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One of the biggest challenges RVers face is finding a reliable internet connection wherever they travel. Even though most RV parks have WiFi available, it’s not always free nor is the signal always strong enough to work or watch Netflix.
If you need consistently fast internet in your RV, I strongly suggest you invest in a WiFi extender like the SkyPro LTE from WiFiRanger. With the SkyPro, you can easily connect to WiFi hotspots that would normally have a weak signal.
WiFiRanger has been popular among RVers for years and their latest SkyPro is no exception in quality. The WiFi booster comes in an all-in-one package with everything you need to stay connected.
No need to drill a hole, you can run the cord inside through a refrigerator vent, slide, or engine compartment. Then simply plug the cable into Port 5 of the router to power up.
Once powered on, you can set up a private network on the router for all of your wireless devices. It has several LAN ports and allows USB tethering a 3G/4G Aircard or MiFi device.
The SkyPro can then help you get (and stay) online by searching for WiFi signals, the nearest cell phone tower, or both. The flexible antennas can bend down to 5″ clearance to help protect against trees.
“I’ve had the SkyPro now for 8 months and the difference it makes is incredible.” A reviewer shared on their website. “1. It reaches out and is able to grab RV park signals that normally would be weak. 2. The ability to connect all your devices and appear as one to the RV parks access point is fantastic (some parks have a limit of the number of devices that you can connect. 3. The control panel allows you to monitor your usage if you would like to better control your weekly or monthly usage.”
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The new camping season will be here before we know it and before it arrives you’ll want to give the interior of your RV a good deep clean! It may sound strange but I love cleaning my RV. Really! One, it takes much less time than cleaning my house even when it’s a pull-out-everything-from-cabinets deep clean. Two, my RV is my escape, my retreat, and that makes it feel like less of a chore and more like a chance to give her the pampering she deserves.
Below is how I clean my RV’s interior. I like to start with the ceilings. Then I work from one end to the other and ﬁnally ﬁnish with the ﬂoors. It’s so satisfying to know that my RV is clean and ready to go for the next adventure.
I’ve included a lot of small tips to help make the cleaning process more efﬁcient, but I want to stress my favorite tip: While you are cleaning keep an eye out for any items that may need repair or require preventative maintenance and write it down. Cleaning is a perfect time to do this because you are going over every surface. If you do this along with regular exterior inspections your RV is sure to give you many years of enjoyment!
Tip: If possible, plan your cleaning on a reasonably warm day so you can open the windows. You don’t want to be breathing the cleaning product fumes and the air circulation will help things dry out quicker and cut down on odors.
Alright grab your supplies and get scrubbing!
Boxes of Baking Soda
Magic Sponge (for any tough marks on ceilings or walls)
Vacuum with attachments
Rags and/or Paper Towels
Something to take notes on: phone or paper or my handy PDF checklist linked below! 🙂
Start with the ceilings so you can vacuum or sweep up anything that may drop out of the vents or fans. Use your vacuum attachment to suck up any cobwebs that may have collected on the ceiling and clean out any dust that may have accumulated in the vents/fans. Pull out the screens and vacuum them. If they are really dirty you may want to wash them with water. Don’t forget to vacuum the vents of your air conditioner and check the ﬁlter to see if it needs to be replaced or cleaned.
Tip: While wiping the ceiling down with a damp cloth, look closely for signs of discoloration or any “bubbling”. Make a note of any spots that may need some preventative maintenance.
Start by cleaning the windows. Next scan the walls noting the condition. Wipe the walls paying special attention to the doorways where dirt tends to accumulate. Take out all bedding and give it a good shake. If the RV has been in storage, I like to wash everything to get ready for the new camping season. If I’m in the middle of camping season, I’ll likely just fold it and put it away. Next, vacuum the closets and clean mirrors. Finally, if you aren’t going to be camping for a few months, stick a box of baking soda in the closet.
Tip: Don’t forget to vacuum the under-the-bed storage compartment if you have it!
Start with the walls to remove any personal product residue. Next is the toilet and tanks. You can use a garden hose to spray down inside the tank as best as you can. Drop in some holding tank treatment to keep things fresh and wipe down the toilet. Pull out your belongings from the cabinets and wipe the shelves. Clean the mirror, sink, and shower or tub. Make notes of anything that needs maintenance or supplies you may be running low on and need to replenish.
