Wednesday

In Case You Missed It: August RV News



Sit back and relax, we’re here to catch you up on all of the RV-related headlines you should know about for the month of August. We’ve compiled our favorite RV news stories to keep you in the know. Check out our top picks below.

Coachmen to Debut Spirit Ultra-Lite - Coachmen recently announced that their new Spirit Ultra-Lite will debut at the 2018 Forest River RV Expo in September. Coachmen, who is a division of Forest River, noticed the need for a competitive ultralight brand. The new Spirit lineup will feature five different floor plans ranging in lengths from 23-36 ft., with weights as low as 4,500 pounds. The modern interiors offer 83 1/2 inches of interior ceiling height and updated features. We are excited to see this new lineup in September. Read More

Image: Coachmen

Nissan Unveils All-Electric Camper Van - Although this news broke in late July, we had to keep you up-to-date with the latest news from Nissan. The company recently unveiled an all-electric campervan based off of their e-NV200 van that will be released in Spain. Nissan revealed two versions of the van, one based on the NV300 van and another based on the e-NV200. The e-NV200 just received a few upgrades including a new battery pack to improve its range to 124 miles This still isn’t the greatest range for a travel-oriented vehicle, which might limit the use of the camper. But, the van could still be a great solution for some travelers depending on how they plan to use it. Contingent on its success in Spain, Nissan has reported that they will consider bringing it to additional markets - and we are hoping the U.S. is on their list! Read More

Image: Nissan

Airstream Salutes Military and First Responders - Airstream recently announced they are launching a new program that is designed to offer military personnel and first responders factory rebates on the full range of new Airstream products. The folks at Airstream thought that saying “Thank You” was simply not enough and wanted to provide military and first responders with the opportunity to explore the country that they serve. The Airstream Salute program is available to United States active duty military personnel, veterans, retirees, members of the National Guard and reserves, certain military spouses and dependents, EMTs, firefighters and members of law enforcement. Kudos to Airstream - we love this idea. Read More

Image: Airstream

Renegade RV Introducing ‘Veracruz’ Class C Coach - Renegade RV, a division of REV Group Inc., just announced the addition of their all-new 2019 Veracruz Class C motorhome. The Veracruz features a king-size memory foam bed, a 40 in. LED TV, a Samsung Soundbar system, new lighting features, and so much more. The new Veracruz also provides 12,000 pounds of towing capacity and is available in two-wheel or four-wheel drive. The new model is offered in two different floor plans, and from what we’ve seen they look incredibly spacious. We can’t wait to see the new Veracruz on the road! Read More.

Image: Renegade

Airstream Classic Trailers Offer Smart Technology - In other Airstream news, the manufacturer announced that their 2019 classic models will feature the company’s Smart Technology. This technology will digitally connect owners to their RVs for an enhanced camping experience. So if you’re looking to “get away from it all” while still being connected, these new models could be perfect for you. Airstream’s Smart Technology allows 2019 Airstream Classic owners to control and monitor systems such as lighting, HVAC, awnings, vent fans, water, propane, and battery levels from anywhere. The 2019 Airstream Classics will also include one year of unlimited 4G LTE data. Read More

Image: Airestream

August has been a busy month for new models and we are excited to see what news September will bring - so stay tuned for our next edition of “In Case You Missed It”. Did any of these headlines spark your interest, or have one you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below!
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Tech Tip: RV Waste Management 101



It’s the topic that no RVer enjoys. However, waste containment and odor control are necessary aspects of RVing. FMCA and the “RV Doctor” Gary Bunzer present RV Waste Management 101.

The Basics
Your RV’s waste plumbing is made of two components: the gray system (liquid waste) and the black system (solid waste). Gray tanks can be outfitted with a drain opening as small as 1-1/2-inch. Black tanks are required to have a 3-inch outlet. As many RVers know, any accumulation of waste within these drain openings or the holding tank system can lead to odors.

Nothing can ruin an RV trip faster than having holding tank odors permeate the RV’s interior, so let’s examine the common causes of RV odors…

P-traps
The first line of defense against invading fumes is the water lock, which is established by P-traps located below the sinks and tub/shower drains.

Long a staple in the plumbing industry, the common P-trap works well in residential homes. However, because of the seasonal nature of RVing, P-traps in RVs typically are used less frequently, which can result in the P-trap’s water seal becoming diminished. The jostling that occurs while traveling; improper siphoning action during highway turns and tank evacuations; or simply drying out from non-use can render the water seal ineffective at blocking odors. 

P-trap

In addition, the P-trap requires diligent maintenance, including frequent cleanings and freeze protection. If neglected, waste residue inside the trap can foster bacteria growth and subsequent odors.

However, there is an alternative to the common P-trap: the HepvO waterless sanitary valve. Available in the aftermarket and now found on many RVs right from the factory, the HepvO waterless valve replaces the P-trap, creating an effective seal against odors. This sanitary valve is constructed with a self-sealing, flexible, silicone membrane that allows water to flow through it but completely closes off when water flow stops. Therefore, holding tank odors are prevented from migrating up and through the sinks, tub, or shower. 

HepvO

The Toilet
As for the toilet, keep water in the bowl at all times, though that may be challenging when the RV is stored. Still, with water in the bowl, you are guaranteed that no holding tank odors can escape into the RV’s living area.

If your RV’s toilet will not hold water, chances are it is time to replace the internal seals and gaskets. You’d be surprised to see just how many seals are used in an RV toilet! Dry toilet seals are the main sources of black tank odors. Most toilet manufacturers offer gasket repair kits. Most likely, this type of maintenance will be necessary at some point during your RVing career.

Waste System Venting
Venting is required for both the black and the gray systems. How do RV manufacturers accomplish this? The common method is to run a length of thermoplastic ABS pipe from the holding tank up and through the roof of the RV.

The importance of proper venting cannot be overstated, especially as it relates to odor control. Without correct venting, sinks will not drain properly; bacteria can propagate; and holding tanks will not drain as quickly or completely.

Keep in mind, as a holding tank empties or a sink drains, fresh air must enter the drainage system. Since holding tanks rely solely on gravity for emptying, having air enter the system as sinks and tanks are drained results in a faster and more thorough process. To accomplish proper air flow, there are two types of vents used in RV waste systems: direct exterior vents and anti-siphon trap vent devices. 

