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Your Best Summer Ever: RV Camping Tips

Few things say summer more than a camping trip with the family trailer or motorhome. Whether you’re planning an epic adventure across western Canada (and maybe even into the U.S.) or a weekend jaunt close to home, these RV camping tips and advice will ensure your travels are safe, happy and memorable.

Trailers act as giant trunks, allowing you to safely stow gear, coolers, non-perishable food, cottage supplies, water toys and more. Follow this checklist to ensure a safe drive.

• Verify vehicle’s towing capacity in owner’s manual and ensure you have the right hitch—from Class I (up to 2,000 lb) to Class V (up to 12,000 lb)

• Check tires for pressure and wear

• Ensure brake lights and turn signals are functional

• Inspect wheel bearings and lubricate as needed

• Inspect leaf springs on the trailer and look for cracks in each leaf

• To check for leaks on propane connections, spray soapy water and look for bubbles

• Make sure latch is locked down and safety pin is secured

• Safety chains should be connected in an X pattern under the hitch

• If trailer is equipped with emergency braking, ensure the battery is charged

Tandoori chicken, named for the chimney-shaped clay oven in which it’s traditionally cooked, is ideal for grilling over an open fire. Calgary-based cookbook author and food columnist Julie Van Rosendaal offers this easy campfire twist on a family favourite

rv camping tips campfire chicken recipe

• 1 cup plain yogurt
• Juice of half a lemon
• 2 garlic cloves, crushed
• 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
• 1 Tbsp chili powder
• 1 Tbsp cumin
• 1 Tbsp turmeric
• 1 tsp garam masala
• 1 tsp coriander
• 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
• 1 tsp salt
• 4-5 chicken legs with backs attached
• Fresh chopped cilantro (optional)

In a large bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, spices and salt. Add chicken legs and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour or overnight.

When you’re ready to cook, establish a bed of coals in your fire (or preheat grill). Remove chicken from marinade and grill directly on grate or grill, turning as necessary, for 20 to 30 minutes, or until cooked through and juices run clear. Sprinkle with cilantro, if desired.

Serve with homemade naan bread.

Dean Goerzen, operations manager at GO RV, offers four tips for travelling with seniors, kids and people with mobility challenges.

1 When buying a new motorhome or trailer, look for floor plans featuring larger bathrooms to better accommodate wheelchair users.

2 Consider installing stairlift-style accessories. They really help anyone with mobility issues more easily enter and exit their RV.

3 Travelling with young children? A typical 26- to 32-foot family trailer should have enough room to accommodate a standard-size crib.

4 You can baby-proof most RVs using the same gear you’d use in your home—electrical plug covers, cabinet latches and adjustable baby gates.

Owning an RV is a big investment, so it’s best to talk to your insurance advisor to make sure you have the coverage you need.

Motorhome or camper van: Considered a vehicle, so requires its own auto policy for liability coverage.

Permanent items in RV: If not attached to it, they should have their own coverage.

10 road trip-worthy RV destinations in the west

Trailer liability: Covered under your existing auto liability insurance when attached to your vehicle.

Trailer damage: Add it to your auto policy to cover the unit and permanently attached things like beds, or your property policy—which covers the unit, plus contents like bedding, kitchen ware, TVs and even bicycles.

Peace of mind: Get an AMA Premier RV membership to extend roadside-assistance coverage to your trailer, camper or motorhome.


Three steps to getting that ooey-gooey goodness into your mouth, whenever there’s a campfire nearby.

1 Find a sturdy stick; whittle the tip to a point and wash it with a clean cloth.

2 Roast marshmallow about 10–15 cm above glowing embers at the base of your fire. Turn the stick slowly, like a rotisserie, to evenly cook the marshmallow.

3 After a few rotations, find a natural “oven” in the coals—a walled enclosure to reflect heat and cook the centre. Your ’mallow is ready when the skin is crisp and golden brown.

rv camping tips roasting marshmallows
illustrations: Jason Schneider