once you’ve chosen a motorhome versus a towable RV, it’s common for this to be the next question.

What is a Toad?

what-is-rving-with-a-toad-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

A toad is a vehicle that RVers tow behind their motorhome. It’s also called a dinghy or a tow vehicle. Many people, including full-time RVers, RV without a toad. Depending on your travel style and your RV’s towing capacity, you may or may not need to pull a compact car behind your RV. 

If you’d like to know more about dinghy towing, check out Good Sam’s 2020 Guide to Dinghy Towing.

The Benefits of RVing With a Toad

benefits-rving-with-a-toad-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

RVers tow a vehicle because of the convenience once they reach their destination. It makes it easier to shop for groceries, sightsee, and navigate tight or congested city streets without moving your large motorhome.

Sure, it adds unhooking your toad to your campsite setup checklist. Once your vehicle is unhooked, you’re free to explore and run errands without driving your RV until it’s time to move to your next destination.

This is particularly advantageous for full-timers or those that seek snowbird destinations for a full season. You can park your RV long-term and still visit local attractions, run out for groceries, or easily pick up visitors from the nearest airport.

That said, there are benefits to towing a vehicle for short RV trips. You won’t have to break camp every time you want to move, and you can tow a 4×4 vehicle like a Jeep Wrangler if you’re interested in exploring dirt roads to find trailheads or fishing spots. 

A toad also makes urban exploration easier, as you won’t have to navigate crowded, narrow city streets in a large RV. You’ll also be able to park at trailheads that don’t offer RV-accessible lots. 

If you’re interested in towing a vehicle behind your RV, these resources will help: 

Sounds great, right? So why would anyone RV without a toad?

The Cons of RVing With a Toad

The number one reason to RV without a toad is that your RV isn’t rated to tow a vehicle. Every make and model has a specific towing capacity. Start by determining yours before considering towing a front-wheel drive vehicle behind your motorhome.

Here are the other downsides to RVing with a toad: 

Decreased Fuel Economy and Harder Maneuvering

maneuvering-rving-with-a-toad-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

While a toad can offer convenience at your destination, it does make it more difficult to maneuver your RV. You’ll need to remember the extra length and weight you tow when cornering, parking, backing up, and pulling into gas stations.

If you’ve never driven an RV before, you’ll want to remember that adding a toad will add some difficulty. Because of the added weight, a toad will affect your acceleration, fuel economy, and braking. Any RV will be easier to drive without a toad.

Increased Maintenance Costs

maintenance-rving-with-a-toad-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

Maintenance is another reason to go without a toad. First, you’ll have to maintain and insure a second vehicle if you decide to tow a vehicle. Second, towing puts extra strain on your RV’s engine, transmission, and suspension system

Towing a toad requires extra maintenance, so you’ll need to budget enough to maintain your RV and your towed vehicle. 

Download our Customer Reference Handbook to track your RV’s seasonal maintenance needs.

You’ll also need specific accessories for towing a vehicle with wheels on the ground. Here are some examples of dinghy towing accessories: 

Why Else Would You RV Without a Toad?

rv-without-toad-rving-with-a-toad-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

Additionally, the main benefit of RVing without a toad is having your RV’s amenities everywhere you go

Hungry after a hike? Your kitchen is at your disposal. Don’t want to use trailhead bathrooms? Your RV bathroom is just steps away in the parking lot. 

RVing without a toad also means you’ll have a safe place for your pets to relax while you explore. If you choose the right RV with a built-in generator, you can also keep the air conditioning running while you’re away, which is particularly important when visiting national parks with pet restrictions.

Keeping your RV at the right temperature when leaving pets for any amount of time is very important. Learn more about safe RV temperatures for your pets.

Is RVing With a Toad Right For You?

Answer these follow-up questions to decide for yourself.

What Is Your RV Travel Style?

travel-style-rving-with-a-toad-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

If you have a slower pace of travel, you’ll probably enjoy the convenience of having a tow vehicle. That includes seasonal Workamping or extended snowbirding, where you’ll appreciate having a second vehicle instead of relying on public transportation or renting a car. 

Your RV will be parked much more than you’re driving, meaning you won’t deal with the inconveniences of towing a vehicle behind your RV regularly. You’ll also deal with hitching up and unhitching your toad only when relocating your entire camp. 

If you travel fast, however, you may tire of hitching and unhitching a towed vehicle because you’re already breaking camp often. You’ll also be inconvenienced by the challenges and increased maintenance costs of towing, and you’ll be more affected by the decreased fuel economy that comes with flat towing a vehicle behind your RV.  

If you RV primarily for tailgating, races, festivals, or concerts, you may not need a toad, as you’ll often be camping onsite.

What RV Do You Drive?

what-rv-rving-with-a-toad-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

Your RV and what it’s rated to tow determine IF you can tow a vehicle, HOW WELL it tows, and WHICH VEHICLES can be towed safely. Many class A, B, and C RVs are capable of towing, but their towing capacities will vary greatly. 

Generally, diesel motorhomes are more efficient for towing a vehicle because their engines offer more torque, delivering increased horsepower at lower revolutions per minute (RPMs). This puts less overall strain on the engine as well.

In addition to towing capacity, you’ll need to ensure your RV is equipped with the proper vehicle towing accessories and braking system. Not all motorized RVs are built with a hitch receiver that’s rated for the weight of a towed vehicle. 

Beyond towing capacity and the proper towing equipment, consider your RV’s length. RV owners with longer motorhomes may benefit more from an RV toad because you can park safely in a campground and get around in your towed vehicle. 

On the other hand, owners of small, more nimble RVs may not want to sacrifice their current maneuverability by towing a second vehicle. Ultimately, your answer depends less on the type of RV you have and more on your travel style and preferences. 

How Comfortable Are You Towing?

comfort-rving-with-a-toad-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

The more experience you have towing, the more likely it is that RVing with a toad is right for you. All RVers go through an adjustment period, but towing an 18-foot vehicle behind a 34-foot motorhome can be a lot to get used to if you’re new to RVing. 

If you’re not entirely comfortable driving your RV as it is, you can always start RVing without a toad and revisit your choice down the road.


For those that are new to RVing, you might also be interested in learning about the easiest type of RV to drive. Safety on the road is paramount to your RV adventures, so take the time to consider all the angles before you decide whether RVing with a toad is right for you.

