The Best Black Friday Deals for RVers in 2023

The Best Black Friday Deals for RVers in 2023

This article may contain compensated links, please read our disclaimer for more information.

Black Friday is just around the corner and that means it’s time to seek out deals on RVing products for your traveling loved ones or for yourself. Honestly, part of RVing is collecting less stuff and focusing more on making memories. That said, there are a handful of items that sure do make RV life more enjoyable and if you can get a good deal on those items, that’s even better!

Below are some of the top Black Friday deals for RVers in 2023! Whether you’re shopping for an RVing loved one or for yourself, we’re betting you’ll find the perfect deal right here. 

Kindle E-Readers

Storing books in an RV is difficult. They fall from shelves during travel and because they’re heavy that can add a lot to your total RV weight. Fortunately, you can take care of this problem by investing in a Kindle E-Reader. In order to get a good deal on a Kindle, wait until the Amazon Black Friday sale begins on November 16. During this sale, select Kindle E-Readers will be up to 29% off!

Blue and orange lego bricks

Lego and Magna-Tiles Building Toys

The best toys for RV living? Open ended toys such as Lego and Magna-Tiles. These can be used in a variety of ways and can easily fill hours of playtime. Unfortunately, they can be a bit on the pricey side, but if you buy during Amazon’s Black Friday sale beginning on November 16, you could get up to 30% off on Amazon on select Lego and Magna-Tile sets

Select Ninja Kitchen Appliances 

We may have tiny kitchens, but that doesn’t mean RVers don’t cook amazing meals. Of course, in order ot make those meals, we need the right tools. While we can’t recommend stocking your kitchen with too many small appliances, there are instances where an air fryer, toaster oven, and other appliances with multiple uses can come in handy. Buy Ninja versions of these during the Amazon Black Friday sale and save up to 44%. 

Ruggable Washable Rugs

RVing can be a messy business. Dirt and sand are constantly being tracked into our tiny-homes-on-wheels, making it difficult to keep the floors clean. Something that’ll make cleaning the floors a bit easier? Ruggable washable rugs! These come in a variety of amazing designs, can be tossed in the washing machine, and some will be up to 25% off during Amazon’s Black Friday sale. 

SMYRNA Turkish Cotton Beach Towel

Tired of waiting forever for your towels to dry after each beach day? Turkish towels are the perfect answer. These thin, yet absorbent towels wick water away without a problem, but also dry super quickly, making it easy to enjoy back to back beach days or pool days. We especially love these SMYRNA Turkish Cotton Beach Towels, which happen to be on sale right now. 

Nugget Countertop Ice Maker

A tiny freezer means there isn’t always space for ice, and we’ve yet to find an RV fridge with a built-in ice maker (though it could exist). Our solution? A countertop ice maker. Luckily, the Nugget Countertop Ice Maker is discounted for Black Friday when bought through Amazon. 

Shark Cordless Anti-Allergen Stick Vacuum Cleaner

Washable rugs are one way to keep your RV floors a bit cleaner, but if you have carpets, you’ll also need a vacuum cleaner. This is where the Shark Cordless Anti-Allergen Stick Vacuum Cleaner comes into play. This is one of our favorite vacuums for RVing and it is discounted on Amazon for Black Friday. 

VIVOSUN Folding Beach Wagon

Perhaps one of the most useful items an RVer can own is a folding beach wagon. These wagons fold up small, so they can be stored in an RV storage bay, but when open, they can hold a surprising amount. Whether you need a way to get your toddler down to the beach or a method of getting laundry to the campground laundry room, a folding wagon is useful. This VIVOSUN Folding Beach Wagon is a good pick and is part of Amazon’s Black Friday Sale. 

Tools laying on a floor

CARTMAN Home Tool Kit

Tools are a must-have when RVing. Things are always going to need fixing, and we’re betting you find some upgrades you’d like to make to your rig as well. This CARTMAN Home Tool Kit is a great starter set for those who need some tools for their rig, and it’s being sold at a discount at Amazon. 

Jackery 1000 Plus Solar Generator Kit

Want to be able to power your rig off-grid? A traditional generator is just fine, but the Jackey 1000 Plus Solar Generator Kit is even better. This awesome kit gives you power wherever you are without the noise and stink of a traditional generator. It also removes the need to install solar panels on your roof (something that may seem daunting to some). Best of all, it’s 30% off on Amazon right now. 

MaXpeedingrods 3500 Watt Portable Inverter Generator

Of course, if you can’t splurge on the solar generator listed above, a traditional gas powered generator will do the job just fine. This is where the MaXpeedingrods 3500 Watt Portable Inverter Generator comes into play. This one is on sale for 20% off on Amazon and is enough to power anything in your rig.

SANAUVULCAN Portable Propane Fire Pit

If you enjoy campfires, but don’t enjoy building fires or smelling like smoke, a propane fire pit is the perfect solution. This SANAUVULCAN Portable Propane Fire Pit is an excellent choice. It includes lava rocks as well as a metal lid and is on sale right now for 16% off on Amazon. 

Cascade Mountain Tech Camping Chair

Of course, you’ll need some sort of chair to sit around those campfires. The Cascade Mountain Tech Camping Chair will do the trick just fine. This low profile chair is lightweight, but incredibly durable. It’s also super comfortable, with a breathable mesh back and bottom to keep you cool in the summer months. Best of all, it’s included in Amazon’s Black Friday sale, meaning you’ll get a great deal if you buy now!

GoPro HERO9 Black

Capture all of your family’s adventure with a GoPro. We love these cameras because they are waterproof, dirtproof, and as durable as they come, meaning they can stand up to all the crazy things your travel crew gets up to. For Black Friday, Amazon is selling the GoPro HERO9 Black for just $199. This is a 13% savings and is a worthwhile buy, for sure. 

RVLock Compact and V4

Fumbling with keys every time you return to your home on wheels is a pain in the neck. The solution? An RVLock. This super handy lock upgrade allows you to enter your rig using a key fob or a code. It’s much more secure than a traditional RV lock and it sure makes life easier. Right now, both the RVLock Compact and RVLock V4 are on sale on Amazon. Snag one while you can!

As you can see, there are all kinds of amazing deals on items that will make RV life just a bit more comfortable. Which things will you buy for the RVers in your life? Which ones will you snag for yourself? 

Want more gift ideas? Be sure to check out the gift guides below:

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Source: The Best Black Friday Deals for RVers in 2023

Everything You Need to Know About Camping in the Everglades

Everything You Need to Know About Camping in the Everglades

This article may contain compensated links, please read our disclaimer for more information.

It’s time to pack up the RV and head south for the winter! And one of the best places to go? Florida, of course—and we have to say, camping in the Everglades is one of our very favorite things to do in the Sunshine State. 

If you’re heading to Florida this winter, we highly recommend spending some time in the Everglades. Of course, you’ll want to do a little planning before you go. Here’s what you need to know before camping in the Everglades.

When to Go Camping in the Everglades

First, let’s talk about when to go camping in the Everglades. While you can definitely have fun in the Everglades any time of year, we firmly believe the months of November through April provide the very best weather for exploring the Everglades.

During this time, there are fewer mosquitoes and cooler temperatures. You’ll also experience a lot less rainfall than you might during a summertime visit. This makes the Everglades the ideal winter RV destination, and it should absolutely be added to your to-do list for this winter season. 

View while camping in the Everglades

Where to Stay When Camping in the Everglades

Wondering where to park your RV while camping in the Everglades? There are a few great choices. Pick from the options below and you really can’t go wrong. 

Long Pine Key Campground

Located in Everglades National Park, Long Pine Key Campground offers dry camping only. That said, there is potable water and a dump station available, and the location really is hard to beat. Just know that this campground is only open November through May. 

Flamingo Campground

The other front-country campground in Everglades National Park, Flamingo Campground has some dry camping sites as well as 41 sites with electric hookups. Once again, potable water and a dump station are available, as are solar-heated showers, picnic tables, and grills. In our opinion, this is the best campground in the national park. 

Midway Campground

If you’re willing to drive a little bit to get to the national park itself, Midway Campground in Big Cypress National Preserve is another wonderful pick. This campground features 26 RV sites, each one with electric hookups. Potable water, a dump station, and restrooms are all available onsite. 

Encore Miami Everglades

Finally, we must mention Encore Miami Everglades. This is a full-fledged RV resort and is the place to go if you prefer glamping over camping.

While it is a part of the Trails Collection membership (an extension of Thousand Trails), it is also totally possible to stay here without a membership of any kind. There are both full-hookup and partial-hookup sites available in the park, and there are restrooms with showers, a well-kept pool, a fun playground, and more. 

Gator seen while camping in the Everglades

What to Do While Camping in the Everglades

Once you have your RV all set up in one of the campgrounds listed above, the next step is to head out and have some fun in the Florida Everglades. Fortunately, there is plenty of fun to be had. Below are some of our top picks for things to do in the Everglades. 

Explore the Visitor Centers

We highly recommend starting your trip at one of the Everglades National Park visitor centers. Each of these centers offers wonderful information on the park itself and the plants and animals that call the place home. You’ll also find rangers ready to answer all of your questions, as well as junior ranger books, maps, and information on trails and upcoming ranger programs. 

Note that all of the visitor centers in Everglades National Park are different from one another, meaning you can visit multiple centers during your visit and never get bored or run out of things to learn. 

Walk the Anhinga Trail

Easily the best trail in the entire park, the Anhinga Trail is a must-do while camping in the Everglades. This is a 0.8-mile boardwalk trail that takes you through a sawgrass marsh. During your walk you will see a wide variety of birds including herons, egrets, and of course, the anhingas the trail is named for. 

On top of that, it’s highly likely that you will spot at least a few alligators along the route. During one visit, we walked right by a dozen or more gators as they basked in the sun!

Attend a Ranger Program

Speaking of the Anhinga Trail, we highly recommend attending the nighttime ranger-guided walk along this trail. Because it happens at night and alligators are nocturnal, this awesome ranger program allows you to see alligators in their most active state. We have also found that the rangers who lead this program are all very knowledgeable and happy to answer questions. (Do bring some mosquito repellent, though. You’ll thank yourself later.)

Of course, pretty much any ranger program you choose to attend while visiting the national park would likely provide an excellent educational experience, so don’t hesitate to attend other talks and walks if they sound interesting to you!

Take an Airboat Ride

If you’re going to visit the Everglades, you really need to get at least one airboat ride into your trip. Yes, these boats are noisy, but trust us when we say the ability to get out in areas that cannot be viewed otherwise makes all the noise well worthwhile. You’re sure to see a number of animals along the way (be sure to pack binoculars) and you might even get to pick up speed for an extra fun thrill. 

Hop on a Tram (or a Bike)

Another option for seeing even more of the park? Taking the Shark Valley tram ride. This tram takes you through a huge section of the park and allows you to take in all kinds of cool sights along the way. You’ll learn all about the animals that call the Everglades home, and the wildlife viewing opportunities are fantastic. 

Not into the tram idea? It’s also possible to ride a bike along the Shark Valley tram road, giving you an opportunity to see all that same beauty while moving your body and working off some calories. 

Yes, camping in the Everglades is one of those experiences every RVer should have at least once, and it is an absolutely perfect way to spend a portion of your winter. Hopefully this article inspires you to add the Everglades and Everglades National Park to your winter lineup this year so you can enjoy all of the beautiful things we love so much about this part of the Sunshine State.

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A Quick Guide to RV Camping in Hawaii

A Quick Guide to RV Camping in Hawaii

This article may contain compensated links, please read our disclaimer for more information.

For many full time RVing families, the ultimate goal is to see every single state, including Hawaii. Of course, you can’t exactly drive your RV over to Hawaii, and that makes checking this particular state off your list a bit of a challenge. Fortunately, camping in Hawaii is totally possible, but it will take a little more research and planning than most of the other states. 

Hoping to add Hawaii to your list of states visited in the near future? Here’s what you need to know about camping in Hawaii. Use these bits of info and you’re sure to have an amazing time exploring the Aloha State by RV. 

Hawaii Camping: Renting vs Shipping an RV

As mentioned above, driving your home-on-wheels over to Hawaii isn’t an option. This leaves you with two choices: shipping your own RV over to the islands, or renting one after you arrive.

Shipping an RV to Hawaii

Shipping your RV to Hawaii is expensive. For a 20-foot motorhome, you’d be looking at a $6,000 price tag, give or take. That said, depending on how long you’ll be staying, this still might be cheaper than paying for a rental RV the entire stay. 

Unfortunately, there is another factor to consider: size. You see, the roads and campgrounds in Hawaii are not made for big rigs, meaning campervans and rooftop tents are the name of the game. Since the vast majority of Fulltime Families members are in much larger rigs, shipping an RV over simply will not work. 

If your home-on-wheels happens to be a campervan or truck camper and you plan to stay for a few months, it might make sense to ship your rig over. Otherwise, it’s probably better to look into renting. 

Renting an RV in Hawaii

As mentioned above, Hawaii cannot accommodate large RVs. Therefore, the rental RVs you’ll find for camping in Hawaii are mostly campervans and rooftop tents. Fortunately, it is possible to find vans that will sleep four people, but if you have a bigger family, you might need to get creative. Using two vans is an option, as is setting up a tent for the kids. 

In Hawaii, rigs can be rented through both Outdoorsy and RVshare, and you can expect to pay $100+ per night for a rental RV. Make sure to book in advance and ask the owner of the rig for tips and tricks for camping on the island you’re visiting. 

Small camper van: the best rig for camping in Hawaii

RV Roadside Assistance in Hawaii

It’s important to know that while some plans will cover traditional rental vehicles, most personal RV roadside assistance plans do not cover you if you’re in a rental RV.

The good news? Both RVshare and Outdoorsy offer roadside assistance with their rental RVs, meaning you will have assistance should you need it. But remember, you will need to call the company associated with the rental, not your personal roadside assistance company. 

When to Visit Hawaii

Hawaii has two seasons: a long, dry summer and a long, wet winter. The temperatures are a bit warmer during the summer, but not by much—and honestly, even the wet season isn’t all that wet in most parts of the state. Therefore, you’ll probably have a good bit of nice weather no matter when you decide to go camping in Hawaii. 

Oddly, December through February are the state’s busiest months in terms of tourism, but the summer can get pretty busy as well. Generally speaking, we recommend visiting September through November or March through May to avoid the crowds. 

What to Expect from Hawaiian Campsites

We already mentioned that the campgrounds in Hawaii aren’t made for big rigs. Another thing to know about these campgrounds is that, aside from a handful of HipCamp locations, they do not provide any kind of RV hookups, and some don’t even offer potable water or restrooms with showers. This means you will almost definitely be doing some dry camping

We recommend renting a rig that has its own power source (solar is ideal) and making sure you have plenty of water in tow when you arrive at a campground. If you require flush toilets or showers, be sure to research each campground before booking to ensure those things are available there. 

Volcano erupting in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: the perfect place for camping in Hawaii

Camping in Hawaii: Where to Stay

Yet another funny thing about Hawaii is that unless you’re able to stay on private property, there aren’t really any places where it’s legal to camp outside of an official campground. This can make finding spots to stay a bit more difficult and it makes booking in advance incredibly important. 

Wondering where to find camping in Hawaii? Try the following places:

National Parks

Both Haleakalā National Park and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park have vehicle camping available. That said, Haleakalā requires reservations and has a maximum stay limit of three nights. Meanwhile, the maximum stay limit in Hawaii Volcanoes is seven nights. 

State, City, and County Parks

The only Hawaii state park that allows camping in a vehicle is Waiʻānapanapa State Park. Likewise, only a handful of city and county parks allow camping. Some that do include Kanahâ County Beach Park and Papalaua Wayside County Beach Park.

Private Campgrounds

There are a handful of private campgrounds that have spots for small campers. Some of the best ones include Camp Keanae YMCA and Mālaekahana Beach Campground.


We found that HipCamp actually has some of the best options when it comes to RV camping in Hawaii. Many of the campsites listed here are just parking spots on someone’s land without any amenities at all, but these tend to be very inexpensive and in good locations. There are also some campsites that include access to restrooms with showers—and in rare cases, electrical hookups. 

Boondockers Welcome

Surprisingly, Boondockers Welcome has a few hosts in Hawaii. We can’t be sure these hosts are still active, but it would definitely be worth checking with them if you happen to have a Boondockers Welcome subscription while camping in Hawaii. 

Hawaii is a bit strange when it comes to camping, but it is an absolutely beautiful place and well worth the research required to visit. Be sure to stay as long as possible to really get the most out of your adventures, and have a wonderful time in paradise!

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Source: A Quick Guide to RV Camping in Hawaii

Teach Your Kids How to Plan a Trip: Adding Travel Planning to Your Roadschooling Line Up

Teach Your Kids How to Plan a Trip: Adding Travel Planning to Your Roadschooling Line Up

This article may contain compensated links, please read our disclaimer for more information.

In our opinion, roadschooling is one of the coolest things about traveling full time as a family. Not only do you get to spend a whole lot more time together as a family, but you also get the privilege of showing your kids the ways of the world. One of the very best things you can add to your roadschooling lineup? Teaching kids how to plan a trip. 

We know that sounds kinda crazy, but hear us out. Figuring out how to plan a trip is hugely educational! It requires budgeting, route planning, research, and creative problem-solving. While planning a trip, your kids will have to use their geography skills, as well as money math. Besides, your kids are sure to have an even better time traveling when they get some say in what you see and do, and being a part of the planning process will help them understand all the work that goes into travel planning. 

Not sure how to hand the travel planning over to your little explorers? Well, we don’t recommend handing them the reins and letting them go crazy. Instead, we think it’s best to provide some clear boundaries and let the kids work within those. 

Here are our top tips for showing your kids how to plan a trip. 

Teaching Kids How to Plan a Trip: Decide on a Budget

Before you do anything else, decide on a budget for the trip. Sit down with your kids and explain the spending limit. Help them break the budget down by category, deciding how much will be spent on gas, how much on campsite fees, how much on entertainment, etc. 

For younger kids, it might help to create a tactile or visual way for them to keep track of their budget. For instance, you could give your kids a pile of LEGO bricks—each brick representing $10—and have them place the correct number of bricks in each category. Older kids might prefer making a graph (excellent practice) or even just a list of line items and how much they have to work with in each category. 

Once a destination is chosen and campsites are booked, you can adjust the blocks to represent how much you will actually spend, but encourage kids to stay within their budget and remind them that any leftover money can be rolled over into the “fun” budget for sightseeing. 

Kid looking at a map, learning how to plan a trip

Pick Out a Destination

The next thing your kids will need to do when showing your kids how to plan a trip is decide where you’ll go. There are a few ways you can help your kids with this, depending on how much freedom you want to give them (which often directly correlates with how old they are).

One option is to take a look at your gas budget, have your kids do the math to figure out how far that will get you based on your vehicle’s mileage (remind them to add in a cushion), and then let them choose a destination within that distance.

Another way to go about it? Pick out three or four destinations you’d be willing to visit and ask your kids which sounds most appealing to them. 

The last way you could go about this step is by showing your kids on a map the direction you are headed and let them choose a stop along that route. Often, this makes the most sense when you have an end goal in mind (Florida for winter or Maine for summer, for instance).

Find the Perfect Campsite

Now that you know where you want to go, your kids will need to decide where to stay. Remind them of their budget and provide them with tools such as Campendium and RV Life Campgrounds. Encourage them to read reviews, research amenities, and pay attention to how far out attractions and activities are. 

If the destination location has a large number of campgrounds, it might help if each kid decides on an amenity or two they’d like to have. Another way to narrow things down is to encourage the kids to look for free or very low-cost camping so they have more money to spend on sightseeing. 

Kid researching on computer, learning how to plan a trip

Research Things to Do

Next up when teaching kids how to plan a trip? Deciding what to do.

Your kids probably had some attractions or activities in mind when they picked out their desired destination. It’s worth noting however that depending on how long you’ll be staying, you’ll probably be able to visit several attractions, trails, and landmarks.

Gather brochures from your destination to hand to younger kids so they have an idea of what the choices are. Show older kids how to research options online. If you have reciprocal memberships, show your kids how to find the lists of attractions you can visit for free. And finally, give the young trip planners access to AllTrails to choose hikes.

Once everyone has a clear idea of what the options are, allow each kid to choose a set number of things to see and do. Make sure everyone is aware of how much they are allowed to spend on their choice(s) and then let them get creative and see what they can come up with. 

When everyone has selected their activities, create an itinerary. Help your kids decide together which days to do which things, keeping in mind any free or discounted days that might be happening at the attractions you plan to visit. Remind them to schedule in breaks and help them look at maps to figure out how much time to build in for driving.

Get Ready to Go!

Finally, your kids will need to get ready for the trip they planned. If you’re living in your RV full time, packing may not be something they have to worry about. However, if they plan to take part in activities that require certain items—sledding in White Sands National Park, for instance—they will need to make a list of what they need and then use some of their activity budget to make the purchase. 

Meal planning and grocery shopping will also need to happen. Take a look at your itinerary and decide when it makes the most sense to pack a meal, when you’ll eat out, and when you’ll be home in order to cook. Write that info down in your itinerary and decide which meals to pack and cook, as well as where you will eat out. Once you know what you’ll be packing and cooking during your trip, have the kids create a grocery list of all the ingredients they need. 

The last part of showing your kids how to plan a trip? Making sure all paperwork is together. Gather printouts of campsite confirmations, tickets purchased online, your itinerary, etc. Put all of this into a folder and make your kids responsible for the folder and its contents. 

Note: We also recommend keeping digital copies of all important papers just in case!

Yes, allowing your kids to help create your travel plans does complicate things a bit. That said, the educational benefits far outweigh the inconvenience in our opinion, and your kids will get to feel the satisfaction of knowing how to plan a trip!

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Fulltime Families is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to,, Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc. or its affiliates.

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Source: Teach Your Kids How to Plan a Trip: Adding Travel Planning to Your Roadschooling Line Up

9 Awesome Tips for RV Clothes Storage

9 Awesome Tips for RV Clothes Storage

This article may contain compensated links, please read our disclaimer for more information.

RV clothes storage can be a big challenge. Many RVs simply are not made to be lived in, and if you can’t figure out how to store your clothes properly, they end up being a big mess in the cabinet, drawer, or even on the floor. 

The good news? There are some things you can do to use your storage space more efficiently. Below, we will share our top RV clothes storage tips so you can get those clothes put away and focus more on having a good time traveling with your family. 

Downsize Your Wardrobe

First things first, you will probably want to downsize your wardrobe. The vast majority of us own way, way too many clothes, and when storage space is limited, this can be a major problem. Besides all that, clothes are heavy and can eat up a good chunk of your RV’s cargo carrying capacity. 

One of the best ways to downsize your wardrobe is to create a capsule wardrobe. This will give you the ability to put together plenty of different outfits using the same base pieces, making it the perfect option for RVers. 

To create a capsule wardrobe, choose a base color—black, brown, navy, and gray are good choices—and pick up pieces such as pants, a skirt, a jacket, and shoes in that color. From there, you can use shirts and accessories to add pops of color.

RV clothes storage: an outfit picked out and folded together

RV Clothes Storage: Fold Outfits Together

Once you have your more limited wardrobe put together, you’ll need to figure out the most efficient way to put them away. One way to make your RV clothes storage work well is to fold outfits together. 

For instance, if you plan to wear a certain shirt with a certain pair of pants, fold both items together. This will make it easy to find an outfit that goes well together without pulling out every pair of pants or every shirt. We find this is a particularly good clothes storage technique for kids. 

…or Roll Your Clothes

We also find that space is used more efficiently when you roll your clothes rather than folding them. When you roll, you can roll tightly, removing excess air to reduce fluffiness and thus allowing them to fit more snugly into a drawer or box.

Use Vertical Space with Totes

Sometimes RV clothes storage options are kind of odd. You might find you have to work with a really tall space or a really deep cabinet. In this case, totes are your friend. 

Plastic totes can be used to organize your clothing items however you see fit, and they make it possible to get to a particular item without pulling a whole stack of clothes over. You can roll each item or outfit tightly, place it in a labeled tub, put the lid on the tub, and stack it in the cabinet until you need it. 

Look Into Hanging Storage Options

Have lots of closet space but no drawers? Hanging storage options might be helpful to you. 

