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5 Important Questions to Ask Yourself Before Traveling Full-Time

Are you dreaming of living full-time or even seasonally on the road?As many in the Campendium community know, there are many rewards to a nomadic lifestyle, but there are also plenty of challenges and hurdles along the way that may be holding you back.Lake Holloman Dispersed Camping | Hollomon Air Force Base, NM – Photo by: RVplus2Although I’ve lived a nomadic lifestyle for several years, my experience is a single experience, and it would be impossible for me to give you a well-rounded view of how to begin your full-timing journey. Earlier this summer, we sent out a survey in our weekly newsletter to learn more about how full-time and seasonal travelers made the decision to hit the road and what advice they have for those looking to do the same.There is so much to be said about full-timing that we won’t be able to fit it all in just one article. So, treat these questions as the launching point in your research to help point you in the right direction as you get started. The 5 Big Questions Transitioning from sticks-and-bricks living to living on the road takes a good amount of planning and preparation, especially if you own property or work full-time.As you answer these five big questions, you’ll discover that everyone’s full-time travel journey looks a little bit different, and that’s because they’ve designed it to fit their needs, desires, and lifestyle. So, while there are several resources and examples of what full-time travel can be, don’t forget to make yourself a priority and pursue a lifestyle that fits you best.Madden Peak Road Dispersed Camping | Hesperus, CO – Photo by: Blake Will You be Traveling Full-Time or Seasonally? One of the first questions to answer is, “how long will you be on the road?” Some like to travel a few months out of the year while keeping a home base, and others choose to live on the road full-time. Of the full-time and seasonal travelers that answered our survey, they were pretty evenly split between seasonal and full-time RVing.There is nothing wrong with either option. It simply depends on what you’d like to pursue and what is possible with your schedule. For instance, do you have a family and want to stick with one school district as the kids grow up? In that case, you may only be traveling throughout the summer.Are you retired but don’t like the idea of living on the road all year? Perhaps RVing for a few months at a time is ideal for you to experience the seasons you enjoy in different areas of the country.Everyone’s timeframe for travel is different, but the length of travel and if you plan to retain a house, condo, or apartment will impact your planning and budget moving forward.Tom’s Best Spring Dispersed Camping | Panguitch, UT – Photo by: Lveloz Are You Planning to Move Out of Your House? As you narrow down your choice of seasonal or full-time travel, some of you will now have to decide if you plan to keep your house, condo, or apartment or whether you’re going to give up your permanent residence. If the latter, you’ll have plenty of work to do with selling and emptying your property.Our survey found that one of the biggest hurdles that many in our community faced as they transitioned to full-time traveling was downsizing. When we asked, what were some of the most challenging aspects of transitioning from a stationary to a mobile lifestyle? The answers included: “Figuring out what I really needed. We overpacked when we first started out. Had a ton of unnecessary stuff.”“For seasonal campers like us, it is a challenge to take care of the home front while we are on the road. Leaving your permanent home for months means you have to arrange for someone to check on the house, waters plants, look after pets, fill bird feeders, etc.”“Downsizing. Realizing you don’t need so much stuff!”“Figuring out how little one actually needs to be happy on the road. Less is definitely more.” During this process, you will start to learn what you truly need to be happy, and for most of us, we don’t need as much as we think.Ambassador RV Resort | Caldwell, ID – Photo by: DIDO What Will Your Rig Be? Your choice of RV will be particular to your needs. As you are making this decision, ask yourself: How much space do you need for living, storage, and to be comfortable in your camper? (If you have kids, you’ll likely need more space!)Will you be moving locations regularly or looking to park at a single location for a few months at a time?What climates will you be staying in most of the time?What is your budget? Vans, travel