Waste system venting

Vent Type #1 - Direct Exterior Vents & Maintenance
Direct exterior vents connect the waste system to the atmosphere outside. As mentioned earlier, most RV manufacturers install a vertical piece of ABS piping up and through the roof for both the black and gray systems. (If you own a small RV, it is possible your RV has a different type of direct vent: a side-mounted vent. Side venting is only permissible in the liquid waste system and only found on compact RVs.)

Sometimes RV manufacturers cut a large hole in the ceiling and roof during installation of the vertical vent pipe. Oftentimes, this opening is not sealed properly around the outside perimeter of the pipe. In other instances, the vent pipe itself may not extend far enough above the roofline; the industry rule is that the vent pipe must extend at least 2 inches above the roof. If the vent pipe is not sealed properly, tank odors can pass up the direct exterior vent; collide with the underside of the sewer vent cap; be forced back down the sides of the vent pipe; travel into the ceiling area; and then migrate to the living area.

To ensure this doesn’t happen in your rig, remove the sewer vent(s) on the roof and ensure the space around the vent pipe is sealed tightly. Also, make sure that the pipe itself stands at least two inches above the roof. If necessary, extend the vent by using a common ABS coupling and a short piece of pipe.

In addition, depending on how the vent is attached to the top of the holding tank, vent pipes have been known to fall down inside the tank below the surface of the waste, nullifying any venting action and allowing odors to exit the tank. By inspecting the vent termination on the roof regularly, this can be avoided.

Vent Type #2 - Anti-Siphon Trap Vent Devices (ASTVD) & Maintenance
The second type of vent is the anti-siphon trap vent device (ASTVD), nicknamed “check vents.” These are used as secondary vents to aid in draining sink fixtures. They allow air into the drainage system but prohibit air from passing out of the system. ASTVDs are installed in the liquid drain piping system at or near a P-trap inside a cabinet. Look under your RV’s kitchen and bathroom sink areas to find them. They are mounted at least 6 inches above the P-trap’s horizontal arm. ASTVDs do not allow odors to escape into the living portion of the RV, thanks to a pressure-controlled, rubberized, one-way valve. In other words: air in but not out.

The rubber membrane employed in ASTVDs can sometimes dry out and become stuck in the open position. If holding tank odors are prominent under a galley or bathroom cabinet near the P-trap, chances are it is time to lubricate the rubber seal inside the ASTVD. Use lubricant to moisten the rubber diaphragm. Since it is located above the actual flow of waste water, the ASTVD is simply threaded into a fitting above the trap arm and can be easily removed for periodic maintenance.

Tank Additives
Enzyme-based, bacteria-infused blends have proven to be the most effective type of tank additive. These blends actually digest the odor-causing molecules at the source inside the waste tanks, thereby eliminating odors rather than masking them.

Some holding tank treatments may consist of harmful chemicals such as formaldehydes. Try to avoid these if possible. The issue of chemical products has prompted many state parks, campgrounds, dump stations, and local municipalities to ban the evacuation of RV holding tanks if such chemicals are used.

Remember that, to a certain extent, RV holding tanks are living, thriving environments. Anti-bacterial soaps, detergents, or DIY treatments can destroy the “good bugs” that are beneficial in helping the elimination of odors.

Tank Monitoring and Blockage
Most RVs today feature some visual method to help owners determine the fluid levels in the holding tanks. This is normally accomplished with “through the wall” monitoring sensors attached to the tanks. Others use externally applied, electronic sensors. It’s those “through the wall” sensors that can be aggravating for RVers. False or inaccurate monitor panel indications caused by tank sludge and debris stuck on the sensor probes are far too common. 

The easiest way to avoid black tank blockages is to use copious amounts of fresh water during each flushing of solid waste. Always be sure to cover the very bottom of each holding tank with fresh water after each evacuation. Do not store the RV for lengthy periods with contents still in the tank.

A Happy Holding Tank… 
Being proactive when it comes to your RV’s waste system will reap its rewards for you and also protect the environment. If anything, it will ease offensive smells! A happy holding tank is a healthy holding tank.

And, remember, when working on your RV’s waste plumbing system, even when simply “dumping” the holding tanks, take safety precautions. Wear disposable gloves when handling sewer hoses and connections. And when using hand tools while working on these systems, be sure to clean and disinfect them after each use. 


FMCA RV Club brings you this monthly tech tip to Enhance Your RV Lifestyle. FMCA delivers RV know-how to its members. Learn more at FMCA.com.

This information is for educational purposes. FMCA shall not be responsible nor retain liability for RVer’s use of the provided information. Prior to making any RV service decision, you are advised to consult with an RV professional.
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Friday

Do You Have the Updated RV Trader App?



We have some exciting news - our app has been updated! If you haven’t downloaded the RV Trader app, what are you waiting for? The newly updated app features a completely redesigned home screen, allowing you to browse through hundreds of thousands of RV listings with ease. The modern design is faster than ever before and our app gives you the ability to access our content wherever you go.

We’ve also added a new recommendations tab on the home screen of the app, which shows you similar models based on your previous searches. You can easily filter your listing searches based on type, location, year, make, price, mileage, and so much more - which makes finding your new RV a breeze. While in the app, you also have the option to search for your nearest dealer (including their current inventory), so you can pay them a visit to take a full tour and test drive of the unit you’re interested in.

While you are navigating the app, you also have the opportunity to create your own personalized My Trader account. When you sign up for a My Trader account, you are able to quickly save the listings and dealers that you’re interested in - keeping them all in one place for future reference. The RV Trader app syncs with your desktop accounts once logged in, so you can easily access your saved listings on any device. 


We’re all about saving you money and getting you the best deal on your next RV. With price drop alerts from the RV Trader app, you'll be notified via a push notification and email when a unit’s price has dropped.

In the coming months, we’ll give you the opportunity to easily sell and take photos of your RV directly through our mobile app. This means you won’t have to access our website when you’re ready to put your RV on the market. We will also be adding a feature to pay directly through the app - stay tuned!

The updated app is currently only available for iOS users, but will also be available for Android users coming soon. To download the updated RV Trader app, visit the iTunes App Store today.









