Basic Camping Essentials

Basic Camping Essentials | Pete’s RV Quick Tips

PetesRV.com expert, Randy Murray provides an overview of basic camping essentials and the tools required to make your next trip safe, worry free, and fun!

Video Transcript for “Basic Camping Essentials | Pete’s RV Quick Tips”

Randy: Hey, folks. Randy with Pete’s RV TV here today. Another Quick Tip segment for you. I just want to take a couple minutes and show you some of the things that I bring me … with me when I go camping.

I take a lot of phone calls from customers that have small problems while they’re camping that do arise. and when I direct them on the best way to take care of that problem, they need a couple tools that, they may not have with them. So, if you put together a basic tool [00:00:30] kit, when you go camping, leave it right in the camper, no problem whatsoever. We can talk you through most anything.

So, some of the things that I bring with me is, first of all, I always bring some sort of, like, source. Either something I can put on my head, or … This little guy right here in kinda neat. We sell him in the store. It’s got a magnet on the back, so we can stick it to a piece of metal in the camper where I’m working there. It’s got a hook on it and it gives me some light underneath the cabinet or in the front storage compartment or by the battery, cause nothing ever goes wrong in the daylight. It always happens at night, especially [00:01:00] if you go camping with me.

So, a couple lights, which are nice to have, or even if you’ve got just a regular flashlight that you store, and keep charge in the camper. Another thing I bring is I’ve got a bag of fuses. So, every fuse … every camper has multiple different size fuses in them. So, I kind of got a bag of … Just, a variety of everything that I run into in a camper and a good thing to have with me. Roll of electrical tape. Never know (laughs) and you can fix most anything with electrical tape, if needed.

I also bring some crimp-connectors, which you can buy [00:01:30] in a kit like at, your local, home goods store or something like that. And these are just if I have to re-attach a wire, or we have to shorten something up, or we have a mishap or something pulled loose. Just, to be able to make a crimp connection is nice. That will also work in conjunction with a pair of crimping pliers. And, again, sometimes the kits you purchase will come with an inexpensive pair of pliers that you can use, to get by for the weekend.

Now, most campers are built with, screws, obviously. And the type of screws they [00:02:00] use are a square-tip, or a screw had has got a square tip, so you need a special square tip, to go to those screws. And that’s this guy right here, if Josh can pan in on it, and you’ll see I got a Phillips right next to it.

most people have a Phillips, because that’s what we have at home. Campers are a little odd, and they require that square tip. So, this tip that I purchased from, again one of the local box stores. It’s a Milwaukee kit. I think it cost like $20. It’s got everything I need in it. It’s got, screw acceptor for my screw gun. You will need a screw gun as well. and [00:02:30] it’s got the square tips, it’s got fill-ups, it’s got a couple torques here, and it’s got spares of all, because if you lose them like I do, nice to have a spare. But anyway, for the cost of this kit, I think it’s just a great kit to (laughs) … I have one at home, and on my carry-around tool box that I do bring with me when I go camping.

Sheet-rock knife, or a box cutter. This one actually folds up like a jackknife. I actually carry this one with me all the time, right in the pocket of my pants, but, good to have. you never know when you’re gonna need that. Wire-strippers, and cutters. Again, if we [00:03:00] have an electrical problem … A lot of times, we can talk you through it, or you can find it very easily yourself, but having a good pair of strippers on board, it makes that job a lot easier for us stripping that wire back.

I like to bring a couple pair of channellocks if I’ve got a plumbing issue, and usually I can get by with a bind if I got to tighten something up with a channellocks. And again, this can be purchased at your local box store. Christmas is a great time to pick this stuff up because they’ve usually got kits on sale, relatively low price. And you don’t need the best ones. A lot of these tools are very expensive tools. This is how I make my living. You don’t need the best tools for your-your [00:03:30] basic kit that you keep in your camper.

I usually will carry a Phillips and a regular screwdriver. These are like mid-size so they’re pretty much good for almost every application, unless it’s something specific. we’ve already talked about the crimpers. I do carry a pair of side cutters with me. Sometimes these are just a little easier to make a cut close to something or pull a staple out that may be in our carpet or what have you. But, again, pair of side cutters.

