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RV Living Tips

Kimberly 33 comments

RV Living full time can be challenging at time but very rewarding.  When you travel the Country, you have to plan for things breaking down.  Since we have been full time for the past 14 months, we have gone through a power converter, leaf spring suspension, an AC, and a toilet.  Part of this problem was due to over use or the devices not being able to stand up to living demands.

The power converter had a fan problem, so it could not cool the unit properly.  This was a poor design since the fan could not be replaced and the entire unit needed to be thrown out and a new one installed.

The leaf spring issue was due to overloading the RV with all of our stuff.  We replaced the 3 leaf system with a 4 leaf system.  We also replaced our tires with 10 ply from the original 8 ply.  I would recommend this due to the weight you will be adding to your vehicle.

The AC went out due to an accident we had, but we replaced the AC from a 13.5K unit to a 15K unit with a heat pump.  I can’t even express how much we save now on propane!

The toilet that was installed was a plastic toilet and there was nothing wrong with it, but we wanted a ceramic toilet.  This makes cleaning much easier and keeps the toilet looking new all the time.  Not to mention, the new one has a hand wand to help clean the toilet when certain things stick to the bottom of the bowl.

The bottom line is, make sure your RV is ready to handle the living demands that you will put on it.  It pays to replace parts before things break so that you can avoid other things breaking from the cause of a failure.

Find out more info at Fulltime Families and see how much you can SAVE by becoming a member!

Families On The Road

Kimberly 26 comments

One thing that families on the road traveling the Country are always looking for is a good stable internet connection.  Most of the families that live on the road keep up with their family and friends via email or updating their blogs.  Sometimes you might find yourself in remote areas of the Country where the internet and cell phone service is little to none.  In this article, I am going to explain how to increase the performance of your cell signal so your internet air card will have great service and you will also have phone service on the road as well. Read More

RV Education 101

Kimberly 24 comments

If you use your Motorhome or Travel Trailer as much as I do, then you know that there is always something that needs to be fixed or maintained.  This can include things like plumbing, electrical, awnings, and even suspension and tires.  If you pay a repair person every time something needs service, you’ll be broke in no time.

The best way to service these things on your RV is to do it yourself.  All it takes is a little bit of education, research, and trying it.  You can find information about repairing from books, forums, search engines, and even asking people who have done it.

A lot of the repairs that you need to make will be like you already do in your home.  The electrical system is very similar to a home, the plumbing, and even replacing a toilet.  I was surprised how easy it was to replace a toilet in an RV as I had to do one myself.  It is just like the toilet in your home.  The toilet uses two bolts to secure the toilet flange, then connecting a water line.  How easy was that?  Took me 30 min. to complete and I didn’t have to pay someone $85.00 + per hour.  I learned this from books and simple internet research.

RV Education 101’s eBook series will help you do your own RV and Camping Trailer repairs. Why pay a service technician $85.00 or more per hour when you can do it yourself for 85% less. Lots of repairs can be done by the average RVer with little to know money involved.

Pickup a set of the RV Education eBooks and you’ll be educated on everything from awning care and repair to deep cell battery care and maintenance!

Good luck with your future repairs and maintenance on your RV Coach, travel trailer, or popups.

See ya down the road!


RV Recipes Tuna Sweet Potato Jackets

Kimberly 55 comments

Close to the Counters

Surviving cooking in a 20 sq ft RV kitchen…

Last month we traveled across Canada from just north of Seattle, WA up through British Columbia and the Yukon on our way to Fairbanks, Alaska – definitely a ‘bucket list’, dream-come-true type of trip!