trailers, RVs, truck campers, or even short-term rentals are all feasible options for seasonal and full-time travelers. Deciding is the hard part, but you can narrow down your selection by first looking at your needs.If you are traveling with a family, a motorhome or 5th wheel may be the best option, so you have the extra space. If you are traveling solo or with one other person, a van may be a good fit If you want to park your rig for weeks or months at a time, then you may want a travel trailer, so you have a day-to-day vehicle as well.It’s also important to consider whether you prefer to stay in campgrounds with amenities or if you prefer to boondock; your answer will help you determine which type of camper is best for you.As you downsize, get to know what creature comforts you can and cannot live without. Some people can live comfortably biking across the country, while others may prefer a motorhome with a kitchen and a comfy bed. Without a doubt, when you first set out, you will overpack, and with time, you’ll continue to edit and curate your new home until it’s just right.That said, don’t fret if you invest in a travel trailer and then decide after a year of travel that you want something bigger or smaller. Many full-time and seasonal travelers have switched up rigs after they settled into their new lifestyle. Sometimes the best option is to “go for it,” and you’ll figure out the rest along the way as a part of the journey.Clearwater Forebay Number 2 | Clearwater, OR – Photo by: Life Among Pines Do You Need to Work on the Road? Another major hurdle many travelers face is how to fund their lifestyle. Some travelers are retired or taking a break from their career, while others choose to work either remotely or pick up jobs on the road. Again, this will be a very personal journey. Some choose to live a simple lifestyle on the road, resulting in lower costs and expenses. For others, traveling full-time will be equally as expensive as living in and owning a house.As remote work has gained traction, more and more RVers find themselves able to maintain full-time jobs on the road as long as they have access to a strong cell signal or are in a campground with a reliable WiFi connection. For others, seasonal work such as campground host, staffing a local gift shop, or guiding may do the trick.Of the full-time and seasonal travelers who responded to our survey, those who work on the road do various jobs, including as consultants, software developers, life coaches, seasonal harvesters, customer service agents, and accountants.If you maintain a job as you travel, this can sometimes narrow where you go and how long you stay to ensure you have access to the internet.Wellton Canal | Wellton, AZ – Photo by: StoryChasing.com Are You Prepared for the Common Challenges of Full-Timing? Full-time or even seasonal travel can often be seen as a coveted lifestyle, but that does not mean that it’s easy. One piece of advice that we’ve heard repeatedly when talking to full-time and seasonal travelers? Be flexible and adaptable.We asked our community, If you could give one piece of advice to someone who is just starting to plan a mobile lifestyle, what would it be? “Roll with the punches. You will have bad days where you think, is this really for me? But then think about those that see the same scenery day after day, week after week, and how lucky you are that you can pick up and see something else, any time you want to.”“Take your time, enjoy the journey even when difficulties arise. It’s all part of your story. Remember to video or photograph everything! We had a tire blow out when we started and it was living hell out on a busy highway. I was so afraid we were going to get hit by the nonstop vehicles passing by and going 60 mph. I never filmed it and the struggle. We survived and our RV got fixed, and I wish like anything I had filmed it…..the whole thing now makes a great story!!!!”“Educate yourself on your tow vehicle limitations and that it doesn’t matter if you paid 100k or 10k they all have issues and require regular maintenance.”“You don’t need to see the entire country in your first year. Take it slow or you’ll burn out.”“Do it! It take some adjustment but it is so worth it. There are so many places to explore and great people to meet.” In the end, embrace the journey and the fact that starting with full-time or seasonal travel can be intimidating, but you are not alone. Even the most experienced full-time travelers are still learning and honing their skills. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and work on building community and connections along the way.

