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RV FAQs

Is An RV Vacation Affordable >>

RV travel is an affordable and cost-effective way to vacation. National studies in Canada undertaken by the RV industry have shown that average prices of rentals (other than large motorhomes) – including campsites, food and gas – are generally less expensive than those where the travel party stays in a hotel/motel, and that towable RV vacations are also more economical than private property rentals. Prices of course will vary depending on the type of RV and whether the unit is owned or rented, the length of the trip, fuel costs and what type of campsite is booked. For more information read the article: The Cost of An RV Vacation in Canada.

What should I know about renting an RV? >>

To determine the type of motorhome needed for a camping trip ask yourself the following questions: What is the total budget and how many people will sleep in the RV? What size of unit is the driver comfortable with, what is the estimated trip distance and what kinds of roads will be navigated? Will a second vehicle be towed and is a bike rack necessary? Read our helpful article on RV rental tips, and after deciding what kind of motorhome is best suited to everyone’s needs, start your rental search.

How does an RV’s electrical system work? >>

RVs have two different electrical outlets: a 12-volt automotive-type DC system and a 120-volt AC household-type system. The 120-volt device is operated by an RV electrical hookup plug or a generator, and it runs the kitchen and large electrical appliances. Most lights, other appliances, and electrical motors operate on 12-volt, which allow for dry camping without plugging into an external power supply. When plugged in or running off a generator, the power is used to charge the 12-volt batteries and high-demand systems/appliances such as the air-conditioner or microwave.

Do RVs require generators? >>

Most functions in an RV do not need a generator. Lights, pumps, the furnace, refrigerator, and most electric motors operate on 12-volt DC power through the unit’s house battery. Appliances like the RV’s microwave oven, air conditioner and most TVs do require a generator or external power connection to operate. If plans are to camp for an extended period with no exterior power source, a built-in or portable generator should be considered to charge the RV’s main batteries; a solar energy system is also an option, even if to recharge batteries.

What types of water tanks do RVs have? >>

An RV has storage or holding tanks for three types of water: Fresh water, grey water (or gray water in the US) and black water. Fresh water is used for cooking, drinking, showering and flushing the toilet. The grey water tank collects the wastewater from the sink and shower (appropriately named as the water looks grey) and the black water tank collects wastewater from the toilet.

Freshwater tanks should be sanitized regularly following the RV manual instructions and grey water and black water tanks should be emptied at sani-dump stations (found at most campgrounds, some highway rest stops and truck stops, and in municipal areas). Most RV companies recommend emptying the black and grey tanks when they are at least 2/3rds full to better ‘flush out’ any deposits and eliminate build-up.

Can an RV refrigerator work when not plugged in? >>

Yes, an RV’s fridge can run when not plugged in to an external power source. RV refrigerators operate on household current or propane; when the camper is not plugged into an AC power source, the refrigerator uses heat from a propane-fueled flame to complete the cooling process. Some RVs offer residential refrigerators like those in a home. They use the RV’s battery power supply (inverted into AC power) to operate the refrigerator compressor and supply cooling when not plugged in.

What does the RVing term ‘GVWR’ mean? >>

GVWR means ‘Gross Vehicle Weight Rating’, which is the maximum permissible amount the tow vehicle, trailer or motorhome is rated to weigh when fully loaded for travel. This includes the unit itself, all cargo and fluids, extra equipment and occupants. For safety and handling purposes it is important to adhere to the trailer or motorhome’s GVWR and not exceed it. The GVWR can be found on a sticker located on the inside of the driver or entry door or near the exterior roadside front of the trailer.

How Can I Weigh a Tow Vehicle and Trailer? >>

Firstly, note that a regular driver’s licence allows for towing a fully loaded recreational trailer weighing up to 4,600 kg gross vehicle weight (GVW) with a two-axle vehicle. If it’s more than this, you will need to upgrade your driver’s licence.

Take the trailer to a certified inspection station (click HERE for a list of weigh scales in BC) for a proper weight when the trailer is fully loaded, including gear, full water and propane tanks. (You can also do an Internet search for “truck scales near me” or “CAT scales near me”.) When arriving at a weigh station ask for instructions if needed (the scale operator can print out and review the numbers with you). On a standard commercial scale, drive only the tow vehicle’s front wheels onto the scale, then the rear, then the trailer; this will give front-axle, rear-axle and total weight. (A multi-platform scale can do this all at once.) For trailer weight only, drive the tow vehicle off the scale, then disconnect the trailer while the trailer’s axles and A-frame jack are on the scale. For more information, ICBC has a webpage on towing a recreational trailer and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (TranBC) has a webpage about RV safety.

How Can I Keep Moisture Out of an RV? >>

In humid and wet climates, just like in a cottage or cabin, moisture will inevitably collect inside RVs. Desiccant products and dehumidifier units will help to draw moisture out of the air. Battery operated and plug-in solutions as well as chemical products are also available to dehumidify. In the springtime, or when the trailer is out of storage, air everything out, including the cushions and curtains. If possible, remove the cushions and fabrics during the storage season. If storing items or fabrics in plastic boxes add a dryer sheet. Do not use moth balls outside of airtight containers. If you choose to use moth balls, read the instructions carefully.

How do I Keep Rodents Out of an RV? >>

There is no full-proof way to stop rodents from entering a unit but you can make the RV less inviting to them by parking it on a hard surface (where possible) and giving the unit a thorough cleanse when absent for a long time or before putting it in storage. Discard any loose papers as rodents might use these as nesting places and be sure to examine the RV’s underside and vents to verify that there are no areas where mice or squirrels can enter. Fill any gaps with expandable foam (don’t use mesh or anything that animals can gnaw or chew). Of course, there are various battery-powered ultrasonic devices and botanical products on the market to help to deter rodents. Peppermint oil is said to work.

How do I Keep a Trailer from Rocking? >>

To prevent a trailer from rocking verify that the RV is level (with the unit’s built-in leveller or a hand-held one), that the wheels are choked (i.e. safety blocked) and that the stabilizer jacks are properly extended on a block or wood base and not the bare ground where they can sink into. Levelling jacks will reduce up and down motion, stabilizers will reduce side to side motion, and wheel chocks will help to reduce any movement of the tires. To chock the wheels, place a sturdy material (wedge-shaped wood or designated polyurethane or rubber block) against the vehicle’s wheels to prevent movement. For additional lateral support you can add X chocks in between the tires when parked. For more information read the article RV Set Up & Tear Down Checklist.

Where can I rent a motorhome or Recreational Vehicle (RV)? >>

There is a diverse selection of RV rental companies across British Columbia. For those who choose to venture outside of BC into other provinces, some with branches across Canada allow campers to pick up a motorhome in one province and drop it off in another. Note that each rental operation/platform has its own independent policies and fees. To begin your search visit our Camping Map and select ‘RV Rentals’.

Are there towing restrictions in British Columbia? >>

If towing a recreational trailer, ensure that it has a proper licence plate. A utility trailer plate is used on trailers intended for personal use with no financial gain (such as the typical family travel trailer). They usually have a Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) of 4,600 kg or under. A standard driver’s licence allows for recreational trailer towing.

If plans are to pull a trailer above 4,600 kg, and neither the truck nor the trailer has air brakes, the driver will need to upgrade his or her driver’s license to a Class 4 or 5, with a house trailer endorsement. If pulling a trailer above 4,600 kg and the trailer or the truck does have air brakes, the driver will need to upgrade his or her driver’s licence to a Class 1 commercial with air brake endorsement. For more information on towing a recreational trailer visit the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC).




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