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In Case You Missed It: July RV News



From new model announcements to two-wheeled motorhomes, this month has proven to be interesting for RV news. So sit back and relax - we’ll catch you up on the latest RV-related headlines you need to know about.

Volkswagen Announces Production of XXL Camper Van - Volkswagen announced a concept for a new California XXL camper van back in 2017 and the concept is finally turning into a reality this year. The new van will lose some of the “slicker” features of the concept van, but it will give VW camper bus buyers something bigger to think about. Volkswagen is keeping many details under wraps until the Düsseldorf Caravan Salon Show goes underway on August 24th. We’re eager to see all of the features of the van and any surprises VW might have up their sleeve. We’ll be sure to keep you updated as we know more. Read More.

Image: New Atlas

Leisure Travel Vans Offer Innovative Storage Options for Cyclists - The Canadian motorhome maker, Leisure Travel Vans, has recently released their Wonder Rear Twin Bed (RTB). The company felt the demand for a motorhome with a built-in bicycle garage and they stepped up to the plate. The RTB has the ability to carry two bicycles in an exterior garage and has a smart entertainment system, flexible bedroom, and versatile, multi-use furnishings throughout the unit. Many motorhome/trailer manufacturers are trying to cater to a more active type of buyer (ie: Winnebago Revel, modular VanDolt camper, and Turtlebacker trailer), as more and more buyers want the ability to easily carry all types of adventure gear. We love the concept and can’t wait to see if additional manufacturers adopt the idea. Read More.

Image: New Atlas

Architecture Student Builds Two-Wheeled Motorhome - We can confidently say we’ve never seen a two-wheeled motorhome… until now. 26-year-old, Jeremy Carman, created this two-wheeled prototype as his bachelor thesis at the Southern California School of Architecture. The prototype is based on a 1993 Honda CBR 1000 F motorbike and a Honda CR 500 motocross bike. The ‘Sleeper Box’ is mounted on the back of the bike and is 183 inches long, just under 39 inches high, and 86 inches wide. Jeremy plans on testing out its capabilities during a 20,000-mile trip from California to the southernmost tip of South America - good luck! Read More.

Image: RV Business

‘Tearstock’ Unites Teardrop RVers - We’ve all heard of Woodstock, but have you heard of Tearstock? Liberty Outdoors and Little Guy Trailers recently hosted their 5th annual Tearstock on July 12-15 in Mackinaw City, Michigan, where teardrop RVers united to build camaraderie, share stories and ideas, and tour other teardrop units. The event has grown from a 30 trailer gathering its first year to selling out over 150 campsites this year. Attendees came from all over the country to celebrate standing out from the crowd of campers and motorhomes. We love teardrop trailers and are excited that more and more people are seeing them as great options for traveling. Read More.

Image: Tearstock.com

We hope you enjoyed our compilation of top RV-related stories this month. RV news is always pouring in and we love sharing interesting headlines with you. What are your favorite stories this month? Let us know in the comments below!









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Tech Tip: Keep Rolling! Tires 101



Have questions about your RV’s tires? Wondering if other RVers have the same concerns? Hesitant to ask your tire dealer?

FMCA and the “RV Doctor” Gary Bunzer are here to help with some WHEEL-y good advice! Read on for our round-up of popular tire questions.

Is replacing my tires with the same brand and size really necessary?
It’s important to stay with the same size and load range based on your RV manufacturer’s recommendations. We always recommend staying with a brand you are familiar with, but there is no reason one cannot change brands, just not the size. 

Remember: Before purchasing any tire, be sure to check the age code on the tire’s sidewall. It is important that new tires be truly “new.” It is the actual date of manufacture that is important, even though the warranty time typically begins at the time of installation. 


My tires seem to be wearing unevenly. What is causing this?
It’s important to determine why your tires are wearing unevenly. Becoming aware of weight and balance issues is key to longer tire life. 

It is highly recommended to have your RV properly weighed using individual scales by an accredited RV entity such as the RV Safety and Education Foundation (RVSEF). RVSEF provides this weighing service at most FMCA RV Expos .

By weighing each individual tire, you can determine if a side of the RV is exceeding a tire or axle rating. An RV can appear to be sitting level but can be out of balance in terms of weight. If this is the case, look for items that you can move to help distribute the weight. Every item packed in your RV adds up!

Another cause for uneven tire wear could be what’s called “spring sag.” When vehicles remain loaded over a period of time, the springs can be affected. For instance, if a trailer has had a 500-pound higher load on one side for several years and many miles, it would lead to uneven tire wear. However, this is not a difficult or expensive issue to address; simply have new springs installed and adjust your RV’s load to prevent future issues.

Can I swap LT tires with ST tires, or vice versa, on my travel trailer?
LT stands for “Light Truck” and ST stands for “Special Trailer.” Although both tires are rated for trailer use, there are distinct differences. Most manufacturers use LT tires because they too are rated for trailer use and are simply cheaper than ST tires.

For passenger tires (including LT tires), ride, traction, and handling are the key design elements and are achieved primarily by adding flex to the tire’s sidewall. This maximizes tread contact with the road, thus increasing traction and allowing the driver to maintain better control over the vehicle.

However, sidewall flexing is not a desired effect because it can cause trailer sway. The stiffer sidewalls and higher operating pressures common with ST tires help control and reduce the occurrence of trailer sway.

It is important to match the tires to the application and payload. Since ST tires are constructed with heavier materials, they are tougher and more bruise-resistant than typical passenger car tires. This is a plus because trailer suspension systems are generally stiffer and less sophisticated than automotive suspension systems. A tire designed to operate in the more demanding trailer environment will provide longer service life and be able to withstand added abuse.

The bottom line: trailers are more stable and pull better on tires designed specifically for trailer use, so it recommended to switch to the ST type. 


Should something be used to separate my tires from the ground while parked to help extend tire life?
Protecting your tires during periods of non-use will help preserve and protect the rubber. Though wooden blocking is commonly used, we also suggest placing a separation between the wooden blocks and the tires to avoid excessive moisture and/or heat build-up. Plastic, web-like blocks are readily available in the aftermarket. Look for a type that will drain and not trap moisture.

I’ve heard the sun can damage my RV’s tires. Is that true? 
The damage caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation virtually effects all tires. RV tires, in general, are more susceptible to this type of damage since they are considered a slow-wearing tire, meaning they typically are not driven as far or as often as regular automobile tires. 

