Change of Season & Must-Have RV Accessories

The changing of seasons can be an exciting time for many of us in the RV community, but it can be a sad time, too. For part-time RVers, this time of the year might mean the last summer camping trip is over, and it’s now time to winterize and stow the RV until next season rolls around.

For those of us that full-time RV, it’s time we keep those wheels rolling with a keen eye on the weather. You never know when you’ll get caught in a freak storm!

snow in Tucson Arizona

An unusual snowstorm in Tucson, Arizona. What a rare encounter!

September is one of my favorite months for RVing. The weather is usually agreeable throughout most of the United States, including the high country. Sure, you have to pay attention to overnight temperatures in the mountains to avoid freezing waterlines, and you might even encounter a light dusting of snow here or there, but most winter conditions won’t begin to set in until sometime in October or November.

Colorado goldPlus, this time of year, the kids are back in school (yay!) leaving plenty of room for the rest of us to find open campsites.

Oh, and have I mentioned the leaves? Who doesn’t enjoy fall colors?

Yep, September is a great month to travel in an RV, but it’s also the perfect time of year to check that our important RV accessories are in perfect working condition. After all, there’s no sense in storing cracked hoses or damaged electrical cords, let alone carry them on to our next destination.

Top 3 Must-Have RV Accessories …

So whether we’re getting ready to put our RV into storage or we’re heading south to a warmer climate for the winter, we should check (closely) our RV gear … especially the necessary and most important gear like sewer hoses, electrical cords/adapters, and drinking water hose. (This post contains sponsored content and affiliate links.)

Al and I spend a great deal of our time traveling around the southwestern part of the United States where it’s not uncommon to enjoy as many as 300 days of sunshine per year. Yeah, we won’t complain about that! All that sunshine is great, and we love it, but that doesn’t mean that sunshine plays well with our equipment. In reality, sun and heat can play havoc with our equipment, especially anything plastic or rubber.

Sewer waste hose

One of our neighbors here in the RV Park in Prescott Valley, Arizona, just replaced his RV waste hose the other day. The hose looked fine to Al and me, and being somewhat nosy neighbors curious, we walked over to ask him why he was replacing the seemingly perfect waste hose.

RVingHe went on to tell us how every time he dumped his tank, he’d smell a bad odor. There were no visible leaks on the ground, just the odor. So upon closer examination of the waste hose, he discovered it was split on top in numerous places. Ah yes, that sun!

By inspecting the hose and then replacing it with a new one, he averted a potentially crappy situation 🤣… a situation that he nor his neighbors would have found humorous, but rather, quite disastrous.

Being able to empty our tanks with ease is crucial in the RVing world. Al and I travel with two waste hoses. It’s always a good idea to have an extra hose in case your existing one is leaking or in the event one hose isn’t long enough to connect to the dump site. I can’t tell you how many times having that second hose averted an inconvenience or even a potential disaster.

Electrical extension cord and fittings

Seeing the country in an RV can be an amazing adventure, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges. In an ideal world, we could just pull our RV up to an electrical pedestal at any campsite and plug-in and connect. Unfortunately, it’s not always that easy, and the use of an  extension cord might be necessary.

RV parks and campgrounds do not always offer the best layout for us to hook-up. Way too many are poorly designed and might even leave us perplexed and scratching our head in bewilderment, wondering, “Whatever were they thinking?” Therefore, being prepared for any scenario is advisable.

RV electrical gear

RV electrical gear by Road & Home

Not only do we need to be concerned about ample electrical cord, but we also need to make sure we check which type of hookup is available and if we have the correct connection. Some campgrounds or RV parks have a 50 amp connection on the electrical pedestal while others may have only a 30 amp connection. If you’re lucky, the pedestal will have both, but in the event it doesn’t, having various electrical RV adapters on hand will make your RV adventure that much more enjoyable.

Electrical adapters are a must if you ever intend to plug your RV into a standard household outlet. Whether you’re at a campground, RV park, or residential home, make sure you understand the various electrical hookups/outlets before plugging in to any outlet to prevent damage to your RV electrical system.

Drinking water hose

Access to fresh water is important when traveling in an RV, and a hose designed and designated specifically for drinking water is an absolute must. We always travel with two 25′ long hoses. First, you never know how far away a water connection will be, and second, you never know when a hose will fail. Yeah, there’s that whole damaging sun and heat subject again.

must have RV gear

It’s the little things that make our life easier … using a Y connector.

Extras we keep on hand

Now that I’ve covered the top 3 must-have RV accessories, allow me to share a few other little items that are great to have on hand. Sometimes it’s the little things that make our RV life a little easier.

  • Water Hose Y connector – this connector allows us to turn a single hose outlet into two outlets.
  • Water Pressure Regulator – this is a must. It protects our equipment, prevents pipe damage and increases equipment longevity.
  • Waste Hose couplers – these come in handy in the event we need to join two hoses together. We also keep a couple of hose clamps in our tool kit.
  • Waste Hose adapters – we replace these fittings from time to time due to use and sun damage. It’s always a good idea to keep an extra around.
  • RV waste cap – this is another item that we like having a spare on hand. A couple of years ago, after staying in an RV park for a month, Al went to disconnect our waste hose and attach the waste cap, but he couldn’t find the cap. We think a critter may have taken it.

chipmunk

A change of season – preparing your RV for winter

If you’re storing your RV for the winter, winterizing it properly is crucial. It’s no fun pulling your RV out of storage and getting it ready for your first camping trip of the season, only to realize you have damaged lines and/or equipment. You’ll want to consult your owner’s manual for instructions specific to your RV or seek professional help in winterizing your particular RV.