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Signs about forest closures due to fire hazards.
All National Forests in California Are Closed Until September 17

In light of the record-breaking wildfires that are burning across California, the United States Forest Service (USFS) has closed all of the state’s national forests as of midnight last night, August 31. The forests will be closed until midnight on Friday, September 17.Photo by: Live Small Ride Free“We do not take this decision lightly but this is the best choice for public safety,” said Regional Forester Jennifer Eberlien in a press release. “It is especially hard with the approaching Labor Day weekend, when so many people enjoy our national forests.”The closure does not apply to Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, whose lands are located primarily in neighboring Nevada.Current weather patterns and the ongoing drought have created hazardous wildfire conditions across the state. Factors that weighed into the decision included decreasing the potential for new wildfires at a time of “extremely limited firefighting resources” and reducing the number of people in national forests to make evacuations easier.The Forest Service also expressed concern about this year’s intense and unpredictable fire patterns. According to the press release, these patterns include “fire behavior that is beyond the norm of our experiences and models such as large, quick runs at night.”With camping and recreation in California’s national forests off the table, for now, how about checking out one of these nearby forests instead? While we can’t guarantee that you’ll escape the smoke that is blanketing much of the western United States, these beautiful forests are, as of now, open and welcoming visitors.Ward Mountain Campground | Ruth, NV – Photo by: Tim Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, Nevada At 6.3 million acres, Nevada’s Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest is the largest national forest in the lower 48 states and is home to 18 designated Wilderness areas. The forest is known for its spectacular hiking and horseback riding trails and also has tens of thousands of archeological and prehistoric sites.While its offices and visitors centers are closed due to the ongoing pandemic, the forest remains open for recreation. Top-rated campgrounds in the Humboldt-Toiyabe include Ward Mountain, Thomas Canyon, and Timber Creek.Schoolhouse Campground | Roosevelt, AZ – Photo by: lmj007 Tonto National Forest, Arizona Tonto National Forest’s 2.9 million acres stretch from the arid desert to high-elevation pine forests. In between, enjoy one of six reservoirs on the Salt and Verde Rivers, which are perfect for watersports, beach days, and lakefront camping. The Campendium community loves the campgrounds at Tortilla and Schoolhouse, and the dispersed camping at Punkin Center.Tillicum Beach Campground | Yachats, OR – Photo by: boondockinglife Siuslaw National Forest, Oregon The Siuslaw National Forest is one of only two in the continental United States that touches the ocean, and if that isn’t enough to entice you, it also is home to excellent hiking trails, gorgeous sand dunes, and miles of rivers for floating, paddling, and fishing. Best of all? Right now, it’s escaping the worst of the wildfire smoke from the California and Oregon wildfires. Check out the camping at Tillicum Beach, Cape Perpetua, and Sutton. Additional Resources for Camping During Wildfire Season Camping with Wildfires: What You Need to KnowWe Researched How to Have Clean Air in Your RV — This is What We FoundFire Ban? Have Fun with these Campfire AlternativesBest Practices on How to Build a Responsible CampfireHow to Put Out A Campfire

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Fifth wheel surrounded by trees, mountains and a lake.
8 Stunning Fall Camping Destinations in the US

