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

 

2016 Elkhart Manufacturers’ Open House Dubbed “Best Ever”

img_9194Making the trip to Elkhart Indiana from South Burlington, Vermont, Pete’s RV center arrived to the ninth annual Manufacturers’ Open House event.  Being dubbed, “The best open house event in history,” manufacturers like Thor and Forest River previewed what’s new and exciting for 2017. The following photo album provides a nice mix of everything displayed this year. Enjoy!

CLICK HERE TO VIEW PHOTO ALBUM

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Fifth Wheel vs Motorhome – Reasons to Consider a 5th Wheel

Fifth Wheel vs Motorhome – Reasons to Consider a 5th Wheel
Friday, May, 1st 2015 22:07:29

RV Lifestyle Consultant Joe Vartuli discusses before rushing into the decision of purchasing a motorhome and why you should consider: ton the five key points to take into consideration:

1. Interior Space/Ceiling Height.

Typically, fifth wheels provide more living space, especially if equipped with multiple slideouts. Slideout widths are generally smaller in motorhomes to allow for people to move about the cabin, which produces less living space. Also factor in large interior ceiling heights in fifth wheels, and you’ll feel more at home.

2. Furniture/Appliances.

Large size residential amenities provide that home away from home feeling, with optional items such as central vac, solid surface counter tops, and also larger AC units, heating systems, and appliances depending on the model of the fifth wheel.

3. Storage.

The combination of exterior and interior storage provides extra space to bring along any and all items. Because there is no engine or cabin, fifth wheels generally have large bulkhead storage for bigger sized items.

4. Towing vs Driving.

As Joe mentions, 80% of people end up towing another vehicle behind their motorhome, whereas with a fifth wheel you always have a dependable tow vehicle with you, allowing you to easily unhook and travel wherever you would like. Either way, you will be towing something.

5. Cost/Maintenance.

Insurance plays a key role in cost for owning a motorhome because there are more moving parts. A fifth wheel can be up to 30% cheaper to insure than a motorhome. Plus, you have to factor in all general maintenance items like the chassis, tires, wheel bearings, brakes, compressed air systems, hydraulic systems, oil changes, etc. Overall, maintenance costs will run higher for a motorhome vs a fifth wheel simply because of the mechanics and build.

As you can see there are many factors to determine whether or not a motorhome or fifth wheel is more suitable for you and your family. As Joe explains, fifth wheels will provide you with more livability, which is better for longer stays, and motorhomes may be better suited for quicker stop and go trips. We hope we shed some insight on the differences to help make your decision making more educated.

Pete’s RV Center is an extraordinary recreational vehicle dealer with locations in South Burlington, VT, and Schererville, IN. 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. We can be reached at 1-888-902-9352.

Make sure to subscribe to the Pete’s RV YouTube channel for more informative videos and information on news and events.

Video Transcript | Fifth Wheel vs Motorhome – Reasons to Consider a 5th Wheel

Hi, I’m Joe Vartuli, RV Lifestyle Consultant, here at Pete’s RV Center in South Burlington, Vermont. I’m going to do a little bit of a buyer’s tip here. We’re actually doing a Fifth-Wheel versus a motorhome. I want to give you reasons why you should consider a Fifth Wheel if you were thinking you were in the market for a motorhome and depending on how you use it, how the Fifth Wheel can benefit you, alright?

some of the few things that we’re going to go over in kind of this quick video are interior space ceiling height. If you’ll notice, I’m in a triple slide right now. This has a tremendous amount of floor space in it. It has lots of storage everywhere. It’s all very usable. also, the ceiling heights are incredible in the Fifth-Wheels. The, no matter how tall you are, you’re not going to hit the ceiling. It’s, it gives you the feeling of space and openness, which a lot of people like.

a couple of the other things is the furniture. some of our units have very, very plush furniture in ’em. The Fifth Wheels, this unit here, in particular, has heated massage, theater seating, that actually has a power reclining in it. So it’s, it’s all right at your fingertips, LED lighting, and solid-surface counter tops. frameless windows on a lot of our fifth wheels, fireplaces, central vacuum systems if they don’t come with a, with a Dyson already.

also, Josh just showed you the full residential style of refrigerator, which is coming in more and more of the high-midline and upper-end Fifth Wheels. Big appliances. This one has a 30-inch, over-the-counter Microwave that you can see, and we are in a Bighorn 3875 so I will mention that. this is a, a front bathroom model, has a lot of great features.

