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5 Signs You're an RV Beginner

Updated: Jan 27

Come walk with us through some of the campgrounds we’ve been to as we share 5 things we see that let us know you’re still a beginner. Let’s get started!

We’ve been through a lot of campgrounds and there are a number of things we see that are beginner mistakes.  Even some of the most seasoned campers still make these mistakes. Watch the video version of this blog post here or continue reading below:

Can you Leave Your RV Tires off the Ground When Camping?

Have you seen RVs set to takeoff and ready to fly?  Do you know what we mean?  It’s when a motorhome is setup in a campsite with their tires in the air.  We’ve noticed so many motorhomes with their front end up in the air. It makes us think there’s still a beginner running that RV.  Every once in a while we see the rear tires off the ground.  The RV forums are filled with the debate as to whether it is ok to have your tires off the ground when parked at campgrounds.  But, we’ve heard of enough damage done to RVs to know that when parked keep your tires on the ground.  

RV in a campground with it's front wheels off the ground

We never talk with an RV owner about this issue though because everyone has their opinion.  We can’t wait to hear what you think in the comments!  

But, if not for the benefit of the RV then keep your tires on the ground for the benefit of your camping experience.

We’ve noticed when tires are up in the air the RV moves a lot more.  A kid rolls over in bed at night and the whole RV shakes.  The more surface that is on the ground the less the RV shakes and moves.  So, for that we keep all six of our tires on the ground when camping.  But there are parts of the RV you can damage if your tires are off the ground.   We know there are a lot of parts that keep your tire on your RV.  All of these parts can get stressed when the RV is left in the air for days.   If the rear tires are off the ground then the parking brake is useless.  Yes, the jacks are on the ground but if the RV is swaying due to a storm the jacks could bend or break.  If the tires are off the ground you are putting stress on the leveling jacks and may damage them.  If that is not enough to change your mind most RV manuals say to never camp with your tires off the ground.

But one thing you can easily do so that you don’t have your tires in the air is plan ahead.  Review campground videos to see the sites in the campground and see whether the sites are level.  That is why we do our reviews like this in a walk and talk format.  We want you to see as many sites as you can to get a good look at the campground so you know what you are getting into.  If you have any concerns you can ask a question in the video or blog comments for the creator or you can call the campground office and talk them through your request, to have a level site reserved.  

But if you feel like you’re still going to have this problem get a set of leveling blocks.  We use these blocks often to deal with both front tires off the ground.  We’ve also used them when one side is lower than the other side.  You really need two sets of these blocks if the rear tires are going to end up off the ground.  But these pads aren’t that durable.  We recommend if you need more under the tires to take 2x12 or 2x10 lumber to setup as your base and put the leveling blocks on those if you need a lot of height adjustment.  With a little care you can look like a seasoned pro with all your tires on solid ground.  

Or maybe you’ve seen the Kite Runner camping.  Which leads us to this question

Can you Leave Your Awning out when you Leave the Campground?

Another beginner mistake is when you leave your awning extended out when you leave the campground without checking the weather.  We’ve seen this many times.  In fact, we watched this awning on a Thor Palazzo get destroyed at Wahweap RV Park and Campground on Lake Powell. 

Class a Motorhome with its awning extended getting destroyed in the wind

The weather was 110 degrees and there were sustained winds of 20 miles per hour with gusts over 50 miles per hour.  The wind was so bad that we were getting sandblasted on the beach.   So, we came back to the campground and discovered the Palazzo.  It pained us to watch but you just can’t go into someone’s RV when they aren’t there.  But before you get upset we did try to help.  A police officer cruised through the campground and we flagged him down.  We have a Palazzo too and know that the awning switch is just inside the door.   But even the police would not touch the RV due to the current state of things between police and the community.  It makes sense.  You never know if there is a dog inside or stuff that might cause problems.  We also called the campground office and let them know.  But, for your sake, when you leave for the day, put your awning away and other stuff and know the weather.  

Maybe you Would Like to Try this RV Tie Down Kit:

We have three more to go.  What do you see that lets you know someone is a beginner in the campground?  We’d like to know.  Join the conversation and let us know your advice in the comments.  

Have you ever seen an RV that looks like it needs a glass of V8?

Does RV Need to Be Perfectly Level?

