RVing Tips For Beginners: Enjoying The Maiden Journey

RVing Tips For Beginners: Enjoying The Maiden Journey – Camping For Foodies .com

Many RVers start as tent campers and graduate to RVs. An experienced camper can easily transition from a tent to an RV with a few simple tips.  Don’t worry … If you are heading directly to the RV driver’s seat … we can help you too! Psst we’re compensated…see our disclosures.

RVing Tips For Beginners To Instantly Turn Pro

Use our 9 simple tips to RV like a pro on your first trip! Let’s do this!

RVing Tips For Beginners: Take a practice RV drive and remember you are probably taller and wider than you think - Camping For Foodies .com

1. Take a practice RV drive

Driving a big vehicle might be intimidating but getting comfortable as a driver (and passenger) is important. Don’t forget that you will probably be “taller” and “wider” than you are used to, so practice driving in some wide open spaces and watch for height clearances at underpasses, bridges, low-hanging branches and anything else above your path of travel. It is a great idea to take some driving courses to help you drive like a boss before you actually hit the road. Just like driving any new-to-you vehicle, you want to know your RV … it’s a bummer when the sun begins to set and you realize it’s too dark inside the vehicle to see where the switch is for the headlights! And, don’t forget to secure your personal items so they don’t shift while driving.

Basic RV tools we like:

  1. Toothbrush holders keep your toothbrushes clean and secure during travel.
  2. Cupboard Bars are spring-loaded and keep kitchen dishes, cookware and other items in cabinets from shifting during travel.
  3. Fridge Braces attach to refrigerator wire shelves to keep food items from sliding and avoid spilling during movement.

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RVing Tips For Beginners: Bring Tools and Spare Parts - Camping For Foodies .com

2. Bring Tools and Spare Parts

Don’t try to become a moving auto parts store! That being said, you do want to carry basic tools and spare parts. Many times RVers are getting away from the craziness of city life and escaping for some R & R in quieter places. Remember, the further away from services, the more self-reliant you want to be. It’s a balance and each trip will have unique circumstances … plan wisely.

Basic RV tools we like:

  1. T-handle style lug wrenches gives you better leverage (if you have a pull-type RV, make sure your wrench accommodates both sizes of lug nuts on your tow vehicle and trailer).
  2. Heavy gauge jumper cables are the best because they carry more amps which in-turn starts the vehicle quicker than lower gauge cables.
  3. Digital tire gauges are optimal because they quickly and most accurately read your tire pressure. Keeping your tires at the recommended pressure will ensure you get the most life out of your tires and provide the highest level of safety.

Powerbuilt made our list of RVing Tips For BeginnersPowerbuilt 940558 14″ Universal Lug WrenchPowerbuilt made our list of RVing Tips For BeginnersCartman Booster Cable 4 Gauge x 20Ft in Carry Bag UL Listed (4AWG x 20Ft) made our list of RVing Tips For BeginnersCartman Booster Cable 4 Gauge x 20Ft in Carry Bag UL Listed (4AWG x 20Ft)Cartman Booster Cable made our list of RVing Tips For Beginners 4 Gauge x 20Ft in Carry Bag UL Listed (4AWG x 20Ft)TEKTON 5941 Digital Tire Gauge, 100 PSI made our list of RVing Tips For BeginnersTEKTON 5941 Digital Tire Gauge, 100 PSITEKTON 5941 Digital Tire Gauge, 100 PSI made our list of RVing Tips For Beginners


P.S. I need to update this post because as Rick mentioned in the comments … you need to watch your gas gauge too! His tow vehicle fuel consumption reduces to 7 mpg when pulling his RV.  Your fuel burn will vary depending on the terrain too so be particularly aware of your fuel stop options in the mountains with uphill grades.  Thanks for the reminder Rick!!!

FREE Printable RV Tool Kit Checklist - Items To Carry In Travel Tool Boxes - Camping For Foodies .comEventually you will want a few more tools in your collection. We have an awesome FREE RV Tool Kit Checklist that you can print!