Tip: There is a special attachment for your hose (pictured above) to make the job of cleaning the tank easier. Or a number of people swear that you can keep your tank really clean by putting a bag of ice in it during drives. The movement of the ice scrubs the tank for you. If you do this regularly you may be able to skip the spraying the tank step.
Start by cleaning upper cabinets that way you can easily vacuum or wipe away anything that falls down. I throw away any expired or stale food and quickly wipe out the cabinets. This is really important to make sure you don’t feed any unexpected “guests”. Clean the microwave. Next move on to the walls around the kitchen, paying special attention to the area above the sink and the stove and scrubbing away any residue. Give the stovetop and inside the oven a good scrub. Wipe out the inside of the fridge and freezer and leave a new box of baking soda to keep things fresh. Finally wipe down the sink and counters. Few things feel as satisfying as a sparkling clean sink. Don’t forget to take notes for maintenance issues or needed supplies.
Tip: Heat up a bowl of water in the microwave a few minutes before wiping it out. The steam will loosen any grime making it easy to clean.
Last but not least let’s give the living area a good clean. Wipe down the walls and windows. Dust and wipe down any upper cabinets. If you have a pull-out bed in the sofa, pull it out to vacuum underneath. Wipe down table. Lastly, dust the TV and entertainment system.
Tip: Store items under the dinette in bins or boxes that make it easy to pull things out to clean underneath.
We started by cleaning the ceilings of the entire RV and now we are going to end with the ﬂoors. Give them a good clean with the vacuum and then mop all the hard surface ﬂoors.
Tip: Enjoy the satisfaction of having a super clean RV! 🙂
That’s it! You’re done! To make things even easier for yourself I’ve put together a PDF “RV Interior Cleaning Checklist” for you to print out and use! CLICK HERE for PDF!
Do you have any tips for cleaning your RV’s interior? Please share in the comments below!
Thanks to Trailer Source for letting me use one of their RVs for photos while our Airstream is in the middle of a major remodel! If you are in Colorado be sure to check them out! They have a great selection of RVs.
Caulking and sealing are not exciting tasks for most of us. However, the old adage that an “ounce of prevention brings a pound of relief” rings true.
Typically there are three types of sealing technologies that prevent leaks in your RV for windows, doors, hatches, and seams. A combination of sealant quality and owner maintenance is the key to keeping things shipshape and leak-free.
1. Compression gaskets
You may be familiar with compression gaskets found on automotive engine valve covers, which are rubber or cork gaskets between the valve cover and cylinder head and are compressed by the tightening of the valve cover bolts.
The resiliency of the gasket creates a seal. The same principle is true for compression gaskets on your RV body. They are typically used to prevent leaks in your RV by sealing surface-mounted devices such as exterior lights and electrical outlets.
But, compression gaskets can potentially fail for a variety of reasons. If the bolts or screws come loose, the clamping force will be lost. Also, the gasket can dry out and will no longer remain resilient.
Further, the flange on a thin plastic light fixture requires many fasteners spaced close together to generate an even clamping force. If there are too few fasteners, the gasket ends up compressed near the screwhead.
Also, the gasket between the screws that are far apart may not have sufficient compression to resist heavy water loads. Another concern is the width of the sealing flange. It can reduce an effective sealing surface area, making gasket alignment critical.
How to find a damaged compression gasket
Compression gaskets in your coach are commonly visible between the siding and base of the device. Obvious problems may be apparent if the gasket looks displaced, cracked, or is missing altogether. Also, lightly apply a rocking pressure to the device.
If the flange easily moves and there’s a gap, it may leak while driving on a bumpy or twisting road during a rainstorm.
2. Formed-in-place seal
Using the valve cover analogy, this type of seal has the potential to outperform compression gaskets and is becoming more prevalent in the RV industry. It’s commonly used for windows, vents, and hatches.
One major benefit is the sealant conforms to different shapes much better than a compression gasket. Formed-in-place seals are typically captured inside the joint and may not be visible.
Sometimes you can see where the excess sealant has been squeezed out between the parts as a caulk-like extrusion. The type of sealant uses urethane and silicone materials, which simply convert the seal from a liquid to a solid, forming a rubber gasket.
