Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Using the RV on short stops
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Open Roads Forum  >  General RVing Issues

 > Using the RV on short stops

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Joined: 11/05/2007

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Posted: 06/13/18 12:36pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hey everyone, haven't been here in ages. Since I last visited we road tripped across the US and Canada (46 states and counting! Including a road trip from LA to Alaska and back!) but only in a car/SUV.

We're still planning on getting into RV'ing at some point though, so I'm learning whatever I can about the topic (and blogging about it too).

In an effort to weigh the pros and cons of a trailer/5th wheeler vs. motorhome, I came across the question of how accessible the unit is while on the road.

With a motorhome it's easy, I guess. Assuming everyone is seated and belted during movement, once you pull over even for a short stop, you can get up and move around your RV.

What about a TT or 5th wheeler though? I'm sure it gets hot in there while on the road. Do people actually use it and go inside on short stops? Does it make sense to cool down the unit and go in to use the bathroom/shower/kitchen or just take a nap?

Also, when stopping overnight during a long trip, either in a campground or just a Walmart or whatever, do you have to go through the entire process of disengaging your trailer or fifth wheel? Or do people sometimes just pull over, hook up (or not) and keep the trailer fully hitched to their truck so they can just get behind the wheel in the morning and start driving.


Southgate, MI

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Joined: 07/18/2005

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Posted: 06/13/18 12:56pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Lots of Questions - So a few answers. I have a 28' TT
1. Yes we use ours on the road. Mostly in Rest Areas we will pull over for lunch, etc. We can put the slide out but usually don't need to. Have pulled over in for a quick potty stop, but usually just use rest areas, McDonalds, whatever for a potty break.

2. We have stopped at rest areas and spent the night. Just kept the trailer hooked up to the truck. If it is hot weather you will want to be able to run the AC so in such cases we just got a campsite for the night, kept the TT hooked up, just plugged in, put the slide out, carried on as normal. We have done long trips of 3 days of driving doing over night campsite stops.

3. Also have used Walmarts for overnights.


On the Road Somewhere

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Joined: 02/06/2012

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Posted: 06/13/18 01:25pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My personal opinion after 4 1/2 years full-time in a 36 ft TT, 40,000+ miles towing through 45 states - a motorhome, Class A or C is easier for short stops. We’ve traveled a few thousand of those miles in the company of friends with Class A or Class C units.

While you can move around in them, many it is just a barely 18-22 inch wide aisle. Many motor homes have the same issues with no access to the fridge, sink, stove that 5er and TT have.

But almost all of us have figured out exactly how much the slides have to go out to reach those, and the bathroom.

The easiest type RV to use on short stops is one with no slide outs. The hardest is a unit with deep slides on both sides (like we have). Slides also mean more stuff has to be moved and secured before the rig can be moved, and more setup time at the destination.

Heat/ cooling while traveling:

No motor home dash AC or heat can handle the entire rig while traveling. Many folks use a heavy comforter or blanket, or even heavy lined drapes right behind the seats to keep the driver comfortable. A great many people with units which installed generators will run that AC while on a he road using the generator for power. A couple folks I know say that is the only time they use the generator.

A few days ago there was a thread on this forum about using a generator in the bed of the pickup to power a 5er or TT AC while heading down the road. There were several positive replies from people who do that.

We’ve developed a process for short overnight stops. Whenever possible we want a place where we do not have to unhook the truck and trailer for one night stops.

We can use s Walmart or truck stop parking lot if we can get next to the edge and extend our kitchen and bedroom slides out over the curb. We will not extend the dining area slide.

Naps: We do not stop for them. We try to keep our drives down to 200 miles or less per day. That way we can get a good night rest, leave about 9 am so we miss the school buses and any work related traffic. We are usually in the next campground by 3 pm.

Yes, we’ve done some long day-day-day drives but try our very best to avoid those.

Full-Time 2014 - ????

“Sailors are essential because even Marines need heroes”

2012 Ram 2500 Mega Cab
2014 Flagstaff 832IKBS TT



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Joined: 06/14/2010

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Posted: 06/13/18 01:27pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Access varies on different models. Without putting out a slide, I can get to my refrigerator, bathroom and bedroom. We stop for bathroom breaks and meals inside. AC isn't an option on the road with a trailer unless you have a generator to run it, and that's not part of the standard equipment on them.

Overnighting you can generally put out the slides and leave it hooked up.

John & Kathy
2014 Grand Design Reflection 303RLS
2014 F250 SBCC 6.2L 3.73

Second Chance


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Joined: 07/23/2013

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Posted: 06/13/18 01:29pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We go into our fifth wheel almost every time we stop. The bathroom, bed, frig, and 2/3 of the countertops are accessible with the slides in, so we find it very useful without putting the slides out. On really hot days it does get warm in there, so we often make a sandwich or a wrap and head for a picnic table or some shade. We don't have a generator or large solar array, so overnighting this way during the summer is not an option for us. We often leave the trailer on the truck for overnight stops in campgrounds, though. I just get it level enough for the frig and slides and stabilize it with the landing gear. Next morning, we just pull in the slides and move on.

Be aware that overnighting is not allowed at all Walmarts depending on city ordinances and/or local management. You can search the web for a document that lists them all and says whether it's allowed or not.