Do you have additional questions about RVing with or without a toad? Let us know in the comments below!

  • Recent Posts

Nadia Bajuelo Contributor
Nadia hit the road full-time in an RV with her husband, Jon, and their 2 dogs. She dreams of traveling the world, creating content that inspires, and hugging a koala bear. She’s been an educator and a marketer for a Fortune 500 company. These days, she works as a content creator and marketing strategist from the road. She writes for various blogs and magazines, also documenting her adventures with Jon at their blog RoamingRemodelers. Until she finds that koala to hug, she’s happy boondocking, visiting indie bookstores along the way, and drinking as much tea as possible.

follow me

Should I RV with or without a toad? Once you’ve chosen a motorhome versus a towable RV, it’s common for this to be the next question.

What is a Toad?

what-is-rving-with-a-toad-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

A toad is a vehicle that RVers tow behind their motorhome. It’s also called a dinghy or a tow vehicle. Many people, including full-time RVers, RV without a toad. Depending on your travel style and your RV’s towing capacity, you may or may not need to pull a compact car behind your RV. 

If you’d like to know more about dinghy towing, check out Good Sam’s 2020 Guide to Dinghy Towing.

The Benefits of RVing With a Toad

benefits-rving-with-a-toad-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

RVers tow a vehicle because of the convenience once they reach their destination. It makes it easier to shop for groceries, sightsee, and navigate tight or congested city streets without moving your large motorhome.

Sure, it adds unhooking your toad to your campsite setup checklist. Once your vehicle is unhooked, you’re free to explore and run errands without driving your RV until it’s time to move to your next destination.

This is particularly advantageous for full-timers or those that seek snowbird destinations for a full season. You can park your RV long-term and still visit local attractions, run out for groceries, or easily pick up visitors from the nearest airport.

That said, there are benefits to towing a vehicle for short RV trips. You won’t have to break camp every time you want to move, and you can tow a 4×4 vehicle like a Jeep Wrangler if you’re interested in exploring dirt roads to find trailheads or fishing spots. 

A toad also makes urban exploration easier, as you won’t have to navigate crowded, narrow city streets in a large RV. You’ll also be able to park at trailheads that don’t offer RV-accessible lots. 

If you’re interested in towing a vehicle behind your RV, these resources will help: 

Sounds great, right? So why would anyone RV without a toad?

The Cons of RVing With a Toad

The number one reason to RV without a toad is that your RV isn’t rated to tow a vehicle. Every make and model has a specific towing capacity. Start by determining yours before considering towing a front-wheel drive vehicle behind your motorhome.

Here are the other downsides to RVing with a toad: 

Decreased Fuel Economy and Harder Maneuvering

maneuvering-rving-with-a-toad-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

While a toad can offer convenience at your destination, it does make it more difficult to maneuver your RV. You’ll need to remember the extra length and weight you tow when cornering, parking, backing up, and pulling into gas stations.

If you’ve never driven an RV before, you’ll want to remember that adding a toad will add some difficulty. Because of the added weight, a toad will affect your acceleration, fuel economy, and braking. Any RV will be easier to drive without a toad.

Increased Maintenance Costs

maintenance-rving-with-a-toad-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

Maintenance is another reason to go without a toad. First, you’ll have to maintain and insure a second vehicle if you decide to tow a vehicle. Second, towing puts extra strain on your RV’s engine, transmission, and suspension system

Towing a toad requires extra maintenance, so you’ll need to budget enough to maintain your RV and your towed vehicle. 

Download our Customer Reference Handbook to track your RV’s seasonal maintenance needs.

You’ll also need specific accessories for towing a vehicle with wheels on the ground. Here are some examples of dinghy towing accessories: 

Why Else Would You RV Without a Toad?

rv-without-toad-rving-with-a-toad-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

Additionally, the main benefit of RVing without a toad is having your RV’s amenities everywhere you go

Hungry after a hike? Your kitchen is at your disposal. Don’t want to use trailhead bathrooms? Your RV bathroom is just steps away in the parking lot. 

RVing without a toad also means you’ll have a safe place for your pets to relax while you explore. If you choose the right RV with a built-in generator, you can also keep the air conditioning running while you’re away, which is particularly important when visiting national parks with pet restrictions.

Keeping your RV at the right temperature when leaving pets for any amount of time is very important. Learn more about safe RV temperatures for your pets.

Is RVing With a Toad Right For You?

Answer these follow-up questions to decide for yourself.

What Is Your RV Travel Style?

travel-style-rving-with-a-toad-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

If you have a slower pace of travel, you’ll probably enjoy the convenience of having a tow vehicle. That includes seasonal Workamping or extended snowbirding, where you’ll appreciate having a second vehicle instead of relying on public transportation or renting a car. 

Your RV will be parked much more than you’re driving, meaning you won’t deal with the inconveniences of towing a vehicle behind your RV regularly. You’ll also deal with hitching up and unhitching your toad only when relocating your entire camp. 

If you travel fast, however, you may tire of hitching and unhitching a towed vehicle because you’re already breaking camp often. You’ll also be inconvenienced by the challenges and increased maintenance costs of towing, and you’ll be more affected by the decreased fuel economy that comes with flat towing a vehicle behind your RV.  

If you RV primarily for tailgating, races, festivals, or concerts, you may not need a toad, as you’ll often be camping onsite.

What RV Do You Drive?

what-rv-rving-with-a-toad-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

Your RV and what it’s rated to tow determine IF you can tow a vehicle, HOW WELL it tows, and WHICH VEHICLES can be towed safely. Many class A, B, and C RVs are capable of towing, but their towing capacities will vary greatly. 

Generally, diesel motorhomes are more efficient for towing a vehicle because their engines offer more torque, delivering increased horsepower at lower revolutions per minute (RPMs). This puts less overall strain on the engine as well.

In addition to towing capacity, you’ll need to ensure your RV is equipped with the proper vehicle towing accessories and braking system. Not all motorized RVs are built with a hitch receiver that’s rated for the weight of a towed vehicle. 

Beyond towing capacity and the proper towing equipment, consider your RV’s length. RV owners with longer motorhomes may benefit more from an RV toad because you can park safely in a campground and get around in your towed vehicle. 

