Posted by: Mark Polk | 2015

RV Consumer e-Magazine – August 2015

RV Consumer Magazine Cover August 2015Camping season is in full swing and the heat is on so this month’s issue discusses hot weather preventive maintenance tips, consumable items you should always keep in your RV, and how to stay cool in your RV this summer. Also included are some newly released RV videos, and if you tow a trailer don’t miss reading the trailer towing tips article by Equalizer hitch. Enjoy this issue of RV Consumer e-Magazine.

Happy & Safe Camping,
Mark Polk
RV Education 101
RV DIY® Channel
Follow us on FACEBOOK

There are lots of things to remember when it comes to owning, operating and maintaining your RV and sometimes we learn things the hard way. In an effort to help prevent some of these common and expensive mistakes RVers make from happening to you I want to offer what I consider are the top 5 mistakes RVers make and how you can avoid them.


1) Leaving the steps out or the TV antenna up while traveling

You have probably seen an RV traveling down the road with the TV antenna up or the steps out just waiting to hit something, resulting in expensive repair bills. The easiest way to avoid this from happening is to follow a pre-trip checklist prior to moving the RV. In addition to using a checklist I always do a final walk-around of the RV just before pulling out; you might be surprised at what you overlooked or forgot.

2) Not knowing or monitoring the height of your RV

Damage to the top area of RVs is one of the top five RV insurance claims filed. Your RV has what is referred to as soft and hard clearances. An example of a soft clearance would be a radio antenna.  An example of a hard clearance would be the air conditioner.  You could hit the radio antenna and do little or no damage to the RV, but if you hit the air conditioner chances are there will be lots of damage. The way to avoid this kind of damage to your RV is to know and monitor the height of your RV. Park the RV on a level surface and measure the height from the ground to the tallest hard clearance item on the RV. Record the measurement and post it where it will serve as a constant reminder. When you are at the campground have a spotter watch for low hanging tree branches and other obstacles that might damage the RV.

3) Backing the RV into a site or parking spot at home without a spotter

If you back the RV without a spotter I can almost guarantee that eventually you will hit something. An easy way to avoid this from happening is to always use a spotter.  Establish hand signals you both understand and always keep the spotter in view when backing the RV. If you can’t see the spotter stop the backing maneuver. Always watch for children and pets, especially when backing at the campground. When in doubt of what’s behind you stop, get out and look.

4) Not properly matching the tow vehicle to the trailer

This is a big one! It’s extremely important that you understand weight ratings and how much your tow vehicle can safely tow. A simple rule I always apply is the tow vehicle’s towing capacity should be equal to or exceed the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the trailer you are towing. This way, even if the trailer is loaded to full capacity, the tow vehicle is still rated to tow the weight. Towing with a mismatched tow vehicle and trailer combination can be deadly.

5) Neglecting RV batteries and battery maintenance

Neglecting battery maintenance results in dead RV batteries when you least expect it. It’s easy to forget to use the battery disconnect switch and drain a battery or to forget to charge a discharged battery in a timely manner. Battery maintenance is an integral part of using and owning an RV. If you get in a habit of using the disconnect switches, checking water levels in lead acid batteries and testing and re-charging discharged batteries you can extend the life of your batteries and avoid dead batteries from ruining your next camping trip.

I know I said this is my top 5 list, but I would be remiss in not mentioning RV and tow vehicle tires. Traveling on over or under inflated tires is dangerous. Tires can lose a percentage of air pressure while sitting in storage, and can be dangerously under inflated if you don’t check and adjust inflation pressure. Tire inflation needs to adjusted according to the load placed on the tires. The only way to know what the loads are is to have the RV weighed. There are load and inflation tables published on the Internet for different brands and sizes of tires.

Fortunately these mistakes are easily avoidable if we know what to look for and what to do.

Happy & Safe Camping,

Mark Polk

RV Education 101
RV DIY® Channel
Follow us on FACEBOOK

When you go camping in your RV there are items that are essential like a drinking water hose and RV sewer hoses, and there are nice to have items like a GPS designed for RVs and a portable BBQ grill. Today I want to talk about consumable items that you should always have on-hand in your RV.

In no particular order here are my top 10 consumable items we keep in the RV.