Hanging shoe organizers can go on the inside of closet doors and they hold small items such as underwear, socks, and accessories. Hanging sweater organizers are also great. These hang on the rod in the closet and can hold sweaters, t-shirts, pants, or any other clothing items you may not want to put on hangers. 

Clothes bunched up together in need of clever RV clothes storage

Put In Shelves

Of course, you could also put that extra closet space to use by putting in a set of shelves. You can put your clothes into bins and then place the bins on the shelves, giving your closet a neat, organized look, as well as utilizing space that may have been wasted otherwise. 

Invest in Tension Rods

Tension rods are excellent for RV clothes storage. You can use a shower curtain tension rod to hang items up when no traditional closet is available. Meanwhile, small tension rods can be placed in front of bins on shelves to ensure nothing falls while the RV is in transit. 

Hang Command Hooks

Easily one of the best RV storage solutions out there, Command Hooks definitely deserve a place on our list. These hooks stick to the wall and can hold up to quite a lot, making them ideal for hanging things like hats, scarves, and even shoes.

That said, the hooks can be removed quickly and without damaging the walls when the time comes, meaning you don’t have to do anything permanent to your rig to create some awesome places to hang things. 

Put Out-of-Season Things Away

Making sure out-of-season items are put into storage can help a lot too. Use vacuum storage bags to get rid of excess air and make your out-of-season clothes as small as they can be. Then, you can put the bags into totes and place those in the storage bays, under the couch, or wherever else you have storage space available.

There you have it, some really awesome RV clothes storage ideas that will help you keep your clothes up off the floor and your RV looking neat wherever you roam. Now all you have to do is figure out how to do laundry on the road, and then you and your wardrobe will be all set!

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Source: 9 Awesome Tips for RV Clothes Storage

The Awesome Benefits of Off Season Travel

The Awesome Benefits of Off Season Travel

This article may contain compensated links, please read our disclaimer for more information.

One of the best things about traveling full time in your RV? You can go absolutely anywhere any time you wish! For many, this means hitting up the warmer destinations during the winter and heading north for the summer, but it can also mean that you take advantage of off season travel and all of the amazing perks that come along with it. 

Not sure if off season travel is for you? You’ve come to the right place! Here we will discuss all of the amazing benefits of off season travel, as well as some of the drawbacks that may make it a less desirable option. 

What is Off Season Travel?

Before we continue, let’s pause for a second to talk a bit about what off season travel is. Some may assume we mean traveling outside of summer vacation, and depending on the location, this can be exactly what we mean by off season travel. That said, this isn’t the only thing ‘off season’ means. 

If you’re traveling to a ski destination, the off season would be during the late fall and early spring, when the ski slopes are open but the holiday crowds aren’t filling them up. If you’re headed to Disney World, off season would be the months of September and January when crowd levels are lowest. Meanwhile, beaches tend to see the lowest crowds in the winter, and this can be a great time to visit if you happen to be in the south. 

Essentially, to travel during the off season means to travel when the crowd levels are lowest at your particular destination, meaning if you plan it right, you can actually be experiencing off season travel all year long!

Yosemite in fall, a gorgeous place to visit during off season travel

Avoid Crowds

Possibly the biggest perk of off season travel is the fact that you can avoid huge crowds. Want to visit Yosemite or Yellowstone? Go in the late spring and you’ll avoid the congestion caused by summer crowds. Hoping to see Acadia without the hordes? Stay through the leaf-peeping season for a spectacular show without all the crowds. 

Avoiding crowds means fewer traffic jams and shorter lines, so you can spend less time waiting and more time having fun! It also means more peaceful hikes and more campsite availability, as well as more choices when it comes to boondocking spots. 

Save Money

In addition to avoiding large crowds, traveling during the slow season also means you’ll probably save some money. In order to draw people in, many RV parks actually lower their rates once peak season is over, meaning you’ll be able to save on camping fees, especially if you’re willing to stay for a few weeks or months. 

Attractions will also offer discounts and lower rates during the off season. Many museums have ‘homeschool days’ in the fall where they lower rates for homeschoolers, and some beaches don’t require tags and passes during the slow season. 

Family enjoying off season travel at the beach

Enjoy a Slower Pace

Exploring a place when it’s crowded can feel overwhelming and even rushed. You might feel you have to keep moving so the next person can get a turn, and it might be hard to take everything in while navigating large crowds. Additionally, if you’re spending large amounts of money to stay in a particular location, you may be less inclined to stick around for a long time, meaning less time to see and do everything. 

If you visit during the off season, you will likely be able to stay a bit longer thanks to more campsite availability and lower camping rates. On top of that, with fewer crowds and shorter lines, you will be able to see more each day you are there. This slower pace is definitely a more relaxing way to experience a place. 

See Authentic Versions of Destinations

As RVers, we are all about experiencing new places and things. Unfortunately, it can be hard to get a good feel for the personality of a place when it’s overly crowded.

During off season, things slow down, the locals can relax a little, and the true colors of the location can shine through. You might get to chat with the people who live there, and if you’re able to stay a while, you might even make some friends.

On top of all that, natural areas will empty out, so you can fully enjoy the natural beauty and peace they offer without interruption.

The Cons of Off Season Travel

Of course, there are also a few cons that come along with off season travel. For some these will be deal breakers, but in our opinion, the benefits of off season travel often outweighs the drawbacks. 

The biggest drawback of traveling during the slow season? The weather. In many cases, the best weather in a given location happens during the peak travel season—that’s part of why so many people are going there, after all. This means you might have to give up the idea of bright, sunny days and pack an umbrella if you want to experience off season travel. That said, this isn’t always true. In some places—ski destinations being a good example—the weather is actually better during the off season. 

Another big con of visiting a place during the slow season is that some shops, restaurants, campgrounds, and attractions will close once peak season ends. This means you may not get to see and do everything you had hoped during your visit. Be sure to do your research so you know what will be open during your off season adventure. 

As you can probably tell, we think off season travel is often the best way to go. Visit some beaches in May, head out skiing in March, and go hiking in Yosemite in October. You’ll likely be charmed by the character that shines through without the hassle and bustle, and we’re betting you’ll have an absolute blast!

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Source: The Awesome Benefits of Off Season Travel

8 Important Things to Know Before Camping in the Desert

8 Important Things to Know Before Camping in the Desert

This article may contain compensated links, please read our disclaimer for more information.

Camping in the desert can be a really fun experience. Many RVers head to the desert for the winter to escape the cold, and there tends to be a lot of awesome parks and natural areas to explore in the deserts of the US. 

All that said, it is important that you know a few things before you go camping in the desert. Learning the ropes before you go will help you stay safe as you explore the natural wonderland that is the desert, and it’ll help make your visit a fun one. 

When to Go Camping in the Desert

First, it’s important that you carefully consider when you should go RV camping in the desert. 

Obviously, you don’t want to find yourself camping in that notorious 110-degree (°F) heat, so summer should be out of the question unless you 1) find a park with full hookups, 2) have two A/C units on your RV, and 3) are willing to take extra steps to keep your RV cool. Even then, you can probably count on having a hot RV during the day. 

Instead of enduring those insane temps, we recommend joining the snowbirds and visiting the desert during the winter months. Winter in the desert usually means warm sunny days, but nighttime temperatures can get quite cold, so be prepared for that. 

If you want to avoid the coldest winter nights as well as the extreme heat, consider timing your visit for early spring or late fall. 

Family camping in the desert

Finding a Spot

As mentioned above, if you will be visiting during a warmer part of the year, an RV park with hookups is a must. That said, many who visit during the winter choose to go the boondocking route.

If boondocking is your thing, you can find tons of great desert camping spots in Arizona. Campendium is a wonderful place to look for these. Free Campsites and iOverlander can also be helpful. 

When searching for a good boondocking site, make sure you aren’t parked in a wash, as higher ground is always safer. Look for spots just off of decently maintained roads, and avoid extremely rutted or steep roads when possible. You can find out what to expect by reading reviews and looking at Google satellite images. 

You may also need to consider whether a spot has cell coverage if you require internet for work. Starlink will provide coverage no matter where you are in the desert, and is an excellent investment if you plan to be camping in the desert for extended periods of time. 

Preparing for Dust

Dust is a big deal in the desert. This stuff is everywhere and it’s inescapable. You have to go in knowing you will be dealing with dust for weeks even after you leave the desert. 

The best you can do is put electronics in cases to protect them, put out an outdoor rug and tub of water for rinsing feet, and change filters on vehicles, generators, and air conditioners once you leave the area. 

Creating Shade

Even during the winter, the desert sun beating down on you can get really hot. Unfortunately, trees are few and far between in the desert, meaning carrying your own source of shade is a must. 

Your RV awning will work wonders for helping to keep your home cool. You may also want to invest in a Clam Tent to give yourself some shade while spending time outdoors. If you do set up a Clam, make sure you have a fan or portable A/C unit running to keep it as cool as possible. 

What to Wear

Obviously, you will want to do some exploring while hanging out in the desert. Make sure you dress appropriately for those outdoor adventures. Some tips:

  • Lightweight, light colored clothing will help keep you cool.
  • Long pants will protect your legs from spiky desert plants.
  • Solid hiking shoes will protect your feet from plants and animals. 
  • A wide brim hat will protect your face from the sun. 
  • Sunscreen will help you avoid sunburn. 
  • A jacket and other layers will help keep you warm if the sun goes down while you’re out. 

Beautiful sunset while camping in the desert

Staying Hydrated

Staying hydrated is so, so important while camping in the desert. It’s so hot and dry that it is super easy to become dehydrated. Always carry a gallon of water per person per day in your car, and carry plenty of water when you go out hiking or adventuring. Having a bottle of water to sip at all times is a good idea.

If you feel yourself becoming dehydrated, drinking something with electrolytes is ideal. You may want to stock up on sports drinks and keep them in the fridge. 

Desert Wildlife

The desert is full of wonderful wildlife. That said, many of the animals found in the desert can be dangerous to humans. This doesn’t mean you need to be afraid and avoid the desert altogether, but it does mean you should be careful. 

Watch your step to avoid stepping on snakes. If you happen to be bitten by a snake, attempt to photograph/identify the snake from a safe distance, then call 911 or head to the nearest hospital. While you wait for the ambulance or drive to the hospital, remove rings and watches, wash the bite, cover the bite with a clean dressing, and mark the edge of the tenderness/swelling and the time. 

If you happen upon a cougar or coyote, do not run. Pick up small children, face the animal, look at its feet, and back away slowly. If the animal acts aggressive, raise your arms to appear larger and make noise to scare it while backing away. 

In general, remember to keep your distance from all wild animals and never offer food. 

More Safety Tips for Camping in the Desert

It’s always important to carry a first aid kit in your hiking pack and in your RV. This is just as true in the desert as anywhere else. 

We also highly recommend having RV roadside assistance in case you find yourself broken down somewhere. If your vehicle does break down in the desert, stay with it. It’s much easier to find a vehicle than a wandering person. 

For the most part, camping in the desert is like camping anywhere else. That said, the small differences can be big differences if you don’t go in prepared. That’s why using the tips above is so important!

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What is Dry Camping? A Beginner’s Guide

What is Dry Camping? A Beginner’s Guide

This article may contain compensated links, please read our disclaimer for more information.

If you’ve been RVing for any length of time, you’ve probably heard the term “dry camping” here and there. The thing is, those who stick close to the comforts of full-hookup RV parks may not actually know what exactly dry camping is. 

In this article, we are going to explore the definition of dry camping and give you some tips for doing some dry camping of your own. Ready? Let’s go!

What is Dry Camping?

First, we’ll ask the question you came here to ask: What is dry camping?

Essentially, dry camping just means camping in your RV without any hookups whatsoever. Some people use the terms “dry camping” and “boondocking” interchangeably, but we’d argue that while boondocking certainly is a form of dry camping, not all dry camping is boondocking. 

You see, dry camping can be done in a campground where hookups are unavailable. It can also be done in a Walmart parking lot or in a friend’s driveway. We wouldn’t consider camping in any of these places boondocking per se, since none of them are out in the wilderness (aka the “boonies”), but as long as there are no hookups involved, these are all forms of dry camping. 

RVs dry camping near the beach

The Benefits of Dry Camping

The next question? Why in the world would anyone choose dry camping over camping with the comforts of full hookups? We get it. It does sound a little crazy if you’re new to the world of RVing, but trust us when we say there are several good reasons to go dry camping. 

Two of the big ones are laid out below. 

Camp Anywhere

A willingness to dry camp opens up your options, so you can camp virtually anywhere. This is amazing when you just need to find a place to sleep for one night on a long drive, but is also perfect when you want to camp in a town with no campground or wish to escape into the middle of nowhere. 

Save Money

In addition to allowing you to camp anywhere, dry camping is also fantastic because it can save you a ton of money. In most cases, dry camping is free or very low cost. In theory, one could choose to dry camp exclusively and never spend a dime on campground fees.  

Finding Places to Dry Camp

If you’re hoping to try dry camping for yourself, you may be wondering where one can find places to dry camping. Fortunately, this is actually very easy to do, but where you look will depend on the type of dry camping experience you prefer. 

Below, we’ve outlined the four main dry camping location options and included info on how you can find dry camping spots that fall into each category. 


Moochdocking” refers to dry camping on somebody’s land or in their driveway. Usually, people will moochdock with family or friends, but it is also possible to find moochdocking spots by joining clubs like Boondockers Welcome and/or Harvest Hosts. 


There is also the option of “wallydocking,” AKA parking lot camping. This involves parking at a business and sleeping for the night, but should never be used for multiple nights in a row.

You can find some parking lot camping options on Campendium, but often it’s best to just call the business you wish to use and ask. Many Walmart, Cracker Barrel, and Cabela’s locations allow overnight parking. 

Dry Campgrounds

Some campgrounds do not have hookups. Therefore, you are technically dry camping when using these campgrounds. In most cases, you will still need to pay to stay in a dry campground, but not always. These campgrounds tend to be listed on Campendium or RV Life Campgrounds just like any other campground, and they are usually run by the BLM, Forest Service, National Parks Service, or state parks. 

Dispersed Camping

Lastly, there is the option of dispersed camping or boondocking. The best boondocking spots tend to be on government-owned land. You can stop in a Forest Service or BLM office to ask for suggestions, but we actually prefer to use Campendium, Free Campsites, and iOverlander to find these spots on our own. 

RV dry camping next to someone’s house

Things to Know About Dry Camping

Dry camping is great. It tends to be free or very low cost, and allows you the freedom to camp anywhere. What’s not to love? Well, there are some not-so-great things about dry camping, as well as some bits of info you’ll probably want to have before you jump in. 

Do Your Research

You can’t park your RV just anywhere. Some places don’t allow overnight parking, and some roads (especially those out in the wilderness) won’t accommodate a big RV. Always do your research before you head to a camp spot, so you don’t end up in a sticky situation. 

Always Ask Permission

If you plan to park in a parking lot, make sure you have permission to do so. We recommend calling ahead and asking the manager on duty. Likewise, if you’re staying with friends or family, make sure you don’t overstay your welcome. 

Trust Your Gut

If a place doesn’t feel safe or even if it just feels off, move on. It’s important to always trust your gut on these matters. Arriving well before dark is helpful because it allows you time to relocate if that’s what you need to do to stay safe. 

Clean Up After Yourself

We want free dry camping to remain an option for future generations of RVers. Therefore, it’s incredibly important that you are respectful and clean up after yourself no matter where you happen to be staying. 

Go in Prepared

Dry camping is, by definition, camping without water or electricity. In many cases, it also means camping without access to outside restrooms or showers. Be sure you go in prepared to fend for yourself. A full water tank and battery, a source of electricity, your own food, and roadside assistance in case of emergency are the bare minimum essentials for safe and comfortable dry camping. 

Managing Resources while Dry Camping

As mentioned above, because you’ll have no hookups while dry camping, you do need to go in prepared. This means packing what you need, learning how to stretch your resources, and more. Here are some basic tips to get you started.

Reducing Electricity Usage

To make your RV battery reserves last, consider the following tips:

  • Change all lights to LED bulbs. 
  • Avoid using the microwave, air conditioner, and other high power appliances, even if you have the inverter to do so. 

Check out this article for tips on keeping cool while dry camping in summer. 

Reducing Fresh Water Usage

Stretch that tank of fresh water with the following suggestions:

  • Use paper plates and bowls to reduce dishwashing. If they can be reused for multiple meals—like if they were only used to set dry, non-messy foods on—then all the better.
  • Wipe out dishes after using, so less rinsing is needed. 
  • Use Venture Wipes and dry shampoo so you can go longer between showers. 
  • Find places to shower outside of your RV (local pools, gyms, and truck stops).
  • Switch to a composting toilet. 

Learn more about RV toilet types here. 

Reducing Wastewater

Avoid filling your wastewater tanks by using these options:

  • Wash dishes in a plastic tub and dump the water outside, or use that water to flush the RV toilet rather than pulling from the fresh tank.
  • Opt for outdoor showers.

Finding Internet Connection

Internet connection can be hard to come by when dry camping in the middle of nowhere. Here are some tips on that front:

  • Research your camp spot before you go to check if a connection is available. Campendium is good for this. 
  • Carry multiple cell plans. We know of people who have Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile hotspots to ensure they’re covered as often as possible.
  • Use a cell booster.
  • Invest in Starlink satellite internet. (Check out Starlink mount options.)

Find more RV internet tips here. 

Creating Electricity

When it comes time to charge those batteries back up, you can choose to use a generator or solar panels. We recommend a combo of both plus a decent battery bank, along with an inverter for running appliances that require AC power.

Finding Fresh Water

Fresh water fillups can be found in a variety of places. Many gas stations have a spigot they will allow you to use (although you should ask if it’s potable). There is also the option of filling up at a campground before heading out on a dry camping venture. Sometimes dump stations will offer potable water. 

Discarding Wastewater

Speaking of dump stations, you will need a place to dump wastewater while dry camping. Dump stations can be found using SaniDumps or the aforementioned Campendium website. Of course, if you’re heading directly to a campground you can just dump there. 

More tips for managing resources can be found in our 17 Quick Tips for Off-Grid Camping article. 

Clearly, dry camping is a wonderful option to have, and something every RVer should try at least once. Who knows? You may find you love the freedom and cost savings and choose to dry camp more often than not!

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Source: What is Dry Camping? A Beginner’s Guide

The Fulltime Families Guide to National Historical Parks

The Fulltime Families Guide to National Historical Parks

This article may contain compensated links, please read our disclaimer for more information.

We’re all well aware that our country’s national parks are some of the best attractions out there. Each and every one is well worth visiting, too—but what about national historical parks? Are these just as good as national parks? Should they be added to your RV travels and roadschooling curriculum?

In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about national historical parks.

Kid on cannon: hands on learning at national historical parks

What is a National Historical Park?

First, let’s talk about what exactly a national historical park is. While these parks are run by the National Parks Service, they are not full-fledged national parks. That said, this doesn’t make them “lesser-than.” It just makes them different. 

National historical parks are historically significant places, with at least one historic building or site included on the park grounds. They all offer a visitor center of some sort, most with an orientation video and some exhibits to help visitors understand what they’re looking at. In some cases, national historical parks will boast living history experiences or guided ranger tours. Some have buildings you can walk through, providing an immersive experience, and some offer fun presentations. 

In all cases, national historical parks present excellent learning opportunities and are a great way to bring history to life. 

National Historical Park vs National Park

Not sure what the difference between a national park and a national historical park is? Generally, a national park includes grand views, awesome trails, or some sort of natural wonder. While a national park may have a rich history, history does not tend to be the sole focus at these parks, as it usually takes a back seat to the natural beauty of the place. 

Meanwhile, history is the main focus at national historical parks. They may boast some natural beauty, but the highlight of a national historical park is always the story it has to tell about the past. 

National Historical Park vs National Historic Site

But what about national historical parks versus national historic sites? Well, this line is a little more fuzzy. Usually, a national historic site is a single site in a smaller park, and a visitor center is not always included. A national historical park tends to be more extensive, with more learning opportunities and ways to explore the history of the place. 

Why Visit National Historical Parks?

In our opinion, national historical parks are 100% worth visiting. Why? Because they’re fascinating! These parks tell incredible stories of the past and allow us to connect with them in a very tangible way. Not only that, but many of the parks focus on stories that weren’t necessarily taught in our history textbooks, meaning we get a more complete picture of the history of our nation. 

All of that to say, national historical parks are the perfect roadschool stop for kids and parents alike. 

Independence National Historical Park was one of our favorite national historical parks

Roadschooling at National Historical Parks

Not sure how to incorporate national historical parks into your roadschooling? It’s easy! Honestly, even just visiting the parks would probably be enough to be considered “school,” but we like to do a bit more when we can. 

Preparing for Your Visit

Before you visit any park, head to the parks’ webpage to get a feel for the information that will be presented there. From there, you can pick out a book or two or seek out a video on the topic. This will get the family thinking about the topic so everyone has a basic understanding of what they will be learning about during their visit. 

We highly recommend the following resources for this: 

Junior Ranger Program

Once you arrive at the park, request a junior ranger book. These are available at all NPS sites and are an excellent way to keep your kids engaged as you explore the park. Every book includes a variety of activities that encourage kids to gather information as they wander the exhibits, watch the park movie, and check out the historic buildings and sites. 

At the end of your visit, you can take the completed junior ranger book to the visitor center to receive a junior ranger badge. 

Following Up

On the drive home, follow up with your family. Ask them what they learned during their visit and if they’d like to dive deeper into the topic to learn anything more. You never know what might catch a person’s interest!

Camping in National Historical Parks

Most national historical parks do not have onsite campgrounds. That said, there are a few that do offer camping, so if camping in national historical parks is something you’d like to do, we recommend checking before you go. 

We know that the following parks do offer onsite RV camping:

One of the prettiest national historical parks: Sitka National Historical Park

List of All National Historical Parks

Wondering where to find these awesome national historical parks so you can start your roadschool adventures into the past? Below is a list of every single national historical park in the country. Choose any of these and pay it a visit. We promise you won’t regret it!

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Source: The Fulltime Families Guide to National Historical Parks

What You Should Know About RV Depreciation

What You Should Know About RV Depreciation

RV depreciation is not something we RVers like to talk about. It’s a well known fact that RVs depreciate quickly, and although they are certainly worth owning for the fun and freedom they offer, financially speaking…they really aren’t a good investment. 

The good news? There are ways to reduce RV depreciation a bit so that the hit you take isn’t quite so painful. The tips and tricks below will help you buy wisely and sell for as much as possible once the time comes to change to a new rig. 

Class C RV

Avoiding RV Depreciation: Buying Wisely

First, let’s talk about some things you should know about RV depreciation before you buy. Although RV depreciation should never be the only factor that comes into play when picking your home-on-wheels, these facts could help sway your decision one way or another, saving you thousands in the end. 

Buy Used: New RVs Depreciate Quickly

Most people are well aware that a brand new car loses a lot of its value the second you drive it off the lot. The same is true of an RV. If you buy a brand new RV, as soon as you leave the dealership, the RV will no longer be worth what you paid. 

For this reason, we suggest buying a lightly used RV instead. Something that is a year or two old will suffer less from depreciation immediately after you buy it—and as a bonus, the new RV kinks should be worked out as well. 

Class C Motorhomes Hold Value Best

While the difference isn’t huge, of all the RV types, class C motorhomes hold their value the best. Class A and class B motorhomes are right behind class Cs, with travel trailers right beside them. 

The worst type of rig when it comes to RV depreciation? Fifth wheels. This is unfortunate news for many families on the road, but it is the truth and should be considered when making your choice. 

Older Travel Trailers Depreciate Slowly

Travel trailers experience RV depreciation at about the same rate as class A and class B motorhomes in the first 10 years. That said, when the trailer is well taken care of, the rate of depreciation tends to level off quite a bit after the ten-year mark.

This means trailers that are more than a decade old actually hold their value quite nicely, making an older travel trailer a viable option for those who want to avoid the effects of RV depreciation as much as possible. 

Age Before Mileage

In the case of cars, mileage is everything. A newer car with more miles will often be worth less than an older car with fewer miles. When it comes to RVs, this isn’t always the case. 