On the other hand, owners of small, more nimble RVs may not want to sacrifice their current maneuverability by towing a second vehicle. Ultimately, your answer depends less on the type of RV you have and more on your travel style and preferences. 

How Comfortable Are You Towing?

comfort-rving-with-a-toad-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

The more experience you have towing, the more likely it is that RVing with a toad is right for you. All RVers go through an adjustment period, but towing an 18-foot vehicle behind a 34-foot motorhome can be a lot to get used to if you’re new to RVing. 

If you’re not entirely comfortable driving your RV as it is, you can always start RVing without a toad and revisit your choice down the road.


For those that are new to RVing, you might also be interested in learning about the easiest type of RV to drive. Safety on the road is paramount to your RV adventures, so take the time to consider all the angles before you decide whether RVing with a toad is right for you.

Do you have additional questions about RVing with or without a toad? Let us know in the comments below!

  • Recent Posts

Nadia Bajuelo Contributor
Nadia hit the road full-time in an RV with her husband, Jon, and their 2 dogs. She dreams of traveling the world, creating content that inspires, and hugging a koala bear. She’s been an educator and a marketer for a Fortune 500 company. These days, she works as a content creator and marketing strategist from the road. She writes for various blogs and magazines, also documenting her adventures with Jon at their blog RoamingRemodelers. Until she finds that koala to hug, she’s happy boondocking, visiting indie bookstores along the way, and drinking as much tea as possible.

follow me

Source: Is RVing With a Toad Right For You?

How To Keep RV Drawers Closed During Travel

How To Keep RV Drawers Closed During Travel

Do you have a pesky drawer or cabinet in your RV that doesn’t want to stay closed? While RV drawers and cabinets have closures, most RV travelers deal with this problem at some point. 

Learning to keep RV drawers closed during travel protects your RV from damage and ensures the safety of belongings and passengers. You don’t want items falling and breaking while on the road. 

Properly organizing your RV and securing cabinets and drawers can prevent items from falling out or falling on you when you open them once parked. 

Kinds of RV Drawers

Let’s learn what kind of RV drawers and cabinets are in your coach and how to secure each type. 

Overhead Cabinets

oh-cabinets-how-to-keep-rv-drawers-closed-during travel-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

In RV floor plans, you’ll see these denoted as ‘O/H’ or ‘O/H Cabinets.’ There are kinds of overhead cabinets – doors that swing open to one side and doors that open upwards and are supported with struts. They hold shut with a double-roller catch, magnetic catch, or spring-loaded catch.

RV Sliding Drawers

sliding-drawers-how-to-keep-rv-drawers-closed-during travel-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

You’ll find these drawers in most RV kitchens, bedrooms, and bathrooms. They are ideal for storing cutlery, toiletries, and personal belongings and are typically secured with a double-roller catch.

Spice Racks

spice-rack-demo-how-to-keep-rv-drawers-closed-during travel-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

Some luxury RVs feature spice racks in tall, skinny sliding drawers that secure with double-roller or spring-loaded catches. Others feature open spice racks requiring cupboard bars or spice clips to secure your spices. 

Pantry Cupboards

pantry-how-to-keep-rv-drawers-closed-during travel-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

Some RVs have a vertical pantry space designed for dry goods storage. These cupboards typically have large hinged cabinet doors that swing open and secure with a double-roller cabinet catch. 

Medicine Cabinets

medicine-cabinet-how-to-keep-rv-drawers-closed-during travel-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

You’ll find these in most RV bathrooms with a mirrored front for your cosmetic needs. Depending on your RV’s make and model, they secure with a double roller cabinet catch or a magnetic catch. 

Exterior Compartments

exterior-compartment-how-to-keep-rv-drawers-closed-during travel-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

Securing your exterior compartments during travel is just as important as your interior drawers. They are typically closed using a thumb lock and a keyed lock. Both locks should be closed before you drive or tow your RV to keep your exterior compartments shut during travel. Tug at them before hitting the road to ensure they are firmly shut.

How to Keep RV Drawers Closed During Travel

how-to-keep-closed-how-to-keep-rv-drawers-closed-during travel-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

No matter the type of drawer or cabinet, they should all be secure when in the closed position with a latch or catch. It’s especially smart to check all cabinets, cupboards, and drawers for latches before you purchase an RV. Conduct an RV walk around to find them all, particularly on a used RV

My travel trailer didn’t come with a latch for the sliding drawer in the kitchen. So I had to get creative. I used a bungee cord to keep the drawer closed until I could install a permanent solution. 

But how do you find a replacement latch or catch for your “problem drawer?”

Most RV cabinets and drawers are secured shut with a double-roller catch, a spring-loaded catch, or a surface-mount strong magnetic catch. Depending on its make and model, you may find other latches and catches on your RV. 

Explore Camping World’s cabinet and drawer hardware selection to find replacement catches, latches, handles, mounting brackets, strikes, and more.

Technician Tip: It’s best and easiest to replace your existing catch with OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts of the same type. So if you don’t recognize the specific latch or catch on your RV’s cabinets, consult your owner’s manual or contact your RV’s manufacturer.

How to Load your RV Properly

Even shiny new RV drawer latches can fail if you don’t load your RV correctly. That means distributing the weight evenly and not placing heavy items in places where they could shift during travel and bump a drawer open. 

For example, a heavy crockpot in an overhead cabinet will move during travel. It’s unlikely that a small magnetic latch will be strong enough to hold the cabinet shut. Keep heavy items down low in cabinets and cupboards with more robust closures.

Only you know what organization method works best for you, but here are some important safety considerations for properly loading your RV.

How to Organize RV Drawers

In addition to securing RV drawers and cabinets, clever organization keeps them closed while you travel and makes it easier to find what you need when you arrive. 

Our main tip is to install drawer and cabinet liners before loading anything in

Measure your drawers and cabinets and cut the liner to the appropriate size. The liner helps items grip and prevents things from shifting.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Here are a few items to help you organize RV storage drawers:

  • Premium drawer liner. Available in multiple colors, this is the best product for cushioning all the drawers and cabinets inside your RV.
  • Dish protectors. This 24-piece set of protective pads is perfect for protecting your dishware and comes with eight pads in each size – dinner plates (10”), salad plates (6”), and bread plates (4.5”). 
  • Pot and pan protectors. Keep your cookware from scratching or breaking as you go down the road with this six-piece pad set. Comes with two pads of each size (20”, 14”, and 10”).