While it’s probably not fair to judge an entire country based on our small sampling, I have to say that the Canadians’ friendliness was akin to our own ‘Southern Hospitality’. Super nice people, everyone interested in where we were from and eager to answer our questions (where’s the closest public wifi?) An example: we arrived at the Riverside RV Park (Vanderhoof, BC) late one afternoon to see a maintenance crew and a big “CLOSED for the season” sign. As we pulled over to check our Milepost for alternatives, one of the workers walked over to our motorhome. He told us they were working on getting the park open, but since we were just looking for an overnight stay, he’d open the gate and we were welcome to choose any spot, hook up to the water & electricity and stay for free. You can imagine how quickly we said yes to that offer! We were the only people in that park – and while it did rain all day, it was a great place to relax for a while.

Some of the differences we’ve noticed that – while subtle – let us know we were in a different country:

  • Spelling
    • “re” instead of “er” – although this seems to be limited to very few words; centre/center, theatre/theater and fibre/fiber were the only ones we saw.
    • “our” instead of “or” as in colour/color or savoury/savory
    • Caribou – we were excited to see the first road signs to look out for these animals. But when we started seeing ‘Cariboo Hardware’, ‘Cariboo Restaurant’ and the like I thought they were just playing with the spelling. But nope; that’s how you spell caribou in Canada: cariboo. (You wouldn’t believe the trouble my spell checker is having with this month’s column!)
    • Chinese restaurants advertise ‘Chinese & Canadian food’ instead of ‘Chinese & American food’ (what’s Canadian food?)
    • The other thing that struck me – after spending a significant part of my life in California – was that signs are in English/French instead of English/Spanish. Makes sense of course, but it’s just one of those little differences.

And yes, as expected, gas prices are higher in Canada; but for all of our complaining in the U.S. our gas prices are significantly lower than the rest of the world.  Europeans, including the British, the Irish, the Germans, the Italians and the French, pay somewhere between $7.50 and $8 per gallon.[1]  And gasoline is $9.28 per gallon in Norway – figure out how much THAT would cost to fill your tank! As of this writing, the highest priced gasoline we’ve found in Canada was $5.32 per Imperial gallon. Definitely painful, but I’m absolutely not going to complain about it.

What did give us sticker shock though were grocery prices. Once we figured out how to actually unlatch a grocery ‘buggy’ and take it in the store (they require quarter deposits!), we stopped to take a look at the store directory and set off to knock out that grocery list.

First thing I noticed was that they don’t have many generic brands – even in the Safeway store, their ‘store brand’ wasn’t near as prevalent as you see in the States. And items are in bigger packages – for instance, hot dog & hamburger buns. The only option was packages of 12 – no 6 or 8 counts at all. Since there are only 3 of us, a package of 12 hamburger buns can take a while to use up! So we’re using those buns as our ‘sandwich bread’ this week.  And prices are just plain higher – black beans, $2.29 a can versus the $.99 a can I was used to seeing. Aluminum foil – over $7.00! Not the extra thick style and not a 500 ft package either. Yikes.

After that first stop to replenish the cupboards in Quesnel, BC, I’m rethinking our menus for the rest of this trip. I’m going to be looking to stretch that food dollar even more than usual. Besides, I love a challenge.

************************

I have one recipe for you this month, plus some other ideas for thrifty meals. Enjoy!

 

Tuna Sweet Potato Jackets

  • 4 small sweet potatoes (about ½ pound each)
  • 6 ounce can tuna , drained
  • ½ red onion , finely sliced
  • 1 small red chili , deseeded and chopped
  • Lime juice (fresh or from the little plastic limes)
  • plain yogurt (Greek style yogurt or sour cream would work if you have them on hand)

Scrub the sweet potatoes and prick all over with a fork. Place on a microwaveable plate and cook on High for 18-20 mins, or until tender. Split in half and place each one, cut-side up, on a serving plate.

Flake the drained tuna with a fork and divide between the sweet potatoes. Top with the red onion and chili, then squeeze over the lime juice. Top with a dollop of yogurt to serve. Add something ‘green’ – salad, broccoli, raw veggies, whatever you have and quick biscuits and you’ve got a great, inexpensive meal.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, January 2010.

