First time Brand new Camper hacks - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-06-2016, 07:12 AM   #1
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Name: Mitzi
Trailer: LilSnoozy 12/01/16, Tug 2012 Dodge Citadel
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First time Brand new Camper hacks

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Originally Posted by MamaSkirts
Leslie, Thanks very much. I appreciate the consideration.

Mitzi & Jon, believe it or not... And judge us or not... We're jumping into this full-timing thing as first-time RV owners and even ...wait for it... first-time campers.

We can hear the gasps & fully realize the anxiety that "first-time-everything" status will create in people (especially friends & family). But we've talked it over & over & over again and we just need to get outta here & refresh ourselves, our connection to nature &, ultimately, refresh our lives themselves.

So... Full-timing: we've committed to a year and will go from there. Domiciling and taxes and whatnot are definitely future concerns but not in the immediate.

I guess when I asked for first-timer advice, I was really asking what stupid RV mistakes y'all made that could've been avoided with advice from some more experienced RVers.

Thanks again to all who've contributed here.

Oh, you are going to have a BALL!
First, when dark falls, it really FALLS (assuming you're not in a suburban/urban wall to wall trailer/rv park) Try to get everything set up/put away before dusk. If you live way north like Canada dusk can last for hours. Here in south Florida it lasts about 10 minutes. Buy a cap led or a headlamp- it's hard to work one handed while hanging on to a flashlight.

Never dress in the dark without shaking out your boots/shoes, underwear and trousers. Back in Boy Scout Camp there was a certain scorpion that became acquainted with certain tender portions of my nether anatomy, due to my failure to shake out my underwear after my in-the-dark shower.

First aid for scorpion stings is benedryl and ice. Pack lots and lots of benedryl. It's good for stings, poison ivy, poison oak, ant bites, mosquito bites, insomnia, and hay fever. Oral benedryl is much less likely to cause allergies than ointments containing benedryl.

First aid for burns. 1. Ice. 2. Non steroidal anti inflammatories (such as aspirin, ibuprofen or Naprosyn) to stop the burn at a cellular level. If you start to blister get thee to an emergency room. (PS paramedics and ER staff REALLY hate to see burns coming in slathered with butter or Crisco or Neosporin or any other cream. If there is still heat in the burnt area creams just trap it and it all has to be painfully washed off so they can make an educated assessment)

My dermatologist uses Neutrogena SPF 100 sunscreen. I figure she should know and do the same.

Low temperatures outside cities are 10-20 degrees lower than in the city. How to stay warm? Nightcaps. Fuzzy socks. Keep water and a high carb midnight snack handy as your metabolism will need a little kickstart if it's not used to keeping you warm all night instead of your furnace doing so. Also moisturize lightly to hold heat in (see the hint above about burn first aid. Also, long distance swimmers grease to avoid hypothermia)

If you are going to be cold weather camping, read your clothing labels. COTTON KILLS! The biggest lie is "warm 100% cotton flannel". Polyester, acrylic, silk, and wool are all warmer than cotton. I have slept in a 40*F 10 x 10 ft cabin atop a north Carolina mountain, comfortable in a double set of long undies/long sleeve shirts- silk next to the skin then merino/angora blend. My Boy Scouts all knew the "Cotton Kills" lecture by heart.

Camping trips are not times to experiment with unfamiliar foods ( we'll make an exception for tinfoil dinners and egg scramble in a baggie) Comfort food that you can produce with a blindfold and one hand tied behind your back is the way to go until you feel comfortable with camping cookery. Snacky sweets are very good on camping trips. You know about smores, and there are pie iron recipes...

Very important- keep one whole outfit, complete from skin out, bagged in a ziplock baggie and wear that to drive home.
Hoping that others can chime in with advice to the first timers...but you will love it, I swear. Don't wait any longer, camping is a WONDERFUL way to refresh your soul and enjoy yourself.
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Mamaskirts, I think we'll get more participation here in general Chat. I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the amount of good knowledge there is out there and the willingness to share. Oh, and DH wanted to pass along one of his tips too, which is-
Don't overturn any logs. You don't know what might be living under there to take umbrage at you messing with their dwelling place.
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Old 05-06-2016, 08:29 AM   #2
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Name: Emily
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mitzi Agnew-Giles View Post
Quote:

