What to Consider When Buying Your RV

You know you love road trips, but how do you choose which RV is right for your family when so much goes into it on and off the road? Here are a few things to think about before diving into this purchase. 

Driveable or towable?

Maybe your fancy new pickup truck is ready to tow a few thousand pounds across the country, or maybe you don’t own a vehicle with any towing capacity at all. Either way, you’ll need to seriously consider whether you prefer a towable or driveable RV. 

RVers for decades have debated whether motorhomes or towable RVs are easier to drive. Motorhomes provide the convenience of having just one vehicle to worry about, giving them the loving nickname of a “house on wheels”. But despite being one compact unit, many motorhomes end up being larger than many towable travel trailer setups. 

Despite the frequently tiny size of travel trailers, many people just don’t like towing something. You’ll have to give a motorhome a test drive, and then tow a travel trailer, to see where you land on this debate. 

What are you towing with?

If you do end up choosing a towable RV, that’s great! What are you going to tow it with? The answer to that question will determine how big or small your travel trailer, or even fifth wheel, can be. Some travel trailers, like this Little Guy, can be towed by a vehicle as small as a Toyota RAV4, a small SUV. But Fifth Wheels, typically the largest towable RVs, can sometimes top 15,000 pounds. 

The most important part of owning a towable vehicle is towing safely, so be sure to do your own research about what your vehicle can and cannot tow before proceeding. 

Cargo Capacity

Keeping size in mind, your RV’s cargo capacity will tell you how much weight you can put in it. This includes everything you’re bringing along, so while your campground bathing suits are lightweight, the full 60 gallon freshwater tank is definitely not. 

Cargo capacity isn’t as big of a deal if you’re camping in one place all summer, where water refills and waste dumping is easier, but it’s important to keep in mind on more road heavy trips. Extra storage in and around the RV is also essential for those bringing a significant amount of luggage. 

What is your RV for?

Are you permanently retiring in your RV, which you plan on parking in Florida forever? Are you working remotely and driving to a different National Park each night? Are you camping at one campground for two weeks each summer? 

It’s good to have at least a rough idea of how you’ll be using your RV before you buy it. If you’re on the road daily, you’ll want to seriously consider purchasing as small an RV as you can, to save more gas and generally make driving easier. 

Many state and national parks do not have campground spots for RVs longer than 35, or sometimes even 30 feet. Even if you plan on parking in one private campground, check if they have any size restrictions. 

Buying a RV is the highlight of a lifetime for many campers, and your big purchase deserves the same enthusiasm! Check out our RV Education section at petesrv.com for more information about RVing, and the best RV selection around in our inventory!

East Coast RVing–Camping in the National Parks

RV dealerships all across America are filled with dreamers, those planning scenic road trips of a lifetime to the National Parks. Camping in the National Parks is a major reason why many people purchase RVs, and a fantastic way to spend time in nature. But with 63 National Parks in the United States spanning 84 million acres, how will you ever decide where to camp? Here are some of the best National Park RV friendly campgrounds to choose from.

Elkmont Campground, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Located near North Carolina and Tennessee’s shared border, The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited National Park, totaling over 12 million visits in 2020, despite being briefly closed due to the pandemic. This is more than three times greater than the second highest total of 3.8 million visits at Yellowstone National Park.

What makes the Smokies so popular? Its location is convenient for many travelers, being far closer to major East Coast population centers than the parks out west. And its neighboring town Gaitlinburg, Tennessee offers several full days worth of tourist attractions, and several hotels. 

Luckily, Elkmont Campground has 200 drive up sites for a lovely camping experience in the mountains, no hotels necessary.

Schoodic Campground, Acadia National Park

Another East Coast favorite, Acadia National Park boasts Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the East Coast, where the sunrise can be seen the earliest in the United States. Its beautiful summit is famous for attracting sunrise spotters for this reason. The park has beautiful ocean views from its place on the Atlantic Coast, and is mostly located on Mount Desert Island, near Bar Harbor, Maine. 

However, Schoodic Campground is Acadia National Park’s newest, and it’s the only campground on the mainland section of the park, located on the quieter Schoodic Peninsula. 

New River Gorge National Park and Preserve

America’s newest National Park is still somewhat of a secret, having just gained National Park status in late 2020. While the park “provides opportunities for primitive camping only” according to their website, that won’t stop adventurous RVers from boondocking on the gorgeous riverside! There are several campsites along the park’s main road. 

For more RV campground tips in the National Parks, check out Campendium’s extensive list! 

Essential RV Reads: Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Outside of any neighborhood or standard driveway, often hidden in plain sight with only curtains hiding their presence, live thousands of Americans in vans, cars, and RVs. More people are hitting the highway as permanent residents than ever before, particularly those unable to afford retirement or burdened by financial disaster. Far different than the lifestyle seen in luxury “glamping”-style campgrounds, these mobile nomads go by many names.

Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century: Bruder, Jessica:  9780393249316: Amazon.com: Books

Perhaps most self explanatory, “vandwellers” typically live in a converted van rather than RV, while “workampers” reside in any sort of vehicle and pursue often challenging seasonal work around the country. Many popular RV conventions host these permanent mobile residents in large gatherings, mostly throughout the southwestern United States.

But make no mistake, vandwellers and workampers do not come from the recent wave of remote workers in WiFi-enabled careers traveling in luxury while they work out of different high-end RV parks. Nomadland by Jessica Bruder tells the stories of people driven to living in vehicles out of necessity, embracing the very real effects of rising rents and stagnant wages. Published in 2017, many of the people Bruder followed had been living in their vehicles since the Great Recession of 2007-2009, with no plans to ever stop doing so. The weight this lifestyle carries is emphasized in one of the book’s many powerful quotations: “The last free place in America is a parking spot,” Said Linda May, a grandmother and former contractor living in a van that Bruder followed throughout the book.

“Some call them “homeless.” The new nomads reject that label. Equipped with both shelter and transportation, they’ve adopted a new word. They refer to themselves, quite simply, as “houseless”. Bruder wrote. The question of what makes someone homeless and the different view society has for people who choose how they live vs. people trapped in a living situation is a grey area explored throughout the book.

Linda May and several other featured vandwellers in the book went on to play fictionalized versions of themselves in the 2020 film Nomadland by Chloe Zhao, which streams on Hulu. The film went on to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards, receiving high praise for its acting, screenwriting, and direction.

Cover art

One of the more famous vandwellers in Nomadland is Bob Wells, a longtime vandweller who founded the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous, a yearly gathering of vandwellers in Quartzsite, Arizona where many are taught important techniques about RV living.

Wells is also a popular YouTuber and author who started the website CheapRVliving.com, which has inspired many on the fence about nomadic living to jump into life on the road.

Not every RVer is a vandweller or a workamper, but most RVers would be interested in this book. Camping appeals so naturally to outdoor enthusiasts that even a quick weekend in a travel trailer by a lake has many dreaming of full time RV living and exploration. The next time you’re in camp after a day on the road, this is a great travel book for many interests.

Touring Our Finest Floor Plans

Pete’s RV TV is the official YouTube channel of our five Pete’s RV Center dealerships, and is a great source for news, information, and walkthroughs of our RVs. Recently hitting 20,000 subscribers, we are grateful for each one, and strive to provide useful RV information.

Frequently our most popular YouTube offerings, our Walkthrough videos have amassed quite a following. They are a great way to tour the newest and most exciting RVs on the market without having to be at the dealership. The following is a list of our most popular Walkthrough videos of the 2021 RV production season, so that you can sit back and debate which of our offerings is your favorite.

First and foremost, one of our most famous travel trailers: the Airstream 33FB Twin.

The 2021 Jayco Swift 20T is one of our most watched videos, and most interesting motorhomes! The size of a standard van, its interior is dazzling!

We love Jayco Eagles at Pete’s RV Center, and this is one of the best!

This Eagle Half Ton has collected the third most views of any video on our channel this year, and we can see why!

With the most views on our channel ever, Jayco Rep Cody Weatherton guest stars to show us one of our most popular motorhomes.

Last but not least, our Nucamp RVs are always a hit with the boondocking crowd, and we can certainly see why!

For more of our walkthrough videos, announcements, and sales, check out our YouTube channel today and be sure to subscribe and be notified about our newest and most exciting floor plans.

Tracking Your RV Maintenance

It’s relatively easy to know when your tires need changing and rusting needs a touch up, but how are you keeping track of all the routine maintenance that needs to be done on your RV? Not everyone can be an expert in keeping every little piece of your travel trailer or motorhome up to date, so there’s bound to be something you don’t know how to care for. As usual, there’s an app for that!

maintainmyrv.com is now a part of RV LIFE Pro Suite, which for $49.00 per year sets up a schedule customized for your RVs maintenance timeline based on schedules already recommended by RV manufacturers. You will get an email alert when it’s time to maintain a part or get service, and can track expenses, key dates and fuel consumption.

The best part? Tracking up to 3 vehicles means you can also keep up with the car or truck that’s towing your RV, ensuring smooth sailing on camping trips. Give it a try, they offer a 7-day free trial!

If you want to take care of your RV without outside help, there are a few common fixes you may want to get a jump on. Inspecting the unit’s roof and seams to look for any leaks or holes is important to reduce leaks, so don’t forget to check those skylights!

Checking your tire pressure should be done before every camping trip, just as you’ll need to check your car or truck’s pressure if you’re towing a travel trailer. It’s also a good idea to check on the battery life and waste systems before each trip, as either of those acting up could make camping very unpleasant.

