Ok, even though it sounds like this post is for people who have never lived in an RV, I spiced in some humor so even people that live in an RV full time can enjoy this. Living in an RV provides so much freedom, it’s a way to downsize and be minimal, but it’s also a pain in the keister, so read on.
1. The space inside is actually bigger than you might thing. Many RV’s these days have slide out rooms that extend from the RV to provide more space. Models like the Airstream still don’t have slide out rooms, but make a very efficient use of space. The Tiny Shiny Home is a family of 6 that lives in their Airstream full time!
2. Don’t expect luxurious showers, or long baths in an RV. For one the water pressure is lower than a residential shower, and two: unless you have a enormous 35-40’ long RV, your bathtub will be the size of a walnut. The hot water heaters are typically around 5-6 gallons too, so you are limited on hot water before it has to recycle.
3. It’s a dirty job, but somebody has to do it…and it’s usually the husband. That is dumping the black tank. The black tank is a disgusting holding tank under your RV that holds all your human waste. Yup, it just sits there, until you pull a release valve that sends a flood of week old turds flowing freely. Okay, not completely free. You connect a flexible pipe to the RV that connects to a hole in the ground. Gross, but not as gross as it could be.
4. RV’s are the perfect setup for off grid living. Since RV’s are fully self-contained, meaning your fresh water and waste water are held in tanks under the RV. You can go anywhere and live for a period of time without being hooked up to power. A solar setup or generator is required for this, to keep your batteries charged, and upgrading your holding tanks to a larger capacity help as well. Some RV dwellers even chose to go with a composting toilet, so that they can stay out in the boonies longer, and not have to deal with the wretched RV black tank.
5. There is way more storage inside an RV that you might think. With our last RV we pretty much had the perfect amount of storage for all our things. Our new RV is only slightly bigger and we actually have MORE room than we need, and keep in mind we live in this full time! So, if you are just going for a weekend getaway you are going to have LOADS of space.
6. Cooking in an RV has a learning curve. The stovetop and oven are powered by propane, but the stovetop seems to have two settings. Low heat, and high heat. The oven is similar in that the heat is not consistent throughout the oven. Oh, and forget using the oven inside your RV during the summer. The ambient heat from the oven is enough to warm the entire RV. (well almost)
7. Every RV is different, but most are pretty poorly insulated. Especially around the windows, which is why a lot of full time RV dwellers chase the weather. They go where it’s nice and cool so they don’t have to use the air conditioner. We have spent a summer in our RV in Texas, and it was pretty tough. On 95-100 degree days the coolest the RV gets inside is 85. Things that help though are covering the windows with reflex window coverings, you know that shinny sliver bubble wrap stuff? Not using your oven, keeping your doors closed, and walking around naked help too. Most RV air conditioners just can’t keep things cool enough. Although or newer RV is better insulated and has two Air conditioners, but the verdict is still out on how cool it will keep us on a 100 degree day.
8. Ok, lets here another positive thing about living in an RV. I’ve talked about this in other blog posts. It’s less space to clean. No more slaving through the weekend to clean your home. RV’s are a very small amount of space and clean up fast. With Kristy and I working together we can pick up the entire RV in about 10 minutes (unless the kids had a little too much fun). And we can do a pretty thorough clean in about 30 minutes. Less time cleaning, means more time doing things you truly enjoy. But if you enjoy cleaning, maybe the RV life is not for you.
9. Stuff breaks all the time….especially on older RV’s. The bright side though, is that some things are pretty easy to fix, like tightening pipe fittings that are leaking, or adding caulk over a leaky drain. But those harder to fix problems just require a call to your mobile RV repair handy man. Yup, those exist. Most are former RV techs that ventured out on their own. The drive around from RV park to RV park fixing peoples broken shit. But maybe this is your jam! If you are handy (unlike myself) you are REALLY going to enjoy RV life. Have fun fixing things.
10. I’ve once heard towable RV’s described as rolling earthquakes. So don’t try to ride in the back of an RV being towed. It can’t be fun. And maybe that is why things break so often. Just saying.
11. Everything is made of plastic and fake wood. Maybe you have seen pictures on Instagram of RV’s that look like a luxurious tiny home. In most cases those are gutted renovations, that may employ some nicer real wood, but in most cases, since RV’s need to remain light weight for towing purposes, everything is light weight and cheap. Look closer at the solid surface counter top and in some cases you will learn it’s just cheap ply wood covered to look like a nice counter. Those hard wood cabinets? Actually just particle board covered in paper with wood like printing on it. That nice tile backsplash! Looks amazing right? It’s a sticker! Yup, a really nice sticker.
12. America’s addiction to television is out of control. This is evident in that RV’s are equipped with large screen televisions, satellite dishes, and most RV parks provide free cable! We didn’t get sucked into the television trap when we bought an RV though, so you can breathe a sigh of relief. Sure, we watch NetFlix, but the spot that would hold our large screen television has been turned into a book shelf. I once saw a guy that I can only assume was on vacation spend half a day moving his portable satellite dish around to get a signal. He even had his wife crawling up on the roof in search of a better spot.
I do kid a lot here, but RV life is REALLY awesome. There were a lot of adjustments at first, but now it’s our new normal. We enjoy the freedom and flexibility having a home on wheels provides. If you want to know more, read your last blog post about some of the things we learned after living in an RV for three years.