So, you finally got into the idea of living the RV life but don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, living your life in a home on wheels, isn’t as hard as it seems. But before you jump in and hit the road, there are some points you’ll want to consider before living in one of these rolling road homes. 

 RVing may look simple at first glance, but there are many aspects you’ll need to prepare for. So, let’s give you the quick rundown on what to expect and the basics of RVing. 

The Big Four of RVing: Waste, Water, and Electricity, HVAC

While not all RVs will have all four of these amenities, they will have at least one or more that you’ll need to familiarize yourself with. And with that in mind, let’s check out the basics of each type of system.


An RVs waste system variates depending on the type of RV you have from Class A, Class B, Class C, travel trailers, and fifth wheels will all have some form of a toilet and/or kitchen facilities. And with all these nice comforts, there is one thing to expect – lots of wastewater. 

All wastewater is stored in tanks or flushed out through a special sewer connection. Campsites and RV parks usually have some type of sewer connection available that you can hook your RV up to via sewer hose. But before you started hooking up those hoses, you’ll want to make sure you’re hooking them up correctly.

RV waste comes in two types: gray water and black water. Gray water is all the wastewater from your kitchen sink and from flushing the tubes between uses. Black water is the waste from your toilet. To clear out the tanks, you only need to use the valves or handles on the RV. 

And to keep your black water tanks from being clogged up with solids, always strive to keep a few extra gallons of water inside the tank. On top of black water tank woes, not all campsites will offer sewage hookups. But they may offer access to either a dumping station or a pumping service that removes your wastewater for free or a small fee. 


Water also comes in two types – city water and potable tank water. Many campsites and RV parks offer fresh water hookups that will provide you with an unlimited supply of fresh drinking water. The only thing you’ll need to worry about is water pressure being compatible with your RV. 

For those on the go, you’ll need to plan ahead with your water supply. After all, the water tanks can only hold so much water, usually 30 to 90 gallons depending on the type of RV. 


Just like your water and waste systems, another RV system that has two types is electricity. You can get electricity in your RV in one of two ways – shore power or battery power. RVs generally run on a one or more 12v batteries. Battery power will provide you with enough power to run your water pump, furnace, water heater, and so on. 

But if you’re able to sit in one place, you can enjoy the full capacity of your RV with the metered access to electricity at many campsites and RV parks. With your RV hooked up to an electrical outlet, it will function similar to a home. 

Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning 

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning are what make up the HVAC system of your RV. An RV’s heating system typically uses a propane furnace that runs on either 120v or 12v power supply. You’ll need to be careful when using your power generating systems since carbon monoxide poisoning can occur. 

If you’re using the RV’s battery power, you’ll need to consider the voltage of the fans, refrigerator, and heating system. And never run a water heater unless it is full. If you’re able to use shore power, then you’ll want a fridge that works with 120v. But most systems have some caveats to them that allow them to run on both electric and propane.  

RVs, in general, aren’t well insulated and this can impact how cool or warm your RV stays during cool/warm weather. You can caulk the sealed areas of windows and add wall insulation to the interior. For those looking to travel in either very cold climates prone to freezing or climates that are extremely hot, you’ll want to watch for overheated water and frozen pipes. 

Do You Need a License to Drive an RV? 

Many who are new to RVing often worry if they need a license or not to drive an RV. For most cases and types of RVs, you won’t need a special license. But if you’re hoping to roll around in a class A or any vehicle that weighs 26,000 pounds or more, you will need a CDL.

Keeping Yourself Connected 

Out of all the perks of home, RVs don’t come with built-in Internet. To get an Internet connection you’ll need to use one of four methods:

A hotspot or mobile cellular device
Data only plans that are either limited or unlimited
Antennas for cellular connections 
RV amplifiers or cell phone signal boosters 

Top 5 RVing Tips for Beginners 

1. Practice, practice, practice 

Traveling in an RV takes practice for many reasons. You’ll need to practice how to tow it, how to set it up, even the dark, and how each system works. On top of tank dumps and refills, you’ll want to make sure your water tanks are full for long journeys and empty if you’re going to stay for days or longer at a campsite/RV park. 

2. Bring some tools and spare RV parts along

In case of flat tires, emergency radiator repairs, and anything else that could go wrong, it never hurts to have tools on hand. Having a few spare tubes, oil, tires, and other items can help as well. 

3. Packing only the essentials 

Before you load up and set out, try not to pack more than you need. Overpacking leads to cramp spaces and added weight to your RV. 

4. Familiarize yourself with the RV’s load limits 

Your RV will have a specific weight capacity known as a load limit. Avoid exceeding these limits as the extra weight can damage the RV. Also, you’ll want to know the towing capacity for towable RVs and RVs that have their towing possibilities. 

5. Reservations and planning ahead 

Campgrounds often have set hours and limited space. So, you’ll want to plan and reserve RV spots in advance. Some campsites have limited hours in which you can come and go whereas others are 24/7. You’ll also want to plan a budget for food, gas, and campsite services as well. 

Final Thoughts 

Once you have your basics under control RVing will be a breeze. Understanding how your RV works is a priority before you hit the road. And if ever in doubt, you can always refer to the RV’s manual for further information regarding your type of RV/ camper. We hope this guide on RV basics helps you enjoy your RV travels to the fullest.