The effect of unprotected UV exposure on rubber includes cracking, discoloration, and lack of physical mechanical properties. Tire makers use a carbon substance to combat the effects of UV radiation. Contrary to what some suppliers may say, there is no such thing as a permanent UV protector. However, here are a few ideas to help extend tire life:

Keep RV tires clean. Avoid heavy build-up of mud, sand, or dirt. Dirt on tires may act as an abrasive of sorts that could inhibit the natural wax protection achieved through normal tire flexing. Wash your tires regularly with mild, soapy water and a soft brush.

Inspect the tires regularly.

Inflate the tires to the exact requirement based on the actual weight of that tire position.

During short periods of non-use, keep the tires completely covered. When possible, remove and store the tires completely out of the sun and temperature extremes.

Regularly apply a non-petroleum-based preservative to all surface areas of each tire.

Purchasing quality tires and, thus, maintaining your tires will lead to safer and more fun RV trips. Always take the time to do your tire research to keep your rig rolling!

FMCA RV Club brings you this monthly tech tip to Enhance Your RV Lifestyle. FMCA delivers RV know-how to its members. Learn more at FMCA.com.



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Music Festivals Ideal For RVers



If seeing all of your favorite bands at once while camping and enjoying the great outdoors sounds amazing to you, attending a music festival might be in your future. Music festivals are all the rage right now - and it’s easy to see why. There’s truly a festival for everyone - whether you’re into bluegrass, heavy metal, indie rock - you name it, they’ve got it. While these festivals are all awesome, some unfortunately don’t include RV parking. Lucky for you - we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 upcoming festivals that are RV-friendly across the United States.

Upcoming Festivals

Electric Forest (June 21-24 and June 28- July 1) - Electric Forest is a two-weekend music festival with a focus on electronic and jam band genres. The festival is held in Rothbury, Michigan where tens of thousands of people gather to dance, camp, and enjoy the music. The festival also offers art workshops, a hammock filled forest, a waterpark, yoga, and more. Electric Forest also offers on-site RV parking to attendees. This year’s lineup includes: The String Cheese Incident, Bassnectar, Griz Live Band, and more. Check out all that the forest has to offer here.

Image: Electric Forest

FloydFest (July 25-29) - FloydFest is family-friendly folk music and arts festival held in Floyd, VA. You’ll enjoy incredible views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and on-site RV parking, making it a great road trip destination. The festival features local arts and crafts, dance workshops, yoga lessons, children's activities, and so much more. Some of this year’s headliners include: Foster the People, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Old Crow Medicine Show, and Gov’t Mule. Learn More.

Image: FloydFest

Summer Meltdown (August 2-5) - Summer Meltdown is held in Darrington Bluegrass Park, about 1.5 hours Northeast of Seattle, WA. This RV-friendly festival is the largest locally-produced independent camping and music festival in the Pacific Northwest. The festival includes a kids-zone, a beer garden, and of course - tons of amazing musical performances. Some of this year’s lineup includes: Bassnectar, Big Gigantic, Greensky Bluegrass, and more. Check it Out.

Image: Summer Meltdown

WE Fest (August 2-4) - WE Fest is the world’s largest country music and camping festival held in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. This festival is home to some of the biggest stars in country music and features more than 20 artists each year. Festival goers can expect on-site parking for RVs and campers, amazing performances, nearby beaches and tons more. Do note that WE Fest does not recommend children attend. This year's headliners include: Jason Aldean, Carrie Underwood, Florida Georgia Line, Justin, Moore, Chris Young, and other artists you’re sure to know. Read More.

Image: WEFest

Telluride Blues and Brews Festival (September 14-16) - The Telluride Blues & Brews Festival is you guessed it, a blues fest, located in the historic mining town of Telluride, CO. You’ll be surrounded by the beautiful Rocky Mountains while enjoying musical performances, more than 50 craft breweries from across the country, comedy shows, kids activities, and more. Do note that RV parking for Telluride is limited to rigs under 30′ long. This year’s lineup includes bands like: Robert Plant, The Sensational Space Shifters, Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite, and Gov't Mule. Learn More.

Image: Telluride Blues and Brews

Other Festivals to Look Into 

If you’ve ever attended a music festival, you know you need to get your tickets early to avoid higher rates and sell outs. Check a few additional RV-friendly festivals that have already happened, but you can plan on attending next year.

Firefly (Dover, DE)
Bonnaroo (Manchester, TN)
Summer Camp (Chicago, IL)
Mountain Jam (Hunter Mountain, NY)

If you’re into RVing and music, the music festival scene is no doubt a perfect fit for you. Let us know if you’ve attended or plan on attending any of these RV-friendly music festivals this year. Which ones are your favorite? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below!
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4 Keys to Saving Fuel on Summer Trips



Rising fuel prices may leave you wondering if you should still hit the road this summer. FMCA and the “RV Doctor” Gary Bunzer have compiled four steps for all RV owners – gas or diesel, motorized or towable – to combat higher fuel prices.

#1 – Slow Down
It’s a matter of science: increased speed uses more energy and, therefore, more fuel to overcome increasing air resistance. The relationship is approximately a 3:1 ratio. What this translates to is that for every 5 miles you drive over 60 MPH, fuel economy drops roughly 8% for the average passenger vehicle. This drop is even greater for a motorhome or vehicle pulling a large travel trailer or fifth wheel.

It is believed by many that 55 MPH is the appropriate speed to maximize fuel efficiency. This, of course, depends on your specific vehicle, but slowing down is one sure way to improve fuel economy. RVers are encouraged to slow down anyway, if just to enjoy the scenery!

#2 – Drive Shorter Distances
Another way to get the most out of each fuel fill-up is to drive shorter distances and spend more time at a single location. Why not experience the lifestyle closer to home rather than heading out of state? Search for a nearby campground and make it your “go to.” In fact, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), reports that 21% of RVers will reserve a seasonal site at a campground this summer and visit it on weekends.



#3 – Inflate Tires Accurately
A lesser known means of saving fuel, as well as maintenance costs, is to be sure all RV tires are inflated to the correct air pressure. This is only achievable by knowing exactly how much weight each tire position is supporting. Tire manufacturers publish recommended maximum inflation charts for every tire size.