First aid for burns. 1. Ice. 2. Non steroidal anti inflammatories (such as aspirin, ibuprofen or Naprosyn) to stop the burn at a cellular level. If you start to blister get thee to an emergency room. (PS paramedics and ER staff REALLY hate to see burns coming in slathered with butter or Crisco or Neosporin or any other cream. If there is still heat in the burnt area creams just trap it and it all has to be painfully washed off so they can make an educated assessment)
All of your camping tips are so good, but I have to chime in on this one for a tiny second. One of the WORST things you can do is put ice on a burn. It drives all of the heat inward, causing the burn to go deeper. Doctors recommend tepid water (not even cold), wrap it in a clean cloth, put NOTHING on it, take an ibuprofen and go to the ER immediately for anything over a quarter in size.

My disclaimer on this is that a bit over a year ago I suffered 3rd degree burns on my hand from bacon grease. I spent some time working with the burn center for treatment, here in Denver. My dearest friend is a burn nurse, who came over immediately after the burn happened and treated it before sending me to the burn center. The quick treatment saved me from needing skin grafts. The sooner a burn is treated, the better the prognosis, so DON"T WAIT!

And that is my PSA for the day I'm sorry to bump in here and derail the camping tips. Carry on
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Old 05-06-2016, 08:40 AM   #3
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We were new to camping in a trailer last year, and one thing that makes set up and tear down easy, is the checklist that my husband printed off that tells what to do when you arrive and then to do it in reverse when you leave. We also have specific jobs that each of us do to set up and leave, and then we switch and do a walk around to make sure everything got packed up and put away. This way we don't forget to put the rug back inside, or put down the stablizers or put the electrical cord away, etc. I think he just googled an RV camping set up check list.

I was worried about towing and fearful that somehow we would do this whole trailer thing wrong. It was a good season. The biggest mistake we made last year was reserving a too sloped campsite at Lake Tahoe and having to really work to get the camper positioned level and even then, it was almost touching a tree and practically on the road. If you are making reservations, read the descriptions!

It's very exciting that you all are beginning this journey! All the best to you!
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Old 05-06-2016, 09:23 AM   #4
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Name: Tomodachi
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Talk to the other campers near you. EVERYONE has a horror story about the time I......

Experiment with food. In this country food is cheap. Keep a backup (PB&J for me) handy incase something goes awry.

Keep at least some sweet, fresh water on hand ALWAYS. Sometimes, you'll run into an old fashioned hand pump - with water that tastes like iron. Use that for cooking and dishes, but sweet fresh drinking water is a must.

Keep a fire starting "kit" around. It's much easier to start with dry combustibles than finding wet wood. I use waxed paper (it'll burn after you drop it in a puddle) and shavings and add pencil sized "splits" from old 2x4's. That'll get most anything going.
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Old 05-06-2016, 09:57 AM   #5
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Name: Patrick
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Good luck full timing !
Good to hear you plan a one year test.
That should leave the doors open to return if it does not work out.
Hope you plan on maintaining your sticks & stones residence to fall back on.

Be sure to select a RV that has a great layout with plenty of space.
Picture yourself stuck in a bad weather situation for several days...is the trailer
large enough to enjoy that extended period of confinement ?
If the size and lay out are right chances are you will be successful full timers.

Happy Camping.
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Old 05-06-2016, 12:01 PM   #6
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Interesting post, with lots of things to consider.

"Cotton Kills" is a little extreme and misleading, in my opinion. People wear cotton jeans in all kinds of weather, and most survive. But in a survival situation where you are exposed to the elements, wool is better, even when wet. I spent 30 winters in the Adirondacks, and I know what works. But I don't think this advice applies to most of us happy campers, snug in our little trailers.

Anaphylaxis is an interesting defense mechanism of the human body. When a toxin enters the body, such as from a scorpion, snake, spider or bee sting, the capillaries and other blood vessels dilate in an attempt spread the poison throughout the body and save the vital organs, like your heart. This reaction is different and variable for everyone. But breathing can become difficult as all that blood swells in the tissues around your throat, and everywhere else. Blood pressure drops, life is in the balance. Should we worry about this? Only if our history shows a propensity for severe reactions to these things. Otherwise, become one with the bugs and other critters. And be smart.