Summer may be coming to a close, but that only means that we are entering what is arguably the most spectacular camping season—fall. What makes fall camping so special? Where are the best fall camping destinations? Let’s find out. Killbear Provincial Park | Carling, ON, Canada – Photo by: Margot Bai Why Camp in the Fall? Fall is a wonderful season for camping. Here are just a few of the reasons why we love it so much.Fewer People: With kids back in school, many (but not all!) families have wrapped up their big camping trips for the year. Fewer people traveling in the fall means a quieter experience at the campground, on the trails, and at the visitor center.Perfect Weather: While not every fall day is perfect, the mix of warm days and cool nights can make for ideal camping conditions. Shorts during the day and a cozy sleeping bag at night? Yes, please.Bug-Free Bliss: Those cool nights have another purpose beyond comfortable sleeping—they help to keep the bugs away, too. Cold-blooded bugs, like mosquitoes, hibernate or die off when the temperatures start to dip below 60 degrees.Fall Foliage: As the natural world gets itself ready for winter, deciduous trees like oaks, maples, beeches, and aspens drop their leaves…but not before producing a vibrant show of color that paints the landscape.With so many reasons to experience fall camping, where shall you go? Below are eight gorgeous fall camping destinations. Skyline Wilderness Park | Napa, CA – Photo by: TouringNomad Napa Valley, California Fall is the harvest season at Napa Valley’s famous vineyards, and it’s the perfect time to tap into the celebration of winemaking. From August to October, you’ll find something to do around every corner in Napa Valley, including events, tours, parties, classes, and even the opportunity to take part in the harvest.Camping options in Napa Valley include Skyline Wilderness Park, Napa Valley Expo RV Park, and Sugarloaf Ridge State Park. Oceanside Campground | Berlin, MD – Photo by: Trekerboy Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland In the mid-Atlantic, fall ushers in cooler weather, less crowded beaches, and beautiful autumn colors in coastal marshes. Assateague Island National Seashore offers up a spectacular fall camping experience, with quieter campgrounds and tree-crowned dunes.Oceanside and Bayside campgrounds are well-known destinations within the national park but don’t overlook the camping at nearby Assateague State Park. Jordanelle State Park | Heber City, UT – Photo by: ketah777 Park City, Utah There is nothing like an American West mountain town in the fall. Autumn comes early at these high elevations, but the experience of warm days, cool nights, and an explosion of orange leaves in the aspen trees make these towns worth seeking out.Park City is one such destination. Located less than an hour from Salt Lake City, this mountain-ringed outpost is more accessible than most. Check out Jordanelle State Park and River’s Edge at Deer Park for camping. Rippling River Resort | Marquette, MI – Photo by: Scott Free RV Upper Peninsula, Michigan Getting to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula isn’t an easy task, but those who undertake the journey will find gorgeous foliage, quiet beaches, and endless miles of trails to explore. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, the trek to the Keweenaw Peninsula, which stretches into Lake Superior, is worth every mile.Well-rated Upper Peninsula campgrounds include Rippling River Resort in Marquette and Bay View Campground in Brimley. San Luis State Wildlife Area Campground | Hooper, CO – Photo by: Richard n Mary Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado Soak up the unique landscape of Great Sand Dunes National Park with a trip this fall. September and October have some of the nicest weather days in the park, with peak foliage hitting between late September and early October.The park’s campgrounds, which are typically booked solid during the summer months, often have more open sites in these quieter fall months. Pinon Flats and San Luis State Wildlife Area Campground are both loved by the Campendium community. Element Campground | Gatlinburgy, TN – Photo by: Dude RV Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee and North Carolina Escape the hustle of the city with a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains. Autumn color begins at the higher elevations in mid-September and continues to turn in stages down at lower elevations until early November.RV campers inside the park will want to check out Elkmont Campground, which can accommodate up to 35-foot rigs. The free camping at Santeetlah Lake in Nantahala National Forest is a favored spot to get a bit more off the beaten path. Hancock Campground | Lincoln, NH – Photo by: CTFF Kancamangus Scenic Byway, New Hampshire If there is one place that people equate with dreamy foliage, it’s New England. New Hampshire’s 34.5-mile Kancamangus Scenic Byway is the epicenter of leaf-peeping. If you can brave the crowds, it’s an unforgettable experience to drive through the canopy of color while waterfalls crash down the roadside rock faces.Campgrounds along “the Kanc,” as it’s locally known, include Hancock Campground and Covered Bridge Campground. Gros Ventre Campground | Jackson, WY Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming Autumn in Grand Teton National Park starts in early September and ends in mid-October. While short, those six weeks are glorious, often with warm daytime temperatures, sights (and sounds!) of rutting elk, uncrowded trails, and even a dusting of snow in the higher elevations.There are seven campgrounds within the park itself. Jenny Lake (tents only) and Gros Ventre Campground are two favorites. There are plenty of campgrounds and boondocking spots in nearby Bridger-Teton National Forest.Note that all of Grand Teton National Park’s campgrounds have moved to a reservation system, and their campsites can be booked up to six months in advance. Reservations are strongly recommended.Where is your favorite place to camp in the fall? Let us know in the comments!

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Gear Guides


A couple and a dog standing in front of their silver RV.
Ching & Jerud’s Favorite Camping Gear