How To Keep Things From Falling Out of RV Cabinets

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Cabinet and drawer organizers also prevent shifting even with your RV cabinets closed. Here are several other RV cabinet organizers to consider: 

More Tips for Organizing RV Drawers and Cabinets

more-tips-how-to-keep-rv-drawers-closed-during travel-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

Here are a few more tips to help you optimize your RV’s interior storage space: 

  • Organize by weight. The heaviest items should be stored in low areas, such as the bottom shelves in kitchen cabinets or under sofas or dinette cushions.
  • Prioritize by use. Place your least-used items towards the back of cabinets and drawers, leaving space for frequently used items in easy-to-reach locations.
  • Utilize hooks & hangers. Create more hanging storage in your RV to free up cabinet and drawer space for the essentials.

Staying organized in your RV will help you travel easily and efficiently. Check out our other resources for RV storage and organization tips: 

How do you organize your RV’s drawers and cabinets and ensure they remain closed while you travel? Share your tips in the comments below. 

Tucker Ballister is our Technical Content Writer. He’s a lover of the open road and the proud owner of a 2021 Sunlite Classic travel trailer (his 3rd RV to date). Check out more of his RV adventures, gear reviews, and outdoor advice at thebackpackguide.com.
The Backpack Guide

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Do you have a pesky drawer or cabinet in your RV that doesn’t want to stay closed? While RV drawers and cabinets have closures, most RV travelers deal with this problem at some point. 

Learning to keep RV drawers closed during travel protects your RV from damage and ensures the safety of belongings and passengers. You don’t want items falling and breaking while on the road. 

Properly organizing your RV and securing cabinets and drawers can prevent items from falling out or falling on you when you open them once parked. 

Kinds of RV Drawers

Let’s learn what kind of RV drawers and cabinets are in your coach and how to secure each type. 

Overhead Cabinets

oh-cabinets-how-to-keep-rv-drawers-closed-during travel-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

In RV floor plans, you’ll see these denoted as ‘O/H’ or ‘O/H Cabinets.’ There are kinds of overhead cabinets – doors that swing open to one side and doors that open upwards and are supported with struts. They hold shut with a double-roller catch, magnetic catch, or spring-loaded catch.

RV Sliding Drawers

sliding-drawers-how-to-keep-rv-drawers-closed-during travel-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

You’ll find these drawers in most RV kitchens, bedrooms, and bathrooms. They are ideal for storing cutlery, toiletries, and personal belongings and are typically secured with a double-roller catch.

Spice Racks

spice-rack-demo-how-to-keep-rv-drawers-closed-during travel-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

Some luxury RVs feature spice racks in tall, skinny sliding drawers that secure with double-roller or spring-loaded catches. Others feature open spice racks requiring cupboard bars or spice clips to secure your spices. 

Pantry Cupboards

pantry-how-to-keep-rv-drawers-closed-during travel-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

Some RVs have a vertical pantry space designed for dry goods storage. These cupboards typically have large hinged cabinet doors that swing open and secure with a double-roller cabinet catch. 

Medicine Cabinets

medicine-cabinet-how-to-keep-rv-drawers-closed-during travel-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

You’ll find these in most RV bathrooms with a mirrored front for your cosmetic needs. Depending on your RV’s make and model, they secure with a double roller cabinet catch or a magnetic catch. 

Exterior Compartments

exterior-compartment-how-to-keep-rv-drawers-closed-during travel-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

Securing your exterior compartments during travel is just as important as your interior drawers. They are typically closed using a thumb lock and a keyed lock. Both locks should be closed before you drive or tow your RV to keep your exterior compartments shut during travel. Tug at them before hitting the road to ensure they are firmly shut.

How to Keep RV Drawers Closed During Travel

how-to-keep-closed-how-to-keep-rv-drawers-closed-during travel-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

No matter the type of drawer or cabinet, they should all be secure when in the closed position with a latch or catch. It’s especially smart to check all cabinets, cupboards, and drawers for latches before you purchase an RV. Conduct an RV walk around to find them all, particularly on a used RV

My travel trailer didn’t come with a latch for the sliding drawer in the kitchen. So I had to get creative. I used a bungee cord to keep the drawer closed until I could install a permanent solution. 

But how do you find a replacement latch or catch for your “problem drawer?”

Most RV cabinets and drawers are secured shut with a double-roller catch, a spring-loaded catch, or a surface-mount strong magnetic catch. Depending on its make and model, you may find other latches and catches on your RV. 

Explore Camping World’s cabinet and drawer hardware selection to find replacement catches, latches, handles, mounting brackets, strikes, and more.

Technician Tip: It’s best and easiest to replace your existing catch with OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts of the same type. So if you don’t recognize the specific latch or catch on your RV’s cabinets, consult your owner’s manual or contact your RV’s manufacturer.

How to Load your RV Properly

Even shiny new RV drawer latches can fail if you don’t load your RV correctly. That means distributing the weight evenly and not placing heavy items in places where they could shift during travel and bump a drawer open. 

For example, a heavy crockpot in an overhead cabinet will move during travel. It’s unlikely that a small magnetic latch will be strong enough to hold the cabinet shut. Keep heavy items down low in cabinets and cupboards with more robust closures.

Only you know what organization method works best for you, but here are some important safety considerations for properly loading your RV.

How to Organize RV Drawers

In addition to securing RV drawers and cabinets, clever organization keeps them closed while you travel and makes it easier to find what you need when you arrive. 

Our main tip is to install drawer and cabinet liners before loading anything in

Measure your drawers and cabinets and cut the liner to the appropriate size. The liner helps items grip and prevents things from shifting.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Here are a few items to help you organize RV storage drawers:

  • Premium drawer liner. Available in multiple colors, this is the best product for cushioning all the drawers and cabinets inside your RV.
  • Dish protectors. This 24-piece set of protective pads is perfect for protecting your dishware and comes with eight pads in each size – dinner plates (10”), salad plates (6”), and bread plates (4.5”). 
  • Pot and pan protectors. Keep your cookware from scratching or breaking as you go down the road with this six-piece pad set. Comes with two pads of each size (20”, 14”, and 10”).

