Six Harsh Realities About RV Living

Transitioning back to RV living we got a reminder of the downsides to the lifestyle.

When we transitioned to RV living back to a house we got a sudden reminder of all the downsides associated with being nailed to the ground. Every lifestyle has good and bad elements. Now that we’re transitioning back to RV living, we’re getting a reminder about the downsides of that lifestyle. Here are a few of those painful reminders.

The RV Industry Has a Water Problem

And they know it. Campers and RVs leak. Rubber roofs require regular maintenance and all eventually will leak anyway. I’ve never seen a camper more than five or six years old that doesn’t have signs of a water leak. The exception to that would be a few Airstreams. Even our brand new camper leaks when it rains. Not a lot but enough we’ll have to take it in to get fixed. The break we have with this dealer is free roof maintenance for five years, even if it needs replacing. The plumbing also leaks but the standards for new RVs are getting better. Plumbing in new systems is tested to 100 psi, twice the pressure your home water system operates. That has helped but the industry still has a water problem, mostly related to shoddy construction practices.

Repairs Will Strike At The Most Inconvenient Moment

There will be breakdowns, there will be leaks, and there will be flat tires, ruptured hydraulic lines and canopy failures. There will be problems. They will strike at inconvenient times and places. Some friends of ours were traveling when they blew a hydraulic line on their slide out. The one place that would look at it said three weeks. Our friends had to have a hose fabricated and install it themselves. Not everyone can do that…pretty sure I can’t. The guarantee is that repairs will strike at inconvenient times and places. No matter how paranoid you are, you’ll never be completely prepared.

Discrimination Will Happen To You

I don’t necessarily mean discrimination based on race but it will be something. Maybe you have an older camper or a big dog. Maybe you have kids, or a loud motorcycle. You will commit some minor social faux pas or maybe the management just doesn’t like you. In some areas it might be your politics. Some day, for whatever reason, you will have to leave a campground because someone just doesn’t like you. You could be the Pope and you’ll still run into discrimination at some point. That doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, it just means you didn’t fit in with that campground.

The Perfect Campsite Doesn’t Exist

Campgrounds are getting more crowded. Not only is noise and congestion a problem but finding enough space to stretch out and relax is getting harder in popular destinations. South Florida is notorious for tiny campsites and the problem gets worse when you get out on the Florida Keys. In some parks campsites are so small the staff has to use a camper parking device, like a modified forklift, to move your unit into position.

Laundry Is a Pain

Going to the laundry is a bit relieved with the introduction of apartment-size washers and dryers.

During the off season campground laundromats are mostly empty. During the season is another story. Campground laundries have all the problems of a commercial laundromat but have fewer machines. Thankfully these days there are small clothing washers and dryers. So, for a couple hundred bucks you can end the wait for a washing machine.

There Will Be Drama

Again, it doesn’t matter how nice you try to be, there are going to be people who don’t like you. Sometimes they’ll say bad things about you, whether or not those things are actually true. RV parks are hotbeds of gossip and whispered judgments. If you ever wonder how something like the Salem Witch Trials ever happened, spend a couple seasons at an RV park. There’s a certain political segment these days who wear their perpetual, scowling disapproval openly. Since RV living can appeal to that segment of society, you’ll find parks that are quite uncomfortable for people who are different. Thankfully, those are few and there’s a lot of distance between them. Most of the time it’s people who just want to get away from society and be left alone. All the same people will talk and sometimes that talk will be about you. Be prepared for the drama of many human beings isolated in small spaces.

None of this should discourage you from trying the camping lifestyle. While you will experience all these issues, it may be over a span of many years. The distribution could be so broad that you barely notice. Every lifestyle has trade offs, RV living is not different in that regard.

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