How To Find The Perfect RV

If you have worn out a set of tires driving all over to attend RV shows, collected so many sales brochures that you had to hire a librarian to catalog them, and visited so many RV manufacturers websites that you can’t remember the difference between a Foretravel and a Forester, then you have analysis paralysis and I have a tip for you.

There is no such thing as the perfect RV—it will always be a compromise.

Shorter RV lets us enjoy tight campsites – Photos via author

If you get one large enough to have all the features you want and storage to take everything with you, it will be too big for some campgrounds and the fuel mileage won’t be ideal. It may not fit your budget either.

Conversely, if you get a smaller RV that’s easier to drive and park in rural campgrounds, you probably won’t be able to have the desired master bedroom suite, three 55” TVs, 100-gallon freshwater tank, and two bathrooms.

Good ground clearance to access and level up in camp spots like this

So how do you decide which RV is right for you? Prioritize your needs into categories such as; “must haves”, “important”, “would be nice, but can survive without it”, etc.

Here is how my wife and I chose our current travel trailer:

  • Island queen bed so neither of us had to crawl over the other one
  • Half-ton towable
  • 27-foot or shorter, so we can park it at home and fit in smaller campsites
  • A couch so we didn’t have to sit at the dinette all the time
  • Large freshwater tank for extended boondocking
  • High clearance for going off-road
  • A shower I can stand up in
  • More than one exterior baggage compartment
  • A freestanding lounge chair
Would be nice, but can survive without it:
  • Canned food “pantry” so we don’t have to store canned goods in overhead cabinets
  • 8-foot refrigerator
  • Big windows to enjoy views and skylight(s) to let light in
  • More than one roof vent

We ended up with a trailer that had all of our “Must-Haves”, the majority of the “Important” items, and even a few of the “Would be nice, but can survive without it” features.

Big windows to enjoy views

We spent less than a couple hours making our decision and we actually never even looked at the unit together. It really can be that easy to decide on which RV to purchase if you prioritize the features you are looking for.

Just say “enough” to analysis paralysis and buy a unit using the guidelines above to start enjoying your own adventures in RVing!

See also: What Is The Best RV For Your Lifestyle?

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What Is Boondocking? – How to Find It and Get Good At Doing It!

What is boondocking? Well, we’re here to share all about it!

If you love RV living and exploring the USA, boondocking will get you deeper into those rich experiences you desire. It will introduce you to new areas (where the tourists don’t go). And, best of all, it will be kind to your wallet!


What is Boondocking?

Boondocking has a ton of definitions. Almost every RVer defines it uniquely. Boondocking, also referred to as dry camping, free camping, overnight parking and freedom camping, is pretty much camping for free with no hook ups.

While you can sometimes “boondock” at Walmart, Cracker Barrel, Interstate rest stops and truck stops, today we’re focusing on boondocking on public lands.

Aside from being free – our definition also mentions camping “without hook ups”. That means no water connection, no electrical connection and no sewer connection.

Here’s a picture of what boondocking looks like:


How To Find Boondocking Spots

It’s pretty easy to find boondocking sites in the USA. Our favorite resource is Campendium. Once you visit their website, just type in the location where you want to camp and click search. You’ll see a ton of options. Narrow your search to “free” in the price menu and then you’ll see all the boondocking locations!

You can also find great boondocking sites on Free Campsites. Again, just enter the location you want to visit, click search, and SHAZAM, you’ll see all the free campsites!

We also use Allstays to find free camping sometimes. But, if you’re a newbie, just stick to the two above until you get your bearings.

Things To Prepare You For Boondocking

To boondock for more than one day, you’ll need to do a little preparation: make sure your water tanks are full, know the limits of your holding tanks and have a game plan for your power needs.

71j2Ien-FWL._SL1170_A generator is the easiest path to instant availability for high power. We have a Honda 2200 (linked in the previous sentence). It’s an amazing, high quality unit that has stood the test of time. However, you can get the same power generator for half the price if you’re budget conscious. 

