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Buying a New RV or Camper: 7 Essential Things to Check Out

Are you in the market for buying a new RV or camper? If so, it’s important to do your homework before making a purchase. There are many things to consider, from size and features to price and brand. Here are seven essential things to check out before buying an RV. By taking the time to research your options, you’ll be sure to find the perfect rig for your needs.

RV or Camper

#1 Examine the RV or camper’s exterior and interior

Take a look at both sides of the camper, every nook and cranny to make sure it’s not damaged or dented beyond repair. You don’t want to buy something that has been wrecked before you’ve even had a chance to use it! Check the roof for cracks, the camper shell for damage and the locks on all of the storage compartments.

Make sure to check for any signs of a water leak. Open the cabinets under the sink and look for any signs of dampness or leakage below the cabinet. If you find water damage, it may indicate a deeper problem within the camper’s roof, walls or framework. Start from one end and make your way through every single nook and cranny, Inside and out.

#2 Electrical System: Can You Run Your Appliances in the RV or Camper?

RVs come with either a 30 amp or 50 amp electrical connection for camping. While both offer similar types of appliances, the voltage is different between them. 30 amps is better for smaller RVs or those that don’t need as much power. If you’re looking to run appliances like a microwave, hair dryer or electric cooler (at the same time), go with the 50 amps.

Once you know what kind of electrical connection you will have, you can start looking for where to stay. Make sure the campground you want to stay at offers the right kind of power connection before making a reservation. Campendium is a great, free resource to search for campgrounds that have hookups. You can narrow down the search my location, park name, and much more.

If you plan on boondocking, or camping without hookups, this is possible in some areas but not all. The best way to tell if it’s allowed is by checking with the land managing agency for that area. Be aware that no hookups means no appliances like a hair dryer. [And you’re going to have trouble using your microwave, but that’s pretty obvious]. The only option around that is to have an additional power source such as solar or a generator that will work for your specific camper. We will go through other power sources in a later article.

Some campgrounds offer different levels of power; 50 amp is not always available and may cost extra. Always check with the park before making a reservation to ensure they have an available spot that supports your type of power connection.

Will you go camping with kids? Check out this article.

#3 The Kitchen: Cooking in an RV or Camper is Harder than You Think

If you plan on cooking in the camper, make sure it’s easy to do in the camper’s kitchen. Check out where the sink is located and how well it works when you need to wash dishes or hands. The refrigerator should be well insulated so food stays cold while you travel. Are there sufficient countertops for cooking and prepping food the way you normally do? Or will you need to make adjustments? If you plan on using an instant pot or air fryer instead of your camper stove and oven, make sure the camping kitchen has enough counter space for those as well!

Cooking in the camper kitchen will be different from your home kitchen. There are many obstacles like reduced counter space and needing to find creative ways of storing food while traveling. Since there’s reduced storage, you may need to keep everything stored in airtight containers or totes.

#4 Sleeping Space

The amount of sleep space you’ll need will depend on how many people are in your party. A general rule of thumb is to allocate at least 15 cubic feet per occupant.

Need specific examples? Below is a list that will help you determine the amount of sleeping space required for any situation:

  • A couple (not sharing a bed): 30-45 cubic feet combined
  • A family with 2 children (sharing one bed, separate adults in a bed): 45-60 cubic feet combined
  • Two adults sharing a bed: 30-45 cubic feet each.
  • An adult and small child, or two adults sharing a sleeping bag on the floor of the camper/rv: 15-20 cubic feet combined
  • One person with a cot, air mattress, etc. 20-30 cubic feet
  • A family with a baby or toddler: 15-30 cubic feet per occupant

You should also plan on bringing along items that will make your sleeping space more comfortable, such as extra pillows and blankets, as well as board games to play before bed.

You’ll want to be comfortable during your trip, especially if you’re going on longer journeys. Having enough of the right surface type will help everyone get some shut eye.

#5 The Bathroom

The bathroom in a camper is much smaller than a traditional one, so make sure to see if the layout works for you before buying it. Check if there’s enough space for toiletries and personal items, as well as storage for all your towels and other things you will need while traveling.

You want a camper that has a well-functioning bathroom. Make sure the camper you buy has enough space so you don’t feel cramped when using the bathroom. In addition, make sure all fixtures work correctly.

#6 Comfort

RVs and Campers are smaller than your traditional house so make sure it has enough space for those comfortable camping chairs and a couch where you can relax after a long day on the road. Check out the camper floor plan before buying it so you know what kind of furniture is in it or what will fit in it if you decide to make layout changes. Don’t forget about storage space to put your clothes, food, and other belongings.

#7 Aesthetics

For many RVers, the camper’s looks are just as important as its features. Make sure your camper has a design that appeals to you so it will be more exciting to use when camping. Check out how easy it is to clean and maintain the camper’s surfaces. Cleaning and maintaining your investment will help it last for years to come!


These were just a few of the most important features to look for when buying a RV or camper. Make sure you keep your needs in mind when looking at different campers and RVs. It’s okay if they don’t have all of these features, but finding one that has most of them will save you time and headaches in the future. Happy Camping!

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