Camping For Foodies Ultimate RV and Tent Camping Checklist - Camping For Foodies .comNot only will you want to use a checklist for your tool box, you will also want to use one for stocking your interior items and regular gear. Get your FREE printable copy of the Camping For Foodies Ultimate RV and Tent Camping Checklist and More!


3. Dry run in your driveway

Test your process, packing and patience … fail at home! If you forget to pack the coffee pot, you want to find out early! Seriously, could anyone go a day without a good cup of coffee? The answer is “NO” in my family. If you pack and test your processes and equipment while camping out in your driveway, you won’t have far to go to remedy any failures. Once you are comfortable that your RV is properly packed and operating, you can take your first road trip with the confidence of a pro! And, don’t forget to secure your RV from rolling while parked and level it.

Basic RV tools we like:

  1. T Levels allow you to easily check that your RV is level from side to side as well as front to back. You want to make sure you are level before setting up for proper shower drainage and personal comfort.
  2. Leveling Blocks allow you to level your RV even if the ground you are parked on is not completely level. Stack the number of blocks needed to level the vehicle, then carefully drive your RV on top of them to level it. The interlocking blocks can be used under tires, trailer tongues and swing arm supports. We use ours often when boondocking (aka remote camping or dispersed camping) in areas like National Forests. Leveling blocks can be used as a solid surface over a soft surface to avoid sinking into the ground. These are not designed for heavy big rig use; more sophisticated RVs have built-in leveling capabilities. Always know your equipment and any limitations associated with it.
  3. Wheel Chocks will keep your RV from rolling while you are parked. After you have leveled your RV … chock it! This is especially important if you are parked on some sort of incline. If you have a tow-type RV, make sure you chock the RV BEFORE you unhook it from the tow vehicle.

You’ll find practical gift ideas like these and other totally crazy unique alternatives in our Gift Ideas RV Owners Will Be Crazy About post!

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RVing Tips For Beginners: Stay Organized - Camping For Foodies .com

4. RV size – Don’t clutter your space

RVs come in all sizes … from cute little teardrop trailers to diesel pusher motorhomes that are bigger than the typical New York City apartment! You might have the urge to over-pack your RV just because you have new storage spaces to fill. DON’T DO IT! Resist the temptation and only pack what you need and keep it organized because clutter builds fast in small spaces and you can avoid that problem with proper planning and organization tools.

Basic RV tools we like:

  1. Adjustable kitchen drawer dividers allow you to easily keep your utensils organized. The ability to change the size of the space inside of the organizer is key to containing your specific gear.
  2. Over door organizer with pockets creates storage that is easily accessible and still neat and tidy. We use these over our RV bathroom door as well as cabinet doors.
  3. Under bed organizers make use of space that is out of sight. Some RVs have storage space under the beds and almost all have storage space under the couch and kitchen bench seats too; this type of organizer is ideal for all of those areas.

OXO Good Grips Adjustable Drawer Organizer made our list of RVing Tips For BeginnersOXO Good Grips Adjustable Drawer OrganizerOXO Good Grips Adjustable Drawer Organizer made our list of RVing Tips For BeginnersOver the Door Magazine Storage Pockets Hooks Books made our list of RVing Tips For BeginnersOver Door Storage Hanging OrganizerOver the Door Magazine Storage Pockets Hooks Books made our list of RVing Tips For BeginnersSimpleHouseware Organizer Drawer Divider 4 Set made our list of RVing Tips For BeginnersSimpleHouseware Organizer Drawer Divider 4 SetOrganizer made our list of RVing Tips For Beginners


RVing Tips For Beginners: Water is HEAVY Don’t travel with full tanks if you have hookups at your destination - Camping For Foodies .com

5. Go waterless

RV Packing Tip: Water is HEAVY, avoid transporting it as much as possible! If your destination has water available, don’t travel with full tanks. If your camp spot has full hookups, you will have water easily available as soon as you connect to your hookups. In other instances you may have to fill your fresh water tank at the fill-up station usually located at the campground entrance and then drive to your actual camp spot. The same goes for your gray and black water tanks; empty those tanks before you start driving so you don’t carry unnecessary weight.