You can also use solar power. It requires more money and more battery space. If you’re a tech nerd you may want to research it. But, if you’re a total boondocking newbie, a generator is probably your best bet to get you started. You can always upgrade to solar in the future and your generator will still come in handy on cloudy days.

Boondocking Etiquette 

Sure, the list for boondocking etiquette could go on forever…but, we’re just going to cover a few basics.

First, don’t camp too close to the next guy. Fifty yards is a good rule of thumb, but really it all depends on the location. Sometimes you have to park close to your neighbor (like at this free camping spot near Zion National Park). If space allows however, keep your distance!

Second, keep your pets on a leash or under voice control. Your dog may be the nicest pup around, but if he runs over to a neighbors leashed dog, you never know what will happen. For the safety of your pup and everyone else – make sure you have control of it! AND, always pick up dog poop!

Lastly, leave the spot cleaner than when you arrived! Simple and important. Boondocking sites across the USA get shut down every year because of trash.

Boondocking Resources

We publish lists of our favorite boondocking sites every year! You can find all of those below:

Top 10 Boondocking Site of 2017

Top 10 Boondocking Site of 2016

Must Have Camping Gear



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10 Reasons RV Living is for You! – Find Your Freedom

RV Living is gaining major attention these days. In fact, RV sales are at an all time high in the USA. But, the question remains: Is RV Living for you?

We think so!

Maybe we’re a little biased (or a lot biased), either way today we’ll give you 10 reasons to explore the possibility of full time RV living.

In case you want a second opinion, here’s a video of 10 RVers sharing why they chose RV life!


Once you hit the road, you may be sad to depart your beloved family and friends. Take this chance to rekindle old relationships with loved ones across the US.

We started new traditions of spending holidays with cousins who live across the country. It has been such a blessing to spend more time with family members that we once saw only every couple years.

We’ve also reconnected with old friends throughout our travels.

Well, duh! Isn’t this what fuels everyone’s desire to take up RVing.

This country is insanely beautiful and unique. During our “sticks & bricks” life we’d have to cram in as much travel as we could into a two week window – now we get to really experience the country at our own pace.

We stick by the old saying, “the west is best!” But, it’s all worth exploring.

I guess the hip folks call this “getting woke,” but we like to think of it as living in the moment.

If RV life does nothing else, it forces us to stay on our toes. Being in ever-changing environments and meeting new people around every corner… it trains us to be aware of the present moment.

It’s also made us aware that people are good! We’ve had more strangers approach us with a helping hand than a harmful one.

Making friends on the road is easier than we ever imagined. And, the quality of friendships is wonderful.

These friendships are based on a mutual love for adventure & exploration…not based on our cubical proximity.

We recommend joining the Xscapers RV Club to find likeminded travelers.


Yes – it’s possible to save money on monthly expenses once you hit the road. For many months our total expenses were less than $2000.

This will obviously depend on your lifestyle, but if you do some research and learn about boondocking, you can travel the country virtually rent free!

We boondock about 50% of the time – here’s a monthly expense report showing how much it can lower your bills!

When your home has wheels you can take it anywhere the road leads! We’re not much into festivals, or so we thought. We imagined half naked bodies, hopped up on drugs and dancing to rave music when we imagined festivals (nothing against it, just too intense for us).

We quickly found that festivals come in all shapes and sizes. We explored a vegan food fest in Denver and a blues fest (featuring Bonnie Raitt, Taj Mahal & Steve Winwood) in Telluride.


You only live once. I’m not sure I believe this, but it’s a smart philosophy to live by! Like the infomercial say:

Why Wait? Act now!

Your geography will improve once you hit the road. Your knowledge of American history with grow. You may even become an expert of random roadside attractions.

Beyond having a newfound knowledge of trivia – you’ll have conversation-starters you never thought were possible.

I love learning were strangers are from now because there’s a strong probability that I’ve had my own experience from a nearby location. These points of connection lead to wonderful conversations!

Like it or not, you’re gonna learn how to preform a lot of basic mechanical work. Sure you can call a guy, but that gets expensive. RVs are notoriously…let me think of a nice way to put it….made cheaply!

