Tech Tips

4 Fuel Saving Tips for RVers

Here we go again with fluctuating gas prices that are headed up one week and down the next. Here are some tips to help you continue to enjoy your RV lifestyle without the pain in the wallet. The more you save on gas, the more you can spend on quality experiences during your travels. Here are our tips to put more money back into your pocket.

 

 

Get a Tune Up

The condition of your RV has a lot to do with how much fuel you use. Make sure that your RV has been serviced as recommended by the manufacturer. If you get a little slack on this, over time you may see significant diminishing returns on your fuel mileage. Tire pressure can have a big impact on fuel efficiency.

Plan Your Route Carefully

 

If you’re driving on a flat and straight road you’ll see good fuel efficiency. But most of the country has hills and mountains that can quickly turn the rpm gauge up and the fuel gauge down. When you’re planning your trip, avoid routes that will cause excessive braking and choose routes that will keep a steady speed.

Use Gas Buddy

Gas Buddy is a phone application that tells you based on your location where the cheapest fuel is. If you use it just before the low fuel light comes on you’ll be able to navigate to the savings on your route.

Drive Your Other Vehicle as Much as Possible

 

If you pull a 5th Wheel or Travel Trailer you will have a vehicle to run errands or go on day trips. If you’re in a Class A or Class C RV, pulling a car by flat towing or a tow dolly can significantly keep money in your pocket with fuel savings. You’ll also be able to fit into places like malls that you wouldn’t be able to with your RV.

 

Keeping the RV Cool

When the summer heat is on, so is the challenge of keeping your RV cool. Driving the RV in the summer can be brutal in hot regions, but once you figure out how to make your system work for you, you’ll find yourself much more comfortable.

 

 

Just like in a house, if you close some vents, you can force cool air into the places you need it. When you’re parked, close of the rooms you can and your living space will get the full benefit of the A/C. Closing the shades and covering the windshield can help keep the sun out as well, helping to keep your RV at the temperature you want it.

Choose your campsite as best you can! If you find yourself in the desert, there’s not much hope of natural shade. Where trees are plentiful, choose a big one to camp under, giving you shade to cover the RV. This can be incredibly helpful with keeping the RV cool and saving your energy.

 

 

To avoid showing up at the campground with a warm trailer after a long hot drive, you may need to run the generator to keep your A/C unit going while driving for the last 30 min. It’s also important to know that running the cab A/C while driving in difficult places such as mountain ranges, high peaks, or deserts, can overheat your truck engine.

As with everything in your RV, you need to take the time to figure out the systems you have and the equipment in place to figure out how best you can keep your RV cool and comfortable. Each RV is different and understanding what you have is essential to conserving resources while getting what you need.

 

Best of luck out there during those hot months and happy travels!

 

Easy RV Upgrades

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you have a Honey-do list that seems to keep growing?  Although there might not be a quick fix to all upgrades, there are certainly some that you don’t need to make harder than they have to be. Below is a list of RV upgrades that don’t require you to bust out your toolbox.

Pantry Lighting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pantry Lighting doesn’t require an electrician.  It’s as easy as ordering some stick-on push lights. They’re fantastic for deep dark cabinets that you usually have to use your cell phone flashlight to see what’s in there.

Increased Closet Space

You don’t need to demo your pantry to create more closet space.  Rather, all you need is drop down hangers.  They instantly create 6x more closet space. We’ve been using them for years and are still amazed at how much you can fit into your RV Closet.

Flooring

No one looks forward to a flooring project.  Unless of course updating your flooring was as easy as applying stickers to your existing flooring!  With Peel-And-Stick Vinyl Plank Flooring it can be that easy. Another way to spice up your floors is adding rugs. You can cater the style of the rug to match the room.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shower Head

Changing out your shower head is a lot easier than you may think!  All you need to do is screw the old one off and the new one on.  Ta-da, you’re done. This is also great to get a shower head that uses less water for when you’re boondocking and need to conserve on your water usage.

Mattress

You don’t need a whole new mattress just because your old one isn’t comfortable.  Instead, order a memory foam pad to go on top of your mattress and it will make all the world of difference. Make sure to get The My Pillow to make sure you get the best rest possible.

What upgrades would you add to the list to make RVing better?

RV Propane Tips

 

 

It’s not fun to think about, but when you’re driving an RV, you’re driving a potentially dangerous vehicle!  

A malfunction with the propane and/or gas in your RV could have disastrous results if you don’t follow protocol.  To help you stay safe, here are some propane tips to consider.