It is important to note that the pressure indicated on the tire’s sidewall is the maximum inflation pressure for that tire and NOT the recommended pressure. Furthermore, the RV maker or your RV dealer will not publish a suggested pressure either. Simply put, manufacturers cannot predict how much gear you will load into your RV; each RV’s weight is unique.

It is highly recommended to have your RV properly weighed using individual scales by an accredited RV entity such as the RV Safety and Education Foundation (RVSEF). RVSEF provides this weighing service at most FMCA RV Expos.

Watch this video to learn more about proper RV tire pressure.

#4 – Minimize Idling
Idling results in wasted fuel. When idling, the fuel consumed results in 0 MPH. Plus it’s not beneficial to the environment. Turn off the engine when stopped or parked for any lengthy period of time.

RVing = Still Saving You Money While rising fuel prices are a hot topic, RVing continues to be one of the most cost-effective and enjoyable forms of travel for many. According to survey results collected by the RVIA, RV travel saves a family of four 27% to 62% compared to the cost of other types of travel.

So don’t let high fuel prices minimize your excitement about summer RV trips. Remember, RVing is more than a hobby; it’s a lifestyle. Enjoy the ride!

FMCA RV Club brings you this monthly tech tip to Enhance Your RV Lifestyle. FMCA delivers RV know-how to its members. Learn more at FMCA.com.
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In Case You Missed It: June RV News



We’ve got you covered with the latest RV news that you need to stay in the know. Check out our top headlines from the month of June including new models, accessories, contests, and more!

inTech RV Introducing Luna-Lite Teardrop Trailer - inTech recently announced the release of their Luna Lite, a teardrop trailer similar to their popular Luna trailer. The new Luna Lite is manufactured with the same all-aluminum as the Luna, and with a base weight of 1,451 pounds, can be towed by almost any vehicle. The company stated they introduced Luna Lite as a lighter-weight, less expensive trailer in order to help dealers compete against other teardrop trailers in the industry. The trailer is in inTech RV dealerships currently, and they will begin shipping mid-June. We love the option of teardrop trailers and we are excited to see another one hit the marketplace. While we wait, check out some of the Luna trailers on the market hereRead More.

Image: RV Business

Dolphin Motor Coach Partnering With ‘Ozotech’ - Dolphin Motor Coach just announced a new partnership with Ozotech, a a manufacturer of activated oxygen/ozone generating equipment and No Dirty Water (NDW) ozone-based water filtration and purification systems. The NDW system provides for purification to water in recreational vehicle holding tanks, weighing in at less than 10 pounds. The NDW water purification system is now available on all of Dolphin’s Class B motorhomes. Their mission is to bring safer, cleaner, odorless water to campers - and we’re all for it! Read More.

Image: No Dirty Water

National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD) Launches State Park Photo Contest - NASPD is on a mission to promote our nation’s state parks by launching America’s State Parks 2018 Photo Contest. The contest is open to U.S. residents over the age of 18 and encourages participants to share experiences captured at the nation’s state parks over the past year. This is the second year the organization is holding the contest after receiving more than 8,000 qualified photo submissions and 105,000 website engagements in 2017. Amateur photographers are to submit photos taken at a state park within the following categories: camping, wildlife, activities, friends and family, and scenic, and seasons. So, get those cameras out from now to July 31 and you’ll have the chance to win a prize package valued at $2,000. Read More.

Image: National State Park Photo Contest Website

Winnebago and Motiv Partner on ‘eBloodmobile’- Winnebago Industries Inc. and Motiv Power Systems are working together to produce a variety of all-electric mobile medical, dental, and bookmobile units. In a recent statement, the two companies announced they are currently working on a demonstration of the “eBloodmobile” using Winnebago’s SuperStructure interlocking design. Traditional mobile medical units spend an average of 8 gallons of diesel a day idling to provide services to the community. The two companies are aiming to provide clean, silent, and vibration free energy to power these units (including equipment on board), which are expected to have four patient beds, two interview rooms, a small waiting area, and a small recovery area. These all-electric units are truly revolutionary and we are excited to see all of the good that they will do in various communities. Read More.

Image: Winnebago

Torklift Trailer Hitch Designed For Tesla Model 3 - Torklift just released the first trailer hitch for the Tesla Model 3, which includes a removable receiver. As Tesla is one the most innovative electric vehicle manufacturers, Torklift jumped at the opportunity to come out with the Torklift EcoHitch trailer hitch for the first vehicle Tesla released. The EcoHitch is completely hidden when not in use and the company also has hitches available for the Tesla Roadster and the Tesla Model S. Read More.

Which story piqued your interest this month? Let us know in the comments below and keep an eye out for next month’s top RV headlines!

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FMCA Wants You In Wyoming



Come mid-July, the deer and antelope that call Wyoming home will share the range with thousands of RVs thundering toward Gillette for FMCA’s 98th International Convention and RV Expo, set for July 18 through 21. This will be FMCA’s second roundup at the fantastic CAM-PLEX Multi-Event Facilities; the association celebrated its 50-year anniversary at the venue in 2013. 

“CAM-PLEX is truly a ‘made-for-FMCA’ facility,” said Doug Uhlenbrock, Director of Events. “It has everything we need to put on a successful convention: plenty of RV parking sites; terrific buildings for seminars, exhibits, and entertainment; an incredible grounds staff; and a welcoming town that bends over backwards to make sure everyone feels at home.”

The “Wanted In Wyoming” convention has all the makings of a bang-up time for cowpokes who circle their wagons in this northeastern Cowboy State settlement. On Tuesday, July 17, even before the jamboree kicks off, attendees will get to try their luck at card bingo in the Wyoming Center and aspiring superstars can show off their vocal skills during karaoke at the FMCA Town Center.

The show officially begins on Wednesday, July 18, with morning seminars, followed by the opening of the indoor exhibits and RV displays at 1:00 p.m.

Starting Thursday, July 19, and continuing through Saturday, July 21, early risers can grab a cup of joe and a doughnut (or two) at the FMCA Town Center while enjoying some fancy music provided by FMCA’s band of vagabond musicians, the Frustrated Maestros. It’s also a great time to meet new people and get the day started with a smile as big as the Wyoming sky.

