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10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Go Camping


Airstream trailer setup at night at a campsite.
Sponsored by CAMPERiD

You Want to Go Camping, But Are You Really Ready?

Everyone, it seems, wants to go camping. Read any report or press release coming from the RV industry and you’ll likely encounter another record breaking statistic. Even outside the industry, seemingly every media outlet is talking about camping and RVing. With the mobile flexibility many workers now enjoy, and a post-pandemic desire to go somewhere…anywhere, America wants to go camping.

If this is your year to hit the road in a travel trailer, motorhome, 5th wheel, or pop-up camper, then you’ll need to have all the right equipment and accessories to ensure a safe, fun vacation when you go camping. RVing is all about the experience, so you’ll want to make sure that experience is the best it can be. 

It’s easy to look back on a camping trip in hindsight and think, “Next time I will know better.” Of course, it would be better to experience the fun and enjoyment of family, friends and outdoor recreation, without experiencing those if only moments. The folks at CAMPERiD offer some great advice below, and the products to help you heed that advice.

1. What Do I Need to Get My RV Level?

Making sure your RV is level is important when you go camping. Not only is this a comfort issue, but one of safety as well. Some appliances, such as your refrigerator if so equipped, may not even run if your camper is not level. Depending on how your travel trailer, 5th wheel, or motorhome is equipped, you may need any one of the following items:

Wheel chocks available from CAMPERiD help ensure your camper doesn’t move unexpectedly. Leveling pads keep leveling jacks or stabilizing jacks from sinking into the ground. Stabilizing jacks reduce the bounce and wobble in your RV.  Of course a level shows you if you are…level!  It seems obvious, but how do you know you are level unless you have one? 

Stack of yellow leveling pads for RVing
A variety of leveling accessories are available at CAMPERiD

2. How Am I Going to Eat When I Go Camping?

CAMPERiD knows that eating and camping are practically synonymous. There are certain culinary expectations when you go camping, so you’ll need to plan your meals, and ways of cooling those meals ahead of time. Here are some things to think about:

  • Choose the right grill for the amount of food that you expect to cook.
  • Consider the heat source you prefer:  charcoal, propane or electric.
  • Make sure you have a clean prep space, inside or outside.
  • How will you store leftovers?

Getting a tiny, compact grill sounds like a good idea, until you need to cook 6 burgers and only have room for four. You can actually use a small cooler (no ice!) to keep food warm while you continue cooking. Ziplock bags work great for leftovers. They don’t take up any space when not in use, and don’t have to be cleaned.

The type of camping you prefer will determine the type of heat source you choose for your grill when you go camping. Charcoal is messy, but great for that rustic camping atmosphere. Propane is the fuel of choice for most RVs. RVs that have electric induction cooktops can often be transported from the kitchen to an outdoor cooking space.

Steaks on a camp grill at a campsite near a lake.
Find all your camp cooking gear at CAMPERiD

3. What’s the Best Way to Store Food on the Road?

Many, if not most RVs typically have some kind of refrigeration unit on board. This will suffice to store perishable food. Bottled water, breads, chips and the like can all be stored in cabinets, boxes, or containers. If your RV does not have a fridge, a high quality cooler is a must when you go camping.

Items that might be more susceptible to heat, such as protein bars with chocolate in them or fresh fruit, should be kept away from outer wall cabinets when in warm climates. Sealing foodstuffs properly will also help prevent insect and rodent infestation. Remember to remove any remaining stored food when your camping trip is over, before storing your RV. 

4. How can I Beat the Heat Inside My RV?

If you have a small RV with no A/C unit, but will have power available when you go camping, consider a portable cooling unit from CAMPERiD. If you are looking to cut down on power consumption, remember that a screen door and ceiling vent fans can work wonders towards keeping cool.

Most larger RVs today come with at least one air conditioner, with very large RVs having as many as four A/C units on the roof. Most RV air conditioners are non-serviceable, so if you need a replacement, consider the thermostat you’ll want to use as well.

A portable ice maker is fantastic, not only to cool your drinks, but a baggie and some ice can make a great ad-hoc ice pack to cool you down, along with that cold drink.

A gray portable ice maker from Frigidaire.
A portable ice-maker from CAMPERiD makes a great addition anytime you go camping.

5. How can I Beat the Heat Outside When I Go Camping?

Sitting outside is one of the great joys of RVing. People love to sit around the fire in the evening when they go camping, but what about during the heat of the day? Being stuck inside the camper because it’s too hot really defeats the purpose of going camping to begin with. Here are a few tips to staying cool outside of the RV.