You see, a motorhome that has been left sitting for years is bound to have issues. Therefore, an older motorhome with very few miles may not be a good purchase and thus may not be worth more than an older motorhome with more miles. Likewise, newer motorhomes that are in good condition with moderately high mileage might sell for a decent price. 

Well kept retro RV avoiding excessive RV depreciation

RV Depreciation Tips: Protecting Your Asset

Once you have the keys to your RV, it’s up to you to maintain it in such a way that RV depreciation doesn’t bite you in the butt too terribly hard. This is easier said than done, and it can be very easy to let these things go when life gets busy, so find a way to make yourself stay on top of them. 

Use Your RV Regularly

As mentioned above, an RV that isn’t used tends to have problems, and this decreases the value. Avoid excessive RV depreciation by using your RV regularly. Obviously, if you’re living in the rig this won’t be an issue, but if you plan to use it only for vacations and getaways, it is something you’ll need to plan around. 

Stay on Top of Maintenance 

RV maintenance is so, so important. A tiny leak that isn’t taken care of right away can quickly turn into a huge mess of water damage that takes thousands of dollars to repair. Clearly, a rig with water damage is worth much less than a solid RV, so keeping up with resealing everything is a must.

Other maintenance tasks that should be kept up with in order to keep your RV’s value as high as possible include oil changes, generator maintenance, and tire and wheel maintenance.

Repair Damages Quickly

In RVs, things break. This is inevitable. When this happens, be sure to make the repair as quickly as possible. In some cases, a small amount of damage can lead to bigger damages down the line if not taken care of right away, something that will absolutely reduce the overall value of your rig. 

Find Covered Storage

Covered storage can help you avoid some amount of RV depreciation as well. This is because having a roof over your RV will prevent damage from wind and hail. It can also help prevent water damage in case of an undetected leak. Lastly, a cover over your RV will protect the sides and roof of your trailer or motorhome from the sun, reducing fading and preventing unsightly peeling decals. 

Recouping Money Lost to RV Depreciation

You will never be able to prevent RV depreciation entirely. That said, by following the steps above, you can definitely help maintain your RV’s value. Additionally, you can do your best to recoup some of the money lost to RV depreciation by using the tips below. 

Renting Your RV

If you aren’t living in your RV and it doesn’t get used every weekend, you could choose to rent it out. This would ensure the RV is getting regular use and will remind you to say on top of maintenance tasks. Those rental fees will also help you recoup some of the costs of RV ownership. 

Of course, you do have to take into account both the potential for damages and the increased maintenance costs involved in renting your rig before deciding if this is a worthwhile endeavor.

Knowing When to Sell

Lastly, when it comes to selling your RV for as much as possible, it helps a lot to know when to sell. Selling in the springtime is ideal, as this is when people are looking to start their camping season. It is also a good idea to keep an eye on the fluctuations of RV prices and sell when prices seem to be on the higher side, especially if you don’t plan to turn around and buy another RV right away. 

There you have it, our top tips for reducing the impact of RV depreciation. Put these tips to good use while buying, owning, and selling an RV and you should be able to keep thousands of dollars that may have been lost to depreciation otherwise.

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Source: What You Should Know About RV Depreciation

The Essential Guide to RV Camping in National Parks

The Essential Guide to RV Camping in National Parks

Our country’s national parks are absolutely beautiful places that should be on every RVer’s bucket list. Obviously, you could always stay outside any of these parks and day-trip in, but we think camping in national parks is the way to go. There are a number of benefits to camping in the parks, and as far as scenery goes, you really can’t go wrong with any of the national parks campgrounds. 

All that said, there are some things you should know before you jump into camping in national parks. In this guide, we will cover all of the most important bits of information so you can head to your next national park fully prepared. 

Related: Utah’s Mighty 5: Where to Camp and What to Do

Deer at RV window while RV camping in National Parks

Why You Should Try Camping in National Parks

First, let’s take a minute to discuss why we believe it’s best to camp in the national parks you visit rather than only visiting for the day. This will help you better understand why we believe the pros far outweigh the cons when it comes to camping in national parks.

Location, Location, Location

First—and most obviously—there is the fact that when you camp in the national park, you are closer to all of the park’s attractions. This makes it easy to fit more into each day and gives you access to early-morning experiences and late-night ranger programs that you may not have been able to attend otherwise. 

Wildlife Encounters

Because so many animals call our national parks home, it isn’t at all uncommon to have a critter wander through your campsite when camping in national parks. We’ve had elk and deer grazing in our yard as we cooked dinner, coyotes have been spotted darting between rigs, and there are always small animals like rabbits, chipmunks, and birds around. 

Related: Roadschooling With the Junior Ranger Program

Gorgeous Views

Obviously, if you’re parked in a national park, you are going to be surrounded by beautiful nature. In fact, some of the very best scenery out there is located in national parks, and when you’re camping in the middle of it, you get to soak up all of the beauty for the duration of your stay. 

No Day-Use Reservations

Last but definitely not least, those who are camping in national parks that require day-use reservations are typically exempt from obtaining day-use reservations themselves. That said, you will still need to make reservations for specific experiences in certain parks. 

Related: 10 Fabulous National Park Hikes

What You Should Know about Camping in National Parks

Now that we’ve convinced you that camping in national parks is an amazing thing, it’s time to give you the details you really want to know before you dive in. Knowing these things will help you make a solid plan and save you from bad surprises when you check in. 


It’s important to understand that the vast majority of NPS campgrounds don’t have a lot of amenities. Very, very few offer any kind of RV hookups at all. Some do have potable water, dump stations, and even flush toilets, but there are also a huge number of NPS campgrounds that only offer picnic tables and vault toilets. Make sure you know what you’re getting when you book and that it will work for you. 

If you plan to stay in national parks often, we recommend getting set up with some solar panels, a battery bank, and an inverter. A large external wastewater tank for taking water to the dump station is also good to have. 

Related: The 11 Best National Park Book Picks

Campsite Size

Many national park campgrounds have sites that are intended only for small RVs. Others only allow tents. There are also some campgrounds that can accommodate larger rigs but require you to drive on narrow, steep, or winding roads to reach them.

Do your research and make sure your rig will fit in the site you book, and that you can actually get to the campground.  

Saving Money

Lastly, it’s good to know that some people are entitled to a discount at NPS campgrounds (as well as a number of other government-run campgrounds). If you or someone in your travel party qualifies for a national parks Access Pass or Senior Pass, snag that pass. Not only will you get free entry to all national parks, you’ll also receive discounts on camping!

Related: The Best National Parks to Visit With Kids

Zion National Park

How to Book National Park Campgrounds

You’ve done your research and found a campground that will accommodate all of your needs—what now? To book your campsite, you are going to want to head to

Most national park campgrounds roll out availability 6 months in advance, meaning you will be able to book at 7:00 AM Pacific Time six months before you wish to check in. That said, there are a few exceptions to this rule (Yosemite is one), so be sure you double-check when your campground reservation window will open. 

When your window does open, we highly recommend booking right away. Campsites in the most popular parks book up very quickly. 

A Note about First-Come, First-Served Campgrounds

Planning to use a first-come, first-served campground? This is risky, so be sure you have a plan B in case you can’t get in. To increase your chances of getting a site, arrive an hour before check-in time on a weekday. 

Options for Camping Outside of National Parks

If you find yourself visiting a park that doesn’t offer camping—or doesn’t have sites big enough for your rig—you will need to look outside of the park. 

Obviously, there are the usual private parks, and in some cases these are the best bet. That said, there are also many national parks that are surrounded by national forests or BLM land. In these cases, boondocking on government-owned land is an incredibly cheap way to go and it offers many of the same benefits you get when camping in national parks: location, views, and wildlife.

Related: The 12 Most Dog Friendly National Parks in the US

There you have it, everything you need to know about camping in national parks! Hopefully this helps you book an incredible visit to one of our amazing national parks. Where will you go first?

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Source: The Essential Guide to RV Camping in National Parks

Beach Camping: An RVer’s Guide to a Seaside Adventure

Beach Camping: An RVer’s Guide to a Seaside Adventure

There’s nothing quite like parking your RV right by the beach and soaking up the sun, sand, and waves from the comfort of your home-on-wheels. Falling asleep to the sound of waves crashing right out your window and spending your days with bare feet sunk deep into sand is something you will never forget. 

That said, there are some things you should know before you try beach camping. These simple tips will make the whole experience a more pleasant one for you. 

Beach camping in RV at sunset

Find a Beach Camping Spot

First, there’s the matter of actually finding a beach camping spot. Obviously, you can’t just park on any beach you please. Most beaches have rules that won’t even allow people to drive on them, let alone park an RV there overnight. That said, there are some exceptions, and these gems allow campers to have the amazing experiences we described above. 

To find a beach camping spot, we recommend turning to a site such as Campendium. Zoom into areas that are on the shoreline and be sure to use the filters to find camping areas that fulfill your wants (in terms of amenities) and your needs (in terms of budget). 

Some beach campgrounds have paved campsites sitting right next to the beach with a view of the water. Some offer sites within a short walking distance of the water. There are also dry camping spots that offer camping right on the sand, but it is important to note that it is very easy to become stuck in beach sand and rising tides are always a concern, so boondocking on the beach does come with a risk. 

Some of the best beach camping spots we’ve found over the years include:

  • Club de Pesca in San Felipe (Baja, Mexico)
  • Playa El Requesón near Loreto (Baja, Mexico)
  • Galveston Island State Park in Galveston, Texas
  • North Beach and South Beach Dispersed Camping in Padre Island National Seashore in Texas 
  • Thousand Trails Oceana in Ocean City, Washington
  • Race Point ORV Beach Camping in Cape Cod National Seashore in Massachusetts 
  • Ocean Lakes Family Campground in Myrtle Beach, SC

These represent a variety of different camping options—from dry camping to luxury RV resorts—and are far, far from the only options out there. Try one of these out if you’ll be nearby, but don’t hesitate to seek out different beach camping spots using the method outlined above. 

Prepare for Your Beach Camping Trip

The next step is to prepare for your beach camping adventure. This involves packing your RV with all the right gear and ensuring you’re equipped for dry camping (if that’s the route you choose to take).

Things you might want to pack for a beach camping trip include:

  • An air compressor so you can fill tires back up after you let air out of them to drive on the sand. 
  • A shovel, traction boards, and a tow rope in case you find yourself stuck in sand. 
  • A tub for filling with water to rinse sand away before stepping into the rig.
  • Turkish towels (these dry faster and pick up less sand than traditional towels).
  • A shade tent or umbrella.
  • Beach or camping chairs.
  • Plenty of sunscreen.
  • Beach toys.
  • Swimsuits.
  • Plenty of drinking water (it’s easy to become dehydrated when enjoying the sunny beach).

If you plan to dry camp on the beach, we also highly recommend some solar panels, a good battery bank (preferably lithium phosphate/LiFePO4 batteries, if your budget allows), and maybe even an inverter. Don’t want to build a full solar power system? You could also choose to invest in a portable solar generator instead. 

Lastly, we highly recommend investing in roadside assistance before you go beach camping. This will come in handy if you get stuck in the sand and the neighbors can’t help you get out. 

RV parked on the beach

Learn How to Drive on Sand

In some cases, the next step isn’t actually necessary. If you’re heading to a campground that offers paved roads and sites, or is not set on the actual beach area, don’t worry about this part. However, if you’re headed out to do some beach boondocking, you will want to learn to drive on sand. 

Our first tip? Let a small amount of air out of your tires before you head into a sandy area. This gives you more traction. 

We also recommend checking the beach on foot before you drive your RV out. Pay attention to signage telling you where you may and may not drive, and look for a path of hard-packed sand, which you will need to stick to while driving on the beach. 

If you do become stuck in the sand, don’t push the gas, as this will spin the wheels and will likely dig you deeper into the rut. Instead, get out, dig the tire out as well as you can, and place your traction boards under your tires before trying to drive out again. If you can move, keep going until you’re sure you are out of the soft spot. If not, try adding water to the sand under the traction boards.

As a last resort, you could also ask someone to pull you out of a sticky situation using the aforementioned tow rope, but depending on where you are stuck, this could be difficult and ineffective, in which case professional help may need to be called in. 

Know the Tide

One thing to be extremely aware of when beach camping? The tide. This is another one that doesn’t really apply to campground campers but absolutely applies to boondockers. 

You see, campers are sometimes caught off guard and discover the hard way just how high high tide is. To avoid this problem, find out from a lifeguard, ranger, or other person in the know how far the tide will come in, and stay well away from that point. 

If the tide begins to rise and looks like it might come in further than anticipated, do not wait until the last minute to move. Those waters come in quickly, so moving at the first sign of an extra high tide is crucial. 

Create a Rinse-Off Station

Our last tip is one for both beach campground campers and beach boondockers: Create a rinse-off station outside of your RV. This is a lifesaver for those who hate sandy floors. 

To create a rinsing station, set a tub of water outside of your front door and a towel just inside of the door, and insist that all feet be rinsed before entering the rig. You can get even more elaborate by adding your outdoor shower or a portable shower into the mix so people can rinse more than just their feet before they come in. 

These tips should help you create a fun and memorable beach camping trip that your family will talk about for years to come. In fact, we’re betting you enjoy it so much that you add more beach camping to your travel itinerary in the very near future.

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Source: Beach Camping: An RVer’s Guide to a Seaside Adventure

RV Laundry Tips for Keeping Clothes Clean on the Road

RV Laundry Tips for Keeping Clothes Clean on the Road

This article may contain compensated links, please read our disclaimer for more information.

Laundry—nobody likes it, but everybody has to do it. And when you live full time in your RV, it is just a little bit more annoying to deal with. That said, there are some ways you can improve your RV laundry experience and make it a little more tolerable.

In this article we are going to discuss our top RV laundry tips so you can keep those clothes clean during your travels without as much hassle. Free up a few hours, grab a book, and let’s head to the laundry room!

Choose RV Laundry Day Wisely

First, we recommend that you put a bit of thought into which day you do your laundry. Surveys tell us that Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the slowest days at laundromats. These are closely followed by Thursdays. In the case of small laundry rooms with few machines, choosing to do your laundry mid-week might mean less waiting for washers and dryers to be available. 

Laundromat: the perfect place to do RV laundry

Research Laundromats Before You Go

If you plan to head to a laundromat outside of the campground, be sure to do a bit of research before you go. Just a quick peek at Google reviews will help you pick a location with decent machines and service so you aren’t left dealing with any RV laundry nightmares. 

Reading reviews could also help you save some money, as people tend to mention in their reviews when a laundromat is overpriced. 

Check Campground Laundry Room Hours

Hoping to do your RV laundry at the campground? That’s what we choose in the vast majority of places, but often we find that the campground laundry rooms have hours that don’t lend themselves well to those who like to wash clothes early in the morning or late at night.

Be sure to check the hours before you go so you aren’t left with no way to wash and no clean underwear. 

Buy Some Good Laundry Bags or Baskets

If you can’t do laundry in your RV, you will need to carry it to a laundry room or laundromat each time it needs to be washed. A set of good quality laundry bags or baskets can make this process much easier. 

Note: If you plan to carry the bags to the campground laundry room regularly, a foldable wagon is also recommended. 

Always Carry Quarters

While more and more laundry rooms and laundromats are now using cards and apps to collect payment, there are still plenty out there that require quarters. Unfortunately, we find that these laundry facilities don’t always have quarter machines available, making it very difficult to do RV laundry.

For this reason, we’ve taken to always carrying a stash of quarters with us wherever we go. 

Basket full of RV laundry

Take Your Phone to the Laundry Room

Quarters are great, but as mentioned above, many laundry rooms want guests to use an app to pay to wash. Therefore, it’s a good idea to carry your phone in addition to those quarters when you visit a laundry facility for the first time. Add a card and some cash into the mix, and you should be able to pay no matter what the facility requires. 

Be On Time to Move Your Clothes

Very few things are more frustrating than waiting for people to remove their clothes from the machine(s) long after they’ve finished washing or drying. This is a pet peeve of many campers, and for good reason. Some people (the bolder or less patient ones) will move your clothes themselves after a certain amount of time. Others will simply fume without taking action.

In any case, you do not want to be the culprit of this frustration. Make it a priority to be back to move your laundry as soon as the machine is finished and everyone in the laundry facility will thank you. 

Scrub Stains Before Laundry Day

Because RV laundry rooms and laundromats are not always readily available, a week (or sometimes even two) might pass between laundry days. When it comes to stains, this can be a problem because the stains get set into the fabric, making them nearly impossible to remove. 

Instead of waiting until laundry day and letting the stains stick, scrub them away in the sink before placing the clothes in the hamper. We’ve found that Dawn dish soap works well to remove pretty much any stain you can imagine. 

Once the stains are scrubbed away, you can hang the clothes to dry before you put them in the laundry hamper. 

Don’t Be Afraid to Wash by Hand

Can’t find a laundromat anywhere near you? There is always the option of washing your clothes by hand. This isn’t much more work than scrubbing the stains out and will leave you with clean, fresh-smelling clothes even when there are no clothes washers to be found. 

The video below provides excellent instructions on washing laundry by hand. 

Grab a Drying Rack

If you do choose to scrub out stains or wash by hand, a drying rack can be extremely helpful. It gives you a place to hang the clothes—even in a teeny tiny space—and allows you to put them outside when the weather is nice. Best of all, a drying rack can be folded flat for easy storage behind a couch or under the bed. 

Make Use of Your Dehumidifier

If rainy weather or campground rules keep you from hanging clothes outside to dry, you may have to get creative about getting them to dry inside. The RV vent fan can get rid of some moisture and help the clothes dry faster, but a dehumidifier does the job even better.

In fact, we’d even go far as to say a dehumidifier is a must-have if you plan to hang clothes to dry on a regular basis (and it has tons of other uses too)!

Invest in an RV Washer

Finally, we must mention the idea of investing in an RV washer to make RV laundry an easier task. There are a number of different kinds of RV washers out there, including super simple foot-powered washers and fancy automatic washer-and-dryer combo units. 

Hopefully this post helps you make your RV laundry days just a bit easier so you can spend less time worrying about clothes and more time having amazing adventures.

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Source: RV Laundry Tips for Keeping Clothes Clean on the Road

The 7 Best Living History Museums to Visit in Your RV

The 7 Best Living History Museums to Visit in Your RV

This article may contain compensated links, please read our disclaimer for more information.

Roadschooling families are always on the lookout for awesome ways to learn while having fun and traveling. One of the best ways to go about this? Living history museums. 

While they aren’t as common as science centers or zoos, living history museums can be found all across the country. They are unique in that they make history come alive. Costumed interpreters use props and historic buildings (or recreations) to act out day-to-day life in a certain area and time period. Guests are often encouraged to participate in chores, games, and other activities, giving kids a hands-on history lesson they won’t soon forget. 

Wondering where to go to find living history museums? That’s why we’re here today! While there are dozens of excellent choices all over the country, we’ve hand-picked the top 7 living history museums in the United States and listed them below. Don your best colonial dress or pioneer costume and choose one of these amazing attractions for your first journey into the past. 

Learning how to use old tools at living history museums

Colonial Williamsburg

Williamsburg, VA

First on our list is Colonial Williamsburg. This is probably the most well-known of these museums, and it is a good one for sure. The museum features an entire mid-to-late eighteenth century town, and in nearly every building there is a costumed interpreter ready to share their knowledge. 

Here you’ll find a courthouse where you can witness trials just as they would have gone during the time period, as well as a coffeehouse where you can try coffee and chocolate drinks from the time. There are a wide variety of tradesmen that are happy to demonstrate their craft, and a few homes that you can wander through. 

Note: For more living history experiences in this area, be sure to visit Jamestown Settlement, Yorktown Battlefield National Historical Park, and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. 

Cool house at recreated Plymouth village

Plimoth Patuxet Museums

Plymouth, MA

Plimoth Patuxet Museums (formerly known as Plimoth Plantation) might just be our favorite living history museum ever!

This incredible place features Historic Patuxet, where you can step into a 17th century Wampanoag village and learn about their way of life. We loved that this area was staffed by actual Wampanoag people, who were 100% dedicated to preserving the culture and history of the tribe. 

After visiting the Wampanoag village, you come to the 17th century English settlement. This is a recreation of the settlement created by the pilgrims who landed at Plymouth in the 1600s, and it is incredibly well done. Our favorite part about this area was that each interpreter was given a real individual from the original village to portray. This they did perfectly, never breaking character. 

During our visit, Mayflower II was not at the museum, but it is now, as is the Plymouth Grist Mill, which we did not get an opportunity to see. 

House at Living History Farms, one of our favorite living history museums

Living History Farms

Urbandale, IA

Living History Farms is a bit different in that it focuses very specifically on farm life throughout the history of the United States. The museum plays host to three working historic farms: a 1700 Ioway Indian farm, an 1850 pioneer farm, and a 1900 horse-powered farm. Each farm is unique, and it is quite interesting to see farming evolve from one time period to the next. 

The museum is also home to the 1876 town of Walnut Hill. This area is a lot like other living history museums and features a variety of craftsmen who demonstrate their work to guests. We had an especially fun time chatting with the lady running the general store, as well as the druggist who shared many fascinating facts about the history of medicine. 

Boats at Mystic Seaport Museum

Mystic Seaport Museum

Mystic, CT

While Mystic Seaport did not quite live up to our expectations—perhaps it was merely an off day—I do still feel it deserves a spot on this list. The museum focuses on the history of port towns and includes an entire recreated seaport village, as well as several historic ship recreations.

We especially loved the shipyard where you could see ships being worked on, but found many other unique living history experiences as well. There was a home that focused entirely on the subject of prohibition, which was quite interesting, and touring the ships was a memorable experience as well. 

In addition to the living history portion, this museum also offers several indoor exhibits. There was an entire building focused on the history of whaling that was absolutely fascinating, and the kids loved the buildings dedicated to them. 

Boy walking toward bridge at Conner Prairie, one of the coolest living history museums

Conner Prairie

Fishers, IN

Conner Prairie is one of the most varied living history museums out there. This one has a little bit of everything, meaning the whole family is likely to enjoy it. 

We started our visit with the indoor exhibits, which were fine but nothing special really, at least if you’ve been to loads of museums before. The real fun started once we got outside and saw the hot air balloon. We didn’t pay to ride it, but we loved reading about the history of flight in the exhibit there. 

The Lenape Village was small but very well done, and featured a wonderfully enthusiastic interpreter. We enjoyed the farm animals in the barn at the Conner Home, and the Prairie town offered plenty of interpreters who were happy to include guests in their day-to-day chores and errands. Lastly, the 1863 Civil War Journey was interesting in that it featured a more staged—but no less valuable—living history presentation. 

Conner Prairie also features a super cool play area for kids, and we highly recommend leaving some time for that if you have younger kids in tow. 

Boy talking to interpreter about farm life at Old Sturbridge Village living history museum

Old Sturbridge Village

Sturbridge, MA

If hands-on and interactive experiences are your thing, Old Sturbridge Village is the place for you! 

This open-air living history museum depicts an 1830s rural New England town and does a beautiful job of it. The town features a wide variety of buildings, but the real star of the show here is the collection of interactive and hands-on activities and presentations that happen throughout the day. 

There are buggy rides, games on the lawn, crafts, storytelling sessions, and more. We interacted with animals, chatted with the village midwife, and even played a hurdy gurdy. We appreciated that these scheduled and planned interactions made it easier for the less outgoing members of our family to participate. 

Performers in 1920s garb at Greenfield Village in Michigan

Greenfield Village

Dearborn, MI

Part of the amazing Henry Ford museum complex, Greenfield Village is another excellent place to immerse yourself in history. Like Conner Prairie, Greenfield Village is a hodgepodge of moments in history, which makes it that much more engaging. 

The working farms show guests what life would have been like on the farms of the 1800s. Meanwhile, Liberty Craftworks lets visitors peek at working craftsmen carrying out jobs such as blacksmithing and weaving. The Porches and Parlors section allows you to walk through a number of historic homes, and Railroad Junction features a super cool working turntable that kids can help move. 

One of our favorite areas was Main Street, where we watched a couple of performances, visited the Wright Bicycle Shop, and checked out the Scotch Settlement School. We also very much appreciated the Edison at Work area where we could walk through Thomas Edison’s lab and listen to an interpreter give a talk as Edison himself. Lastly, we must mention the “Henry Ford’s Model T” section where we learned about the life of Mr. Ford.