U.S. Army retired
2016 Grand Design Reflection 337RLS
MOR/ryde independent suspension, disc brakes, LR G tires
PullRite OE 18K, Demco Glide Ride pin box
2012 F350 CC DRW Lariat 6.7
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Vancouver Island. BC Canada

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Posted: 06/13/18 01:43pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My wife thinks that being able to use the bathroom while driving our classA is worth the price alone.


Glenwood, IA

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Posted: 06/13/18 02:23pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

And having air conditioning or heat as needed, arriving cool or warm!

Jeff and Kim
2015 Fleetwood Discovery 40E
Freightliner Chassis 380HP DP
2012 Ford Escape Limited Toad


near La Cuesta Encantada

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Posted: 06/13/18 02:30pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

“I'm sure it gets hot in there while on the road...”. Not that hot..generally outdoor temperature. On a windless day driving a straight road the potty is available in a MH but not otherwise for us. Using the MH (or TC) for siteseeing got very old for me very fast. TTs can be left in the CG. If I had another MH I’d get a toad. If someone is willing to use the TV as a daily driver, RVing gets less expensive.

2015 Winnebago 2101DS TT & Tahoe LTZ, 300 watts WindyNation solar-parallel & MPPT, Trojan T-125s. TALL flagpole for US flag. Prefer USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, USF&WS, state & county camps. Bicyclist! 14 year Army vet - 11B40 then 11A - old MOS 1542 & 1560.


Winters south, summers north

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Posted: 06/13/18 02:38pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

One our "must haves" when we selected our current Class A was that everything must be accessible with the slide(s) in. The single super slide unit we bought met that criteria, with only a seldom used 120v outlet hidden by the stowed slide. And as said, having the bathroom available while underway was a major selling point for my wife back when we were first deciding whether to move from TT's to motorhomes.

2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
Bigfoot Automatic Leveling System
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox baseplate


Over There

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Posted: 06/13/18 03:02pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Travel trailer owner here.

Yes, we use the trailer all the time when traveling. Many, many times we've pulled into a parking lot, run into the local McDonalds or whatever, brought the food back out, opened the awning, pulled out a couple lawn chairs, our folding portable table and enjoy a Big Mac. It only takes a minute to set it up, and only a minute to put it all away. We do this a lot!

We do not have a generator in or trailer, but do have access to the gas stove, full access to the refrigerator, bathroom, bedroom, and living room with slides in. The only thing restricted from enjoying is the television in the living room with slides in. But the one in the bed room is just fine!

So, when traveling, if we fix our own meals, we have water on board and use the on-board water pump. We can heat stuff on the gas stove, and of course, cold stuff in the refrigerator. When we do this, we try to find a city park rather than a Wall Mart parking lot (too hot in the sun). We also have an outside (built in) gas stove, so we can always heat and cook outside if the inside is too hot.

Overnighting? We don't boom dock. We don't do Wall Mart overnights. We always stay in KOA or Good Sam campgrounds that always have full hook-ups (water, electric, and sewer). Unless the camp site is horribly unlevel, we don't unhitch, but I do put the trailer stabilizer jacks down for stability and to make sure when the 3 slides are deployed, they wont' get into a bind or anything.

Yes, if traveling all day, with no air conditioner in the trailer, the inside of the trailer can get pretty roasty hot. But with electricity, it doesn't take too long to cool things down. In the winter to create a quick heat, I'll turn on all 3 burners on the gas stove for about 10 minutes. This warms up even the coldest campers in a hurry, and by then the furnace has had a time to warm up and start pumping warm air. Then the burners on the stove are turned off (like I say, maybe 10 minutes. The stove is run longer than than when fixing eggs for breakfast).

Sometimes, if doing an overnight in a specific planned campground, we will unhitch so we can take the truck and site see or go to an event in the area. Hitching is so easy, after doing it for 50 years, I don't think anything about it any more.

About using the bathroom when traveling. Yes! We do it all the time. We NEVER use fuel station bathrooms! Never any more when the trailer is with us. That's the one advantage of having your own bathroom with you, and why it's so important in your selection of camper to make sure EVERYTHING is accessible when the slides are in.

We also use the camper in our driveway all year round too, until temperatures reach about 20 degrees F or below. So, between the end of December and the middle to end of February are about the only weeks we don't use the camper.

We slept in the camper every night now (driveway, or camping in a State Park), every night now since the March 1 of this year. We are in it right now, and will be sleeping in here again tonight.

Whatever RV you end up selecting, just make sure everything is functional when the slides are in: Bathroom door opens; kitchen sink, refrigerator, and stove are usable; bed are 100 percent usable. If you have more than just husband and wife sleeping in the camper, make sure your guests (or kids) can access their beds too with no problems with the slides in also. There will be times you'll need to use your camper (no matter what you get), when the slides need to be in.

Example: extreme cold or hot weather, to reduce the square footage to better heat or air condition the livable space. Horrible bad weather when it's howling and blowing so hard, it feels like the camper will blow over. Pulling in the slides helps reduce the surface wind-sail and we've slept in ours many nights with all the slides in because it was howling so bad outside. Sometimes you will be traveling, and will be parked somewhere it's absolutely NOT possible to extend the slides. Sometimes, at home - depending on your parking conditions - you might not be able to deploy the slides to load or unload the camper. Yes, there will be times the slides need to be in. So make sure everything is functional with slides in. Especially when traveling on the road, you will find yourself in places you won't be able to extend them.

Hope this helps.

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