rvparking

7 tips for using your Class B RV as an everyday vehicle

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One of the great things about having a Class B RV like our Roadtrek eTrek is that it also can function as a second vehicle.

I’ve used it to run errands, drive to and from meetings and work-related activities, church and – while Jennifer is shopping – a comfortable place to chill out while in the parking lot of the mall.

I’ve also used it for what I call mini-vacations, short day trip respites of a few hours to parks, lakeshores and the like. Sometimes, I’ve put the bike rack on, drove to a big metropark near my house, done a long bike ride and then just chilled out for a few hours.

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My Class B Roadtrek eTrek parks pretty much everywhere

Traveling around with a refrigerator stocked with cold refreshments, some snacks and food in the pantry, a TV and DVD and , of course, a full bathroom, is sure something we can’t do in the family SUV.

Best yet, my Roadtrek eTrek gives me better fuel mileage than the SUV does.

If you’ve been thinking about using your RV as a second vehicle, here are my top seven tips to make it easy.

1-    Be aware of your surroundings. Your RV is not only longer than most other vehicles, it’s taller, too. Look for low hanging limbs, utility wires, signs and the like. Don’t even think about parking garages. Yes, it can go just about anywhere. But it is not a car. I was using an alley that paralleled the main street of a downtown near my home the other day and would have taken out a whole string of overhead wires that were sagging low in the summer heat. Cars easily passed beneath them. My 10-foot high coach would have not been able to Limbo underneath them.

2-    In parking lots, choose the spaces that are at the ends of the lot, with nothing behind them except maybe a curb or six inch parking barrier. I always prefer to back in. Because the rear wheels of my Sprinter chassis are set back from the actual end of the coach I can back in a long way, until the wheels hit the barrier, I only stick out a little longer than the other vehicles next to me.

3-    Watch out for very steep driveways. Most Class Bs have a lot of stuff hanging off the rear. They are also longer. And thus steep driveways pose the risk of bumping or scraping your generator or hot water heater or, in the case of the eTrek, the battery holders.

4-    Be considerate. I seldom park horizontally on city streets.  Yes, maybe, in some spots, I really can squeeze between the lines. But for those in front or behind me, it will be very challenging for them to get out. Or me, too, for that matter, should you be hemmed in at both ends. Similarly, don’t run your generator in crowded areas where the noise can really irritate folks.

5-    Watch out for potholes and broken pavement. City streets can be pretty messed up. And those streets can mess up your RV. A car can rattle over them pretty fast. A Class B RV sways and porpoises. Cabinets can pop open (don’t ask Jennifer about the stack of plates I broke on one such urban adventure).  Bad roads are particularly bad for RVs when making sharp turns. Always take turns slowly at corners.

6-    Lock you RV. That seems pretty obvious, I know. But thieves know motorhomes are very expensive and thus, chances are they have expensive things inside them, too.  Just as you probably have a security system for your family car, get one for your RV. Don’t leave your GPS suction cupped to your windshield. If you’re charging computers, cameras or cell phones inside the RV, hide them so no one can see be peering into a window. Think the inside is invisible because of window tinting? Think again. Put your face up to the glass and put a hand over your eyebrows to block reflection. You’ll learn that you can see pretty good.

7-    Be polite. You are an ambassador for roadtreking…for Class B RVing. The public is very curious about small motorhomes. It’s a very rare day that I am not asked about mine when I am in the city or a big parking lot. We gladly give tours. You don’t have to do that. But don’t be a snob, either. If you don’t want to talk about it, don’t drive it where people will naturally be attracted to it.

There you go. What would you add to the above list?


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  • Karsten Askeland

    Excellent tips … thanks for sharing. I use my Class B as well for similar day trips and adventures …
    If I had a $1.00 for every tour of my RV I’ve given I’d be able to purchase a new one by now. LOL :)

  • Gail

    We live in Southern California so our favorite day trip is to the beach. My husband is a surfer and he likes to get to the beach in the early morning, and early morning is the best time to get a parking spot with the best ocean view that will be easy for us to get out of later in the day. Does anyone know of a good surfboard rack for the class b? Right now we are laying his 10′ board in the aisle and it sure gets in the way, especially when we spend the night at the beach.

    • Gary Hennes

      I kayak a lot, so I got Yakima tracks installed on top of my RT so I could use the cross bars, etc. I already had from previous Class B’s. Then I added a Thule “Hull-a-Vator” which brings the boat down to about shoulder height. Springs in the arms help lift everything back up. I still need a 3-step ladder to finish securing every thing, but that’s easy to carry across the back.

  • Vernon Rice

    There is one more (at least) very important use for the class “B” motorhome that you keep advertising. If, God forbid, you have a friend or a loved one that is in the hospital for any length of time, most modern up to date hospitals have areas where friends and family can park a RV instead of trying to find a close by motel for a reasonable price or attempting to stay in the hospital room with the patient where sometimes the hospital allows it and sometimes not.

    • Karsten Askeland

      Been there, done that last month. I spent a week at the London Uninversity Hospital for a week when a friend had surgery. It was great and convenient. Cost $45.00 for parking for the week.

  • Mike Jackson

    I’m soaking this all in. While I’m not at retirement age yet, when I do get close I plan to purchase a Roadtrek and use it as my 2nd vehicle at times. These tips I will remember! Good article and great tips! Thanks Mike!