How To Keep Things From Falling Out of RV Cabinets

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Cabinet and drawer organizers also prevent shifting even with your RV cabinets closed. Here are several other RV cabinet organizers to consider: 

More Tips for Organizing RV Drawers and Cabinets

more-tips-how-to-keep-rv-drawers-closed-during travel-01-2023
Photo by Camping World

Here are a few more tips to help you optimize your RV’s interior storage space: 

  • Organize by weight. The heaviest items should be stored in low areas, such as the bottom shelves in kitchen cabinets or under sofas or dinette cushions.
  • Prioritize by use. Place your least-used items towards the back of cabinets and drawers, leaving space for frequently used items in easy-to-reach locations.
  • Utilize hooks & hangers. Create more hanging storage in your RV to free up cabinet and drawer space for the essentials.

Staying organized in your RV will help you travel easily and efficiently. Check out our other resources for RV storage and organization tips: 

How do you organize your RV’s drawers and cabinets and ensure they remain closed while you travel? Share your tips in the comments below. 

Tucker Ballister is our Technical Content Writer. He’s a lover of the open road and the proud owner of a 2021 Sunlite Classic travel trailer (his 3rd RV to date). Check out more of his RV adventures, gear reviews, and outdoor advice at thebackpackguide.com.
The Backpack Guide

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Source: How To Keep RV Drawers Closed During Travel

How to RV Comfortably in the Winter

How to RV Comfortably in the Winter

It’s winter, and you’re looking to get out of the house. The problem is, you check the weather, and it’s 25 degrees out. No worries, if you’d rather be camping, there’s some good news for you. You can still get out there in your RV and camp comfortably, just like in the summertime. 

If you know what you’re doing, wintertime can be one of the best seasons for RV camping. It is a beautiful time of the year, with white landscapes perfect for photography. The air is cold and fresh, and most importantly, bug-free. The wintertime is also a little more hardcore, so you can get away from the crowds you face in the other seasons. If it’s your first time RV winter camping, or you haven’t gone out in a while, look over the advice and pre-trip preparation tips outlined in this guide for a great time outdoors this winter. 

Snow, Road, Winter, Cold, Travel, Ice, Snowy, Traffic
Image Credit: uknowgayle / Pixabay

What You Need to Know

If you plan on RV camping in the winter, before you head out on the road there are a few tips you will need to know. 

  1. Check the weather before you head to your campsite. You want to avoid getting stuck in bad weather. Winter storms are nothing to mess with. 
  2. Make sure the campsite you have in mind is open for the season. Many campgrounds close before winter begins, as well as trails. 
  3. Keep the gas tank of your RV full at all times. If you are running on low gas, ice crystals can form more readily in the empty areas of the tank. 
  4. Have flexible plans. Sometimes, bad winter weather can seem to appear out of nowhere, even if you came prepared. Be flexible with the driving routes, dates, and destinations for your camping trip.

Getting Water for Winter RV Camping

When winter camping, you’ll want to have a source of water for your water system. Of course, always keep emergency water on hand, in bottles, but for the main source of water you’ll likely hook up your system to a city water source. If you do this, remember that it’s winter, and be sure to buy a heated pipe. If not, you’ll go through the hassle of disconnecting, draining, and then reconnecting your pipe each night to avoid freezing. A regular hose will freeze at a sub-zero temperature. 

You can get away without connecting to a city water source if you have a freshwater tank. You’ll store your water here, but you still need to protect it from freezing to make sure you always have a source of running water. Add a bit of antifreeze to your holding tank, or you can also buy heated holding tank compartments to avoid freezing. 

Protecting Your Interior Plumbing

It’s important to take care of the water pipes in your RV when winter camping. Cold weather can cause cracks or burst pipes, which means wasted money, and an inconvenient camping trip. The good thing is, you can easily protect your RV pipes from the cold. A quick tip is to let the warm air in your RV circulate around the pipes. Do this by opening the cabinet door under the sink and keeping the bathroom door open. 

Aside from this, there are a couple of other things you can do to avoid freezing pipes. For one, you can check the weather to know when there will be a freeze. Have the heater running at this time. Also, put heat tape on pipes and hoses, making sure to cover valves and connections which freeze up more easily. Finally, antifreeze can be added in small amounts to holding tanks.

Keeping You (and Your RV) Warm

If you’re going to camp out in the winter, you won’t be comfortable unless you’re warm. First, you’ll want to make sure you have the gear to keep you warm. This includes a thermal sleeping bag with a thermal rating fit for the temperatures where you’ll be camping. It also helps if your sleeping bag has a hood because a lot of heat escapes from the head. Along with a good sleeping bag, pair warm clothes, and jackets, and you’ll be all set. 

Once you’ve got the right gear, be sure to prep your RV for the cold, too. One of the best ways to do this is by insulating your RV. Make sure to insulate the vents of the RV, and this can be done with vent insulators purchased online or by using an insulating material like foam board. Cover windows with insulating material as well, since a lot of heat can be lost through the windows. You can buy special curtains for this purpose or just install winter windows. Last, but not least, buy a heater. If you’ve prepped your RV properly, a heater will keep you nice and toasty through the cold nights. 

​​Protecting the Outside of Your RV

The outside of your RV can take a beating in wintertime conditions if you don’t take the proper care. You’ll want to be sure to protect the stabilizing jacks under your RV from freezing to the ground by placing blocks or pads suitable for the purpose beneath them.

 Also, if you have any exterior items, like bikes, it’s a good idea to get a skirt for your RV. This will protect your items from winter wind and cold, and also help you stay warm inside. 

Take a look at the exterior window seals on your RV, because if they are old you may be letting unwanted cold and water enter your RV. If you’re not sure if your seals are doing their job, you can always add caulk or sealant for preventative care. 

Camping in winter weather often means snow or the possibility of it. Keep your RV awning closed, as it can be damaged by the weight of accumulating snow and ice. Clearing the top of your RV of snow, but use a soft bristle brush to avoid scratching or damaging the roof. 