Tools you once feared will soon become your trusted friends.

You’ll probably be able to diagnose a faulty starter, a broken alternator or even a leaky coolant system. And, best of all, you’ll take pride in these new found skills!

The last reason RV living is for you….you’re crazy! Your family doesn’t understand this “half-baked” idea, your friends think you’re off the rocker, and lord knows what the pastor thinks!

All these things aside – if the desire is deep within you – it should be explored!

We’re all a little crazy out here on the road and you’ll fit right in with this tribe.

If you’re looking for additional resources on RV life, we recommend reading the Top 10 Newbie Lessons for RV Living.

Also, watch this video about the Top 10 Unexpected Expenses for RV Life!

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How To Find Out If Your Trailer Is Overweight & Tips For Losing RV Weight

Do you need to lose weight? No, I don’t mean go on a diet or start exercising more. I’m talking about trailer weight—you know, those extra pounds that stack up every time you buy a souvenir or invest in a new DVD player for your RV.

According to the RVSEF, about 60% of travel trailers exceed their maximum weight capacity. A couple extra pounds may seem like a minor problem, but the truth is that excessive trailer weight is responsible for the majority of RV safety issues. Keep reading to find out how to avoid these hazards and make your next trip a safe one.

How to find out if you’re overweight

The first step is to find out if your trailer actually is overweight. Check the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) and GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating) in your tow car’s manual to determine the maximum weight your vehicle can handle, including itself and its passengers. Also note your trailer’s GVWR, which is often found in the user manual or printed inside the trailer. When you have these numbers, you need to take your vehicle and trailer to a weighing station.

The most accurate method of weight measurement is wheel position weighing, which determines how much weight is resting on each of the vehicle’s wheels. This allows you to see if the trailer’s weight is unevenly distributed. Only a few companies offer wheel position weighing, but many of them travel the country. If you’re willing to pay the $75 for an accurate measurement, you can make an appointment online.

A cheaper and more convenient way to get a semi-accurate weight measurement is by using a certified CAT scale, found at many truck stops. These cost about $10 the first time you measure, and only a couple dollars each time afterward. CAT scales take an axle-by-axle reading, which still gives you a good idea of your trailer’s weight. Just make sure it falls far below your trailer’s GVWR. You can also use a CAT scale to weigh your tow vehicle and make sure that the weight of your car doesn’t exceed its limits. After weighing your vehicle and tow trailer, you can add the two weights together and compare it to your car’s GCWR. This will tell you if your vehicle is able to tow your trailer.

Check the GVWR in your tow car’s manual to determine the maximum weight your vehicle can handle

Dangers of traveling with an overweight trailer

If your trailer’s weight (including all cargo and passengers) does exceed its maximum capacity, driving with the trailer attached is a huge risk. Overweight trailers put more pressure on the wheels and axles than they are designed to handle, which can cause tire blowouts or trailer sway.

Excess weight causes tires to wear more quickly and makes it harder to stop the vehicle. If your vehicle is involved in an accident, you will be liable. Insurance companies will be less likely to help pay for damages. Police officers can also pull you over and give you a hefty fine if they suspect that your trailer is overweight. In other words, traveling with extra weight just isn’t worth the issues that it can cause.

Too much weight can cause problems like trailer sway. Photo by Larry & Teddy Page/Flickr

How to lose weight

“So,” you may be asking, “now what?” The answer is simple—it’s time to lose some weight. Obviously, you can’t throw out large items like your mattress or toilet, but you might be surprised at how much you can downsize by paying attention to the small things in your trailer.

Every time you buy a souvenir, a decoration, or even a storage basket, you add weight to your trailer. These tiny amounts really add up, so consider getting rid of some of the extra stuff. Ask yourself which items you need to keep, and which ones you hardly ever use. This could be clothing, extra bedding, unnecessary dishes, or the camp stove you never cook with. Be frugal with what you decide to buy and keep the weight of your trailer in mind.

