RV Question

Questions, answers, tips & tricks for newbies and veterans alike
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RV Question

Post by pavan » Sat Feb 09, 2019 12:59 pm

Hi Lovey burners!

I was wondering if you could all give me your opinions about RV.

Would you suggest to rent an RV from a company like Cruise America or to rent from a person through sites like outdoorsy or rvshare ?


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Re: RV Question

Post by Jackass » Sat Feb 09, 2019 1:05 pm

Rent a minivan or a cargo van, they're much cheaper.
Sooner or later, it will get real strange...

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Re: RV Question

Post by Canoe » Sat Feb 09, 2019 7:46 pm

Boy do you have a lot of reading to do.
There can be issues with bringing an RV to the playa, but lots do. And more potential issues if it's a rental. Some rentals have even been confiscated by their owners as going to BRC wasn't authorized. And there can be extra generator fees, or large cleaning fees, or large bogus cleaning or large bogus "this needs replacing" fees. "Large" can be thousands. But they might be legitimate fees if you screwed something up because you didn't do your research.

And there are tips on not baking in the heat and on keeping it clean.

You need to do some research.

The eplaya site search sucks.
Start googling site:eplaya.burningman.org for RVs and related.
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... but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.

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Re: RV Question

Post by Skuzzy61 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 5:21 am

We went the RV route for our first burn in 2016. We are coming back in 2019 in an RV.

Both have been rentals.

In 2016 we used a local RV place to rent from. They allowed me to come to their shop and inspect the RV before it was ready for us. They had the thing ripped apart and going over it with a fine tooth comb. The guy said, the last thing they want is for an RV to break down in the middle of nowhere. It instantly negates any profit they make on renting it.

We went local, in Fort Worth, TX, as it was the cheapest way to go. We, literally, saved thousands of dollars driving to Burning Man and back as rentals close to Burning Man are stupid expensive.

If you go the RV rental route, I would stay away from the individual renter. There are many companies around that do consignment of an RV. They are picky about it and the ones who cannot get into those programs end up renting on their own.

Just remember, on the Playa there is no gas. You will not be able to run a generator all the time, if you are there the entire week. You cannot count on the refrigerator either, even if it is propane powered, as it requires electricity to ignite the propane (we found out the hard way). This is usually provided from a utility battery, which can run down if you are not able to run the generator for hours at a time, daily.

Be sure to top the gas tank off in Gerlach, before getting to the gate. It is a pain in the butt and expensive, but worth it. Again, it depends on how long you are going to be there.

As to the rental itself. By the way, I am assuming a Class C motorhome. Most of this was learned from our experience of being on the Playa for 9 days. Be sure to get the insurance. Things can happen outside your control and repairing an RV is usually an expensive proposition.

Make sure it has a generator (not all do). Check for the hours you can use it. Most have plans with unlimited generator hours, but not all. You really want a Honda generator as it is the lease intrusive as far as noise goes. Onan is next. Be kind to your camp mates and keep your generator exhaust pointing away from them, it at all possible.

Check for how many miles allowed in the rental agreement. All of them have limits. Do not think you can check the lowest miles to save money and pay at return. The penalties are STEEP.

Check the size of the gas tank. You will want a 55 gallon tank as it is also where the generator will draw its gas from. Most of the RV's limit how much of that fuel it will use as well.

If you are staying any time at all on the Playa, be sure to stop at a camp. before you get to the gate, and dump your gray and black water and fill the fresh water tank.

Do not count on using the shower in the RV. Take baby wipes instead. The gray water tank is usually only half the size of the fresh water tank.

Take enough Reflectix to cover the windows of the RV and seal up the seams around the doors and all the roof vents. Good blue paper tape is your buddy. You will want to do this to mitigate the amount of dust to deal with when you clean it on return, and to keep it cooler during the day.

We spent so little time in the RV we only ran the generator at meal times. At night we just covered up well as it will cool down in the RV.

You will need to start the RV engine once a day and let it run a bit to insure the battery does not die as it does not get charged by the generator. You can also start your generator at the same time to save on the utility battery charge.

One last thing. RV's might leak, while they are parked. It is up to you to take care of that. Do not just hop in your RV, when it is time to go, and pull away without stopping and checking the Playa where you parked. We prefer to put a tarp under the RV and park on it. Any moisture dripping out will evaporate. Oils and/or anti-freeze is the captured.

Those are the highlights of living on the Playa with an RV.