 

1. Shut Off All Appliances

Take the time to shut off all appliances when you stop to refuel.  When running, your stove, refrigerator, water heater, etc. could have pilot lights that if on, could come into contact with the gas/propane fumes.  This contact may set off an explosion that can injure or kill everyone in the RV or in the immediate area. While doing this can be a pain, always make sure to do this!

2. Check for Propane and/or Gas Leaks

When you’re walking around your RV or doing your regular maintenance, check for propane and/or gas leaks.  We recommend you test this at least once a year with a professional to ensure that the RV is safe.  Schedule this test when you get the rest of your work done.

3. Smell Gas/Propane?

If you happen to smell gas or propane, do not take the chance and turn on electrical appliances.  If you’re not familiar with the smell of propane, it often smells like sewer gas or even rotting flesh. Evacuate your RV if you smell any noxious odors and get it checked out.  If you ignore the smell and use the electrical equipment, it could set off an explosion!

There are plenty of disaster stories out there of people who ignored the safety tips and warning signs of propane and/or gas.  Be smart and take the time to have your RV routinely checked.  Don’t ignore telling odors or think they’re coming from somewhere else!  Always use caution – your RV and family will thank you! 

 

RV Travel Related Apps

 

 

 

Traveling in an RV? There’s an app for that! Several actually! From Spotify and Pandora for music to GoogleMaps and Waze for navigation, we use them all the time in our cars at home. Here are a few additional apps specific to an RV road trip to check out for yourself.

 

Roadside America 

Find roadside attractions across the United States with this fun app that will help guide you to the bizarre and delightful.

iOS | (Not yet available for Android)

 

CoPilot GPS 

A great navigation app that offers offline maps, for when you are boondocking or passing through long stretches with no cell phone service. Trip planning features are also included.

iOS | Android

 

GasBuddy 

Find the cheapest stops for fuel while on the road with this great little app.

iOS | Android

 

History Here 

Fun for the whole family, this app is a location-based guide to historic locations around the country. Simple and interactive, this app will help you build a story about your route and discover hidden gems along the way.

iOS | Android

 

Camp & RV By Allstays

Not free, but worth the $9.99 to have, many RVers are raving about this app that has information about everything from RV campgrounds to free parking lots and rest stops along your route.

iOS | (Not yet available for Android)

 

Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder 

National, State, and Regional Parks, Forests, Monuments and Nature Preserves galore in this app that is searchable by activity, from bird watching to fishing to kayaking.

iOS | Android

 

AllTrails 

A guide to over 50,000 trails complete with reviews, photos and maps.

iOS | Android

 

iNaturalist 

Identify plants and animals on your next outing in nature with this handy app that has a social component to connect you with a community of over 400,000 scientists and naturalists.

iOS | Android

 

Star Chart 

Use your phone’s camera to identify stars, constellations, planets and other celestial objects in the night sky.

iOS | Android

 

Offline Survival Manual 

Essential survival information is at your fingertips with this fully functional offline app. 

(Not yet available for iOS) | Android

 

Campfire Baking

 

 

There’s nothing quite like having fresh baked goods in camp. A certain magical wonder happens with fresh baked cookies or a loaf of banana bread straight from the oven in your  RV. But what if you don’t have an oven or toaster oven in your RV? Incredible things can still happen with a dutch oven, a campfire, and a little courage.

 

For those unfamiliar, a dutch oven is a large cast-iron pot with a matching lid. This cookware can be hung over, set off to one side, or placed directly in the coals of a campfire. Temperature control can be a little challenging, but most baking recipes can be adapted using some general rules. If you have an oven thermometer, these work great for an accurate reading of temperature inside your dutch oven. Otherwise, once the dutch oven has been raised to heat, dust some flour onto it. If it burns quickly, your oven is about 250-300 ºC. If it browns slowly, your oven is about 200-250 ºC. If the flour turns only slightly golden over a minute or two, your oven is about 150-200 ºC.

 

 

Next, simply adjust your recipe for baking utensils. A piece of parchment paper in the bottom is perfect for about 6 cookies, to bake just as they would in your oven at home. A small square baking pan or loaf pan can be used for sweat breads, biscuits, brownies, rolls, and cakes. If you are extra brave and attempting yeast bread or sourdough, a boule can be formed by hand and baked directly on the inside surface of the dutch oven or over a small rack placed in the bottom.

 

 

Baking time should be roughly the same as what you would use at home. Be sure to check inside of your dutch oven, but not so frequently that heat is lost and baking is slowed. Once baked, items will need to be removed from the dutch oven quickly and cooled on a rack. If items are “near done” but need a little bit more time, the dutch oven can be removed from the fire and allowed to continue baking while the oven cools.