Needle nose. You can always get yourself out of a bind with a pair of needle nose. Especially, when you drop something in that spot [00:04:00] that my little fat fingers can’t get into. Needle nose, it makes it very easy for that. there is some neat, small kits out there. Again, the big box store, Sears, all of them have kits that have couple different size open end box wrenches. This is one of the ones I carry in the small kit that I have that’s all over my toolbox cause I left it open. i also bring a couple of adjustable wrenches with me as well. Reason for the adjustable wrenches is, they’re adjustable. We can use them for almost any size, anything to get you out of a bind.

Again, these aren’t tools to, you know, fix the [00:04:30] problem per se, but enough to get us by for the weekend before you can get it in for service and get it ap- repaired appropriately. an electrical tested. This particular one right here is for 120 volt power. Pretty much, I’m just going to plug it into the outlet and it’ll tell me if my power is good, tell me if it’s wired properly, and tell me if power is present. So that’s a good one. I-I-I take phone calls a lot where, “My re- My TV’s not working.” “Well, do you have power at the outlet?” “I don’t know, Randy.” (laughs) well, I’m gonna- Having you plug something else in, but if you’ve got a quick electrical tester to plug it in, then [00:05:00] you can tell me.

This guy right here is for checking 12 volt power. It’s called a stab tester, 12 volt tester. We’d hook this into ground or anything pretty much metal on the camper and then we can test our fuses with this guy here. I’m gonna have Josh pan in on one of these fuses here. This is a great way to test our fuses so if you can pan right in on that and see the two metal tabs on either side of the 40 there, Josh. Each one of those is a test point so I can test if I’ve got power coming in in the fuse and I can test if I’ve got power going out of the fuse.

[00:05:30] So when you’re looking at a whole fuse panel and you’re trying to determine which one is the one for your furnace or your LP detector, something like that, which is labeled incorrectly, by testing both sides, as well as the fuses, we can quickly determine whether one is blown or not. And again, we would do that in conjunction with this tester here. This will also test if we’ve got power at breakers and things like that on the 12 volt side of things so when you call me up and tell me that your slide outs not going out, I’m going to ask you if you’ve got 12 volt power to the breaker going through the breaker to the slide out. This is a great way to test that.

This is another tester that I carry with me. Kind of [00:06:00] on the same lines of this one here, but I can actually put this next to any wire and it’ll tell if it’s 120 volt wire and it’ll tell me if I have voltage present rather than putting it into an outlet. It’s called a [wiggie 00:06:09] tester.

Multimeter. This is what I love for customers to have cause we can do all sorts of testing with this guy here. Not everyone’s gonna put this, in their tool box that they keep in their camper because these can be a little bit more pricey, but if you’ve got like an inexpensive version of this and one of these, which aren’t too bad, we can usually get by anything.

So anyway, there’s just some of the tools that I bring with [00:06:30] me camping and, again, enough to get you out of trouble in a pinch. maybe not make the final repair, but definitely continue on with your camping weekend if you are having a small problem. So, just wanted to share that with you guys and if you’re looking for presents for Father’s day, birthdays, or even Christmas, great time to put this little tool kit together and can be done for relatively, inexpensive on the Father Day, on the Christmas side of things, cause that’s when we see a lot of tools on sale at our local box store. So, thanks for watching Quick Tips with Randy today. look forward to seeing you on the road and happy camping.

The video of this presentation by Pete’s RV Center is available at: https://youtu.be/ayHDTJQinGw?list=PL90E8009ADFC48C0F

 

How to Achieve Extended Hot Showers When RVing

How to Achieve Extended Hot Showers When RVing
Thursday, September 8th, 2016 18:16:23

Pete’s RV Vermont Service Writer and Resident RV Expert Randy Murray provides a step-by-step overview on how to achieve extended hot showers in an RV.

