Purchasing an RV is an exciting experience. You pick the perfect layout, choose just the right size, and stock your new motorhome with all your camping gear. However, before you hit the open road, there are a few things you should be prepared for when booking a stay at an RV resort or campground. One important consideration when choosing your destination is the RV hookups available.
In this guide, we'll cover everything you need to know about what RV hookups are and how to make sure you book the right site for your rig.
What are RV Hookups and Where are They Located?
RV hookups refer to the amenities that you connect to your RV. You can find RV hookups at campgrounds, dump stations, parks, and city facilities. Hookups are divided into the following four categories:
Electrical hookups allow you to connect your RV to the power grid — often referred to as shore power. RV electrical hookups primarily come in 30 and 50 AMP outputs, with the less common 20 AMP output being phased out. The type of hookup option you need depends on your RV. Generally, smaller RVs use 30 AMP outputs, while larger RVs use 50 AMP outputs.
The main difference between 30 and 50 AMP hookups is that a 30 AMP plug features three prongs and a 50 AMP plug has four prongs. This design ensures that you never plug your RV into the wrong power source.
RVs with 30 AMP hookups can usually power lights, coffee makers, small AC systems, TVs, and stereos.
RVs with a 50 amp hookup can power almost anything that you have in your RV, such as high BTU electric heaters, large rooftop AC systems, water heaters, and washer and dryer sets.
With a 50 AMP breaker, you are drawing 12,000 watts of power compared to the 3,600 you get from a 30 AMP. This means that you can power more energy-consuming products and can run more of them at the same time.
What if they don't have my hookup?
If you happen to pull into your oasis on the road and they don't have your specific electric hookup type, there is a solution. The right adapters will step down voltage from 50 AMP to 30 AMP, and some adapters will let you plug your 30 AMP into a 50 AMP. However, this doesn't change the amount of power you will receive.
Be sure you have these adapters stored in your RV before you leave home.
A water hookup is a water source at your campground or a fill station that provides you with water from city utilities or a well.
To connect to a water source, you'll need to have a hose specifically designed for RV hookups. Look for a BPA-free water fill hose to ensure good-tasting water. A 25-foot long hose will be long enough for most campground hookups, but having an additional 25-foot hose on hand will allow you to connect to group hookup stations as well. Additionally, consider investing in the following two add-ons for your water system:
- Water filter: Water filters are available in a range of price points and styles. The most complex filters are reverse osmosis systems, while the most simple are in-line water hose filters. Ultimately, you want something that protects you and your family from chlorine, dirt, VOCs (contaminants), and pesticides/herbicides.
- Pressure regulator: When you're in camp, you will often have your system hooked up and turned on. A pressure regulator makes sure that the water coming into your system is set at a PSI that will not damage it. These simple devices maintain a safe PSI no matter what pressure is coming from the spigot.
If you find yourself camping without any hookups, also called boondocking or dry camping, you can always fill your onboard water tanks and travel off-grid with what you brought. Just be careful because a long hot shower or a load in the wash can use a tremendous amount of water and necessitate a trip to another fill station.
Sewer and Waste Water Hookups
After cleaning the dishes, finishing a wash, or finally getting the kids showered for the night, you're left with a dilemma: what do you do with all of your wastewater? This is where your sewer hookups come into play.
In some cases, your campsite will have a dedicated sewer hookup. In this situation, you will connect to the sewer line upon arrival, and you can leave the valves open on both your black and gray tanks while in camp. You will usually see a white PVC pipe coming out of the ground, around 3 inches in diameter if your campsite has a sewer hookup. Be sure to ask the camp host if you are uncertain.
In other situations, your campsite might not have a dedicated sewer hookup. In this case, you'll need to visit a dump station periodically to empty your black and grey water tanks. Learn more about that topic in our How to Find and Use an RV Dump Station guide.
While you might dream of sunny days at the lake, long meandering fall hikes, or listening to park rangers speak about flora and fauna of the woods, the reality is that when you're RVing, sometimes it gets cold, wet, or just plain unpleasant.
For this reason, many campgrounds and RV resorts offer TV hookups with your camp spot. Usually, these connections are coaxial cables found near or around the power box, which screws into the coaxial receiver on your rig. This can be a nice reprieve from some of nature's less friendly weather or simply a cozy option for you and your loved ones to enjoy.
Visit Transwest to Find Your Ideal RV
If you're ready to upgrade your RV to include all the latest hookup options, including improved power, easy-to-use sewer hookups, and more, stop by a Transwest location or call us to find out about our current inventory. We'll be happy to assist you in finding the perfect rig for your needs.
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