Owning an RV for Dummies – 16+ Tips for Newbie Camper Owners

Getting started on an RV lifestyle can be a little overwhelming at first, especially if you are completely unfamiliar with it. There are so many questions you need to ask when you’re not sure what will work for you. Let this quick and easy Newbie RV Checklist – Owning an RV for Dummies guide set you on track…

If you are earning a living and not tied down to a place, owning an RV may just be the adventure you are looking for. It is important to have savings before you get started because, like it or not, it can cost as much as owning a house and sometimes, even more.

Owning an RV for Dummies

One of the many perks of buying an RV is that you can make adjustments to it according to your own needs. You can plan a trip anytime and go anywhere you want. To find out how much it can cost to do this fulltime, go here.

There are so many mistakes that newbies can simply avoid by taking a few precautionary measures and planning. Before taking the plunge and investing in an RV, you should know a handful of tips that will prepare you for what’s to come.

Top Tips for Owning an RV for Dummies

Finding the Right RV

Finding the right RV for you can be a difficult task. You need to do your research to make sure you’re not overspending. There are a couple of things you need to keep in mind before making a purchase.

It is important to remember that your needs can differ from other RV owners. What works for them might not work for you.


Storage has to be one of the most important factors that should influence your decision to buy the perfect RV. Knowing the most number of people that can stay inside at a given time is necessary. Everyone has their own set of supplies and there should be enough room for everyone.

Keep a special lookout for RVs that have hidden compartments because they can be really helpful if you need to store valuable items.


You need to make sure the RV your getting your hands on is also safe. To make sure that there aren’t any faulty pipes, tires, breaks, etc, you need to do a thorough check every time you begin your journey and on every stop.

The weather can be unpredictable so you need to check if your vehicle is properly insulated. Make sure there aren’t any breaks so that any leakages can be avoided during rough weather.

Being proactive when it comes to buying will only benefit you in the long run.


You must purchase a budget-friendly RV. Owning it is a lifelong thing so you need to make sure you’re able to afford additional costs if the need arises.

Some models may seem better than others but it ultimately comes down to affordability. Find the right RV that is not only pocket-friendly but also accommodating to your needs.


Just because you have decided to spend most of your time in an RV doesn’t mean you have to compromise on comfort. You can make it feel cozy by taking the right decision when you’re purchasing.

If you like to work in a spacious kitchen, you can always look for one that has a lot more room than others. Similarly, you can always check if you’ll be able to customize it according to your preferences.


When you’re in the middle of nowhere, it is deeply comforting to know that you have the necessary supplies on hand in case things go south.

The essential items to have on an RV can range from your everyday maintenance and repair tools to your bathroom and kitchen supplies.

Starting with maintenance and repair, here’s a list of things you absolutely can’t miss:

  • Tire covers
  • Surge Protector
  • Extension cords
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Motor oil
  • Heaters
  • Leveling blocks
  • Four-way wrench
  • Water supply hose
  • Battery jumper cables

Some other day-to-day supplies you’ll need are:

  • Water bottles
  • Utensils
  • Disposable gloves
  • Paper towels
  • Matches/lighter
  • Water filter
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Cooler
  • Airtight food containers
  • Garbage bags
  • Soap
  • Cooking oil
  • Raincoats and other rain gear
  • Towels
  • Blankets
  • Snacks
  • Portable chairs

These are just some of the things you need; the list can go longer depending on the type of your vehicle and your requirements. You can find the best RV gear here.

Setting up Your RV

If you are fairly new to RV-ing, setting up camp can seem scary. There are some things you need to bear in mind before you back up your RV into the campsite.

  • As a first timer, you can always check if the campground will offer to escort you as that will make things a lot simpler.
  • Make sure your campsite is big enough for your rig, your awning or your lounging space (if you are staying for more than a day), and know where all the connections are. This is crucial because you need to park in such a way that everything is easily accessible to you.
  • After hooking up your electricity to the electrical adapter or the circuit breaker (depends on the campground), check if the electricity is working. Do the same with your water regulator and the water supply.
  • Connect your sewer hose to the drain outlet and make sure it is sealed correctly.
  • If you notice that the ground is not flat, you can always use leveling blocks to fix that. This will allow you to cook and sleep a lot more comfortably.
  • And last, but not least, switch on the main LPG.