Other ideas for easy, inexpensive meals:

  • The baked potato dinner – just top cooked, baked potatoes, split in half, with whatever toppings you like. A great way to stretch leftovers! Chopped broccoli, salsa, a bit of chili, or some chopped chives. Sprinkle some grated cheese on the top too, and broil till the cheese melts.

 

  • Potato Salmon Pie is a meal made with 1 can of salmon, drained, and with the bones and skin removed, and then flake the salmon. Add 2 cups thick white sauce and 1 cup cooked peas to the salmon. Put in casserole dish. Top all with 2 cups mashed potatoes. Dot with butter, and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. A thrifty, tasty, dish that serves six.

 

  • Eggs are always a great starting point for an inexpensive dinner. Omelets or scrambled eggs using whatever leftovers are in the refrigerator are quick & easy.  If you’re a bit more ambitious, an oven frittata is another option.

Have a favorite quick, inexpensive meal? Send your recipes to me and I may share them in future columns!

What Is Giardiasis And Are You At Risk In Your RV

Kimberly 56 comments

Are you at risk for Giardiasis?

Well, if you have an RV, the short answer is unfortunately “Yes”.

Your stomach is cramping, you’ve got aches and your fatigued.  You decide you’ve caught a stomach bug and start disinfecting your camper.  Like you anticipated, other family members start coming down with the same symptoms.  Living in tight quarters, you start to suspect you have Norovirus, or the Cruise Ship bug, and you break out even more bleach.

But the bug never goes away and you start to notice the symptoms are becoming very pronounced.  Explosive diarrhea, lots of vomiting, loss of appetite, bloated abdomen and my personal favorite – burps that can clear a room! Now you know, your family is not traveling alone anymore!

Giardiasis (beaver fever) in humans is caused by the infection of the small intestine by a single-celled parasitic organism called Giardia lamblia.

It can enter your camper through your fresh water connection and is impervious to low temperatures.

To protect yourself, attach a filter with a micron rating of 3 or less to your outside connection and add a teaspoon of bleach to a 40 gallon fresh water tank.

If you suspect you have Giardiasis, seek medical attention promptly, as prolonged cases can cause chronic illness.

Thoroughly disinfect your entire water system (tanks and pipes).  Iodine is your best defense against giardiasis, but household bleach will work too, as does boiling.

It is never advisable to drink straight from a stream or outdoor water source without proper filtration and water treatment.

And as always, hand washing goes a long way in keeping your traveling family healthy – so soap up often!

Become a member of FtF by clicking here

RV Cooking 20 sq ft Kitchen

Kimberly 38 comments

Surviving cooking in a 20 sq ft RV kitchen…

We visited with some relatives recently and when I walked into her kitchen I found myself wanting to drop to my knees in veneration. She had a kitchen island that was larger than my entire RV galley. Really. She’s not wealthy and doesn’t live in a 4,000 sq. ft. home or anything – but her kitchen was like water to a thirsty desert nomad. This island had a sink, more electrical plug-ins than my whole house, and a counter that I swear was glowing. I looked for any excuse I could to be in that kitchen helping her. No running out of counter space to set down the measuring cup after pouring the oil into the cake batter, no giving the teenager a dirty look because she’s decided she needs to get something out of the kitchen junk drawer NOW – when you’re putting together dinner. You know what I mean. It was ‘fun’ to be in that kitchen.

I realized when we returned home that it’s not normally ‘fun’ cooking in my kitchen these days.  Not that I used to spend hours and hours there making everything from scratch, but I did enjoy cooking and baking most of the time. Not so much anymore.

So as we enter our 4th month as full-time RV-ers I’m finding myself a bit frustrated. You see, I’m still trying to get used to working efficiently in my kitchen. I’m the type of cook who likes to get all the ingredients out for a recipe, and then after I add them, I put the container away and wash/rinse whatever I used to measure it. So when what I’m cooking is in the oven, there isn’t a huge mess left over to clean up. You just can’t do that in 20 sq ft. – there is no room to get everything out at once. Yes, the sink has that cutting board piece that fits on top to double as ‘counter space’, but I sort of need access to the sink itself to put dirty spoons, cups, etc. in. And yes, the stove has a cover that folds down over the burners so I can use that as ‘counter space’, but again, I usually need a burner.

