Bruce Bernhart RV Topics


Bruce Bernhart RV Topics

Original articles plus the "best of the web" on beginning and advanced RV care and maintenance by RV writer and enthusiast Bruce Bernhart

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Grand Canyon
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Long Term Travel, Water Management and Weight Considerations

In Minnesota, Bruce Bernhart has been an RV enthusiast since the mid-1980's
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Camping Bear

Look for other Bruce Bernhart RV care and maintenance topics on Articlesbase and Ezinearticles plus the Bruce Bernhart Blogs
Updated June 30, 2013

Bernhart's Tips For Extended Travel

When people think of RV-ing, the image of a busted up old camper and the camping equipment that is still collecting dust in your parents garage usually pop up (no pun intended). However, RV living has become an extremely viable option for people struck with wanderlust, or an insatiable appetite for majestic landscapes and American traditions. While living in an RV, adventurers may run into a number of obstacles that they simply hadn't anticipated, but don't let these little bumps in the road derail your RV adventures. The following are useful tips for RV beginners to help tackle the unexpected quirks of modern RV living.

The Septic Tank. While at least slightly unpleasant to say the least, emptying the septic is important to ensure the health and well-being of yourself and your fellow travelers. The United States has a large number of designated dumping stations, where campers can empty their septic tanks. Besides where to dump the septic, campers need to also be aware oh how to properly dispose of their waste. Using protective gloves, rubber boots and a sewer hose will minimize spillage and help protect against infection.

What to Eat While On the Road. Using a full refrigerator in an RV can get quite expensive and drastically increase your energy consumption and electric bill. Consider investing in a mini-fridge that is both energy efficient and saves valuable space in the RV. Shop for perishable supplies when available and plan ahead. Follow the Boy Scout motto and “be prepared”. The experienced camper can attest to the importance of planning ahead and stocking up on everyday supplies, including perishable and non-perishable foods and clean drinking water. Consider packing a box with canned and boxed foods that are easy and quick to prepare after a long day of traveling or exploration.

Proper RV equipment. The point of many RV expeditions is to relax, see the country, and step back into a simpler time to enjoy simple pleasures. That being said, campers do not need to pack the entire contents of their homes into their RV. Consider bringing only what you need, seasonal clothing, toiletries, minimal cooking equipment, and emergency supplies are essential for a comfortable and rustic RV getaway. It is also recommended that serious RV enthusiasts invest in a GPS system. Include the following supplies in your emergency kit:



Iodine tablets to disinfect any water supply

First aid supplies (e.i. Bandaids, gauze, rubbing alcohol, allergy medication, ect.)

Car jack

Spare tire and/or Fix-A-Flat®

Emergency flares

Extra blankets

In It For The Long Haul. If you are planning an RV excursion that will last months or years at a time, there are few extra precautions that should be taken. The best way to clear out your home before moving into an RV is to have a yard sale. Decide what to hold onto and invest in a storage unit while you are away. Another option is to rent out your home as a furnished sublet, this can provide a steady and secure supplemental cash flow. To avoid mail being sent to a wrong address, consider using online or paperless bill pay, or ask a reliable friend or family member to handle your finances while you are away, the same can be done with regular mail.

From Full Timing

Renee Nicole wrote this excellent piece for Woodall's on essential camping and RV supplies:

Start with personal items, like your clothing: Are you camping somewhere warm, or near the water? Will it be cold? Will you be outside a lot, or hitting the local museums? Your destination plays a big role in what you pack. Be sure to take at least 5 changes of clothing that are suitable for where you are headed. Bring comfortable shoes for sightseeing. If you’re planning something special, bring one nice outfit. Don’t forget about your toiletries, including shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste, mouth wash, floss, and sunscreen. If you plan on using the onsite showering facilities, remember to bring sandals or flipflops, too. Bring books, games, cards, and other items that you enjoy.

