We use affiliate links. If you purchase something using one of these links, we may receive compensation or commission.
Introduction to Living In A Camper Full-Time: Common Myths and Misconceptions
Suppose you consider living in a camper full-time, one of the first things you will want to debunk some common myths and misconceptions. This article will cover some of these topics, including if it’s cheaper than renting an apartment or house, how much time you need off the grid to live comfortably, and whether or not it is legal.
Living in a Camper Full-Time is Cheaper Than Living in An Apartment or House: RV Myth 1
Will living in a camper save money? This is one of the most common questions people have about living in an RV full-time. While it may be cheaper than paying rent on an apartment or house, there are many other factors to consider besides just cost when you decide whether to live in a recreational vehicle full-time versus a typical brick-and-mortar home.
Some Expenses to Consider When Living Full-Time in a Camper or RV:
- Cost of RV (ownership)
- Fuel or Gas For RV Travel
- Rental Space (*if not boondocking) at RV Parks
- Repairs and maintenance
- Mail Forwarding
- Health Insurance
- Food/ Groceries
- Memberships/ Discount Clubs
This article breaks down the actual cost of living full-time in a recreational vehicle.
There are many ways to save money while living the RV lifestyle full-time.
Living Off The Grid (boondocking) is Necessary For Comfort
Many people think they need to live off the grid when considering living in a camper full-time. This is true if you want to avoid crowded RV parks (but not always the case). While this may be true for some people, living off the grid is not necessary to live comfortably. For example, you will need access to electricity and water whenever possible (i.e., at a campsite or a friend’s house).
Other factors to consider are:
- Safety concerns
- Waste dumping
- Procuring food and other necessary items
- Access to cell or internet reception
For more information on boondocking, check out this article.
Living In a Camper Full-Time is Cramped and Clausterphobic
While it is true that most recreational vehicles are small, this does not mean they cannot be comfortable and practical. Use of storage space and space-saving items is key. Proper organization will make your home on wheels as comfortable as you want it to be.
Using your outdoor space makes RV living so much different from living in a typical apartment or home. The ability to sit in nature and enjoy a nightly campfire truly makes your living space greater than you would expect.
When you think about it, you only use and “live” in certain areas of your home anyway.
*Many people choose to live in a camper full-time simply because they are looking for more flexibility and adventure than living in an apartment or house allows them. This is especially true for those who have retired early, wish to stay close with family but still want their independence, or just enjoy the outdoors that our country has to offer.
Living In a Camper Full-Time is Legal in Most Areas
This can vary from state to state, but for the most part, living in a camper full-time will not get you into trouble with landlords or police. If you are parked on a public street or in a public campground, most towns require that you pay to live there.
If you run into any trouble with your local authorities, the best thing to do is try and resolve it by communicating with them directly. You can also contact an attorney who specializes in this area of law for more information.
For most people who live in a camper or RV full-time, boondocking or renting campground space is the preferred choice, and it keeps any legal concerns about where to park out of their minds.
I Don’t Have Enough Room To Live With My Pets
Many people ask me if I have enough room to live with my dog and two cats when they find out about my choice to live in a camper full-time.
This is one of the reasons why most people realize that it’s not for them because their pets are part of the family and need more than what you can give them in a camper or RV.
However, if you plan to spend most of your time outdoors and use campsites as your home base (i.e., boondocking), having pets is easy because they are welcome at almost every site out there!
We make sure to have appropriate toys, comforts, and items to keep our furry friends safe, comfortable, engaged, and happy. Check out this article to see how we do it!
Living in a Camper Full-Time is Cluttered and Dirty
Many people think that anyone who lives in a camper full-time is messy and dirty. While this can be the case for some, it doesn’t have to be true for you!
If having an organized space is important to you (if you want your living quarters to feel like home), then there are many ways to keep your living space tidy without spending too much time doing so.
The main thing to remember is that things are bound to get dirty and accumulate in places they shouldn’t be (especially if you have pets!). If this bothers you, just take a little extra effort into cleaning up after yourself or before others come over.
Try keeping a regular daily cleaning schedule to maintain the inside of your rig. There are also many products to assist in keeping the outside of your vehicle clean and shiny!!
With a little daily elbow grease and the correct organization products, your home on wheels will be tidy, clean, and comfy!
Dealing With The Black Water Tank Is Disgusting
As long as you plan and make sure to empty your black water tank when necessary, the thought of dealing with it will not affect your RV living experience.
If you’re wondering what the black water tank is, it’s where your toilet and sink drain into. It can also include showers/tubs that don’t have a specific gray water tank (i.e., if you use your shower or tub inside).
What To Do With The Black Water Tank:
When you’re boondocking (camping in approved sites that do not have hookups), your black water tank will fill up quickly, so always be prepared to use the dump station before it’s full.
If possible, avoid using any chemicals (except for Happy Camper) or additives for easy emptying and minimal odor build-up. If done correctly, you shouldn’t have to empty your black water tank very often.
