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First time RV’er Lessons learnt!

woman on top of a mountain

As a first time RV’er I was about to enter a whole new world I knew nothing about! It was so far away from my usual overnight hikes or walk in camping scenarios that I had no idea what to expect – but it was exciting!

The first lesson happened fast- it turns out that planning ahead is the key! You cannot just decide a week out you’ll hit the road and expect there to be RV sites available on a long weekend or in popular destinations!

Secondly, when route planning, RV driving hours are different to regular car hours – especially for a first timer who will be taking wide turns and driving carefully in the slow lane! After finding out this very helpful information, I picked destinations that didn’t require a long time in the driver’s seat, so we could get out and enjoy BC!

The Camping RV BC website was a great resource to plan routes (including printable directions), pick sites, understand costs (which were surprisingly not as expensive as expected for having a fully equipped mobile home!

I also found the most important piece of advice for me – how to reverse successfully. We now felt ready to hit the road!

Arriving at the rental company – Fraserway RV, we were greeted by large, shiny white RV’s as far as the eye could see. The office was spacious, bright and welcoming. We were immediately helped by super friendly staff, efficiently explained the paperwork, had our questions answered, received a smores kit (yay!), and got our RV! We loaded our possessions and were met by Karl, who gave us an easy to understand orientation of the RV. Turns out there is a lot to learn… But luckily it was straightforward, so we felt confident we would survive!

Woman and man standing in front of an RV

Karl and I – ready to go!

The RV was fully equipped with everything we could possibly need – from kitchen essentials to wine glasses, egg cups to toilet paper, towels, bedding, camp chairs, an axe, everything! Even the fridge is full size – so plenty of room for snacks!

We were delighted to find that it was actually really nice! That probably sounds strange – but having never travelled in an RV, and having images of tiny, old, worn out spaces that were stuffy and smelly; it was much nicer and newer than we had possibly imagined! Karl explained that vehicles are rotated out regularly, and each year they receive new vehicles. Clean, spacious and well looked after; it was easy just to settle in immediately.

Picture of the inside of an RV Rental

Inside our plush RV; Housekeeping Package gave us everything we needed and more!

The bedroom inside an RV rental

Our beautiful RV bedroom!

Karl helped us set the mirrors and we were also excited to find a reversing camera with microphone… Even better equipped than our own vehicles! And definitely nice to have for a couple of girl friends heading off on our first ever RV trip!

RV Reverse camera

Thank goodness for reversing cameras!

After a quick explanation of taking corners with a long vehicle, we started a test drive… Except the RV didn’t move…. ‘Is it in drive?’ Asked Karl calmly… Oops! Guess he sees that a lot!

Time to hit the road! We excitedly went through our drivers checklist to ensure we didn’t forget anything – and started the first turn! …And took it way too wide! Karl appeared like a savior and expertly directed us around – I’m sure having a few chuckles as we departed – as we were too!

A few wrong turns and we were on the open road! Easy! ‘Like driving a couch’ a friend had told me… And I think it’s a good explanation! Surprisingly easy and super comfortable, it took no time at all to get used to, and was so nice being higher up and having a birds eye view of the road!

In Hope we stopped to hit up the Blue Moose cafe and we couldn’t start the vehicle on our return?!?! Racking our brains we remembered the dash battery booster switch! But alas, no success. We tried the manual and google, before using the old ‘Phone a Friend’ trick! Luckily my cousin is a genius and suggested we opened the hood to check the battery ports. Knocking the first one we quickly discovered it had rattled loose and needed to be pushed back down to lock into place. Success!! We were on our way again!

RV Parked in a pullout

Not a bad place to be stuck! – ‘Phoning a friend in Hope’

Even the connections were a breeze – although we were dreading pulling out the aptly colored brown ‘poo hose’ as we called it, to dump the waste- it turned out to be a very straight forward and not at all messy process! Gloves are even supplied for the feint of heart!

Young woman hooking up an RV

Although it appears daunting, connections are a breeze!

Unfortunately connecting / disconnecting the water hose, we lost the washer – tip for young players – this is an integral part of the hose set up. Water will spray EVERYWHERE without this! Luckily the RV had plenty of water in the tanks to use before we could hit up a hardware store and get a replacement… which was about $2 for a pack of ten – so we had plenty to spare – just in case!

Our final First Timer RV lesson was learnt the hard way! – Although RV sinks look and feel like a ‘real’ sink…. they are in fact plastic – not steel or cast iron… And as a consequence, if one places a scalding hot dish from the oven, it will burn through it!! RV sinks are also costly to replace once the RV is returned! 🙂

What’s a journey without a good story though?! Bring on the RV adventure!

Published: July 30, 2015
Last Updated: April 29, 2020

Karinya Kosh by Karinya Kosh

Karinya grew up in Sydney, Australia and has lived, worked and travelled in a running total of 74 countries around the world so far before arriving in Beautiful BC in 2011 (where she never wants to leave!). Karinya is an avid hiker, skier, snowshoer, climber, biker, and camper. She is up for any adventure - especially if it involves water or mountains!