How to find a damaged formed-in place seal
Look for gaps between the siding and window flanges. Generally, you should not be able to slip a piece of paper or a thin feeler gauge between the flange and the siding.
A firm but resilient material should be evident inside any gaps. Other faults of this sealant can pertain to the fact that it wasn’t applied properly or it’s not compatible with environmental exposure.
Filler seals are typically referred to as “butyl tape.” It’s often used to seal metal trim strips found on siding seams, wall-to-roof joints, and windows.
Butyl tape comes in rolls with various dimensions. Although it doesn’t have a “sticky side,” it does have tackiness on both surfaces.
Additionally, the tape acts as a filler and is similar to a formed-in-place gasket as excess sealant squeezes out and the remainder fills the voids.
Unlike the sealants used in formed-in-place gaskets, butyl tape has little adhesive qualities. Fastener spacing requirements are similar to compression gaskets.
It’s also more important since butyl tape is not resilient and does not “push back” when compressed.
How to find a damaged filler seal
Butyl tape can provide a long lasting seal. However, a low-quality butyl product will shrink, dry, and crack much quicker than a high-quality product.
Many times you can see where the excess butyl tape has been squeezed from the joint. A rule of thumb is if the butyl tape (that you can see) appears to be cracking, or if its dry, brittle and off-color, the tape inside the joint may be in similar condition.
More tips on sealants and finding leaks
You can ignore a strange leak at your own peril, but remember most manufacturer warranties require the owner to “inspect and re-seal” the RV at least twice a year.
It sounds easy, however, “re-sealing” to prevent leaks in your RV requires removal of windows, doors, trims, etc. Keeping moisture at bay can be done by a watchful eye on your rig.
Typically, “re-sealing” is done by running a bead of silicone over a window frame or around a hatch. While this may provide some reassurance and peace of mind, it’s not a long-term solution.
Here are some other pointers to address leaky issues:
Ask a professional to do a blower door test that pressurizes the RV to identify external leaks.
Do a survey and catalog all locations having some form of sealant that is in place and carefully inspect all the seals and record the condition.
Identify the type of seal and sealant used.
Further, to prevent leaks in your RV, prepare a plan detailing the steps required to maintain, restore, or replace the seal.
If your RV is indoors for winter, inspecting for leaks is a good spring and fall maintenance task. When your RV is usually outdoors and under the elements, inspections should be done more frequently (at least twice a year as per many manufacturers warranties) to prevent problems before they arise.
I have shared many times how I am compiling a national database on free places to camp or boondock in anticipation of that day when my wife and I have the opportunity to RV to the Midwest and East Coast. I have also shared how the farther east you travel, the more difficult it is to find areas to camp for free.
Imagine my surprise when I stumbled across this website that not only lists free places to camp across the country but that the sites listed include free utilities—many of them full hookups!
Many of the places limit how long you can stay for free from one to several days, but free is free!!!
Most of the campgrounds are located in small cities in the Midwest and operated by the city in the hopes that you will stop and patronize their city, while others are operated by casinos with the hope you will stay and donate to their slot machines, but in either case they are a great option for an overnight stop along your route.
With most of them providing free electrical hookups, these parks would be especially useful during hot weather when you need to operate your RV’s air conditioning.
While I haven’t had the opportunity to research all 78 listings on the website, the ones I did do a little research on confirmed that they are operating and offer free overnight stays with utilities!
Click here to visit the website listing the free camping locations. Click here to watch a Youtube review of one of the parks by a fellow RVer.
When you visit one of these parks, be certain to thank those responsible, be a good camper during your stay and leave the campground better than you found it when you depart. Also be sure to research the RV parks and campgrounds on RV Park Reviews.
Camping for free with utilities, an adventure in RVing this thrifty ole Norwegian can get excited about! If you have experienced staying at any of the parks listed, please share.
So, you’re bringing along the entire party for your next camping trip? Good! After all, the more, the merrier, right? Well, all of those people will need a place to kip and spend their time, which is why its important to choose a good fifth wheel with a sleeping capacity of more than 6 people. With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of the top 5 best fifth wheel RVs with bunk beds. Read on to find out!
