Have you ever had an A-class or C-class motorhome park right next to you, and hog the edge of the site boundary? You know, where their slides are right to the edge or even overhanging into your site, and they left no room for walking space between their utility pole and their rig for maintenance? And when you walk by their site you notice they still have two or more feet left by their patio to use, but still chose to hog the edge and walk in your outdoor living space anytime? Yeah – today we’re talking about those people!
Just as you would not crowd a plow while driving, don’t crowd your RV neighbor while parking.
Throughout our travels and RVing adventures, it never fails – a big bus-style or another fifth-wheel (let’s not discriminate, all sizes of rigs/owners tend to do this) will pull in, and let their slides and awnings overhang into our outdoor living area. (We’ve noticed this happens to other people, too, not just us!) We have a big rig, too, but have respect for our neighbor’s spaces. It’s truly annoying and disrespectful to crowd your neighbor by allowing your rig or gear to overflow into their space. Just in case you’re new to RVing and camping etiquette, don’t do this!
The Entitlement is Strong; the Ignorance Even Stronger
Remember – people PAY to use a campsite. We all pay the same rate for our sites when they’re adjacent. Just because someone owns something bigger or newer than their neighbor does not mean that they get to make other people suffer for their rig purchase choices. All RVers need to fit appropriately in the space that they rent. Don’t overhang. Don’t let your diesel pusher run for 30 minutes or more, smoking out your neighbors. Don’t crowd the street. Don’t use the neighboring space for all your slides, awnings, shades, tools, equipment, other vehicles, golf carts, and side-by-sides. Respect your neighbors.
The entitlement is strong with these people, though, and we see it happen more with white, older males and their A-class buses. We’ve also noticed this happens more with people who are from the red states, but that is a topic for another day.
This is not a public transit bus situation where people have to accommodate your larger size while finding a seat to sit. This is like an airplane – if you’re too big for the space they’ll require you to buy a separate adjacent ticket. This is also like driving down a two-lane highway – you need to stay in your lane – you can’t expect people to go into the ditch because you’re hogging the edge of the lane. Also, if you don’t fit into a site, that doesn’t mean you get to man-spread your hyperbolic legs and take up someone else’s space and expect them to be okay with it.
How to Park Your Rig
We have a 2017 NorthPoint 377BHS. It’s about 43′ in length, and is as about as wide as they come. We park as close to the patio as possible, letting our stairs overhang onto the patio (as intended). That leaves about 4-5 feet from the utility pole at most campgrounds to the edge of our trailer. It leaves about 2 feet away from the utility pole when our slides are out.
And that’s exactly how you want to park – leave buffer space on the back side (utility port side) of your rig for maintenance, hooking up, etc. Sometimes, peoples’ picnic tables are right next to the utility pole, as we’ve seen in some smaller, tighter campground spaces. The spaces are often narrow, and there’s not a lot of wiggle room. So if you don’t want to encroach on someone’s eating space, lawn chair area, or grass/gravel, it’s important to park as close to your own patio or driveway area as possible.
Parking too close to the edge and not leaving enough boundary gap to maintain your RV or A-class unit is going to annoy your neighbors; don’t expect them to be polite in you’re infringing or creeping into their space. Plus, you are at a higher risk of getting your RV scratched or damaged.
One, it’s customary to leave 1-2 feet of space between your utility pole and your slides to do your maintenance.
Two, any maintenance work you do should not infringe on your neighbors. Do not walk into their space. Do not handle your septic or water issues when there’s food or drinks out (bacterial fumes, much?!). Do not cross the utility pole–it’s the boundary line. Don’t invite yourself over. It’s also your responsibility to manage the people called out to wash your rig, make repairs, service it, etc.
Maintaining RVing Boundaries is Essential
In the Legend house, we’re big on boundaries. Boundaries help us maintain positive relationships, give each other space, and respect each other. When hopping onto Facebook into some of the full-time RVing groups, I notice a lot of people complaining about kids. So let’s talk about kids and boundaries.
Kids are often taught, especially in our household, what the boundaries are for sites. If you want kids to act accordingly, then help reinforce boundaries and good camping behavior. Don’t show them that overhanging into their space is a reason for them not to respect YOUR space.
Some kids aren’t taught this info, but for the most part, most families with kids have ‘the talk’ about not crossing into others’ sites, appropriate behavior, throwing toys, rocks, etc. But when other people encroach on your site, it causes confusion because kids have been told not to go past a certain point in the outdoor space, that usually being the utility pole. If you set up your rig beyond that utility pole, that decreases the amount of space for kids to play (and further increases the risk your rig will get scratched).
If you’re a big rig type RVer and you’re hogging that edge, not leaving yourself room for maintenance, you’re confusing kids in general about basic boundaries. Why should they respect your rig when you don’t respect their space? Each time someone does this, a new set of rules has to be established so kids don’t come too close to your unit. Try to explain this to four or five-year-old kids (good luck!). If you leave room and stay in your own space, it’s easier to enforce those rules and let there be consistency. I’ll explain.