If you own your own RV, it is a good idea to purchase essential items specifically for your RV, including kitchen items, bedding, tools and other RV supplies that will stay in the RV after the trip. When stocking up your kitchen, remember that space is limited. Take the things you use daily, such as a coffee maker. Include a few pots and pans of varying sizes to fulfill any cooking need. Don’t forget measuring cups, a cutting board, a nice set of knives, can opener, cooking utensils, hot pads, oven mitts, silverware, plates, cups, and bowls. If you can avoid glass, do so. Remember that items can shift when the RV is in motion, so the less delicate, the better. If you do not plan on doing very many dishes while camping, stock up on paper and plastic goods. Don’t forget plastic bags, aluminum foil, Tupperware, and plastic wrap. Get sheets, blankets and pillows to keep in the RV, as well as towels and a table cloth. More vital RV supplies include a tool kit. Be sure to have a wide variety of tools in the RV that can handle any situation. This includes varying sizes of screwdrivers, both Philip and flat head, duct tape, zip ties, hammer, wrenches, a jack, spare tire, spare parts, crowbar, fire extinguisher, bungee cords, battery jumper pack, fuses, wd40, measuring tape, and other such items. It is also important to have maps, spare batteries, GPS, matches, flash lights, an extra cell phone battery, lanterns, a first aid kit, leveling blocks, cb radio, and a sewing kit.

Having a camping packing list makes it easier and faster to pack up the RV. Check things off as you go, and you’ll be ready to go in no time!

Also, Bernhart says don't forget these water hook up basics:

  1. First of all, you will like the taste and smell of your water a lot more if you use a hose designed for drinking water, rather than just any green garden hose.
  2. It's a good idea to have several lengths of hose, as you never know how far away that faucet will be. I have a 10 foot, a 20 foot and a 50 foot fresh water hose and use whichever one or combination of several that reach the faucet the best.
  3. NEVER NEVER NEVER use your fresh water hose for any other purpose! Don't use it to wash the car, or (God forbid!) to flush out your holding tanks! That hose needs to be treated carefully and kept as sanitary as possible. After all, you're DRINKING this water, right?
  4. RV plumbing was designed to operate at pressures of 40 to 60 psi and most can tolerate pressures up to about 100 psi. Unfortunately, unregulated city water can have pressures as high as 150 psi or more. The best bet here is to always install a pressure regulator on the line coming to your city water connection. There are inexpensive pressure regulators that simply screw onto one end of your fresh water hose and they are cheap and effective insurance.
  5. A really handy device to have is a water stealer. These little homemade items allow you to hook up a hose to a faucet that has no hose threads. These little devices will allow you to fill your fresh water tank from just about any spigot or sink tap that you will find anywhere. They are cheap and easy to make and will save you a lot of headaches somewhere down the road! To use, just force the end of the appropriately sized stealer over the non-threaded spigot and secure with the worm gear clamp. Attach your hose and you're in business. Note: these are for temporary hookups for filling a water tank and really aren't designed to have pressure on them for long periods of time. Probably not a good idea to use as a permanent hookup!
  6. They now sell "rollup" hoses that look like a rolled up fire hose. They're easy to store because when there is no water flowing through them, they flatten out.  This allows you to wind them up on a spool, so they take up much less room. When you hook the hose up to a campground faucet, the water flowing through expands the hose and the hose expands to the size of an ordinary hose so you get plenty of water flow. Camping world sells them, and you can pick up an electrical wire spool for winding the hose.  Makes it real easy to use- you just pull the hose from the spool when you need it, and then wind it back on when you're done! From
Here are some pointers Bernhart found on RVBasics (a great website!) on sanitizing the fresh water system, should you need to do that on the road:

A friend and fellow full time RVer, Bill Randolph told me how he uses something other than household bleach which works well for him and I also started using it. I think it is worth passing on to you. Before he retired, Bill spent twenty years in the swimming pool business. He's an expert when it comes to sanitizing swimming pools and spas and says the same rules apply to RV fresh water systems.

Bill uses Chlorinating Concentrate (Sodium Dichloro-s-Triazinetricone or Sodium Dichlor for short). Sodium Dichlor contains 62% available chlorine. Compare that to household bleach which has something close to 3%. One pound of Sodium Dichlor is equal to 8 gallons of bleach! Also, household bleach contains other stuff, including a lot of salt, and that salt and other stuff is what causes the bad taste and why you have to flush the fresh water tank so well.

