RV Camper's Survival Guide

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Re: RV Camper's Survival Guide

Postby KestrelSF » Mon Mar 04, 2013 12:49 am

Wow, you really CAN turn anything into DubStep... I wondered where they got the samples for this track. Now I know. BTW, don't slam the fucking door.

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Re: RV Camper's Survival Guide

Postby ohCarie » Sat Mar 09, 2013 12:56 pm

Of the mantra Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, REDUCE should be your north star. I think some of our best modifications have been keeping us from using a lot of resources in the first place, like installing a single handle faucet lever. It can be turned on and off with a flick of the wrist. Also add a low flow faucet adapter that sprays. This cuts water usage 75% and gives more pressure for getting soap off. Which brings me to soap: use foaming soap! It deposits way less soap that has to be washed off. You can make your own biodegradable mixture if you want, which uses about 1/4 soap and 3/4 water and can be refilled several times.

We now bring several bags of skillet meals which require no water, no prep, just one skillet--BAM! one dish to wash. Using thin disposable plates and bowls, even inside reusable ones, are great since they take up little room in trash and dont need washing which uses lots of water. And super yummy & filling too!

Also, we put our (#1) t.p. in a trash bin. You will be surprised how much bulk there is after 8 days that's saved from the black water tank.
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Re: RV Camper's Survival Guide

Postby ranger magnum » Sun Mar 17, 2013 5:20 pm

Im not too sure about putting tp in a trash bag. If you use the proper additives in the black water tank, the tp liquifies into almost nothing.
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Re: RV Camper's Survival Guide

Postby Captain Goddammit » Wed May 08, 2013 3:44 pm

I'll never understand the extreme water conservation biz.
I use another plan - figure out how much water you use, then bring at least that much or more!
Water is still free or super-cheap.
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Re: RV Camper's Survival Guide

Postby Canoe » Fri Jun 07, 2013 8:01 pm

The default world rudely intruded on my available time. As time is running short, and I haven't completed the whole document, here's the Cheat Sheet on keeping the heat down in your RV.

RVs on playa - heat protection - Cheat Sheet from Draft 8.png
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Re: RV Camper's Survival Guide

Postby Canoe » Fri Jun 07, 2013 9:18 pm

And if you're going to be taping any doors, windows, etc., please consider Emergency Exits ...

RVs on playa - heat protection - Emergency Exits from Draft 8.png
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Re: RV Camper's Survival Guide

Postby ohCarie » Sun Jun 09, 2013 6:50 pm

I cannot comprehend how the cost:benefit ratio would dictate taping closed windows and vents. I mean, how much heat and dust is coming through really? Any gain is tanked by simply opening the door even once. Just tape up a few emergency blankets (silver foil) along the sun sides, cutting holes for vents, and you're just fine. I mean the goal can never be zero heat and dust entry. It IS Burning Man after all.

I do love the swamp coolers. They take the edge off for resting and those nights that remain warm.
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Re: RV Camper's Survival Guide

Postby Canoe » Sun Jun 09, 2013 7:42 pm

ohCarie wrote:... how much heat and dust is coming through really? Any gain is tanked by simply opening the door even once...

Ever been in a green house?

Under the sun, an RV can become unbearable inside within a few hours of sunrise. It can quickly become hotter inside than outside. So hot inside, you have to retreat outside to get away from the heat. Without A/C, forget about sleeping past 9:30 a.m.. Also, the heat coming through a window frame that's in the sun is very surprisingly large. Trying to sleep in beyond 9:30 a.m. with foil-sided bubble-wrap only covering the glass but not the frame, the heat radiating onto my face from the window frame made me curious. I touched it and burnt my finger.

Instead, vents taped shut, taping foil-sided bubble-wrap over windows and window frames and a few inches beyond, with the same treatment for the roof vents = very comfortable morning, staying comfortable enough all day (except for late one afternoon where I resorted to using A/C for 15 minutes). There was still a significant amount of heat conducting through the fame and through the FWBW, but that was greatly reduced by painters tape over top of the frames outside, and that tape covered with the foil tape, then you're comfortable all day.

