10 Things I’ve Learned About RVs

Prior to joining the marketing team at Pete’s RV Center, I could name maybe one RV manufacturer and thought the word ‘motorhome’ was interchangeable with ‘camper’. After just a few weeks, however, I can name at least five or six manufacturers off the top of my head and I know the main difference between a travel trailer and a fifth wheel. But, the learning doesn’t stop there, so here’s what Pete’s has made me contemplate about RVs and the RVing lifestyles so far.

1. RVs come in all different shapes and sizes

Growing up, I’d be invited on the occasional camping trip with friends or family members who owned your standard travel trailer or expandable unit. These experiences led me to associate camping (on wheels) closely with these specific types of trailers. Pete’s RV Center, however, has opened my eyes to the wide selection of units the RV world has to offer. 

2. They’re made to fit different lifestyles

From massive fifth wheels or class A motorhomes to your more compact nuCamp Cirrus or Airstream Basecamp, RVs are made to fit a range of lifestyles and camping journeys. A solo traveler that prefers to take trips in the mountains or deep wilderness may enjoy a smaller trailer that is made to endure rougher terrain. While a retired couple who are planning a long term road trip around the country are probably more interested in a fifth wheel with lots of space and amenities. 

3. Small space ≠ small amount of possibilities 

When you consider furnishing a small space, it may seem like the options are limited—and depending on the dimensions, they can be. But looking at just a handful of RV floor plans from different models and manufacturers makes it apparent that ‘small space’ does not necessarily equate to a small amount of possibilities. Just because a trailer is on the tinier side doesn’t mean it can’t still have a spacious rear bath with a full tub or a large pantry closet. Living in a compact environment doesn’t necessarily mean limiting your options or letting go of amenities that are important to you.

4. RVs are versatile

Contraptions like murphy beds, convertible u-dinettes or jack knife sofas allow you to have functional living areas without giving up space, or needing more. There are also units such as toy haulers, which have a garage at the rear, making your trailer an even more adaptable vehicle. 

5. You can accessorize

Upon purchasing an RV, many come with add ons for an additional cost—such as extra TVs, a security kit, extra furniture, solar panels, etc. They are a great way to upgrade your camping experience. You can also install accessories later on, and Pete’s parts department carries plenty. 

6. If you’re handy…

Buying used and renovating is always an option. Like most things bought secondhand, the severity of wear and usability varies from trailer to trailer, some may be ready to go while others require major updating. And while accessorizing is one thing, reconstructing is a whole other ball game. But if you’re up for a challenge, purchasing a significantly cheaper option and reselling down the road could be a great investment.

7. RV names mean something

The names of RVs break down into five different parts. For an example we’ll use the 2022 Forest River Alpha Wolf 388BHRD. The number at the front, of course, refers to the year. The next phrase is the manufacturer, ‘Forest River’, followed by the model, ‘Alpha Wolf’, and the most interesting part (in my opinion), the last sequence of letters at the very end indicate the model’s floor plan, ‘FK’ meaning ‘front kitchen’. Floor plans that end in RB mean ‘rear bathroom’, BH means ‘bunkhouse’, SLX/XLT are ‘lightweight or ultra-light’, and the list goes on. Additionally, numbers that come before these acronyms refer to the model number, or in some cases, the length of the trailer. 

8. There are RV specific navigation tools

When driving an RV, it’s best to use an RV-specific GPS or GPS app. The average navigation system doesn’t account for the larger dimensions of a trailer, and may lead you to lower clearance bridges or roads with weight limits. Many RV GPS devices also come with resources from other RVers regarding where the best places are to stop, fuel up, or get a repair. 

9. Just because summer is over, doesn’t mean camping is

Much like actual birds, ‘snowbirds’ migrate south for winter. When the temperatures start to drop up north, those who enjoy the warmer weather and want to prolong their time camping head to warmer places. And those who don’t have to winterize their RV to avoid internal damage. 

Women in yellow shirt holding toilet paper in front of her.

10. RVs need specific toilet paper

If you already own an RV, it’s very concerning if you don’t already know this, but RVs need toilet paper that disintegrates quickly. Unlike regular toilet paper, RV-friendly paper dissolves faster to avoid clogs in your holding tank or sewage system. 

Just as learning about anything unfamiliar is..getting to know more about RVs is a bit overwhelming. There are so many different types, brands, models, accessories, not to mention the inner workings of how they function—how to take care of them, what sort of maintenance they need. RVs are complex in many ways. But, the more interesting things in life have more to offer once you’re past face value, and I can think of far less compelling things than a entire homes on wheels.

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