It's Simple to Make RV Camping a Little Bit Easier!
Video: 10 Ways to Make RV Camping Easier
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Over the years, we've learned a lot of tips and tricks that make RV camping easier, more enjoyable and more comfortable for us. We thought we would quickly share 10 of these tips to help other folks have a more relaxing camping experience as well. From campfires to controlling bugs, here are a few things we've learned over the years that have helped to improve our RV camping experience. (And many of these tips are great for tent campers as well!)
Carry a Folding Shovel
We've owned our folding shovel since our tent camping days. It's a great tool that takes up very little space and is perfect for cleaning up a firepit, repositioning hot coals during dutch oven cooking, and helping to put out a campfire. Here's one very similar to what we have: Smittybilt Tri-Fold Shovel.
Carry a Collapsible Trash Can
We bought our collapsible trash can during our first year of RVing. We love to cook outside, but got tired of constantly carrying the inside trash can outside (and then having to clean dirt off of it to take it back inside). Our collapsible trash can folds flat for storage and weighs practically nothing. To set it up, we just loosen the velcro, pop it up and put a standard kitchen trashbag inside. We use office clips to hold the trashbag in place. At night, we lock it up in one of our outside compartments to keep the critters out of it. We've been impressed by how durable it has been. Here's one like we have: Stansport Collapsible Campsite Trash Can.
Start Your Campfire on Aluminum Foil
Our neighbor, and former Boy Scout Leader, Tom Dickinson taught us this trick years ago. When your firepit is damp, it can be tough to start a campfire. So just put down a sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil and build your campfire on top of it. The foil will act as a barrier between your firewood and the wet ground and will reflect heat back up to help the campfire get started. After you have put out your fire, simply let your foil cool down and then throw it away in your collapsible outdoor trash can!
Protect Your Firewood With Plastic Tubs
Even if you buy your firewood at the park where you are camping, you need a way to keep it dry. You never know when rain will come into the forecast. Storing your firewood under your RV is one option, but we've found a better way is to carry a low to the ground, rolling plastic storage bin. This keeps our firewood completely dry and away from insects like ants.
Manage Your Campfire with FirePliers
After trying a lot of different tools in an effort to move logs around in our campfire, we learned that most tools weren't strong enough or durable enough to help us to manage our fire safely. Tom hit the internet and searched a long time for a solution. Thankfully, he found FirePliers. We cannot say enough good things about our FirePliers. They are definitely a tool we use every single time we build a campfire. They are strong, durable and make managing our campfire incredibly easy! We've owned our FirePliers since 2013. This is hands-down one of our favorite outdoors products. We highly recommend them... Oh, and they're made in the USA! [Update: Unfortunately, it looks like the FirePliers folks may be out of business. Their website is still live, but they do not respond to inquiries. That's too bad, we love our FirePliers.]
Be Sure to Completely Extinguish Your Campfire
Our most important tip of the day, please be sure to always completely extinguish your campfire before you head off to your day's adventures, into bed for the night or off to your next campground. If the coals are still hot, the fire can still ignite. We use our folding camp shovel to bury the coals in the firepit and we pour water over it to make sure it is completely out. You should not be able to feel any heat from the firepit when your fire is completely out. If you're worried about using water because you want to keep your firepit dry for the next day, remember you can use our aluminum foil tip to keep your new wood dry if your pit is damp. Please always practice fire safety.
Dispose of Your Cooking Grease Correctly
Cooking oil and grease can be tough to dispose of when you're camping. You can pour it in your trashbag after it has cooled down, but you definitely don't want to pour it on the ground, in your firepit or down your sink! For the last several years, we have been using the Range Kleen Grease Container to solve this problem. The replaceable, sealable bags are heat proof so you can pour your hot grease in right away if you want (up to 200 degrees). We usually let ours cool down while we eat and then pour it in. Then you just seal up the bag and put the top over the outer plastic cover. We carry our Range Kleen in one of our outer storage bays. We never notice a smell and it has never leaked. It keeps the old grease and oil very well contained. When a bag is full, just seal it up, throw it in the trash and put it a new bag. It couldn't be easier! This is another product that we are very happy with as far as durability and reliability. Here are the links: Range Kleen Fat Trapper System | Range Kleen Replacement Bags
Keep An Eye On The Weather
Being aware of approaching weather is very important for RVers and campers. We have several weather apps on our phones, but sometimes we are camping where we can't get a good signal, and sometimes the apps disagree on the forecast. So back in 2014, we added a portable, wireless weather monitoring system to our RV camping gear. We usually clamp the outside section to our picnic table. It communicates constantly with the monitor inside our RV to tell us temperatures inside and outside, humidity, wind speed, and the expected forecast. We feel better prepared for the weather and it's pretty interesting as well. Here's one very similar to what we have: AcuRite Wireless Weather Station with Wind Sensor
Ask for Trail Maps
Many public campgrounds, like state parks, will provide you with a map of the campground when you check in. The campground map is great for finding the restrooms, your campsite, park store and major attractions within the park, but park maps usually don't give much (if any) information about trails. If you are interested in hiking or biking, make sure you ask for a Trail Map. Trail maps will usually give more information about the trails including distances, elevation changes, level of difficulty and interesting things to see. Some parks with water access may also offer Paddling Trails Maps. We find Trail Maps to be incredibly useful in helping us to find our way around and enjoy the park.
Keep the Bugs Out of Your RV!
Nothing is more annoying than sitting down to relax in your RV (or tent) after a long, fun day only to be buzzed by a swarm of mosquitos or other flying insects! If your RV is like ours, it has a clear patio light. That light attracts all varieties of unwanted winged visitors. RVs with amber (yellowish-orange) patio lights do not attract bugs, but if you keep your interior light by the door on in the evening, you might still end up with a swarm of unwelcomed guests. To limit the number of insects flying into our RV in the early mornings and evenings, we minimize how many times we open the door and we try to keep our main lights a bit away from the door. If we do end up with a lot of mosquitos, moths or other flying critters inside, we get out our vacuum, turn on one light at a time and vacuum them up as they gather at that light.
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