Better ways to pack an RV

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Better ways to pack an RV

Postby DukeLeto3 » Thu Feb 23, 2012 5:35 pm

I've been coming since 2003, but this is the first year that I will be taking a rental RV to Burning Man (the guy in our camp who usually drives it didn't get a ticket). Also, due to the fact that our membership is cut in half, our camp can no longer afford another UHAUL so it will be FULL of stuff.

My main question is, how do I pack my rental RV so it is easily searched and I can get through the gate quicker?

I know they are going to search me because two guys in an RV full of stuff with 6 bikes on the back bike rack would make even me suspicious, and just having read the thread "Reducing the line to get into the gate", I want to do what I can to make the process as easy as possible for the gate staff (I will be coming in either Sunday or Monday).With a car, I just make sure that my trunk is well organized and after one look they pass me through.

From the aforementioned thread, I have learned some things that would help the gate crew speed up the process:

- DON'T pack it like a "crazy meth head"
- DO have the shower door open and the contents visible
- DON'T block access to the main storage compartment with your bicycles.
- DO keep things off of the bed so they can check the storage area under the bed (which is difficult because the bed is a flat space to load lots of boxes).
- DO make sure the storage compartment is unlocked before coming to the gate.
- DO make sure our huge coolers are easily accessible.
- DON'T be a dick.

We aren't going to have a huge rug or a big couch or anything so they won't have to jump on those. Would you go as far as to unseal taped boxes to assist the search for MOOP/feather boas/plants?

Any feedback from Gate/Perimeter staff would be fantastic. Any feedback at all, really.

Thanks!
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Re: Better ways to pack an RV

Postby The CO » Sat Feb 25, 2012 12:24 pm

It sounds like you have a good grasp of what to do.

Pick a uniform container size and number for everyone to put their stuff in. As in "everyone riding in this RV gets 2 rubbermaid totes size x for personal stuff." They are easy to stack if they are all the same size, and make things easier for gate search. (They don't have to look inside every box for people.) Plus you don't have someone showing up with 8 bags of various size that don't fit anywhere.
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Re: Better ways to pack an RV

Postby unjonharley » Sat Feb 25, 2012 12:38 pm

The first thing I learned was, How much of the crap I hauled to the playa I didn't use/need..
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Re: Better ways to pack an RV

Postby dragonpilot » Sat Feb 25, 2012 4:09 pm

We stack soft items like sleeping bags and pillows in the shower stall...you mentioned easy access to under the bed...so you're good!
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Re: Better ways to pack an RV

Postby EspressoDude » Sat Feb 25, 2012 8:01 pm

the rv's we have rented have no storage under the rear bed. that is the main water tank. we put as many as 8 of the 5 gallon water bottles in the shower. 4 -5 upright on the floor, a custom plywood cut to fit with a blanket to keep from scraping the shower walls, then 2 -3 more water bottles. A bunch of PBR boxes in the kickspace at the dinette. put the table down. cover the table and seats with 1/2" plywood so the table doesn't fall when you load the shit out of it. Hold things in place with the seatbelts. If you are not going to use the cab-over bed take the cushions out. they are heavy. Keep weight centered and low. Rv's are incredibly easy to overload; drive thru a weigh station within 5 miles of home and think about what to get rid of.

Before you leave the rental lot inspect the tires for worn out tread and cracked sidewalls. Replace them if needed.
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Re: Better ways to pack an RV

Postby Eric » Sat Feb 25, 2012 8:16 pm

We do the water in the shower trick- it's easy to see there's no people hiding. They're not going to be looking for MOOP as much as they're going to be looking for stow-aways, make sure any space that a small person could fit is accessible for them (kitchen cabinets, under the bed, outside storage, over cab area...) We've always covered the back bed with heavy plastic sheeting & put the bikes there- it's still light enough to be lifted to check the compartments.

I completely agree on the idea of limiting peoples space posted above (two bins of x size), though you might want to give an extra bin for food.
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Re: Better ways to pack an RV

Postby ygmir » Sat Feb 25, 2012 8:17 pm

sounds like you have a good grasp of what needs doing.....mostly, it's making it easy to "check"......that simple.
Those gayte folk, are pretty good at their jobs, and, if you make it where it's easy to move something, to open a door, or look under the bed or whatever....it'll be nice and fast.

a cold soda or drink is at times quite appreciated, by the staff........in an unopened can........