Video Transcript for “How to Extend Hot Water Showers in Your Camper”

Randy: (singing) Hey folks. Randy with Pete’s RV TV here today. Another quick fix segment for you. When you’re camping, do you go to take a shower, do you get about three minutes of good, hot water? And then it starts to go lukewarm on you? And of course your hair is full of soap, and you haven’t rinsed off yet? Happens to me too, but I’ve got a trick. So when we’re camping, different camp grounds have different water supplies. Some of them [00:00:30] will have very deep wells. Some of them will have shallow wells. Usually on a deep well, the water coming out of the ground is very cold. This can happen at the spring of the year as well, when the water feeding that well is very cold. So what my trick is for that is I will, when I’m having that problem, I’ll fill my fresh water holding tank. And when I take a shower, I’m actually going to turn the city water off, and I’m going to turn on my water pump and feed the water from the fresh water holding tank.

The reason I do this is the water coming in from a very deep well is mixing with the hot water in your tank, [00:01:00] as long as you don’t have a tank-less hot water heater. So it’s mixing with that warm water in the tank and it’s bringing the temperature down very quickly. And we’re also taking water out of the top, so as that cold water is mixing with the hot, it’s going to bring the temperature down. Where if we’re taking it now out of our fresh water holding tank and mixing it with that same hot water in that water heater, it’s going to be ambient air temperature coming out of that fresh water holding tank entering the hot water heater. Rather than the real cold water from the city coming in and cooling down our water a lot faster.

So if you’re looking for [00:01:30] a little bit longer shower to get that hair, or that soap out of your hair, fill the fresh water holding tank when you arrive. And use the fresh water holding tank rather than the city while you’re taking your showers. Then you can go back over to city after you’ve done your shower. But that will give you another minute or two of warmer water to get rinsed off. So just another quick tip from Randy at Pete’s RV. Thanks for watching our quick tips segment, and I look forward to seeing you on the road. Happy camping.

The video of this presentation by Pete’s RV Center is available at: https://youtu.be/rljtuXYgpvk?list=PL90E8009ADFC48C0F

How to Program Your RV TV

How to Program Your RV TV
Friday, July 1st, 2016 15:23:13

 

Pete’s RV Vermont Service Writer and Resident RV Expert Randy Murray provides a step-by-step overview on how to program your RV TV.

As Randy explains, as you travel you will begin to pick up different TV stations depending on the region you are in. You will continually need to reprogram your TV as you arrive in a new television marketplace. Randy provides you with a step by step guide on how to set up your TV and boost your reception so you won’t have to miss your favorite shows while on the road!

The steps to programming your TV as you travel explained by Randy include:

  1. If running on open air antenna find your camper’s TV booster and turn on your antennas extra power setting (not necessary to do when utilizing cable)
  2. Open the auto channel search menu on your TV (refer to your owners manual if unsure how to do so)
  3. Select “auto channel memory” on your TV
  4. Start your TV’s automatic search mode and let it run until complete

Pete’s RV Center is an extraordinary recreational vehicle dealer with locations in South Burlington, VT, Schererville, IN and South Windsor, CT. An RV sales and service provider since 1952, Pete’s RV Center carries an extensive inventory of Keystone, Crossroads, Coachman, Heartland, Evergreen and Forest River RV-branded campers.

To learn more from Randy as well as stay up to date on all things Pete’s RV be sure to visit and subscribe to our YouTube Channel.

How to Properly Use The Air Conditioner in Your Camper

How to Properly Use The Air Conditioner in Your Camper
Wednesday, July 3oth 2014 20:03:48

Learn All About Using Your Campers Air Conditioning on the Pete’s RV YouTube channel.

Randy gives a quick important lesson teaching us that air conditioners work by removing warm air and moisture from around the room, which then gets sucked outside leaving the room cooler.

In order to make sure your AC is running properly, Randy shows us how to remove and check the air filter to make sure there isn’t a buildup of dirt and dust hindering performance. Making sure the fan is on will increase efficiently with the AC system, as well as making sure that all doors, windows, and shades are closed to prevent heat from working its way back inside the camper.

