If you’re thinking about full-time RVing, that’s great!  There are so many incredible opportunities that arise because of it, and it’s truly an amazing experience.

However…

As full-time RVers for 6 months now, we’ve had a few things come up that we realize there are a few aspects of RV living that aren’t as much fun.

Here’s some of the not-so-pleasant parts of RV living.

 

1.  Not-So-Pleasant Plumbing

This is our least favorite part of living in an RV.   Even after 6 months of RVing, nothing will top this:  Dumping the tanks.

The plumbing in an RV is pretty straightforward and simplistic.  Sink, shower and toilet waste is stored in holding tanks under the floor.  It’s also the only option for RVs, so we have to make do with it.  When we started full-time RVing, we weren’t completely new to it.  We had been camping in travel trailers, RVs and pop-ups for a while.  Because of that, we knew the who, what, where, when and why of dumping your RV holding tanks.

RV Honey Wagon

However, if you’re new to it, you need to know that it is something that comes with RV living (and doesn’t go away).  We have to dump our tanks around once a week, but we’ve made it longer than that if required.

Quick note:  Life is way easier if you’re staying at a campground that has sewer hookups at every site.

If you’re boondocking or dry camping with no hookups or a dump station you’ll either have to dump into a honey wagon and drive it to a nearby dump station, or pack up and drive your rig to a nearby dump.   We regularly dump at truck stops, rest areas or campgrounds along our travel routes when we need to empty tanks between stops that don’t have hookups available.  This makes it easier than having to unhook at the campground.

You’ll have to plan your travel route to make sure you pass somewhere to dump if you need to empty your tanks between stops.   There are also many different ways to deal with cleaning the tanks and reducing or eliminating odors.    You can search online RV forums to decide which option is best for you.

New to Dumping the Tanks? Read this!

 

2.   Rooms?  What rooms?

This is something that has been a unique experience for us so far on our journey.  Coming from a normal house, which a lot of full-time RVers do, we were a tad worried about the lack of ‘rooms’.

Our kitchen is also our dining room, bedroom, and the drivers cockpit.  Our living room sofa is a bed, and our dining room table is our video editing station, food prep area, and our dinner table.

We could go on and on, but it would take up all of your time.  We won’t do that.

Everything has multiple uses, so it’s harder to have a set tv watching area without sharing it with a dining room table.  You’ll need to get used to using everything for two, three or four different things, to maximize space.

 

3.  Gas costs

When we first got our RV, we were aware that the gas costs were hiding, waiting to hit you on your first road trip.  We only get 7 MPG, and it adds up when gas costs $3-4 per gallon on average.

However, as we’ve racked up the miles, we’ve found that we can save some money on gas for our RV and car.  We recently discovered that driving at around 60-65 MPH saves us around $40 dollars each time we fill up.  That’s a big difference when we’re filling up each time we travel 500 miles.

RV gas money

Gas costs may be expensive, but if you plan your trips and drive a little slower, you can lower the costs and the stress on your RVing adventure.

 

4.  Storage is very, very limited

Ever wonder why there are so many articles on space-saving tips?  Why so many people Google “storage tips” or “space-saving hacks”?

It’s because the lack of storage is a big thing.

And if you’re reading this article to get the cons of full-time RV living, you should know that lack of storage is definitely a thing in all RVs.

RVs and travel-trailers have so little storage because they serve two functions:  house and living space, as well as moving vehicle.  This makes it difficult for the manufacturers to build RVs with plentiful storage.  However, they manage to squeeze in enough storage that if you can downsize your ‘stuff’ you should have enough space.

car storage

While all RVs are different, there are some common areas that typically lose out on storage space when compared to a regular home.  Here they are:

  • Outside storage
  • Closet space
  • Kitchen space

Outside storage in RVs isn’t suited for all the items from a normal garage. (try and fit a bike or a scooter in one)  The compartments are surprisingly large  for an RV, so you can fit some medium sized items, such as a small grill, toolboxes, and even plastic storage containers.  However, you’re not fitting everything you have in your normal garage.  You’ll have to downsize.

