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Old 05-29-2012, 08:04 AM   #1
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Since joining the forum last week, I have read many threads on many subjects. The more I read, the more I realize how little I know or never thought of. I also realize that I don't have what many of you consider the "essentials " or even many of the necessities, to RV.

For instance, one RVer posted that he carried 40 ft. of blackwater tank hose, another carried 225 ft. of water hose. Then there are the surge protectors, amp meters, stabilizers, power packs, tank additives, tire monitoring systems, and on and on. Rving is a lot more complicated and costly than I realized. I'm not sure I will ever understand it all. I guess you have to run into a situation to find out you don't have what you need. Or is it actually something you want? Is all this "stuff really necessary to RV? Shouldn't it be more basic if you're not full timing?

I'm pretty relaxed driving my rig, but very nervous about having what I need to be safe and operating all the systems. The refrigerator has me buffaloed, never tried the hotwater heater, don't understand why i can't use both the A/C's at the same time, don't trust the dash gauges. All in time. I'm learning a lot from the forum, but not sure I can remember all I read, and sure don't understand some of it. I guess that's what being a newbie is all about.
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Old 05-29-2012, 10:20 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Randy1252 View Post
Since joining the forum last week, I have read many threads on many subjects. The more I read, the more I realize how little I know or never thought of. I also realize that I don't have what many of you consider the "essentials " or even many of the necessities, to RV.

For instance, one RVer posted that he carried 40 ft. of blackwater tank hose, another carried 225 ft. of water hose. Then there are the surge protectors, amp meters, stabilizers, power packs, tank additives, tire monitoring systems, and on and on. Rving is a lot more complicated and costly than I realized. I'm not sure I will ever understand it all. I guess you have to run into a situation to find out you don't have what you need. Or is it actually something you want? Is all this "stuff really necessary to RV? Shouldn't it be more basic if you're not full timing?

I'm pretty relaxed driving my rig, but very nervous about having what I need to be safe and operating all the systems. The refrigerator has me buffaloed, never tried the hotwater heater, don't understand why i can't use both the A/C's at the same time, don't trust the dash gauges. All in time. I'm learning a lot from the forum, but not sure I can remember all I read, and sure don't understand some of it. I guess that's what being a newbie is all about.

Hi Randy! Welcome to the IRV2 family! Your post could have been written by me when we bought our first 5th wheel 11 years ago, so I can imagine how much worse it would be with the motorhome! When we started back then, I had never even been inside an RV before! We bought the first 5er and camped in it two nights before deciding we had made a mistake about what we wanted. We took it back and swapped for another one which we kept for about a year, finally going to a 36' Cedar Creek 5er that we loved. There is soooo much to learn! After 11 years, I still learn new things every day. We changed to a MH a couple of months ago and the learning process started all over again, except ten times as mind-boggling as the 5er! As you mentioned, there are many people that really go overboard in my opinion, loading their rig up with things that are definitely not essential. You will learn as time goes on what is really needed and what is just added weight. you mentioned about the fridge and water heater but didn't go into specifics. What problems are you having with them? There are lots of good folks on here who are glad to help in any way they can. It's better to post your specific questions in the appropriate areas of the forums to get better answers.
Just hang in there, things will get easier. Just don't be hesitant to ask any questions, no matter how dumb it may seem to you. We're all still learning, just at different levels. Good luck!
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Old 05-29-2012, 10:33 AM   #3
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You can not know everything. Only a select few can know everything. (Luckily for folks like you and I, they are members of this forum.)

What you need to be a successful RVer depends heavily on how you use your RV. Do you need 40' of stinky-slinky? I'd guess not, but you may have a favorite place to dump that requires that much. I have 25' or so, and have never had a problem. Do you need 225' of water hose? I wouldn't but YOU may have a need for it.

RVs are complex systems. They are individuals. They live and breathe. You will get to know yours within the context of your camping habits, and become as one with it. Do not fear the RV, it is your friend, and together you will conquer the CG.