Returning the RV. In Fernley (856 Pilot Road) is a very good track wash place. Stop there and get the RV cleaned. They do a good job. Please do not return the RV without cleaning it, even if you pay for the cleaning service at rental time. It reflects on all burners and serves to drive the rental costs up or shut down renting to burners.

Final note. Read the rental contract and pay attention to the consumables.
As the camp evolves.....
We got this! 2016/2019
We had it! 2020
We almost lost it! 2021
We have no idea where it is! 2022
Who the hell are we and why are we here? 2023

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Captain Goddammit
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Re: RV Question

Post by Captain Goddammit » Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:08 am

There is gas on the playa.
You can run power 24/7, I’ve done it lots of times.
Onan is not second in quietness. Those things are loud.
Your best bet is a portable Honda or even Champion inverter generator.
The $3/hr or more fee for generator running time offsets a fair amount of the cost of buying one. You can even resell it afterwards if you don’t want to own it.
It will use a lot less fuel, and that’s a big deal. The built-in runs at 3600 RPM all the time. The portable Honda throttles down to idle and only throttles up as needed for the electrical load on it at the time.
An EU2200 might run the AC, an EU3000 definitely will, or a pair of the smaller ones.
If you are trying to run AC off a small genny that barely powers it, shut off the electric hot water heater (run it on propane), same for refrigerator (run on propane) and shut down the battery charger too. Those extra loads will make the difference between having enough watts for the air conditioner or not.

If you’re not gonna use the shower and have power, WTF are you bringing an RV for?
There is greywayer tank pumping but it’s expensive. I just bring 30 or 55-gallon plastic barrels, a funnel and a bucket and dump mine into the barrels and dump that at the first dump station off the playa afterward.
Whether the truck engine or generator charge which batteries depends on the coach and whether the switches are in the right positions.
A set of jumper cables will have the truck engine charging the “house” batteries faster than the generator will, IF it isn’t wired so it can already do that. The alternator makes a lot more current than the battery charger that the generator powers does.
But if you’re gonna run the air conditioner you might as well let the battery charger do it’s thing while you’re at it.
The truck engine battery shouldn’t be going dead, it isn’t powering the rest of the coach. You could pull the negative cable off to make sure.
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Re: RV Question

Post by Skuzzy61 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:42 am

The Onan we had was pretty damn quiet. Not a quiet as a Honda, but I was surprised at how quiet it was. A portable is a better deal, if you have room to haul it out there. We didn't.

We ran the gen and A/C for lunch and dinner and that was about it. We never lit the hot water heat off. Never had a need for hot water.

I asked around about gas, but was told there was not any to be had on the Playa.

In our case, the utility battery was getting a charge (yes, I did bring a volt-ohm meter) but was not holding the charge. Thankfully, we were prepared for such problems.

Starting the engine, daily, and letting it warm up was just an insurance policy. I noted all the lead acid batteries were replaced at one time. With one failing, I opted to be safe than sorry.

You never know what you might get when you rent. Just have to be prepared for the worst of it.

What we enjoyed about the RV was the bed and being more isolated from noise when we needed to rest. The microwave was also a blessing.

We got a long fine in 2016 and figure to repeat it in 2019.
As the camp evolves.....
We got this! 2016/2019
We had it! 2020
We almost lost it! 2021
We have no idea where it is! 2022
Who the hell are we and why are we here? 2023

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some seeing eye
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Re: RV Question

Post by some seeing eye » Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:49 am

Welcome to ePlaya!

The magic and the curse of the Black Rock Playa is that it is mud. The mud breaks into the tiniest size dust - think baby powder. It smells something like ammonia. (It is also a microbial stew, including shrimp eggs that hatch when the lake bed floods)

That dust will get all over your clothes, shoes, skin and hair. It blows into every opening during the windstorms.

So it will get into the carpet, dashboard, seats, beds, engine compartment, undercarriage, all the inside door latches and switches. It is corrosive to anything electric and many metals once it combines with water or humidity when it gets home. Once it's in the ventilation system, it's impossible to remove.

Therefore don't rent from a private party unless they have previously rented it to go to Burning Man and know what they are getting into.

The rental companies for cars and RVs charge large cleaning fees, then sell them after a few years to some victim who has no idea that all the electrical connections are slowly corroding.

There are several long threads on RVs with useful information here.
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Re: RV Question

Post by gbus » Sun Feb 10, 2019 4:51 pm

The latest episode of the Burner Podcast is an RV special. Worth a listen

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