It’s been almost a month since we have been in the RV full-time and I have to say, “We Love It!” With that being said it has been a learning experience. We knew that was going to be the situation though when we first decided to full-time RV. Neither of us really had spent any time RVing, so we knew we’d be learning on the go. With almost one month in the books, we compiled a list to share with you about what our full-time RV experience has been like so far.
1. Propane/Furnace. The propane furnace is kind of loud – at least I think it is. Not to mention that when heating the RV with propane, you will go through propane like crazy. We’ve heard that depending on how cold it is and what your furnace settings are at that you can go through two cylinders of propane in 2-5 days. That can start to get pricey very quickly, especially when you consider that you’re also using propane to cook a lot of your meals. We moved in when it was minus one with the windchill which quickly resulted in us purchasing a space heater so that we wouldn’t burn through propane like crazy. Our space heater keeps the entire RV toasty warm and Bella loves sitting in front of it. She’s a heat pig. If you’re full-time RVing in a cooler climate we definitely recommend getting yourself a little space heater. You won’t regret it.
2. Pets. Your Cat will more than likely LOVE the RV. Paris was at home on night one and she absolutely adores her little bunk room. We worried the most about her and how she would adjust but she’s having a blast. The cushions on the jackknife sofa in the bunk room are super cushiony. They look like giant cloud puffs and Paris spends the majority of her day atop the cushions while also being able to sneak a peek out the window at the birds and chipmunks that are being fed by our nice neighbour.
One of the concerns we had about Paris was where would we stick her litter box. At first, we thought that because we weren’t going to be utilizing the shower for bathing, that we could stick it in there. Logistically, it just didn’t make sense though and we were worried that because the shower is located in close proximity to our bed that little Paris might come and drop a turd in the middle of the night which would stink-ify the bedroom. I’m not sure about you, but we knew it would be quite unpleasant to wake up in the middle of the night to the stench of kitty droppings. In the end, we found the perfect spot for her litter box in the bunk room. We placed the box in a tiny wardrobe cabinet. It works perfectly, aside from the fact it’s right beside Adam’s computer. He can’t smell the best anyways, so no harm there.
Paris has also enjoyed some outdoor time. She was once a feisty outdoor cat that was used to defending her food from racoons, but now in her elder years, she remains inside. Once in a while on a nice day, though, we like to strap her into a harness and take her outside so she can rummage about the long grass for a little while. She loves it.
Bella also loved the RV instantly because we could be living in a car and she wouldn’t care as long as she is with us. Because one of us are usually home, Bella gets lots of outdoor play whether it’s playing ball in the field, taking a walk on the Confederation Trail or going for a beach walk. She, like Paris, also gets a tremendous amount of joy out of watching the chipmunks running around our trailer. One day she sat and stared at an old wooden deck for half an hour because she knew one of the chipmunks were under there. She’s ridiculously obsessed with chipmunks and squirrels. It’s quite hilarious but we’re so happy to see that both she and Paris have easily adjusted to living in the RV.
3. Water Hose. A brand new water hose will make the water taste and smell a bit funny. At first, we weren’t quite sure if it was the water, our filters or something else. We confirmed with Jason at here at Jellystone that a brand new hose usually has a bit of a taste for the first little while. It also makes the water smell a little bit like boiled eggs, which is unpleasant. Jason said that we should run the water for a bit and that usually helps. We did that, but it still took a couple of weeks for the smell & taste to completely go away. To overcome drinking smelly and bad tasting water we bought a cheap pitcher and got our drinking water direct from a neighbouring hookup.
4.Stair Covers. Stair covers are crazy expensive. $20 a step. I did find them on sale for $13, but even still there was no way that we were paying that amount for stair covers. I really wanted them to help protect Bella’s nails from being accidentally torn off which I had read about on some full-time RV Facebook pages. In the end, I made our own with grommets, zip ties, and indoor-outdoor carpeting. I’ll be sure to post a how-to post later so you can make your own and save yourself some cash.
5. RV Keys. RV keys are cheaply made and will break off in a lock if your spouse has super strong hands. Adam broke the key off in a lock due to his super strength. I immediately went and made copies just in case it happened again. I mentioned this to a gentleman at the hardware store and he recommended that we get lock lube which you inject into the lock to make them easier to turn. We gave it try and it worked really well. We highly recommend you get a small tube to keep handy around your RV and lube up the locks every few months.
We must also recommend that you have a spare key cut and keep them somewhere outside of the RV just in case you forget or lose your other keys. We purchased a small little magnetic key box and attached it in a location that only we will be able to locate. You could also keep one in your car if you’d prefer.
6. Surge Protectors. Surge protectors are a MUST for any RV park. We purchased ours immediately after moving into the RV. They are pricey but it is well worth the piece of mind. The upfront cost is worth it when you consider how much damage can be caused by a lightning strike or a voltage spike/surge. We’ve read stories where people have had thousands of dollars in damage caused when this happens. We have heard that this seems to be more of an issue in the US than here in Canada but it wasn’t something we wanted to risk.