ETA: clear bins are great, they can be checked, mostly, without opening.
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Re: Better ways to pack an RV

Postby International Incident » Sun Feb 26, 2012 1:36 am

Another tip...if there are external access boxes - you know like places you put the spare tyre, excess water that lock up on the outside it’s a great idea to know where the key for the lock is... nothing will spark curiosity, and take up more time than “oh yeah, I can’t open that door. Don’t know what it’s for”.

And as Ygmir says, a cold drink is also appreciated!

I still want to find that person who took pity on me while I was working last year and gave me icy cold watermelon and give them a big dusty hug.
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Re: Better ways to pack an RV

Postby The CO » Sun Feb 26, 2012 11:06 am

Eric wrote:I completely agree on the idea of limiting peoples space posted above (two bins of x size), though you might want to give an extra bin for food.


The uniformity is so handy. I was packing a trailer with about 5 peoples stuff one year, and the only problems occurred with the oversize steamer trunk and the loose items. Everything else was easy.
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Re: Better ways to pack an RV

Postby theCryptofishist » Sun Feb 26, 2012 12:16 pm

(Note to self. Do not show off my new steamer trunk to the CO.)
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Re: Better ways to pack an RV

Postby mamasharon » Sun Feb 26, 2012 4:11 pm

unjonharley wrote:The first thing I learned was, How much of the crap I hauled to the playa I didn't use/need..

"Ditto"
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Re: Better ways to pack an RV

Postby motskyroonmatick » Sun Feb 26, 2012 4:52 pm

Is there a possibility of pulling a small trailer so that you don't overload the tires of the RV too much?
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Re: Better ways to pack an RV

Postby DukeLeto3 » Sun Feb 26, 2012 5:25 pm

motskyroonmatick wrote:Is there a possibility of pulling a small trailer so that you don't overload the tires of the RV too much?


There is a possibility. We just have to check when it comes to my license, I only have a class C and the RV is already 30'. Need to look up the regulations in Nevada.

Thanks everyone for feedback. The uniform totes are a great idea. Keep it coming!
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Re: Better ways to pack an RV

Postby motskyroonmatick » Sun Feb 26, 2012 6:22 pm

You shouldn't need a special license to operate a rental RV pulling a trailer. Many people pull boats and off road vehicles on trailers behind RVs. It's very common.

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=19853&start=270

A great thread on towing trailers.
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Re: Better ways to pack an RV

Postby Canoe » Sun Feb 26, 2012 9:37 pm

Looks like you're going to try to push the limit.

EspressoDude wrote:... Hold things in place with the seatbelts...
Keep weight centered and low.
Before you leave the rental lot inspect the tires for worn out tread and cracked sidewalls. Replace them if needed.

If the weight is too high, * you * will * tip * when * driving *. Also, avoid shoulders - you tip/roll much easier than a car.

motskyroonmatick wrote:Is there a possibility of pulling a small trailer so that you don't overload the tires of the RV too much?

Good idea, but you still have to watch the total weight of loaded RV and loaded trailer for braking.
If you're going to tow a trailer with the RV, usually allowed, but even if the hitch is already there, it should be in the contract! Let them know in advance so they can make sure yours has a hitch.

Gross weight vs. payload. Account for potable water, grey & black, and gas, plus all your gear and people. Read the manual to find the specifications.

Some weight in the far rear actually makes steering very stable (polar inertia), but watch you don't but too much to the rear (balance, wheelies) or too much out past the rear axel (back of RV tries to come off).
Like if you where to load the understorage compartments (rear & sides), under the bed, inside any storage on the floor and all along the floor with 50 cases of 35 bottles of water... You can hit a speed bump and the front may try to lift off. Technically the rubber stayed on the ground - just ask the guys at the Costco. If that hadn't happened at slow speed and away from people and vehicles there would have been a very nasty steering problem very shortly down the road. Or catastrophic had I made to the road north to the playa without prior incident or warning.

Be aware of the weight of what you're loading and even it out through the RV, heavier stuff on the floor, on the floor inside storage areas or in the underslung storage compartments. Also, the rear can try to rip off when the rear tires hit the bump and the inertia of the water tries to keep the rear of the RV where it was. Go slow over bumps when you're loaded. Really slow. With a bike, food & other gear, and potable water tank full, the bottles of water took me can take you to just under maximum gross weight. I was about to get another 15 cases of water as my original intent was 65 cases and take 2 or 3 ride-shares and their gear, only I remembered I got 35-bottle cases on sale and not 24-bottle cases, did the math again, and this time with the water tanks and gas, and then rode to the playa alone. It adds up fast. (Really fast if you're taking 1900 lbs of water in addition to the tanks. - Sounds like you'll be taking tons lots of gear.)

