Campground RV Lighting

Lights in your campsite – are they light pollution?

One hot topic that comes up in many camping discussions lately centers around campground courtesy. There can be many aspects to what is considered courteous to each person, and I hope to explore many of those related topics over a series of these blogs, because they seem to be concerning enough to so many people that they really deserve their own posts for each type of courtesy topics.

So today lets consider what I’ve seen as a super sensitive subject lately – the use of lighting in each person’s campsite. This post is not to debate that one or the other is right or wrong or better than the other, but rather just to bring to light (no pun intended) why it seems to bring out strong feelings with many people.

There are people who truly relish getting away from their connections to everyday stress. Those connections can be something different for each person. I’ve known people who absolutely love camping in a tent as true unplugged “roughing it”. I’ve known people who wouldn’t accept anything less than “glamping” with many creature comforts but usually still like to cook outdoors…and I even know of people who once owned a camper but now enjoy hotel stays as their least stressful option because the beds are made for them and they simply enjoy eating out rather than having to prepare anything. The point is, there is no one-size-fits-all for anything when it comes to RV life, and I’m sure we all know people besides ourselves that fit almost anywhere between the extremes of those previous examples.

So there are some who want absolute quiet with only the sounds of nature, there are some who want complete darkness except of the stars to light their nighttime campsite, and there are even special no light pollution camping areas with them in mind. And most of us remember when oil lanterns and gas lanterns were common like in the picture above with only a Coleman type lantern and campfire for light before LED’s became inexpensive, as well as their inherent additional safety, although there are times it’s still a bit of fun nostalgia to use these items again if the LED lanterns don’t simulate that effect like in the above picture close enough.

But in recent years, LED’s have become more popular for other lighting effects. Their many advantages include using a quarter of the usual power, such as when on battery, less heat on hot nights, and possibly even attract less insects. There are of course many color options. I can remember when plastic colored awning lanterns powered usually be Christmas or nightlight style bulbs were considered a fun party atmosphere addition to many campsites. None of these were extremely bright, but they did make a satisfying enough amount of light, that together with the single patio light on the side of most campers and a lantern on the picnic table, that a family game or adult card game between neighbors was not a rare occurrence.

Recently another trend as the lighting technology has advanced has become popular with some. LED light strips along the bottom and/or underside of many campers – sometimes in a steady color – blue seems to be the most popular – and sometimes flashing or changing colors at a slow or rapid pace. Some have blue or a rather intense white on their awnings, lighting some patio spaces with a similar intensity to rival many home kitchens, and there are some RV units that incorporate intense colors such as blue LED’s on their fronts. There are many other options and combinations that are gaining popularity, and still others that have been used over the years (remember the plug adapter to leave your trailer lights on – sometimes with the flashers going (that one was usually for an emergency adapter for roadside emergencies, so it did have another useful purpose).

There can be many practical uses for some of these lights, including a bit of a homing beacon for children returning to the campsite, lighting to walk pets, and of course patio time in the evening with or without a campfire. One special use I was aware of over the years was for an assisted living patient who was mobility challenged, but still loved to go camping in a tent, and their caregivers graciously would bring them along to enjoy the camping experience…so rope lights and a few Christmas lights were used to make sure they were able to navigate their way through the campsite so they could go to and from the public restrooms at night because flashlights weren’t the best option in their specific case.

So without fail, in many campgrounds today, personal preferences often come into play, which of course leads to common courtesy issues. The die-hard stargazers and the total nature unplugged lovers want as minimal light as possible except of campfires. Some of the party hardy folks enjoy many light options, sometimes all night long until the sun comes up. Luckily the majority of people fall somewhere in the middle, where they enjoy, or at least can tolerate, a well lit patio area and maybe even a bit of a party atmosphere until quiet time, and then most turn off the majority, if not all their lights, when they retire for the night. Sometimes the length and even lumens intensity of this is even weekend and holiday related, where there is sometimes more tolerance for longer lighting hours.