As you can see, there are a number of amazing living history museums to choose from, and we encourage you to visit as many as you possibly can as you roadschool your way across the USA.

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Source: The 7 Best Living History Museums to Visit in Your RV

8 Important Tips for Camping in the Mountains

8 Important Tips for Camping in the Mountains

This article may contain compensated links, please read our disclaimer for more information.

Looking to head up into the mountains? Good call! Camping in the mountains is an amazing way to immerse yourself in natural beauty, and it makes for an excellent adventure as well. There are tons of awesome dry-camping spots in the mountainous national forests, and there are some pretty great campgrounds hidden away up at those high altitudes. 

Still, as wonderful as camping in the mountains can be, it also comes with its own fair share of difficulties. For this reason, it is very important that you head into your mountain camping trip fully prepared. 

Not sure how to prepare for such an adventure? You’ve come to the right place. Below, we’ve put together a guide to RV camping in the mountains. Use these tips for a fun and safe trip. 

Ensure Your Vehicle Can Handle It

Before you decide to head into the mountains, you will want to make sure it’s actually feasible to do so. Driving up a mountain is hard work, and some vehicles just can’t handle it.

If you are towing with a smaller truck or an older vehicle, you might want to skip steep mountain climbs. Likewise, older gas-powered motorhomes might be better off sticking to flatter roads. 

Go in the Summer

The weather in the mountains can be pretty cold. Mountain winters can be unbearable if you don’t add some extra insulation to your RV. Therefore, we highly recommend heading up the mountains in the summer months. While the nights can still be chilly during the summer months, the daytimes are lovely. In fact, we’d even go so far as to say mountain summers are ideal for boondocking!

Site where someone is camping in the mountains

Download Directions

As is the case in many remote areas, a lot of the more secluded campgrounds are located in areas with absolutely no cell service. If you’re relying on cell service for GPS directions, you could find yourself in a pickle. Instead, download the map before you ever leave to go camping in the mountains, so the GPS will continue working on a basic level even when the cell signal is gone. 

Skip the Waterside Parking

One of the best things about the mountains? The gorgeous streams and waterfalls that wind their way to the bottom.

Unfortunately, when heavy rains or fast snow melts happen, the areas near these waters are the first to flood. While it may be tempting to park near a babbling brook, we don’t recommend doing so unless you are certain that flooding won’t happen. 

Pack Tools

As mentioned before, many mountain campgrounds are located in remote places. This can make getting help very difficult when things go wrong while camping in the mountains. For this reason, it is important that you carry tools and know how to use them.

A tow rope is a must have, as is extra fuel for your vehicle. You might also consider carrying spare vehicle parts if you know those might be difficult to access during your stay in the mountains. 

Carry Extra Drinking Water

Higher altitudes can cause dehydration. Obviously, this isn’t something you want to have to deal with—especially high on a mountain, far from any help—so make sure you pack extra drinking water when camping in the mountains. This is extra important if you will be dry camping and don’t have easy access to potable water.

Additionally, you will want to carry water with you at all times while out exploring and sip throughout the day. 

RV driving up a mountain to go camping in the mountains

Adjust for Low Oxygen Levels

Another thing that happens as you get higher up in the mountains? The oxygen levels decrease. This means you will have to adjust in a few different ways when camping in the mountains. 

Go Easy on Yourself

First, you will need to go easy on yourself as your body acclimates to the lower oxygen levels. Don’t push yourself to hike too hard, and take breaks if you start to feel out of breath or lightheaded. 

Grab Some Matches

Low oxygen can make it really difficult to use a lighter. Often, the lighter will simply not light at all. Carrying matches is a simple solution that will allow you to light a fire without fighting with the lighter. 

Don’t Rely on Propane Appliances

Like lighters, propane appliances don’t always work right at high altitudes. Depending on the kinds of appliances your RV has, this could include your refrigerator, oven, stove, and water heater.

If you plan to run your fridge on propane, make sure you take an ice chest as a backup plan. It’s also a good idea to give yourself ways to cook that don’t involve the oven or stove. 

Adjust the Generator

Planning to use your generator while camping in the mountains? That’s another thing that might be affected by the altitude. Fortunately, many RV generators come equipped with a little knob that will adjust the generator to run at whatever altitude you happen to be at. Make sure you go out and turn the knob to the correct setting before using the generator and you shouldn’t have any problems. 

Ease Yourself In

With higher altitudes comes altitude sickness. While not everyone will experience altitude sickness, many do—and in some cases, it can be absolutely debilitating. While we all hope for the best, if you haven’t spent time at high elevations before, you will also want to prepare for the worst. 

Don’t plan anything for your first couple of days in the mountains. Instead, give yourself a day or two to get used to the altitude change. Make sure to stay well hydrated, and if you feel sick, allow your body to rest until you’re feeling better. Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and anti-nausea medicine can also help with altitude sickness. 

Camping in the mountains is amazing and we definitely encourage it. Just make sure to use these tips, pack a first aid kit, drive safely, and use common sense to keep you and your family safe as you have some awesome mountain adventures!

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Fulltime Families is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to,, Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc. or its affiliates.

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Source: 8 Important Tips for Camping in the Mountains

A Guide to Roadschooling Laws

A Guide to Roadschooling Laws

For many families, the first question that comes to mind when considering homeschooling on the road is, “What are the roadschooling laws?” This is an understandable question. After all, roadschooling (i.e. homeschooling while traveling in an RV) isn’t exactly a mainstream thing to do.

In this article, we are going to discuss roadschooling laws to help you get a better understanding of how to roadschool legally so you and your family can get out there and start exploring with confidence. 

Girl reading in hammock: roadschool laws consider this schooling

Roadschooling Laws

Roadschooling is 100% legal, and while it may not be mainstream, it’s actually become more and more popular in recent years. Many families who have just hit the road wonder, “Can CPS take your kids for living in an RV?” or, “Will I get in trouble for roadschooling?” The answer is no, you will not be breaking any laws by living in an RV with kids or homeschooling them as you travel. That said, just like any other homeschoolers, you do still have to abide by some roadschooling laws. 

Generally speaking, the roadschooling laws are simple: You must follow the homeschooling laws of your domicile state. This means that if you’re domiciled in a state where yearly testing or assessments are required for homeschoolers, you will have to return to your domicile to meet that requirement. 

The only exception to the above rule comes into play if you happen to be in a state other than your domicile state for more than 30 days. In this case, you are technically required to abide by the laws in whatever state you are spending an extended period of time in. Many RVers get around this rule by making sure to spend less than 30 days in any given state, or choosing to spend longer periods in favorite places over summer break. 

Map of the US

Choosing Your Domicile State with Roadschooling in Mind

One of the most important things you can do when preparing for your roadschooling journey is to carefully select your domicile state. As a full time RVer, you have the freedom to claim any state as your domicile state. This means you can pick a state with more relaxed homeschooling laws, avoiding the need to submit a curriculum at the beginning of each year or return to your domicile state for testing. 

Of course, roadschooling laws aren’t the only thing you’ll want to consider when choosing a domicile state. You’ll also want to consider things like whether the state charges income tax, how much insurance costs in that state, how often you’ll be in that state for things like doctor’s appointments, and how easy it will be to set up a mailing address and residency in the state of your choice.

For a complete list of states and their homeschooling laws, check out this webpage on the HSLDA website. 

After taking all of these things into consideration, most full time RVing families choose one of three options:

  1. Stick with their current domicile because they have family there and will visit often.
  2. Florida.
  3. Texas.

Some RVers choose South Dakota as a domicile state for one reason or another, and this is likely a fine choice, but recently we have heard of people having trouble using their SD mailing service addressed for certain things.


Florida is a great choice because the state does not charge state income tax, many people spend winters in Florida, and it’s home to a few different reputable mail services. 

Homeschooling in Florida does require yearly assessments, but they are very easy as long as you find the right assessor. An alternative to these assessments involves joining an umbrella school. This is essentially a private school that reports your child’s “attendance” to the state but leaves you in charge of educating your student, effectively bypassing homeschooling regulations entirely.  


Like Florida, Texas does not have a state income tax. This state also has well-known mailing services to choose from, and is a nice place to spend the winter in case you want to get appointments out of the way. 

Texas roadschooling laws are pretty much as relaxed as they come. The state does not require reporting or testing of any kind, leaving parents to school as they please. This gives you complete freedom to build amazing learning opportunities based around your travels and your child’s interests, something traditional curriculum just can’t do. 

For more info on choosing the perfect domicile state, check out this guide. 

Homeschool Legal Defense Association 

Still feeling a bit nervous about jumping into the world of roadschooling and making sure you’d following all roadschooling laws? We recommend grabbing a Homeschool Legal Defense Association. With this membership you will have access to one-on-one assistance in your homeschooling journey. HSLDA offers coaching for homeschooling parents, and the lawyers that are part of the team specialize in homeschool legal defense, meaning you can rest easy knowing they can answer any legal questions you may have. 

As you can see, roadschooling is perfectly legal and roadschooling laws are easy enough to follow. Now you can head out in confidence and have some amazing, educational adventures that your kids will remember for the rest of their lives!

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Source: A Guide to Roadschooling Laws

Our Top Cruise Tips for Full Time RVers

Our Top Cruise Tips for Full Time RVers

This article may contain compensated links, please read our disclaimer for more information.

Many people think full time RVing is like being on a perpetual vacation. Unfortunately, while this lifestyle is fantastic, it really isn’t a 24/7 getaway. Work, school, and chores all have to be done, and travel planning adds yet another task to the usual to-do list. For this reason, full time RVers deserve vacations too, and we think the perfect vacation for a full time RVer is a cruise. 

As full timers ourselves, we love that cruising allows us to unwind completely. We don’t have to worry about what route we will take to our destination or whether a spot will be comfortable for our family. We don’t even have to think about the logistics of grocery shopping, cooking meals, or cleaning dishes as we travel. We just pack our bags and go have an amazing time!

That said, cruising as a full time RVer does come with its own very unique set of challenges. Here are all the cruise tips you might want to consider when doing your cruise planning. 

Cruise ship

Planning Your Cruise

In many ways, planning a cruise is just like planning any other trip. That said, there are some things that are different. 

How to Budget for a Cruise

The first thing you’ll need to consider when planning a cruise for your family is your budget. If you’ve never been on a cruise before, you may be wondering how to budget for a cruise. Here are all the items you will need to budget for:

  • Cruise fare
  • Gratuities (These are technically optional, but you really should pay them, as the staff is underpaid and they deserve a fair wage.)
  • Parking for your vehicle OR transportation to the port
  • RV storage

You might also need to pay for:

  • Passports
  • Luggage (If you don’t already own suitcases.)
  • Certain items that you need for the cruise but don’t have already. (Formal wear was a big one for us.)
  • Flights
  • Excursions 
  • Hotel rooms

Look for Deals

One of the wonderful things about living in an RV is that you can strategically place yourself near the port with the best cruise deals, at the time of year when those deals are available. For this reason, we recommend keeping your eyes peeled for a deal and remaining flexible enough to go hop on a boat if a deal crops up at the last minute. This is one of the best cruise tips for saving money. 

Order Passports

While most closed-loop cruises don’t require you to have a passport, it is generally a good idea to have a passport on hand just in case you need to fly from a port back to the US. Unfortunately, getting a passport can take quite some time. Some states require that applicants make a reservation for a passport appointment, and those can fill up quickly. 

Once your application is submitted, it can take months for the passport to arrive and you will need a secure place to receive yours. We recommend having the passport sent to your mailing address (whether it’s a mail service or a responsible friend/family member) and then having it sent on to a UPS store near your location. Be sure to pay for tracking and insurance!

Choose Excursions

As an RVer, you likely have tons of experience planning outings for your family. While you can remove this task altogether by booking excursions through the ship, if you are comfortable planning your port days on your own, you will save a ton of money doing so.

In many ports, there are cool things to see and do within walking distance. Sometimes you can take the city bus or an inexpensive shuttle to nearby attractions. If none of these are options, you can usually find a taxi or a rental car to get you where you need to go. 

Book Parking or Find Transportation to the Port

You will need to have a way to get from your RV (or hotel) to the port. Many people simply drive to the port and use nearby paid parking. If this is your plan, shop around to see what kids of deals you can find and be sure to book in advance. 

Another option is to use an Uber to get to the port, but be sure to price it out to make sure it’s the best option. 

Find RV Storage Facilities

Obviously, you will need to find a place to store your RV. Some RV parks will let you leave your RV in a site for the week as long as the site has been paid for. However, many others (including Thousand Trails parks) do not allow this. If you won’t be in a park that allows you to leave your rig for a week (or if you don’t want to pay for a site you won’t be using), you will need to look for RV storage facilities nearby. 

You will want to price out several options before booking anything. Look for a spot that is gated and secure. Once you find a place, book it right away, as RV storage can be hard to come by last minute. 

Here are some other RV storage options. 

Book a Hotel Room and Flights (if Necessary)

Generally speaking, we recommend moving your RV close to the port you will be leaving out of in order to avoid flying and paying for a hotel room. However, if this is completely impossible, you might have to book your flights and hotel room, something that should be done as soon as possible. 

Pink suitcase

Packing Your Bags

Packing a bag after many years of traveling only by RV is a bit of an odd experience. Here’s are some cruise tips to help packing go smoothly. 

Finding Bags

Most full time RVers don’t tend to travel without their home. For this reason and because space is at a premium, many of us get rid of any bulky luggage we used to own. This is all fine and dandy until you want to hop on a cruise ship.

If you don’t have suitcases to use for your cruise, we recommend heading to a local thrift store or looking on Facebook Marketplace to find used luggage. Most used suitcases are in good shape, and you can always donate them to the same thrift store if you don’t have room to hold on to them once you get back. 

What to Pack

If you’re used to RV travel, you are accustomed to taking literally everything you own with you wherever you go. After a few years of traveling only by RV, picking and choosing what you can take on a trip becomes a very foreign thing.

Not sure what the heck to include in your luggage for the cruise? We recommend going through each day in your head and making a list of what you need. Here is a very nice basic cruise packing list to get you started. Don’t forget your formal attire, passports, and sunscreen!

Keep Weight in Mind

If you will be parking the RV near the port, this isn’t something you have to worry about. That said, those who plan to fly will need to keep the weight of their bags in mind. This might mean switching certain items from one bag to the next until you get everything just right.

If you usually drive an RV to get where you’re going, the idea of weighing your bags may seem odd. That said, you should be pretty accustomed to moving things around in your RV to balance the weight of your rig just right. This is the same thing on a smaller scale. 

Printing Luggage Tags

Many RVers travel without a printer in order to save space. This is usually no big deal, but most cruise lines will want you to print your luggage tags (and some may want even more papers printed). In this case, you will need to find a printer you can use. We recommend heading to the local library for this.

RVs in storage

Storing Your RV

One of the most stressful things about going on a cruise as a full time RVer is putting your home-on-wheels in storage while you’re gone. Here are some suggestions and cruise tips. 

Put Food Away

First, you will want to put all food away. After all, you don’t want to give mice and other pests any reason to enter your home while you’re away. We recommend getting rid of any food that will go bad while you’re gone and then putting all of your dry goods into tightly sealed plastic bins. 

If you have access to an electric hookup wherever you will be leaving your rig, you should be able to clear out foods from the fridge that will spoil during your trip, leave everything else there, and leave the fridge running on electric.

That said, most people do not have access to electricity while storing their rig. In this case, you can either clear the fridge completely and turn the appliance off while you’re gone, or leave things that won’t spoil during your trip in the refrigerator and run the appliance on propane. If you choose the latter, make sure your battery and propane will last for the duration of your trip!

Clean Up Crumbs

Crumbs can also attract pests. Be sure to sweep and vacuum thoroughly before you go, making a point of getting underneath and behind furniture.

Put Out Pest Repellent

Pest repellent can help keep mice and other rodents from entering your home. Some people use peppermint oil on cotton balls, which is said to repel both rodents and insects. Others use mouse repellent products such as these.

Here are more tips on keeping pests away. 

Winterize (if Necessary)

If there is a possibility of freezing temps while you’re gone, you will want to winterize your rig before you put it into storage. This video explains this process nicely

Check for Leaks

It would be pretty terrible to come home from a lovely vacation only to find water damage in your RV. For this reason, we recommend checking your rig for leaks and resealing any areas that might look less than perfect before you go.

Remove Valuables

Another thing you don’t want to come home to? Stolen items. For this reason, it’s best to remove all valuables from the rig if at all possible. It also helps to carry insurance that will cover stolen items should a thief find their way into your RV. 

Lock up Tight

Finally, you will want to lock everything up tight. Make sure the windows and storage bays are all locked and use both locks on your door. Some people even choose to replace the locks on their RV for extra security

Returning from Your Cruise

Once your cruise is done, you will have to get your rig out of storage, dewinterize, and set up camp again. We recommend giving yourself plenty of time to do these things in case anything goes awry. Hopefully the whole process goes smoothly and you then have a day to pick up some groceries and gently ease yourself back into regular life.

There you have it, our best cruise tips for full time RVers. Keep these things in mind and you’ll almost certainly have an amazing time!

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Fulltime Families is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to,, Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc. or its affiliates.

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Source: Our Top Cruise Tips for Full Time RVers

14 Awesome Space Saving RV Kitchen Storage Ideas

14 Awesome Space Saving RV Kitchen Storage Ideas

This article may contain compensated links, please read our disclaimer for more information.

In our last post, we discussed RV food ideas for cooking in your RV, eating out, and experiencing family travel on a budget without giving up good food. That said, we didn’t cover other RV kitchen storage ideas, which can help make the RV cooking experience a smoother and more enjoyable one. 

Seeing as how RV kitchens tend to be itty-bitty spaces, it just makes sense to get creative with your kitchen storage—and many have done just that. In this article we’re going to share some of our absolute favorite RV kitchen storage ideas so you can make your cooking space work better for you. 

RV kitchen storage ideas: nesting bowls

RV Kitchen Storage Ideas

First, let’s talk about some storage tips and tricks for your utensils and dishes. These RV kitchen storage ideas are easy to implement and will make using your RV kitchen much more pleasant. 

Choose Nesting Items

From mixing bowls to measuring cups, choose nesting items whenever you can. After all, it’s a lot easier to store a pot set that stacks neatly into one large pot than it is to store three or four pots separately. 

Go Collapsible

Another great option is to use collapsible items. We’ve seen collapsible measuring cups, collapsible colanders, and even collapsible dish pans. Because these items fold down flat, they are super easy to store without using much cabinet space at all.

Grab Some Magnets

Magnets are helpful tools when it comes to RV kitchen storage. They can be used to hold small containers of spices near the stove or a strip of knives behind a cabinet door. Anything that can hang on a wall or door can be hung with a heavy duty magnet. 

Make Use of the Insides of Cabinet Doors

Speaking on cabinet doors, make sure you take full advantage of the vertical space that the insides of your cabinet doors have to offer. You can hang a trash can behind a cabinet door, use a door back to hold a spice rack, or hang a caddy to store cleaning supplies. 

Invest in an Over-the-Sink Drying Rack

When counter space is limited, finding a place to dry clean dishes can feel absolutely impossible. We like to use one side of the sink for washing and the other side for drying using an over-the-sink drying rack. Dishes drip dry into the sink and the rack folds for easy storage. 

Pick Multi-Functional Tools

When it comes to small kitchen appliances, try to choose multi-functional items. An Instant Pot is a great example of this, as it can be used as a pressure cooker, a slow cooker, or even a yogurt maker. 

Food in jars stored in RV kitchen

RV Food Storage Ideas

Eating in your RV regularly can be difficult when you don’t have places to store all the food you need. This is an especially big problem for larger families as well as those who like to boondock far away from grocery stores for long periods of time. 

Here are a few solutions that might help. 

Switch to Stackable Rectangular Containers

Consider moving all of your dry goods to rectangular stackable reusable containers. The rectangular space works best because no space is wasted between containers, and we appreciate the fact that stackable containers allow you to use vertical cabinet space. 

Put in Shelving

Some RV cabinets are quite tall but don’t include any sort of shelving to take full advantage of the vertical space. While the aforementioned stackable containers can help, you might also consider installing shelving in order to use your cabinet space wisely. 

Install a Lazy Susan

If you have a very deep cabinet, a lazy susan can help keep things orderly and ensure you don’t lose items in the back of the cabinet. We like the multi-tiered lazy susans and recommend using them to store spices, cans, and other smaller items. 

Consider Wall Mounted Dispensers

Wall mounted dry goods dispensers work really well for storing things like rice, macaroni, and cereal. This gives these items a place to live without taking up any cabinet space at all, and it makes getting to these foods extra simple. 

Hang Your Produce

Tired of bruised fruit rolling around in your cabinet on travel day? Sick of veggies hogging your counter space? A hanging fruit hammock is just the thing to get your produce up and out of the way and save it from bruising on bumpy travel days. 

Try a Can Holder

Nobody likes dealing with cans that have tipped over during travel. A simple can holder removes this problem by holding cans neatly in place even while the RV is in motion.

It also dispenses the cans nicely, which is helpful if you keep several cans of the same item on hand, but less so if you put many different canned foods in the holder, as the item being dispensed may not be what you need. 

Install Cabinet Rails

Nothing is more annoying than opening a cabinet after a long day of travel and having everything fall out on you. Small tension rods placed in front of items behind the cabinet door can solve this problem by catching things before they fall. 

There you have it, our top RV kitchen storage ideas! Which ones will you implement first?

Join Fulltime Families

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Fulltime Families is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to,, Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc. or its affiliates.

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Source: 14 Awesome Space Saving RV Kitchen Storage Ideas

RV Food Ideas for Family Travel on a Budget

RV Food Ideas for Family Travel on a Budget

This article may contain compensated links, please read our disclaimer for more information.

Full time RVing is a lot of fun, but if you aren’t careful, it can also be quite expensive. Fortunately, there are tons of ways to cut back on RV living costs and experience amazing family travel on a budget. In fact, many people even manage to travel the country full time while spending less than they would living in a traditional sticks-and-bricks home. 

One of the easiest and most effective ways to cut costs? Trimming your food budget. There are tons of great low-cost RV food ideas out there that can help you spend less on food while exploring in your RV. 

Here are our top RV food ideas that can help save you money while you try your hand at family travel on a budget. 

Piggy bank

Sticking to Your Food Budget

First, our tips for sticking to whatever budget you create. These are some of the most important suggestions, so be sure to incorporate them into your day-to-day life.

Always Have a Plan for Food

Always, always have a plan for what you are going to eat each day. Create a meal plan at the beginning of the week and stick to it. Plan packable lunches for the days you will be traveling or sightseeing, add in some easy meals for unexpectedly crazy days, and be sure to choose meals that your family enjoys so that everyone is full and happy (and so nobody is looking for a snack 30 minutes after a meal). 

Look for Discount Stores

While it isn’t possible to always be close to your favorite stores while traveling, there is almost always a discount grocery store available in any given city. Look for these, as they can save you a lot of money. If the closest one is an hour away in the big city, plan your next shopping trip for the day you visit the city for sightseeing. 

Download Rewards Apps

Most grocery stores have rewards apps, and some of these apps even work at multiple stores. For example, Kroger owns stores in nearly every state, and although they go by different names, the Kroger app works at all of them.

Whichever stores you go with, download their apps and shop the sales (or “clip” digital coupons) along the way. You’d be surprised at the savings they can provide you.

Plan Some Meatless Meals

Meat is expensive no matter where you travel. Save a bit of money by planning at least a couple of meatless meals a week. 

Keep Grab-and-Go Staples on Hand

In order to discourage eating out or grabbing snacks at the convenience store, keep a collection of grab-and-go staples on hand. These don’t have to be expensive convenience foods or junk foods. Things like clementine oranges, yogurt cups, and baby carrots work quite well. 

Cooking Tips for Busy Days

As an RVer, you’re already well aware of how quickly a day can become overwhelmingly busy. A blown tire on a travel day or even a last-minute invite to visit a museum with a fellow Fulltime Family can throw your whole plan out of whack. On top of that, there are many days that we know in advance are going to be busy ones. 

Here are some tips for feeding your family without grabbing fast food, even on the craziest days. 