Basic RV tools we like:

  1. Water Wye Valves are great at camp spots with water hookups. They allow you to split the water source to feed your RV water system while also having a supply outside.
  2. Water Pressure Regulators protect your RV water hose, pump and internal lines from high and inconsistent water pressure levels. Some campgrounds and RV parks have high plumbing pressure and you don’t want to damage your RV plumbing as a result.
  3. Water Filters allow you to filter out contaminants and reduce bad taste, odors, sediments, bacteria, chlorine and more.

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6. Watch your load limits

It can be easy to overlook your weight if RVing is new to you. Your vehicle has published load limits, know what they are and don’t exceed them … It’s a safety thing! You can easily check the weight of your vehicle on a truck scale at a truck stop. One of the main weights you need to be aware of is your Available Payload Capacity and depending on the type of RV you have, you may also have a Towing Capacity if you are pulling your RV with a tow vehicle. Check your manuals on all your limits to operate safely and legally.

Garmin RV 760LMT Portable GPS Navigator made our list of RVing Tips For BeginnersGarmin RV 760LMT Portable GPS Navigator
The Garmin RV 760LMT Portable GPS Navigator is a popular gadget for RV driving with specialized routing based on customized information regarding your height, weight, width and length restrictions. It provides you with cautions and advisories regarding risk of grounding, lateral winds, narrow roads, sharp curves, steep hills, state borders and more. It also provides RV-specific services like repair shops, truck stops and a nationwide comprehensive list of repair and tow facilities. You don’t have to worry about changing information because it includes free lifetime map and traffic updates too!


RVing Tips For Beginners - Reserve your camp spot - Patagonia Lake State Park Camp Spot 17 Sign with Camping For Foodies

7. Reserve your spot and plan for tank dumps

Know if your RV spot has full hookups or if you have to fill fresh water and empty your holding tanks at a remote station. Be sure to have necessary equipment for dumping your waste tanks and for the love of all mankind … don’t forget the dump gloves!

Basic RV tools we like:

  1. Disposable Dump Gloves are great because touching dump fixtures with your bare hands is just not cool! One-time use gloves that come in mountable dispensers are our favorites.
  2. Sewer Hose Supports are great to keep sewer hoses in place especially when you have to maneuver around obstacles.
  3. Sewer Hose Extensions come in handy when your normal hose won’t reach the sewer outlet from where you are parked.

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Some campgrounds and RV parks are booked months or even years in advance so reserve your campsite before you travel. Depending on the size of your RV, you may be limited to specific spots at some destinations. Many of the National and State Parks were designed years ago and are unable to accommodate the larger RVs on the market today. The larger your RV, the more limited your options, so … reserve early to ensure you have a spot to call “home” upon your arrival.

In the busy season it can be super difficult to get a spot in popular places like Yosemite National Park. They even tell you to make sure your clock is properly set so you can call for a reservation as soon as they open the process for the season! Seriously, I can’t make this stuff up! From the Yosemite National Park Website Campground Reservations Page:

Be aware that nearly all reservations for the months of May through September and for some other weekends are filled the first day they become available, usually within seconds or minutes after 7 am! For your best chance of getting a reservation, be sure your clock is set accurately and start the first few steps of the reservation process at www.recreation.gov before 7 am Pacific time.

