We’re sure it’s no surprise to you that here at Guaranty RV, we plan our calendar around RVing. January is when we get excited about a whole new year of camping and road tripping opportunities ahead of us. By February we’re booking our favorite campsites and mapping out our routes. March is a favorite month because that’s when things really pick up—we pull the travel trailers, campers, motorhomes, toy haulers and camper vans out of winter storage and start to get them ready for the first spring getaway. According to a 2015 survey by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), more than 5.5 million RVs and 15 million RVers were on the road by Memorial Day weekend last year, and the numbers keep increasing. As RVIA president Richard Coon put it, “RVs give families the flexibility to vacation how they want and when they want, at a budget-friendly price.” And because many RVs are now built to be three or four season models, people are hitting the highways and campgrounds sooner, and staying out later in the fall and early winter. That’s why March gets a big star on our calendar; with the first flowers blooming and the trees budding out, it’s almost time to go camping!
But first we have to get the RV ready, get a plan, organize, make our camping checklists. In spite of those blooming flowers and budding trees, it’s still raining here in Junction City and the nights are still chilly, so now’s the perfect time to do the legwork that will allow us to take off at a moment’s notice when the weather shows that first sunbreak. Here’s our handy to-do list!
Make Reservations Now, If You Haven’t Already
Sure, you can probably get a campsite at a state or county park this spring without a reservation, but if you’ve got some favorite sites that you want to revisit—and particularly if you want to go in the summer—you’d better jump on making those reservations now. Campgrounds in Oregon’s beautiful national forests and coastal RV parks are often reserved six months in advance, so people around our neck of the woods are on the reservations websites in January for July camping. It’s not too late to get a prime spot, but jump on it now. Check out resources like Reserve America and Oregon State Parks. Also the Oregon Parks Association website will give you a list of every county park in the state and a link for campground information.
It’s Time to De-winterize your RV
De-winterizing your RV is a task that some RVers dread, but the nice part about starting now is you can take your time and remove a lot of the stress. Take a look at our very thorough de-winterizing blog for all the ins and outs of the process, but in general you’re going to be paying attention to the following:
Check for damage, including checking your seals
Deal with your water and plumbing
Test your electrical systems
Put your slide-outs and awnings through their paces
Check your tires
If you have a motorhome, make sure you do the required engine maintenance
To make it even easier to remember what needs doing, download our free RV Owner App. It allows you to select your vehicle in the RV Owner’s database and enter the mileage on your RV. Then it will activate the manufacturer’s recommended service plan. You can keep track of the service steps you’ve completed or still need to do. You can also customize your plan by season. Just set it and forget it—the app will remind you when it’s time for service, winterizing or de-winterizing. It will even let you make an appointment with our Service Department.
And remember, if the thought of de-winterizing your RV stresses you out, we’ve got you covered. Make an appointment for us to de-winterize your travel trailer, fifth wheel, motorhome or camper for you. We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again: our expert service center is your “one-stop solution to ensure your RV is road ready.”
Now’s the Time to Organize
Think back to last year. Was there anything that you wish was different about how you stored your camping gear? Any items that were harder than they should have been to access? Have you ever had things get lost in deep RV cupboards, never to be seen again? Or maybe you had a moment when you had to make a fast stop to avoid a collision and everything in your cupboards took a tumble. Trust us, we’ve had all those experiences, and we’ve discovered over the years that a lot of those kinds of frustrations can be alleviated by re-thinking how you organize your RV. Now is the perfect time to make changes and put systems in place that will make your 2016 camping season so much better.
For all kinds of genius ideas about how to make camping prep easy, how to keep those dishes from getting broken, how to make the most of every inch of space, and how to use your outdoor storage options effectively, check out our blog “ Keeping Your RV Organized: Some Tips from the Pros”. Also keep an eye on blogs and websites from people who live in their RVs 24/7, because those are the folks who have learned the hard way about how to do it better. We like Gone With the Wynns, RV Wanderlust, Gypsy Journal RV and others. RoverPass put together a great list of their favorite lifestyle RVing blogs of 2015, so be sure and check out that resource too.
If you’ve only got time to do one organizational task to make your camping life easier this year, we recommend purchasing some plastic bins. By storing food in plastic food-storage boxes instead of the containers that they came in, you can get a lot more items in a cupboard because you can stack them. By using bins with dividers where you store dishes and glasses, you can better protect them from accidents. Turned on their sides, bins for storing shoes and clothes can eliminate the problem of losing things in deep RV cupboards. Clear storage bins in your pass-through area or other outdoor storage spaces can also make your life so much easier—everything is easy to get to and is safe and dry.
Make Camping Checklists!
Do you ever feel like it takes forever to get the RV packed in order to leave? Camping checklists will make the entire process a breeze. Print and laminate them, and then keep them in a binder in your RV, or make lists that you keep on your computer—either way, good checklists allow you to pre-pack, have things ready and get everything loaded quickly and smoothly. And if you also bring those bins that we mentioned above into your packing plan, you’ll be shocked at how easy it is to throw everything in the RV and hit the road whenever you want to. Lots of RV lifestylers have shared this wisdom with us, but we really want to give credit to Terry and DT at RVGoddess.com, who have kindly put together five free, printable RV checklists that they share with other RVers. These checklists might not be exactly right for you, but they’ll give you a place to start in order to create lists that make sense for your family. So now, while you’re making reservations and de-winterizing and organizing your RV, spend a little time making your camping checklists and pre-packing some of your bins.
The spring and summer camping season is almost here. Now is the time to get ready! If you have any questions or need parts or assistance, be sure and give us a call. And of course, if 2016 is the year to upgrade or buy a new RV, come on down to Junction City and check out the hundreds of options on our lot.