Another part of RVs that storage is limited is closet space and clothes storage.  Because of the fact that the bedrooms are smaller, the closet space is also smaller.  That means less clothing, shoes, brooms and vacuum cleaners (we have only one closet for brooms, and it’s about as wide as the brooms themselves).

Overall, if you’re not feeling too great about the lack of storage, that’s OK.  It took us a while to get used to so little storage, and you could argue that we’re still not fully adapted (we store stuff in the microwave when we’re not using it).   We’ve found plenty of tips and hacks for maximizing our RV storage, which really helps in decluttering our RV.

 

5.  Water Conservation

Perhaps one of the hardest things of full-time RV living is the fact that water conservation is a must.  If you don’t conserve water, your tanks will overflow and you’ll have some cleaning up to do.

In a normal house, the water you use from the sink and showers goes down to the septic tank.  In an RV, that water goes to a ‘gray tank’, a 30-60 gallon tank on the underside of your RV (size depends on the camper you own).

conserving water in your RV

Now, 60 gallons isn’t a lot of space for water, especially water coming from the shower, kitchen sink and bathroom sink.  So, you need to take some steps to conserve your water, or you’ll be dumping your tanks every other day.

Conserving water isn’t as hard as it seems, and doing so will make RVing a lot less stressful and hectic, because you don’t have to worry about your tanks filling up too fast.

 

6.  Warning:  Active work zone

No, we’re not talking about construction on the highway where they make the lanes so narrow that the RV almost hits on both sides (although that is a little nerve wracking).

We’re talking about the constant maintenance that goes on in your RV.

Even though RVs are built well, things go wrong when it is often getting moved and bounced around on roads.  There’s no getting around that.

rThe mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems in RVs are often the culprit to the latest malfunction, because these systems are complex.  Fortunately, so you don’t have to spend time trying to figure out how to fix it, you can go to irv2.com or another forum and look up a solution to your problem.  There are so many RVers online that your problem most likely happened to someone else on the site.

 

7.  No home base

This is one of the most noticeable drawbacks to full-time RV living.  Whether it’s because you don’t know where to get health care, or you can’t find the cheapest gas, being on the move constantly makes RVing more of a challenge and adventure!

When you’re living in a house, that house doesn’t move.  You stay in the same place for 5, 10, 25 years, and you get to know the area.  You know the best doctors, dentists, grocery stores and restaurants around.  It’s convenient to know that if something comes up, you know exactly where to go.

However, that doesn’t happen in RV life.  You’ll most likely be somewhere different, and even remote, every week.

rv boondocking

When you’re full-timing, you might be on the move at least once a month, up to once or twice a week.  This gives you very little time to get familiar with the area.  That means that when you need something, you’ll have to spend some extra time trying to find the cheapest, best or easiest place to go.

Although you won’t be familiar with the area, you can make sure you know where to find a dentist, doctor and other places before you need them.  By making a list of the nearest (fill in the blank), you’ll be able to know where to go when/if you need to.

 

8.  Size limitations

Although this doesn’t apply to all RVs, it does apply to anything over, say, 30 foot.

If you have an RV that’s around 30-40 foot, you’re going to run into some issues when maneuvering your coach or trailer.  You can run into problems on narrow, windy roads, small campsites and other tight squeezes.  There are also size limitations in some state and national parks, so you might not be allowed to camp there depending on the size of your rig.  This isn’t a big deal if you’re camping in private campgrounds, but it’s something to consider.

A big limitation to the size is how heavy your coach is.  If you’re over 15 tons, you’ll run into quite a few bridges that aren’t suited for that much weight.  Of course, these are mainly on back roads, but we run into them occasionally.

Overall, we’ve learned that things can com up unexpectedly, and they may not be very fun.  However, we have to go with the flow and not stress out, or our full-time RV journey wouldn’t be enjoyable.

Thanks for reading!  Which of these do you think is your least favorite part about RV living?  Did we forget to include any?

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