Try the Slow Cooker

If you know in advance that a given day is going to be nuts, choose a slow cooker dinner. Something you can throw in the slow cooker and leave all day is an excellent choice if 1) you plan to be out sightseeing until dinner time, and 2) you know you won’t have the energy to cook when you return. 

Invest in an Instant Pot

The Instant Pot pressure cooker is an excellent go-to when you need to get dinner on the table fast. If a day is extra busy and you won’t get around to starting dinner until late, the ability to throw some ingredients into the Instant Pot and pull out a wonderful meal 45 minutes later is definitely a blessing. For this reason, we highly recommend picking up an Instant Pot and adding at least a few Instant Pot meals to your meal plan each week. 

Meal Prep Once a Week

Many busy RVers have luck with setting aside one day a week to do all meal prepping. By doing all the slicing, measuring, and other prep work on a single day, cooking dinner on a daily basis becomes a much faster and easier prospect, making you less likely to turn to takeout or expensive convenience foods.

Pull Out an Easy Meal

Those easy meals we mentioned building into your meal plan each week? The unexpectedly busy days are when you will want to use those. A meal doesn’t have to be difficult to make in order to be delicious, filling, and nutritious. Find a few staple easy meals that your family loves and rotate through them each week. 

RV food ideas: man cooking on a grill

Keeping the RV Cool while Cooking

One major complaint people have about cooking in their RV? The heat that tends to build up inside during the summertime. Here’s are some RV food ideas to help you navigate that problem so you can enjoy home-cooked meals even during the hottest times of year. 

Cook in the Morning

Some RVers will actually cook their dinner in the morning. In some cases, they cook the food in the AM and eat it cold in the PM (think chicken for salads, cold pasta salad, etc). In other cases, they will cook in the morning and reheat in the microwave in the evening, avoiding turning on the stove or oven when the temperature is at its highest. 

Turn on a Vent Fan

A vent fan can help a lot with removing heat and moisture from the RV while you’re cooking. Just be sure to close the vent cover once you’re done cooking so you aren’t sending all of your air conditioning outside. 

Choose No-Cook Meals

There are some meals that don’t require any cooking at all. Keeping ingredients on hand for things like cold-cut sandwiches and salads with diced ham and egg will give you an option if you can’t bring yourself to cook in the heat but you didn’t do prep work that morning. 

Head Outside

Another great option is to head outdoors to do your cooking in the summertime. Nothing beats a grilled burger or steak, and by choosing to cook outdoors, you encourage the whole family to enjoy some time in nature while keeping the rig nice and cool for bedtime. 

Finding Space to Cook in Your RV

Another common complaint is that there isn’t enough room to cook in the RV. We get it, RV kitchens certainly are small. That said, there are some ways around this problem. Try these RV foods ideas on for size. 

Remove Appliances from the Countertop

This one may seem obvious, but we feel it is worth saying. If you have appliances that live on your RV countertop, find another place for them to be. Counter space is too precious and appliances can be brought out as they are needed.

Pull Out a Table

Still need more space to work with? Why not create your own prep space by pulling out a small table or TV tray? This will give you a surface to set things on and can be folded and put away after you’re finished cooking. 

Take Prep Work Outdoors

You could also take your prep work outside. Most campsites have a picnic table, but you can also just carry a folding table and set it up at each campsite you visit. Even if you don’t plan on cooking outdoors, doing all of your cutting, measuring, and mixing outside might help you feel less crowded while cooking in your RV. 


Family Travel on a Budget: Eating Out

Obviously, using the RV food ideas above and eating food from home is the best way to go about feeding your family while traveling on a budget. That said, sometimes it’s fun to eat out as a part of a special field trip day. 

The good news? There are ways to enjoy a meal out once in a while without breaking the bank. 

Carry Fruit and Other Sides

Carry fruit, applesauce, yogurt, and cut veggies to supplement whatever meal you plan to eat at a restaurant (either during the meal if you’re getting take out or after or you’re eating in the restaurant). This way, you can buy less restaurant food but still ensure everyone gets full. 

Look for “Kids Eat Free”

Many local eateries as well as chains will offer “kids eat free” nights, half-priced appetizers during happy hour, and other excellent deals. Look for these and take advantage of them to save a lot on dining out. 

Check Out Groupon

Groupon is another option. While the deals Groupon has to offer are not always as good as they once were, we do still come across a steal once in a while. Just be sure you read the fine print so you know exactly what you’re buying before you buy it. 

Join Loyalty Programs

If you tend to eat at the same chain restaurant on a regular basis, be sure you join the loyalty program there. No, this won’t save big bucks most of the time, but a free sandwich or pizza once in a while is nice. 

Grab a Shareable Food

Speaking of pizza, pizzas and other shareable foods are perhaps the best ways to feed a family on a budget while out and about. Fried chicken, rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, and foot-long Subway sandwiches all fit into this category and can help cut your “eating out” budget by quite a lot. 

As you can see, feeding your crew on the cheap so you can experience family travel on a budget is totally possible. Implement these RV food ideas to see what a difference they can make for your family!

Join Fulltime Families

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Fulltime Families is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to,, Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc. or its affiliates.

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Source: RV Food Ideas for Family Travel on a Budget

The Best RV Destinations for Summer

The Best RV Destinations for Summer

Summer can be rough when you’re living in an RV. The fact is, RV air conditioners just can’t keep up with extreme heat. Parking in the shade, covering the windows, and using an extra A/C (if you have one) are all things that can help, but the best solution of all is to choose your RV destinations wisely during the hottest months. 

By picking destinations that are in the mountains, by water, or far north, you can avoid much of the extreme heat that beats down on the majority of our country during the summer. Select from these ideal summertime RV destinations below and you’ll be cool and comfortable even in the middle of August!

Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park


Easily one of the most magical places in the United States, Olympic National Park is also one of the most ideal summer RV destinations. Here you’ll find absolutely stunning beaches, gorgeous mountains, the incredible Hoh Rainforest, and nice, cool temperatures. You’re sure to love hiking the many different landscapes, and you’ll never forget the amazing views found around every corner of this park. 

Our favorite place to go RV camping in Olympic National Park is in Hoh Campground, which allows you to park right in the middle of a rainforest. It is absolutely gorgeous, but you’ll need to go in prepared to be without internet for a few days.

Lady taking a picture in North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park


Another Washington national park that is absolutely perfect during the summer months is North Cascades National Park. Because it sits at a high elevation, this park almost never gets hot. On top of that, the incredibly blue waters, gorgeous snow-capped mountains, and greenery all around make for a stunning landscape that you will definitely want to hike, photograph, and explore. 

When it comes to RV camping in North Cascades National Park, we recommend Gorge Lake Campground. This is dry camping, but the location cannot be beat. Just be sure your RV can fit!

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park


One of our favorite national parks in the country, Glacier National Park should be on every RVer’s bucket list. This park is located both in the mountains and far north, meaning you might just find yourself feeling a bit chilly while visiting the area. Some people even find snow to play in while exploring the park well into June!

Glacier National Park is home to Apgar Campground, a great choice for RVers who are okay with dry camping and want to stay in the park. If you need full hookups, you will need to look outside of the park. 

Oregon coastline

The Oregon Coast


Like all of the Pacific Northwest, Oregon as a whole tends to stay relatively cool during the summer. That said, if you’re able to snag a spot by the ocean, you’ll have even cooler weather and some of the most beautiful views around. The way the rocky cliffs meet the water on parts of the coastline is just stunning, and the sunsets here really cannot be beat. 

RV camping is not hard to come by along the Oregon coast. In fact, several Thousand Trails parks sit in a row along the line where the land meets the sea. If you have a Thousand Trails membership, these parks are the way to go, and Seaside RV Resort and South Jetty RV Campground are our absolute favorites. 

Summer RV Destinations: Michigan’s UP

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula


Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (aka the “UP”) is like another world entirely, and thanks to its northern location and the Great Lakes all around the peninsula, the weather here is pretty much perfect during the summer. Be sure to spend a day exploring Mackinac Island and make a trip to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore for some unique experiences. 

There are a lot of campground choices in the UP. Hovey Lake Camping Area and Raco Airfield are good choices for free dry camping, and there are plenty of full-service campgrounds around. 

Lighthouse at Cape Cod National Seashore

Cape Cod National Seashore


Heading over to the east side of the country, our next recommendation as far as summer RV destinations go is Cape Cod National Seashore. This NPS site is absolutely perfect for those who enjoy relaxing on the beach, playing in the sand, or surfing. The lighthouses here are picturesque, and the learning opportunities offered both in the visitor center and by the park rangers are fantastic!

If you have a Thousand Trails membership, it is possible to stay at Gateway to Cape Cod RV Campground and day-trip to the seashore. That said, we highly recommend boondocking on the beach if you are able. 

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

New York

Another of the great east coast summer RV destinations, Niagara Falls rarely gets hot and provides amazing opportunities for sightseeing and escaping into nature. Riding the Maid of the Mist tour boat is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and the Cave of the Winds is a worthwhile experience as well. For hiking, there are many state parks in the area that offer fantastic trails. 

Four Mile Creek State Park, in our opinion, is the best place to stay when visiting Niagara Falls in an RV. The sites are level and provide water and electric hookups. The bathrooms are clean, there is a dump station, and best of all, your state park camping pass will get you into all area state parks for free (including the parking on Goat Island near the falls)!

Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park


Last but definitely not least, we must mention Acadia. Like Glacier and Olympic, this is one of our absolute favorite national parks, and is one everyone should see at least once. Not only that, it’s perfect as a summer RV destination. Be sure to see (and hear) Thunder Hole, spend some time soaking up the sun at Sand Beach, hike the Schoodic Peninsula, and take a walk around Jordan Pond.

Those who want to save money by using their Trails Collection membership can stay at Mount Desert Narrows, Narrows Too or Patten Pond. Meanwhile, if you prefer to stay in the park, you have several options—including our favorite, Schoodic Woods Campground

As you can see, there are plenty of absolutely amazing RV destinations that allow you to escape the summer heat while still enjoying beautiful scenery, awesome hikes, and other wonderful attractions. If you’re feeling hot where you are now, head to one of these spots. You won’t regret it!

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Source: The Best RV Destinations for Summer

Caring for Your RV Water Tanks: 11 Great Tips

Caring for Your RV Water Tanks: 11 Great Tips

This article may contain compensated links, please read our disclaimer for more information.

Your RV water tanks are essential to the plumbing system in your motorhome or trailer. Your fresh tank ensures you have clean water wherever you roam. Meanwhile, the black and gray tanks hold onto wastewater until you can properly dispose of it. 

Considering how important they are, you should definitely want to take proper care of your RV water tanks. The good news? This is actually relatively easy to do! Simply use the tips below and your tanks should last you for years to come. 

Use the Right TP

The right toilet paper will make all the difference in the world when it comes to caring for your RV’s black tank. You see, certain kinds of toilet paper simply don’t break down in the tank, causing buildup, a dirty tank, and sometimes even clogs.

For this reason, we recommend testing any TP you plan to use in your RV by putting it in a jar of water and shaking it a bit. If the paper breaks down, it’s probably fine. If not, look elsewhere. 

When in doubt, just choose the quick-dissolving TP made specifically for RVs.

Flush with Lots of Water

It’s also important that you use enough water when you flush your RV toilet. The usual quick push down isn’t going to cut it. Instead, we recommend filling the entire toilet bowl with water before flushing it down. This will ensure there is plenty of water to break down any solids you send into the black tank, preventing issues with buildup. 

RV toilet paper

Invest in a Tank Sprayer

Using a lot of water when you flush definitely helps ensure nothing sticks around in the tank when you flush, but it doesn’t  prevent it entirely. For this reason, you will want to invest in a tank sprayer (if your RV doesn’t have one built in). This can be used to send a jet of water into the tank, dislodging bits that are stuck on the sides of the tank and leaving you with a much cleaner (and less smelly) tank. 

Use a Clear Elbow

You’ll want a way to see if your RV water tanks are clean so you know when to stop spraying them. The best way to do this? A clear elbow or clear extension piece for your sewer hose. These allow you to watch the water that drains out of the tanks, which will be a good indicator of what you’re spraying out of there until it runs more clear.

Consider a Tank Cleaning Product

Sometimes tanks stink. It’s a fact of RV life, but it doesn’t have to stick around for your entire full-timing adventure. If you notice your tank is stinking, try to flush it out really well, check for clogs in the vent tank, and ensure the ball seal in the toilet isn’t letting the stink in. If none of these is the issue, you might want to consider using a tank cleaning product. 

Some people have luck with products like Camper Chem. Others turn to more natural solutions such as Happy Campers. Still other RVers swear by theGeo Method of keeping their tanks shiny and clean. 

Keep the Tanks Closed

Another way to prevent buildup? Keep the tanks closed until they need to be emptied, even if you’re parked in a full-hookup site. This rule is especially important when it comes to the black tank, because leaving it open to drain into the sewer every time you flush will result in a mountain of solids that don’t make it to the sewer hose.

That said, it can also be helpful if you have problems with gray tank stink, as food particles from the kitchen sink do have a tendency to stick to the sides of the tank when given the chance. 

Open the Black Tank First

When it does come time to dump your RV water tanks, dump the black water first. Letting the black tank dump completely, closing it, and then opening the gray tank means the less disgusting gray water will flush the black water out of the sewer hose before you have to detach and rinse the thing.

True, this isn’t so much a tip for maintaining your tanks, but it does help make the whole dumping process less gross, as your sewer hose will have much less gunk that needs to be rinsed out of it at the end. 

Wait Until the Black Tank is Half Full

Another rule that comes with dumping the black tank? You’ll want to wait until it is at least half full to empty it. This ensures you have plenty of liquid waste to flush out the solid waste when you open the dump valve. It also helps ensure those solids don’t pile up and harden on the tank floor.

Obviously, if your gray tank fills first (as it probably will), you can dump it separately and then close it to let it fill back up for the next time you need to dump black. 

Sanitize Your Fresh Water Tank

Did you know your fresh water tank needs to be cleaned? It makes sense, doesn’t it? After all, you’re bathing, washing dishes, and cooking with that water, and some people even drink it. You definitely don’t want it to be contaminated or unhealthy in any way. 

Fortunately, this task is very simple. The video below has some great instructions, or you can follow the steps in our article on sanitizing your fresh water tank.

Winterize Your RV Water System

Another thing every RV owner should know is that an RV water system needs to be winterized if the RV will be in freezing temps. There are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if you’ll be staying in the RV over the winter, you can probably insulate and warm things enough to avoid winterizing. Generally speaking though, winterizing your RV plumbing is the way to go. 

For the most part, winterizing an RV involves filling the water lines with antifreeze. That said, we also recommend dumping a bit of RV antifreeze into the waste water tanks to ensure they aren’t damaged by cold weather. You can also dump RV antifreeze into your waste tanks if you are staying in a cold location, even if you don’t plan on winterizing the rest of the rig. 

Repairing an RV Water Tank

Many RVers eventually find themselves dealing with cracked RV water tanks. Unfortunately, a big crack likely means that you have to replace the whole tank. That said, it is sometimes possible to patch small cracks with Plasti-Mend, a fantastic product that chemically welds plastics back together

Unfortunately, the Plasti-Mend website no longer sells their tank repair product, but they do provide a phone number to call if you want to find out where you can buy it. 

There you have it, everything you need to know to take proper care of your RV water tanks! Hopefully this information helps you out and your tanks stay clean and functional for years to come.

Want to learn even more about RV water tanks? Check out our guide to portable waste tanks!

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Source: Caring for Your RV Water Tanks: 11 Great Tips

The 12 Most Dog Friendly National Parks in the US

The 12 Most Dog Friendly National Parks in the US

This article may contain compensated links, please read our disclaimer for more information.

RVing with a dog is an amazing experience. It gives you the opportunity to connect with your family pet in a whole new way, exploring and enjoying the great outdoors in different locations all across the country.

One of the best places to do this? Dog friendly national parks, of course!

While most national parks do allow dogs on roadways and in vehicles, there are some national parks that allow dogs to do much more than that. These parks will welcome you and your pup with open arms and invite your furry friend to enjoy the park fully right alongside you. 

Below, we’ve put together a list of the most dog friendly national parks in the country. Stick to these parks and you are sure to have an amazing time adventuring with Fido. 

Grand Canyon National Park


At Grand Canyon National Park, pets are allowed on all of the popular South Rim trails. If you’re headed to the other side, pets can explore the Bridle Path and a portion of the Arizona Trail. Dogs are also welcome at some in-park campgrounds. 

If you find yourself wanting to A) ride a shuttle bus, B) go into a visitor center, or C) hike below the canyon’s rim, your dog cannot go with you. In this case, you might consider making use of the kennel available on the South Rim. 

Shenandoah National Park


Shenandoah National Park is ideal for hitting the trail with your furry hiking buddy. This is because Shenandoah has over 500 miles of hiking trails, and all but 20 miles of those trails are pet-friendly. 

In addition to the many miles of pet-friendly trails, this national park also welcomes dogs at all in-park campgrounds, and your pup can always get out and stretch their legs with you on pull-outs along Skyline Drive. 

Acadia National Park


Acadia National Park is awesome because it offers 100 miles of dog friendly trails. Additionally, there are 45 miles of carriage roads your pup is welcome to explore. Best of all, aside from Duck Harbor, all of the Acadia campgrounds allow pets, meaning you can park your rig in the park. 

Dogs are not allowed at Sand Beach though, and they can’t swim anywhere within the park. 

Congaree National Park

South Carolina

Congaree National Park will gladly welcome your doggo. Here, Fido will be allowed to wander all of the park trails as well as the boardwalks that meander through the place. This is great because it means your pup can go where you go. 

This park does not offer RV camping, but pets are allowed in the tent campground. They are also allowed on tours with Carolina Outdoor Adventures. 

Petrified Forest National Park


Another of the dog friendly national parks where your pet can go wherever you go, Petrified Forest National Park lets dogs walk on all park trails and roads. Additionally, dogs are welcome to adventure in the official wilderness areas, giving you even more to explore with your pet. 

New River Gorge National Park

West Virginia

The country’s newest national park is also one of its most pet-friendly parks. New River Gorge National Park lets dogs check out the well-known Endless Wall Trail and the stunning Grandview Rim Trail, as well as any other trail in the park. 

Mammoth Cave National Park


No, dogs are not allowed to explore underground in the huge cave system at Mammoth Cave National Park, but they do have a kennel where Fido can stay while you go cave exploring. Another cool thing? Pets are welcome on any of the park’s 70 miles of surface-level trails. 

Dog at White Sands National Park

White Sands National Park

New Mexico

White Sands National Park is yet another place where you and your dog can roam freely. With nine miles of trails and seemingly endless dunes to explore, you and your dog could easily spend an entire day playing in this park. Just keep in mind that the sand does get very hot here, so dog shoes might be necessary.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park


While dogs cannot go to the East Rim mountain bike area or ride the in-park scenic railroad at Cuyahoga Valley National Park, they can hike! Pets are invited to hike 110 miles of trails in this national park, including 20 miles of the famous Towpath Trail. 

Hot Springs National Park


At Hot Springs National Park, you and your dog will have 26 miles of trails to explore together. No, Fido won’t be allowed in the historic bathhouses, but he is welcome to camp in the in-park campground, so bringing him along shouldn’t be an issue. 

Indiana Dunes National Park


Water-loving pups will appreciate Indiana Dunes National Park. Here, pets are invited to play at most in-park beaches during the off season. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the list of dog friendly beaches is shorter though, so be sure to check which ones welcome pets before you go. 

In addition to beaches, dogs are also welcome to hike any of the trails in the park except Great Marsh Trail, Glenwood Dunes Trail, and Pinhook Bog Trail. 

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

Finally, there is Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. Here, pets can walk the Mosca Pass Trail or hike the Dunes Overlook Trail. They are also welcome to play in the massive sand dunes up to the first high ridge, or splash in Medano Creek to cool off when the weather is hot. 

Just remember that sand can be hot and dog shoes may be necessary!

Dog with man and woman in a national park

More Info on Visiting National Parks With Dogs

Choosing a dog friendly national park is only part of the planning process. You also want to go in knowing the rules and tricks for visiting national parks with dogs. This will help ensure your visit goes smoothly and everyone has a great time. 

Keep Pets Leashed

First, it’s important to know that all national parks (even dog friendly national parks) require that pets be on a leash that measures six feet or shorter at all times when exploring the park. We recommend using a harness to keep your pet comfortable.

We also recommend leaving the leash on your pet even when in the car, and then tying the leash to something to ensure the pup doesn’t bolt when the door is opened. Even if your dog isn’t usually a runner, the new location (and any nearby wild animals) could trigger an unusual response. 

Learn Your Boundaries

Before you head out and start exploring, be sure you know what the boundaries are. Know where your dog is and isn’t allowed, and stick to those boundaries. Keep in mind, the rules are put in place to protect you, your dog, other visitors, and the plants and animals in the park. 

Note: Dogs are never allowed in national park buildings. 

Always Clean Up after Your Dog

Always, always carry poop bags and clean up your dog’s waste. Yes, it’s natural and you’re in a natural area, but nobody wants their national park trip to be ruined because they stepped in dog poop. Besides, leaving dog poop laying around is just plain gross. 

Give Wild Animals Space

National parks are home to many wild animals. Naturally, your dog is going to want to say “hi” to those animals, but it is very important that you keep your pet close and give the wildlife their space. Wild animals can and will hurt those who get too close.

Stay on the Trail

It’s also important that you stick to established trails when walking through national parks. Stepping off the trail can actually cause damage to the ecosystem that takes decades to repair. Obviously, we want to care for these beautiful natural spaces, so staying on the trail is definitely a good idea. 

Be Pest Aware

Obviously, you’re probably going to come across some bugs while visiting national parks with your dog. Take care of your pup by giving them their flea and tick treatment before you head to the park and bringing along some dog safe bug spray. It’s also a good idea to do a heartworm treatment, as mosquitoes can carry heartworms.

Carry Water and Food

Hiking these dog friendly national parks will make your dog thirsty. Make sure to carry a collapsible bowl and some water to pour into it, and stop for drink breaks often. You may also want to bring some food and treats if you’ll be out all day. 

Protect Those Paws

Many people forget just how hot the ground can get. Sand and asphalt become especially hot in the sunshine. Make sure you check every surface by placing the back of your hand on the ground for at least 10 seconds. If it’s too hot to hold your hand there, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws. 

Want to be able to hike on hot surfaces? Consider some dog shoes to protect your dog’s paws. 

Participate in the B.A.R.K. Ranger Program

Lastly, we highly recommend participating in the B.A.R.K. Ranger Program. This is a fun little program that helps educate dog owners about proper park etiquette and is a perfect addition to any trip to one of these dog friendly national parks. All you have to do is learn the B.A.R.K. principles and your dog will be eligible to buy a super cute ranger badge dog tag. 

Taking your pup to dog friendly national parks is a great way to enjoy RVing with your pet. Why not choose one of the parks listed above and start planning your adventure today?

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Source: The 12 Most Dog Friendly National Parks in the US

The Ins and Outs of RV Slide Toppers

The Ins and Outs of RV Slide Toppers

This article may contain compensated links, please read our disclaimer for more information.

One thing that doesn’t get discussed enough in the world of RVing? RV slide toppers. These handy things are fairly common, and yet we rarely hear about their uses, how to care for them, or how to repair them. 

In today’s article we will fix this problem by addressing some of the most important bits of information you should know about your RV slide toppers. After reading, you should have a much better understanding about why we use slide toppers and how you can ensure yours lasts as long as possible. 

Let’s get started!

What are RV Slide Toppers?

First, let’s talk briefly about what exactly an RV slide topper is. After all, this isn’t a very useful discussion if you don’t know what we’re discussing. 

Slide toppers are the small awnings you see sticking out over the slides on some RVs. They automatically roll out when the slides are put out and retract when the slides are pulled back in. Some RVs come standard with these small awnings, others do not. That said, it is possible to add your own aftermarket RV slide toppers, something many RV owners choose to do. 

What are Slide Toppers for?

Now that you know what we’re talking about, you may be wondering what exactly slide toppers are for. The obvious answer is that they help protect your slide roof from leaks. They also do a nice job of keeping debris off the roof, and any debris that falls onto the topper tends to slide off easily, rather than getting stuck on the flat slideout roof. 