Randy advises turning on the AC when temperatures are cooler (typically early morning) for optimal air flow and a cooler camper throughout the day. By using the quick cool option to restrict airflow from the ducts, the AC can effectively cool the room faster and when it reaches a temperature to your liking, airflow can be redirected back through the vents for everyone to enjoy.

To learn more from Randy and stay up to date on all things Pete’s RV be sure to visit and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Video Transcript | How to Properly Use The Air Conditioner in Your Camper

Randy: Hey guys, Randy with Pete’s RV TV today, another quick-tip segment for you. Today I’m going to talk about air conditioners and the proper way to use them. I’ve been taking a lot of calls around the country and we’re in the middle of our warm season in Vermont, the little warm season that we get up here in the northeast. But people are having trouble with their air conditioners freezing up. People are saying they’re not cooling properly for them. And sometimes that’s the case, but usually it’s operator error about 99 percent of the time.

When I went to RVIA school back a million years ago when I first started in the industry and got certified to do this kind of stuff, one of the first things they taught me about air conditioners is they don’t make cool. They remove heat and they remove moisture, as well. cool just happens to be a byproduct.

So, when we allow our coach to heat up inside, we go to the pool all day, we’re out shopping or doing, visiting the sights around the area and we’ve got the air conditioner off, we go back to our camper at 5 o’clock at night. It’s 100 degrees inside the camper. We turn that air conditioner on. That air conditioner actually has to pull the heat out of the carpet, out of the bedding, out of the couches, out of everything inside before we start to feel cool.

So what I want you to do is I want you to do is turn that air conditioner on in the morning. it’s a little bit cooler at night, so when it’s a little bit cooler at night, of course, the coach stays a little bit cooler. So when you get up in the morning set that thermostat at about 65 degrees, 67 degrees. Let’s maintain that cool from the night before. Now, if we never let our coach heat up, the air conditioner is going to have to work a lot less hard to maintain that cool and we’re actually saving energy.

The other thing that we want to do with our air conditioner, too, is while we maintain it while we’re using it is we want to make sure that the filters are clean. So we can remove that very easily on this guy here and we just want to take this guy out and make sure it’s vacuumed. If it starts to turn brown that usually means there’s a lot of dust.

Another thing that makes an air conditioner work very effectively for us, or makes them work better, is more air flow. So with a clean filter we can get more air through this air conditioner, especially on those [00:02:00] hot, humid days.

the other thing we’ll, we’ll want to do is we want to set our fan on high. I usually use the auto setting on mine, if you let the air conditioner run all day. Again, the more air that we’re moving, the more heat we can take out of the coach and expend outside and put the cold air back inside the coach. So fan definitely on high.

We also want to make sure our doors and windows and vents are closed. I went to a camper on a campground the other day. A lady says, “My air conditioner is not cooling very well. Can you take a look at it?” I went inside. I put my hand up to the air conditioner, it was cooling just fine. What she had was both of her doors were open. She had some vents open, a couple windows open. So what that air conditioner was doing was pulling the heat from the outside and just getting rid of that and returning it so it could never bring the temperature of the coach down because it was just kind of maintaining.

What these guys will do is they’ll actually do about a 20-degree air differential, air temperature differential. So, it sucks in here, blows out here or out through our vents, and it’s going to be about a 20-degree differential. Now, if it’s just pulling air from a door, it’s never going to really bring the temperature of the coach down, so make sure all windows and doors and vents are closed. and again, that high air flow moving through the air conditioner is going to get that heat escape faster and help us with freeze up a little bit, too. The moisture will actually pass over the evaporator coil a lot quicker and not have a tendency to grab on there.

Another thing, we just got to our campgrounds, its 5 o’clock at night, we’ve been traveling all day, inside the camper it’s very hot because it’s a hot day out, so you got to turn your air conditioner on to cool this guy down. Instead of forcing it through the vents, if you’ve got a ducted air conditioner, open up the quick-cool option. This way we’re going to get a lot of airflow and we’re going to cool the coach down a little bit quicker.