Cost? A small roll of the FSBW and a roll of painters tape and a roll of foil tape. Cost benefit? Huge. Comfort or the fuel savings from not running generator for A/C. I'm sure the neighbours appreciated that too.
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The dust is merely a bonus, or a cleanup issue. If you're renting an RV, this can be a cost issue, due to cleanup fees.
And no, it takes time for the heat to get in an open door when it's the size of an RV. Never had an issue going in and out, but that was infrequent, not high traffic from a dozen people sharing an RV.
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Re: RV Camper's Survival Guide

Postby Captain Goddammit » Sun Jun 09, 2013 8:22 pm

ohCarie wrote:I cannot comprehend how the cost:benefit ratio would dictate taping closed windows and vents. I mean, how much heat and dust is coming through really? Any gain is tanked by simply opening the door even once. Just tape up a few emergency blankets (silver foil) along the sun sides, cutting holes for vents, and you're just fine. I mean the goal can never be zero heat and dust entry. It IS Burning Man after all.

I do love the swamp coolers. They take the edge off for resting and those nights that remain warm.



Oh man... You are incorrect!!! A fucking shit ton of dust comes in around vents, hatches, and windows during a dust storm! It can be like someone spraying an aerosol can of dust from every crack when it gets blowing.
And no, opening the door to get in and out does not negate all the other dust-proofing measures.
I tape shut every hatch and window, put foil up (also to block light so I can sleep any time I want) and my camper stays remarkably clean. I run a Rainbow vacuum (that uses water as a filter) if I do get any dust, and yes, I have damn near zero dust inside - contrary to popular belief by those who don't know how, it can be done.
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Re: RV Camper's Survival Guide

Postby mulch » Mon Jun 10, 2013 5:25 am

Do you have any cleaning off ritual before going in? I was thinking one might want a foot bath dip and some baby whipes for when the is a lot of dust stuck on before entering?
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Re: RV Camper's Survival Guide

Postby Captain Goddammit » Mon Jun 10, 2013 5:30 am

I have a vinyl floor instead of carpet and keep it swept. If you are renting and are stuck with carpet I'd suggest covering it with something to protect it - and replacing it with anything but carpet if it's your own.
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Re: RV Camper's Survival Guide

Postby pink » Mon Jun 10, 2013 7:29 am

I have a van conversion, so the door opening lets in more heat/dust per cubic foot of interior volume than in an RV. That said, the difference pre and post learning of bubble wrap & taping is amazing. In 2008, PBW (pre-bubble wrap) I literally had dust drifts on the windowsills of each of my always-closed drivers & passenger windows. It was coming in through every crack. And hot! ABW (after bubble-wrap) the interior stays cool until about noon. I haven't yet wrapped the roof, so that's a heat entry point when the sun's high. The stuff is cheap, light, and amazing! I leave one small window on the afternoon sun-side uncovered just so I have an indication in the morning whether it is actually morning yet.
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Re: RV Camper's Survival Guide

Postby jcliff » Fri Jun 28, 2013 12:14 pm

These are a couple tips for those of us with old RV's. I haven't read this post in awhile, and I don't remember these tips being offered, but my apologies if they have.

A trickle charger hooked up to your battery can keep it from draining. It's basically a solar panel that you put in a sunny window. I have a 5 watt charger that doesn't require a charge controller, but I think if you go much larger than that you'll need one. I have only one battery, and I have a draw somewhere in the mix. Many old RV's have a battery suck. Since I only use mine for Burning Man, it's not worth tracking down. You might also consider disconnecting your battery when you get parked on the playa.

If you are like me and have a locked exterior storage box without a key, you may want to consider getting it open before you roll through Gate. Last year our inspectors were bound and determined to pry it open, and only relented at the last minute. I completely understand where they are coming from. I have no idea what's in that storage area and it very well could have a dead Burner in it (I purchased my old motorhome girl from fellow Burners.) This year I will get it open and save myself the hassle. If you see a full human skeleton in The Temple, you'll know I was right.

Most important for everyone with old rigs....pony up the $129? bucks for Good Sam RV Roadside Tow insurance! Getting towed off the playa will easily cost you some serious cash. Since owning my girl, I've had her towed twice. They will come and scoop you no matter where you are, and they are so easy to work with. That is the best money I've ever spent on my RV.
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Re: RV Camper's Survival Guide

Postby mulch » Fri Jun 28, 2013 1:45 pm

thanks for the reminder re Good Sam Club. It was only $104 for a year membership and the roadside assistance package.
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Re: RV Camper's Survival Guide

Postby dragonpilot » Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:00 pm

Captain Goddammit wrote:I have a vinyl floor instead of carpet and keep it swept. If you are renting and are stuck with carpet I'd suggest covering it with something to protect it - and replacing it with anything but carpet if it's your own.


