FAQ:  RV’er Newbie Questions and Answers

Bottoming Out RV Tow Vehicle - RV Newbie Problems and Questions

Even the best laid plans don’t always turn out well.  I couldn’t even get out of my driveway once I had my tow dolly and car hooked up to my RV.  Not the greatest start to a trip, but I survived and lived to tell the tale.  (P.S.  I never thought I’d actually share this embarrassing photo.  I’ve come to learn that everyone has these moments.  You laugh about it later.)


AC / Cooling
Apps & Websites for RV’ing
Black & Gray Tanks / Dumping
Breakdown Assistance
Canadian Travel
Clubs & Fuel Discounts
Dishes – How to Store
Driving Tips for Beginners
Freshwater System
Full-Timer Questions
Loading & Weight Distribution
Mountain Driving
Our First RV Trip – Suggestions?
Preparing to Be Away from Your RV
Random Switches & Fuses
Stabilizers, Jacks, & Leveling Blocks
Storing Your RV
Tires & Tire Pressure Monitors
Towing Questions
Towing Mirrors
Water & Water Pumps
Water Heater
What Style RV is Best for Me?


We have all been there – all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, excited about RV’ing – yet, stuck like a deer in the headlights when faced with learning the ins and outs of how to RV.

We look around and see all of these other people doing it and wonder just how profoundly stupid we must be because they make it seem so easy – and we don’t know even where to begin.

Without a doubt, getting started RV’ing can be downright intimidating to the uninitiated.  These houses on wheels don’t work the same as our houses at home, and there are so many new words to learn.  You see something about which you have a question and you want to ask it, but you don’t know what it is called or what that thing-a-ma-jiggy does.  Surely, people will laugh if you post a question about it…right?  Wrong.

No matter how savvy people may be about their RV’s, “speaking fluent RV” did not happen to these people overnight – and most of them aren’t nearly as confident or competent as you think.  Sure, there are those of us who are better informed than others, but even we are surprised or stumped on a fairly regular basis.

This article is designed to help answer some of the most common questions that get asked by RV Newbies.  It covers everything from electrical to outdoor rug suggestions.

The only “dumb” question is the one that was never asked.  If you don’t see your question answered here, scroll to the bottom of this article and submit it in the comments section.  Chances are, if you want to ask it, so do a hundred other people.


Many people seem to have outdoor rugs under their canopies/in front of their doors.  Is this something that I should really need, or is it more of a “nice to have item”?

Outdoor rugs can really help with keeping out dirt, sand, etc., especially if you have kids or pets.  They can also make a nice space outside your rig where you can walk around barefoot.  Many RV’ers won’t go anywhere without their outdoor rugs.

Many mats are made so that water can run through them which makes it nice if it rains, and they seem to be a little easier on the grass underneath.  Its a good idea to roll up the mats at night to allow the grass to breathe.  If you leave it down for more than a couple of days, the grass will start to die and you leave a mess for the next person – especially if they do not have a mat.

Some campgrounds do no allow mats, so it may not hurt to just have a “Welcome Mat” as a backup plan.  The ones with the brushy like texture can do a great job at getting off sand and dirt.

I’ve got an RV that does not have vent covers up top so I am constantly having to worry about it raining in the RV.  Do they really help to keep out the rain?

Yes.  In most circumstances, rain will not make it into your rig with properly mounted vent covers such as MaxAir.  In cases of extreme straight-line winds with rain when coming from the direction of the openings of the vent covers, you might want to shut your vents – at least most of the way, although, they still do a pretty good job even in such bad weather.

How can I best secure my lawn chairs / bike to my ladder on the back of my RV while traveling?

Many people grab bungee cords for this purpose because they are quick and easy.  However, they tend to have a “bounce effect” that may cause the ladder to rattle loose from the RV.  Tightening bungees too tight makes them wear out and loose their elasticity.  Too loose or too tight, it’s possible for them to pop off and send your lawn chairs into the windshield of the driver behind you.

If you absolutely insist on securing things to your ladder, you might consider ratchet straps as they are a more secure option.  However, if you over-tighten them, you might bend the metal on your ladder.

Also, be certain not to cover up the tail lights if you do mount things to the back of your RV.  Not only is it a safety hazard, but you might wind up with a ticket.

Another option is to get a hitch receiver with a platform.  Bikes and lawn chairs are fine for this, but be aware that ice chests and such may exert so much force when driving over bumps that they could cause it to fail.

The best option is to store them inside while underway.  It is safer and they stay cleaner traveling inside.