Yosemite National Park Must See Attractions VIDEO And Tips By CampingForFoodiesNo matter what the Yosemite website says … Don’t let that discourage you from trying to get a camping reservation there … because … it is seriously one of the most majestic places on the planet! See our highlight video in our Yosemite National Park Must See Attractions VIDEO And Tips post! Oh, and whatever you do … don’t forget to pack your camera!!! 😉


RVing Tips For Beginners: Don’t Get Locked Out, Some campgrounds are open 24-7, Others have quiet hours and actually lock the gates - Camping For Foodies .com

8. Don’t get locked out and prepare for after-dark setup

Some campgrounds are open 24/7, others have quiet hours and actually lock the gates during those hours each night.  Know the gate hours or you may need another tip sheet: RVing Tips For Beginners: How To Legally Camp In A Wal-Mart Parking Lot … and then, we won’t be able to help you. But, there is such a thing as a Walmart store directory … Hopefully you won’t need it! Try to arrive early enough to setup in daylight … but, be prepared if you have to setup in the dark.

Basic RV tools we like:

  1. LED Headlamp is not the most fashionable piece of equipment but if you ever tried to setup an RV in the dark you know you will wear whatever gear you need to in order to see what you are doing … no matter how ridiculous it makes you look! These are great for providing a very focused light.
  2. LED Camping Lantern is great for lighting up an overall area and can be easily hung from hooks and tree branches etc.
  3. Directory Of U.S. Walmart Stores what can we say, other than … just in case!

LED HeadlampLED HeadlampLED Camping LanternLED Camping LanternDirectory Of US Walmart StoresDirectory Of US Walmart Stores


9. Leave the dispersed camping for another day

We absolutely LOVE dispersed camping but I would not recommend it with a new-to-you RV. It’s a good idea to get a few “full hookup” trips under your belt before you wander off into the wilderness.

BUT … When you are ready to go Boondocking Like A Pro VIDEO How To Go Dispersed Camping With Camping For Foodiesdispersed camping (or boondocking, or remote camping … or whatever you like to call it) we can help you with some tips for that too! Check our our VIDEO and Dispersed Camping Tips post!


People who are new to the RV experience can benefit from others; we like to share our expertise as much as possible! So, we think you’ll agree with our recommendation to be prepared with the right tools in your travel toolbox. Here you go, get tons of information and your copy of our FREE printable RV Tool Kit Checklist!

Want to RV camp in the winter? Don’t go before you get our Winter RV Camping Tips!

No time to look for recipes, create a menu and write a grocery list? No Problem! Get our 3-Day Dutch Oven Camp Menu Plan here!

3-Day Dutch Oven Camp Menu Plan By Camping For Foodies .com

Need More Camping Gift Ideas? Check Out These Posts!

Cool Camping Wrapping Paper And Creative Gift Wrap Ideas - Camping For Foodies .comGet Fun Camping Wrapping Paper And Creative Gift Wrap Ideas here!


Need Camp Cooking Tips And Recipes? Check Out These Posts!


If you need camping recipes and menu ideas, you can find them here at the Camping For Foodies Camping Recipes list.

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Kim Hanna

Kim Hanna is the creator of Camping For Foodies®. On her blog, http://www.CampingForFoodies.com, she shares her passion for camping, hiking and cooking as well as living a balanced yet dream-pursuing life. Kim has appeared on several local TV networks, in magazines and at live special events as the ‘Modern Society Weekend Escape Expert’ she has become…inspiring others to unplug from their hectic lives one camp recipe at a time. She believes many adults are so consumed with their 24/7 connected lives that they don’t take time to enjoy nature and live in the moment. Kim gladly issues “permission slips” to adults who request them! She is a contributor to AZ Outdoor Magazine and has her own cooking segment on the Great Food Good Neighbors TV show. Kim is a Christian and lives in Phoenix with her husband and two cats.

18 thoughts on “RVing Tips For Beginners: Enjoying The Maiden Journey

  • 10 December, 2015 at 7:43 am

    Don’t forget to watch the gas gauge? We only get 7 mpg when pulling our trailer

    • 10 December, 2015 at 9:11 am

      Good point Rick! In fact, that is so important I can’t believe I forgot about it when writing this post…ugh! I’m updating it now with your suggestion. Thanks!

