Everyone loves RV Hacks, those little tips, tricks and inside knowledge that help the RV Lifestyle be easier, safer and economical.
And in Episode 353 of the RV Podcast, our friends Marc and Julie Bennett of RV Love stop by to share their favorite RV Hacks from their book of the same name that has more than 400 tips on just about every aspect of the RV Lifestyle from driving to cooking in the camper to working from the road.
Here's a link to a video version of our entire Podcast from our YouTube RV Lifestyle Channel, in which we also share RV News of the week, answer your RV Lifestyle questions, offer travel tips and reveal another Hidden Campground Gem. The interview about RV Hacks with the Bennets can be found about 38:20 in.
Here's an audio plater of the podcast:
RV Hacks interview with the Bennetts
Mike Wendland: I want to welcome to the program two of our longtime friends, Marc and Julie Bennett. You may know them as RV Love? And they have just released our brand new book RV Hacks and there are over 400 from you guys in this book.
It's good to see you. You are in your RV somewhere in Colorado, which is always a good place to be. For the folks who are maybe new to the RV world or they are unfamiliar with RV living, why don't you give us the thumbnail description? Julie, start with that and tell us how long you've been doing RVing. And Marc tell us a little bit more about RVLove.com.
Julie Bennett: We hit the road as full-time RVers back in 2014, sold our home in Colorado, bought a motor home, and explored all 50 states, traveling a while, living, working from the road, and it was amazing to see this country. And we've been sharing as RV love it, in a blog, on YouTube, social media, and written a couple of books now. It's been a wild ride.
Mike Wendland: Now, Julie, I know people who may not be familiar with you are going to say, what is that accent? That's not a Southern accent. That's not a British accent. But you're from Australia, and you have an announcement to make about that too. You just recently became a US citizen.
Julie Bennett: Surely. I did. Yes, actually in February on the 11th and I've been here, living here since the end of 2008. And yeah. Finally got my citizenship and my little US flag. It was very exciting. The 4th of July felt really different, I can't explain it, but it did feel good.
It’s a bit late in the day but we hope you had a happy 4th! It’s my (Julie’s) first Independence Day as a US citizen and I have to say it really does feel different! Boondocking with friends in Colorado. Hope you had a good one! #july4th #4thjuly #boondocking #rvlife pic.twitter.com/yLpIiMCBv8— RV Love (@RVLoveTravel) July 6, 2021
Mike Wendland: That is great. And Marc, tell everybody about the various platforms that you have and how you guys are celebrating and enjoying the RV love lifestyle?
Marc Bennett: It started off with just a blog and YouTube for fun, and now it's grown. We also have an official school for RVers. And then we also have the two books. Of course, we're all over social media with Instagram, Facebook, and all that.
Julie Bennett: It was a labor of love Mike, and we just love creating educational RV content.
Mike Wendland: Let's talk about your book, RV Hacks. It's actually the second book. The first book that you guys had was a best seller and it was called Living the RV Life. That's still available. It's still a great read, but this one is a little bit different? Why don't you talk a little bit about what RV Hacks is all about?
Marc Bennett: Sure. Our first book like you said, was a really big hit and it was living Living the RV Life and talked about the overall lifestyle. In this book, we just thought, there are so many little things over the years that we've learned that make this lifestyle more easy and more fun.
And why not just try and gather all those together and send them out on a book so that can appeal to everybody. And we really like it. It's a lot of fun to read and it's cool for a lot of the audience because they can pick it up and read it anywhere. They don't have to read it front to back they can just pick it up. And there are six different categories, driving RV, repairs and maintenance, RV lifestyle, which is like cooking and living and decorating. And then there's also kids and pets and also working.
Julie Bennett: And you forgot the big one. It'll be camping, campgrounds, and boondocking.
Marc's Favorite of the RV Hacks – Account for your RV's Slide-Out
Mike Wendland: There are 400 hacks in there and I have had a ball just reading them and you've done a great job. You got some of your friends who are out there doing kind of the same thing as we all do, and they've offered their hacks, too. But let's start off Marc, what is your favorite hack of all 400 of those you list?
Marc Bennett: Well, one of them that comes to mind is that has really saved me a lot over the years has to do some body measurements with your slide outs, assuming you have an RV that has slide-outs.
When it's out, go outside and put your body next to the RV and put your arm out and see where that slide-out ends on your arm so that you have a really accurate measurement to be able to guide how much space your slide's going to need when you pull it, put it out.
Because a lot of campsites are smaller or there might be an obstacle, or you might've pulled in a little bit too far to the left or whatever. And if you walk out of your RV and you can just, before you get all set up, you can just stand next to the RV, put your arm out and know.
Okay, my slides are going to stop right there. And I'm not going to hit any obstacles. And that way you can finish, setting up with confidence, knowing you'll be able to put all your slides out because too many times, those spaces get a little tight.
Julie Bennett: A little tight. It works for basement doors too, because when these big class A motor homes that we've had a couple of over these, they swing way out.
