Your RV is a roaming basecamp for all of your summer adventures, whether you’re taking a road trip to see family or just want to get off the grid for a bit and explore the National Parks. (The park system turned 100 last year! Bryce, Zion, Yellowstone, y’all are looking darn good for centenarians.)
But before you begin your summer adventures, you’ll want to make sure your RV is ready to roll.
We turned to some RV enthusiasts to find out how they prep for summer travel. Here’s 10 top trip tips, including the genius advice relayed by RV road warriors.
1. Get your RV packed
Camping gear can be cumbersome, especially if you’re short on storage space at home. Tents, sleeping bags, bikes and their accompanying racks all take up a lot of space. Closetbox can act like your own personal gear locker, stashing your camping and recreation essentials and bringing them back to you when it’s time to embark on your maiden summer voyage. When you return home, Closetbox can boomerang back to and pick up your precious cargo to safely store until it’s time for your next adventure.
2. Re-purpose a pool noodle
File this under genius: You can cut a pool noodle in half and wedge it on top of your hangers to help keep them in place and your clothes don’t fall off in your closet while you’re driving, suggests Amy Carney, a parenting blogger. She started her blog a few years ago when her family of 6 (at the time) embarked on an epic RV journey, hitting 44 states in seven months
3. Bring a crockpot
Place it in the sink and let dinner practically cook itself while you are driving, Carney suggests. “You will be happy to have a meal all ready to go for you when you arrive at your stop for the evening,” she says. Because, let’s face it, homemade dinner wins out over gas station sandwiches any day.
4. Keep your everyday valuables close by
“Strategically think about what you are packing in any drawers in your slides before you head out,” Carney advises. Before taking off in the RV, she packed her camera, iPad, and other day-to-day essentials in a bedroom drawer that she wasn’t able to access when there was an electrical malfunction and the slides wouldn’t open.
5. Get your RV serviced before you hit the road
You’ll want to make sure that all the tires are the correct psi, and are free of any bumps and don’t have low tread, suggests Margo Armstrong, an RV lifestyle expert and author who runs RVLifestyleExperts.com. As part of this inspection, you’ll want to also make sure the brakes and wheel bearings are in good condition and have the belts on the engine checked. Also, check the air conditioner and make sure the coils and internal filters are cleaned.
6. Book your campsites in advance
You can’t just roll into Yellowstone and expect to find a vacant campsite. Strategically planning your stops in advance will take the stress out of finding a campsite after you’ve been on the road for hours. Armstrong suggests arranging as many national and commercial park reservations as soon as possible. “Finding an open site in the summer season can be a frustration challenge,” says Armstrong, who also blogs at MovingOnWithMargo.com.
7. Get your fridge ready
The night before you take off, make sure your refrigerator is turned on, Armstrong says. Wait until the temperatures come down to 38 to 40 degrees before adding any food, she advises. You can also take a cooler for soft drinks and fruit.
8. Check your awnings
Give any awnings attached to the RV an inspection to make sure they are performing properly, Armstrong says. Also, make sure your windshield wipers are good to go because squalls can be common in the summertime, Armstrong says.
9. Don’t overpack
“On the first trip in my motorhome, I took too many clothes and cooking utensils,” Armstrong says. If she could travel back in time, she would have packed a few clothes changes, a pot or two, a portable barbecue and her iPod. “Leave your expensive electronics gear at home,” she advises. “The Internet is not available in most National Parks and isolated areas,” Armstrong suggests. “Enjoy nature and all it has to offer.” Instead of all your techy gadgets, bring a book or two, she suggests.
10. Bookmark a few good recipes
Just because you’re on the road, doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice when it comes to good eats. And, you’re not relegated to just eating hamburgers, hot dogs and s’mores the entire trip. Happy Camper Wives has a great stash of camp cooking recipes, including kebabs, salmon frittata and Vietnamese spring rolls.