Bill says it takes only 1 teaspoon of the concentrate per 100 gallons of water to initially sanitize the system. Remember to run water through all the faucets. It's okay to use the full teaspoon even on smaller tanks because you will be flushing the tank before adding the water you intend to drink but it seems wasteful.

Like most of us, Bill travels with a near empty tank to reduce weight. So if he arrives at park where he plans to stay and they have well water, he drops a half teaspoon per 100 gallons of the concentrate into the fill tube and fills his water tank. This insures the system will always be sanitized. No, you do not have to flush again. It's the equivalent to drinking chlorinated city water. If you are filling your tank from a source that is already chlorinated then you don't need to add the concentrate.

That said, if you don't like to drink chlorinated water, don't add the concentrate to the water you intend to drink. Assuming, you fill your water tank from a trusted source you should be safe. Or, you can add the concentrate and then filter the water you drink or cook with.

Truth is I almost always seem to be filling the fresh water tank from a chlorinated source (city water supply) so I seldom need to to use the concentrate. And we do filter our drinking water.

This is not a case where more is better. This stuff is concentrated and it's best to use just what Bill recommends.

Because Sodium Dichlor is so highly concentrated you only need to carry a very small container... buy the smallest container available. And it is dry crystals so there is less chance of a spill. However, because it is so concentrated it is highly corrosive so you do have to be careful how you store it and use it. You should be able to find Sodium Dichlor (Chlorinating Concentrate) at any pool supplies or spa store. Bill says there are several brands to choose from but brand should not be a factor in your choice... it's all the same stuff.

Here's a list of basics to remember:

  • Extra fuses
  • Extra light bulbs
  • Electrical tape
  • Plumbing tape
  • Duct tape
  • Tire repair kit
  • Wrench set
  • Small hammer
  • Multipurpose knife or tool
  • Screwdrivers
  • Socket set
  • Jumper cables
  • Aluminum hydraulic floor jack
  • Wrench for hitch bolts
  • Small can of WD-40
  • Various nuts, bolts, connectors, etc.


Bruce Bernhart RV Websites

Check out the other Bruce Bernhart RV Websites and Blogs:

Solar power for your RV

The care and feeding of your RV battery

The sport of "geocaching" and RV refrigeration basics

The basics of RV power inversion

RV travel tips and tire care

Advanced discussion on power inversion

Tips on buying a house battery and cold weather maintenance

RV Insurance basics

Buying the right generator for your RV and portable power

RV television reception options

Care and maintenance of the RV air conditioner

Top RV destinations

RV long-term supplies and weight considerations

RV Insurance- Road protection and bodily injury coverage

RV battery types and winter charging considerations

Deep cycle battery basics

Bruce Bernhart RV Websites

Also, be sure to check out the Bruce Bernhart Mandolin Websites:

Bruce Bernhart mandolin rock tabs

Bruce Bernhart mandolin lessons- common scales

Bruce Bernhart on buying and setting up your new mandolin

Bruce Bernhart mandolin lessons- tuning

Bruce Bernhart mandolin lessons- chord patterns

Bruce Bernhart on mandolin history and basic chord structures

Bruce Bernhart on string and saddle adjustment

Bruce Bernhart more tuning tips and whole/half steps

Bruce Bernhart on more chord patterns

Bruce Bernhart on the mandolin family

Bruce Bernhart on mandolin bluegrass chords and patterns

Bruce Bernhart on temperature considerations

Bruce Bernhart lessson on mandolin flats and sharps

Bruce Bernhart lesson on scales, circle of 5ths and meter

Bruce Bernhart on triads, gears

Bruce Bernhart mandolin chord diagrams

Bruce Bernhart on modern emergence of the mandolin

Bruce Bernhart on simple chords

Bruce Bernhart on whole and half-note steps on the mandolin

Bruce Bernhart mandolin practice excercises

Bruce Bernhart on playing waltzes

Bruce Bernhart on majors, minors and sevenths

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