Once coffee hour wraps up, a good number of attendees will hit the seminar circuit to learn more about the RVing lifestyle, the mechanics of their RVs, fun things to do when traveling, and much more. With 100-plus sessions scheduled, plenty of educational opportunities will be available, covering just about any RVing interest.


While some folks hit the learning trail, others will saunter over to the RV displays to inspect hundreds of shiny new wagons outfitted with the latest features. Take a tour, look under the hood, or test drive one of the demo coaches on site. Could be you’re looking at your next RV.

Still other attendees will sidle over to Central Pavilion to visit with the good folks manning booths at this modern-day trading post. If there’s something you need for your RV or to satisfy your wandering lifestyle, chances are you’ll find it inside the exhibit hall.

Around high noon each day, folks can grab some vittles and a sarsaparilla, kick back, and enjoy a variety of entertainment at the FMCA Town Center. The break also gives attendees time to head back to the RV to walk the dog, drop off their purchases, or hobnob with the RVers hitched next door.

When the sun begins to sink into the western sky, the stars will come out inside Wyoming Center as four great acts take the main stage. On Wednesday night, Thomas Michael Riley will perform his unique brand of Texas country music. On Thursday, you won’t believe your eyes (and ears) as New Odyssey (three men, 30 instruments) makes more music than a trio should be allowed. Friday, step back in time as Matthew and Gunnar Nelson, known as Nelson in the biz, perform a tribute to their dad with “Ricky Nelson Remembered.” On Saturday, keep your dancing shoes handy as The Flashback Boyz rock the hall with favorites from the 1950s, ’60s, and more.

Other activities that will catch the fancy of attendees are the Ladies’ Luncheon on Thursday; the Ice Cream Social on Friday; and the Super-Size Book Club on Saturday with Craig Johnson, best-selling author of the popular Walt Longmire mystery series. There’s also sure to be some surprises along the way just to keep folks on their toes.

If you’re looking for an ace-high RVing experience this summer, Gillette, Wyoming, is the place. There’s still time to sign up, but you better get your wiggle on. To register for the “Wanted In Wyoming” convention, visit FMCA.com or call (800) 543-3622. If you can’t make the full event and want to stop by for a day, $10 day passes will be available at the gate.


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In Case You Missed It: May RV News




Keeping you in the know is important to us - so this month, we’ve selected four RV-related stories that we think are too good to miss Take a look at your May industry news below.

Winnebago ‘Travato’ Offers Volta Energy System - Trying to go off the grid? Winnebago has got you covered with their Volta Energy System, a lithium ion energy storage system that replaces the need for a generator. The system charges in just under 90 minutes with nearly 10,000 watt-hours of capacity – enough to power standard appliances including the main air conditioner for several hours or overnight. It charges while the unit is driving, idling, connected to shore, or through a MPPT solar charger (a 200-watt solar panel comes standard). The 2019 Travato will roll out this summer and we can’t wait. Read More

Keystone Hits Industry Milestone - Keystone recently announced they have produced their 150,000 ‘Cougar’ towable, which solidifies it as one of the all-time best selling models. The manufacturer selected Tacoma RV of Fife, Wash., as the recipient of the 150,000 unit (Cougar’s largest single location dealership). We certainly think they have a great reason to celebrate - congrats! Read More.

Wilson Electronics Intros New Cell Signal Booster - And for those of you who don’t want to go completely off of the grid, Wilson Electronics, a supplier of cellular boosting products, recently announced the launch of Connect RV 65. The new in-vehicle cellular signal booster is designed to provide cellular connectivity in a stationary RV. The device is compatible with all cell phones and wireless carriers and will assist users in call quality, reducing the amount of dead zones and faster download and upload speeds while parked at a campground or anywhere else! Read More

In Other Big Winnebago News… - The company announced the launch of an all electric and zero-emissions commercial vehicle platform. The commercial vehicle is based off of a Class A and is suited for urban and semi-urban short-range applications such as: medical clinics, bloodmobiles, mobile classrooms, etc. The vehicle has six batteries and delivers an expected range of 85 to 125 miles on a full charge. We’re excited to see all the good that this new sustainable RV can bring. Read More

Out of all our RV story highlights, which one sparked your interest this month? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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Tech Tip: 10 Steps for A/C Maintenance


Summer is heating up! RVers, it’s time to perform routine maintenance on your roof-top air conditioner(s). Follow these steps from FMCA and the “RV Doctor” Gary Bunzer to keep cool and extend the life of your RV’s A/C system.


Performing Annual RV A/C System Maintenance
Overall, the average RV owner can perform this maintenance procedure in an afternoon. Prior to beginning, turn 120-volts AC power off at the breaker-box or unplug the RV from shore power.

Step 1
This is an easy first step; in fact, you are probably already familiar with this task. All A/C systems –home and RV – require filter cleaning; some as often as every three months. From inside the RV, access the A/C unit’s filter(s). On some units, the interior air delivery shroud will have to be removed. Consult the owner’s manual if in doubt. Remove and wash all the filters in warm water or simply vacuum them clean.

Fresh Jet 3200

Step 2
Check the positioning of the thermostat sense probe. That’s the thin, pencil-like, copper-looking device attached to the tiny tubing leading to the thermostat. Be sure it is situated in the direct flow of return air to the unit. Look closely for grime or film that may have accumulated from cooking oils and/or smoke. Gently clean the sense probe if contaminants are found. Take special care not to kink the small capillary tubing leading to the probe.

Step 3
Check the visible electrical connections inside the A/C unit. To eliminate the possibility of road vibrations causing the wire nuts to loosen, always wrap them with electrician’s tape. 

Step 4
With the interior shroud removed, check the condition of the mounting gasket located between the bottom of the roof-top unit and the roof. It will be visible from inside the RV by looking up into the roof opening. If the gasket looks compressed or if there is evidence of water leaks, it’s time to install a new gasket. Also, tighten the mounting bolts holding the roof-top unit to the inside unit if they are loose.

Step 5
From inside the RV, vacuum in and around all exposed portions of the unit to clear dust, cobwebs, etc. 