We left Asheville, NC back in March of 2015 and have been living on the road full-time since. This has given us a lot of time to figure out what gear we really need and use daily. Here are ten of our favorite items.We held off for several years before buying the Viair 400P portable air compressor because of how pricey it is. But it’s worth the money and we’re extremely glad to have it each time we’ve had to use it. The Viair is so fast and it has the capacity to fill up high-pressure and high-volume tires like our F-250 truck and fifth-wheel.Jerud and I both need internet for work. Having the Proxicast antenna opens up the places we can boondock because it lets us pull in cell signal we otherwise wouldn’t have.Since our rig is 100% powered by solar (we don’t use any propane and don’t have a generator), it’s important to have kitchen appliances that are very energy efficient. The Instant Pot fits that bill. It also allows us to save weight and trash by not having to carry canned beans around and find places to recycle the cans.Who can live without bread and cookies? Not us! Having an electric oven so we can bake was very important. This toaster oven lets us cook meals like we did when we were in a house, make our own granola bars, bake desserts to share with friends, and butter that freshly made bread with honey.Plastic bags drive me nuts! The Earthwise mesh produce bags are perfect whether we’re buying kale, apples, potatoes, or even bulk items like popcorn kernels. These bags are durable and can be washed again and again.While I hate plastic bags, the Debbie Meyer Green Bags get a pass because using them means wasting less food. These bags keep our produce fresh for a lot longer. This is key since we stock up our fridge with enough fresh food for two weeks or more while we’re boondocked far from towns. And these green bags can be washed and reused for years!We purchased a 5-gallon bucket from Lowes and a Gamma seal lid to store Tyki’s dog food. This airtight lid keeps smells and rodents away.We hit the road full-time so we could explore our public lands, which means we spend a lot of time out in the sun and our skin pays for it. Think Sport sunscreen is not only reef safe, but it stays on whether we’re mountain biking, paddling, or hiking.There’s nothing like ice cold water after a long summer hike or hot chocolate after snowshoeing. The Hydroflask water bottles seemed like an unnecessary luxury item at first, but after the heat waves this summer, it’s moved to our must-have list. This rechargeable LED necklace goes around Tyki’s neck on every late-night walk. It lets us keep track of where he is and it’s entertaining to watch the bright lights bounce around like glow sticks at a dance party.Follow Ching & JerudBlog & Website: Live Small Ride Free Instagram: Live Small Ride Free Campendium: Live Small Ride Free Sharing your *Favorite Camping Gear* with the Campendium Community is a great way to help the site earn affiliate revenue while helping your fellow campers learn about great gear. If you’d like to contribute, please email photos with links to the product details on Amazon, along with a couple of sentences about each item to info@campendium.com. Thanks in advance!

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Woman working on RV with tools on table next to her.
Are You Prepared? You Need These Tools in Your RV Tool Box