What puts an RV on the list: Fifth wheels with bunk beds are dime a dozen. However, the ones that made our list have a maximum sleeping capacity of at least 7 and at least 3 bunkhouse floorplans so you get at least a few options to choose from. We’ve also paid special attention to a fifth wheel’s user reviews so you know you’re buying a fifth wheels with a satisfied user base.
Why we recommend the Forest River Wildcat fifth wheel: Given that it has 24 floorplans, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Wildcat, which is already a great fifth wheel, is also one of the best fifth wheels RVs with bunk beds as well. It can hold a maximum of 10 people in the Wilcat 28BH floorplan, but you could also go for the Wildcat 38MBX if you’re looking for something smaller. It’s also smaller and lighter than some other fifth wheels, making it great if your towing vehicle isn’t suited for heavier fifth wheels.
Heading on to the features, it has all the luxuries of a camper, as a fifth wheel well should, such as reclining theater seating and large LED TVs in the living room. On the outside, it sports custom accented front caps for a sleek look and some exterior features such as awning and outdoor speakers. You can also take it up a notch through the list of available options, which we recommend talking a look at in detail on the RV page!
23 different floor plans available
Residential brushed chrome door and drawer hardware
Why we recommend KZ Durango 1500 fifth wheel: While 7620 lbs might not sound light by any stretch of imagination, it would seem like it when you would look at other fifth wheels that start with 10,000 lbs dry weight. The Durango 1500, on the other hand, manages to add a good chunk of bunkhouse floorplans such as the Durango 1500 D280BHS and the Durango 1500 D292BHT, with its footprint ranging between 28 and 35 feet.
Tailgators will find the Durango 1500 quite appealing since it has all the writing for an exterior TV and has outside speakers too. Its equally good in terms of indoor features, where you’ll notice a full sized refrigerator, a deluxe sleeper sofa, pullout pantry and a faux vinyl ceiling. Similar to our previous choice it has a ton of different upgrades available: convection microwave, standalone DVD player, freestanding table and rear observation camera, to name a few. In a nutshell, the Durango 1500 is definitely a top choice for fifth wheel RVs with bunk beds.
12 different floor plans available!
100% exterior LED running lights and taillights
Outside speakers and pre-wired for exterior TV
8 Cubic foot double-door refrigerator
4-inch high-density foam cushions on all booth dinettes
Why we recommend the Keystone Hideout fifth wheel: The fifth wheel version of Keystone’s hideout is a bit different yet similar to its travel trailer version. Different in the sense that it features lesser number of floorplans and obviously more features since it’s a fifth wheel, but similar because its equally loved by users and critics in the fifth wheel world for its top notch quality and features. We recommend taking a look at the Hideout 295BHS and the Hideout 308BHDS.
Keystone’s attention to details is clear with the Hideout once you’ll notice that it has taken care of storage for those opting for a shorter fifth wheels and, of course, all of the luxuries regardless of which floorplan you choose. We liked that it had taken care of safety particularly well since (can’t be too safe, right?). Furthermore, it has a few options such as a free-standing dinette and a spare tire, making the Hideout another great choice!
Why we recommend the Palomino Puma fifth wheel: Palomino’s fifth wheel version of the Puma is a fifth wheel with, frankly, so many floorplans available that ones who didn’t make a checklist for buying their fifth wheel will find themselves confused because they’re all so good. From the 29 feet Puma 259RBSS to the 38 feet Puma 295BHSS, they’re all great and, of course, feature a lot of other bunkhouse floorplans too!
On the inside, the 80-inch height will allow people to comfortably stay and enjoy the luxuries it has to offer whether its cozying up on the sofa near the fireplace and watching some TV or cooking in the kitchen with its decorative splashboard, 3 burner cooktop and 6-feet double door refrigerator which can be upgraded to a 11 feet variant, as can its other aspects through a list of different options available. A few of them include but are not limited to an upgraded Serta® mattress, bike rack and roof ladder.
43 different floor plans
14-inch deep overhead cabinets in super-slide models
Evergreen high density foam mattress
Suburban 3-burner, high output range
Jack knife sofa with pull-down center drink tray and storage underneath
Why we recommend Heartland Sundance fifth wheel: The Sundance is another fifth wheel that isn’t oblivious to our other top fives. With its versatility both in terms of sleeping capacities and length, it’s likely you’ll find the perfect floorplan for you with the Sundance or, at least, somewhere pretty close. For bunkhouses in particular, the Sundance 297QB and the Sundance 3710MB are pretty great choices.