Step 6
If the unit is equipped with a wall thermostat containing unenclosed contacts, clean them by simply sliding a business card between them and gently pulling the card through the closed contacts a few times. This effectively cleans them without causing damage. Never file or sand thermostat contacts.

Steps #7 through #10 need to be serviced from the roof. Grab your ladder, and head on up!

Step 7
On the roof, remove the A/C unit’s outer shroud, exposing the motor and condenser. Look for a series of small drain holes in the mounting pan. These holes drain any moisture produced from the cooling cycle. Clean and verify that all condensate drain holes are open and able to drain.

Step 8
Inspect and clean the exposed condenser fins at the rear of the roof-top unit. Remove any debris that may have collected on or near the condenser. Check for mud dabber nests in this area. Straighten damaged fins carefully. It may be necessary to purchase an aftermarket fin “comb” to safely straighten severely damaged areas. Never use a screwdriver or other sharp object for this task.

Fin Comb
Step 9
Clean the area in and around the fan motor and compressor. Check the motor mounts for damage and/or fatigue.

Step 10
Look closely at the exterior shroud itself. Do you see any damage caused by low hanging branches or gas station overheads? Some minor damage can be repaired; however, if the cover has severe cracks, it needs to be replaced. Replacement shrouds are typically available for purchase at camping goods stores or your local RV dealer. As an alternative to the plastic shroud, consider an upgrade to a sturdier metal or fiberglass cover.

Remember that though the average RV owner can safely perform roof-top air conditioner maintenance, air conditioner repairs should be handled professionally. Stay cool this summer!

FMCA RV Club brings you this monthly tech tip to Enhance Your RV Lifestyle. FMCA delivers RV know-how to its members. Learn more at FMCA.com.
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A First-Person Account of Two Must-Book Tours in Gettysburg


Written By: Sharee Collier, Editor of IndieRV Travel Network

We knew when we decided to head to Gettysburg we would need to book at least one tour! Listening to stories told by the certified battlefield guides, detailing the events of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War while being immersed in the actual battlefield was something we wanted to experience and something we needed the kids to learn about. This was a turning point for our country, just reading about in a textbook wouldn’t do justice. So we contacted the folks behind a few of the tours offered inside the battlefield and booked two we felt would offer a full spectrum experience for our family.

To be honest, it was probably information overload, but we didn’t know if we would be coming back to Gettysburg any time soon, so we figured we would do our best to give the kids a whirlwind adventure in Roadschooling History while here! The two tours I’ll tell you about are the best of the best and while you could just book one, I personally think the experiences are different enough to justify doing both!

Guided Battlefield Carriage Tour:
The maximum number of people on this tour is 10, so you can count on some personal attention and time to ask questions on this intimate and educational tour. A certified guide keeps your attention, as the Victorian Carriage Company says, “…listen to a play by play of three days that changed America's history.”


Our tour guide was a warm and welcoming middle-aged man who knew his facts, front and back. He was well informed, entertaining, and delivered the story in a way it made sense to everyone in the carriage-regardless of age. He gave modern day examples, related stories to the kids, life, and school, and even made a point to ask the quiz questions to keep you on your toes! The tour was a round trip ride from the Gettysburg Heritage Center, through the battlefield and back, that lasted about two hours.

I recommend this tour because of its personal nature. The story and the details are orchestrated based on the people in the carriage. Questions are answered with facts and lead to other interesting points not often told and sometimes forgotten. You can bring snacks, a blanket if it’s a little chilly or some warm hot chocolate- during the Fall & Winter!

During the ride, our guide passed around relics like bullets and fragments of cannon balls to help narrate the story, points of interests we were viewing out in the fields, and assure everyone understood the depth and historical significance of this bloody battle. 


At first I was a little worried about the graphics and gory details, since two of our kids are only 7, I didn’t want anyone to have nightmares and end up sleeping in my bed. Glad to say that wasn’t the case - if anything they just really enjoyed the story. History has a way of bringing out curiosity in the kids that they sometimes keep at bay.

After the tour, we took advantage of the time we had left to visit with the beautiful horses and thank our drivers and guide for an amazing experience.

Tips to Know Before You Go:
  • Tour will begin at scheduled time, rain or shine. 
  • Arrive 15-20 minutes early to get checked-in, park and get yourself settled without being rushed. You can also take some pictures with the horses during this time. 
  • Check the weather for the day and know what to expect. 
  • Bring sunglasses, blankets if it's cold, and some water to drink. 
  • Make sure to eat before you come! 
  • Ticket price doesn’t include gratuity. 
  • You will spend the entire 2 hours on the carriage. 
Check Out Their Website for More Details.

Gettysburg Double Decker Bus Tour:
Totally different from the personal tour we took with the horse-drawn carriage the day prior, this double-decker bus was packed with people and we were just lucky enough to get a seat for all of us on the upper level- where you just have to sit! Departing from the Gettysburg Tour Center, where you should plan to arrive at least 10 minutes early to guarantee you get a good seat, the tour goes through both the town of Gettysburg and the National Battlefield.


We plugged in our headphones that were provided by the guide and waited for everyone to settle in before taking off on the two-hour tour. The bus was packed solid and we were excited about this adventure!

Instead of heading straight to the battlefield, as we did on the carriage tour, we were first given a tour of the town of Gettysburg, which we all really enjoyed! Historical houses, markers, and points of interest were all topics of discussion and viewing them from the open air seating was fun and entertaining.

Before heading over to the battlefield, the bus cordially stopped at a local vendor where restrooms, coffee, ice cream and snacks could be purchased for the remaining hour ride. We took advantage of this, and I’ll be honest- the cookies at this little shop we amazing as was the coffee!

Driving through the battlefield again and especially on consecutive days as we did, you would think the story would get old- but with a new guide you get a new fresh perspective. Yeah, some of the story is the same, as you would imagine because they’re detailing a historical event based on real facts and events that took place, but the focus can be different which was great. 



On this tour, we drove up to Little Round Top, where the bus pulled over for a scenic treat. We all got off and walked around this little gem, taking pictures and chatting about what we were experiencing. The kids had a great time exploring the monuments, the cannons and chatting with the other guests. We took tons of pictures, and since someone offered to snap a shot with all of us in it - we actually have a family memory with all 6 of us to cherish for many years to come.