 

Backing Up Your Trailer

Even if you are a seasoned traveler with your rig, chances are that backing up your trailer into a campsite or parking spot still gives you a little anxiety. For others of us, the mere thought conjures dread. Not to fear! Here are a few tips and tricks that will have you backing like a pro in no time.

 

Scout Ahead. Walk the potential parking location to identify any hazards and mark them clearly if needed. Whenever possible, walk the site with a second person and have them be your spotter as you back in. Make sure your spotter has eye contact with you in the mirrors at all times. If you do not have a spotter, watch in your mirrors for all hazards you were able to identify on your walk.

 

Adjust your mirrors. You want to be able to see the rear bumper of your trailer at all times.

 

Orient your steering wheel. Place your hand on the bottom rim of the wheel. Moving your wheel hand to the left will turn the trailer to your left while moving right will turn it right.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make small, slow movements. There should be no rush to get into your parking spot. Take your time and make deliberate movements while backing. Don’t be afraid to pull out and try again if things aren’t lining up right.

 

 

 

Make the S-Turn. An S-Turn is executed in four steps, as follows:

 

  • Pull along side your site and line up the front of your trailer tires with the edge of the parking spot closest to your rig. Turn on the 4-way flashers and roll down your windows. Turn your wheel (without using the gas) so that the front tires of your rig are pointed roughly 45 degrees away from the curb that you are backing toward.
  • Begin backing slowly while holding the wheel to guide your trailer around the front corner of your parking site. Only hold the wheel for a small distance, and then begin turning the wheel slowly out of the curve until the rig tires are directly aligned forward and the trailer front tire is beginning to enter the parking site. 
  • Keep “unsteering the curve” gradually, turning the wheel in the same direction as you started in step 2, until the rig is straightened out parallel to the curb once again. Keep an eye out on the front of your rig for hazards at this point.
  • Make small corrections as you back into your spot fully. You should not have to turn your wheel any more than a quarter turn at this point. If you do, always remember you can pull right back out and start again on your approach. Watch for hazards and your spotter.

Does Your RV Need to be Repaired due to the recent Snow Blast?

Snow is beautiful. Snow is fun. Snow is dangerous for RV Roofs!

The reality is that when it’s not Camping Season you’re probably thinking about, well everything except your RV. Unless of course you’re dreaming of jumping in and heading somewhere warm! While you’re in the house cuddling up in your warm house watching TV, snow could be building up on your RV Roof. Read More

RV Skywatching in 2017 — Preparing for the Eclipse

So, you’ve decided that this is the perfect RV season to begin skywatching. With this year’s upcoming eclipse, you picked the right year.

Let’s start with what you need to view the eclipse. For no money at all, you can build a pinhole projector. For this method, you’ll need:

2 sheets of white cardstock or stiff paper
scissors
aluminum foil
tape
a pin

Step one is simple; cut a square hole in the center of one sheet of cardstock or stiff paper. Next, cut out a piece of aluminum foil larger than the cut out hole in the paper. Tape the foil to cover the hole in the cardstock.

Finally, make a small pinhole in the foil. You are now the proud owner of a pinhole projector.

To use it, place the uncut piece of cardstock on the ground. Then, with the sun (or eclipse) behind you, hold the foiled cardstock a few feet above it. The further you hold your pinholed sheet from your projection screen, the larger the projected image will be. Play with the distances until you get the best image for you.

Pinhole Projector Diagram

Pinhole Projector Diagram

And that’s it. Or do you want something better. More direct?

There are glasses that will protect your eyes if you look toward the eclipse itself.

We at Poulsbo RV cannot stress strongly enough that you should NEVER look directly at an eclipse.  You cannot trust your sunglasses, your ski goggles or anything not made to those specifications to protect your eyes. That said, there are glasses specifically made to let you watch the eclipse SAFELY.

What you want to look for are glasses that meet or exceed the ISO 12312-2:2015 specifications. As an example, you can order inexpensive, disposable viewing glasses (in bulk or just a few) at http://www.eclipse2017.org/glasses_order.htm.

For and example of something more substantial, Amazon carries reusable eclipse glasses such as these.

Do you want to photograph the eclipse, or view it through binoculars or a telescope? For less cost than a specific-made filter for these devices, there are filter sheets which you can securely affix to those devices, such as this.

There are many options to pretect your eyes from an eclipse.

Eclipse Eye Protection Options

Whichever way you choose to view this once-in-a-lifetime local event, be sure be safe. Your eyes can’t be replaced. Once you’re certain of that, enjoy. Listen as the natural world around you hushes over and colors become not-quite-right. And then rejoice at the beauty of the sky above. It’s truly a wonder. Don’t miss it!