So I’ve been getting out each ingredient, one at a time, measuring it and then putting it back before I can move on to the next thing. That just bogs me down, not to mention that I have to keep looking at the recipe for the next ingredient. (While some of the RV’s I’ve looked at – especially those beautiful 5th wheels  – have kitchens that are almost full-size, that’s just not the case in my 31 ft, Class C motorhome.)

As I sit here gazing at my kitchen, trying to visualize ANY type of remodel or tweak that would give me more working space, I know it’s not going to happen. My hubby has already added a hinged piece to the end of the existing counter to give me another square foot of space. There is simply nothing else to be done.

So the change from feeling bogged down to finding the fun again has to happen with ME. Maybe I’ll try scooting the folding table from in front of the couch a little closer to the kitchen when I’m cooking. That would give me another 3+ sq. ft. of work space; practically doubling what I have now. It has an easy wipe-off top, plus the height of the table is easily adjustable. And when I’m done, it just goes back in front of the couch to become my laptop/working table. As I keep reminding myself, flexibility is the key thing here – so I think I’ll give it a try. If it works, yay! If not, I’ll be back next month to let you know how my family is doing with eating chicken cooked on the barbecue (and no side dishes) every night.

This month’s recipe:

Okay, I’ll admit it; I really am not a big fan of watermelon. I know, there’s probably something genetically wrong with me, but hey, it is what it is. But being a good, self-sacrificing wife and mom I do on occasion buy a watermelon for the hubby and daughter. And while they would be content to simply sit and eat chunk after chunk of the stuff, juices dripping down their faces and onto their shirts (shudder) I decided to try something else. I stumbled across a watermelon pie recipe and while I didn’t really like that one, it gave me a jumping off point to come up with my own. I had a small piece and the other 3 at dinner polished off the entire pie!

Watermelon Pie

Purchased graham cracker crust

12 oz thawed Cool Whip

3 oz gelatin powder (I used a mixed melon flavor – any mixed fruit would work)

1/4 cup water

2 cups watermelon – I used a little melon ball scoop, but you could also cut the melon into bite-sized chunks

To prepare filling, combine whipped topping, gelatin powder, and water. Gently fold in watermelon and spoon into the graham cracker crust. Chill for 2 hours.

Kimberly Travaglino is the Cheif Editor for Fulltime Families Magazine.  She can be reached at kimberly@fulltimefamilies.com

RV Kids Screen Door Lock

Kimberly 58 comments

One thing we learned is that the lock on the screen door doesn’t hold any weight. A few times the baby almost fell out the door and down the metal steps.

We all know this could have been a disaster. My solution to this was installing a gate lock on the door. This is very easy to do and won’t allow children to accidently fall out the door.
I positioned the lock so it can be reached from both inside and outside the door. I found the lock at the local hardware store and paid about $5.00 for the part.
To install the lock, all you need is a 1/8″ drill bit and pliers. Drill the hold in the frame of the screen door and on the wall next to the screen door. Use the pliers to tighten the hook and eye to the holes you drilled.
That’s it!!! Now your screen door is kid proof.

RV Education

Kimberly 33 comments

I was searching the internet for some good resources for RVers when I found this cool series called RV Education 101.  This series has books that include Deep Cycle Battery Care and Maintenance, Checklists for RVers, and RV Care and Maintenance just to name a few.

These books could be a valuable resource whether you are a seasoned RVer or new to the whole adventure.