Try not to set up camp at night! Take it from Julie
And we have had the situation like where we've been all set up in a campsite, which we did at night. I don't recommend it, but we did this and we got all set up and it was one of the, I think it was the second last site in the campground. And then we realized. We couldn't get the door open, so we had to pack everything to move.
Mike Wendland: I did the same thing. I have a big garage door on our RV and I had a couple of bikes in there and I got up the next morning and let's go, I'm going to get the bikes out. Yeah. I hit a tree when I started to swing up garage door. I could not open the rest of it. I had to actually take all the levelers up, start the engine and move forward, move it up.
So that's a great tip, measure the slide-out just with your arm. And then you kinda know.
Julie, what's your favorite of all your 400 hacks in your brand new book?
Julie's Favorite of the RV Hacks
Julie Bennett: It's a bit like when everyone asks where's the best place you've been. It's so hard to pick one, but I like thinking about something that is a bit unusual that maybe some folks haven't heard of, and this one is around food safety.
Sometimes as the electricity can go out at a campground. And so what we recommend is to take a container of water with a lid, fill it about halfway with water and freeze it. And then when it's frozen put a coin on top of the ice.
So if the power goes out at all, or if your fridge stops working, cause let's say the power goes out and then it runs your battery down. And especially if you're gone for an extended period of time, then you will know whether or not the ice has melted and that coin has dropped down.
And then if the power comes back on it, refreezes, you'll see that coin is below the water surface. So you'll be able to see whether or not that was impacted. And so that affects your food safety. So if you're going, it's not sitting on top of the ice, you'll know that it was compromised.
Mike Wendland: And depending on how thick the ice is, where that penny is, it'll give you a rough idea of how long your refrigerator hadn't been working. If it's only a little bit, oh, that's not bad.
Here's my hack. It's actually on page 113 of your book and it's about preventing mold and mildew when in humid places. This has been a year unlike any other in the Midwest and in the east. It has been incredibly humid out there.
And the humidity is not something that a lot of RVers who camp in that region are used to encountering. And so your hack says when traveling or starting your RV in humid climates to prevent mold and mildew, wipe out an empty fridge and leave the door ajar and keep the cabinet doors open for more air circulation.
And that idea of keeping the refrigerator door open, particularly when maybe you come back home, you park and you turn off the fridge and odors will come, mildew can develop and it can be a mess. That was my favorite tip and it was very applicable to today's weather.
Handling the campground competition
This year has been a year unlike any other for trying to get camp space and find spots. What's your assessment of where we are in terms of this crazy RV boom that we're in and can you share any advice to folks, maybe from your RV Hacks in your book, about what they need to do to help find those campsites?
Marc Bennett: We've definitely seen that the big surge in the interest, and it's exciting to see all these new people, new folks discovering the RV lifestyle, but Julie and I have been able to find spots.
It's been definitely more challenging. We actually took a 45-foot motor home down in February. In March and April and Florida, which is peak season in a peak season. And we were still able to find spots for it, but we did have to put more effort in
Julie Bennett: Yeah, definitely be patient and just, have lots of backups.
I think a lot of people get very set on. I want to go to this campground at this time and on these dates and sometimes even a campsite, but you just have to be flexible. Really, that's the key and just need to keep calling around, be flexible and cancellations happen a lot.
A lot of people are hoarding campsites, Mike, you might've seen that too, where they're booking multiple sites or booking, even if they don't know if they'll need it, just because they don't want to miss out.
And then as the time gets closer, they realize actually I can't make that camping trip and they'll cancel it a few days before and then spaces will open up. It might be a little bit more stressful for those that are real planners and I know you and Jennifer wing it more when you're traveling.
And we do more now that we have a smaller rig a little 17-foot camper now, but definitely, with a bigger rig, we like to plan more, but the campsites are out there. I would say go further than you normally would be looking at. You don't have to be in the heart of the action all the time.
Mike Wendland: And during the middle of the week. If you can, during the middle of the week, you can almost always get in. And that's a key part.
I hope we get to run into you guys. Not literally, but we get to spend some time around the campfire with you this year. Although it's crazy out there this year it's so much better than 2020 was.
We wish you guys great success with the book it's going to do really well.
The Bennetts have a new and downsized RV
Tell me about what you're in now, by the way. Cause it's a little different than the last time we talked. What are you? What's your RV.
Marc Bennett: This is a 17 foot Casita. It's a 2019 Casita freedom, deluxe. And it's a pretty small living space. I can actually, literally touch both sides of the walls inside and it's 14 feet inside front to back.
Julie Bennett: You must really love your spouse to want to be hanging out in anything this small.
Mike Wendland: Casita's just a really neat little brand. Everybody who has one of those just absolutely loves it.
Marc and, Julie Bennett from RVLove.com have been our guests. Their new book, RV Hacks will be linked in the description below and in the show notes for this podcast. Guys, thanks so much for being a part of the RV podcast.
Julie Bennett: My pleasure. Bye. And say Hi to Jen.
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