If you’re looking for a home away from home, an RV (short for recreational vehicle) is a great option for taking the comforts of the nest with you on the road. You can even hit the highways any time of year. Summer’s great for meeting new people at different campgrounds, or head into the winter weather and enjoy the solitude of nature from the safety of four mobile walls. With attention to a few details, any drawbacks attributed to the limited facilities and unusual space can be overcome.
Cook With Efficiency
Because space is at a premium in an RV, proper preparation for your kitchen area is a must. Stoves can be limited to two burners or occasionally one. Some RVs don’t have ovens or even freezers, so be sure to make adjustments for the specific environment you’ll be cooking in.
If you’re only going to be on the road for a few days to a couple weeks, it’s a good idea to meal plan for each day. Breakfasts can be as simple as cereal and tea, or as gourmet as Eggs Benedict with homemade hollandaise. It all depends on the facilities and planning.
Lunches are always a good opportunity for leftovers, so they’re close cousins to what was on last night’s dinner menu. Steaks over a campfire can be tomorrow’s beef sandwiches, for example.
Because fridge space will be limited, be sure to supplement meals with sides and snacks that don’t need preservation like potato chips, most fresh fruit, and trail mix. You can hard boil eggs ahead of time, saving cooking time on the road and giving you quick eats with little prep.
One-pot or pan meals help with cooking, cleanup, and obviously conserving space in the cabinets. Chili is a classic and can feed quite a few hungry mouths. Get hamburger buns for lunch and you have chili sloppy joes.
For dessert, box mixes are a great option. Usually you only have to add one or two ingredients for a sweet treat after dinner. If you’re traveling at the height of the season, make sure you make extra for the neighbors.
Sure, you might walk around in your underpants at home. You may even do it in your RV. But your RV is parked much closer to the neighbors than your home normally is, and there are usually far more windows. Privacy is an issue not only for you, but for anyone else who might be at the campsite around you.
If your RV doesn’t already have installed curtains, be sure to have a window covering available before getting on the road. This includes an opaque option for the front windshield that installs from the inside. It shouldn’t have to be said, but be sure you never drive with the windshield curtains obscuring any part of your view.
Many companies sell custom curtains and louvered privacy shades to fit all the windows of your RV. If you’re feeling DIY, you can buy your own opaque curtain material at a fabric store and make some yourself. The same companies who sell the custom curtains also sell kits for hanging anything you might have made yourself. Just be sure to get something that’s safe for a multi-use environment where you’ll be cooking and living.
Which brings us to the next issue…
Not only is an RV a large car with its own fire safety issues, but it’s also a mobile kitchen which requires separate fuel sources. Sitting in your RV, you’re surrounded by gas or diesel, propane, and potentially flammable engine coolant, not to mention the materials of the structure itself. Knowing all this, attention to detail is very important.
Start with the engine. Just like preparing a car before a long trip, check all your belts, hoses, and fittings for wear or cracks. Replace anything that needs replacing or have a licensed service technician take care of the under-the-hood work.
Inside the RV, treat it like a traditional house. Propane and electrical lines should be up to code and intact. If in doubt, bring in an expert; it’s worth the expense. Propane ranges should be clean and operating properly. And remember that your road kitchen might feel like home, but it’s smaller, so flammable materials like towels and curtains will be closer to fire sources. Always attend the cooking area if the range is fired up.
Have a minimum of two working fire extinguishers in the RV, one in the kitchen and one in the sleeping area. Just like your house, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are a must, and always have an escape plan. A fire can escalate quickly in such a small space. The priority is safety of the people first, then property.
With these precautions and preparations in place, you’re all set to hit the road in your RV. As a modern day nomad, you’ll take your home with you on the adventure. Invite friends or family along, or light out on your own for a journey that can bring new discoveries with each sunrise and every mile of highway.