You can check them out here:

https://www.fulltimefamilies.com/recommends/RV101

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rear View Camera On Travel Trailer and 5th Wheel

Kimberly 19 comments

Install a Rear View Camera on your Travel Trailers and 5th Wheels

When towing your travel trailer or 5th wheel, the hardest thing to do is see behind you.  Wouldn’t it be nice to know what’s behind you such as other vehicles, pedestrians, trees, etc?  This camera system comes in handy for day-to-day towing / driving, backing up into your campsite, or even just seeing where other vehicles are on the road with you.  They give you better visibility than a conventional rear view mirror even when you’re not towing.  With the optional camera add-on to your tow vehicle as well, you can now hook up to your travel trailer or 5th wheel without guidance from another person to direct you.  I personally know this has saved my marriage on numerous occasions.

When picking your equipment to purchase, look at what best fits your budget and features you would like to enjoy.  Some features include night vision, monitor zooming, widescreen, color camera / display, and foot marker lines.

Some of the high-end radios / DVD / GPS combo head units come with camera outputs.  If you use this feature, there is no need to purchase a monitor because the camera will interface directly with this setup.  I would also suggest that if you plan on purchasing this type of system, you may want to have a dealer install this product in your tow vehicle if you are not familiar with car stereo installations.  You can come back to this article if you choose to install the camera portion yourself later.  You would just skip the monitor install portion and connect the video cables to your installed monitor.

There are two other kinds of monitors on the market today.  One is a stand-alone monitor that can mount to your dashboard by Velcro, two sided tape, or screws.  The other style monitor hangs from the existing rear view mirror in your tow vehicle.  This monitor is good if you plan on having a camera mounted both to the tow vehicle and the trailer you are towing.

There are many systems on the market that can leak water and make picture quality unbearable.  I have found that the license plate mounted monitors have a tendency to capture moisture and come out on the image making the video quality poor.  I suggest using a name brand product such as Pyle, Audiovox, or Sanyo just to name a few.  These systems generally come with the monitor, cutting tool for the camera mount, and one camera.  They do sell cameras that are already installed in sealed boxes and it may be wise to use one of these if you don’t want to build your own as laid out in the article.  These tend to be more expensive though and will work great with this system.

This system that I am about to show you and explain how to install will give you the advantage of having eyes in the back of your head at all times.  Most diesel pushers and Class C motor homes come with these handy gadgets, so why should 5th wheelers and travel trailer owners have to sacrifice this convince?

I do not recommend the wireless cameras due to the clarity and signal loss you will encounter from the rear of your tow vehicle to the cab where the monitor is installed.

Follow this simple step-by-step process and you too can enjoy all the benefits of having eyes in the back of your head.

All of these items can be purchased from your local Radio Shack or equivalent store.

Tools Needed:

  • Wire Cutters / Butt connector crimpers
  • Philip Head Screw driver
  • 50 FT of 18 Gauge Power Wire
  • 2 – 2 Position 12 Volt Switches (only one needed if not installing second camera)
  • Butt Connectors (Blue in color)
  • Butt connector rings (Blue in Color)
  • Self taping Screws
  • Bolts and Wing Nuts (Optional) See step 3 under preparing the camera(s)
  • Washers
  • Electrical Tape
  • Wire Ties
  • Electric or Cordless drill
  • Drill cut out tool (Size varies depending on camera.  Some of them come with the tool when you purchase the camera)
  • 1 composite Video Splitter (not needed if only installing 1 camera)
  • 2 composite Video to Video extenders (Female to Female) (Only 1 needed if installing 1 camera)
  • 1 50 FT composite video cable (Yellow plug)
  • 2 Project Enclosure Box(s) (6x4x2″) (only one needed if not installing second camera)
  • 4 small “L” bracket(s) (only two needed if not installing second camera)
  • Clear Calking

Camera Components Needed:

  • 2 Rear View Camera(s) with night vision – (1 if not installing one on your tow vehicle.)
  • 1 In vehicle camera monito

The first thing to remember before installing this system is that it is not difficult.  There are a lot of parts involved, but they all plug together and no real modification is needed to your trailer or tow vehicle.

In these instructions we are going to assume that you are installing 2 cameras.