When you have a question, ask here. You will get helpful answers.
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Old 05-29-2012, 11:42 AM   #4
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I carry 10' of sewer hose with a 10' extension. So far, i n 4 yesars, the 10' extension has not been used. I use a 4' water line to a water filter cartridge then a 10' to the RV. I you need more sewer or water hose than that you can always run out to a store a get it, a lot of CG offices carry those too. I have a 25' water hose too and so far use it when washing the truck. And yes you'll need chemicals for the holding tanks. You'll need some sort of blocks to help with side to side leveling. Whether you carry pieces of wood or branded orange or yellow leveling blocks is up to you. I RV'ed for many years without a surge protector. Then after frying my TV on one trip, I began using one.

Those I feel are the must haves. Beyond that is all personal preference. As you learn more, you'll probably add more.
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Old 05-29-2012, 12:48 PM   #5
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I appreciate the "advice" handed out on forums, I really do. Belonged to several motorcycle forums over the years and reponses to your questions can drive you CRAZY!!!

I think you need to take what you think YOU need and emergency stuff as necessary, you will learn from experience/trial and error. It's your comfort/peace of mind that you should be trying to please. I find if I forgot something and really think it's required, I'll buy it on the way.

My deceased business partner had a "list" of stuff he deemed necessary when riding a cycle. After spending MY money on HIS suggestions, I finally figured out we were different people and had very different riding habits/needs. No, he didn't die in a cycle accident, but from two packs of smokes per day and a gallon of Dewars every week. Almost made 65 to collect a pitance from SS, just missed it by three weeks.

Once upon a time, a very wealthy client of mine said to me, "Gary, free advice is worth the price you're paying for it..."
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Old 05-29-2012, 01:50 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Randy1252 View Post
Since joining the forum last week, I have read many threads on many subjects. The more I read, the more I realize how little I know or never thought of. I also realize that I don't have what many of you consider the "essentials " or even many of the necessities, to RV.

For instance, one RVer posted that he carried 40 ft. of blackwater tank hose, another carried 225 ft. of water hose. Then there are the surge protectors, amp meters, stabilizers, power packs, tank additives, tire monitoring systems, and on and on. Rving is a lot more complicated and costly than I realized. I'm not sure I will ever understand it all. I guess you have to run into a situation to find out you don't have what you need. Or is it actually something you want? Is all this "stuff really necessary to RV? Shouldn't it be more basic if you're not full timing?

I'm pretty relaxed driving my rig, but very nervous about having what I need to be safe and operating all the systems. The refrigerator has me buffaloed, never tried the hotwater heater, don't understand why i can't use both the A/C's at the same time, don't trust the dash gauges. All in time. I'm learning a lot from the forum, but not sure I can remember all I read, and sure don't understand some of it. I guess that's what being a newbie is all about.
I'll attempt to answer some of these questions. First of all, the items you asked about fall into two categories. Necessary and convenience. You can gamble on all of them and just see what happens or you can pick and choose the important ones.

Water hose. This depends a lot on where your water connection is to your RV. I have been in RV parks where the water supply is near the front, somewhere in the middle of the pad and behind the RV. You obviously need a hose that will reach. My connection is about 10 - 12 feet from the rear of the motorhome. I need to be able to reach from there. I carry a 25' hose and almost never need more but I also had that site in Colorado where the connection was about 15 feet behind the rig and behind a log barrier so I couldn't back up to it. Therefore, I carry a second 25' hose just in case. I have never thought that I needed 225'!

Sewer hose. I carry a 25' hose and a 10' hose. It is fairly common to need both but I have never needed more than this.

Surge suppressors. I personally feel this is a necessity. I have had SEVERAL times where it was needed. I know people personally who have not had them and had to buy new microwaves, air conditioners, TVs and various circuit boards because of either surges or sags in their power. You can go without this but it is a gamble and eventually it will happen to you. I prefer to be protected.