Life on the road can be a very freeing, enjoyable experience. But as many full-time RVers can attest, you need to be prepared for anything. Things can break, tear, and malfunction while you’re traveling, especially if you’re on the move for months at a time. A well-stocked RV toolkit is a must-have for any camper, whether you’re out for the weekend or indefinitely.There are tons of little things that can break that won’t stop you from hitting the road, but they can become inconvenient and bothersome. Avoid the headache and have the right tools to repair your RV on the go. 8 Tools to Include in Your RV Toolkit 1. Tire Pressure Gauge Be sure to carry a tire pressure gauge in your RV or any automobile you own. More modern RVs and vehicles may have tire pressure sensors but do not always depend on these, especially if you bought your RV used. If you are driving a lot, get into the habit of doing daily tire pressure checks to avoid any mishaps while you are on the road.Even if you’re parked for an extended period in one spot, keep in the habit of checking your tires regularly. A slow leak or flat tire can really put a damper on your trip, especially if you only discover it on the day you’re planning to head somewhere new.You can choose from the classic pen-style tire pressure gauge or a digital reader. When looking for a tire pressure gauge, get one that reads to at least 100 psi. This will not be an issue with a digital reader. 2. Air Compressor Having a tire pressure gauge is helpful to get to know if your tire pressure is low or not, but you also need a way to inflate those tires if need be.Many gas stations have free or paid air compressors available, but long-term RVers (especially boondockers) may choose to invest in a portable air compressor that draws power from your vehicle battery. These handy tools are not only great for pumping up a low tire but are easy enough to use that they are a must-have for those who like to drive 4×4 roads or on the sand. 3. Flashlight or Headlamp There are many options for lights to include your RV toolkit, and flashlights and headlamps are two of the best options. Better yet, have both!Flashlights are ideal when you are looking in hard-to-reach places, and headlamps work well for working on tasks that require both hands. No matter the light source you choose, always pack extra batteries. There are also several options for rechargeable flashlights and headlamp options too.Most of the time, investing in a rechargeable light source not only saves you from running low on battery, but it often saves you money in the long run. If you decide to go the rechargeable route, make sure you have ample power to power it up. This is easy if you often stay in paid camping areas, but a solar charger or generator will be handy if you frequent boondocking campsites.Another excellent light option is an inspection mirror with LED lights. If you choose to invest in one of these, look for a telescoping mirror that extends and has a flexible head to give you more reach. While a headlamp and flashlight can be more versatile, the inspection mirror gives you an easy way to see out-of-the-way places. 4. Drill and Drill Bits When packing a drill in your toolkit for RVing, make sure it is cordless and battery-operated. It also won’t hurt to have at least two batteries, so you can always have a full charge when you need to use it. Having a drill on the road has many uses, including saving your time with your stabilizer jack if you have the right drill socket. Beyond that, having a drill is excellent for fixing various things on your RV, both inside and out.When deciding which drill to get for your RV toolkit, consider what you may want to use it for and how much power you want. A drill with around 14 volts will be sufficient for most travelers, but it will only really work for smaller jobs and may feel underpowered. A 20-volt drill is recommended if you plan to use your drill often. 5. Zip Ties Zip ties are very similar to duct tape in that they can fix almost anything—at least for a little while. You can use them to reattach a wayward hose, keep cords and wires together, or lock shut a wily cabinet door for travel. They are so versatile that once you start looking, you’ll find uses for them everywhere. Need to wrap insulation around your pipes for a freezing night? Break a shower curtain ring? Need an extra keychain? You can use zip ties for all of those. 6. Knife or Multi-Tool Having a multi-purpose tool of any kind is useful. Keep it in your pocket while inspecting your RV or while milling around camp, and we can guarantee you’ll find dozens of uses for it. Some multi-purpose tools also include a knife or blade, but it’s worth it to keep a dedicated pocket knife, too, for small tasks. 7. Multi-Bit Screwdriver A big part of RV travel is organization and space-saving. So, instead of having multiple screwdrivers, get one with multiple bits.You can get these with their own organization cases, which is recommended, so you don’t lose any of the bit heads. You should at the very least have a flathead and Phillips to swap in and out since these are the most common screw heads.If you get the screwdriver in a set, other heads will be included, which on an RV will likely come in handy from time to time. 8. Socket and Ratchet Set Sockets and ratchet sets are useful in any car toolkit, but especially for RVs. Make sure that the set(s) of sockets you carry are the ones that best fit the bolts and screws in your camper. Most of the time, you will only have to buy one or two additional sizes, but it is a good idea to check what you may need before you hit the road. Other RV Toolkit Tips When RVing and traveling full-time, having the right mindset for encountering repairs and pitfalls is necessary. Take some of the stress away from any situation by being prepared for the most common RV repairs. Having roadside assistance of some kind is also recommended for those times when you encounter mechanical issues you can’t fix yourself.Preparedness goes a long way during long-distance travel. So, on top of the eight must-have tools to include in your RV toolkit we listed, bring along a toolset in a carrying case. Some of these toolsets will consist of some of the items we listed, like the ratchet set or a screwdriver, but they will also include other tools needed for auto and RV repair.When investing in an RV toolkit in a carrying case, look for SAE or metric sizes that are compatible with your rig. Not all rigs are the same, even within the same brand names. Having a toolkit specific to your rig in a carrying case helps save you from having to buy individual tools, and it keeps them organized while you travel (win-win).

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RV and truck parked in the snow out in the woods.
Is Investing in RV Insulation Worth the Money? Find Out.