Having things in containers instead of loose makes a great deal of sense. Easy to keep organized, easy to re-blance, easy to secure with seat-belts or ???, and if you've got to fill it up to get everything there, then it's the easiest if you have to quickly pull things out to allow inspection of all of the spaces they have to see.

When loaded, stopping distance increases!!! Greatly!!!
Don't pump the brakes. Slow and steady application.

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Re: Better ways to pack an RV

Postby Lord Of Ruin » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:42 am

ygmir wrote:sounds like you have a good grasp of what needs doing.....mostly, it's making it easy to "check"......that simple.
Those gayte folk, are pretty good at their jobs, and, if you make it where it's easy to move something, to open a door, or look under the bed or whatever....it'll be nice and fast.

a cold soda or drink is at times quite appreciated, by the staff........in an unopened can........

ETA: clear bins are great, they can be checked, mostly, without opening.


Yup, what he said. We certainly love gifts of six-packs, bottles of crap, etc but honestly the BEST thing to give a Gate worker if it's busy is a cold small bottle of water along with a can of either beer or soda (if you have the ability to offer a choice). The water is small enough that we'll drink it in one go right there and we'll keep the beer/soda and drink over the next few minutes.

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Re: Better ways to pack an RV

Postby CapSmashy » Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:06 pm

Lord Of Ruin wrote:Yup, what he said. We certainly love gifts of six-packs, bottles of crap, etc but honestly the BEST thing to give a Gate worker if it's busy is a cold small bottle of water along with a can of either beer or soda (if you have the ability to offer a choice). The water is small enough that we'll drink it in one go right there and we'll keep the beer/soda and drink over the next few minutes.

LoR


Airline bottles of whiskey too.
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Re: Better ways to pack an RV

Postby dragonpilot » Tue Apr 24, 2012 10:27 am

CapSmashy wrote:
Lord Of Ruin wrote:Yup, what he said. We certainly love gifts of six-packs, bottles of crap, etc but honestly the BEST thing to give a Gate worker if it's busy is a cold small bottle of water along with a can of either beer or soda (if you have the ability to offer a choice). The water is small enough that we'll drink it in one go right there and we'll keep the beer/soda and drink over the next few minutes.

LoR


Airline bottles of whiskey too.


Ditto! And what's with all these people who slide thru Gate and Greeters without offering so much as a dram...of anything?! Man, I load those folks up with as much cold beverage as they can carry...and the gratitude is beyond measure! C'mon peeps...get the word out to heavily gift the Gate and Greeter folks! And while you're at it...anyone else that's bustin' their ass for us out there!
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Re: Better ways to pack an RV

Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:11 pm

At some point, if we all gave a six pack for instance, gate would have enough beer to build a beer-a-mid...
And they'd probably have to give loads of it to dpw post-event, unless they bought trailors...
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Re: Better ways to pack an RV

Postby wedeliver » Fri Apr 27, 2012 8:27 pm

We have a 34' RV and we pulled a 32' Holiday Rambler Trailer with it to BRC 3 years ago. RV's typically have big strong engines and the trailer hitches are frame mounted. You might have seen an RV pulling a huge trailer that might have a race car in it. If they might race Stock cars or whatever, the trailer also as a dressing room and sleeping area. So, to the OP. Consider getting a UHaul trailer and stick the bikes and all the rest of the junk in there. Good luck and have a happy burn. (the trailer is very handy. Garbage storage. Extra sleeping are protected from the wind etc....)
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Re: Better ways to pack an RV

Postby mamasharon » Thu May 31, 2012 3:00 pm

What I don't understand is why the motor home checkers don't just get a pair of night vision goggles or binoculars. This technology has become very affordable, available at any sporting goods store and would make bodies show up instantly like a sore thumb. Although there would be a large cost the first year, they would be reusable for many years to come and would speed up the line tremendously. How about suggesting this to the powers that be? Mama
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Re: Better ways to pack an RV

Postby theCryptofishist » Thu May 31, 2012 6:20 pm

Gate has had night vision tech as long as I've been going. My first year was 2002. I guess it doesn't help as much as you think it would.
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Re: Better ways to pack an RV

Postby Ratty » Thu Jun 07, 2012 10:59 am

I met some night vision goggle guys at Gigsville. (They were just partying with them, not camped there.) The stories were hilarious. With the goggles they would watch people trying to sneek in. Crawling on their belly for an hour. Then bust them. Sprinting across a large expanse of desert. Running an interference/zig-zag pattern. Sometimes legal campers go to the perimeter and fetch them. The whole thing was a funny joke. You can't hide at night. As far as using them to search a vehicle. Nope. That's a whole different set-up.
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