youtubeI was recently asked by someone at Washington State Parks to share some tips for new RVers as part of an article they were writing. This person normally tent camps so the questions/discussions were what you would expect from someone just entering the RV lifestyle. I shared some of the classic tips like:

• Camp the first night in your driveway

• Practice driving the RV on various roads before heading out on your first campout

• Practice backing up the RV in a vacant parking lot and for you and your spouse to agree on language and hand signals to aid the driver into a space.

• Making sure you have a spare tire, correct lug wrench and a way to jack up the RV in the event of a flat tire.

• Bring along a small assortment of tools for minor repairs and adjustments

• What to pack in the RV in the way of food, dishes, clothing, cookware and linen

• Checking for low hanging branches when arriving at the campsite

• Keep the first campout close to home and arrive at camp during daylight hours for a less stressful set up.

• Pack an assortment of blocks and chocks for leveling the RV and to keep it from rolling away.

The discussion then moved to the huge demand for campsites due to more people discovering the safety of traveling by RV during the pandemic. It was then that the BEST TIP I could offer newbie RVers came to mind!   LEARN TO BE A DRY CAMPER*!

Learn to dry camp and enjoy sites like this

While many of you that have just purchased your first RV are anxious to try out all the gadgets and gizmos like the electric fireplace, central vacuum system, refrigerator in the outside kitchen and illuminate those cool patio lights you bought at WalMart. The reality of the situation is most of the full hook up** campsites in popular campgrounds, during popular times, were reserved by others months ago before you even thought about buying an RV. Full hookup sites are in high demand due to convenience and the fact that the majority of RVers believe they must have a full hookup site to enjoy the RV lifestyle. Initially you may believe this too, but don’t let it stop you from enjoying your new RV as most any rig can support a night or two of comfortable camping without hookups.

Author and friends enjoying dry camping

Try it you’ll like it! Brittany Highland blogging at RVwanderlust writes:

Our first full week of dry camping was empowering. We had some idea of what we could do, but we had never done it. Now we have, and we will absolutely do it again! I’m most excited about the prospect of accessing beautiful and remote places we would never see if we insisted on full hookups.

Many national parks do not offer full hookups

With a little dry camping practice, effort and a few added items you too will quickly find that you can stretch a night or two of dry camping into three or four nights. The silver lining in all of this - since so many RVers insist on a hookup site, many non-hookup sites remain vacant each night. Learning to dry camp allows you and your family the advantage of snagging a campsite in a popular campground without reserving months in advance.

No worries if you know how to dry camp

Click here to learn much more about becoming a proficient dry camper.

As a newbie, I encourage you to learn early on how to RV without hookups. Doing so will expand the options of places you can camp by tenfold or more. And yes, you will be able to enjoy your electric fireplace, you will just need to be patient, plan and wait for an opening for a hookup site!

*Dry camping is camping in a campsite that does not offer electricity, water or sewer.

** Full hookup (aka utility) site features electricity, water and sewer


Dave Helgeson
Author: Dave HelgesonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Dave Helgeson is the MHRV Show Director. He and his wife love to travel across the west in their RV. Dave writes about all things RVing but loves to share destinations and boondocking advice.

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