How to Tent Like an RVer


After camping for more than 20 nights, we are slowly readjusting to living under a roof once again. During this last camping trip we were able to pitch our tent in some gorgeous parks. However, the majority of our nights were actually spent in a large RV campground. This was for the simple fact that we needed Internet access for work, and RV campgrounds usually offer some of the best WiFi signals. Of course this means that we have to forgo the beautiful vistas and sounds of nature, and we often find ourselves the only tent on the premises.

At first it can be a bit intimidating setting up a small tent while surrounded by huge RVs, many offering more space than our last rental house. However, we have found that being the lone tent in a sea of RVs has many advantages. For one, an RV campground is often super quite because all of your neighbors are inside in their private, soundproof, climate controlled accommodations. We also discovered while camping in the desert that RVs give off great shade and act as a wind break to their tenting neighbors. A final advantage of RV campgrounds is that in addition to offering WiFi they also have great amenities like laundromats and swimming pools.



We do have to admit that it is hard not to become jealous of your fellow campers in their big, shiny RVs with running water, air-conditioning, and comfortable beds. However, after many weeks of being the odd tent out we have come up with our own list of tricks for camping in comfort without the RV.

* Bring an extension cord: This is a great way to easily plug in kitchen appliances and also to bring power into the tent for laptops. The possibilities for creature comforts are almost endless: watching DVDs, recharging electric toothbrushes, cooking up pancakes on an electric skillet, and much, much more.


* Consider a 30 amp adapter plug: Occasionally in our travels we have come across sites that do not have a standard electrical plug. In this case, having a 30 amp adapter (the standard for smaller campers and RVs) can be the difference between having toasted English muffins for breakfast and having cold cereal.


* Cook with an electric skillet: Eating real food is probably our top way to ensure camping goes smoothly. With our electric skillet we have made soup, pasta, popcorn, tortillas, pancakes, rice, stir fry, and toasted trail mix. As a bonus, it is a great way to heat up hot water for washing dishes once you are done.


* Connect a hose with nozzle: This can turn your site’s faucet into a shower (for sandy children), a jet (for washing dishes), and everything in between. We still haven’t found a use for the “flat” setting yet, though. Any suggestions?

* Set up some shade: We have tried many different types of shade: E-Z ups, screen houses, and tarps like Kelty Noah’s Tarp. As a family of five with all of our possessions in our car, the E-Z up is no longer an option; however, we have found tarps to be pretty space friendly. These shelters have given us a dry place to cook and eat in the driving rain, and also a refuge from the baking sun.

What are your tips for making a campsite feel like home?


6 thoughts on “How to Tent Like an RVer

  1. I just went camping this weekend, but only for a weekend… these are all great tips for any length of time I think. I have never thought of bringing an extension cord! Now that you said it though it seems like common sense. 🙂

  2. You guys are amazing! We tent camped in Western Australia for about a month a few years ago, but that all came to an abrupt end when we pitched our site on top of a colony of bull ants. Ouch. Wish is known all your tricks back then! 🙂

    • Thanks for the kind words 🙂 That definitely sounds like a rough ending to your camping with the ant colony. Our biggest camping disaster was when we were camping outside of Disney World. We stayed in the park from opening to close at midnight, and returned to our site in the dark at 1:30 AM to discover a rain storm had sent a large branch into our tent, snapping a pole and leaving a big hole. Being exhausted, the best we could do was tape one of the poles and move all five of us onto the mattresses that were the driest. Not the magical ending to our day we had hoped for!

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