Preparing the camera(s):

Step 1:

Take the 2 project boxes and cut a hole with your drill through center of the box.  Cut both the front cover and the back of the project box.  It helps for perfect alignment to keep the cover on the box while your drilling through both sides.

Step 2:

Insert the camera into cover of the project box through the hole you just drilled.  Tighten the camera holding screw that was supplied with the camera so the camera is secured in the box.  Feed the camera wires through the back of the box and add some caulking to the edges of the cover for the project box.  This will help keep moisture and water out.  Put the cover on the box and tighten the screws down.  Repeat steps 1 and 2 for the second camera.

Step 3:

Using the “L” Brackets, mount them with 1 screw on each side of the project boxes.  This will provide an up and down swivel motion used for when you need to aim your camera.  You can substitute screws with wing nuts and bolts for this part so you can easily tighten or loosen the brackets from the side of the boxes for ease of adjustment.

Trailer Wiring:

Step 1:

From the back of the trailer run the single 18 gauge power wire to the battery on your trailer.  You may want to run the 50’ component cable at the same time, but this wire will need to run to the front of the trailer.  When running the wires, find a good spot to hide the wires.  This would include running the wire under the trailer and using the wire ties to hold the wire you are running to the trailer frame, other wires, or propane pipes.  Stay away from the trailer brake wires so you do not interfere with their use by accidently disconnecting or cutting them.

Step 2:

Once you have the power wire run, crimp on a ring but connector to the wire on the end near the battery, but do not connect to the battery yet.

Step 3:

Run the ground wire from the camera to the frame of the trailer.  Try not to extend this ground if you can due to a better ground is a shorter ground.  Crimp on a ring butt connector to the ground wire.  Use self-tapping screws and a washer to connect the ground to the frame.  You may want to drill a small pilot hole in the frame so that you can get more leverage on the screw.

Step 4:

Use one of the 2 position toggle switches and cut the power wire you ran where you would like to install the switch.  The switch cannot be exposed to weather, so you can install this in either the battery box or somewhere in the trailer.  Just remember that both ends of the wire will be connected to the posts on the switch.  It doesn’t matter what wire connects to what post, just as long as each of the two wires are on separate posts.  The switch will be used to turn the camera off when your trailer is parked.  You can leave it on all the time, but it does draw minimum power from the battery if left in the “on” position.

Mounting and connecting the camera:

Step 1:

Now that all the wires are run you can connect the camera.  Mount the camera at your desired location on the trailer with self-tapping screws.  Use the calking and calk the screw holes that you made in the trailer.

Step 2:

Connect the composite video cable to the camera by plugging the male end of the cable to the female end of the camera video lead.

Step 3:

Connect the power wire to the camera using the (blue) butt connectors and then connect the ring butt connector to the battery on the trailer by using the screw from the battery terminal that holds the terminal down to the battery.

Step 4:

Go back to all of your butt connectors and use electrical tape to wrap the connectors.  This helps to keep moisture and dirt out of the connectors.

Tow Vehicle Monitor wiring:

Step 1:

 

Find the position in your tow vehicle where you would like to mount the monitor.  Mount the monitor using the provided hardware.  This would include Velcro, screws, or two-sided tape.

 

Step 2:

 

Run the wires from the monitor to power and ground of the tow vehicle.  You will need to take the power wire and connect it to a switched power in the tow vehicle.  I suggest using the radio remote turn on feature or radio switched power “on” wire.  Cut the wire you choose and using the (Blue) butt connector, crimp the two wires together.

 

Step 3:

 

Locate a good ground for the monitor and mount that either by crimping it to the radio ground or to a ground directly on the vehicle chassis.  If you choose to mount on the chassis, crimp on the end a ring butt connector.   Using a small drill bit, start a pilot hole and then using the self-tapping screw, mount the ground wire.