The Sundance is segregated into two variants: the mid profile and the high profile ones. There are bunkhouse floorplans in both variants and we’ll focus on the ones that are common in both of them. For starters, they have slam latch baggage doors, painted fiberglass front cap and solar prep. On the inside, both of them have 8 cubic feet refrigerators, universal docking stations and tri-fold sleeper sofas. Both can be upgraded to a 15,000 BTU air conditioner over the traditional 13,500 BTU one too.
The nationwide program connects active service members with free tent and RV sites across the U.S. The non-profit was founded by Charlie Curry, developer of Toutle River RV Resort in Washington State. He began offering free nights to military families at his own park about nine years ago and his organization has since expanded to over 300 parks across 49 states.
Bob Martin, the President and CEO of Thor Industries, said in a press release:
“This is just a small token of gratitude we can give to those who dedicate their lives to courageously serving our country. This donation represents much more than giving RVs. We hope they provide these families time away from their demanding duties to relax, connect and spend quality time with each other. The outdoors have an innate healing power, and we are honored to provide this retreat.”
The new donated units are part of their RV loaner program and set up on full hookup RV sites at participating campgrounds. They require a $100 deposit, $65 of which is returned to the guests as long as the RV is left clean. The campground keeps the remaining non-refundable $35 for utilities.
The new RVs include:
Tents For Troops also works with 300+ campgrounds across the country to provide service members with free tent and RV sites for at least two nights. You can find participating locations on their website here and read more about the campgrounds on RV Park Reviews.
The program is exclusively for active military members (including the National Guard and Reserve) who are camping with immediate family and is not currently offered for retired veterans. Reservations are always required as well as a military I.D. at check-in. For more information on the non-profit, visit tentsfortroops.org.
As the RV industry continues to grow, the RVs themselves are shrinking. Huge, 40-foot rigs are still the ideal for many. However, innovative manufacturers are competing to cram all the comforts of a Class A into smaller and more manageable spaces.
Some say that bigger is better, but these tiny campers may convince you otherwise.
Designed and built in Japan, Tentmushi Mini Campers cost $30,000 each. This price is a bargain for a motorhome, not to mention one with first-rate gas mileage.
The exterior resembles a tiny version of a Class B camper. With convertible furniture and pop-up roofs, they have surprisingly large interiors and can sleep up to four people. Tentmushi Mini Campers come fully equipped and fully mobile.
The QTvan, available for $8,800, was designed in the UK for local trips, eco-friendly camping, and staying the night in royal parade queues. It can be towed by a mobility scooter or bicycle, making it one of the slowest-moving campers, but also one of the cheapest to operate.
Each camper contains a small television, a radio, a small bed, a drink tray, and a shelf. Other add-ons are on sale as well for separate purchase.
The DROPLET is a Canadian teardrop trailer inspired by Scandinavian design, available to purchase for $17,950.00. It features a simple exterior and cozy sleeping quarters, complete with a queen-size mattress, cabinets, shelves, and LED lamps.
A large window also spans the front of the trailer, ideal for stargazing. The back opens to reveal a kitchen with a small fridge, a sink, and a propane stove. Conveniently, the DROPLET’s small frame allows most cars to tow it.
Designed in Germany, the Sealander is a $17,000 tiny camping trailer/pleasure boat combo. With its unique design and dual functions, it is the perfect travel companion.
Camp on the beach or near a lake, then push your camper onto the water and drift under the afternoon sun. The trailer comes equipped with a motor, swim ladder, and convertible sunroof, as well as benches that convert into a roomy bed.
An onboard battery and hookup cables allow access to electricity. For overnight stays on the water, mooring lines and an anchor are provided. The company also offers add-ons such as showers, toilets, and onboard speakers.
The Airstream Basecamp is a $34,900 American travel trailer. It cleverly fits all the elements of a Class A motorhome into a 16-foot shell. With a shower, a kitchen, a toilet, and benches that convert into beds, it easily meets all your camping needs.
Overhead storage free up floor space, and the shower head also reaches outside to rinse off muddy gear. For additional space, Airstream sells tents that can connect to any of the Basecamp’s entrances.