The Real and Imagined of Full-Time Rving

As my husband and I embarked on our new life of full-time RVing we noticed a lot of the same assumptions are made about it.   I’m writing today to target the most often asked questions we heard and seperate what people imagine about it and what the reality is.

The image: You can’t cook in the RV like you normally would or we get asked how do we cook.

The Reality:  RV’s have a gas stove that run off of the propane tanks.   Even the smalles Class B vans and slide-on truck campers have a stove.  The vast majority also have an oven running off the same propane tanks.  That being said, you can cook the same things in your RV as you would in any kitchen.  I have not had to change any of my cooking habits since being on the road.   Most RV ovens are large enough for a 9×13 pan.  I can continue to make whatever I want and no one should be deterred because it’s a smaller area.   There is some adjustment for that but you figure out ways to make it all work.   Most models also have a microwave as well.   Some are installing a microwave/convection oven in lieu of the gas oven.   The pros to this is you gain an extra storage cabinet or draws where the oven would have been and we all know a lot of things just come out better in a convection oven.   The take-away is that the microwave/convection ovens are smaller than the gas ovens, so the size of pans you use might be more limited.

The image:  You are travelling everyday to see new sights and not a care in the world.

The Reality:  Even though we do travel, it’s not daily.   Being a full-time RVer does not mean we never have bills and are free from responsibility.   Many of us take on workcamping jobs which keep us working at a campground for their season, anywhere from 4-6 months.   This gives us a place to stay and earn an income to be able to pay any bills and afford to travel.  It also allows us plenty of time to check out the area and enjoy it on our days off.   Some are fortunate enough to be able to run their own businesses or be hired as a subcontractor while on the road.  Amazon, gate guarding and sugar beet harvest in the fall are other popular choices.  No matter how we go about it, it gives us the ability to see and do more but we do have to shut off “vacation mode”.

The image:  We’re sitting around a campfire every night.  

The Reality:  As full-time RVers, we don’t consider ourselves as camping.  Yes, while we live in a camper (RV), to us it’s our home and we’re just living and working no differently than those living in a house or apartment.  We typically are not sitting by the fire.  You will have use some of your water (if no stream nearby) or shovel dirt on it to save your water.  The smell of the fire gets everywhere.  It will find it’s way inside the RV and we don’t want our homes to smell like that.  It gets into your clothes and your hair and if you go straight to bed, you will transfer it to your bedding.   If you are staying at a campground that has showers or full-hookups and a laundry, not being able to shower or wash bedding may not be the issue.  If you are boondocking and need to make your water last as long as possible, then we tend to forego the campfires because we don’t have the opportunity to use water for extra showering or washing our bedding.   Also, when it comes to water usage, it goes into the tanks, so we’re thinking about having to go dump.  The campfires are enjoyed just once in a while, if they are.

The image:  Owning an RV is expensive and there is a lot of maintenance.

The Reality:  Owning a home or paying rent costs more than living in an RV.   Depending on whether you went with new or used when you purchased your RV and what kind of RV you chose, this cost can vary greatly.  However, with an RV your time and money spent on maintenance is reduced.  With an RV lifestyle you no longer have to spend time mowing your lawn and tending a garden.  You are not spending money on the maintenance and upkeep of mowers and/or tractors and yard tools.  You no longer have the higher water bill in the summer, in fact, you don’t have a water bill at all.  You do have to spend a small fraction of this for certain cleaners and treatments to maintain the RV roof.  You should inspect your RV roof every 6 months. Also on some lubricants to keep things in good running order (I have a previous post on this blog regarding those).  A trip to a car wash to clean the outside of the RV and to give it a good waxing as needed helps to ensure it looks good in years to come.  A thorough cleaning on the inside of the RV still takes far less time than it does cleaning a home.

The image:  Come visit me, come visit me.

The Reality:  This ties in with the previous point.  Some of us choose where we are going and then find work or some go where the work is.   Because we still have to earn a living like everyone else, we can’t just hook up and leave whenever we want.  We’ve made obligations to work.  We love to visit and appreciate the invitation, but if we visit, we are likely to see if we can find work in that area or we’ll continue to work somewhere so we can afford to trek out and spend time with you.

These are the common misconceptions we’ve encountered.  Feel free to comment on what you run into when talking to people about the RV life.

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