Up until this year always rented an RV (This year I've got my own rig...yea!...no herding cats!). Anyway, always laid down 1 mil painter's drop to cover the floor, blue taped it to the toe kicks, etc....cover that with a long carpet runner so's yer not sliding around on the plastic (plus soaks up spills and holds the dust down). Once off playa, roll up the carpet and plastic, hose off carpet, toss plastic in the trash. Makes clean up so much easier.
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Re: RV Camper's Survival Guide

Postby Foxfur » Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:26 pm

I might have mentioned it previously but it can't be said enough.
3M 8979N Nuclear Grade duct tape
It has a thicker scrim (the mesh grid in the tape) and a special adhesive formula. They say it won't leave any residue when removed in 6 months. I've pulled it off after a year and it didn't leave any gummy crap at all.
But, the adhesive is adhesivy as hell. It won't be coming off until you take it off.
I get mine on Amazom for about $20 a roll.
I use it for almost everything except for non-critical things. Those get mummified with the dollar store stuff.
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Re: RV Camper's Survival Guide

Postby OhioBluey » Tue Jul 09, 2013 2:10 pm

Drawingablank wrote:We used the RV toilet with no complaints although I know many burners don't like to.

To keep the black water tank from filling up too fast we left the water pump turned off and sprayed the bowl down with a garden sprayer before opening the valve to flush - it uses much less water than the normal flushing operation.



I am renting an RV for the first time this year. The owner (who has rented in the past to burners) assures me there is no problem doing #2's. I told him how I read horror stories on here about the stench after a few days and he said it's NEVER been a problem. The chemicals and the ventilation prevent that. So out of precaution I will use the portapotties. However I would like to see more positive RV toilet usage posts on here. Anyone?
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Re: RV Camper's Survival Guide

Postby Canoe » Tue Jul 09, 2013 4:30 pm

OhioBluey wrote:...I would like to see more positive RV toilet usage posts on here. Anyone?

I had no issues. Modern RV in good repair. Seal on toilet closure was still good.
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Re: RV Camper's Survival Guide

Postby Just_Joe » Tue Jul 09, 2013 5:33 pm

OhioBluey wrote:I am renting an RV for the first time this year. The owner (who has rented in the past to burners) assures me there is no problem doing #2's. I told him how I read horror stories on here about the stench after a few days and he said it's NEVER been a problem. The chemicals and the ventilation prevent that. So out of precaution I will use the portapotties. However I would like to see more positive RV toilet usage posts on here. Anyone?

Nothing wrong with mixing it up between the portas and the RV.
Unless they've been cleaned really, really well, the waste tanks are going to contain odor whether they are empty or not. The idea is to keep the odor out of the living space. FWIW, we don't use chemicals but if there is something wrong, they would *help* mask the problem.

-When flushing, turn the vent fan off to avoid pulling odors from the tank.
-Just because it's bad in the bathroom, it doesn't mean it's from the black tank. Grey Water (shower and sinks) smells just as bad. There is probably a vacuum breaker located at the top/end of a pipe under the sink. It's intended to let air INTO the system but not OUT. Reach under the sink, unscrew it and make sure it is sealed- you may be venting nasty grey tank odors instead of black.
-The black tank vent pipe extends through the roof. It can become clogged or drop into the tank so that it doesn't clear the roof and vent outside like it should. We had a rig that had the vent pipe running exposed, through a closet. A coupler failed and let gasses into the bathroom.
-Keep a little water in the bowl. If it drains, there is a seal issue. Bad.
-Some toilets have an overflow tube. It's a clear chunk of plastic tubing on the outside rear of the toilet. If you've got one, it needs to have an "S" in it and the "S" needs to have some water in it.