My best advice to anyone starting out, is to camp in your driveway with a pencil and paper. Don't go back in the house. You'll soon learn what you need.

Water is more important than food. But have fun with food.

Back in the day, we all tried to blend into the woods with colors that matched the environment. Then we learned that a bright orange tent could save your life in an emergency. In a similar way, most of my gear that is not in the trailer is brightly colored (no camo), and easy to see when doing a final walk around before leaving a campsite. Policing the area. This is not only for the purpose of leaving no trace, but also to save your stuff.

Lots of good advice here, and some of it is probably worth more than you paid for it.

Have fun

Gordon
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Old 05-06-2016, 12:17 PM   #7
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Somehow this went from a first year of full timing in an RV to survival school training. I took the jungle survival school classes before going to Vietnam in the U.S. Air Force and since then haven't needed any of it while RV camping since 1983.

Relax and enjoy camping.
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Old 05-06-2016, 01:30 PM   #8
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It took me 8 camping trips with our old van before I was able to fall asleep in it the first night out. So this time I'm planning for insomnia to begin with. I'll get used to it eventually.

Take more cash and coins than you think you'll need. Also, make sure to contact your bank before you leave your state to be sure they know you're heading outside your usual range so they don't cancel your credit or debit cards.
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Old 05-06-2016, 02:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uplander View Post
Somehow this went from a first year of full timing in an RV to survival school training. I took the jungle survival school classes before going to Vietnam in the U.S. Air Force and since then haven't needed any of it while RV camping since 1983.

Relax and enjoy camping.
:lout I was thinking the same!

My practises as to what I do and bring for example on a kayaking trip of 10 days or more, with no civilization in sight without a day or two of paddling are very different from those on a camping trip with my trailer - even when camping in areas that are not designated campgrounds! :lout

Experimenting with food when you are seriously restricted space/weight wise as to what you can pack and very limited as to the amount of water you waste making a meal is something I am very familiar with. BUT Experiment Away with meals when camping with a trailer - odds are good you have at least a couple of more oz's of water to spare & a pantry with something else in it you can whip up should your meal experiment turn into a disaster. Odds are also high you will find you have a new fav camping recipe.

While I do try and arrive at a campground before dusk up north here in Canada (or even when in southern Arizona of Calf) I have managed to survive arriving at many a camping spot well after dark. Thats what LED headlamps are for! Having a trailer allows you to pack some pretty darn big heavy flashlights that will light up the night a great distance. Only danger is waking up a bear or two - either four legged or two legged In the worse case scenario (i.e. not only is it dark buts its pouring with rain & windy) you simple park it - jack up the tongue a little bit to take the pressure off the vehicle (but only if you feel you must) - open the door of the trailer, make yourself a nice pot of tea or cup of soap (or make a full meal for that matter) and crawl into the nice dry warm bed that you made up before leaving home!

Have been blissfully unaware until now that there was a safety concern with not bothering to do a full camp set up of chairs, BQ, awning and picnic table decorations until day light.

While I do spend a lot of time in the outdoors and in the mountains in winter & actually know what working in temps of -40F for days feels like, I agree that there are many new clothing material chooses that work far better than cotton in cold weather and especially wet weather. But again my trailer contains lots of cotton clothing - nothing bets it when camping in hot weather which is far more common when camping with a trailer than it is when someone is doing a mountaineering trip in the dead of winter. I do though keep a very good quality gore-tex jacket and a warm toque and gloves, along with waterproof footwear in my trailer all year round, as they are used year round. They come in handy whether I am camped on the Oregon coast in the middle of July or August or up here in Canada in the early spring/late fall or down south in Arizona in December.

I agree with the party who suggested putting ice on a burn is a bad idea. As was suggested tempered water only. Tempered water put on a burn at a low flow was the treatment of choose of the burn specialists who looked after my family members who suffered serious burns due to a plane crash.

As Uplander suggest camping in a trailer is about getting out and having fun and not an exercise in survival! But then again my view of camping with a trailer may be somewhat slanted as I grew up on Vancouver Island and what scares the contestants on the History Channel TV show "Alone" into making them call to be rescued in the first 24 hours, is simple what we locals call camping.
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Old 05-06-2016, 04:30 PM   #10
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Thank you Emij for first aid for burns. A burn is how I found out I was allergic to aloe, the hard way...So I really support not putting gels on burns.

