I respect the pioneering spirit many of us have in terms of servicing our rigs. RVing is one of the last bastions of active do-it-yourselves and I’m certainly not looking to change that. You love your tools, I love my tools. With that said, there’s a limit to what we can (and should do) in terms of service and maintenance on the road, with self-imposed limits on our tools always a smart move. A basic tool kit? You bet – throw it in a compartment and hope you won’t need it. Duct tape? You bet your life. A Home Depot-like inventory taking up every valuable inch in the pass-thru storage? Better not. That ball pine hammer is heavy; that collection of socket wrenches for every occasion isn’t feather-light, either. Ask yourself two questions before bring tools along. First, Am I likely to need this tool? Second, Do I know what this tool is for? If you answer No to either probe, leave it on the workbench in the basement.
Water is heavy. Don’t’ believe me? Just ask the poor motorhome lugging around that 100 gallons of fresh water and who-knows-how full the tanks are in terms of the gray and black. Even half-empty tanks can add hundreds of needless pounds to your travels, weight that could be used instead for a drum set, a dozen extra pair of shoes, and Uncle Vern. Get in the habit of dumping tanks early and often. While it’s always good to keep a small level of fluids in those tanks (to prevent materials from sticking, for instance), as a rule less is definitely more. And unless the trip calls for a secluded, boon docking (e.g. dry camping) getaway, you can probably skimp on the fresh water tank by connecting to the campground’s aqua supply.
I don’t fault the design or the use of extra carrying devices such as a roof-mounted storage pod, an auxiliary trailer, or a receiver/hitch-mounted bin for extra items. The problem comes when an RVer then believe it’s his or her duty to fill the newfound space to capacity, which only lends to an overloaded condition. If you’re disciplined enough to know about such an impact to your RV’s GVWR, great. However, if you’re about as likely to visit the dentist as a weigh station, it’s probably a good idea to skip these add-ons. They’ll only feed your over packing desires, worsen aerodynamics and/or fuel economy, and make loading/off-loading that much more of a chore.
By Brent Peterson