There’s nothing quite like hitting the road for a summer adventure—visiting your favorite parks, hiking and exploring, and curling up in your RV for a comfortable sleep on those soft summer nights. But we travelers often feel the pull of the open road all year long, even when that blissful summer warmth is replaced by the chilly bite of autumn and winter. So when can we justify investing the time and money into weatherproofing an RV and heading out for some cold-weather travels? Let’s take a look!We’ll discuss the benefits and drawbacks of weatherproofing and insulating an RV, the different methods out there along with RV insulation types, and the top considerations to think about before diving in. Blue Ridge Roadside Campsite | Canton, NC Why Insulate? Broaden Your Travel Season By installing RV insulation, you open up the whole year for travel. All you hikers and summer sports enthusiasts out there will appreciate the added capability to visit your favorite recreation areas earlier in the spring or later in the autumn while avoiding most of the peak-season crowds. Meanwhile, winter sports lovers will enjoy the warm air that greets you when you come in off the snow to a cozy winter home.Investing in weatherproofing your RV ensures that no event, sport, or season is out of your reach! Improved Summer Performance Insulating your rig doesn’t just keep you warm in winter, but it also helps keep your RV cool in the summer. Insulation combined with proper hot-weather practices will keep that hot air outside your vehicle while keeping it cool inside. Remember, coolers rely on insulation to keep your food cold, and the same principle applies here. Reduce Condensation Condensation is the enemy of many a full-time RVer. From condensation while sleeping (hot breath collecting on cool walls) to steamy days, water can build up quickly and, over the long term, slowly cause water damage to your rig. Proper insulation can help to regulate these temperature differences and reduce condensation to protect your camper. Coconino Rim Road Dispersed Camping | Grand Canyon, AZ – Photo by: Doug Primary Considerations for Insulation Weight One of the primary considerations before installing insulation is how much weight it will add to your RV. Depending on the materials used, the added load can be significant, impacting your tow capabilities, gas mileage, etc. That doesn’t mean you should skimp on your insulation! But be strategic and thoughtful in your implementation to strike a good balance. R-Value R-Value is the ability of insulation material to resist heat/temperature transfer. The higher the R-value, the better the material is at insulating. When searching for the right insulation for your camper, consider the temperature extremes you want it to protect against, and then weigh potential R-values against other factors like weight and expense. Expense Properly insulating your RV from top to bottom is an expensive proposition no matter how you slice it – whether doing it yourself or hiring a professional. Therefore, the primary consideration you need to think about before moving forward is whether or not you’re ready to make that investment. Remember, this is not a project you want to skimp on! Half-hearted insulating and weatherproofing will only lead to chilly evenings and the potential for costly issues like burst pipes.However, there are definitely some more budget-friendly material options for weatherproofing. Let’s take a look at some of these options.Photo by: Live Small Ride Free Types of RV Insulation Fiberglass RV Insulation Fiberglass insulation is very common for almost any project, from homes to RVs. It typically looks like fluffy pink rolls that are installed behind your wall panels. This type of insulation is generally among the cheapest options out there and has an excellent R-value. It is also reasonably straightforward to install since it’s flexible and easy to match your RV’s shape (keep in mind that you’ll have to remove your wall paneling, install, and then reassemble your walls).However, fiberglass insulation is less expensive for two reasons. First, it wears down faster than spray foam insulation and rigid foam (discussed next). Second, it’s very susceptible to moisture, which may lead to mold growing in your RV walls over time.With all this in mind, fiberglass insulation is best suited to RVers who tend to adventure in one primary climate or multiple mild climates. This insulation will not perform well if you’re often jumping seasons from extreme heat to severe cold. Spray Foam Insulation While tricky to install correctly, spray foam offers a plethora of benefits to your RV insulation project. First off, it’s lightweight, which soothes any worries you may have about overburdening your RV with excess pounds. Second, this type of foam insulation expands and seals. The foam can access all those hard-to-reach nooks and crannies and seal them. That seal is also water-resistant.For all these great benefits, this type of insulation has a lower R-value than other options. Therefore, it won’t offer the same level of protection against hot or cold air as the alternatives. So if you’ve got your eye on chilly winter camping for skiing, you should probably opt for a different type.If you choose spray foam insulation, we highly recommend trying it out on some scrap plywood first so you can get the hang of it before installing it in your RV. Compensating for the foam’s expansion takes a little practice. Rigid Foam RV Insulation Rigid foam insulation tends to hit the sweet spot between spray foam and fiberglass. It has a mid-range R-value, is moisture-resistant, and is long-lasting. Sounds great, right? Not so fast.Rigid foam insulation tends to be one of the toughest to install. You’ll need to cut each foam board to precisely fit the space you’re covering, and you’ll need additional tools or adhesives to secure it properly.So, while labor-intensive, this option is ideal for insulating RV walls if you’re planning on some cold weather in the winter and seamlessly making the transition to toasty summer camping. Wool Insulation Those looking for a more natural solution may find it in wool insulation. Made with the less popular colors and qualities of sheep wool, wool insulation (not to be confused with rock wool, which is made from raw materials spun into fibers) has a great R-value and handles moisture well. If you choose the wool insulation provider carefully, you can avoid any types of pesticides or other chemicals in the material.On the downside, nature wool insulation is heavy, more expensive than the other options, and can be tricky to install, especially between the roof and ceiling. You’ll want to double-check your tow capacity and gross weight ranges before committing to wool insulation.Photo by: Live Small Ride Free Plumbing, Tanks, and Underbelly If you’re simply insulating your RV for more flexibility in the shoulder seasons, rock on! But if you’re looking to camp mid-winter, don’t forget that you’ll need to insulate your rig’s plumbing, water tanks, and underbelly as well.Water freezes quickly in winter conditions, and a ruptured water pipe or tank can spell disaster for your camping trip. So, take the time and effort to make sure you cover all your bases for complete weatherproofing. Windows and Doors Don’t forget to give your windows and doors some weatherproofing love. Proper seals, caulking, double or triple-paned windows, and curtains will all go a long way to keep you comfortable in all weather conditions.It can be a tough decision to insulate or not, but we hope this article helped you decide when the investment is worth it. Think about your destinations and seasons as well as your preferred activities, and if you choose to weatherproof, make sure you’re thorough and don’t skimp!When you’re all insulated and ready to tackle the cold, don’t forget to check out our guide to winterizing your RV.