Truly sorry this turned into "Survival"...But I'm a "Way out in the wilderness" past history of a camper, and the rest of it is just camping in Florida in the winter. Gets COLD! So cold the scorpions don't move real fast!
This is my first ever camper too! Lessee, now, civilized hacks-
Don't forget a sleep mask and ear plugs??? Really necessary when I went hostelling with dear grandson in those coed dorms.
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Old 05-06-2016, 04:44 PM   #11
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[QUOTE=Mitzi A.But I'm a "Way out in the wilderness" past history of a camper, and the rest of it is just camping in Florida in the winter. Gets COLD! So cold the scorpions don't move real fast!
[/QUOTE]

The good news is that when it comes to camping with a trailer it is pretty hard if not almost impossible to get it into what many of us think of as way out in the wilderness due to lack of roads in and cold is a very relative term!!

Funny enough half of Canada spends big $$$'s to head to Florida each winter to enjoy what we believe to be warm weather!
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Old 05-07-2016, 11:10 AM   #12
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The good news is that when it comes to camping with a trailer it is pretty hard if not almost impossible to get it into what many of us think of as way out in the wilderness due to lack of roads in and cold is a very relative term!!

Funny enough half of Canada spends big $$$'s to head to Florida each winter to enjoy what we believe to be warm weather!
The first backpacking trip I took my Boy Scouts on back in 1996, MLK weekend, we had COLD weather. We started in Lorida going north up the west bank of the Kissimmee River and the other group started at River Ranch, Lake Wales, heading south. It got down to 17 degrees F that night! And I had to make to make a midnight p run and got turned around in the jungly undergrowth-finally fixed on Cassiopeia to the east and headed that a way, figuring when I bumped into the river I would head south to the campgrounds. We were camped in the south end of the airbase camping area and I came out of the undergrowth at the NORTH end of the airbase proper and had a 2 1/2 mile trek back to my tent. Lesson learned- put a toilet in the camper you finally order!
Our cold is intermittent, but a lot damper than most of Canada's winter weather. Years ago I wrote an inservice on hyper and hypo thermia and found that Florida's deaths from hypo thermia outnumber Minnesota's. Probably because people in Minnesota are prepared for the cold and people in Florida sometimes aren't. Never forget our 2002 boy Scout backpack trip along the same trail, where we were expecting a freeze that night and ran into a backpacker who had come to Florida to train for his AT hike- bringing only cotton shorts and tees and a cotton sheet for sleeping. He was practically snarling with rage "This is SUPPOSED to be FLORIDA! Not SUPPOSED TO FREEZE HERE!" Umm, sorry???
Dear husband took a student trip to Moscow/Estonia/Latveria(?) winter of 1972 where it was 42 degrees below zero much of the time. One of the girls dropped a plastic handbag and it shattered-frozen stiff. He also once lived aboard a boat on the St John's River a little south of Daytona Beach one winter. He says he was colder on the river than he ever was in Russia.

OTOH, I was reviewing my garden blog from a decade or so back and most of my winter vegetables- the things usually found in US supermarkets as opposed to oriental or Hispanic markets- fried in an abnormal heat wave one January. So yeah, it's warmer than it is in Canada MOST of the winter- but we do get the occasional cold spell, and when we do, you really feel it!
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Old 05-07-2016, 11:55 AM   #13
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Our cold is intermittent, but a lot damper than most of Canada's winter weather.
Again dampness is a relative term.

When you get your trailer come up for a visit, just make sure you have resealed all your roof hatches first though.

Across Florida the average rain fall is in the 50-55 inches per year. Here in North Vancouver the average rainfall is 99.3 inches a year. In Tofino the average is 128 inches per year. We have a saying in these parts - we do not tan we rust. :lout

Admit though that the average precipitation rates are dropping yearly as we continue into another year of record dry weather with extreme fire situations already taking place and its only May

Best survival tip I have for visiting the West Coast is never leave home without out a good technical rain jacket & have a means of keeping some vents on the trailer open in the rain to keep the dampness out of the trailer.
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