Top Five Feuds Between RVers
The RV community is unique in that we’re a tight-knit group of like-minded wanderers united by an unparalleled passion for travel and exploration. We’re eager to befriend fellow travelers, we’re happy to lend a hand to other RVers who need it and we always agree on everything. Well… maybe not always. And certainly not everything. Spend some time in any RV social group and you’ll soon discover there are several topics of conversation that are virtually guaranteed to start a heated argument. These conflicts pre-date the relatively minor squabbles of Apple vs. Windows, XBox vs. Playstation, or even Betamax vs. VHS, and they’re far more likely to pit brother-against-brother on a scale not seen since the American Civil War.
Big vs. Small
RVers in general are a very accepting bunch; we don’t discriminate against those who travel in RVs that differ from ours no matter how different they may be. Your new best friend could be pulling the smallest pop-up trailer or navigating the largest land yacht and it wouldn’t matter because we’re all out here doing what we love, and that common ground is what matters most. But watch what happens when you ask “Which is the best RV to travel in?” Oh... the best, you ask? Well, that’s a whole different thing. Sure, your RV is fine to park next to for a few days in a some-of-my-best-friends-are-vandwellers kind of way, but is it better than mine? Is it the best?!? We can argue about different types of RVs all day long - and we often do - but in the end it invariably boils down to a single common denominator: SIZE. (Doesn’t everything?) On the one side you have the Purists who believe that an RV must be able fit into every national park and Walmart parking lot in North America or else it’s too big to serve any purpose. Who cares if you have pull over to pee in a bucket? On the other side you have the Idealists who prefer to travel in comfortable luxury at the expense of having to cross their fingers they’ll find a spot big enough to park their behemoths anywhere in the same time zone as the place they want to go… fuel mileage be damned. Sure, there are some RV Goldilocks who travel in RVs that are not-too-big and not-too-small, and it might be just right for them, but unless they take a stand in favor of one extreme or the other they’re really just cannon fodder in this argument. So, what size RV is the best to travel? Not so fast there, Speed Racer... we haven’t even scratched the clear coat yet.
New vs. Used
The feud between new vs. used has always struck me as odd because we really couldn’t have one without the other. As good as new RV sales are, there wouldn't be enough of them on the road to financially support all the parks, repair shops, after-market manufacturers, etc. without the vast number of used RVs taking up the slack. And, obviously, you can’t buy a used RV until someone else bought it new first. RVers in favor of buying brand new RVs will argue that they want everything to be clean, unused and in perfect fresh-from-the-factory condition. Their detractors are all too happy to remind them that their RV was likely rummaged through by hundreds of lookie-loos before they bought it and that new RVs break down almost as often as used rigs… often with wait times far longer than for used RVs because of the warranty process. RVers in favor of buying used rigs often argue that their RVs are already “broken in” and they get much more bang for their buck. New RV proponents will quickly point out that the “bang” they got for their buck was probably an axle snapping when they hit that speed bump, and good luck getting parts for that “classic” you’re driving. The most common bottom line for both sides of the debate is that the other is “wasting” more money: one on the retail price, financing, dealer mark-up and depreciation of a new rig; the other on repairs, upgrades an inferior construction and components of older RVs. The funny thing is, few of us will be able to sell our RVs for what we paid and put into them, so the point is moot at best. If any of us were counting on a financially profitable return on our investments, RVs would be just about the last thing to invest in.
Dolly vs. 4-down
Moving on to the silliest feud between RVers, it’s hard to imagine why this one keeps popping up as often as it does. In truth, no one really cares how some other RVer tows their car until some newbie asks, “What’s the best way to tow a car behind an RV?” or even “What’s the best car to tow behind my RV?” Ugh… newbies. We gotta love ‘em, but they really know how to stir up the black tank. 4-down advocates will almost always profess how much easier it is to hook-up a car to a tow bar… which is funny, since most of them have never owned a dolly and have no idea how hard or easy it can be. Dolly tow-ers will turn right around and argue that they can tow anything that fits on the dolly and they don’t need to switch out tow assemblies when they buy a new car… which means nothing to the RVer who plans on keeping their tow-car forever. In the interest of full disclosure I should point out that I dolly-tow my car, which of course means that dolly towing is best. I can tow any front-wheel drive car I want, I don’t have to install towing packages or auxiliary braking systems, and I can hook up my car in 7 minutes flat without breaking a sweat… after I find a place to store that monstrosity out of the way for a week or two at a time and then picking it up and rolling all 700 lbs. of ungainly iron into position, not to mention having to replace the not-inexpensive tires every 8-10,000 miles. Yep, dolly towing the best… isn’t it?
Gas vs. Diesel
Few discussions between RVers will generate the level of frenzied intensity as the debate between gas. vs. diesel. But unlike the silliness of the dolly vs. 4-down feuds, gas vs. diesel is an argument that at least has some real merit, though the answers are almost never as easy as they would have you believe. Defenders of gas-powered RVs regularly argue that the initial price and the cost of maintenance and repairs is so much higher on diesel-powered rigs that they’re a waste of money. It’s true: Diesels are more expensive to purchase initially, but it’s difficult to compare the costs of maintenance and repairs vs. a gas-powered RV since their maintenance schedules are so different. And, of course - it goes without saying - diesel-powered RVs never break down. “It’ll run forever and ever!” or so I was told when we bought ours. Supporters of diesel-powered RVs almost always point to the lack of horsepower and torque in gas rigs when compared to diesels, which is a fair statement, but it’s only relevant if you need that much power. Many RVers don’t haul everything they own in their rigs and they don’t tow multiple trailers loaded down with every vehicle, toy and tool they own. The other most common argument in favor of diesel-power is the much longer expected lifespan of the machine itself compared to a gas-powered RV. Again, it’s a fair statement, but it’s only relevant if you plan to keep your RV that long… or want an RV that will outlive you.
The Mother of ALL RV Feuds
I have naturally saved the most contentious controversy for last. No single topic is more hotly debated on a daily basis than this; in fact, so many RVers butt heads over this septic rivalry that it’s both the #1 and #2 feuds of all time. I am, of course, talking about none other than… RV toilet paper vs. household toilet paper. The time has come to finally wipe the slate clean on this topic and put it behind us once and for all. “Household toilet paper will clog your black tank!”“RV toilet paper is so uncomfortable to use!” “Household toilet paper contributes to climate change!” “RV toilet paper is more expensive than my loan payment!” We’ve all heard this verbal diarrhea before, but according to my logs there hasn’t been much movement from either end of the conversation. What we need is for everyone to take a seat so we can flush out the truth… then we’ll all be in a much better position to bear down on the facts. I humbly propose the following rule-of-bum as a possible answer to all our concerns: If it’s plush, go ahead and flush. If it’s strong, it’d be wrong. I’d say more on this subject but I’m all out of puns.
Can’t We All Just Get Along?
Smarter-than-average RVers will undoubtedly notice that I left out one of the most prevalent feuds online: Pop-up vs. Tear-Drop vs. Camper vs. Trailer vs. 5th Wheel vs. Class A, Class B, Class C, Super C... now do you see why I left it out? The reason any of these feuds endure is because there is no one answer that’s right for everyone in every situation. Hysterically, RVers who routinely engage in these arguments almost always recommend what they own and what they do as the best solution… how convenient is that? A big, used, dolly-towing, diesel-powered RV that easily tolerates any ultra-soft household toilet paper is absolutely the best RV… FOR ME. You’re the only one who can decide which one is best for you.
Travel safe. Travel well. Travel often.