Dutchmen RV’s Camping Tips For Beginners
March 09, 2016
Today’s topic: Need-to-know travel trailer camping tips
At Dutchmen RV, with more than 25 years in the business, we’ve learned a thing or two about camping. So we’re passing along a few camping tips for beginners, especially for our first-time travel trailer owners. As customers step up from tent camping to travel trailer, these first-time RVers are usually eager to learn about travel trailer organization, travel trailer maintenance and tips on towing a travel trailer. So without further ado …
TRAVEL TRAILER ORGANIZATION
You’ll find a lot of creative storage space built in to our Dutchmen travel trailers, but even these innovative spaces need to be well organized to keep items from shifting around during travel. In short, a little travel trailer organization can make it easier to find the goods when you get there.
MAKE THE MOST OF SMALL STORAGE AREAS
Dutchmen’s Coleman Lantern trailer maximizes spaces with features like under-bed storage and hidden dinette storage compartments. Here are some tips for making the most of these spaces, plus a travel trailer organization tip that may surprise you.
- Under bed storage: Keep bulky sweaters and cold-weather active wear in vacuum-sealed storage bags. These items will be easily accessible, yet out of the way. Don’t worry, you don’t need to haul around an electric vacuum to seal the bags. A compact, hand-held deflation pump costs less than 10 bucks and will fit in a drawer right next to the bags.
- Dinette storage: Combine linens with pots and pans in the dinette-storage space. The linens keep pots and pans from rattling around, while the dinette’s side access makes it easy to grab what you need.
- Microwave storage: What? Yes, microwave storage. Store your bread or other baked goods in the microwave. Never suffer a squished loaf of sourdough or a flattened bag of bagels again.
ORGANIZE LARGE STORAGE COMPARTMENTS
Dutchmen Kodiak’s Bear Cave pass-through storage compartment delivers 40 percent more storage than competitors’. Accessible from either end of your trailer, loading gear has never been easier, especially if you take a few moments to organize your gear properly.
- Adventure gear: To keep bulky items, like climbing gear or spare bike parts organized, consider packing the Bear Cave with hard-sided bins.
- Water fun supplies: A duffel bag full of inflatable fun for the beach or pool can be wedged into a free spot, including the extra angled space in the Bear Cave.
- Odd sizes and shapes: A ratchet strap helps odd-shaped items, like fishing poles or crochet sets, stay in one place during your journey in your Kodiak travel trailer.
TRAVEL TRAILER MAINTENANCE
We’ve picked up a lot of travel trailer camping tips, but the best piece of advice is pretty simple … take care of your travel trailer … and it will take care of you. At Dutchmen, we pack our travel trailers with conveniences that make maintenance a breeze. For instance, we use AquaShield Aqualon material in our Kodiak tent ends. This material doesn’t stretch, shrink, crack or fade, and it’s highly resistant to mildew. Just hose down the material every now and then to keep it clean.
Still, not all travel trailer maintenance is going to be that easy. In fact, your waste water system — the black tank — needs regular care. There’s no way around it. So here are some black tank tips, particularly for travel trailer beginners.
- Dump a full tank: If you’re at a campsite with sewage hookup, don’t connect your hose and just leave it open. While you might think, “Plumbing is all downhill from here,” solid matter flows better if you wait until your tank is nearly full then pull the valve. The water in the system will help flush the waste out.
- The dirtiest tank goes first: Dump the black water tank followed by the gray. The residual soapsuds from your gray tank will help clean out the hose. Also, every time you empty your black water tank, flush it with fresh water. (Even better, run an enzyme-based treatment through it. You’ll be glad you did.)
- Pay attention to your nose: If you smell something foul, you may be surprised to learn that the gray water tank is sometimes to blame. Over time, grease and solids build and start to ferment in there. To solve the problem, use an environmentally safe additive to the holding tank.
TOWING A TRAVEL TRAILER
The most important thing to consider when towing a travel trailer is safety. You can always add safety features, like an optional wireless backup camera on the Dutchmen Denali, but there is no substitute being confident in your towing capabilities.
- Check and double check: Before you head out on the road, double check your tires, brakes, lights and safety chains? These are a safety must.
- Start out slow: Your trailer adds a lot of weight. A slow, steady start prevents unnecessary strain on your vehicle and the trailer. When you get going, double the amount of space you would normally leave between you and the car in front of you. There is a lot of weight behind you, so it takes longer to stop.
- Back it up: Practice your reversing skills. You’ll be less likely to overcompensate if you steer from the bottom of the wheel. When you have a choice, back up toward the driver’s side. It’s easier to see behind you from that angle. Also depend on your partner! Use agreed-upon hand signals or a set of hands-free radios.
Do you feel ready? Get out there and have a great time! You are going to love it.