After setting up camp, you can get your lawn chairs out and finally settle down. You deserve it after a long day of travelling and so does your RV.

A Little Planning Never Hurts

Forgetting to plan your trip may be one of the worst things you could do as a beginner. You are not familiar with this lifestyle at all and chances are you won’t be fully prepared for what’s to come.

You need to sit down before a trip and make a detailed plan that you can stick to throughout the trip. This will not only help you save time and money, but it will also provide a better experience overall.

  • The first thing you need to do is decide what is more important to you, getting to your destination faster or enjoying the view. This will allow you to figure out what routes you need to take and what places to avoid.
  • Another great thing to do would be to set up a timeline that details how many hours you’ll spend driving each day, how long will you stay at campsites etc. This will come in handy once you’re in the middle of your journey and won’t have to waste crucial time deciding every next move.
  • Planning a budget is necessary. You must go over how much fuel you’ll need and other additional expenses to make sure you’re not helpless when the time comes. Having a budget makes the whole process a lot more efficient.
  • Know what your RV needs ahead of time. You need to do a thorough check up before going so that accidents can be avoided.
  • Make reservations at your campgrounds of choice! Planning allows you to weigh the options and pick whatever is best for you. This way, not only will you have one of the best campsites, you will also save time when you’re setting up camp.

Once you have your plan ready, everything else will follow smoothly, and you will truly get to enjoy every moment of your trip.

Common Mistakes You Make as a Beginner

There are some common mistakes that newbies tend to make when they start out. A rundown of those will help you avoid the same mistakes and make sure you’re on top of your RV game.

Not Bringing Enough Supplies

This is something that can’t be stressed enough. The only way you’ll be able to have enough on board with you is if you plan everything and keep a checklist with you.

Some RV owners end up packing too much in fear of running low which is also not helpful. You need to plan each day of your trip and calculate how much you need of everything. This way you’ll be able to stay within the weight limit.

Not Taking It out for a Test Drive

Before getting started on your trip, make sure to take your RV out for a spin. This will allow you to get the hang of it and understand how it operates. After doing this, when you finally go on a trip, you will know just what to expect.

Not Disconnecting

The last thing you want is to be that one RV owner who forgets to disconnect from the campsite. You don’t want your sewer hose or your electrical cords to trail noisily behind because they can get damaged easily. Make sure to unhook and unplug anything that you may have connected before exiting a campsite.

Not Taking It Slow

Trying to go fast will only put you in harm’s way. Driving an RV is not at all like driving your car. You need to maneuver carefully keeping the safety of those inside or outside the vehicle as your topmost priority. Simply put, an RV is just not built as something you can mishandle.

Not Caring About Your Campground Neighbors

A campground, just like any other public place, expects you to follow certain rules of etiquette. You need to respect other people’s privacy and not cause too much of a racket.

Keeping the campsite clean is another thing you need to be mindful of. Using biodegradable and eco-friendly products can make a world of difference. To avoid disturbing your neighbors, you can always read up on the rules provided by the camp.

Forgetting to Defrost Your Freezer

Your RV freezer is not like your ordinary freezer. You need to defrost it time and again. If you forget to do this, you’ll find an icy mass covering most of the space. The simplest way to do this would be to shut it down then open it back up and wait for it defrost.

An average freezer needs to be defrosted after every few weeks or months, depending on the usage.

Not Taking Your RV for a Checkup

You need to schedule regular check-ups for your RV. It is important to have a fresh set of eyes monitor everything as you can easily miss a crucial element. Taking it in for a repair will only make it perform better in the long run.

Now that you know what to avoid, you can save yourself unnecessary trouble and get the most out of your vehicle.

Understanding the dos and don’ts of this strange lifestyle can make you feel like giving up on the whole idea. But rest assured, owning an RV also gives you a whole set of perks to enjoy.

Because it is readily available, you end up taking a lot more trips then you originally intended to. You feel a lot freer when you aren’t tied down to a place. You are more spontaneous and that keeps you energized in your day to day activities.

Living in an RV can be really fun if you know how to use the little space and get the most out of it. You can find a sense of community in a campground and make beautiful memories. And even on the bad days, you end up learning a lot.

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RV for Dummies
Stephanie Lynne