Once we bring the temperature down, we can go ahead and close this and we can go through the ducts. The ducts are going to restrict the airflow a little bit, but once we bring the coach down the air conditioner is running efficiently, then we can go ahead and put it through the vents in the ceiling.

So if you try out my quick tips here, run it on high, set it in the morning, let it run all day to keep that cool inside so we don’t have to remove all that heat from building up in the sun all day. Also, if you can close your shades and things [00:04:00] like that, keep the UVs down, that’s going to help out a lot as well.

But all these should help you make your air conditioner work a lot more effectively for you. Save a phone call to me and just have a better camping experience, keep you guys cool. Now, out there having fun, you get hot, you want to come into a cool area, at least I do, and it makes it a lot more fun when you’re drinking a soda or whatever while you’re watching TV, as well.

So thanks again for watching Pete’s RV with Randy today. keep an eye out for our quick tips. Join us on our Facebook page. Sign up [ 00:04:26] on Youtube and happy camping (laughs). Have a great one.

 

How to Prevent Damage to Your Camper’s Water Heater

How to Prevent Damage to Your Camper’s Water Heater
Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014 18:00:03

PetesRV.com Resident RV Expert Randy Murray brings attention to a common mistake made by turning on the hot water heater and how to prevent any damage from occurring.

When it comes to using the hot water heater in your camper, it’s crucial to make sure that there is actually water in the tank. Randy stresses that no water in the tank results in a burned out electric element–rendering the hot water heater useless.

Randy demonstrates an insanely simple way to prevent the element from getting damaged. Every hot water heater is equipped with a pressure relief valve. It functions to protect the water heater from building up to much pressure. If it does, water is released from the valve. A quick press on the spring-loaded valve handle will tell you immediately whether or not there is water in the tank. If there is, you are good to fire up the water heater. If not, check hookups and bypass valves to ensure water flowing to the tank.

Learn more tips and service advice from Randy as well as much more on the Pete’s RV YouTube Channel.

The Importance of RV Slide Toppers

Importance of RV Slide Toppers | RV Quick Tips
Tuesday, March 25th, 2014 22:31:37

 

Learn All About Slide Toppers on the Pete’s RV YouTube Channel

Resident RV Expert Randy Murray delivers on a crucial RV question via the Pete’s RV YouTube Channel, “What is the importance of slide toppers (aka slideout awnings)?”

When it comes to protecting the vitality and value of your RV, slideout seals found around the slide are the lifeline to the health and well-being of your camper. As Randy explains, if you compromise or damage those seals then you risk water potentially penetrating into the camper provoking damage over time.

Randy presents a prime example of just how well slide toppers can defend your camper after a weekend at the campground. Sprinkling a box full of debris on the slides to simulate a weekend of buildup, you can clearly see that everything rolls off as the slides are brought in.

A highly-affordable investment, slide toppers can save RV owners thousands of dollars in repairs! For just a few extra dollars a month, their installation can be built right into your new RV payment plan.

Determining a Camper’s Insulation R-Value

Determining a Camper’s Insulation R-Value
Tuesday, December 3rd 2013 21:10:37

RV Lifestyle Consultant Randy Murray unfolds the mystery of the R-Value in relation to how well a camper is insulated on the Pete’s RV YouTube Channel.

When shopping for a new camper, the salesperson will usually sling around R-Values like they’re the next best thing since the black tank flush. The only problem is that these values hold little meaning to you other than the bigger the number the better the insulation.

R-Value is a measurement of thermal resistance. There is a scale and calculations surrounding R-Value, but as Randy points out, you can take a much less technical approach to determine how well an RV is insulated:

1. Look for visible proof of sound insulation construction practices such as a sealed underbelly, finished storage compartments, and the use thermal foil beneath the carpet in slideouts.

2. Request a breakaway view of the RV you are shopping. This allows you to see where and what type of insulating materials are used throughout the coach. Quite a few manufacturers provide breakaway views in their brochures and promotional materials. A salesperson that is on the ball can get you this information plus be at your service to point out all of the insulation features found in any camper that is on your buying radar.