Amp meters. There are some inexpensive meters that plug into one of your outlets. A quick glance at this will tell you if the park wiring is getting overloaded by such things as lots of air conditioners running at the same time. It is nice to have but if you have the surge suppressor then you don't really need the meter too.

Stabilizers. This varies a bit with the type of RV you have. A stabilizer is not intended to lift up the rig. It will firm it up and raise one corner a bit to help level you. The main advantage is comfort. You will notice the RV move around more as other people walk around without a stabilizer.

Power packs. There are a lot of opinions on this one and I have one too. To me, you are trading engine and transmission life, fuel mileage and emissions for the claimed extra power. If they worked without impacting engine and transmission life, fuel mileage and emissions then the manufacturer would have put them on originally. The manufacturers know that they will sell more pickups, etc. if they have more power, better mileage and a long engine life.

Tank additives. I am a full timer so I use the holding tanks all the time. We very rarely use additives.I have found that keeping plenty of water in the black water tank controls the odor. We do not boondock more than a day or two so we don't waste our money on the additives.

Tire monitoring systems. I have one and would not be without it. Here is why. It is hard for a driver to always know when one tire blows on a tandem axle trailer or a dual real tire on a motorhome. The other axle or the other tire carries the extra weight, for a while, and you will not notice the change in handling. Eventually the tire heats up, shreds and either creates a fire or tears up the side of your RV. Again, I know people this has happened to and it cost them thousands of dollars to repair. Having a monitoring system will alert you to a slow leak or to a blow out. You can stop before things get worse. It could save you from replacing wheels as well as the underparts of your RV.

I'm sure you can get a lot of advice about your water heater and your A/C as well as other systems. Just ask a specific question and we will help you out. For example, most trailers and motorhomes with 30 amp CAN run both air conditioners at the same time. You just need to have an energy management system that will start each A/C one at a time.

Welcome to the world of RVing! It is a blast and I'm sure you will have a great time.
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Old 05-29-2012, 02:29 PM   #7
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Prioritize (safety first) then study 1 thing at a time and look at it as a long term learning process. Start a notebook and get owner's manuals on line. You'll be helping others in no time.
You might want to check the refrig manufacture web site to see if your refrig is on a recall list and get the operator manual.
I'm not a full timer and here are a few ideas:
Water heater - simple - make sure the water and gas are on going to the heater, turn it on 10 min prior to your shower. You'll hear a clicking and a woosh as the gas fires up. Take the outside access pannel off to watch and listen to this process the 1st time you do it.
Also, I just use the onboard water pump - I use the external hose/connection to fill up the onboard water tank.
Water filter and surge protector (and Tire Pressure Monitor System) are good to have. All mine are portable/external systems.
You might want to add your camping equipment to your signature so we can add more usefull hints on chassis/engine and model unique.
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Old 05-29-2012, 03:02 PM   #8
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Welcome to the forum. I've been a member for almost a year now and have learned alot from questions I asked and,more important, from questions that I didn't know I needed to ask. There are some pretty smart minds here with a wealth of knowledge available to those who ask. My suggestion would be to first travel close to home. You can have just as much fun and still feel a little secure until you get your feet on the ground. Make a running list of what you need and what you think you need. Start with necessities (safety first)and move on to wants. If you think you need or want something, research pros and cons before you buy. There are a lot of things I would like to have so I prioritize them and get them as we can. I check this forum every day for new issues and ideas that might affect me now or later. Good luck and "Happy Travels".
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Old 05-31-2012, 09:28 AM   #9
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Several people have advised you to get stuff as you discover that you need it. For the most part, that is good advice.

The one item that you don't discover you need until it is too late is the tire pressure monitor system. A TPMS will usually give a few minutes of warning before a tire blows. Not having one can be a very costly mistake. Not having the right hose will merely be inconvenient.

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Old 05-31-2012, 09:58 AM   #10
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Thanks everyone. I will ask questions as needed and will continue to read your posts for answers. Good advice from everyone, and I appreciate it.
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