Another major benefit of RV slide toppers? These things can actually help insulate your RV and provide extra shade from bright sunshine. This is awesome because it means cooler summers and warmer winters without using a ton of electricity or propane. 

3 RV slide toppers on fifth wheel

The Drawbacks of Slide Toppers

As you can see, there are a few great benefits to having toppers over your slides. That said, these awnings do also have some drawbacks.

For one thing, slide toppers can catch the wind, causing annoying flapping noises that can make it hard to sleep. They can also collect rainwater, dropping it at random and sometimes at the most inopportune times. There is also the fact that it’s another thing on your RV that you have to maintain, and lastly, we find it very annoying that the slide topper must be removed in order to reseal the slide roof underneath. 

If you find these drawbacks are terribly annoying and you want to remove your RV slide toppers, you can do that by using the video below to remove the awning fabric, and then using a drill to remove the topper hardware. 

Are RV Slide Toppers Necessary?

Overall, even with their negatives, RV slide toppers are pretty nifty, but are they a necessity? If your rig didn’t come from the factory with them, should you rush out to buy a set right away?

We’d have to say that no, although RV slide toppers are super nice to have, they are not at all necessary, especially if your RV didn’t come with them in the first place. There are plenty of RVs out on the road without slide toppers that are doing just fine. Just make sure the rooftops of your RV slides outs stay well sealed and you’ll be good to go. 

All that said, if you do want to add aftermarket slide toppers, you can do that using something like this. Be sure you choose one that fits your slide!

Caring RV Slide Toppers

If you do have slide toppers, you may be wondering how to care for them. The good news is that they are very easy to care for. Below are our top tips for taking excellent care of your RV slide toppers. 

Clean Often

You should clean your slide awnings every time you clean your RV. This will help them better retain their original color and will help ensure they don’t accumulate mildew or mold. 

Washing your slide topper is as simple as scrubbing them gently with a long-handled brush and a mixture of water and dish soap. Rinse with water and make sure to let the topper dry completely before pulling it in. 

Pull Them In During Strong Winds

Slide toppers can be damaged by high winds and heavy hail. Therefore, it’s a good idea to pull your slides in if the wind gets going strong or if a big storm rolls through.

Not only will this prevent holes and tears in the awning fabric, it’ll also make your rig more aerodynamic, making it harder for the wind to push you around as you wait for the storm to pass. 

Regularly Inspect for Tears

Even well-taken-care-of slide toppers will begin to tear over time. This is just a part of the aging process and will happen more quickly if you spend a lot of time parked in the sun. 

Fortunately, you can get more life out of your slide topper fabric even after the tears begin to show up. To do this, inspect the fabric before you pull in the slides each moving day. If you find a tear, use awning tape to patch it up before retracting the slide topper to avoid further damage. 

Replace Fabric as Needed

Eventually, you will have to give in and replace the RV slide topper fabric entirely. Fortunately, this is something most individuals can do without the help of a professional. That said, you will likely need a second set of hands to make the process go smoothly. 

There are a couple of ways you can replace your awning fabric. The traditional way of doing this is shared in the video below:

That said, many find they prefer the method shared in this next video:

No matter which method you use, you’re sure to appreciate having a new slide topper fabric in place so you can enjoy the benefits of having functioning RV slide toppers once again!

What do you think? Are slide toppers worth having? Will you install a set on your RV? Hopefully, this article helped you better understand what slide toppers are and how you can care for any toppers you might have on your rig.

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Source: The Ins and Outs of RV Slide Toppers

The Fulltime Families Guide to Camping in the Rain

The Fulltime Families Guide to Camping in the Rain

This article may contain compensated links, please read our disclaimer for more information.

Camping in the rain is one of those things that every full timer has to do once in a while. After all, how are you going to live in an RV full time and avoid the rain 100% of that time?

That said, there’s no reason camping in the rain has to be miserable. The next time rain is in the forecast, use these tips and tricks to weather the storm like an RVing pro. 

Preparing for Bad Weather

First, you will want to prepare for the weather that is about to hit. Making sure you’re fully prepared will make things go smoothly and help you avoid problems that can arise when camping in the rain. 

Make Sure the RV is Well Sealed

It’s very important that you keep your RV well sealed at all times in order to avoid water damage. Obviously, this becomes especially important when rain is on its way. 

Get up on the roof and check all seals, making sure to go over them again with RV roof sealant if it’s been a year or more since they’ve been sealed. Check weather stripping to be sure it’s still doing its job, and make sure the windows and vents are closed up before the storm hits. 

Always Have Tarps and Eternabond on Hand

Even if you keep up with all of your RV maintenance, it’s still possible to miss something and end up with a leak. Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to fix leaks when a storm is in progress. Therefore, we recommend keeping tarps on hand to cover up leaky spots until you can seal them up. Eternabond can also come in handy if you have a break between showers. 

Download the Right Weather Apps

Having the right set of weather apps will alert you when rain is on the way and keep you in the know should things start to get extra bad so you can seek shelter. We recommend these weather apps for those who RV full time, as we find they are the most reliable as we hop from one place to the next. 

Have a Bug Out Bag Ready

Usually a rainstorm is just that: a rainstorm. That said, it can happen that a rainstorm can turn into something much more. Because of this, it’s always a good idea to have a “bug out” bag at the ready. This is a bag with all of the essentials that you can grab and take out the door with you in case of a weather emergency such as a tornado or flood. 

A bug out bag should contain:

Rainy road through the forest

Driving and Parking an RV in the Rain

Sometimes the storm hits on travel day, putting an even bigger kink in things. Here are our tips for driving and parking when you get caught camping in the rain. 

Plan around Rain when Possible

Depending on how flexible your travel plans are, you might be able to plan around the rain and avoid traveling in it at all. If you see rain in the forecast and have the ability to change your plans, do it. It’s a lot easier and a lot easier to move the RV in dry weather. 

Take It Slow and Leave a Gap

Of course, it isn’t always possible to change your moving day. In this case, driving the rig on a rainy day might be necessary. In this case, take it slow (55 mph is plenty fast enough) and leave a large gap between yourself and the person in front of you. Honestly, this is how RVers should always drive, but it becomes especially important in rainy weather. 

Use RainX

Having trouble keeping your windshield and mirrors clear enough to see as you drive in the rain? RainX is a fantastic product that can help with this. Put it to use!

Pull Over when Needed

If the rain starts coming down so hard that you can’t see, or if you get tired of fighting the wind, pull over and take a break. Getting an early start on moving day will ensure you have plenty of time for breaks, and even if you don’t make it in time to check into your campground, you can always camp in a Walmart parking lot for the night and check in the next day. 

Choose Your Campsite Wisely

Once you arrive at your campground, the next step is to get parked in a campsite. Be sure to avoid sites that are near rivers or other bodies of water that might flood due to the rain. It’s good to avoid campsites that are situated at the bottom of the hill, as you’re bound to end up with big puddles in your yard as the rain continues to fall. 

Practical Tips for Camping in the Rain

You’re at the campground and parked in a campsite—now what? Well, there are a few practical things you can do to make camping in the rain a relatively good experience. 

Create a Waterproof Outdoor Living Space

We’re all well aware that RVs aren’t the biggest of living spaces, and they start to feel extra small when you can’t head outside and spread out. For this reason, we highly recommend creating a waterproof outdoor hangout space so that 1) the kids can play outside, 2) you can relax in the great outdoors, and 3) friends can come hang out, all without getting wet.

In our opinion, the best way to go about this is to invest in a Clam tent. These tents are fantastic because they are easy to set up, easy to take down, and they are quite large, meaning a whole group can use one as shelter from the rain. 

Store Firewood in a Dry Place

If you like to have real wood fires, you will want to make sure to store that firewood someplace dry until the rain passes. After all, you can’t very well start a good campfire with rain-soaked wood. 

Set Up an Indoor Clothes Line

Drying towels, swimsuits, and clothes that are wet from the rain can be tricky when an outdoor clothesline isn’t an option. For this, we recommend a retractable clothesline in the shower (along with the vent fan to get air moving). You could also set up a clothesline in your Clam tent. 

Keep Rain Boots by the Door

Keeping rain boots, Crocs, or some other waterproof shoes by the door will help keep your camper floors clean and dry. Put them under the awning or slide them under the RV to keep them dry, and pull them in if the rain becomes heavy. 

Kids playing in the rain in boots

What to Do when Camping in the Rain

As mentioned above, one of the worst things about camping in the rain is being stuck inside. Setting up a dry outdoor living space helps a lot, but there are other ideas you might want to consider as well. These will help keep the whole family sane and happy until the storm passes. 

Play in the Rain

A little rain never hurt anyone! If there isn’t any lightning and it isn’t too cold, why not let the kids play in the rain for a while? This will allow them to get some energy out while having a blast, and we guarantee it’s a memory they will hold onto for a long time to come. 

Keep Craft Supplies Handy

As far as inside activities go, crafts are always a winner. For this reason, we like to keep a big box of craft supplies on hand at all times.

Fill the box with paper, scissors, glue, markers, crayons, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, pom-poms, popsicle sticks, and anything else you can think of, and then let the kids go to town! Heck, you might even find yourself wanting to join in the fun. 

Pull Out the Board Games

Family game night is the perfect activity for a stormy night. Pull out your favorite board game and challenge your family to a round or two. Not only will you pass time while the rain falls, you’ll also become closer as a family and have fun doing it. 

Create a Rainy Day Box

A “rainy day box” can be a great tool to have when the storms roll through. Fill the box with toys, books, games, and movies that only come out when it’s raining. This makes the items extra special and more likely to hold the kids’ attention. Be sure to change out the contents of the box from time to time to keep things interesting. 

Go on Field Trips

Lastly, if you happen to be in an area with indoor attractions such as museums and aquariums, rainy days are a great time to get out and explore these things. This will get you out of the RV and will almost certainly make the whole family happy. On top of that, the kids might even learn something new without any fighting about schoolwork!

Camping in the rain might be a bit of a bummer, but it certainly doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Use these tips and tricks and we’re betting your next experience with camping in the rain might not be too bad at all. In fact, you might even find you have an extra good time!

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Fulltime Families is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to,, Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc. or its affiliates.

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Source: The Fulltime Families Guide to Camping in the Rain

8 Important Tips for Maintaining Your RV Tires

8 Important Tips for Maintaining Your RV Tires

This article may contain compensated links, please read our disclaimer for more information.

You probably don’t think all that much about your RV tires. Nevertheless, the fact is that RV tires are among the most crucial parts of any trailer or motorhome. Without tires you really couldn’t get anywhere, and tires that are not well maintained can pose a serious danger to anyone riding in your rig, as well as those on the road around you.

But how do you go about properly maintaining RV tires? We aren’t born knowing this information, and it’s doubtful that your RV dealer shared their favorite RV tire maintenance tips before you left the lot. Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place to learn all you need to know!

Swap Out Factory RV Tires

Our first bit of advice comes into play as soon as you acquire an RV. Once you drive your trailer or motorhome off the lot, take it directly to a tire shop and get those factory tires replaced. You see, the tires most RV manufacturers use are horrible quality and are liable to burst during your first or second trip out. 

Honestly, even if you buy a used rig and the factory RV tires have already been swapped out, it’s not a bad idea to go get a new set put on just so you know how old the tires are and what they’ve been through. 

Test the Pressure Before Each Trip

Before you head out on each camping trip or travel day, take your pressure gauge outside and check your RV tire pressure. Driving on tires with too little pressure will cause them to wear out quickly and could lead to a blowout, so checking before each trip and airing them up if needed is definitely a good practice. 

You might want to carry a portable air compressor, so you can add air easily anytime and anywhere.

Stack of RV tires

Keep an Eye on the Tread

Another thing to keep an eye on and check before you hit the road? The tread on your RV tires. You want to make sure the tires aren’t wearing uneven and that they still have plenty of tread left. While you’re at it, also check for bubbling, cracking, or any other signs of excessive wear or damage that might require a tire replacement. 

Check RV Tire Expiration Dates

Did you know tires have expiration dates? It’s true, and while you aren’t likely to keep car tires around long enough for them to expire, depending on how often you travel in your rig, it’s totally possible for RV tires to expire before they look old or worn.

Unfortunately, an expired tire is a dangerous tire that has likely started wearing out from the inside. For this reason, it’s important that you always check the expiration dates on your RV tires and set a reminder for yourself to have them replaced before they go out of date.

Remember Your Alignments

If you do notice uneven wear on your RV tires, it’s likely that your trailer or motorhome is in need of an alignment. This is a bit of maintenance that you will want to keep on top of in order to avoid constantly replacing RV tires. (And yes, even trailers can be thrown out of alignment.)

Note: There are other things that can cause uneven tire wear. Most of these issues will be caught when an alignment is being done, so the alignment is always a good place to start. 

Invest in a TPMS for RV Tires

You might carefully check your RV tires before every single trip, but that doesn’t mean nothing will ever happen while you’re out on the road. A tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) will help you keep an eye on your RV tires even while you’re driving. 

Such a system is designed to let you know if your tire pressure gets too low, and some can even sense if a particular tire gets hot. This information might just help you catch a tire blowout before it happens.

Cover Your RV Tires Up

RV tires can easily become damaged by bright sunlight, especially if the RV is left to sit for long periods of time. For this reason, we highly recommend purchasing a set of RV tire covers to use any time you’ll be stationary for more than a few days, or for those times when you have to put your home-on-wheels in storage.

The covers will protect your RV tires from damaging rays, helping ensure they last as long as possible. 

Don’t Forget the Spare RV Tire

Lastly, it’s important to note that RV spare tires need care and attention as well. Be sure to cover your spare up to protect it from the sun and other things that might damage it. Check your spare tire every few months for cracking and other signs of age or damage.

You’ll also want to make a note of when your RV spare tire expires so you can replace it before that date rolls around. After all, nobody wants to be caught out on the side of the road with both a flat tire and an unusable spare tire. 

There you have it, the most important bits of advice for caring for your RV tires so they can stay in tip-top shape for all of your exciting travels. Add these things to your maintenance and travel day checklists and you’ll be able to rest easy knowing your RV tires can take on your travel days without issue.

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Utah’s National Parks: Where to Camp and What to Do

Utah’s National Parks: Where to Camp and What to Do

There’s no doubt about it, Utah’s national parks are amazing. These gorgeous parks are referred to as the “Mighty 5” for a reason, and once you see them, you’re sure to understand. 

Yes, this line of parks in southern Utah is a must-see for all travelers, especially those who enjoy the great outdoors. If you haven’t been to see Utah’s national parks yet, it’s high time you planned a trip, and rather than trying to pick and choose Utah’s best national parks, you should probably just see them all and then decide which one is your personal favorite. 

Of course, you will want to do some planning before you head out on your epic road trip to see all of Utah’s national parks. This is where our article comes into play. Below, we’ve gathered all of the most important things you need to know before your Utah getaway.

Arches National Park

Arches National Park

A beautifully unique place, Arches is full of incredible rock formations, including—as you might have guessed—plenty of arches. The rocks here are a brilliant red and stand in stark contrast against the bright blue sky, and sometimes, a bit of that blue sky peeks through an arch to create a stunning sight indeed. 

Things to Know

  • Arches is the only one of Utah’s National Parks that currently requires timed entry reservations. You can make reservations at for $2 per time slot. 
  • Arches and Canyonlands are extremely close together, making it easy to see both in a single stay. 
  • Canyonlands has Arches Junior Ranger Badges and vice versa, so if you finish your book after leaving one park, you can turn it in at the other. 

What to Do in Arches with Kids

  • Watch the park movie in the visitor center. 
  • Earn a Junior Ranger Badge. 
  • Attend a ranger program. 
  • Explore visitor center exhibits. 
  • Walk to Double Arch and scramble up the rocks. 
  • Walk to The Windows and explore behind them.
  • Hike the Sand Dune Arch Trail. 

Where to Stay

Utah’s national parks: Canyonlands

Canyonlands National Park

Despite how close they are to one another, Canyonlands is actually quite different from Arches. While Canyonlands certainly does have some interesting rock formations, this park features more canyons than anything else. Considering its name, this really should come as no surprise.

Things to Know

  • Canyonlands and Arches are extremely close together, making it easy to see both in a single stay. 
  • Arches has Canyonlands Junior Ranger Badges and vice versa, so if you finish your book after leaving one park, you can turn it in at the other. 

What to Do in Canyonlands with Kids

  • Watch the park movie at the Island in the Sky Visitor Center. 
  • Earn a Junior Ranger Badge. 
  • Attend a ranger program. 
  • Explore Island in the Sky Visitor Center exhibits. 
  • Walk to Mesa Arch. 
  • Follow the Grand View Point Trail. 
  • Hike to Upheaval Dome via Crater View Trail. 

Where to Stay

Capitol Reef

Capitol Reef National Park

Although it isn’t talked about much, Capitol Reef is easily one of the most beautiful places in the country and is absolutely one of Utah’s best national parks (if not the best). The place features a surprising amount of greenery, which really adds to the beauty of the place when combined with the red, sharp-angled cliffs and rocks around every corner. 

Things to Know

  • This park is really remote. Be sure you fill up your gas tank and pack a lunch. If you do need something before or after visiting, the nearby town of Torrey is your best bet.
  • You absolutely must visit Gifford House to try their fresh pies and cinnamon rolls. This little shop is located inside the park and you will have to visit early to ensure you get there before the goodies are gone. 

What to Do in Capitol Reef with Kids

  • Watch the park movie in the visitor center. 
  • Earn a Junior Ranger Badge. 
  • Attend a ranger program. 
  • Explore visitor center exhibits. 
  • Enjoy pie from Gifford House. 
  • Check out the petroglyphs. 
  • Hike along the creek to Sulphur Creek Waterfall (be prepared to get wet). 
  • Hike Hickman Bridge Trail (explore the many nooks and crannies along the way). 

Where to Stay

Utah’s national park: Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon might be smaller than the other parks, but it holds its own when it comes to beauty. This strange and otherworldly canyon is filled with hoodoos, which are bizarre rock formations that seem to have sprouted straight up out of the ground. These are tons of fun to hike through and even more fun to gaze at as you take in the incredible beauty of the place. 

Things to Know

  • Like Capitol Reef, this park is really remote. Be sure you fill up your gas tank and pack a lunch. 
  • There is a free shuttle that takes visitors through the park. During busy times it can be helpful to ride the shuttle to avoid congestion. 
  • Bryce Canyon and Zion are only about 70 miles apart, making it possible to see both in one stay. 

What to Do in Bryce Canyon with Kids

  • Watch the park movie in the visitor center. 
  • Earn a Junior Ranger Badge. 
  • Attend a ranger program. 
  • Explore visitor center exhibits. 
  • Hike Sunrise Point to Sunset Point.
  • Hike the Navajo Loop and Queens Garden Trail. 
  • Drive or ride the park shuttle to various viewpoints. 

Where to Stay

Zion Canyon

Zion National Park

Zion was the first of Utah’s national parks, and once you see it, you’ll understand why. The place is nothing if not grand, offering sweeping views and some of the most popular hikes in the country. We appreciate the abundant wildlife found in the park as well, as we rarely visit without seeing some animal or another. 

Things to Know

  • During the busy season, visitors cannot access much of the park by car. Instead, you will have to ride the park shuttle. This is free, but using it might require some planning on your part. 
  • Free parking at the Zion visitor center is extremely limited. Paid parking is available in the town of Springdale and a free shuttle can be taken to the park. (In our experience, you will almost definitely have to pay for parking if you visit during the late spring, summer, or early fall unless you arrive very early or very late in the day.) 
  • Some of the most popular Zion hikes require permits. Getting a permit for Angels Landing requires you to enter a lottery. 
  • Zion and Bryce Canyon are only about 70 miles apart, making it possible to see both in one stay. 

What to Do in Zion with Kids

  • Watch the park movie in the visitor center. 
  • Earn a Junior Ranger Badge. 
  • Attend a ranger program. 
  • Explore exhibits outside of the visitor center to learn about the park. 
  • Take the Zion Narrows Riverside Walk. 
  • Hike the Emerald Pools Trail. 
  • Follow Zion Canyon Overlook Trail. 
  • Go tubing on the Virgin River. 
  • Visit the Zion Human History Museum. 

Where to Stay

When to Visit Utah’s National Parks

Now that you know a bit about each park, including what to do and where to stay, the only thing left to wonder is when to visit Utah’s national parks. This is a simple enough question, but really doesn’t have an easy answer. 

We’ll start with summer. We really don’t recommend visiting during the hot summer months. During this time, much of Utah becomes very hot, making hiking really unpleasant and making boondocking unbearable. On the other hand, winter in Utah can get extremely cold and even snowy in places. While some people like this weather for skiing and other winter sports, we can’t recommend it for hiking, sightseeing, or RVing. 

That leaves us with spring and fall. Generally, both of these are fine times to visit. April–May and September–October are periods of time that tend to boast lovely temperatures that are great for spending time outdoors. That said, the rivers running through Capitol Reef and Zion can flood during the spring from the snowmelt, so you will need to keep an eye on that. 

There you have it, everything you absolutely must know before hitting up Utah’s national parks. Now start booking campgrounds and planning your route, because the Mighty 5 are calling your name!

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Disney World on a Budget: Inexpensive Camping Near Disney World

Disney World on a Budget: Inexpensive Camping Near Disney World

It’s no secret that Disney World is a fantastic place for families to visit. What many don’t know is that it’s a super popular place for RVing families to spend extended periods of time. That’s right, lots of Fulltime Families members live near Disney World for weeks or even months! The secret? Finding cheap camping near Disney.

You see, while Disney’s onsite campground (Fort Wilderness) is absolutely wonderful, it is also incredibly expensive. This means most full time RVers can’t feasibly stay there for very long. That said, there are a handful of options for cheap camping near Disney that make long term Disney World on a budget totally possible. 

In this article, we will discuss our top 5 parks for cheap camping near Disney World so you can start planning your time in the Disney World area. 

Sign for Bill Frederick Park

Image source: Hex1848

Bill Frederick Park at Turkey Lake

  • Driving time to Disney World: 25 minutes
  • Cost to camp: $20–$25 a night

First on our list is Bill Frederick Park at Turkey Lake. This campground is located within a city-run park. It’s right in the middle of the city too, so it’s super easy to get to groceries, restaurants, and Disney World. However, it is set so far back in the park and the Spanish-moss covered trees are so plentiful, you’ll feel as though you’ve escaped into another world.

This campground is home to both full-hookup and partial-hookup sites, all of which are paved. The bathhouse has both flush toilets and hot showers, and is a relatively clean place overall. There is also a laundry room, a must-have for families staying long-term. 

Want some recreation opportunities without leaving the wider park? A pool and playground are available too, but they are a pretty far walk from the campsites.

Magnolia Park Campground

  • Driving time to Disney World: 40 minutes
  • Cost to Camp: $23 a night

Magnolia Park Campground is a gorgeous county park that also feels like an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city without requiring a long drive into the countryside. Mature trees provide plenty of shade, something that is absolutely lovely when in Florida. Meanwhile, peacocks, ibises, and other beautiful birds wander the property.

Magnolia Park Campground is small, offering only 18 sites. This means you will need to book early. Each paved site includes water and electricity, but not sewer hookups. Fortunately, there is a dump station in the park. 

A playground and fishing pier are located in the park, providing opportunities for recreation, and the Eco Center is a fun place to visit as well. 

Lake Louisa State Park

Image source: Chad Sparkes

Lake Louisa State Park

  • Driving time to Disney World: 35 minutes
  • Cost to Camp: About $40 a night with fees

We love state park campgrounds and Lake Louisa State Park is no exception. This lovely little haven offers hiking trails, a lake, and is home to plenty of local wildlife. All in all, we’d say it’s the perfect place to escape into nature and experience central Florida at its finest. 

60 campsites are available at Lake Louisa State Park. These are quite spacious and some can accommodate RVs up to 50 feet in length, something many Fulltime Families members are sure to be thankful for. The sites are gravel and include full hookups, and a dump station, restrooms with showers, and a laundry room are all available for campers to use. 

For recreation, turn to the aforementioned hiking trails or head to the swimming beach and relatively large playground. Fishing is also an option within the park. 

Moss Park Campground

  • Driving time to Disney World: 1 hour
  • Cost to Camp: $23 a night

Another county-run option that we absolutely adore, Moss Park Campground is just wonderful. Yes this park is a bit far from the Disney parks, but we still think it’s a good choice. We love the natural setting and the fact that all of the shopping and dining options you could need are just a quick drive away. 

