Traveling in an RV can sometimes feel like it limits your possibilities for “side excursions” if you get caught up in always looking for a campground with ‘full hookups’. Nothing, in fact, could be further from the truth. RV travel opens up an entire world of new adventure possibilities, as long as you’re prepared to take advantage of them.
Because an RV offers limited space for the type of gear and supplies that typically find ample storage space in your garage or attic, it requires more of a creative approach. In this article, we’re going to highlight how to outfit your RV for any adventure.
Attaching a bike rack to the trailer hitch of your RV is the perfect place to start. Bringing bikes along will give you the freedom to explore the towns that surround your campgrounds of choice without having to unhook the RV and roll it every day. One important thing to be aware of with bike racks is that they add to the overall length of your RV.
Generally, there are two types of RV bike racks to choose from. The first is a bumper rack. This type attaches to your RV’s bumper (surprise, surprise!) and bikes are secured to it using bungee cords or ratchet straps. The major advantage of this type of bike rack is that it maintains your ability to tow a vehicle or storage trailer behind your RV.
The second type of bike rack attaches to your RV via the trailer hitch. These racks lock in place by sliding into the tow hitch and inserting a large pin with a clip on the end to hold it in place. These racks typically come with a way to secure bikes without the need to purchase additional bungees or ratchet straps. The disadvantage to this type of rack, however, is that it eliminates your ability to tow a vehicle or trailer behind your RV.
There are a number of small trailers designed specifically for towing behind an RV. These trailers add minimal weight to the already considerable load on your RV’s engine. In addition, they give you a great place to store kayaks, stand up paddleboards, and a host of other adventure gear. One important thing to keep in mind with kayak trailers is that they make navigating tight city streets in your RV a whole new ball game.
Kayak trailers are generally available in two varieties: open and closed trailers. Open trailers offer a space to lie kayaks, SUPs, or surfboards down and secure them to it using tie-downs or ratchet straps. Closed trailers offer a fully enclosed space for the same items mentioned above, as well as additional supplies that go along with those items, such as PFDs, paddles, leashes, and more.
Installing roof racks on your RV will give you even more storage space for surfboards, paddleboards, and other low-profile items. When choosing the kinds of items to store on your RV’s roof, make sure you stick to items that mostly lie flat. Your RV is most likely already somewhere between 10 and 13 feet tall, so adding items on top increases the risk of damaging your RV’s roof by scraping low overpasses.
If you decide to purchase and install a roof rack on your RV, it’s imperative that you use the proper materials to reseal your roof in the areas where you’ve now drilled into it. If you don’t do this, water can leak into the interior wood or fiberglass of your RV’s roof, which will result in the need for a much larger fix down the road.
Towing a Vehicle
Many full-time RVers always tow an additional vehicle behind their RV. This gives you the ability to park your RV in one place (even for months at a time) and still get around to see the sights and do the necessary shopping you need. Having an extra vehicle saves you a lot of time and gas money if you live in an RV full-time or like to take extended RV vacations.
When towing a vehicle behind your RV, make sure that your RV’s engine won’t be overly stressed by the weight of the vehicle you choose. Most RVers that tow choose one of the best vehicles to tow behind an RV because of their compatibility. In general, lighter vehicles will put less strain on your RV’s engine, although those of you that own a diesel will have to worry about this a little less.
When investigating towing a vehicle behind your RV, you may encounter complications because of the electronic transmissions in so many of today’s newer cars. Typically, you should look for a vehicle that has either a manual transmission and rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive with a manual transfer case that allows you to place the vehicle in neutral in order to tow.
For the incredibly adventurous RVers out there, installing a bumper winch to the front end of your RV will help you get out sticky road conditions and may also just help you rescue other stranded vehicles along your travels. If you decide to investigate installing a winch on your RV, you’ll need to be very clear on the exact amount of weight it will support before trying to pull another vehicle with it.
Another important thing to consider is whether your existing bumper can handle the weight of the winch, as well as the weight it will pull when in use. For most RVs, this will not be the case. As a result, you should think about replacing the stock front bumper with a more durable steel bumper that can support the weight and ensure safe operation of the winch.
Now that your RV is adventure-ready, it’s time to hit the road and see what it has in store for you.
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