It's Not Always About Day Drinking and Campfires

Crystal A. Walker

There are some downsides to the full-time RV life.
Man in a hammock with an AirstreamPhoto by Airstream Inc. on Unsplash

As a full-time RVer, I have to tell you: I love it! In 2020, my husband and I decided to sell all of our belongings and move into a 5th wheel. We have no regrets and are not sure when we will move back into sticks-and-bricks, if ever.

The RV community is friendly, the life is simple, and my anxiety has been at its lowest. It takes me 20 minutes to clean my house, and I am finding more money in my wallet living this lifestyle.

Although I have several great things to say about being an RVer, it's not always awesome. There are days that you have to put down your Long Island Ice Tea and do some things that can be less than glamorous.

Let me pull back the curtain to show you a few downsides to full-time RVing.


No matter what you own (i.e., car, van, house, apartment, camper), there will be maintenance and upkeep. Although I have given up some burdens that come with a standard house — such as spending my Saturday doing yard work — I've traded it for other tasks, such as:

  • Cleaning the A/C filters
  • Dumping the black & gray tanks (which also includes backwashing them every now and then). 
  • Making sure the generator runs smoothly, especially during hurricane season. (To make sure I do so, I set a monthly reminder for me to run the Genny for a few minutes to keep her in good working condition.)

Since my home is on wheels, inspecting my tires is also crucial. If these babies blow out, it's not only costly but can do some damage that could interrupt my finances. If you own a Class A, B, or C, another maintenance is added since you have a motor attached directly to the RV. Regular maintenance can be expected with a travel trailer or fifth wheel on the vehicle you're towing with mobile-dwelling. 

Some Every Day Conveniences Have Burdens

Living accommodations can be a little different in an RV compared to sticks-and-bricks. For example, to run my stove, I need propane. If I run out of that, it looks like I need to make a run to Tractor Supply and refill my tank.

I also clean my own dishes by hand now since I do not have a dishwasher. Amazon does have some countertop dishwashers that could work and be rated well. However, I am not willing to give up my counter space.

Related to the maintenance above, this includes the black and gray tanks. When you go to the restroom, the waste that enters the toilet needs to go somewhere: The Black Tank. Eventually, the tank is going to have to be emptied. That means you got to hook up the sewer hose (aka "stinky-slinky") to an approved dumping site and drain it. In a way, you can officially say, "You are taking a dump." If not done regularly or before the tanks reach capacity, you could find yourself in a bathroom full of poo coming out of the toilet.

The same goes for the Gray Tank(s) as well. Any water entering a pipe (such as a kitchen or a bathroom sink or shower) needs to exit somewhere. Again, the stinky-slinky comes into play.

If these do not get dumped before becoming full, then those could flow backward and into the RV. Before you know it, you could find yourself with standing water in the basins.

Space & Weight

The amount of living space in an RV is minimal. Whatever is placed into an RV needs to have a purpose. Better yet, items kept in the RV should be multi-purpose. 

Unlike a traditional home, weight has a huge factor in an RV. Each one has a weight limit specified by the manufacturer, and every owner should make efforts to live inside those means.

It’s not an Earthquake

In an RV, you can feel just about everything going on. I could be in bed getting ready to fall asleep, then I can feel the camper rocking a bit as my husband walks around. During windy days or storms, the camper can also sway a little bit. The first night we experienced this, it kind of freaked us out. Ever since we compare it more to gently being rocked to sleep.

RV Customs & Courtesies

Many neighborhoods have some unspoken rules such as:

  • Don't let your kids run through other people's yards.
  • Pick up your trash.
  • Keep the yard kept. 

RVers also have some similar rules, and if they are broken, you'll risk being shunned. Some of these unspoken rules include:

  • Don't walk through someone's campsite. Ever.
  • Pick up the poop your dog leaves behind.
  • Observe quiet hours.
  • Don't make a smoky fire. Your neighbors want to be outside too, but not go inside smelling like a fire pit.
  • Keep the speed in the RV park at 5 mph.
  • Don't hog all of the community washers and dryers. This includes forgetting about your laundry. Otherwise, you may return to a pile of wet clothes piled somewhere not wanted.

What do you think about the RV lifestyle? Would you do it or prefer to stick with sticks and bricks?

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Top Writer in Humor and Travel on Medium. Self-published fiction author on Amazon and serialized writer on Kindle Vella. A long-time resident of the Gulf Coast & Full-Time RVer who enjoys covering local and unique topics.

Pensacola, FL

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