On another note....beware the "Shit Cone". You can over conserve water when flushing, creating a mass directly under the toilet. The black tank is several feet long, but unless you're driving around, that stuff is going to stay right where you dropped it. Use enough water and try to minimize TP use (or pack the TP in a bag). I've never messed with it but some people will save graywater from dishwashing to use to flush the toilet (turn water pump off first). In any case, several days in, your black tank may appear full when it's really not. Put on a clothespin, grab a 3' chunk of dowel rod or broomhandle and shove it down the toilet, giving things a good stir, adding water if needed- it may save you a $60? dump fee
FYI, A typical black tank is 25 to 35 gallons (five to seven 5 gallon buckets). That's a lot of waste.
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Re: RV Camper's Survival Guide

Postby Savannah » Tue Jul 09, 2013 10:23 pm

And shell out $5 for a can of Lysol, just in case. :)

Awesome, Weather Man--those are some suggestions I've not seen discussed before.
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Re: RV Camper's Survival Guide

Postby FireDiva » Fri Jul 12, 2013 11:24 pm

I have camped in an RV for 8 of my 11 burns. THE best advice anyone ever gave me was to cover all soft surfaces (chairs, benches, beds, seats, beds etc.) with some kind of cloth BEFORE you get on the playa. Get cheap rag type rugs that can be thrown in the washer when you get back to the default. Dust daily with swiffer dusters. I usually do not use tape, but there have been times when I wish I did. Also if you will be using your generator, plug in the power source BEFORE you get on the playa. Then I use my leaf blower to clear out the rest of the dust before I clean in the default.
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Re: RV Camper's Survival Guide

Postby Canoe » Sat Jul 13, 2013 4:43 am

FireDiva wrote:...Then I use my leaf blower to clear out the rest of the dust before I clean in the default.

Or don't clean out the rest of the dust. Then, whenever you're missing the playa, you can spend some time in the RV with the door closed and the leaf-blower blowing.
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Re: RV Camper's Survival Guide

Postby Dactylion » Sun Aug 18, 2013 9:50 am

Where's some good places to fill up with fresh water that are close to BRC? First time RV'er...
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Re: RV Camper's Survival Guide

Postby pink » Sun Aug 18, 2013 6:11 pm

Gerlach sells water. But not 24/7 if I recall correctly. Good way to save on gas and be a good neighbor.
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Re: RV Camper's Survival Guide

Postby Canoe » Sun Aug 18, 2013 9:38 pm

pink wrote:Gerlach sells water. But not 24/7 if I recall correctly. Good way to save on gas and be a good neighbor.

viewtopic.php?f=276&t=65387#p958157
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Re: RV Camper's Survival Guide

Postby pink » Mon Aug 19, 2013 3:36 am

Thanks for doing the link, Canoe. I'm posting from my phone and can't easily do links on it.
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Re: RV Camper's Survival Guide

Postby ohCarie » Mon Aug 19, 2013 11:25 pm

We've taken this trailer to the burn for 3 years. We leave windows open when we're inside but not during a dust storm, and never tape up other windows or vents. We cover the sun side with reflective sheets and don't even own a generator. It warms up in the morning for sure, but takes hours longer than a tent does (valuable sleeping time!)
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Re: RV Camper's Survival Guide

Postby JayBobBoy » Tue Aug 20, 2013 9:31 am

I've camped in tents and cargo trailers before, but this time I'm bringing my "old kitty" (an '84 prowler travel trailer). I've been planning for a while and have taken a lot of advice from these boards.

It doesn't have air con, so I'm using an 8K BTU window air conditioner and a genset. (I loaned my FIGJAM cooler to some camp mates in a yurt) I'm also taking the extra steps to insulate and tape up openings and to provide shade with an air gap over the roof of the trailer.

I can't wait to see how it all works out.
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Re: RV Camper's Survival Guide

Postby Lonesomebri » Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:56 am

JayBobBoy wrote:I can't wait to see how it all works out.


Hey old buddy, you won't have to help me set up my compound if you invite this old dog in from the rain!
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Re: RV Camper's Survival Guide

Postby Cat love » Mon Sep 02, 2013 11:05 am

Mshaman,

Wow thanks for the RV camping survival guide gifting! I tent camped as first time burner (never again), although not a terrible experience, I'm just plain too old and lazy getting up off the ground. Next burn definitely RV camping for me. I will take heed to your experience and follow it to a T...very cool. :P

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