OUR INFATUATION WITH CAMPING WORLD
By Barry Zander, Edited by Monique Zander, the Never-Bored RVers
Monique and I were waiting for our pizza while sitting in a restaurant in Aspen, Colorado, when I looked across the room and noticed a 75ish man was leaning over his table, obviously distraught. He was staring down with his face between his hands. He kept that position for the whole time we were eating.
When we were ready to leave, Monique went over, sat across from him in the booth and asked if there is anything we could do to help. He told her, “My wife fell when she was getting out of the motorhome. The stool turned over and she went down. She’s in the hospital now.”
Obviously there was nothing we could do except express our sympathy. A few days later while in a campground in Sedona, we saw a Casita with a strong-looking aluminum step. “We got it at Camping World after our plastic one turned over,” the owner told us. We soon bought one to make our travels safer.
As we speed down the grey ribbon of interstate highways in America, I don’t think anything terrifies Monique more than when I say, “We just passed a Camping World.”
“You don’t need anything.” “I just want to get a 10-foot white hose.” That conversation immediately precedes the cash register showing balance due of $246.58.
This is not an advertisement for Camping World – it’s strictly my thoughts about why we always manage to run up long receipts when we just stop for one or two items.
Over the years I’ve heard many RVers complain about Camping World retail and parts store prices, but in most cases I have found their pricing to be fair. Like any place else, they are lower on some items; higher on others. Being members of their Presidents Club certainly saves us money over the shelf prices, but I wonder how many frequent RVers aren’t members. I don’t remember them doing a background check to see if I was qualified for membership five years ago, the clerk just took our money.
We stop at Camping World stores simply because they have what I need, although it’s often for things I didn’t know I needed. “Another set of colorful tarp clips in the basket won’t hurt anything, right?”
This blog is really about things we have bought at Camping World (and other RV and big box stores less frequently), which you might want to consider for your RVing safety and comfort.
Let’s start with that aluminum step stool (look on the campingworld.com site under RV steps). It’s sturdy and folds up. Plus, when we are in a campground with wooden tables, we use it under our grill to protect the table.
We saw an article about RV surge guards in a magazine that had a picture of the worse-case scenario of what happens when there’s a short or surge in the campground electric box. Nothing left of the rig after the fire. So we bought one and used it until in a state park in Minnesota it melted from a surge. “Never happened here before, you bet!” the camp host assured me. Didn’t matter – we were out a $56.00 surge guard (apparently $80.00 now) but thankful that was all the damage. The 50-amp are much pricier, but I’m certain it’s a worthwhile investment
I used that replacement surge guard for about three months before donating it to another camper – not on purpose, but because I didn’t go down my takeoff check list until we were a good ways down the road. An expensive mistake I (hope I) won’t make again.
Here’s an interesting Camping World find. We connect our satellite dish with a co-ax cable. At first I ran the wire through the door, which never works well, but it’s even worse in cold, hot and rainy weather.
It was an improvement when I drilled a hole in the floor under a drawer, but what an inconvenience getting it rigged both outside and inside. Then I found an Exterior Cable TV Receptacle with a snap-down cover. I drilled a hole for the cable and rigged it up so that I can just screw on the cable outside and attach the wire from the inside of the receptacle to the TV. Works every time – and I’ve never found the single pole receptacle anywhere other than Camping World.
Now for a biggie! In theory Bungee Cords do not prevent an awning from unwrapping in high wind. We installed two RV Awning Clamps to protect our 18-foot awning after we met a camp host who had just lost his awning when a wind shear unwrapped it while it was rolled up on his 5th wheel. I think just one clamp is recommended for under 18 feet. For $45 each, they allow us to sleep easier on windy nights.
The 6-volt batteries we tried to install in our travel trailer to replace the worn out 12- volt models didn’t fit. It would have taken major body work to make them accessible. Among the reasons I wanted to upgrade is that Camping World has a device that supposedly keeps the 6-volt batteries filled. I do plan to check to see if a 12-volt has become available. Since our batteries are tough to check, this would be a great benefit.
We traveled with two 2000-watt Honda generators for over three years, but only used both of them in tandem once, so I sold one to a neighboring camper in Dosewallops, Washington. Later I sold (at great financial loss) the wire set to connect them. Then our remaining 2000-watt Honda began to lose power, and despite professional help, it struggled to power our microwave oven. I sold the generator to my son (at great financial loss), replaced by the fairly new 3000i. There is no way I could lift the standard 148-pound Honda 3000 into the back of our truck, but the new “i” weighs 76 pounds, which I expect to be able to lift for another five or so years. The major differences between the two 3000s is the electric start and metal cover on the standard model.
To be truthful, I did not buy this at Camping World. When I took my 2000 in for service, the Honda dealer was ready to deal. Monique gave the go-ahead, and we’ve been happy ever since.
Let’s go up top for a moment. I installed a Cyclone Sewer Vent on our toilet ventilator. It swings with the wind, which is probably good. What’s bad is when we have the cover of the Fantastic Fan in the bedroom open,
the fumes seem to flow into the trailer. I’m not sure if it’s a coincidence or just luck that the wind always seems to be blowing the wrong way.
Against the recommendation of Fantastic Fan, I put a large MaxxAir II over the fan in the bathroom. It’s a benefit to be able to keep the cover open in rainy weather without a problem. [I can’t recommend this, since it goes against manufacturer’s advice.]
The Coleman LED Quad Lantern is an excellent source of light when dry camping and when eating outside at night. Each of the four panels can be removed separately and lighted, and all the panels can be lighted at once when on the base. The panels recharge from four D-cell batteries. It’s really cool! We’ve seen this at Walmart and Camping World.
Why do you need to know the temperature inside and outside the rig? I don’t know, but I like to know. Camping World and other stores sell various versions of the Wireless Weather Station. Ours includes weather predictions, atomic time, relative humidity, sunrise, sunset, high and low temps and a little man dressed appropriately for the weather. Best Buy used to stock several different models, but they are no longer in inventory.
I love my 10-foot extending ladder that compresses down to about two feet high. The one at Camping World is rugged-looking and is priced accordingly. I bought mine at Target for half the price, and it has not failed me yet (I weigh 180 pounds, a consideration when shopping for ladders).
As I mentioned earlier, hearing the name “Camping World” strikes fear in Monique’s heart, but we are glad that they are there to serve the RV community. Finding parts specifically needed for our lifestyle is greatly appreciated.
From the “Never-Bored RVers,” We’ll see you on down the road.
© All photos by Barry Zander. All rights reserved I took these photos in a hurry and without much prepping. They are fair game to copy if you need ‘em!