Each spring, check on your RVs brakes and slide outs, pursuing professional service if necessary. This is also a good time for an oil change and possible air conditioner filter replacement. Putting each of these critical RV maintenance items into your calendar now will help you preserve your RV’s value and avoid a disaster situation at the campground or on the road.

For more RV maintenance tips and tricks, check out our Pete’s RV Center YouTube channel which includes a playlist of your most common camping questions.

Ten Year Rule Troubles RV Owners

Imagine not being let into your favorite campground because of your RV’s age. It’s more likely than you think. Despite the increasing popularity of vintage RVs, some campgrounds are not admitting RVs aged 10 years or older. When enforced, the rule takes no account for the condition or maintenance of an individual’s RV, eliminating them from some high-end campgrounds strictly based on age.

RV parks who enforce the ten year rule usually list this information on their website, and drivinvibin.com says that while the rule is seen in some campgrounds across the country, Florida and Arizona enforce it most frequently.

Many campgrounds who say they enforce the rule might not be as strict as their stated policies.

“Almost every RV park that implements the 10 year rule also allows exceptions for it. In our experience (owning in vintage RVs for 5 years), we’ve never been turned away. Most often RV parks will ask for a picture of your RV. They will either allow or deny based on the picture.” drivinvibin said.

The website polled nearly 500 RVers, and a whopping 88% did not agree with the rule.

Park owners use the rule to guard against RVs on the decline, but most RV owners say there’s no foolproof way to weed out unkempt RVs.

Of the same RVers surveyed about the 10-year rule, 82% agreed that park owners do have the right to deny entry based on the RV’s condition. Check out the original article here for more details.

At Pete’s RV Center, we have a solution to your concerns about the ten-year rule. It’s our large supply of new RVs for sale! With locations in Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Indiana, and Pennsylvania, check out petesrv.com and roll into the campground of your choice this summer.

Pete’s RV Center Featured in WCAX Camping News Release

WCAX-TV featured Pete’s RV Center in South Burlington, Vermont this week in an update on COVID-caused supply shortages in the RV industry.

Pete’s RV Marketing Director Phil LeClair explained that the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic shut down RV manufacturing factories for several months, and although they are all back up and running, they’ve fallen behind as orders for new RVs have boomed. While Pete’s RV has many RVs in stock, some still being built will take up to 18 months to arrive.

Interest in RVs grew enormously during the pandemic as a place to quarantine, work remotely, or travel in socially distant comfort. Despite this rush to camp, Pete’s RV Center has created the Express Pick-Up program to speed up the buying process. Select RVs on site at any of the five Pete’s RV dealerships are eligible for the program, allowing customers to view, purchase, and pick-up campers within days.

Despite the obstacles in the industry, customers are in good hands at Pete’s RV. “Some may have to be more patient than others but we’re gonna get them out there camping,” LeClair told WCAX.

The original release can be found here.

For more information on Pete’s RV Center’s Express Pick-Up program, check out our post with details below.

Pete’s RV Center has customer care in mind. With five locations in Vermont, Indiana, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania, check us out at petesrvcenter.com today!

Pete’s RV Center Wins Plethora of Awards for #1 Vermont RV Dealership

Pictured: Vermont sales team.

2020 marked another year of happy camping for Pete’s RV Center, whose Vermont dealership won seven #1 Dealer Awards from Statistical Surveys.

Despite being closed from mid-March until May 18th 2020 due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, Pete’s ended the year stronger than ever. The Vermont sales team collected seven #1 Dealer awards, including #1 Dealer of All Recreational Vehicles for the State of Vermont. The other #1 Dealer in Vermont awards Pete’s RV received were for motorhomes, travel trailers, fifth wheels, Class ‘A’, Class ‘C’, and towables.

Pete’s RV Center purchased a fifth dealership in Mountville, Pennsylvania just one week before the pandemic hit, and all five locations thrived alongside the original Vermont dealership upon their post-lockdown re-opening.

Throughout the United States, the RV sales flourished in 2020 as other industries withered, with many manufacturers reporting record sales in multiple months.

Pete’s RV Center’s Airstream of Vermont, the exclusive Airstream dealer in Vermont, benefitted enormously from this success, as Airstream reported a 36% increase in net sales in 2020 over 2019, setting a record for the infamous 90 year old company.

Some of the most popular units at Pete’s RV Center in Vermont continued to be Jayco RVs, which the dealership also carries exclusively in Connecticut and Pennsylvania, and alongside other brands in Indiana and Massachusetts.

The high quality customer experience at Pete’s RV Center sets the dealership apart in Vermont. With over 60 five star reviews on Google, customers praise the exception service and sales quality at Pete’s RV.

Located in South Burlington at 4016 Williston Road, Pete’s RV has your back for all your RV sales and service needs. With locations in Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Indiana, we have a RV for every type of camping fan.