Winter RV Living Checklist

If you’re going out in your RV into the wild in the dead of winter, you’re going to want to go through some checks to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip. After all, the best time to problem solve is before you head out on the road, and not in below-freezing weather. Here’s a list of the most important things necessary to prepare your rig for winter RV camping. 

  1. Empty all water tanks and add a small amount of antifreeze to prevent freezing connections and valves. 
  2. Test your heater before you go and clean it as necessary. If you use propane for heat, be sure to have extra tanks on hand. Propane goes a lot more quickly in freezing weather. 
  3. Check window seals, and if old or faulty, add sealant or caulking to prevent cold and water from entering. 
  4. Prevent freezing pipes by covering them with insulating tape. 
  5. Place water storage in locations where heat reaches. Allow heat to enter the bathroom and under the sink by leaving doors and cabinets open. Place heaters in areas where water storage is located. 
  6. Cover exterior vents. This helps to keep out unwanted ice, snow, air, or pests looking for a warm home. 
  7. Guard the inside of your RV against humidity to avoid a build-up of water and potential mold. Clean areas and dry them, taking care to dry the bathroom and kitchen, and add drying agents as needed. 

Driving Tips for Winter RV Camping

Driving in winter conditions can get tricky, especially in an RV. Luckily, there are tips you can take note of to avoid a bad situation on the road and get to and from your camping destination accident-free. Here is a list of driving tips you ought to know before heading out on your next winter RV camping adventure. 

  1. Check weather conditions along the route of your destination before heading out. Driving through a mountain pass during a snowstorm is never a good idea.
  2. Make sure you are driving with all-weather tires. These are necessary for navigating snowy and icy roads. 
  3. Drive slowly and carefully when necessary, and accelerate/decelerate slower in poor weather conditions. 
  4. Avoid changing lanes, especially quickly, and keep to the right when possible. 

Closing Thoughts 

RVing in the wintertime can be an awesome experience, but it can also end up in disaster if you’re not prepared. To secure a good time, before heading out you’ll want to check and set up your water system to have running water on your trip. Protect your plumbing system from the cold, too, as well as the outside of your RV. Make yourself comfortable with warm clothes and blankets, do a few pre-trip safety checks, and you’ll be all set for your next winter camping experience. Adventure is out there. 

Government and Educational Resources for Winter Camping:

How To Choose The Right Camping Tent

How To Choose The Right Camping Tent

Whether you’re hosting guests in an RV park or setting the kids up outside so mom and dad can enjoy some privacy, you’ll need the right camping tent. Camping tents are made for different seasons and different purposes, so there’s more to consider than you might think. 

Whichever tent you choose, you should also be familiar with ways to make tent camping more comfortable. Tips like “the water bottle trick” will help you avoid sleepless nights and uncomfortable mornings when tent camping. 

But for now, let’s focus on how to choose the right camping tent for your RV and camping lifestyle. 

Why Do You Need a Camping Tent?

why-do-you-need-right-camping-tent-09-2022
Photo by Camping World

There are many ways to spend a comfortable night in nature. While RVers love the added amenities of their motorhome or towable, here are some reasons you might need a camping tent as well: 

  • You have an RV but need additional sleeping accommodations when hosting guests.
  • You’ve set up an RV base camp in order to hike and sleep in more remote locations. 
  • You’re just getting into car camping and need a quality tent. 
  • You’re exploring camping for less without investing in an RV until you know you like it. 

While you can always rent an RV to explore camping, tent camping is a great entry into the world of sleeping outdoors. 

How to Choose a Camping Tent

These questions will help you pick the right tent for your camping needs. 

What are camping tents made of?

materials-right-camping-tent-09-2022
Photo by Camping World

The most common camping tent fabrics are nylon, polyester, and cotton canvas. But different fabrics can be used in the various tent components, such as the body, the floor, and the rainfly. 

When it comes to evaluating tent materials, denier count is the metric most tent manufacturers use to denote the thickness of the individual fiber threads or filaments used to create the fabric. Tents with higher-denier fabrics generally offer more durability than tents with lower-denier fabrics. 

Additionally, most camping tents have mesh panels that provide ventilation, which is critical when camping in hot climates. No-see-um mesh is a variety with thinner holes that restricts the entry of pesky flying insects. 

A tent with larger mesh panels will provide more ventilation to prevent condensation inside the tent. Larger mesh panels will also offer better views out of the tent when you open a vestibule. 

Tent Pole Construction

The other critical component of a tent’s construction is its poles. Tent poles often determine how easy or hard it is to set up a tent and play a role in a tent’s durability. You’ll most commonly find tent poles made of aluminum or fiberglass, but some tents offer poles made of carbon fiber, steel, or composite materials. 

  • Aluminum tent poles are stronger and more durable than fiberglass. They are common in lightweight backpacking tents. 
  • Fiberglass tent poles are common in the most affordable car camping and cabin-style tents. They are heavier and fairly flexible but more likely to crack or split when stressed.
  • Carbon fiber tent poles are strong and lighter than aluminum. But they are more expensive, which makes them less common in family camping tents and more common in backpacking or mountaineering tents.
  • Steel tent poles are really heavy but also very strong, rigid, and cost-effective. They are generally found on heavy cabin-style or tunnel canvas tents. 
  • Composite tent poles take the crown over aluminum when it comes to flexibility. They flex under stress without breaking and retain the ability to return to their original shape. They are comparable to aluminum poles in terms of weight and price. 

While less common, there are a growing number of inflatable camping tents on the market today. These tents utilize air beams to retain their structure and come with an air pump for easier inflation during setup and breakdown.   

Who will you be camping with?

who-you-camp-with-right-camping-tent-09-2022
Photo by Camping World

This question determines how much sleeping capacity you’ll need. A two-person tent can still be nice for car camping, even if you’re alone. A larger tent generally offers more headroom, elbow room, and space for your gear. 

When you’re looking at tent dimensions, it pays to consider the height of the people you’re camping with. Typical tent floor lengths fall somewhere between 80 and 90 inches, but you’ll want a longer floor if you or anyone you’re camping with is over six feet. 

And if you’re family camping, you’ll need enough room for everyone to sleep comfortably. Most camping tents advertise their interior square footage. Divide this number by the number of people that will be sleeping inside to get an estimate of how much space each person will have. 

