RV Camping Tips Every Beginner Should Know

RV park in Salem

Whether driving to an RV park in Salem or taking your vehicle to the Painted Hills, nothing offers the freedom to explore Oregon in style like an RV. If about to take your first trip using an RV, you might think that learning how to drive such a large vehicle would be your biggest challenge. While navigating an RV does take some practice, you’ll find that taking an RV trip requires planning ahead by making sure you have a few essentials covered well in advance.

To make your first trip to an RV park in Salem, the wine country of Willamette or the Oregon Coast one to remember, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Practice Driving Your RV Around Town Before Heading Out on the Road

Even if you drive a large SUV, getting behind the wheel of an RV is a completely different experience. So you don’t feel overwhelmed trying to navigate such a large vehicle, you should take some time to drive it around the neighborhood before taking it out on the road.

While learning how to navigate the small streets of your neighborhood may seem unnecessary when a trip require a lot of highway driving, visiting many of Oregon’s most scenic vistas require driving on narrow, curvy roads. Taking the time to learn how to make turns, getting comfortable with the vehicle’s front clearance and brake time will enable you to feel far more confident when actually on your trip.

Test Drive Your Camping Experience at Home

While the excitement and freedom offered by an RV will often make you want to immediately hit the open road, you should consider having your first camping experience occur in the driveway. Spending a night in the RV at home will give you the information needed to make any changes to how you pack and prepare for your trip.

For example, if the RV gets colder than expected at night you’ll know to pack an extra blanket. Wakeup wanting a cup of coffee only to discover no coffee pot will allow you to put one more item on your packing list. Did you pack a can opener? Is the fridge big enough to fit all of your supplies or do you need to bring a cooler for more space? Do you need to bring an adaptor to charge all of your electronics? These are the type of questions you will have wished answered before reaching the campsite.

Pack What You Need, Not Everything You Want

RVs come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Some you can pull behind your vehicle, while others command the road and give big rigs a run for their money. During your first RV trip, you may find the urge to over-pack just because you want to fill all of the cabinets and draws with the gadgets and supplies you think might be necessary. However, restraint is often the best course of action until you get more experience to know what you really need when out on the road.

Just like every other niche industry, the RV world has an endless number of gadgets and tools marketed towards RV owners. Items like Quake Hold, Command Strips, and Command Hooks help to keep your stuff from moving around while driving, while portable slow cookers, mini ovens and portable grills give you different options for cooking. However, until you’ve actually gone camping in your RV, you don’t know what you really need or even want.

Why buy an RV compatible slow cooker if all of your meals are cooked on the gas grill? Why buy a whole series of grips and glues to hold your stuff down if your RV is actually too small to include the knickknacks these products are designed for?

Before buying what you want for your RV, take the time to actually learn firsthand what you need? You’ll save a whole lot of space and money.

Know What Your Campsite Includes

The amenities included at your campsite should heavily influence how you pack for your trip. This can include small items like food should your campsite be in town near a grocery store to far bigger and more important items like whether to pack like water.

While it might seem counterintuitive to start any journey without a full tank of water, there are times when leaving your water tank empty makes a lot of sense. Water is incredibly heavy to transport, and takes a serious toll on both your mileage and horsepower. If staying at an RV park in Salem that has full services available, you will have easy access to water after connecting your hookups.

Planning ahead is important, but being prepared isn’t the same as knowing what services await when you finally arrive.

Reserve Your Camping Spot in Advance

RV camping is incredibly popular past time, and you might find an RV park full if you don’t make your reservation in advance.

When making your reservation, consider asking some of the following questions:

  • What time is check-in and check-out?
  • Does the campground have quite hours? If so, what are those time?
  • What services or amenities are available at the camp site?
  • Are generators allowed?
  • Are pets allowed?
  • What size restrictions, if any, are there for vehicles?
  • Are there supplies, such as food, available nearby?

Make sure to print out a copy of your campground reservation before leaving. This will help to clarify any confusion when arriving at your campsite.