RVs & Campers Tips

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What should I look for in an RV campground?

Picking an RV Campground

It seems like there's an RV campground on every corner in some popular outdoor destinations, so how do you choose the right one? Look for several things when you choose an RV campground, and you won't go wrong.

  • The campground should be well-maintained and clean.
  • Price is important, but so is what you get for the price. Does the RV campground offer special events, kids events, activities, and a variety of amenities, like pools, playgrounds, laundries, and even wireless Internet access.
  • Location, location, location. Is the park easily accessible for even the biggest RV? Is it close to other area attractions?
  • Is there room between each space, or are you right on top of your neighbors?
There are also public RV campgrounds in U.S. Forests, parks, and other federal and local locations – don't forget them when you choose your RV campground.

Why are Airstream trailers so popular?

Airstream Travel Trailers

Airstream trailers are distinctive; you can't miss their shiny aluminum bullet-shaped appearance on the highway or in the campground. They were one of the first American travel trailers to be manufactured, and they've been going strong for 70 years.

Airstreams are so popular because they are durable, good-looking, and streamlined for more efficient towing. Most people think of travel trailers when they think of Airstreams, but the company makes motor homes, too.

Airstream owners are dedicated to their RVs, and say they are the best-built RVs on the market today. Airstream invented many RV construction techniques, and mechanized the construction process to keep costs down while creating quality products. These trailers stand the test of time, as their history shows.

What's a toy hauler?

Toy Haulers

Toy haulers were created for the RVer who enjoys off-roading and 4-wheeling. These motorhomes for the active set are trailers with two compartments – one is an RV with living quarters, while the other is a garage for storing all the bikes, trikes, and other paraphernalia of off-roading.

Toy haulers are one of the most popular types of RVs sold today, and because of that, there are many more sizes and styles available today that weren't available even a few years ago.

Travel trailers and toy haulers tend to be cheaper than traditional motorhomes, so they are an option for growing families and young adventurers who want to hit the road in comfort and still have room for their toys.

Many motorhome rental agencies are now renting toy haulers, too, so you can try one out before you make the decision to buy.

Can I rent a motor home at a camper rental dealer?

Rent Before You Buy

There's no doubt about it, motor homes are expensive. There's one way to check out a variety of motor homes before you choose one to buy, and that's by renting several and taking them on trial runs.

There are many camper rental outlets in most cities and towns in the U.S. They carry a variety of trailers and motor homes for rent. You can rent an RV for a few days to see if the RV lifestyle is really something you'd like to invest in.

It's a good idea to rent different models from different manufacturers to see what features you like, what you don't like, and how the models handle on the road and in the campground. Then you can make a more informed decision when you purchase a motor home. Check with local camper rental dealers to find out what models they offer and what their rental policies are.

What's a "Mini-Winnie?"

The Winnebago RV

Winnebago seems to have become the "generic" term for many RVs, just like so many other well-known and recognized products. There's a reason for that. Winnebago is one of the oldest RV manufacturers in the country.

Located in Iowa, they build Class A and C motor homes, and may be most well known for their "Mini-Winnie," a Class C motor home that became so popular it seems you see one or two in just about every campground at one time or another.

Winnebago began building RVs in 1966, and they also build much of the cabinetry and furniture used inside their motor homes. In addition, they also have their own factory to produce all the fabrics, pillows, and cushions used in the interior design of the motor homes. They no longer build the "Mini-Winnie," but they also build Itasca motor homes.

What's a pop up camper?

The Towable Pop Up Camper

One of the most affordable ways to start camping without a tent is with a pop up camper. These small, towable tent campers are lightweight, pop up quickly and easily when you reach the campground, fold up for travel, and can be towed behind just about any vehicle.

A typical pop up camper contains sleeping space, seating, small kitchens, and some even include small bathrooms. Some models are big enough to sleep up to eight people, while others are meant for couples or small families.

One thing you should remember with a pop up camper. Have a heavy-duty towing hitch installed to tow your pop up camper. Be sure to have the hitch attached to the frame of your vehicle, rather than the bumper. It's safer and will keep the trailer more secure during towing.

What do I need to know about rental RVs?

The Ins and Outs of Rental RVs

Before you rent an RV, there are some things to consider. Some rental RVs come complete with all the accessories, such as bed linens, appliances, and kitchen gear, while others charge extra for these items.

Some rental RVs include insurance in the price tag, while others charge extra for insurance, or require you to provide your own coverage. Some rental firms only rent trailers and pop up campers, while others rent motorhomes and trailers.

Most rental RV rates are based on the size of the RV and the season you're renting. To save money, rent a smaller model during the off-season. Rental RVs are extremely popular during special events, so you may need to make your reservations quite a bit in advance during special events and at the peak of summer travel.

What are onsite rental RVs?

Rent Onsite

Another new trend in rental RVs is the rent onsite market. You rent an RV and the rental agency delivers the RV you pick to the campground of your choosing within a certain area. This is convenient for several reasons.

  • You arrive in your own vehicle, so you can leave the RV in the campground and take your own vehicle with you on side trips.
  • If your vehicle isn't equipped to tow a trailer you can still camp out in an RV.
  • You can rent an RV at a vacation destination and not have to worry about the hassles of towing and driving it yourself.
  • You don't have to provide linens, or any other camping gear, the rental RVs is fully equipped.
Onsite rental RVs are a great way to experience the RV lifestyle without any of the hassles. Check local RV rental centers to see if they provide this service.

What are the classes of motorhomes?

Motorhome Classes

There are three classes of motorhomes, and they can be confusing if you aren't familiar with them.

  • Class A motorhomes are the largest motorhomes, and often resemble busses. The driver's cockpit is located at the front of the motorhome, and the entire coach is one large, rectangular unit. These are usually the most luxurious and spacious motorhomes.
  • Class B motorhomes are van conversions that resemble a regular van. They have raised roofs and are often longer than conventional vans. They come with quite a few amenities in a small package.
  • Class C motorhomes are smaller than Class As, and are actually large campers built on a truck chassis. The front of the motorhome resembles a truck or van cab.
  • Travel trailers, toy haulers, and 5th wheels are all considered RVs, and can be towed behind a vehicle.
When you shop for a motorhome, know what class you're looking for, because all motorhomes are rated (and usually priced) by class.

What amenities does a truck camper contain?

From Tent to Camper

After tent camping for a while, many campers move up to a truck camper mounted on a pickup truck. Less expensive than a motor home or travel trailers, these campers can be standard models with a bed, seating, and a sink, to larger models that even contain bathrooms.

Truck campers can be permanently mounted on the truck bed, or they can slide out, it depends on the model. This is convenient if you use the truck for other duties when you're not camping.

Some campers even have slide-outs like their bigger cousins, giving more seating room inside the camper when it is parked. If you haven't looked at a truck camper lately, they have come a long way from fiberglass shells with few amenities. Check them out at a local dealer and see what they have to offer today.

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Guru Spotlight
Carol Sponagle