Donate extra clothing that you never wear. Photo by Francesca Tirico/Unsplash

Top tips for trailer weight

  • Fill it up: Keep in mind that water, propane, and fuel add extra weight. Fill all your tanks before weighing for an accurate measurement.
  • Weigh in advance: Don’t wait until the day you start a long trip to weigh your trailer. Give yourself time to make adjustments and make an appointment at a weighing station if you need to.
  • Balance your weight: Even if your trailer falls within the weight limits, too much weight on one side can cause a serious accident. Rearrange your things to evenly distribute their weight.
  • Leave room to grow: Don’t go traveling with a trailer that falls just a pound or two under the weight limit. Leave as much room as possible in case you absolutely have to add something.
  • Weigh your stuff: When packing your trailer, consider stacking food, clothes, and anything else that you’re bringing in a cardboard box and weighing it on a bathroom scale. This can give you an idea of how many pounds you’re adding.

Overweight trailers may seem like a small problem, but surpassing your vehicle’s maximum capacity can be disastrous. Pay attention to your trailer’s weight and stay safe on the road.

See also: Haul Less Weight In Your RV With These Useful Tips

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Guest Post: Is It Right for Me? Find Your Perfect RV

Find Your Perfect RV

Is It Right for Me? Find Your Perfect RV

Now that you’re armed with all the resources and preliminary information you need, it’s time to put your nose to the grindstone and find your dream RV. You’ll need to ask yourself a few important questions during your research. Don’t worry – we’re here to help you answer them.

#1. Understanding Your Travel Style

In the previous article, we briefly covered a few different travel styles and how they may impact your decision. Now, it’s time to find your travel style, so you don’t get stuck with an RV that doesn’t work for you:


  • Would you rather tow a trailer or drive a motorhome? Towing can be a challenge and takes a great deal of practice, but it has the benefit of being able to leave your RV at the campground and take your tow vehicle into town. Driving a motorhome is a little easier, especially if you’re in a Class B or Class C, which is similar to driving an oversized van or truck.
  • How do you plan on camping? Do you have the funds to stay at high-end RV resorts, or would you rather save money and stay in basic campgrounds or dispersed campsites? Camping off the grid is free, fun, and rewarding, but you’ll want to make sure your RV is equipped to do so. Solar panels, large holding tanks, and energy-efficient appliances are a must. You can learn more about boondocking with this free guide from RVshare.
  • Will you be spending most of your time outdoors, exploring, or does hanging out around the RV sound more like your cup of tea? If it’s the former, a basic, no-frills camper should suit you just fine. If you like entertaining, though, you might want to look for an RV with an outdoor kitchen or TV.
  • How much privacy does your family need? If you want a quiet space away from the rambunctious kiddos, look for RVs with versatile layouts. Fifth wheels and Class C motorhomes often have two distinct sleeping areas on opposite sides of the RV – kids and parents get their own separate bedrooms!


#2. New Vs. Used

Another critical decision is whether to buy new or used. A new RV will come with a warranty and the appeal of having very few miles on it – but you’ll need to pay a pretty penny for it. On the flipside, used RVs are more affordable, but they often don’t come with warranties or financing. Gone With the Wynns has an excellent blog post about their experience buying a new RV.


#3. Size Matters: Floor Plans and Layouts

Space is precious in an RV. Not only is it important how much space you have; it’s also important how the space is used. A poor layout can make even the most spacious RV feel claustrophobic. RV floor plans are diverse, so you’ll need to look at many different ones to find out which is best for you. One of the best ways to try out different floor plans in real life is to rent an RV for a few days. You can find a wealth of local RV rentals by owner online.

– – – – –

BEFORE you head to a dealer to see new and used trailers, download your FREE RV Buyers Worksheet for help keeping track of:

  • The feature must haves that are important to you and your family
  • Which brands or manufacturers you like
  • Budgeting tools including a payment calculator resource
  • Multiple well spaced pages with room for lots of your notes
  • BONUS Resources: Trade-in values, tow vehicle ratings, and finance options

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