Tips & Tricks

How to prepare your camper for the season

Six years in the past, I purchased a small camper — a hard-sided 15-footer with a “hybrid” pullout that made it nearly proper for one or two individuals who needed just a few creature comforts however didn’t want the general “glamping” accoutrement to take pleasure in time within the woods.

Principally, these comforts consisted of indoor plumbing — a fast each day bathe and the flexibility to benefit from the morning constitutional with out digging a cat gap and enduring a swarm of mosquitos bearing down on my bare rear finish.

This spring, now part of a staff that features my girlfriend and our two canines, it turned more and more clear that indoor plumbing isn’t all I wanted. “I” is now “we,” and we’re planning to be a bit extra bold with our RV treks.

Before everything, we nonetheless wanted one thing that met our fundamental wants — a automobile we are able to tow into the mountains, park near our favourite fishing locations and spend time having fun with our public lands. However we additionally found that we wanted one thing with extra of these creature comforts for lengthy, extra concerned journeys — a automobile that may, within the coming months, make a cross-country trek and plug into RV hookups on the best way to numerous angling locations. And two individuals and two canines … which means one thing greater. And, for you RV house owners on the market, which means one thing that requires a bit extra upkeep.

And we went massive. Uncomfortably so. It’ll imply slower, extra deliberate journeys to the hills, taking care to decide on our locations — and once we select to go to them —with care. However it’ll imply, too, that we’ll have some flexibility to go to far-flung family and friends and, when the climate is crappy right here, we are able to go locations the place the solar is shining and the fish are biting. Working remotely within the age of COVID has its advantages, and that features often altering the view from the house workplace to a lagoon-side tenting spot the place the redfish are tailing.

However one factor doesn’t change. RV upkeep and maintenance is not any joke, significantly given the sum of money of us put into them. Whereas it’s a provided that they gained’t maintain their worth for lengthy, it’s additionally a provided that the large investments in them imply it’s essential to ensure the little issues are dealt with. We’re fortunate this 12 months — our new camper (aka, the Taj Mahal on wheels) is model new, and the overwhelming majority of the upkeep duties have been dealt with by the manufacturing facility. However for these getting their RVs prepared for the approaching season, right here are some things you ought to contemplate:

    Bearings

  • When was the final time you had your bearings repacked and serviced? With my previous camper, I did this about each different season. The upkeep information for the brand new RV recommends that I’ve the bearing serviced after 2,000 miles. For close-to-home tenting, that’s a easy process, however if you happen to plan an extended journey, chances are you’ll wish to take into account this extra steadily. Should you’re useful, it’s a process you are able to do with the assistance of a YouTube video. However if you happen to’ve by no means accomplished it, I’d advocate you allow it to the professionals. It’ll value a bit cash, but it surely’ll be accomplished proper.
  • Verify your propane connections

  • The rubberized gasoline strains take a beating in the summertime solar, and so they can crack and finally leak. Cowl them within the winter, if attainable, and ensure they’re nonetheless supple and doing their jobs earlier than you head out in your first journey of the season.
  • Tires

  • How are your tires? They might have nice tread left, however have they been sitting within the solar for a season or two? Verify for cracks and put on earlier than you head out. Cowl your tires when attainable, even it means simply leaning one thing in opposition to them to protect them from the solar.
  • Sewer Hose

  • Double examine your sewer hose so that you don’t have any disgusting messes on the RV dump after your first boondocking (dry tenting) journey.
  • Flush Your Water System

  • Do a whole water system flush after which refill your water tank, with all valves open, about two-thirds of the best way with good, clear water. Add the suitable quantity of water conditioner (it will rely on the scale of your water tank — it ought to take a couple of quart for each 25 gallons), after which take a drive across the neighborhood to agitate the tank and get the conditioner shifting by the system. Then, go to the closest RV dump and flush your handled water by the entire system. Rinse it out nicely, after which refill. This will likely seem to be a variety of work, but it surely’s price it. When you get a nasty style or scent in your RV’s recent water tank, it’s powerful to do away with it. It’s additionally not a nasty concept to do the identical factor for the sewer tank with RV sewer therapy tablets or fluid and recent water earlier than heading out the primary time.
  • Verify your water heater

  • Ideally, you’ve drained it over the winter (if you happen to haven’t, and the tank froze … nicely, that’s not good). Newer and bigger water heaters have a drain plug that features a magnesium anode that draws minerals and metals present in faucet water and protects each the water heater and, as sizzling water flows by strains and pipes, the RVs whole water system. The anode, after only a few makes use of, will probably be one of many extra disgusting stuff you’ll ever lay eyes on, because it actually builds up with all types of minerals and metals. Clear it off as finest you may after each use, and drain your water heater after each use, too. Change the anode out each season. Should you use your camper quite a bit, change it each 4 or 5 journeys. Additionally, if you happen to’ve winterized your camper, be sure to flush the winterizing fluid by your system earlier than you open the valves to the water heater and let water circulate by it. Nothing — and I imply nothing — smells as dangerous as winterizing fluid heated up by a propane water heater. Verify to ensure the pilot lights whenever you flip the heater on (and don’t flip it on with out water in it!). In case your water heater does double responsibility (gasoline and electrical), be certain that the water heats when the RV is plugged in.
  • Awnings and slideouts

  • Ensure that your electrical awnings and slide-outs are working earlier than you haul the RV to your vacation spot.
  • Equipment Verify

  • Ensure that the fridge works on each gasoline and electrical settings. Ensure that your heater, AC and thermostat are all working appropriately.
  • Leak Inspection

  • Once you flush water by the automobile examine for any leaks underneath the camper and underneath the sinks contained in the coach, and the connections with any exterior water connections (out of doors showers, out of doors kitchens, and so on.). Stand up on the roof earlier than each season and examine for cracks and potential leaks within the seams. Generally, slightly silicon is all you’ll have to seal a possible leak, however typically it’s finest to take the RV for a full roof inspection if you happen to see potential leaks. Pay particular consideration to the seams across the AC, the TV antenna and any vents within the coach.

Yearly, I’ve these regretful ideas about shopping for an RV after which having to do the essential upkeep — it may be a variety of work, actually. And it may be costly, too, significantly after just a few years of service and each pothole and highway mile has amassed into an issue that may’t both be ignored or rapidly mounted.

However yearly, I look ahead to towing the camper to the river or to my favourite early season carp hang-out and having a cushty and clear residence base with the creature comforts that make my fishing much more pleasurable.

The very best recommendation, if you happen to’re questioning the knowledge of an RV buy? Take into account the upkeep a crucial evil within the quest to take pleasure in your time much more on the water or with these you’re keen on. For me, shopping for that little camper all these years in the past was the very best buy I ever made. The jury’s out on the brand new behemoth that rests menacingly on the pad along side the home, however I do know those that go along with me will recognize the area and the consolation it can present.

Fact be instructed, I guess I’ll, too.

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