We loved the Double Decker Bus Tour, it was fun and educational and the time was broken up into smaller, more manageable segments, with the two breaks, that really helped to keep the little ones from getting too antsy. This is a great activity for families with kids of any age.

Tips to Know Before You Go:
  • Tour will begin at scheduled time, rain or shine. 
  • Arrive at least 10 minutes early to get checked-in, park and get in line to get your seat. 
  • Check the weather for the day and dress appropriately if you plan to sit on the top. 
  • Bring your sunglasses, a jacket if needed and some water to drink. 
  • Make sure to eat before you come- or bring a small cooler, like we did! 
  • Stops last about 10-15 minutes each. 
  • Bring some cash for snack stops and a camera! 
  • Ticket price doesn’t include gratuity. 
  • Beware of low hanging branches as you drive through the wooded areas. 
Check Out Their Website for More Details.

*Click here for a FREE membership offer to IndieRV for RV Trader readers!*

AUTHOR BIO: Wife, Mother of four & full-time travel lover and doer- Sharee Collier, Editor of IndieRV Travel Network, is having a blast this year while showing other RVers the “Best of the Best” when it comes to places to go & things to see. 


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Tuesday

Eating Healthy on the Road



As RVers we are constantly on the go, and a lot of the time, grabbing fast food seems like the easiest option while traveling. But contrary to popular belief, eating healthy while on the road is actually possible and isn’t as hard as you might think! Check out our top tips on how to eat healthy while RVing.
  • Meal prep - Meal prepping is one of the top ways to save time and money in the kitchen - but it’s also a great way to eat healthy. Planning and prepping your meals ahead of time gives you no excuse to choose unhealthy options while on the go. We suggest picking one day a week where you plan out your (healthy) meals and begin prepping. It’s important to keep meals simple since you have limited space to cook in your kitchen on wheels. It’s also important to try to keep any perishable foods in airtight containers to preserve their shelf life. Check out some of these great tips for easy/healthy meal prepping.
  • Keep your RV stocked with healthy snacks - When you’re traveling from point A to point B someone in your RV is bound to get hungry. So, take away the temptation of those gas station treats and rest stop vending machines by having an RV that’s fully stocked with healthy snacks. Protein bars and trail mix are great, filling snacks that can be stored for long periods of time. Having fresh fruit on board is also a great option that requires virtually no prep time. Some other healthy snacks perfect for road trips include: Beef/turkey jerky, dried fruits, peanut butter, oatmeal, popcorn, string cheese, etc. 
  • Eat local - One of the many beauties of being RVers is that we have the luxury of traveling to new places and experiencing new things - food included! There’s amazing, healthy food all over the country and we encourage you to check out the local cuisine on your next adventure. A great way to do this is to check out a local farmer’s market. You’ll be able to find the best seasonal, healthy options that all of the locals are eating. To make it even easier, you can check out Local Harvest, a website dedicated to finding you the nearest family farms, farmers markets, and restaurants that all feature local foods.
We hope these three tips have you thinking about how you’ll choose healthier options on your next trip. Food is the fuel that keeps us going, so it’s crucial to pick healthy options that will give you the energy you need to take on the day. What are some of your tips on eating healthy while on the road?
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Friday

The Basic Safety Tools You Should Keep in Your RV



We all know that RVing is a great way to travel and there are endless benefits to having a home on wheels. From family bonding to enjoying the great outdoors - the RV lifestyle is one of adventure and fun. We also know that the unexpected can happen while out on the road, and it’s important to be prepared. Safety while RVing should be a top priority for every family, and if you keep these basic safety tools on hand, you should be ready if you’re ever caught in a sticky situation.
Fire Extinguisher - An RV is essentially a home you can take with you, which means they have more fire-related dangers than an average automobile. Having a fire extinguisher onboard is crucial and will be your first defense should a fire start. Make sure to keep your fire extinguisher in an easy to reach location, and inspect it regularly before traveling to ensure that it’s in good working condition.
  • First Aid Kit - This may seem like a no-brainer, but we couldn’t leave a basic first aid kit off of our list. You can either buy a prepackaged first aid kit or you can customize your own. Every family is different so before you hit the road, determine what items should be included in your kit to fit your specific needs. Here are a few basic items you can include: BAND-AIDs® (all sizes), scissors, tweezers, latex gloves, thermometer, antibiotic ointment, gauze, cold pack, heat pack, adhesive tape, general medication (pain relief, allergy relief, etc.), antiseptic wipes, ace bandage, aloe vera, flashlight, sunscreen, bug repellent, and hand sanitizer. 
  • Roadside Emergency Kit - Being out on the road is just one of the many benefits of RVing, but as any seasoned traveler knows, accidents unfortunately happen. From getting into a slight fender bender to having a flat tire - it’s important to always be ready. Having a roadside emergency kit in your RV can save you time and trouble when you need to pull over. There are tons of kits on the market that include items like: flares, flashlights, batteries, jumper cables, and more. 
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System - Tires are the foundation of an RV, so it’s important to keep them in top condition. There are many tire pressure monitoring systems on the market, and these systems are crucial to make sure your RV tires are at their proper pressure. The last thing you want is a tire blowout to occur while driving. A blowout is dangerous and can not only damage your RV, but it has the potential to cause accidents with other vehicles. Avoid the stress and gain peace of mind by getting a reliable tire pressure monitoring system. 
  • Basic Tool Kit - When you are far from home and a minor mechanical issue happens, what do you do? If you have an RV tool kit onboard you might be able to avoid going to a mechanic or calling a roadside assistance service (though we do recommend being a member of one). We suggest keeping a basic tool kit in your RV including a few basic items such as: a drill, drill bit set, hammer, socket set, wrench set, screwdriver set, pliers, electrical tape, etc. 
  • SPOT Tracking Device - As we mentioned earlier, RVing gives many families the opportunity to unplug and simply enjoy the great outdoors. If you are ever in an emergency situation where you do not have cell phone access/service you can use SPOT. This device uses satellite technology to provide location-based messaging and emergency notification technology so you can communicate from remote locations. 
We hope that you continue to stay safe on the road, and have confidence that you’ll be able to tackle a variety of safety issues that may arise with these tools. Check out our Pinterest board highlighting these tools and be sure to leave us a comment of some of the go-to safety tools that you keep in your RV!
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