Nobody likes to be the fool! But we've all been there one time or another.
It's a fact of human nature. We are imperfect.
People love to be on the other side of watching an imperfect 'fool'.
You might even love WATCHING a silly fool, right?
(With a grimace on your face.)
Hey, nothing better in life (in my opinion) than getting a kick out of someone stumbling, fumbling, etc.
And this is why you are here. To avoid being 'that guy/girl'.
Too many times you see 'that fool' at the campground, dump station, on the road, etc.
But what if YOU are the one who is giggle material for others? That's not as fun, is it?
Don't become them! (Or have you been already???)
Here are 5 ways to avoid looking like a fool while RVing!
#1: Low Butt Syndrome
Often, we see un-level trailers being towed down the road. This mistake is no bueno. Why?
It's dangerous for yourself and for others on the road.
Additionally, it puts excess strain on your tires and axles.
Yet we see it on the road ALL the time.
Here's the jist- when you look at your connected trailer and truck, they BOTH should look level. (But there's more to it.)
Here's why it's dangerous:
- Braking and Steering: If there's a dip at the hitch region, then the trailer tongue weight is causing the front tires to have less weight on them. Less weight on your front end means your braking and steering are compromised.
- Axles/Tires: If your trailer is not level (and you have two or more axles), one set of the axles/tires are taking more weight than the other. This causes extra strain on the tire walls and on the axle itself.
The bottom line is that you may not be able to brake in time or control the vehicle well enough to avoid an accident.
You could lose control, killing others and/or yourself in the process.
How To Not Be A Setup Fool:
1. If your setup doesn't look level when connected, figure out how to get it level. Search Google/Youtube. Plenty of reference for you out there.
2. Not a DIY'er? Take your setup to a professional such as an RV dealer who offers service, or a weight distribution hitch dealer.
3. If you aren't using a weight distribution hitch, you probably should be. Most pull trailers need one. Set up properly, you will be safer than without one. And when installed properly your setup will be level.
#2: Beep! Beep! Beep!
This one is a stinger. And you're not alone. MOST people fear backing up a trailer.
It sure is embarrassing (and frustrating) trying to back into a public campsite if you aren't at least moderately proficient at the task.
The worst thing you can do is to show up at a campground and decide that that's the time to start learning.
You may be blocking traffic for a while if you do.
Also, people LOVE to come out and try to 'help'. Personally, I find it SUPER anxiety producing when they do.
Therefore, I became a self-proclaimed 'pro' so no help would be necessary. (I'm in my spot before they can get off their couch to try to' rescue' me.)
How To Not Be A Backing Up Fool:
- PRACTICE: Just go and do it. BEFORE you go camping. Get into a parking lot and experiment until it becomes second nature.
- Follow The Butt! It's as easy as this- whichever way your vehicle butt goes, the trailer butt goes the other way. Simple!
- OR- place hand at bottom of steering wheel. Whichever way your hand goes is the same direction the back of the trailer will go.
#3: The Unwanted Roll...
Yikes. This one is dangerous. AND embarrassing.
And yes, I've forgotten to chock my tires before unhitching before.
Of course, I had an audience. I was with a group of friends and they were all hanging out around my RV. Major embarrassment! It made a lot of noise when it rolled! (Grrrr and LOL!)
So MAKE SURE you chock before you disconnect your trailer from your tow vehicle.
Even when you DO chock, sometimes there's still a little movement in the trailer, depending on the grade you're on.
To be extra precautious, do this:
- Don't unhook your chains before you disconnect. That way, if it does roll, it will only go as far as your chains or less.
How To Not Be A Chocking Fool:
1. Well, just use your camper wheel chocks before you disconnect!
2. Keep your chains connected until your disconnect is complete.
#4: You Didn't REALLY Want To Leave...
This one is not only embarrassing, it can cost you money, honey! (Forgetting to disconnect all utilities before leaving a site.)
The WORST utility you can forget might be the RV sewer drain hose, if you have remnants still inside of it.
Yep, nothing worse than spreading your sewage around the campground!
Leaving your cable or RV power connector attached can also be hazardous.
You may damage the power pedestal. You also may damage your RV.
It's sure to damage your ego if you have witnesses.
By the way, while you're at it, don't forget to put your antenna down and put your steps in.
How To Not Be A Utility Destroying Fool:
1. Make sure to do a walk-around EVERY time you are departing from a campground. Maybe even do it twice. (Check your lights while you are back there.)
2. You can put a sticky reminder on your steering wheel if you have a motorhome. Place it there once you are parked. You can't miss it when you go to leave.
#5: Get Off My Lawn!!!
Ok, guys, THIS one is personal.
So many people out there nowadays just park wherever they can get their RV when boondocking, regardless if it's a real spot or not.
This is ILLEGAL. It damages our public lands and causes overcrowding. We can't afford that.
Additionally, in areas that people keep doing it, those areas eventually get shut down due to the land not being able to sustain itself due to erosion, loss of habitat, dying vegetation, etc.
This means less and less places for you and I to go out and recreate in nature.
You are 100% pissing people off when you do this and you are not doing yourself or anyone else a service.
I'll not be gentle here. Stop being that selfish a**hole and ONLY park in obvious spots.
If there are no spots available, you leave. OR ask someone if you can park with them.
DO NOT go park wherever you feel like it and damage virgin soil.
Escapee's Club Boondocking Policy
These tips hopefully help YOU not to be the embarrassed idiot when RVing.
If you have a tip, shout out in the comments below! We know you have opinions, lol!
Yes, I have a strong opinion of people who break the boondocking rules as if the rules do not apply to them. You guys ruin it for everyone else. Stop it.
As for you other fools, just pay attention, practice, and your camping days will be that much more enjoyable!
Camp on, campers!
Author: Kelly Beasley
I dedicated myself to living the full-time RV life for over 6.5 years, immersing myself in the unique quirks and joys of the boondocking lifestyle and gaining a wealth of knowledge and experience along the way. In December 2020, my business partner and I made the transition to part-time RVing, but in January 2023, we hit the road once again, this time in our trusty vans. My mission is to help others embrace the RVing lifestyle with confidence and excitement, armed with the knowledge and resources needed to make the most of their adventures. I believe that the more you know, the more you can truly appreciate and enjoy the freedom and flexibility of the open road.