  • If you don’t already have one, consider getting an awning to attach to the side of your RV. The shade will cool down the air considerably underneath it. Ensure your RV awning is in good condition, and always close it when the wind increases to avoid damage.
  • Awning extensions are a great way to maximize the shady awning space and prevent the direct sunlight when the sun rises or sets below the lip of the awning. 
  • Completely enclosed, bug-free patio rooms are also available. During the day they block the heat, while at night they allow you to still see and smell that campfire without becoming a mosquito buffet.

6. How Do I Get Power for Everything?

Unless you are boondocking, your campsite will have either a 20-amp, 30-amp, or 50-amp power stalk available. Most contain all three, but older state and national parks or Corp of Engineers parks may only have 20-amp & 30-amp. It’s important to know what your RV requires before you go camping!

If electricity is not available, then you’ll need to rely on some type of generator, battery pack, or solar charging. Even if you do have electricity, it may not be enough to satisfy the entire family’s power requirements. In warm weather, 30-amp power will be enough to keep one or two A/C units running in the RV, but not leave much power for anything else. Besides, who wants to be stuck in the RV! Here are some other power options to consider.

stock image of portable solar panel used when you go camping.
Zamp Solar Panel – available from CAMPERiD

7. Can My Pet Go Camping With Me?

A family camping trip should include the whole family if possible, that includes your favorite pet. Like you, they will need to be fed, kept cool, and to some extent, be entertained. Here are a few tips for RVing with pets.

  • Make sure you have bowls, food and everything to feed him/her/them, just like at home.
  • Make sure fresh water is available at all times.
  • Bring the same food and treats you have at home when you go camping. A camping trip is NOT the time to try something new.
  • Don’t forget approved, pet safe protection against bugs when outdoors.
  • Observe the local pet rules for the campground or facility you are staying in.
  • Don’t forget those doggie waste bags…and use them!

8. My Pop-up or Campervan Doesn’t Have a Bathroom, What are My Options?

While most larger RVs do have on-board toilet facilities, smaller campers like pop-ups or campervans may not. Most Campsites offer restroom facilities to use while you are there. If you prefer something more personal and private, or if you are well off the beaten path, you will need a portable toilet

For Motorhomes, 5th wheels and travel trailers that do have an onboard bathroom, here are a few black tank tips.

  • Remember to keep plenty of water in your black tank.
  • Use drop-in or pour-in holding tank treatment, and replace after emptying the black tank.
  • A portable holding tank works well for sites that have a dump station, but lack a sewer connection at each individual site.

9. How Will I Keep Myself Entertained?

City dwellers that see the stars in locations like Wyoming or Montana for the first time can stare at the night sky for hours. For everyone else, additional entertainment may be required. Of course sitting by the campfire is the go-to activity when you go camping. Still, there may be times when a little television or a movie might just fit the bill for that evening, especially if the weather turns against you and you are stuck inside the camper. Here are a few tips.

  • Sitting by the fire requires comfortable camping chairs. Don’t forget these!
  • OTA (Over the Air) television has a surprising amount of content, and it’s free, but you’ll need an OTA antenna if your camper doesn’t have one.
  • If you need internet access for entertainment, work, or just to keep in touch, you’ll want to consider a Cellular and/or Wi-Fi signal booster.
A cell signal boost is a must-have for an RVer – Available at CAMPERiD

10. Are My Tires Ready for the Road?

Tire readiness is a particularly important and serious topic that needs to be addressed before you go camping. Here are the most important tips from the CAMPERiD team:

  • Ensure tire pressure is set using tire manufacturer charts, typically found online. You will need to weigh your RV to find out how much weight is put on each axle or tire.
  • Consider a TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) to continuously monitor tire pressure and temperature.
  • Check tire sidewalls for any cracking or splitting.
  • Many large motorhomes do not carry a spare tire, putting additional importance on ensuring that the tires are monitored carefully.

Conclusion

Remember that camping or RVing is all about the experience. When you have the things that you need and the things that will make your trip more enjoyable, you will have the best experience.

Check out CAMPERiD.com as a one-stop-shop for your RV and Camping needs. There are many options on products and accessories so you can find what works best for you. They even have their own Coupon Codes page, where various discounts are available.

CAMPERiD partner sites are equally dedicated to providing you the best parts available, no matter what your interest:  CARiD.com, BOATiD.com, MOTORCYCLEiD.com, POWERSPORTSiD.com, RECREATIONiD.com, TRUCKiD.com and TOOLSiD.com.

Author Patrick Buchanan Avatar

Patrick Buchanan

All around RV industry enthusiast who has been RVing for 8 years and enjoys trips with his wife and dogs in their big diesel pusher. 

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