Be a Good Neighbor: Give Neighboring Kids Their Space
Our kids love to dress up in super hero costumes, and even play Star Wars with their light sabers. It’s their outdoor activity they love to do when all their schoolwork is completed. We’re dealing with a neighbor right now whose rig’s slideouts are touching the edge, even beyond the edge in some aspects. Their awnings stretch even further out beyond the edge line, beyond the utility pole into our space that we pay a handsome fee to use.
The man who owns the rig is from Indiana, and is a bible camp RVer most of the time. He is constantly, sometimes multiple times a day, crossing into our site where our kids play to maintain his rig, releasing all kinds of ugly smells while we’re eating or outside watching our kids play, sipping on cocktails. If he had simply parked a bit closer to the patio, his rig would not be overhanging into our space.
As a side note, we’ve had neighbors even dump their septic hoses into our living space. Gross. (Again, please don’t do this.)
This particular gentleman next to us right now is begging for his rig to get scratched. Our kids love to swing their light sabers around, including swords if they’re playing castles. Because he’s too close, now they can’t use their normal play space because they’ll hit his rig within the boundary we’ve taught them. That utility pole is an important marker for many families. It’s the DO NOT CROSS THIS LINE marker many families come to rely on. So right now, we’re constantly on the edge whenever the kids are at play, worried they’ll strike his way-too-close, smelly, noisy RV.
What saddens me is that families like ours work very hard to ensure our kids are not disruptive for other guests. We’re labeled as a “nice family” by many other guests and even campground owners. But often times this niceness gets confused with being able to trample all over our established boundaries. “Oh they’re nice people they won’t mind that we’re close to the edge.” Yes, we DO mind. And when RVers like our current neighbor move in with their loud-ass exhaust pipes, dealing with their septic while we have food out, and have a complete disregard for boundaries, it gets tiring and at times, infuriating.
The RV Etiquette Infractions
He keeps coming 8-10 feet into our site from the site boundary line (also marked with a different color gravel rock) to pet our dogs. We don’t want people intruding on our space and possibly getting bit. [Note – do not pet other campsites’ dogs without the owner’s consent.]
He’ll empty his septic tank while we’re outside eating. Gross, right? He’ll even leave the septic cap open to drain his water filtration system. Dude, hook up a hose to do that and cover the septic drain, please. [Note – have some basic respect–wait to empty your tanks when your neighbors are back inside.]
He doesn’t bother to move over even though there’s plenty of space to do so. He has SO MUCH SPACE available to him on their own site – why do they need to hog the utility pole edge? People, don’t do this. Give your rig some breathing room (there’s also the issue of fires, hazards, faulty wiring, gas tank explosions, etc.). [Note – read the room – are you too close to the pole?]
He also parks his truck overhanging into our space, perpendicular to his A-class, and then drives it through our driveway to pull out onto the street. [Note – park like a normal person, read the room on how everyone is parking, and don’t park with your headlights flashing into your neighbor’s rig.]
One day this past week, I got a bit tired of it, and instead of parking my truck like I normally do in front of our fifth wheel (ahem, like a normal person), I moved it perpendicular just like he did to face his truck’s headlights (which were pointing at our bedroom window). In doing so, I blocked his headlights from shining into our bedroom and disabled his ability to drive through our site. Well, that took care of that problem, and neighbor returned to parking like a normal person, following the parking cues of everyone else at the campground.
The Solution – A Dog Fence?
So what’s the solution when you’re an introverted, non-confrontational person? A dog fence.
Short of just confronting the guy and being like, “hey, could you like, move over” this is the only option I think we can put into play without causing a confrontation. Plus it’ll solve two issues.
I’m thinking about putting up a dog fence, for two purposes: 1) keep people from walking in and petting our dogs, as visual boundaries are helpful for these types of boundary-lacking people and 2) to help reinforce that site boundary, so that when new neighbors arrive, they’ll allow more space between the edge of their slides and the utility pole.
If/when we put up the dog fence, the next site over will be forced to allow some breathing room between their site and ours, because the fence line will be there to restrict walking space right by the utility pole. We’ve seen a few other RVers stretch their dog fence out and I think they might have the right idea here. We may very soon follow suit.
We’ll see how that goes.
I get the feeling sometimes, that the ones who need this kind of information the most are the ones who do not read blogs about camping etiquette. You’d think it would be common sense for people to not walk into others’ sites, but apparently it’s not.
It’s one of those “just because you can doesn’t mean you should” type scenarios. Like a direct path to the beachfront or a bathroom, but you’d have to walk under someone’s awning in front of their RV door. Just because it’s accessible or allows a pathway, doesn’t mean you should do that. Go around, you know?!
Joe and I, when we’re camping or stationed somewhere for a photography shoot, are very aware of our surroundings and do our very best not to infringe upon the lives of our neighbors. Often when we leave we get compliments on our kids and a word of “thanks” for keeping our kids in line. And we’re grateful that people appreciate this, because it’s something we work at with them to be mindful of others.
Now if we could just get other RVers to return the favor by respecting others’ spaces and environments, we’d be all good! 🙂