Remember that you may also need space for backpacks, lanterns, and other camp tools. And if you’re camping with kids, a tent with a divider is especially nice; it allows you to separate your sleeping space from the kids for more privacy and a better night’s sleep. 

How easy is it to set up and break down?

setup-right-camping-tent-09-2022
Photo by Camping World

Answering this question is easiest by addressing the differences between freestanding and non-freestanding tents. Freestanding tents will generally support their own structure whether or not you install the tent stakes. 

Nonfreestanding tents require the stakes to be secured in the ground to keep the corners taut and provide the structure for the tent poles. There are various standard and proprietary tent pole designs out there, but most manufacturers categorize their tents as freestanding or not. 

If you’re new to tent camping, freestanding tents are the easiest to set up and break down. If you have enough inside the tent and it’s a relatively windless day, you may also get away without securing the tent stakes, which saves you a step in setup and breakdown. 

Once you set up a freestanding tent, you can also move it to your ideal location before packing your sleeping bag and camping pillow inside. However, nonfreestanding tents are more popular for experienced backpackers and outdoor enthusiasts because they are generally lighter and more compact for carrying long distances.

What weather will you be camping in?

weather-right-camping-tent-09-2022
Photo by Camping World

A tent’s weather resistance has much to do with the rainfly construction. But to back up a second, a tent with a rainfly is essential if you’re camping with any possibility of inclement weather. You can always remove the rainfly if you’re camping in nice weather and want to enjoy stargazing once you lie down. 

You’ll typically find tents with a full-coverage or roof-only rainfly. Full-coverage rainflies provide the maximum degree of protection from wind and rain, as well as some additional insulation. Roof-only rainflies offer some rain protection, but they are designed for fair-weather camping. 

Another feature to look for in terms of weather resistance is the construction of the tent’s seams. Tent seams are the most likely locations for leaks to develop. Tents with sealed or taped seams offer more leak protection than those without. 

Some tent manufacturers finish their fabrics with a durable water-repellent coating. This provides additional weatherproofing if you tend to camp in areas with a higher likelihood of precipitation. 

You can also determine whether tent manufacturers have labeled their tents for 3-season, 3-4 season, or 4-season use. 

  • 3-season tents are made for spring, summer, and fall. They offer privacy and shelter from bugs and mild weather. 
  • 3-4 season tents are suitable for early spring and late fall, as well as throughout the summer. They are generally sturdier and warmer than 3-season tents. 
  • 4-season tents are primarily designed for inhospitable winter weather, including high winds, colder temperatures, and substantial snow loads. They usually feature rounded dome roofs to eliminate the possibility of snow collection and guy lines to provide added wind resistance. Because they are warmer than three-season models, a four-season tent is usually not well suited for use in the summer.

For most campers, a three-season tent will do the trick. But once you gain experience and start avoiding the crowds in early spring, late fall, or winter, you may need to upgrade to a more weather-resistant camping tent. 

How much vestibule space do you need?

vestibule-space-right-camping-tent-09-2022
Photo by Camping World

A vestibule is the covered space outside the tent’s main body. Some tents have one or multiple vestibules that can be used to protect your shoes, backpacks, and other gear from overnight weather. 

The advantage of a vestibule is the ability to keep your gear covered without it taking up valuable space inside your tent. If you’re backpacking, vestibule space for your pack is essential. But if you’re car camping, vestibule space is less of a concern because you’ll be able to store excess gear in your vehicle overnight. 

How much headroom do you need?

headroom-right-camping-tent-09-2022
Photo by Camping World

Camping tents are primarily designed for sleeping. But if you get stuck inside on a rainy day, having more headroom makes things much more comfortable. Regarding headroom, there are two tent shapes to consider: cabin-style tents and dome-style tents. 

  • Cabin tents offer the most headroom and overall living space. They generally feature vertical walls, and some offer room dividers to accommodate multiple private sleeping areas.  
  • Dome tents offer more durability and wind resistance. Some are still quite tall in the center, but the walls slope away to help with wind shedding, which also decreases the living space inside. 

Cabin-style tents are better for family camping because of their expanding living spaces. But dome-style tents are recommended if you’ll be camping in less-than-ideal weather conditions.  

What are the tent’s interior features?

interior-features-right-camping-tent-09-2022
Photo by Camping World

Interior features like room dividers go a long way when you’re camping with multiple people in one large tent. But other features improve your tent camping experience as well, such as interior loops, phone storage pockets, and the number of doors. 

The number of doors is a feature that often gets overlooked. But if you’re sleeping in a large tent with a single door, you could have multiple people climbing over you when nature calls in the middle of the night. In that case, having multiple doors is the difference between a rejuvenating rest and waking up groggy and sore. 

In addition, storage pockets, loops for clipping carabiners, and a loft to store gear will help you keep your tent organized during your camping trip. Especially after the first night, phones, keys, and other small items can easily get lost amidst the sea of sleeping bags in family tents. Keeping these items organized in their dedicated pockets will make camp life much easier. 

What Tent Accessories Do You Need?

accessories-right-camping-tent-09-2022
Photo by Camping World

Some camping tents include additional accessories, but some do not. Here’s a short list of tent accessories to look for when you’re shopping for camping tents: 

  • Tent footprint/ground cloth: Goes under your tent to protect the tent floor and provide additional moisture protection.
  • Extra stakes/anchors: Different campsites may require more heavy-duty stakes or tent anchors than others. 
  • Tent repair kit: Stay prepared for broken tent poles, torn mesh, and other potential tent maintenance needs. 
  • Indoor-outdoor floor mat: Gives you a place to wipe your feet and leave shoes to minimize tracking dust and dirt inside the tent. 
  • Seam sealer: Reseal your tent seams if you start to notice leakage.
  • Rechargeable fan: Keep cool when camping in hot weather.   

Are You Ready to Upgrade from a Tent to an RV?

upgrade-to-rv-right-camping-tent-09-2022
Photo by Camping World

If you’re brand new to camping, starting out with a tent is a good idea. It allows you to explore sleeping outdoors and exploring nature while saving money and enjoying a comfortable place to sleep at night. 

But a natural progression leads many tent campers to upgrade to an RV. How do you know when you’re ready to make that jump?