Much to some people’s dismay, there really is not a perfect right or wrong answer to what is considered discourteous. It kind of depends on the location, any rules, and other factors. But I have noticed a bit of a disturbing trend towards increasing intolerance towards each persons personal preference, and that seems to be getting worse as the technological options increase.

No matter what, if you stand on a certain this issue, the best recommendation I can make is to be kind and understanding in whatever situation you find yourself in. Communication can often be another wonderful tool if you can strike up a conversation about this with your neighbors, but there are times when tolerance might be abetter option too – it really just depends. If you like stargazing and it’s not possible at your campsite, is it possible to temporarily walk to another spot to enjoy the stars for a short while? If you personally prefer bright lights on the other hand, try to remember that there is such a thing as light pollution for many people and I assume very few of even the brightest light fans would want the equivalent of search or flood lights to be aimed at them for long periods of time. The real secret is compromise…maybe limit the amount of lights if your neighbors campsite is in close proximity and limit the operational time if possible. In some campgrounds the lighting rules are similar or the same as quiet times, but also try to understand that there can be exceptions, such as the assisted living example where they still needed some light all night, or the campsite that is using lighting for arriving children or guests but will hopefully be turning off or lowering their light intensity or number of lights when they go to bed. And there’s also many people who now live in their RV’s who may need that quiet time to prepare for work the next day. There are some inherent risks to full timing in a campground, which most are understandable of, but comes back to that communication and compromise thing again.

What makes camping so special is that it is adaptable to many preferences and situations. There might be times when it’s all about what you like, but most times what works best is when it’s about what’s best for all and not just one person or group.

My sincere wish is that we can all continue to enjoy this RV lifestyle – together! Safe travels!!

The New 2021 RV Season!

Is this a new normal – or a return to something familiar?

There are many things that contribute to that feeling we love so much each year. For some it is of course more sunlight and gradually increasing outside temperatures as we come out of the darker days of winter, for others it might be the optimism that we could eventually come out of the long dark days of the pandemic we’ve endured since last year, but to most it’s looking forward to doing other things that we love to enjoy during the warmer times of the year even though you may be an avid winter sports enthusiast.

Looking forward to new or maybe repeat activities and special times keeps all of us going. While there’s no denying that even the simple joys of planning and anticipating family vacations and events such as reunions, weddings, anniversaries, and other special gatherings including holiday weekends such as Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor day has changed over the past year. How much it returns to our previous “normal” remains to be seen yet – and some of it might never return as before, but instead will return as a modified “new normal”. But we have, and will continue to look forward to all those times when we gather together with family and friends – and sometimes just times to get away from the routine by ourselves – or with family and/or friends – no matter how much that might have changed.

I said the same last year before everything in our lives seemed to go upside down, but it bears repeating that if you own an RV, now is the time to consider getting things ready for and during another season with normal maintenance and repairs, especially if you’ve been putting some off for a while. It’s also a perfect time to consider upgrades and improvements to enhance your RV enjoyment and functionality, such as LED lights, inverters, upgraded video, electrical systems, and many more accessory enhancements than I could list.

If you don’t own an RV yet, consider scheduling one of our rental RV’s for your upcoming special events – or just rent one to get away for an enjoyable weekend. There are many great reasons to rent an RV – family events, vacations, work events, or even just to find out if you and your family would enjoy the RV lifestyle.

But don’t hesitate – if you haven’t heard – RV travel has become the hottest activity since, during, and there’s no reason to think that it won’t still be “after” this pandemic has become just a memory. So new and used available RV units, and any needed repairs, and/or desired upgrades, and respective parts and accessory availability, as well as the exceptional servicing that we offer, are all often at a premium – so the sooner thing are scheduled, the more certain any possible delays are avoided.

We are here to help make your RV dreams come true – whether it’s renting an RV, or improving or repairing your new or current RV (and don’t forget other types of Recreational Vehicles we can help you with, like Watercraft, ATV’s, Motorcycles, and other Powersport equipment also) – we want to help you enjoy everything this 2021 season has to offer!