There’s a lot of beginner RVers that come into the campground and set up their RV unlevel. Most of the time this happens with trailers as their axles are in the middle of the RV. We saw this trailer at the United States Space and Rocket Center campground in Huntsville, Alabama.  The trailer has leveling jacks and they pulled in earlier in the day.  They just chose not to use them.  Beginners may not know that there are a few issues with this.  One is your comfort.  When you sleep you will want a level surface so the blood doesn’t rush to your head if you are sleeping down hill.  But you may be putting stress on the RV that doesn’t need to happen. 

When an RV is unlevel and you are using it you can damage door hinges and door frames.  Door latches may not work well.  Refrigerators need to be level in order to function properly.  Water systems need to be level so the water flows well.  Your black and gray water tank gauges will take incorrect readings and you may overflow your tanks.  But slideouts may be the biggest problem.  If you try to use your slideouts when the RV is unlevel chances are they will break and you will have a disabled RV to repair.  Finally, you will put stress on the frame and other parts and cause damage when a little time leveling will create a better camping experience.  The leveling blocks are great for travel trailers, too. 

Walking around the campground we see a lot of RVs that need a visit from the Super Mario Brothers.  

Is It OK To Have a Water Leak in an RV?

This is a true beginner's mistake.  Especially, if you are out West, in a drought, or in the desert like here in Trailer Village at the Grand Canyon’s South Rim.  I walked through the park a few times to get these views and noticed a handful of beginners based on their water hookup.  If your water is leaking at the RV you are damaging your walls and floors and materials in the RV and will quickly have rot and mold to deal with.  RVs are big sponges when they get wet due to the particle board and insulation they use to build them.  But if you are leaking at the campground water hookup you are just wasting electricity and water resources.  When we have a leak with the water hookup we fill our fresh water tank and disconnect from the campground.  This keeps the water from leaking and prevents the destruction of your RV and wasting resources.  Campers create a lot of waste that can destroy the environment that we are enjoying.  Using water as a precious resource should be a priority for everyone in a campground.  If you have a leak consider a new water hose, a pressure regulator, or a wye with a shutoff to help keep your water flowing without leaks.

If you use YouTube to research campgrounds, subscribe to our channel today, so if you search for one we’ve been to, you will see our campground review in your search results.  You can also search this website for our written reviews!

Water and Electricity don’t mix except when identifying someone new to RVing.

So, let’s bring out our inner Benjamin Franklin.  

Should I use an RV Surge Protector?

It took us a while to learn this one and wasted a warm sunny afternoon in a campground because we were beginners.  Never again.  We had a travel trailer and a class A Gas motorhome before this became a problem and we learned our lesson.  We were camping in our brand new to us Class A Diesel motorhome on our first trip out and ran into trouble.  When we arrived and went to setup camp we dropped our leveling jacks, turned the engine off, and plugged into the campground.  But, the slideouts wouldn’t work.  I pulled out the user manuals and did my best to troubleshoot the issue.  I checked fuses and circuit breakers.  The slideout motors had power and it didn’t make sense.  So, I started making phone calls.  Roadside RV assistance wouldn’t help because I was parked in a campground and not broke down on the road.  I called Thor and the service tech wanted to work the issue with a volt meter.  I didn’t have one.  We were stuck with the slideouts in.  Not the worst problem but still an issue when you’ve been on the road all day in a tight RV.  and oh by the way this day was the best weather day of the week and we wanted to play instead of deal with this.  I decided to make another call to Thor and I got another service tech.  He shared with me the information I needed to solve my problem.  Nothing I tried or heard over 4 hours worked.  But he had the solution.  There is a 5 amp fuse for the switch that I didn’t know about and it had blown due to power from the campground.  I know it was the RV park because the fuse blew two more times that week.  

Beginners don’t want to spend the money on a surge protector.  These expensive little pieces of equipment are good insurance from an electrical issue that will ruin your camping trip.  Since using a surge protector we have not had any issue with blown fuses or electrical issues from storms or from the campground power.  This is the less expensive surge protector that has kept our electrical system safe.  RVers who have camped for any length of time will run into bad power at a campground and will buy a surge protector.  Save yourself a break down and buy an RV Surge Protector today.  

To keep learning about campgrounds and camping with your RV read these posts next.  

To view any product mentioned by us in our posts, click this link:   As an Amazon Associate, we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.

Share this post on Pinterest with one of the photos below!

Rv at a campsite with the front tires in the air
RV in a campsite leaking water onto the pavement

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