    • 29 July, 2018 at 9:29 am


      We are used to hiring RVs in Europe. We have hired an RV for three weeks in September, first stop Sequoia and then out to Grand Canyon, Monument Valley is the farthest point and then eventually back to San Francisco.
      Do you advise to book campsites for each night or is there availability along the route. If you book for each night and it makes work to a schedule and you have no flexibility. Some I appreciate Ineed to book like Las Vegas and popular areas. Thanks for your advice. Regarsds MArk

  • 10 December, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    Great tips. Puts me in the mood to get out and RV it!

  • 11 December, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    This is a great list. I wish we had it before our first trip, it would have been much smoother. Keep up the good work and thanks for the fun and helpful information you share.

    • 11 December, 2015 at 4:37 pm

      Thanks for checking out this post and commenting, Maggie! I would love to continue to provide fun and helpful information so please feel free to point to specific topics you are interested in…I’d love to feature them! Keep RVing!

  • 17 October, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    Also a good thing to check when you stop for a potty brake or just a habit I do is bring a temperature gun (nothing to fancy) to check tire and brake temp. Tells you if you have brake pads going out or braking harder then other. The biggest thing is tires.. over inflate/under people make the mistake when they get more load then empty load. But good idea to check them on trips with temp. Gun and pressure. Just a idea that was passed along to me….
    Happy Camping & Be safe
    FISH ON!

    • 19 October, 2017 at 10:25 am

      Hi Kj! Thanks for sharing your tips! Happy Camping & Be Safe to you as well!

  • 10 November, 2017 at 7:01 am

    Fantastic list! I don’t have my RV yet, but I am dreaming hard and saving big time. It will be a reality and I have saved this information so I might avoid some of the common mistakes a newbie makes. I am sure I will make plenty of others but know that mistakes are part of the learning curve. Thank you.

    • 10 November, 2017 at 11:00 am

      Thanks Karen! You are going to love RVing! Please keep me posted with your experiences and if you have any questions, let me know if we can help along the way!

  • 19 November, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    Thanks, We are getting ready to go full time RVing and Can use all the help we can get.
    With a 5th Wheel.
    I had a 5th wheel years ago but I have forgot many things about RVing.
    These were GREAT Ideas.

    • 21 November, 2017 at 10:40 am

      Hi Dan! Thanks for the kind words and congratulations on your upcoming adventure!!! Please stay in touch and enjoy your full time RVing adventures!!!

  • 1 February, 2018 at 6:45 pm

    Great Tips, I recently just rented an RV for the first time and it was sooo much fun. Its nice to see what others like and reccommend!

    • 1 February, 2018 at 8:36 pm

      Hi Rheannon! I remember the first time we rented an RV! We had the same response you did! In fact, we NEVER rented again … went out and bought one! We’ve been having a blast ever since. Keep on camping and keep us posted on your adventures!

  • 1 April, 2018 at 7:51 pm

    We are planning on selling our 3200 sq. ft. home and purchasing a 5th wheel for our family of four! We want to have a “home base” but we plan to travel when kids are off from school:) Not sure the best way to start this exciting but all new adventure?!

    • 6 April, 2018 at 3:19 pm

      Hi Michelle!

      I am soooooo excited for you! We actually want to hit the road full time eventually but for now we take long weekend trips (and occasionally, week long vacations) and enjoy every minute of them! We have friends who do the “home base” thing and they come back to Arizona during the fall and winter months. I hear a common theme from everyone, downsizing is the biggest challenge but it is also the most liberating thing once they get over the initial shock of it all. LOL!!! Some of our friends went from living in a spacious suburban home to living in a tiny teardrop trailer and traveling the back-roads of America for a year. I should note, they are a couple without kids. After it was all over, their priorities changed and they embraced living a simpler life. I suggest that you gradually work your way out of your 3200 sq. ft. home so when you purchase the 5th wheel, the space reduction does not feel so dramatic. You are going to love your adventure! Please keep me posted!!!


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