The large sites found in this park feature water and electricity, as well as plenty of shade from the Florida sun. A dump station makes it possible to empty your tanks, but there are no sewer hookups at the sites. 

Want to get moving? There are plenty of hiking trails in the park. Additionally, water access is available for those who enjoy boating or fishing.

Thousand Trails Orlando

  • Driving time to Disney World: 35 minutes
  • Cost to Camp: No nightly fee with membership 

Finally, we have to bring up Thousand Trails Orlando. This privately owned RV park is chock-full of amenities and is considered “home” by a huge number of Fulltime Families members. Owned by Encore, this park is a part of the Thousand Trails chain of campgrounds, meaning Thousand Trails members can stay with no nightly fee

If you want to give Thousand Trails a try, we recommend starting with a Zone Pass. This pass is currently $670. That said, it does go on sale often. Choosing the southeast zone will allow you to use the pass at Thousand Trails Orlando as well as the rest of the parks in that zone. You will be able to stay in any of these parks for up to 14 days at a time for the entire year. 

Many people also opt to add the Trails Collection option to their Thousand Trails membership, giving them access to even more parks (a huge number of which are in the Disney World area).

It should be noted that the Zone Pass does come with some limitations. For instance, you must stay out of the Thousand Trails system for 7 days in between 14-day stays, and you can only stay in parks located within your zone. Because of this, we highly recommend upgrading to a higher-tier membership should you plan to use Thousand Trails Parks often. 

As you can see, there are many ways to go camping near Disney World on a budget. Pick a park that sounds appealing to you and book it now so your family can have a magical adventure of their own!

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Growing an RV Garden

Growing an RV Garden

This article may contain compensated links, please read our disclaimer for more information.

As more people hit the road in their RVs, the idea of creating an RV garden is becoming increasingly popular. Most RVers are well aware of the awesome benefits of surrounding themselves with greenery, so it just makes sense that they’d want to bring a garden with them wherever they roam.

The question, of course, is how to go about it?

Obviously, a traveling RVer can’t just plant a garden in their yard, as it would be left behind on the first travel day. So how can a plant-enthusiast grow an RV garden that travels with them?

In this article we will discuss the steps involved in growing an RV garden, as well as the best RV plants to grow on the road. Use these tips and you can put your green thumb to use even as you wander the country. 

Determine the Type and Size of Garden

Before starting your RV garden, it is important to determine the types of plants you want to grow and the amount of space that you have available to do so. As we all know, space is limited when you live in an RV. Therefore, you need to consider the plant varieties you will grow based on the space available. 

You might choose to grow plants like herbs that don’t need a lot of space to thrive. Alternatively, you could create a vertical garden by using hanging baskets or containers, which is space-efficient. Some RVers will grow small container gardens that sit outside most of the time and are moved indoors for travel day. We’ve even seen people hang an over-the-door shoe organizer on the outside of their RV door and grow plants in the individual pockets. 


Choosing the Right Plants

The next step actually goes hand-in-hand with the first step, as one can affect the other: You need to decide what kinds of plants you will be growing. 

Choosing plants that can thrive in small spaces and with little access to sunlight is definitely important when creating an indoor RV garden. That said, if you’re willing to grow in containers on your campsite, your options increase a lot. 

Here are some of our favorite RV garden plant options:

Lettuce — Believe it or not, some types of lettuce grow very well indoors. If you’re looking to be able to eat from your RV garden, lettuce is an excellent choice. 

Herbs — Another edible option, herbs like basil, mint, and rosemary are perfect to grow in RVs as they don’t require much space. We love that they can be used in your cooking, because eating what you grow makes gardening so much more rewarding. 

Strawberries — Most strawberries do very well in containers. That said, because they need a lot of sunlight, they really should be outside and you will want to stick to warm, sunny places when making travel plans. 

Spider Plants — Spider plants are easy to grow, low-maintenance plants. We appreciate that they also have air-purifying properties and can remove harmful chemicals from the air.

Succulents — Another low-maintenance plant option, succulents can survive in extreme temperatures, making them perfect for RVs and the ideal choice for first time gardeners. Aloe vera is a particularly great succulent choice, as it can be used to treat sunburns. 

Pothos — Lastly, we must mention pothos. These are beautiful, easy-to-grow plants that thrive in low light conditions. They can be grown in water or soil, and their trailing vines add a lovely touch to any space.

These are some of our favorite plants to grow in an RV garden. That said, there are many other indoor plants that can thrive in an RV, so if you don’t love these ideas, feel free to try other plants. 

Choosing Your Container

Obviously, your RV garden will need to be grown in some sort of container (or set of containers). The type of container you choose can make or break your RV garden, so be sure to pick carefully. 

Containers come in many different sizes, shapes, and materials. When choosing a container, you must consider the size of the plant, the weight of the container, and the frequency of watering. Generally speaking, lightweight containers are ideal when you’ll be moving around the RV frequently. You’ll also want to make sure the container has drainage holes in the bottom to allow water to drain out and prevent root rot.

Plant in small container

Watering and Maintenance of your RV Garden

Obviously, watering and maintenance are important parts of growing an RV garden. Check the soil moisture daily and water your plants when the soil feels dry. Be careful not to overwater or underwater your plants, as this can cause plant stress or root rot. 

As you move from campsite to campsite, the location of the sun in relation to your windows will likely change. Because of this, you may need to change where your plants live in the RV in order to ensure they are receiving enough sunlight. 

Finally, you will want to prune your plants regularly. This keeps them in shape and ensures they continue to thrive and provide clean air, food, and a lovely green setting for you and those who travel with you. 

As you can see, growing an RV garden is totally possible and is a fun way to provide your family with fresh air and yummy food. Use the tips above to get your RV going, but don’t be afraid to get creative, try new things, and see what kind of RV garden ideas you can come up with to make your little garden-on-wheels work for you!

need more RV living tips? Check out this post!

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Fulltime Families is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to,, Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc. or its affiliates.

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Camping Trash Can and Garbage Disposal Tips

Camping Trash Can and Garbage Disposal Tips

This article may contain compensated links, please read our disclaimer for more information.

When you’re living in an RV, some of the most everyday things can become a bit more challenging. Showering when water is limited, for instance, or cooking a meal when the propane runs out. Another thing that can be challenging? Garbage.

Finding a camping trash can that works well in your rig can be a gigantic pain in the neck, and figuring out how to dispose of trash while boondocking is another challenge entirely. In today’s article we are going to tackle both of these issues so you can enjoy your RV life without all the trash. 

Camping trash can surrounded by paper

Finding the Right Camping Trash Can

First things first, let’s find a camping trash can that works well for your rig. Having the right trash can can make all the difference in the world when it comes to disposing of garbage in your RV. 

Find the Right Size

Sometimes all it takes to find the ideal trash can for your situation is a bit of shopping around for something that is the perfect size. If you have an odd-shaped nook, measure it and see if you can find a camping trash can to fit. There are tall skinny trash cans out there, as well as plenty of super short options. You might even be able to use a storage container or some other box to use as a trash can. 

Stick It under a Cabinet

Sometimes it’s best to store the trash can out of sight. If this is your preference, you might consider an over-the-door trash can that lives under your cabinet. We love that these types of trash cans are out of the way and hidden from sight, but you should keep in mind that they are quite small, meaning you’ll have to take out the trash more regularly. 

Mount It on the Wall

Another option if you don’t mind a smaller camping trash can is to get a wall- or cabinet-mounted can. Yes, these are teeny tiny, but we love that they live on the wall, meaning they don’t take up any valuable floor space at all. 

Try a Seat Back Trash Can

The seat back trash can is another tiny camping trash can option, but it works well, especially if you have a super small rig such as a campervan. Simply mount this can to the back of one of the front seats to get it up and out of the way. We love that it has convenient storage pockets too!

Consider a Collapsible Camping Trash Can

This collapsible camping trash can is ideal if you’re looking for something to put outside once you arrive at your campsite. It folds down super small so it’s easy to store, but is quite large when popped up so it holds a lot of trash. Just make sure you have some way to weigh the can down, as the wind might just carry it away. 

Empty can sitting on the beach

Disposing of Garbage while Boondocking

Now that you have the perfect camping trash can in your home-on-wheels, the next step is figuring out where to dispose of the trash once the can is full. If you’re staying in a campground or RV park, this is easy enough—just head to the campground dumpster. That said, when you’re camping off-grid, things get a little bit more difficult. 

You see, most dry camping spots do not have a place to dispose of garbage, so those who boondock regularly have to get a little creative. Here are our top tips for emptying your camping trash can while staying off-grid. 

Skip the Packaging when Possible

The first step you can take is pretty simple: Just avoid bringing trash into the RV. The best way to go about this is to avoid purchasing food that is sold in lots of packaging. Fresh fruits and veggies usually come without packaging, and the packaging found on meats tends to be minimal. Additionally, some stores allow shoppers to bring their own containers from home and fill them with bulk foods.

By choosing package-free foods, you 1) reduce the amount of trash you have to get rid of while boondocking, 2) live a greener life, and 3) likely cut out a lot of processed foods that aren’t really good for you anyway. 

Dispose of Packaging at the Store

Of course, you won’t be able to avoid all packaging all the time. When you do buy something that comes in a box or a bag, dispose of as much of the packaging as you can at the store. 

Most stores have garbage cans in their parking lots and many even have recycle bins available in the front of the store. You can strip your foods of unnecessary packaging right there in your car and let the store deal with the resulting waste. 

Compost what You Can

Fruit and vegetable peelings, uneaten food, and other organic matter that needs to be disposed of doesn’t have to take up room in your trash can. Instead, grab a well-sealed countertop compost bin and compost these items. When the compost is ready, it can be left on the ground pretty much anywhere, making it easy to dispose of. 

Burn Paper Products

Some kinds of trash can be added to a campfire, removing the need to find a trash can to toss them into. We find that this works well with paper and cardboard, as these items burn nicely without giving off a stench or releasing potentially toxic fumes into the air. Unfortunately, plastics and styrofoam really shouldn’t be burned. 

Watch for Trash Cans and Recycle Bins in Public Places

Okay, so you’ve shopped for package-free foods, composted organic material, and burned paper products. What should you do with the rest? Look for places to get rid of it, of course. 

Most gas stations and rest stops provide garbage cans where you can dump your camping trash cans, and some even have recycle bins where you can get rid of cans and bottles. Grocery stores are another place to look, and in some cases you’ll find trash cans outside of gyms, libraries, and other places you visit on a day-to-day basis.

Make a habit of keeping your eyes peeled. You might just be surprised by how many trash cans you pass in a given day.

Book a Campground Stay

If you have a lot of trash built up in your camping trash can and you don’t want to go out searching for a public dumpster to put it all in, it might just be time to book a campground stay. Even just a single night at a campground will allow you to dump your trash, dump and clean your tanks, refill your fresh water, squeeze in a shower, and leave feeling refreshed and ready for the next adventure. 

There you have it, everything you need to know to find the perfect camping trash can and dump that can once it’s full. With this info, you should be able to join the world of RVers without any trash cluttering your experience. 

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Fulltime Families is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to,, Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc. or its affiliates.

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How to Sanitize RV Fresh Water Tank

How to Sanitize RV Fresh Water Tank

This article may contain compensated links, please read our disclaimer for more information.

Perhaps your water has started smelling funny or tasting a bit off, or maybe it’s just been a minute since you gave your RV water system any TLC. It could even be that you just pulled your RV out of storage and want to ensure your tank has a fresh start for the camping season. Whatever the reason, it’s never a bad idea to sanitize RV fresh water tank and water lines. In fact, this is something all RV owners should be doing fairly regularly. 

In this article we will discuss why you need to sanitize RV fresh water tank systems, when this should be done, and how to go about it. Let’s get started!

Why Sanitize Your RV Fresh Water Tank?

Your RV fresh water tank gets filled wherever you happen to roam. Sometimes the water used may not be as clean as you’d like. On top of that, when water sits in the tank for a long period of time, bacteria, mold, and mildew can grow in the tank as well as in the water lines. 

By sanitizing your fresh water tank and RV water system, you kill off anything that might be starting to grow in the tank and/or lines. This helps keep your family healthy and happy so you can continue to enjoy your RV travels for years to come. 

Woman washing hands in sink

When to Sanitize RV Fresh Water Tank Systems

Okay, so cleaning your fresh water system is important, but how do you know when it should be done? Generally speaking, it’s best to sanitize your RV fresh water tank every six months or so. That said, if A) you notice that your fresh water has an odd taste or smell, 2) it has been sitting in storage for quite a while, or 3) you have reason to believe that less-than-clean water was used to fill the tank, cleaning it is definitely a good idea. 

What You Need to Sanitize RV Fresh Water Tank and System

Fortunately, cleaning your RV fresh water tank and lines is pretty straightforward, and the supplies are even simpler. All you need to get that system sparkly clean is some regular bleach, a funnel, and a good, clean water source. Run out to the store and grab some bleach and a funnel so we can get started! 

How to Sanitize RV Fresh Water Tank

Now that you know why and when to sanitize your RV fresh water tank and you’ve gathered the supplies to do so, let’s get started on the actual cleaning process. 

Below are the steps you’ll need to follow for a shiny clean tank. 

Turn Off the Water Heater and Pump

Start by turning off both the water heater and the water pump to avoid damaging either one while the fresh water system is empty. 

Bypass the Water Heater and Filter

Bypass the water heater as well as any onboard filtering system you may have. 

Drain the System

Drain the entire fresh water system by removing the water heater plug and opening the low-point drains on your RV. Opening faucets will also help with this process. 

Close Low-Point Drain Valves

Once all water has drained, close the low-point drain valves. 

Create Bleach Mixture and Add to the Tank

To create your tank sanitizing solution, you will need about ¼ cup of bleach for every 15 gallons of water your fresh water tank holds (so about ½ cup for a 30-gallon tank). Calculate how much bleach you need and add that amount to about a gallon of water. Using your funnel, add the mixture to your freshwater tank. 

Fill the Fresh Water Tank

Once the bleach mixture has been added, fill the fresh tank the rest of the way with potable water. 

Turn On the Pump and Open Faucets

Turn your water pump back on and run every faucet in the RV one at a time until you smell bleach, turning each faucet off before you move onto the next. 

Turn Off Pump and Let Sit for 24 Hours

Turn your water pump back off and let the bleach sit in the system overnight. 

Drain the System

Drain the tank and the lines by opening the low-point drains once again. You can also open the faucets (without running the pump) to assist with the draining. 

Close Low-Point Drains and Refill the Tank

Close the drain valves and faucets and refill the tank with potable water. 

Turn on Pump and Open Faucets

Turn on the water pump and open each faucet individually, letting each one run until you no longer smell bleach. In this instance, it’s better to run too long than turn off the flow prematurely. You want to be sure all of the bleach is gone from the tank and lines.

Refill and Flush as Needed

If you go through a whole tank of water and can still smell bleach, refill and drain as needed.

Replace Water Heater Plug and Turn Off Bypass Mode

Finish the job by replacing the water heater plug and switching out of bypass mode. You will also have to add your onboard filtration system back into the mix if you have one. 

Note: Because you’ll be running your faucets throughout this process, you will want to start with an empty gray tank and might even want to have sewer hookups for dumping mid-project. 

Prefer a visual of this process? This video is a good place to get just that.

As you can see, it is fairly easy to sanitize RV fresh water tank systems. Adding this process to your RV maintenance schedule is a great way to ensure your RV plumbing is in tip-top shape while you explore the country!

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4 Fantastic Outdoor RV Shower Ideas

4 Fantastic Outdoor RV Shower Ideas

This article may contain compensated links, please read our disclaimer for more information

In our opinion, an outdoor RV shower is a must-have when you’re living the RV life, especially if you happen to have kids or pets. The outdoor RV shower is an incredibly useful tool, and with a few minor tweaks you can make it an even more handy thing to have around. 

In this article we will take a look at the amazing uses for RV outdoor showers and discuss how you can make your outdoor RV shower even better.

Great Uses for an RV Outdoor Shower

Wondering what’s so great about an outdoor shower for RV motorhomes and trailers? Honestly, the RV outdoor shower has a variety of great uses, and many RVing families will tell you that they couldn’t live without it. 

Below are some of the best benefits of owning an outdoor RV shower. 

Rinsing Off Before Going Inside

The most common and most obvious use for RV outdoor showers is simply to rinse off before going inside the RV. It’s no secret that spending time outdoors is messy business. Whether you’ve spent the day hiking a muddy trail or building sandcastles on the beach, having a way to rinse the sand, dust, and dirt from your body before you enter your home is always nice. 

Showering Pets

If you travel with a dog, you know how quickly a stinky dog can cause your tiny home-on-wheels to stink. Besides, just like children, dogs have a tendency to get messy when playing outside. All of these things mean you really need a way to clean your pup off in between visits to the groomer. This is where your RV outdoor shower can come into play. 

An outdoor RV shower is the perfect option for washing your dog off without squeezing them into a tiny RV tub or getting your floors soaking wet. 

Saving Gray Tank Space While Boondocking

If you enjoy boondocking and want to find ways to extend your time out in nature, your RV outdoor shower might be the key. You see, the thing that limits most RVers when it comes to how long they can boondock is water. 

It’s easy enough to go into town and fill up some jugs with fresh water to pour into your tank, but when your gray tank is full, emptying it is a bigger ordeal, especially if you don’t have a large wastewater bladder and/or pump. 

By using your outdoor RV shower to wash off, you avoid filling your gray tank with shower water, and thus extend the amount of time you are able to spend in one boondocking spot before dumping is necessary. 

Showering when the Bathroom is In Use

Finally, we love the outdoor shower for bigger families sharing a single RV bathroom. Sure, you can head to the bathhouse when parked in a campground, but if you’re dry camping and need to get multiple people clean in a short amount of time, RV outdoor showers can feel like a miracle.

RV outdoor shower head

Improving Your Outdoor RV Shower

RV outdoor showers are great straight from the factory. That said, there’s always room for improvement, and in the case of the outdoor RV shower, making those improvements is really quite simple. Not only that, but making even the simplest of changes can drastically improve your outdoor showering experience.

Below are some of our favorite ways to improve upon an outdoor shower to make it even more useful. 

Changing the Shower Head

We’ve mentioned changing out the stock RV shower head on your indoor shower before. This improvement works just as well on an outdoor RV shower. 

Choosing a shower head that reduces water usage while improving the water pressure is especially nice for improving the shower experience and reducing water usage. Oxygenics products are great for this (just make sure it’s small enough to fit in the outdoor shower box on the RV). 

Hanging a Shower Curtain

Nobody wants to shower out in the open, barring a certain subset of travelers out there (you know who you are). Honestly, even if you wear a bathing suit and park in the middle of nowhere, showering outside can still feel a little bit odd. Adding some sort of outdoor RV shower enclosure is the solution to this problem. 

The easiest way to go about this? Hang a shower curtain using a U-shaped curtain rod for privacy while you get cleaned up. 

There are only a couple of issues with this option. For one, the curtain will stick to you if it is blown your way during your shower. Secondly, these curtain rods don’t always stay in place with the suction cups provided, meaning a creative temporary mounting solution might need to be employed. 

Using A Shower Tent

If the curtain and curtain rod don’t provide the level of privacy you were hoping for, you can use a shower tent as an outdoor RV shower enclosure instead.

A shower tent is a bit more sturdy than a curtain and won’t stick to you as you’re trying to shower. They fold down small for easy storage and pop up quickly and easily when it’s time to set up camp.

The major downfall of the shower tent is its tendency to blow away in heavy winds, so you will want to find a way to anchor it down. 

Adding a Raised Floor

We’ve addressed issues with water pressure and usage, as well as privacy problems. Another problem many people have with using RV outdoor showers? Standing in the mud puddle created on the ground as they shower. This can be solved with the addition of a raised bamboo shower mat

Putting down a raised platform such as the one linked above gets your feet up out of the mud, so you can end your shower with clean feet. (Just make sure you have a clean path from the shower to the door of your home.)

Clearly, RV outdoor showers are wonderfully useful, and making major improvements to an outdoor RV shower is surprisingly easy. Why not start making improvements now and put your RV outdoor shower to use as soon as possible?

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Source: 4 Fantastic Outdoor RV Shower Ideas

17 Quick Tips for Off Grid Camping

17 Quick Tips for Off Grid Camping

This article may contain compensated links, please read our disclaimer for more information.

Off grid camping is an amazing thing. It gives you the freedom to wander off the beaten path and really escape into nature. The best part? Off grid camping in an RV (AKA boondocking) allows you to enjoy all of the benefits of camping in the middle of nature without roughing it. 

That said, you will need to do a bit of preparation in order to camp off grid in comfort. We talk in detail about this in our Boondocking 101 post. That said, some people have already got those basics figured out and just want to find ways to dry camp for longer periods of time. If this sounds like you, the tips below are sure to help!

Water running in bathroom sink

Dealing with Water

First, let’s talk about water. Conserving water and finding ways to put as little water as possible down your gray tanks will ensure you can continue off grid camping for quite some time. 

Just Use a Trickle

Just barely turning the faucet when washing dishes or washing hands will ensure you don’t run any more water than what you actually need. We recommend making this a habit even when you aren’t camping off grid, so it becomes second nature for the whole family. 

Reduce Dish Usage

Obviously, the fewer dishes you have to wash, the less water you’ll have to use on dishwashing. For this reason, it’s a great idea to pick one-pot meals and/or grill out whenever possible. Many families also choose to eat off of paper plates when boondocking. 

Wipe Out Dishes

When you’re finished eating, be sure to wipe out the dishes with paper towels or wet wipes right away. In some cases, this will be enough to make the dish usable again, but even when this isn’t the case, it makes washing dishes easier, leading to less water usage. 

Use Dishwater to Flush

When you do have to use some of your precious water to wash dishes (or take a shower), catch it in a tub. You can then put that water in a jug near the toilet, switch off the water pump when flushing, and use the dishwater (or shower water) to flush. 

If It’s Yellow, Let It Mellow

Speaking of flushing, you really don’t have to flush every time. Many boondockers abide by the “if it’s yellow, let it mellow” rule, meaning they only use water to flush a few times a day. 

Consider Other Toilet Options

If you’ll be boondocking regularly, it’s worth considering putting in a composting toilet instead of a traditional RV toilet. If you don’t mind making a big investment, an incinerating toilet is another interesting option. Another idea? Try to stick to dry camping spots that include vault toilets and use those whenever possible. 

Switch Out the Shower Head

Showering can use a lot of water. One of the best ways to cut back on the amount of water you use while bathing is to install a low flow shower head that includes a switch so the water can easily be turned on and off throughout the shower. We recommend Oxygenics products for this.

Bathe in Natural Water Sources

If you’re parked near a stream or a decently clean lake, you could use that water to bathe. This is an enormous water saver, but you will want to make sure the water is safe for swimming and then ensure you use soap that is safe for the environment

Stick to Navy Showers

If you do need to shower in your rig, make use of that showerhead switch we mentioned before and stick to navy showers. This involves turning the water on just long enough to get wet, turning it off to lather up, and turning it back on to rinse as quickly as possible. 

Invest in Body Wipes and Dry Shampoo

If you want to go off grid camping for any length of time you won’t be able to shower every day. For this reason, we highly recommend investing in some Venture Wipes as well as a good quality dry shampoo to get you through in between showers. 

Solar panels leaning on RV

Keeping the Power On

Having problems ensuring you have power for the entirety of your boondocking stints? Not sure how to do all you need to do with the power you do have? Here are our tips for off grid power usage. 

Improve Your Power Setup

If you get out there and find that your battery just isn’t lasting long enough, you will want to make some kind of a change to increase the amount of time you can go off grid camping. You have some choices here, and you really can pick and choose just one of them if you like, so don’t feel as though you have to throw thousands of dollars down to do all of these things at once. 

The best ways to increase the amount of time you get out of your RV battery include:

  • Investing in solar panels. You can install these on the roof using easy-to-understand kits such as this one or even just use a portable solar suitcase. There’s no reason this has to be a super complicated add-on. 
  • Buying a generator. You could choose to buy a generator to keep your batteries charged. The generator you buy doesn’t have to be super huge or expensive to get the job done. We like this little generator for charging batteries back up. 
  • Expanding your battery bank. This is as easy as purchasing two (or more) of the same battery and running them side by side. While you won’t be able to charge the bank while off grid camping without a generator or solar panels, you will get more hours out of them. 