1) For starters you need holding tank treatments to treat the black water holding tank after you empty it. There are dry and liquid type holding tank treatments available. I suggest products that are biodegradable and environmentally friendly. Camping Tip: After emptying the gray water holding tank you can add some liquid dish soap down all the drains and run the water long enough to get the soap past the P trap and to cover the bottom of the tank. The dish soap and water will help control odors and assist in cleaning the tank.

2) While we are on the subject of holding tanks it’s a good idea to stock up on toilet paper designed for use in RVs. This is one consumable item you don’t want to leave home without. Camping Tip: To see if toilet paper is compatible with your RV waste-water system put one sheet of the toilet paper in a glass of water. If it starts to break-down and fall apart within a few seconds of being in the water it is suitable for use in RVs.

3) Laundry soap & dish soap are must have consumable items too. Clothes are going to get dirty and need to be washed, especially if your camping trip is more than a weekend excursion. You can purchase these items at the campground store, but it is less expensive to purchase them where you normally shop and just keep it in the RV.

4) Next on my list is a well stocked cabinet of first aid supplies and over the counter medications. You never know when an accident will happen, or when somebody will get sick. If you are boondocking miles from the closest town or store you’ll be glad you have these consumable items along for the ride. If you or someone else is on prescription medication make sure you have an ample supply for the duration of your trip, and don’t forget the sunscreen too. Pet Tip: Don’t forget pet medications and pet specific first aid kit if traveling with a pet.

Read More…

In partnership with Keystone RV, RV Education 101 launched a series of RV DIY® project videos to demonstrate some RV how-to projects, RV DIY projects and RV product installations RV owners can do on their RVs.

Click on a title to watch the RV DIY Project Video:

How To Protect your RV Water System

How To Protect your RV Electrical System

Must Have Trailer Towing Accessories

How To Install a Maxx Air RV Roof Vent

Extend-A-Line Campground Clothes Dryer

How To Install an RV Battery Disconnect

How To Level a Travel Trailer

How To Install an Electric Tongue Jack

Click Here to Watch the Entire Playlist

Happy Camping,

Mark Polk

RV Education 101
RV DIY® Channel
Follow us on FACEBOOK


 May 4, 2015 (Hudson, MA) – The New England RV Dealer’s Association is partnering with a newly opened Cabela’s store at Highland Commons in Hudson, MA. The cooperative marketing event is designed to show Cabela’s customers how to enjoy all their great outdoor activities in an RV.

The special event will take place on Saturday June 13 and Sunday June 14, at the store’s planned outdoor activities weekend with special Father’s Day sale items to draw in larger than normal crowds.

NERVDA is planning to display one of each type of RV from truck campers to large motorhomes. The association will conduct a lottery of their dealer members to determine which dealerships will display each type of RV included in the exhibit.

Brian Sullivan, president of NERVDA noted, “This is an exciting opportunity for our dealers to reach a new audience of outdoor enthusiasts and introduce them to the enjoyment of their activities in an RV. It is another example of our association providing value to our members beyond traditional methods that have worked in the past, such as shows and open house activities.”

The store is located in a large shopping center that includes a Lowe’s, BJ’s Warehouse, Market Basket supermarket and many other stores. Cabela’s 100,000 square foot store has been drawing several thousand shoppers each day and significantly more when they have special events, such as this exhibit.

Marti Rudy, Retail Marketing Manager at the new store said, “We are so excited to have NERVDA here! Our recent ‘Disconnect Day’ campaign is designed to persuade people to leave their electronic devices home for a day and get outdoors to appreciate the simple things in life that we can lose contact with by turning on a device. The RV community already knows how valuable that experience is. The outdoor-fun products that Cabela’s has to offer enhances that outdoor experience, maximizing quality, and everyone wins.”

Bob Zagami, Executive Director, will be presenting four seminars on Saturday, and four more on Sunday, that will introduce Cabela’s customers to the RV lifestyle and the enjoyment of family camping.


Zagami said, “ We have been watching the development of Cabela’s first store in Massachusetts for a few years now. We hope to duplicate our success with this event at the other two stores in New England in Scarborough, ME and East Hartford, CT. It was important for us to partner with our state campground owner associations and have them in attendance to show all the great opportunities RVers have to enjoy thousands of campgrounds in the six New England states.


 The New England RV Dealers Association is the only multi-state group in the country. NERVDA sponsors the Boston RV & Camping Expo that is produced by Paragon Group of Needham, MA. The Boston RV Expo is held at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center and sells out quickly each year. The event draws over 13,500 to the exciting waterfront area in South Boston.

