Archive for July, 2011

Going to an RV Show

Back when the EatStayPlay.com “Royal” family got re-started with RVing, we attended a TON of big RV shows. Why? Because RV shows gave us the chance to see many makes and models of RVs – at one time and at one place.

(Not familiar with types of RVs? Check out the article from 2 weeks ago!)

For that reason, I think that everybody who’s even remotely considering getting an RV should find a show near them and check it out! Plus, there’s an RV show every year, in every region of the country!

What do you want to look for at the show?
If you’re just beginning, take a look at ALL the types of RVs and imagine your family using them. If you know what type of RV you want, then look at all the different sizes and models. You need to actually THINK about what camping in them would be like.

For example, in our first hybrid, we knew that we didn’t want to climb over the table to get to a bed. It ruins the seat cushions of the table and who ever was sitting at the table would need to get up. We also knew, from experience, that an external shower was a must. We also wanted an internal bathroom with a shower, an oven for orange rolls, and a good freezer. Our unit came with a microwave that we took out for extra storage.

But, if he hadn’t spent all that time exploring our options we wouldn’t have known exactly what we were looking for.

RV salesmen, like all salesmen, will make you big deals at the show. But, it’s only a deal if you get a rig that fits your needs!

Oh, and be sure to check out the million dollar rigs — just to look at all the crazy things that are possible! A hot tub in a trailer, anybody?

4 Tips to Keeping Your RV Cleaner

You know I’m in love with my new-to-me tent trailer Skippy. Skippy is a 1998 Coleman Taos that had been used a grand total of three times before I bought it. Because of the low usage, the interior AND the exterior are in pristine condition.

And I want to keep it that way!

One of the things that I do is the second I open up the trailer, before I put ANYTHING on the beds, I put a sheet over the mattresses. On both beds — not just the one I sleep on! It’s nothing special, just a cheap flat sheet from a twin bed. But then, I know that the dust that blows in the open windows all day won’t get into the mattresses as quickly. And when I toss my dirty duffle bag and shoes onto the bed, the mattress won’t get torn, snagged, or damaged.

Sheet on bed

Once the sheet is on the bed and tucked in, I feel free to pile all my gear on top.

When I get home, all I have to do is throw the sheets in the wash and they’re ready to go for the next trip. And if they DO become worn beyond repair — Hey! They were like $3 a piece.

Then, get a bunch of little non-slip rugs to lay down inside. Basically, the goal is to put down wall-to-wall carpet in the trailer. But by using small no-slip rugs, it’s easy to take them outside and shake them out.

If at all possible, I don’t wear my shoes into the trailer. In stead, I keep a plastic tub (with a lid) just outside the trailer door. I slip off my shoes, tuck them in the tub, and then put the lid on. I know that no critters can get in there and if it rains (or the dew falls) my shoes will still be dry.

I was really lucky with Skippy because I don’t have to climb OVER the seats at the dinette to get to the back bed. But in the tent trailers my family has owned in the past, we haven’t always been that lucky. In that case, I’m always super careful to NEVER put my shoe on the dinette seat cushion. Either use your knee as a booster or take off your shoe.

Dinette

I bring the table, but leave it folded flat and put it on the bed. You can see it under my duffle bag. Next to my dirty boots and green Crocs.

Readers Weigh In:

  • What tips do you have to keep your RV clean? (Or cleaner?)

Types of RVs

It seems like there are as many types of RVs on the road these days as types of vehicles. This is a quick run-down on types of RVS.

There are two basic types of rigs.

  1. Motorized RVs have the driving compartment within the vehicle. They are constructed on a motor vehicle chassis.
  2. Towable RVs rely on a separate vehicle with a driving compartment.

Motorized RVs
Class A motor home is often rectangular in appearance. The driver and passenger seats can swivel around and become living room furniture when the rig is parked. The amenities are self-contained bathroom, kitchen, dining area, living room, and bedroom.

 

Class A

Class A Motorhome

Class B is built on a van chassis with a raised roof. Class B’s are smaller, compact, and very easy to drive. They contain the same lifestyle amenities as a Class A, but usually on a smaller scale.

Class C is a truck chassis with an RV unit built on it. The sleeping area is over the driver/passenger unit. Again, the rig contains all the lifestyle amenities but often on a more limited scale than the Class A. The Class C is often used to tow a boat or motorcycle, and can tow a car.

 

Class C

Class C Motorhome

Towable RVs
The advantage of the towable RV is that when you arrive at your site, you can unhitch the tow vehicle and use it as your mode of local transportation. That’s the primary reason we have one!

Fifth wheel is a trailer that hitches in the bed of the truck, and cannot be towed with a car or van. Because the hitch is in the bed of the truck, you are limited on the amount of gear you can put in the truck. This is hard-sided RV.

 

Fifth Wheel

Fifth Wheel

Travel trailer, more familiar to most people, hitches to the back of the tow vehicle, which can be a truck, van, or even a heavy car, depending on the weight and size of the trailer.

Travel Trailer

Trailer

When closed, a tent trailer looks like a box. When opened, the front and back open and occasionally the sides. It is towed easily by a car or van. This is not an option in bear country because of the canvas sides. Also, tent trailers do not offer much security of valuables when you’re not home.

Tent Trailer

Tent Trailer

Hi-Lo looks like a tent trailer when closed, but the top of the trailer actually raises up (motorized, usually) to expand the living space vertically. They are easy to tow and offer the security of a travel trailer.

HiLo

Hi-Lo Trailer

Toy-Hauler is a hard-sided trailer that has a “garage” for the storage of off-road vehicles.

Hybrids include a hard sided trailer with tent fold outs. (This is what we had for a long time!) Or a tent trailer with a spot to haul an ATV on the front. I’ve even seen a hybrid that was a hard sided trailer with tent beds folding out AND an area on the front for the ATV.

 

Hybrid Trailer

StarCraft Hybrid Trailer

The slide-in camper is a camper shell that can be removed from the body of a flat bed pickup truck.

Slide In

Slide In

A-Frame trailers look like little a-frame houses. The best-known manufacturer is Chalet. These trailers fold into a compact box like a tent trailer but have 100% hard-sides. They’re small, easy to tow, and nearly impossible to find used since their owners LOVE them.

A-Frame Trailer

Chalet A-Frame

 

Readers Weigh In:

  • What type of RV do you have?
  • What do you love about it? What makes you crazy?

 

Down and Dirty Rain Gear

Summer Rain

Ah! Summer rains.

The monsoon season is nearly upon us here in Northern Arizona so I wanted to share this tip with you before the rain starts so you can be prepared. This is great rain gear for kids because it’s easy to make and cheap to replace.

Just remember: plastic bags are not toys so don’t use this tip with small children or if you think your child will put the bag over his or her face.

A heavy-duty black trash sack makes a great raincoat, in about a minute. There are two ways of doing this:

Trash-Bag Rain Coat #1
Make a hole in one side of the bag, near the bottom. This is where your face will come out. Pull bag over your head and wear it like a hood. Then, cut slit on each side of the bag for your arms.

Trash Bag Rain Gear

Shelby is sporting Trash-Bag Rain Coat #2

 

 

Trash-Bag Rain Coat #2
Cut a slit in the bottom of the bag and slide the bag over your head. Mark where your arms should go through and cut slits in the sides for your arms. This version is great for messy camp projects (mud pies, anyone?) or for a double layer of water protection.

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