Because the surge protector was so expensive and is hooked up outside, we didn’t want to risk having it stolen. It’s unlikely, but it is one of those, better safe than sorry situations. As a result, we rigged up a lock system which should deter and would be thieves. If they really want it, they could still get it, but we’re certain what we rigged up should do the trick.
7. Tanks. Emptying the Black and Grey Water tanks (Black is toilet- Grey is sink/shower) is not difficult. Adam did find that the sewer hole did smell as he remarked several times, “that smells” to which I would say “it’s a sewer hole, it’s going to smell.” The actual most difficult part of it all was getting the circle bracket on the poo hose, but fortunately, we had Jason help us once again with his expertise.
We also learned a couple of tips from Jason in regards to the hoses/tanks. Because we are full-timing, he recommended that we could leave the grey tanks open and they could constantly drain. The black tank, though, should remain closed until it needs to be flushed as the odour from the sewer line can slowly creep its way into the trailer and that is definitely something we don’t want to deal with, especially since we already deal with the smell of Paris’ cat box.
8. Fuses. It only took a couple of days of full-time RVing to blow our first fuse. I didn’t realize but Adam had the computer on, the little space heater was on, as were the lights and radio and when I plugged the kettle in, ZAP. Fuse blew. I thought we had to flip the fuse over in our RV. Not the case. After looking at the fuses, they were all still ON. I was confused. We consulted the owners manual and still couldn’t figure it out. So – who did we go to? Jason, of course. Turns out that every four or five RVs share another fuse panel that is outdoors. We opened that up and naturally, our fuse just had to be switched back over. Problem solved and another lesson learned.
9. Levelling the RV. This is important not only for your own comfort, but the RV being level affects everything inside from your fridge, to your slides plus a level RV means it will last longer! Adam really learned about this in regards how to use the jacks to level the RV. I’m a bit terrified of the jacks, but I am going to have to woman up and figure it out!
10. RV Beds. RV BEDS are comfy! I have heard horrible reviews about RV beds from other people, but ours is a gem! For some reason, this queen size bed feels bigger and it is great on both of our backs. We’ve enjoyed sleeping on the bed so far and seem to be sleeping quite peacefully, aside from when Adam gets a case of the “jimmy legs” in the middle of the night. We also love how cozy the bedroom feels for sleeping and also love the windows we have on each side of the bed.
11. Propane Stove. Using a propane stove/oven is not difficult and it actually cooks food quite well. We use it almost every day to cook at least one meal. We read that some people don’t like to use their RV stoves because they’re afraid to use them. I’m not sure why that would be. Perhaps it’s because it’s propane and they’re afraid of blowing their trailer to smithereens? No need to worry about that with the stove or even the oven for that matter, however….
Adam first used the oven when I wasn’t home. When I came home, he informed me of how afraid he was to use the oven because again, he thought it could blow the trailer to smithereens. He told me that he watched a couple of videos on Youtube on how to properly light the oven after reading the manual proved useless. Adam is now the “expert” at lighting the oven and he learned that it’s pretty difficult to actually blow the trailer to smithereens, which is comforting.
12. Staying Connected. The internet in RV Parks is typically spotty. This has been a big challenge for us. Week one was very busy with lots of attention to this blog. We were being asked to be interviewed, and we were getting a LOT of emails from people all over North America that we wanted to reply to. Wifi can be spotty at times, but if you don’t mind going to the clubhouse at times it’s usually much better there. Also buying a wi-fi booster can help your case.
13. Keep things secure. In the middle of the night, I heard what I thought was the cat stuck in the closet. It was 2 am, and something was making a tap, tap, tap noise. It was windy out, so I thought it was maybe the vent on the roof. After a bleary-eyed inspection, I discovered the noise was outside. As I grumpily got my hikers on and pulled on my coat over my pj’s I wondered if I had left one of the basement doors unlatched. Nope. It was our moose crossing sign that I had hung on the side of our RV. I only had it attached at the top, so the bottom was tapping at the bottom, just loud enough to keep me awake. Adam slept through the entire thing. So, note to self, secure things outside or the wind will make them rattle/tap/bang in the night possibly wrecking that peacefully sleep you were enjoying
14. Stabilizing. If this trailer’s-a-rockin’ it’s because of the wind. Yes, RVs aren’t as stable as bricks & sticks homes are. We’ve done a few things to alleviate the issue such as getting a stablizer tripod for the front of the RV. We also got the typical wheel chocks and made sure to properly stabilize the rear of the trailer with the jacks. It still wobbles at times, especially in the slide outs where there is less support from beneath. We’ve seen other solutions online from other RVers on how to overcome this issue but we haven’t yet fully investigated them yet. If you have any solutions from your experiences, we’d love to hear them.
That’s month one in the books with many more to come. We know that we’ve only just scratched the surface of what we will learn while living in an RV but we continue to look forward to every moment of it.
What did you learn when you first got your RV? Any great tips to share? Comment Below!
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