Here are a few reasons to consider shopping for a new or used RV

  • You’re tired of sleeping on an air mattress or thin camping pad.
  • You’re tired of packing up a wet tent in the morning.
  • You’re tired of unpredictable water pressure at campground showers. 
  • You’re sick of the questionable sanitation of campground bathroom facilities.  
  • You want a weatherproof cooking space
  • You want added protection from wildlife and the elements. 
  • You want a climate-controlled space for four-season camping.
  • You want the ability to tune into your favorite movies or shows on rainy days. 

If you’re ready to make the transition, here are some useful RV buying tips: 


Camping World’s Personal Shopper Program is a great place to start if you’re interested in finding your RV. Our trained specialists will sort through our national RV inventory to find the perfect RV for you! 

What do you look for in a camping tent? Share your experience in the comments below!

Tucker Ballister is a Technical Content Writer for Camping World and a lover of the open road. You can check out more of his adventures and outdoor advice at thebackpackguide.com.

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Source: How To Choose The Right Camping Tent

Everything You Need to Know About RV Tires and Trailer Tires

Everything You Need to Know About RV Tires and Trailer Tires

Many RV owners take their tires for granted. Maintaining your RV and trailer tires is essential to your RV maintenance duties. But what happens when it comes time to replace your RV and trailer tires?

Equipping your RV with the right tires comes down to several factors. Each RV manufacturer recommends metrics and measurements to help you choose properly-rated tires for their RV and travel trailer models

Because tires are the foundation of your RV, here’s everything you need to know about RV tires and trailer tires. 

How Long Do RV Tires and Travel Trailer Tires Last?

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Photo by Camping World

Because most motorized and towable RVs are driven less than passenger vehicles, their tires tend to last between three and six years on average. The more you drive, the more frequently you’ll need to replace your tires. 

The tread wear is the metric to monitor over your tires’ lifespan. When that tread falls below a depth of 4/32”, it’s time to replace your RV tires. But even if your tires have plenty of tread left, keeping them for more than 8-10 years is not recommended. 

Most RV and travel trailer tires should be replaced every 10,000 to 15,000 miles. But each manufacturer recommends a service life for their tires, so it’s best to seek their advice on tire replacement intervals. 

RV tire covers can protect your tires from UV exposure, dry rot, and other wear and tear that can shorten your tire’s lifespan. Even if you aren’t driving your recreational vehicle a lot, leaving your tires exposed to the elements will decrease their serviceable life.

How to Change an RV Tire

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Photo by Camping World

Blowouts happen, so if you find yourself needing to swap a blown RV tire for a spare, you’ll need the following tools: 

  • Spare tire 
    • Your RV may or may not have one. They are less common on Class A RVs due to the weight of the vehicle and the dangers of changing a tire on the side of the road. 
    • If you don’t, call Good Sam Roadside Assistance to get you back on the road.
  • Bottle jack rated for the weight of your trailer
    • DO NOT USE your RV’s built-in hydraulic or stabilizing jacks to lift your RV. 
  • A lug wrench or torque wrench
  • Impact driver with the correct size socket for wheel lugs
  • Wheel chocks
  • Tire gauge
  • Tire inflator or air compressor with the appropriate fittings

With those tools in hand and your RV parked in a safe location, follow these steps: 

  1. Retrieve your spare tire. 
  2. Place wheel chocks in front and back of tires you aren’t changing to keep your RV from moving. 
  3. Use your lug wrench to loosen all lug nuts holding the tire in place.
  4. Place the bottle jack under your RV’s frame.
  5. Extend the bottle jack until the tire is completely off the ground. If the tire is blown, you need to extend it high enough for the inflated spare tire. 
  6. Use your impact driver and socket to remove wheel lugs. 
  7. Remove the blown tire and set it aside. 
  8. Center the spare tire on the lug threads.
  9. Replace wheel lugs by hand (at least get them started by hand to avoid cross-threading).
  10. Initially tighten lug nuts with the impact driver.
  11. Retract the bottle jack to lower the tire onto the ground. 
  12. Tighten lug nuts entirely with your torque wrench. All manufacturers recommend lug nuts be tightened to a specific torque setting.
  13. Use your tire gauge to check the pressure in your spare tire. 
  14. If necessary, inflate your tire to the recommended PSI.
  15. Remove wheel chocks. 
  16. Store the blown tire safely until you find a tire or service center to acquire a new spare. 
  17. Store all your tire-changing tools. 

Driving your RV without a spare in tow isn’t recommended. If you’ve had to install a spare, you should replace the original tire as soon as possible before continuing on your RV road trip.

How to Change a Trailer Tire

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Photo by Camping World

This process is largely the same for travel trailers. But there are a few additional pointers to remember. Follow the same steps as above, with these safety tips in mind: 

  • Ensure your trailer’s stability. Even if your trailer is hitched to your tow vehicle, you should place wheel chocks in front and back of the tire(s) you aren’t changing to prevent the trailer from shifting and potentially falling off your bottle jack. You may consider extending your trailer’s stabilizing jacks once your bottle jack is extended. This provides a backup to keep your trailer elevated if the bottle jack fails or slips out of place.
  • Inspect the wheel hub after removing the old tire. This should be done for RV and trailer tires. Visually inspect the hub for cracking, buckling, or other signs of damage. If you notice any major signs of damage, contact roadside assistance before moving your RV. 
  • Find a replacement spare. Don’t travel far without a spare tire for your travel trailer or fifth wheel. Tires for smaller trailers can be harder to come by, but contacting your nearest Camping World Service Center is a good place to start when looking for the best trailer tire providers in your area. 

How Much Are RV Tires?

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Photo by Camping World

Tire prices fluctuate depending on size, brand, weight capacity, and quality. But the average RV tire costs somewhere between $250 and $300. 

Tires for Class A RVs tend to be more expensive than car tires or tires for Class C RVs because they are larger and heavier. Owners of Class B RVs will usually pay less per tire because they require smaller and lighter tires, but your cost may be higher if you decide to invest in higher-quality tires made for off-roading. 

How Much Are Trailer Tires?

Most travel trailer tires are smaller than tires for motorized RVs. Their average cost is likely to fall between $100 and $200. But, of course, that cost can fluctuate depending on the exact brand, tire size, load range, tread pattern, and construction you’re looking for.

How to Identify RV and Trailer Tires