The association has focused on regional technician training the past two years, working closely with Lippert Components and other suppliers to make sure dealer service staffs have affordable and convenient training.

NERVDA also has one of the most active Facebook pages of any dealer association in the country at: They also launched a consumer web page last year at:

The association now has dealers in all six New England states and each state is represented with a delegate at RVDA.

Dealers wanting more information on NERVDA can contact Bob Zagami, Executive Director, at 617-974-3739 or or by mail at 41 Deer Path, Hudson, MA 01749.






We purchase RVs to travel the country and build lasting memories with family and friends. RVs are meant for rest, relaxation and fun, but what happens in the event of an emergency? When you travel to a different camping destination in your RV, on a regular basis, you need to be prepared for an emergency that can happen at anytime and anywhere.

This list could certainly be longer, but I want to offer my top 5 RV emergency items for RV owners.

NOAA Weather Radio1) The first item on my list is a portable weather radio. In today’s world of modern technology some folks think a smart phone with a weather app is all you need to stay informed of current weather updates. The problem with that thinking is we often travel through remote parts of the country in our RVs, where you don’t always have a good cell phone signal. A good portable weather radio can operate on batteries or 120-volt AC power and will warn you of potential weather hazards in and around the area where you are camping. Don’t forget some spare batteries.

2) Next on my list is a reputable RV Emergency Roadside Assistance Plan. There are lots of these plans available so take time to research and select a plan that fits your particular needs. Look for a plan that is designed for RVs, and see what other folks have to say about a particular plan on some of the RV forums. When you breakdown in the middle of nowhere, during your vacation, you will be glad you invested in a good plan. The plan can pay for towing expenses, lodging while the RV is being repaired, fuel, getting in a locked RV or tow vehicle, and to repair a flat tire. Some RVs have tires that weigh in excess of 100 pounds and require special equipment to change the tire. It can be dangerous to change a tire on any RV, and with a roadside assistance plan you don’t need to worry about it.

RV 101 - What's your RV Emergency Weather Plan?3) When you pack the RV for your next trip make sure you include a basic road hazard kit. At a minimum it should include a good set of jumper cables, a
heavy-duty flashlight, one or more reflective warning triangles, some basic hand tools, a fluorescent safety vest, a portable gas can and a good first aid kit if you don’t already have one in the RV. A few simple items can get you out of a jam and assist you in staying safe until help arrives.


RVs with Storm Approaching4) I recommend keeping clothing in the RV for all weather conditions. You might be traveling south during the summer months, but you never know when cold or wet weather will hit. And the heat or air conditioner might quit working when you least expect it. It is best to stay prepared by packing warm and cold weather clothing in the RV, regardless of where or what time of year you are traveling.

5) In addition to a good Emergency Roadside Assistance Plan I recommend a reputable RV Extended Service Contract. Again there are lots of these services available so shop around for the best plan prior to purchasing one. The roadside assistance plan helps in the event of an unexpected emergency and the Extended Service Plan helps pay for necessary repairs when there is an emergency. Nothing will ruin a trip quicker than spending $500 or $1,000 of your vacation money on a repair bill when you least expect it.

Happy Camping,

Mark Polk

RV Education 101
RV DIY® Channel
Follow us on FACEBOOK

Posted by: Mark Polk | 2015

RV Consumer Magazine April 2015

RV Consumer Magazine Cover April 2015It’s time to go camping, but is your RV ready for the 2015 camping season? In this issue of RV Consumer we discuss some post winter checks for your RV, RV exterior maintenance tips, how to give your RV awnings a tune-up and much more to help prepare the RV for camping.

If you have friends and family that RV send them this link so they can subscribe and enjoy RV Consumer too.

Read RV Consumer archives here

Happy Camping,

Mark Polk

Follow us on FACEBOOK


Posted by: Mark Polk | 2015

Green RVing 3 Part Video Series

In our Green RV Series we discuss some simple green RV initiatives you can take prior to leaving on a trip and when you use the systems on the RV after arriving at your camping destination. In the Green RV Series finale we discuss what we as campers can do to contribute to the green RV experience during our stay at the campground. This includes topics like energy savings, water savings, recycling, and using eco-friendly tank treatments and cleaning supplies. Watch the 3 part series below:

Happy RV Learning!

Mark Polk

RV Education 101
RV DIY® Channel
Follow us on FACEBOOK

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