Pick Up a Small Inverter

If you need to run something that is not a part of your DC power system (like the microwave or anything plugged into power outlets), you may be wondering how to go about that. 

Many people invest in huge inverters that can run their entire rig off of battery power. That said, these are cost prohibitive and can be confusing to install. If you have the funds and know-how to install a large inverter, go for it (though we don’t recommend Sungold inverters). If you don’t though, you might consider buying a small inverter just to run the things you absolutely need. 

Note: In many cases, people use small inverters to run their Starlink. If you are buying the inverter to run or charge electronics such as Starlink or a laptop, you will want a pure sine wave inverter in order to avoid damage. 

Install a Power Panel

One frustrating thing about camping off grid is that RVs don’t usually come equipped with a way to charge your devices off of the RV battery. You could use a small inverter like we mentioned above, but we actually much prefer a small power panel that is wired into the DC system for this purpose. 

Switch to LED Lights

The lights found in many older RVs can eat through power really quickly. If your RV is older, you will definitely want to switch over to LED lightbulbs. This is a super simple change that will ensure you get as much life as possible out of your RV batteries when boondocking. 

Make Use of Propane Appliances

We also recommend avoiding your electric appliances when off grid camping. In some cases this will be forced on you anyway, but if you happen to have a hefty inverter, you might be tempted to pull out the air fryer or hair dryer. Don’t do this, as it eats through your battery power very quickly.

Instead, stick to the propane stove and oven for cooking, use the RV furnace or a Buddy Heater for heat, and make sure your fridge is on the gas setting. 

Person working on laptop

Staying Connected

Worried about staying connected to the outside world while off grid camping? If you need to work on the road, this can be a serious concern. Here’s how most working full timers handle this. 

Check Campendium

If you’re working with a mobile hotspot, your best bet is to check Campendium before heading to any camping spot. Most of the time, the reviews will mention whether the spot has cell reception, and they’ll even go so far as to tell you which carriers have reception and how many bars are available. 

Invest in Starlink

Plan to do a lot of off grid camping? If so, we highly recommend investing in Starlink. This is an awesome satellite internet option that allows you to have high speed internet absolutely anywhere as long as you have a clear view of the north sky. Essentially it’s a boondocker’s dream come true. 

Note: If you do decide to invest in Starlink for off grid camping, know that you will need a small pure sine wave inverter like the one listed above in order to run the hardware. 

Related: Starlink RV Mount: 9 Great Options

There you have it, our top tips for going off grid camping and extending your stay for as long as possible. Ready for an adventure?

Join Fulltime Families

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Fulltime Families is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to,, Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc. or its affiliates.

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Source: 17 Quick Tips for Off Grid Camping

Baja Mexico Camping: Important Tips to Help You Prepare

Baja Mexico Camping: Important Tips to Help You Prepare

This article may contain compensated links, please read our disclaimer for more information.

Have you ever considered doing some Baja Mexico camping in your RV? You aren’t alone. RV camping in Baja California has gotten pretty popular in recent years, and for good reason. The place is absolutely stunning and 100% worth visiting. 

All that said, you will want to prepare some things and make sure you have all the information you need to have a great time. That’s where this article comes into play. Read on to learn our top tips for fully enjoying your Baja Mexico camping adventure.  


Gathering Your Paperwork for Baja Mexico Camping

The first thing you need to do to prepare for camping in Baja Mexico? Get your paperwork in order. There are certain things you will need in order to cross the border, and some of them can take some time to obtain. Therefore, you will want to start this process as soon as you know you’re headed to Baja. 

The items you need to be gathering include:

  • Valid passport or passport card for every member of your family. If you don’t have these already, be sure to apply for them as early as you can. 
  • Mexican liability insurance. US liability insurance is not valid in Mexico. Therefore, it is a law that you must have Mexican liability insurance on any vehicle you bring into Mexico. We also recommend getting Mexican comprehensive and collision insurance or your vehicles. Fortunately, Mexican insurance can be bought at the last minute. 
  • Letter of permission from your lender. If your RV or another vehicle you plan to cross the border with still has lien on it you will need to get a letter of permission from your lender to drive to Mexico. While you likely won’t be asked for this at border crossing, not having it could cause issues with insurance claims. 
  • An FMM (Forma Migratoria Múltiple — translation: Multiple Immigration Form). This is a small piece of paper that you must have in order to legally spend any amount of time in Mexico. You do need it even if you’ll only spend a single day across the border. You can get your FMM online, but you want to make sure to order from the official government site only. Otherwise, you can just get one as you cross the border. 

What to Pack for Camping in Baja Mexico

Besides the items above, you will also need to pack a few extra things in order to ensure you are well prepared for whatever camping in Mexico may bring your way. In addition to the usual things you carry in your camper, we also recommend packing the following:

Hands holding a phone

Things to Download Before Camping in Mexico

You also want to download a few things to your phone before heading down for some Baja Mexico camping. Having these apps and tools on hand will be extremely helpful:

  • iOverlander — This app is ideal for finding RV parks in Baja and other spots to camp as you make your way down the peninsula. 
  • Google Maps of the peninsula — Google Maps is no good on its own if you don’t have internet access, which you’re likely to deal with from time to time. Therefore, we highly recommend downloading maps of the peninsula to the app so you can find your way whether or not you have cell service. (Due to size restrictions in the app, we had to download a series of slightly overlapping areas to capture a map for all of Baja.)
  • Google Translate and the Spanish translations — Google Translate can be a lifesaver if you don’t speak Spanish. Therefore, we highly recommend downloading both the app and the Spanish language translations for use when the internet is unavailable.

Getting Internet while RV Camping Baja California

One of the things that keeps many people from RV camping in Baja Mexico is the idea that they may not be able to stay connected. Obviously, this would be a huge problem for anyone who had to work as they traveled (*raises hand*). Fortunately, connectivity isn’t really a big issue in Baja anymore. 

The two best options for staying connected while RV camping in Baja Mexico are Telcel cell service and Starlink. Telcel is the main cell provider in Baja and provides coverage in most cities, as well as some more remote places. Meanwhile, Starlink will keep you connected pretty much anywhere as long as you have a clear view of the north sky and a way to power it up. 

To get Telcel service, simply stop in at any OXXO convenience store (there are loads of them throughout Baja, often within blocks of one another) and ask for a Telcel “chip” (SIM card). They will ask you how much data you’d like to put on the card. You can respond with a small peso amount to start with and then top up with more data on the “Mi Telcel” app as you need it.

If you’re having trouble topping up via the app, simply stop by an OXXO and let them know you need to “recarga Telcel.” You’ll select a prepaid plan on the screen next to the register, pay whatever amount for it, and then give the cashier your Telcel phone number to input for activation. It’s pretty easy to get the hang of after you’ve done it once.

The US Starlink hardware will work for at least 60 days while you’re in Mexico, provided you have the RV-specific plan. There have been reports of it lasting longer, but on paper, 60 days is the limit. After this amount of time, you will need to switch to a Mexican Starlink dish. Some people travel in groups and rotate through Starlink hardware together in order to get around this limit. 

Driving in Baja

Tips for Driving in Baja Mexico

Finally, we’d like to give you some tips for driving in Baja. If you’ll be RV camping in Baja California, you will likely be traveling in a relatively big rig. Because the roads in Baja can be quite narrow, this can be scary at times. Additionally, there are often potholes and extremely rough roads to contend with. Add in animals wandering across the highway, and you can imagine why many people are concerned about driving in Baja Mexico. 

The good news? You actually can drive down the entire peninsula fairly safely even with an RV. Below are our top tips for doing so. 

  • Slow down — This is the most important tip for a safe drive in Baja. Narrow roads, tight turns, and steep climbs are much less intimidating if you take them slow. Don’t worry about the people behind you. They will go around. (In our experience, they’d probably do so even if you were going the speed limit.)
  • Watch out for topes — Speed bumps are everywhere in Baja, and they are often pretty darn rough. Watch for signs for “topes” (they will occasionally depict multiple humps in a row, with or without the word “tope”) and slow down before going over them. It’s also good to know that these topes are not always marked, so you will want to keep an eye out for them on the road ahead of you. 
  • Plan short drives — Even short drives can be exhausting when the road is less than ideal. Plan for short drive days to give yourself a break. 
  • Fill the gas tank when you can — There are some areas of the peninsula where gas stations are few and far between. Therefore, it’s a good idea to always top off your gas tank when you see a station, even if you don’t really need it just yet. 
  • Never drive at night — As mentioned before, there are animals that like to wander across the road throughout Baja. These animals can be very hard to see at night, and running into one is quite dangerous. Therefore, we recommend avoiding driving at night. 

Hopefully this article helps you feel more confident as you head down to do some Baja Mexico camping. The place is truly magical and we know you’re going to have an amazing time!

Want some help on your first trip down? Be sure to join our Baja caravan next fall! Watch the events page for details.

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Source: Baja Mexico Camping: Important Tips to Help You Prepare

8 Tips for Finding Your Perfect Traveling Community

8 Tips for Finding Your Perfect Traveling Community

One of the trickiest things about traveling long term is making sure you are able to build relationships with like-minded individuals along the way. Sure, you might meet new people at each campground, but how do you build a close-knit traveling community with deep connections, a willingness to help one another in times of need, and that “village” mentality we all long for? 

To the surprise of many, building an RV community such as this is totally possible! That said, you will need to put in some effort in order to find your traveling tribe and make those connections. 

In this article, we will give you our top tips on creating a traveling community that becomes like family. These tips will help you create the friendships you’ve always wanted for your family while also allowing you to live the travel life of your dreams. 

Attend Fulltime Families Events

The first thing we recommend doing when seeking out an RV community? Join Fulltime Families and attend an event. You can choose a full rally event with tons of other families, a smaller and more laid-back hangout, or even just one of the field trips offered in certain locations.

Whatever you choose, make a point of chatting with as many people as possible, and take note of the kids your kids seem to connect with. As you do this, you should start to get a feel for the people you would choose as part of your tribe and can make plans to see those individuals again. 

Snag a Thousand Trails Membership

An enormous number of Fulltime Families members have Thousand Trails memberships. In fact, many families only stay in Thousand Trails parks. This is awesome because it means you are likely to find another Fulltime Families member every time you visit a Thousand Trails location.

For this reason, we highly recommend investing in a Thousand Trails membership so you can meet up with families in these budget-friendly parks and even meet some new friends during your visits to these locations. 

Traveling community around a campfire on the beach

Join Fulltime Families Branches

The Fulltime Families branches are another great way to connect with other traveling families. There are branches for certain locations that allow you to find people nearby, as well as branches for those with certain interests that give you a chance to connect with like-minded nomads.

Use social media to join the branch groups that apply to you and your family, and stay active in the groups you join. Be sure to post your location in the weekly location roundup posts, and if you see someone nearby, give them a shout!

Share Travel Plans

Once you find some people you really enjoy spending time with, share your travel plans (RV Trip Wizard works well for this) with them and ask to see theirs. Because many travelers head north in summer and south in winter, there is a decent chance your travel paths will overlap here and there. Knowing you’re going to see that person again can make goodbyes a whole lot easier and will encourage everyone involved to be more invested in the friendship. 

Be Flexible with Your Travel Plans

In addition to the tip above, it’s also a good idea to be flexible with your travel plans. If you and your new friends share your plans and realize you overlap by just a day in a certain location, consider altering your plans slightly to overlap a bit longer. If you’ll be in the same area but not the same campground, think about adjusting so you are camping in the same spot.

Changing plans to be with friends is worth the extra effort and will help you build the relationships needed to create a true RV community. 

RV caravan on a beach

Plan to Caravan

Eventually, you will likely find yourself planning routes alongside your tribe to ensure you are carvaning together or at least meeting up regularly.

Often, winter is the best time to plan these long periods of time with your traveling community, as most people are headed to the same few areas and plan to stay there for a few months. That said, there are plenty of RV families who travel together throughout the summer months.

No matter how you do it, this is the ultimate way to build a traveling community, so be sure you are being flexible enough to make it work. 

Plan Experiences with Your RV Community

The best way to build deep connections with anybody is to experience things with them. Sure, sitting in the campground around the fire counts as an experience, and you will definitely connect with others this way, but sometimes it’s good to get out of the campground and experience other things together.

Plan field trips with your RV community. Go on hikes, visit museums, and check out local zoos. Volunteer together if you can! The more you see and do with your nomadic tribe, the closer you’re going to feel. 

Offer a Helping Hand

One of the major benefits of having a traveling community is the fact that they are there to help out when problems arise. Of course, this aspect of the relationship needs to be reciprocal, so be sure to offer a helping hand whenever you can, even if the community member isn’t asking for help directly.

Have a buddy without internet? Offer your extra hotspot or give them your Starlink password. Just heard your friend ran out of gas? Hop in the truck and get them a can of fuel. Little acts of kindness like this help build trust between community members and are probably the fastest way to create the bond that comes with a close-knit community. 

Yes, building a strong traveling community while on the road can be tricky, but it is possible and is 100% worth the effort. In fact, many long-term RVers will tell you that their traveling community is exactly what has kept them on the road for years and years. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and make some friends!

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Source: 8 Tips for Finding Your Perfect Traveling Community

12 Tips for Lowering Your Average Campground Cost

12 Tips for Lowering Your Average Campground Cost

This article may contain compensated links, please read our disclaimer for more information.

Have you been wondering, “How much do campgrounds cost per night?” This is a very common question that is a bit difficult to answer, as the average campground cost varies greatly from one area to another. 

What we can say for sure is that because RVing has become so popular recently, the average campground cost has skyrocketed. This higher cost of camping has caused many to shy away from RV camping and full time RV living. This is a real shame because there are ways to lower your camping cost and make RVing affordable, even if you’re on a limited budget. 

Not sure how to begin cutting back on camping prices? You’ve come to the right place! In this article we will give you a number of ways to lower your average campground cost so you can have the RV adventures of your dreams—without spending a fortune. 

Saving on average campground cost by boondocking

Boondock Whenever Possible

The first and most important tip we have for saving money on the cost of camping? Learn to boondock and do it as often as possible. There are tons of boondocking opportunities across the country, and many of these places offer amazing views and an incredible escape into nature. The best part? Most boondocking is 100% free!

Wallydock Between Travel Days

Another free camping option? Wallydocking. This involves camping out in a Walmart parking lot for a single night between travel days and is a great way to break up long drives without spending money on a campground. If you want to try Wallydocking (or camping out in any parking lot), be sure to check out our guide on Wallydocking first.

Try Moochdocking

You could also give moochdocking a try. This type of camping involves parking in the yard or driveway of a loved one and “mooching” off of them rather than paying for a campsite. In some cases, you might even be able to hook up to water and the house electric.

That said, you should never expect hookups of any kind and you should always make sure your friend or family member is okay with you staying. You will also want to make sure you don’t wear out your welcome by staying too long. 

Invest in a Thousand Trails Membership

Boondocking, Wallydocking, and moochdocking are awesome free camping options that will absolutely help lower your average camping cost. That said, they are far from the only ways to save money. Another great option is to invest in camping memberships such as Thousand Trails.

We love Thousand Trails because it allows you to camp at no additional cost at dozens of campgrounds across the country. These campgrounds provide water and electric hookups, and many include sewer hookups as well. You’ll also find many families in Thousand Trails parks, making it easy to make friends on the road. 

Driveway camping

Grab a Boondockers Welcome or Harvest Hosts Membership

Some other fantastic camping memberships to pick up are Boondockers Welcome and Harvest Hosts. Owned by the same people, these two memberships are very similar in that they give you access to private property that individuals have opened up to RVers. 

The spots listed on Boondockers Welcome tend to be yards and driveways. Meanwhile, the spots on Harvest Hosts are at wineries, farms, and museums. With both memberships, the sites may or may not have hookups of any kind, and those that do provide hookups may request a small amount of money to cover costs, or a small purchase of the goods produced there. Otherwise, the sites listed on both Boondockers Welcome and Harvest Hosts are completely free. 

Buy a Passport America Membership

Passport America is another camping membership that is well worth looking into. This membership works by giving you 50% off campsites across the country.

Unfortunately, most of the campgrounds have restrictions that limit the number of nights you can stay at a reduced rate, as well as when you can use the discount. Even so, we still find it’s easy to get use out of the membership, and you will easily save enough to cover the cost of it.

Join Escapees

Escapees is an RV club that offers members a mailing service, exclusive member discounts, access to RV events, and more. One other benefit of joining Escapees? Camping discounts. 

Escapees has a list of over 800 RV parks that offer a 15%–50% discount to Escapee members. Additionally, Escapees has some member-exclusive RV parks and co-op parks for more discounted camping options. 

Check Out Other Membership Options

We’ve already listed some of the best camping memberships out there, but there are still more great options that will help you save on the average campground cost. Other camping membership options you might want to look into include Good Sam Club, Coast to Coast, Trails Collection (as a Thousand Trails add-on) and Resort Parks International (as an add-on to another campground membership). 

RV at city park campground

Look for City Park Campgrounds

Let’s say you’re headed to a place where you can’t boondock and you camping memberships can’t help you save on campground costs. In this case you will want to look for affordable camping, and the first places you should look are the city parks in the area.

Many city parks across the country offer RV camping at a a fraction of the average campground cost, and some even host campers for free for a few nights! In some cases, the best way to find such campgrounds is through sites such as free and Campendium. 

Head to State Parks

If there are no low-cost city parks nearby, you can also check out the state parks near where you’d like to be. In some cases, state parks aren’t much cheaper than private parks. However, there are many states with super low cost state park camping available, making it possible to save on the average campground cost.

Depending on where you are, you might have the option of having hookups, but in some cases state park campgrounds only offer dry camping. 

Note: If you’ll be in one state for a while and plan to use state parks often, look into getting a state park pass there. In some cases, a state park pass will help you save on camping fees. 

Stay for a While

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: The best way to save money while RVing full time is to slow down. One of the reasons this is true is because many private campgrounds offer weekly and monthly camping rates.

In these cases, the per-night camping prices almost always come out to be significantly less than it would be if you had stayed only a few nights. Therefore, planning on monthly stays in each area you visit can be a great way to save on the average campsite cost. 

Avoid Peak Season

Our final tip? Avoid visiting an area during peak season. During peak season in popular places, camping prices usually go up, and sometimes monthly and weekly camping is not available during these times. Besides, visiting a place during peak season means dealing with crowds. 

There you have it, 12 awesome ways to save money on the cost of camping. Want even more amazing ways to save on your average campground cost? Check out this article on finding free campsites!

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Source: 12 Tips for Lowering Your Average Campground Cost

Parking Your Camper at Walmart: 9 Things You Need to Know

Parking Your Camper at Walmart: 9 Things You Need to Know

This article may contain compensated links, please read our disclaimer for more information.

Recently we discussed moochdocking. Today, we will be discussing another free camping option: “Wallydocking.” Wallydocking involves parking your camper at Walmart overnight to sleep, and it is an excellent option for those looking for a quick one-night stay while traveling from one spot to the next. 

Unfortunately, more and more Walmarts are prohibiting this practice. We can only imagine this is due to some RVers who have been less than considerate when Walmart camping. Therefore, we feel it is very important that all travelers fully understand the unwritten rules that come into play when parking an RV at Walmart. 

In today’s article we will discuss the rules you should know before parking your camper at Walmart, then we’ll offer some suggestions of other places to stay if Walmart camping doesn’t work out for you. 

Always Ask First

Rule number one: Always ask before you stay. This rule is good to keep in mind no matter where you’re planning to stay, and Walmart is no exception. If you can, call ahead and ask the manager on duty if you may stay the night. If you don’t know where you’re going ahead of time, run inside once you arrive to make sure it’s okay if you park your camper at Walmart for the night. If the answer is no, be sure to move on. 

Park Out of the Way

Often, the manager you speak with will tell you where to park. If they don’t give a suggestion, do your best to park somewhere out of the way of customers. The far back or side of the lot is probably a good bet. You can also look at where semis and other RVs are parked and head to that area of the lot. 

Only Stay One Night

Obviously, Walmart is not a true campground and it shouldn’t be treated as such. These parking lots are for one-night stopovers only, meaning you should stop to sleep and pack up and leave first thing the next day. If you have a problem and must stay longer, be sure to explain your situation to the manager on duty and ask to stay another night. 

Keep the Slides In

Unless it’s possible to put your slides out over a patch of grass or somewhere else that is totally out of the way of other vehicles, keep the slides in when you park your camper at Walmart. If you can’t use your RV without putting the slides out, your best bet is to arrive early in the evening in order to try to snag a spot near the grass so your slides can be put out without bothering anyone. 

Camper at Walmart

Image source: Dan TD

Don’t Set Up Camp

Grills, camp chairs, and awnings are all fantastic things to have in a campground. That said, those items should not come out while you’re parked in a Walmart parking lot. In fact, nothing at all should be set up around your RV. After all, a cluttered lot is not a good look for the store, and it would be disrespectful to potentially harm their business, especially after they let you stay the night for free.

Keep the Volume Down 

Many Walmart parking lots are full of RVers and truck drivers each night. Additionally, because Walmart tends to be open late, shoppers will be in the lot until that later closing time. Because of these things, it is important to keep your volume down so you don’t disturb fellow Walmart campers or shoppers. 

Do Some Shopping

Yes, Walmart camping is completely free, but that doesn’t mean you can’t support the store financially in some way. While staying in your camper at Walmart, head into the store to pick up any groceries or other essentials you need. This is seen as good manners and it helps the RV community keep their good name so we can continue to enjoy Wallydocking. 

Clean Up After Yourself

Another thing that helps give the RV community a good name? Leaving the parking lot the way we found it. Avoid dumping things on the ground in a Walmart parking lot, and be sure all trash makes its way to the trash cans in the lot or to the garbage can in your RV. Never do work on your vehicle or RV in a Walmart lot unless it is totally unavoidable, and if you must make a repair, be sure you clean up any mess you make. 

Cracker Barrel

Image source: Billy Hathorn

Other Parking Lot Camping Options

The ability to stay in your camper at Walmart is wonderful, especially if you like to travel long distances and just need places to stop and sleep once in a while. Unfortunately, as mentioned before, not all Walmarts allow Wallydocking. If you come across a store that prohibits Walmart camping, you will need to find another option.

Fortunately, there are other businesses that allow overnight stays in some of their parking lots. These include:

  • Cracker Barrel
  • Cabela’s
  • Camping World
  • Costco 
  • Sam’s Club
  • Casinos
  • Some truck stop chains

You can also stay the night in many highway rest areas, but you will want to look for signage to be sure it is allowed, as some states have laws against it. 

There you have it, everything you need to know about parking a camper at Walmart overnight. Keep these simple rules in mind, find a Walmart along your route, and give Walmart camping a try to see what you think!

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Fulltime Families Members get access to the best resources, community and discounts.

Fulltime Families is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to,, Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc. or its affiliates.

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Source: Parking Your Camper at Walmart: 9 Things You Need to Know

Sealing Camper Windows in 8 Simple Steps

Sealing Camper Windows in 8 Simple Steps

This article may contain compensated links, please read our disclaimer for more information.

When given the chance, water loves to make its way into your rig where it isn’t supposed to be. It happens to all RVers at one point or another. Many times, it makes its way into your home-on-wheels via a leaking RV window, something that can only be fixed by sealing camper windows.

If you’re dealing with a leaking RV window, you’ve come to the right place. In this article we will be discussing everything you need to know to seal RV windows.

The Best Sealant for RV Windows

First, let’s talk a bit about what you’ll need to seal RV windows. Gather these materials before you begin resealing RV windows in order to make the job go as quickly and smoothly as possible:

  • Putty knife
  • Cleaning alcohol
  • Cleaning cloth
  • Butyl tape
  • RV-specific sealant
  • Caulk gun

When it comes to choosing a sealant for sealing camper windows, stick to RV-specific options such as Dicor or Geocel ProFlex RV. You want a non-sag sealant (not a self-leveling one) and remember that you should never use silicone sealant on your RV, as it will inevitably be a nightmare to deal with down the line.