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Recent Reviews


Sep 17, 2021

"Fantastic overall but more formal sites now, great Verizon for work"

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Carbella's million+ dollar improvement project means formal site pads with just a few pull throughs, generally clean and consistently busy. A stunning place to spend the work week and clock off each day and take a dip in the Yellowstone River. AT&T virtually unusable but Verizon has a tower on the mountain above Carbella, meaning solid...
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Dylan
26 reviews
Sturgis, SD

Bear Butte State Park

Sep 17, 2021

"Views and fishing"

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We needed someplace to stay north of Rapid City and chose Bear Butte. Sites are spacious, not at all crowded, great views of the butte and on a small lake. We took the vacant camp host site because it had electric and water - $15.91/ nite. Other sites are $11/nite. Location is interesting because of its proximity to Sturgis. Right up the road is...
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Deb DeForest
2 reviews
Sep 17, 2021

"PLEASE FILL WATER BOWLS!"

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There are water bowls under or near each water spigot. Placed there, I assume, by the camp host (no host the night in mid September that we were there). We filled them all as all were empty and the birds REALLY appreciated it. There is good birding in the campground. It is a beautiful place. About 20 sites. Only 3 of us last night (Wednesday)....
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Nancy Rigler
28 reviews
Sep 17, 2021

"HIKER'S DREAM"

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It takes a vehicle to get to any of the moderate to strenuous hikes. Even the Visitor's Center is a long down hill walk where most of the trails begin, We were reluctant to move our 24 footer off the 6 leveling blocks on the front wheels to drive to the trails. Since it rained both days,we were content to stay put. We had AT&T 3 bars.

Tom Little
16 reviews
Sep 17, 2021

"Nice enough campground, terrible experience."

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I don't want to fault the park for it being hot in the summer and there being bugs but people should know-- there were so many mosquitoes that it ruined my time there. I've done a lot of camping, both in Michigan and out, and the mosquitoes here were really exceptional. The air was thick with them. I couldn't even enjoy the park because there...
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