If you decide to RV in winter conditions, there’s some precautions to take to avoid waterlines freezing. Al and I do our best to avoid RVing in freezing temperatures, but sometimes, it’s unavoidable. This is how we’ve handled winter RVing … we go into “self-containment” mode.

  • Disconnect the RV water hose and waste hose.
  • Have your fresh water tank full for usage.
  • Use your RV furnace to keep the RV warm. It’s okay to use another source of heat like a Mr. Buddy, but do not use it exclusively. The RV heating system usually has heat runs to the lower compartments, keeping waterlines and the water pump from freezing.
camping in Tucson Arizona

Gilbert Ray Campground, Tucson, Arizona – February 2013

So, are you ready for the change of season?

I know we are, and as we prepare to hit the road along with the impending weather changes, Al and I remind ourselves of our favorite quote ….

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” – Ben Franklin

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RV Maintenance Made Easy

Our RV is getting older, and as such, she’s needing a little maintenance and updating. Hmm, couldn’t we all? 🤣 At least twice a year, Al and I head up to the roof of the RV to check things out. More frequent visits would probably be even better, but when we’re confronted with landscapes that are so stunningly beautiful and beg to be explored, who wants to work on RV projects?

Grand Tetons National Park

Grand Tetons National Park is stunningly beautiful. We visited June and again in July of 2016 and can’t wait to return to this picturesque place.

But regular RV maintenance is necessary, and most projects aren’t very difficult; therefore, there’s really no excuse. With that said, it is something we consciously try to make a priority if we want to keep the RV in tip-top shape. Thus, the travel and exploring gets put on hold temporarily while we dive into maintenance projects.

So, up on the roof we go. After checking all the vents, caulking, and general condition of the roof, Al and I determine that the sewer vent caps should be replaced. One cap is severely cracked while the other looks compromised. We’re not sure if they were damaged by hail or a tree branch. Regardless, we’ll replace both caps.

For this post, I’ve partnered with a great RV parts company called Road & Home. Although we’ve received some free goodies from them, all opinions regarding their products are my own. We first discovered Road and Home products during a shopping trip to the local Lowe’s.

how to replace a RV roof vent cap on a rubber roof

What a surprise – Lowe’s carries the RV roof vent cap we needed

RV maintenance made easy

It was a Sunday afternoon, and since most RV dealerships in Arizona are closed on Sundays, we headed to Lowe’s for some general plumbing fittings. We’ve had a tiny fresh water leak in our storage bay that only leaks during the clean water flushing stage of dumping our black tank. It wasn’t an urgent repair, but a needed repair nonetheless. A new fitting should fix up the leak, so off to Lowe’s we go.

Lowe’s had everything we needed to fix the plumbing leak, but much to our surprise (a pleasant surprise), they even had the sewer vent caps that we needed for the roof of the RV. We didn’t even realize Lowe’s carried any RV parts, but there we were standing in front of a large display filled with a variety of RV products from Road and Home.

How to repair a RV

A whole display of RV related parts by Road and Home at Lowe’s

Fifteen minutes later, along with half a dozen products in our shopping cart, it was time to head back to the RV to get to work. With storms expected in the next few days, first and foremost was replacing the roof vent caps.

How to replace a RV sewer vent cap on a rubber roof

Step #1 – The first step is to gently remove the existing vent from the rubber roof. After removing any visible screws, snap off the top cap. With a blow dryer, heat the existing caulk and with a plastic putty knife, gently pry and separate the caulk from the rubber roof. You’ll want to be extremely careful not to rip the rubber roof which is why we don’t recommend using a metal putty knife. This process might be a little slow going, but be patient … we don’t want to compromise the integrity of the rubber roof by damaging it.

how to replace a RV rubber roof vent cap

Gently remove the existing caulk using a blow dryer to heat the caulk

how to replace a RV roof vent on a rubber roof

Step #2 – Once the old caulk is removed, use a soft clean cloth to wash the area, making sure the surface around the sewer vent pipe is clean. We just used plain water, no soap.

Once the area is dry, lay down a layer of plumber’s putty. We already had a roll of RV sealant/putty in our tool box.

how to replace a RV roof vent

Putting down a layer of plumbers putty/sealant

Step #3 – Now it’s time to screw down the bottom section of the vent and install the top cap. The top cap snaps on and there’s one screw on top to hold the cap down.how to replace a RV vent on a rubber roof

how to replace a RV roof vent on a rubber roof

 

Step #4 – Now comes the cake decorating portion of the install … otherwise known as caulking. This is when I (aka cake decorator) step in to finish up the job. Using Dicor lap sealant with a caulking gun, I liberally apply a large amount of sealant around the base of the vent, and use the plastic putty knife to help spread out the sealant. This stuff is not normal caulk and may take a little practice to make it look somewhat close to factory install. The tube may say self-leveling, but that doesn’t mean self-smoothing!

how to replace a roof vent on a RV with a rubber roof

This is as good as it’s going to get! Dicor sealant is gooey, sticky and a total pain to work with, but oh so necessary.

Final thoughts

Although replacing both RV roof sewer vent caps was a little time consuming and tedious, overall it was a relatively easy DIY project. Thank you, Road and Home, for making this RV maintenance project even easier with the convenience of being able to buy everything we needed at Lowe’s (available on Amazon too).

how to replace RV roof vent caps

Ta-Da! Our RV roof with two new vent caps installed

monsoon season in Arizona

With monsoon season officially here in Arizona, our RV roof project was timed perfectly.

(This post is meant for entertainment purposes. Please follow all manufacture recommended guidelines.This post contains sponsored content and affiliate links. For for full disclosure click here)
Road & Home Push/Pull Drain Stopper
Road & Home Roof Vent Cap
Road & Home Shower Faucet
Road & Home Plastic Hose Shut-Off