Mythbusters: RV Life Edition

There are are some common assumptions about our life in the RV that we’d like to clear the air on. So, here we go…time to bust some RV life myths!

You don’t shower

Actually, we shower every day. Even when we are boondocking. I exercise daily, and can’t imagine NOT showering after a workout. We’ve learned to take very, very quick showers when boondocking. Turn the water on, rinse. Water off – soap up. Water on, rinse. We keep the shower water pressure really low with an Oxygenics shower head. We may not use a lot of water, but we still shower every day. When we have full hookups, we can take longer showers and not worry about how much water we are using. Our limiting factor with those is the small hot water tank in The Fox! Trudy’s was much bigger and I never ran out of hot water when I was showering. Now I run out almost every time!

One does not simply hike for hours in the desert and NOT shower. Pic at Canyonlands NP

You Won The Lottery/Got An Inheritance/etc

People assume that you can only live full-time in an RV and travel if you are retired. Tim and I both do freelance work from the road, and we saved up money while we were both working full-time. We’ve probably spent a combined $50 on the lottery during our lifetimes, so lottery odds aren’t good for us. There’s no one supporting us except ourselves.

Million dollar views, but cheap parking. This spot was free (boondocking).

Calla has no stability

From Calla’s perspective, the only thing that changes is what’s outside her front door. She has us all to herself 24/7 (for better or for worse), she sleeps in the same bed every night, gets a nap, and has had the same bed and bath routine since she was 2 months old. I’ve blogged before about my thoughts on raising a baby on the road. We make sure to keep our travel days short (on average we travel 2-3 hours) and we work around her schedule. Calla may be houseless, but she is not homeless, and she certainly still has a schedule.

Playing on Trudy’s steps in Florida

You’re always somewhere cool/interesting/fun

We are somewhere cool a lot more than when we were stationary, but not every stop on our journey has been beautiful, interesting, or neat. Sometimes you are stuck somewhere that is far from ideal. Sometimes you drive long distances only to arrive at a gravel parking lot that costs $50 a night. Sometimes you go hours out of your way to see something, and the weather doesn’t cooperate. Sometimes you open your blinds and can see right into your neighbor’s RV. It’s quite a mixed bag, and although we try our best to stay in more natural settings, sometimes we have to settle for less than ideal for a few days until we can get on the road again and go somewhere better.

Sometimes you win. Other times you pay $50 an night to stay 6 inches from another RV and a highway.

You have all the comforts of home

Ok, this one is partially true. We do have a comfortable bed, a couch, a small kitchen, and options for water, sewer, and electricity (although we don’t always have the hookups). But many of these comforts of home are second-rate in an RV. RV’s are not built for full-time use. We may have a couch, but the bars in it dig into your back when you’re laying down. We may have air conditioning, but it doesn’t work well in the upper part of the fifth wheel. Just yesterday, our bedroom was 92.5 degrees WITH the A/C on. Even if we have a sewer hookup, that doesn’t stop things from occasionally….going wrong (I’ll let Tim tell the stories, since he’s the one that’s had to deal with this). In a house you just flush the toilet and never have to worry about it again.  Let’s just say in an RV there is a good chance you will be seeing it again post-flush.

An RV is leaps and bounds more comfortable than a tent, and yes, we have everything we need in our RV. But to say it’s the same level of comfort and convenience as a house would be wrong.

An RV couch is still just as good for coloring….all over yourself

RVing Smells Bad

With both your gray tank (shower + dish water) and your black tank (pee + poop) sitting right underneath your RV, you may think that the smells would waft up into the RV and make for a smelly environment. We’ve never had issues with this. We use Happy Camper tank treatments and have never had a problem with our tanks stinking. We also credit the lack of odor issues to good seals on both our sinks and toilet. Here’s an RV pro tip. Always makes sure there is a little bit of water in your toilet when it’s not in use. Keeps the smells down in the black tank, where they belong!

Happy Campers makes us Happy Campers

RVing is Wasteful

We use sooo much gas, RVing must be totally wasteful and bad for the environment, right?! Well, maybe – depending how you travel. But we love boondocking (off-grid camping) and when we do that (or when we don’t have a water hookup or a sewer hookup, which is also very often) we are extremely careful with water and electricity use. When boondocking, we run our generator for about 1 hour every 2 days.

We conserve water since we only have a limited amount in our tank. If you’ve never thought about your water usage before, let me tell you – if I’m not careful and I do the dishes, I can fill up our gray tank just by doing dishes one time! It’s so easy to waste water, and RVing has really taught us to be mindful of our usage. Back to the gas concept too – I really don’t think that  we use any more gas now than when we were both commuting to work an hour each way!  We only drive every few days, and for a few hours. We used to drive 2-4 hours each DAY when commuting. It’s been interesting for us to see how our views on our basic utilities (water, electric, and sewer) have changed since becoming RVers.

Boondocking in the San Isabel National Forest – Buena Vista, CO

There you have it – a little reality check on some of the assumptions people make about RV life. I hope you found it interesting!


  1. Another well written episode! I enjoy reading your blog even though I am 40 years older than you and travel alone. I too like to boondock, but my motorhome is more forgiving with respect to water usage. Continued safe travels.

    1. Thanks so much, Ted! Motorhomes are great for their large tank sizes! And you’re by yourself, too, which helps a lot – our daughter’s bath water is definitely a huge contributor to gray! Ha!

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