It goes without saying that there are as many ways to camp in an RV as there are RV campers. An RV (recreational vehicle), after all, is a small home on wheels, a home that becomes a reflection of the people who inhabit it. We all start with an empty shell that we fill with gear, decorations, and treasures until our RV becomes a mirror of ourselves.
At root, the different types of RVs – motorhomes, big rigs, travel trailers, 5th wheels – have more in common with each other than not. Nearly all have beds, a toilet and shower, and a galley with a stove, oven, and refrigerator. There is generally a heater and basic 12-volt power. And because driving the RV is a key part of its usefulness, two comfortable seats in the driving area are a must. These essentials give RV campers an amazing amount of freedom. They're fully self-sufficient, able to enjoy hot meals and showers whenever they like. They can stay put for weeks or months, or they can keep on the move, criss-crossing the country at their own pace. With their own bed on board, not to mention personal items like books, movies, gadgets, and games, the RV camper has everything they need in their own vehicle.
Because choosing an RV is such an important decision (and sizeable purchase), it's critical that you shop around and talk to other motorhome campers before you buy. You might consider renting a unit for a short trip or test drive. RV shows are a great way to see what's up-and-coming or to weight the various options. Shows will have a variety of RVs on display, so you can walk inside and try to imagine what you life would be like if you took one home.
Most RV campers report that buying their recreational vehicle was the second biggest purchase of their lives, after buying a home, so be sure to do your homework in advance!
Since all portable homes of this type are hauled by some sort of truck chassis, gas mileage and hauling power can vary. But no matter how large the 5th wheel or big rig, all RV campers face the same issues of limited storage and cooking creatively in a small kitchen.
In this way, RV campers have a lot in common with boat owners. Both boats and RVs come equipped with clever storage compartments and tables that can be turned into sleeper cots or beds. Other tricks can be taken from the maritime world – coffee-cup holders on gimbals will keep your cup upright on bumpy roads and sun-heated shower bags warm up your bath water without using any electricity. Backpackers' methods of storing socks and underwear in compressible stuff-sacks come in handy when you're in an RV.
Once you have the recreational vehicle of your dreams, it's time to mark it with the stamp of your personality. Will you have a decorative welcome/shoe-wiping mat? Colorful curtains to put up at night for blocking out light? Are you an outdoor camper, preferring to spend most of your time outside the RV, or an inside camper who enjoys moving from the cool rush of the outdoors to the tranquility of the inner realm?
Some RV campers mount family snapshots around the upper banner of their RV's living room. Others fit small posters and pictures on the walls or under a clear plastic covering on their galley table. You can even travel with special holiday flags to hang out when you reach your destination, letting your neighbors know what kind of mood you're in.
Another important distinction in RV camping styles lies in whether you travel as a solo RV or as part of a caravan. Caravan travelers often develop ways of communicating so they can keep track of one another on the road. You might use CB radios to stay connected, with each member of the team adopting a radio handle like "Hawkeye” or "Miss Scarlet.” Group travelers often share the responsibilities of meals, meeting up for picnics and potlucks at pre-arranged areas. And for evening activities, they might plan things that involve the entire group, like card and board games or a group reading.
Solo travelers, on the other hand, appreciate the freedom of being able to change their itinerary on a whim. They can develop their plans at the last minute, after hearing weather reports or getting a hot report from a neighbor about the best fishing spot in the state. Whichever kind of camping style you prefer, be sure to embrace it on your travels this spring!