3. Hints of a good R-Value is a camper with a published temperature rating. Nowadays, most campers come with a thermal package (i.e. “Arctic Package”). Manufacturers relate these packages with a degree rating (some are even third-party certified). Note here that while manufacturers push how well these coaches perform in cold weather, it is also a good indicator that they are equally effective keeping interiors cool in hot weather.

Per Randy’s mention on how helpful it is to see a breakaway view of an RV to determine who well it is insulated, Pete’s RV makes current year brochures available on our website for all of the brands we carry as well as owner’s manuals.

Basic parts and accessories to help improve your RV’s insulating performance in hot and cold weather are available in-store and online at Pete’s RV. You’ll find items such as joint sealants, hot water heater blankets, and window shades.

Video Transcript | How  Do I Determine a Camper’s Insulation R-Value?

 

Randy: Hey guys Randy with Petes RV TV here today, another quick tip segment for you. Today Im going to talk about R-values and what they do for your camper and pretty much what they are. So an R-value is a way we measure our insulation value in the unit. You know R-value is a measurement of thermal resistance so how quickly heat passes through whatever we are trying to block it with pretty much. So in the RV world our values are often exploded, so they, they say that they are a lot better than they actually are.

 

So a really great thing to do if you want to educate yourself best on the product that you are purchasing is ask to see a breakdown of the unit. See where the insulation is in the unit. Some of our manufactures will supply us with things like this. This is actually a floor for a big horn this is a laminated floor, and this is a very well insulated floor. This is the roof of the same big horn unit; its a laminated roof.

 

Its going to take a while for heat to pass through that so this has got a pretty good R-value in it. Also in the RV world we are passing were adding things like this here foil wrap here to a floor, under a floor, which also creates some thermal protection for us as well. And that will add and stack a little bit of an R-value.

 

When we get in to our less expensive units our aluminum sided campers and things like that, they are going to have a little less R-value in it than we are going to see on say like a fiberglass sided camper just because of the insulation they are using, the thickness of the walls. A little bit less expensive unit were apt to see a little less insulation. Insulation is a little bit expensive. So another great way that you can find out how well a unit is insulated is some manufactures will put a degree rating on the unit.

You know, everybody will say oh my walls are a R11 and my floors are R27, what have you. What is that camper good down to? What has it been tested at? Not everybody does this but some of the big manufactures will do this when you look at like some of the Cougars. Theyre tested down to 20 degrees and some of these guys are even going a little bit further than [02:00] that when we get up into the Montanas and the big horns.

 

Were seeing a zero degree rated unit with the furnace on, so grab a brochure or go to a website or go to our website, petesrv.com. Weve got all our product on there with brochures and pdfs so you can see the breakdowns. On this Cougar here, if Josh will pan in on it, we can see that they have showed us how they have put the insulation in the roof and into the floor systems and things like that.

 

That way we can see what kind of insulation we are getting in the rig, if its going to work in our particular application. People are using these a lot further in the fall now, A lot earlier in the spring. Camp grounds are opening up a little bit more so here is another great example. Bullet from Keystones has actually done a great breakdown and shows us how they insulate their walls and their floors systems. So educate yourself on what you are getting and if its an important thing for you make sure that you know what you are talking about and your sales guy knows what you are talking about.

 

If you have any questions you can always give us a call. Wed be happy to educate you on it and talk about those degree ratings and how you are going to be using the unit, and if its not the perfect insulated unit for you, how you can achieve to use it in the circumstance that you want to use it and if youre going to be trying to use it in a little colder weather as well.

 

Another thing that people dont think about with R-values too is warm weather. When we have an air conditioner on inside and its really hot outside the R-values are going to help keep us cool as well. So if youre in a climate that has a little bit warmer and your down in the southwest or something like that, where we see lot longer heat days for more portion of the summer the R-values are going to be very important for you as well, too.

 

So make sure you know about R-values, make sure you know what you are getting, if you have any questions at all feel free to contact us. Check out the information. We try to provide as much as we can for you on our web site, also on our Facebook page as well.

So there it is in a nut shell, R-values. Thanks for watching Petes RV with Randy today.