Step 4:

Run the composite video cable from the monitor to the rear of the tow vehicle.  This will connect to where you plan on mounting the camera.  Run the cable out of the vehicle via the firewall grommet and down the engine compartment.  Then run the wire under the vehicle using wire ties to tack the wire in place.  Again, avoid the break lines and this time, the fuel lines.

Step 5:

Connect the composite wire splitter to the composite video cable that you just ran to the rear of the vehicle.  Connect one of the composite video extenders to the splitter.

Mounting the Camera on tow vehicle:

Step 1:

Find a place where you would like to mount the camera on the tow vehicle.  I recommend mounting it on the license plate frame or on the bumper in a place where it will be out of the way from either your tailgate / rear door from opening and from bumping when either backing up or someone was to bump you.

Running the power wire for the camera:

Step 1:

From inside the tow vehicle, route an 18-gauge power wire from the power you choose on the radio to the rear of the vehicle where the camera is installed.

Step 2:

Using the 2-position switch, connect the switch in between the power lead for the camera and the power cable that you are splicing into.  This will be used to turn the power off to the tow vehicle camera and will allow the video to pass to the monitor from the trailer.

Step 3:

Ground the camera on the tow vehicle to the chassis.  Crimp the ground wire with a ring butt connector and mounting using the self-tapping screws.  You may want to drill a pilot hole to make it easier to mount the ground.

Connecting the camera(s) to the monitor:

Step 1:

Connect the composite video cable to the camera by plugging the male end of the cable to the female end of the composite video splitter.

Step 2:

Go back to all of your butt connectors and use electrical tape to wrap the connectors.  This helps to keep moisture and dirt out of the connectors.

Using your new camera system:

You are now ready to connect your trailer and get video from the new camera that you just installed.  Using the camera in the tow vehicle, back up using the camera and connect your trailer as you normally would.  In your tow vehicle, flip the toggle switch that turns off the camera on the vehicle.  You should now have a blank screen.  Get out of the vehicle and connect your composite video cable to the extension cable you installed on your tow vehicle.  Turn on the switch on the trailer that powers on the camera.  When you get back in the vehicle, you should now see what is behind the trailer on the monitor.  For trailer disconnection, just reverse the procedure.

RV Towing Accessories Help You Stay Organized

Kimberly 37 comments

Like most of us that camp, we tend to bring more than we can carry, or even need and that does not help us stay organized. My family and I have recently been living fulltime in our 5th wheel and find that storage is a hot commodity and staying organized is the key.

With only 350 SQFT of living space for 6 and one outside storage compartment, it is very difficult to find room for the sewer hoses, water hoses, and other things that you wouldn’t want to store with your folding chairs and kids toys. On our 5th wheel we have a 2” trailer hitch receiver installed on the rear bumper. This comes in handy to add storage to your rig without taking up extra space. If you don’t have one of these nice receivers installed, any welding shop should be able to fasten one on for a fair price and as you will see, it is worth its weight in Gold.

There are many different style trailer hitch racks that can be purchased. They make ones that fold up when not in use, have siding so you can strap cargo down, and ones that are completely flat with a metal mesh bottom like shown in the image above. The kind that I purchased is the one like in the image above because I needed the ability to mount a cargo box to the rack. This gives me the ability to have more covered weather proof storage.

The cargo box that I recommend is one made of hard plastic with little or no metal parts. This will keep the latches, etc. from rusting in the weather. Once you find a box that you like, place the box on the rack where you would like it mounted and mark with a chalk on the bottom of the box where you will drill the holes. Depending on the size of the box you may want to drill 6 – 8 mounting holes. Once the holes are drilled, place back on the rack and use 2 washers (1 per side), a lag bolt, and 1 nylon nut to mount the box to the rack. Once the box is mounted, find yourself a nice weather resistant lock and load it up with stuff that you will use to connect your RV at the campground, or other outside stuff. This will help keep your basement and inside storage clean and organized.

Hint: When searching out the perfect box, look on Craigs List for “Plastic Truck Boxes”.

Any questions, please email support@fulltimefamilies.com

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