If the dump station is available, just use it and keep on rolling! If not, make sure to empty it yourself before continuing with any trip or camping adventure.
Don’t forget that if you are staying in a campground for more than one night (unless you have full hookups), you need to find an approved dump station or dump your black water tank following the campground’s rules and regulations.
Check out this article for great maintenance and black tank tips!!
You Can Only Live In A Camper Full-Time During Summer Months
Many people assume that they can only live in a camper/RV full-time during the summer months. While it’s true that many travel and camp more often during these months because of weather, you should not let this stop you from pursuing your dreams (if living in an RV is what makes them come to life!).
The cold weather months can actually be a great time to hit the open road and explore. You have significantly fewer people on the roads, which means you will encounter fewer traffic jams and overcrowded campgrounds/parks!!
Many places are closed during winter or offer limited services (i.e., no shower houses), but there are still plenty of places to explore, especially in the southern states.
Winter Camping Tips:
If you plan on living/camping full-time during the winter months or just visiting a cold-weather state for a couple of weeks at a time, here are some tips and tricks that can help keep your RV comfy!!
- Make sure to have plenty of propane on hand.
- Keep the furnace going as much as possible for a nice, cozy atmosphere. If you don’t have one already installed in your camper/RV, consider investing in a reliable one that puts out enough heat to keep warm during those chilly nights!
- Make sure windows are closed at all times when no one is in the RV to prevent heat loss (be sure to vent regularly to avoid moisture build-up).
- Keep all curtains closed during the day to trap warm air inside. Consider insulating your windows.
- Make sure you have plenty of water stored up for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. Be sure to use a heated water hose, and don’t forget to protect your pipes from freezing.
For more winter tips, check out this article!
A Four Season Camper Will Be Great For Full-Time Living in Winter Months
A four-season camper is a great option for those who plan on living in an RV full-time, especially during the winter months. There are many benefits to choosing this type of unit when it comes to staying warm and comfortable during cold weather camping/traveling!!
Don’t be fooled; four-season doesn’t always mean that the motorhome is prepared for freezing or frigid temperatures. Check for double-paned windows, type of insulation, seals around windows and slides, and a furnace that’s capable of heating the unit while camping in freezing temperatures. Be sure to also have a working generator.
If I Live Full-Time in A Camper, I Can’t Have a Permanent Address or Mail
Many people assume that living in a camper means you no longer have an address and, therefore, cannot receive mail. This is simply not true!! You can still be on the grid and hold down a great job while traveling full-time!
Many full-time RVers use mail forwarding services to receive their mail and have a permanent street address for registration and voting purposes, as well as for tax purposes. There are many options for this, including:
-Ship To Me (RV Mailbox) -Mail Boxes Etc -UPS Store You can go to any of these establishments and get a mailbox with your own address on it! It’s that simple!! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
This article breaks down mail forwarding services for full-time RVers.
RV’s Are Difficult To Drive
It is true that driving an RV isn’t like driving a normal vehicle. There are many things you need to take into account when maneuvering your large, bulky camper (i.e., weight distribution, length, and height); however, this doesn’t mean it’s impossible to learn or that it’s too difficult to drive!!
If you’re planning on living full-time in an RV, there are many resources available (online and offline) for learning how to operate your rig. It should only take a few weeks of getting used to before you feel comfortable driving your home! It’s just like learning to drive a big truck.
For more information about this, check out this article!
You Need a Special or Commercial License to Drive a Trailer or Motorhome
You do not need a special license to tow a travel trailer or drive an RV. Anyone 18 years of age or older and has a valid driver’s license can legally drive an RV that weighs less than 26,000 pounds!
All Full-Time RV Owners Are Retired
Retirement is an excellent way to take time off from your career and enjoy traveling around the country. However, it’s not a requirement for those who decide to live full-time in their RVs!!
Many people choose this lifestyle to extend their working years or start a brand new life on the road! The only thing that matters is that you love what you do and do it because YOU want to.
More and more people choose to live the RV lifestyle while working remotely or starting their own businesses.
For more information about this, check out this article!
It is Difficult to Have Reliable Internet Access
This is a common misconception that many full-time RVers have. Having reliable internet access while traveling across the country in your home on wheels does not mean you must sacrifice freedom and fun!! There are more options than ever for staying connected, like:
-Cell Phone Signal Boosters -Satellite Internet Service Providers
-Public Wi-Fi (i.e., libraries, coffee shops)
For more information about this, check out this article! You can also learn how to choose the best internet service for your travel trailer here.
Conclusion To Living In A Camper Full-Time: Myth Busters Edition
Living in a camper full-time is not as hard as you might think. With some research and preparation, it can be more affordable than living in an apartment or house. And with the right mindset, there are even benefits to this lifestyle that you’ll never find at home! What do you think about downsizing your life into a compact space? Is it for you, or would you prefer something else?
Hello! My name is Cortney Edwards. I am the creator and writer for Tin Can Living. My husband and I have been living full-time in our RV for over two years. We have 3 pets, travel as much as we can, and love sharing this lifestyle with others.