But back to what we were talking about, otherwise I’ll keep rambling. storage. You notice the cabinetry everywhere inside of here. So inside and out, Fifth Wheels give you a tremendous amount of storage. On the outside, you have pass-through [store 00:01:59] [00:02:00], which we can’t show you here, but tremendous pass, pass-through compartments. Drills, chairs, blocks, whatever you need to put in there, even a small refrigerator will fit in some of the the outside storage compartments on these units. So you can bring everything with you. All right?

Towing and driving. One thing with a Fifth-Wheel is you’re only going to have one motorized vehicle. 80% of motorhome b-, motorhome buyers will end up towing a car, maybe a trailer with a motorcycle in it, but they end up towing something.

This, you have a nice tow vehicle with you all the time, so you always have a good dependable vehicle. once you’re unhitched at the campground you go to, state park, wherever you are, you have a reliable unit that you can go anywhere with.

next thing is cost and maintenance. Insurance cost on this is, is a fraction of what a motorhome would be. So it’s, it’s a third of what an average, maybe even a gas-class A would be. maintenance is very simple because it’s not another motorized vehicle.

You have your roof system to take care of, you keep it clean, you have your brakes and your, your axles. You keep your bearings lubed. And that’s not a whole lot more that you need to do with a, with a camper. A few other small items, but with another motorized vehicle, you have the class, you have the oil changes, the transmission fluids. You have a whole other motor vehicle that you have to take care of. And the ins-, like I said, again the insurance is a big part of it. There is a lot more.

Also going back a little bit to the towing, if you have the right-sized pickup, mated to the Fifth Wheel that you want, you back in, you drop your tailgate, you stop into your hitch, you put up your power legs and away you go. It’s very, very simple.

a lot of people ask me when they come in during the week, you know, I, really want a motorhome because it’s, it’s because I want to move a lot. We want to be going every one or two days here and there. It w-, the motorhomes will work terrific for [00:04:00] that.

That being said, if you want to do extended stays at any point, the Fifth Wheel gives you much more livability in it. it will give you more space, more storage. Some of them have two bathrooms. bigger furnace systems, bigger air-conditioning systems until you get into your really high-end level diesel pusher motorhomes.

In a lot of ways, we’re trying to tell you the Fifth Wheel will give you a great option if you’re willing to look at it. I hope you enjoyed this buying tip from Pete’s RV. My name is Joe.

How to Clean Your RVs Holding Tanks Sensors

How to Clean Your RVs Holding Tanks Sensors
Wednesday, November, 26th 2014 15:26:23

Resident RV Expert Randy Murray discusses a multitude of ways to clean your gray/black water holding tank sensors, clearing all inaccurate monitor panel readings from your camper on the†Pete’s RV YouTube Channel.

Sometimes you may get a full tank reading on the monitor panel inside your camper even after youve dumped your gray and black tanks. Randy notes that this is generally caused by a buildup of waste materials or anything that might have made its way down the toilet. These items can block the sensors preventing the correct readout.

Randy provides a few preemptive approaches to make sure you won’t have to deal with that faulty reading. The first is making sure before you flush that you add extra water so the toilet paper (making sure you use RV toilet paper) won’t clump up or dry out to the inside of the tank walls, the next is making sure the tanks are as full as possible (making sure not to overfill) before they are dumped. Randy suggests the use of a tank flush chock to assist in filling your holding tank before it’s dumped.

The good news is that there are other tools for when all else fails. The first one Randy recommends is what’s called an RV swivel stick, which he explains attaches to a hose and sprays around water at a high velocity to break down any tank buildup. †Depending on whether you own a travel trailer or fifth wheel, a longer flexible version is available for the harder to reach holding tanks. Lastly, filling up a 5-gallon bucket with hot water and pouring it down the toilet should help alleviate the issue by steaming away the blockage from the sensors.

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.

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.