Spring and New Beginnings

We (finally) seem to be heading towards spring, which can be described as a time of rebirth, rejuvenation, renewal, resurrection and regrowth. As the daylight hours grow longer each day, most of us anxiously await with rejuvenating anticipation the start of a new RV season.

There are many things that contribute to that feeling we love so much each year. For some it is of course more sunlight and gradually increasing outside temperatures as we come out of the darker days of winter, for others it’s the anticipation of the Easter Holiday which might include such things as Friday Fish Fry’s (I know, that’s more of a Wisconsin thing and to some a Lenten thing), but to most it’s looking forward to doing other things that we love to enjoy during the warmer times of the year even though you may be an avid winter sports enthusiast.

Looking forward to new or maybe repeat activities and special times keeps all of us going. Planning family vacations and events such as reunions, weddings, anniversaries, and other special gatherings including holiday weekends such as Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor day. All those times when we get together with family and friends – and sometimes just times to get away from the routine by ourselves – with family and/or friends.

If you own an RV, spring is a time to consider getting things ready for the new season with normal maintenance, especially if you’ve been putting some off for a while. It’s also a perfect time to consider upgrades and improvements to enhance your RV, such as LED lights, inverters, upgraded video, electrical systems, and many more accessory enhancements than I could list.

If you don’t own an RV yet, consider scheduling one of our rental RV’s for your upcoming special events – or just rent one to get away for an enjoyable weekend. There are many reasons to rent an RV – family events, vacations, work events, or even just to find out if you and your family would enjoy RV’s.

We are here to help make your RV dreams come true – whether it’s renting an RV or improving or repairing your new or current RV (and don’t forget other types of recreational vehicles we can help you with like watercraft, ATV’s, motorcycles, and other powersport equipment also) – enjoy this springtime season!

Renting an RV

Things You Need to Know

Renting an RV is one of the best ways to explore the United States. If you are planning to rent an RV the following are things you need to know:

Choosing the Size and Type of RV

There are several different RV types. The larger the unit, the more space, privacy and comfort it will afford its guests. If you are planning to stay at one place for a long time and would like some luxury it would be a good idea to rent a Fifth Wheel. This will enable you to park your trailer and have the ability to use the truck for daily excursions. If you are planning to move around or drive on rougher roads, a smaller camper would be a great choice. Your decision will depend on how many people are traveling, where you will be going and also your budget. Take your time deciding, because your choice may make your vacation the most memorable ever or you will be so miserable you will never want to look at another RV again. Once you know which unit you would like to rent, visit us and check out the camper to make sure it will meet your expectations.

Reserving Early

If you are traveling during high season and you know which RV or trailer you would like to rent, it is a good idea to book your RV early. You will be able to secure the RV you want.

Basic Set Up

When you are going over the RV features and basic set up, make sure you are familiar with the leveling system and gauges. Gate valves for emptying grey and black tanks should be closed all the way. You don’t want to be splashed by a bit of sewage when the dust cap is taken off. Adjust mirrors to needed position. Make sure everything is in proper working condition.

Insurance

Making sure of insurance coverage is a good idea and will help ease any concerns about driving an expensive trailer.

Being Safe on the Road

Pick up your RV early. Drive it around a few blocks and test all the features yourself. If you come across a rare unexpected problem the mechanics may have missed, you will still have time to have it corrected before starting out, instead of finding out 300 miles into your trip.

Campgrounds and RV Parks

Canadian and US campgrounds offer camp sites ranging from back-to-nature basics in a wilderness setting, full facility campgrounds for RVs, quiet scenic camping sites, or RV parks with full resort facilities and amenities for families with children. When selecting an RV campground, it is important to plan ahead. Otherwise, you could arrive at your destination, only to find no place to stay. During peak season it is rare to find a campground without reserving. It is a good idea to purchase a couple of campground guides. They will give you information about fees and facilities.

Alternative Transportation

It may be enough to pack a couple of bicycles, there are foldable bikes on the market that are comparable to regular bikes. They are easy to store and fun to ride. A lot of experienced travelers bring along a small motorized scooter. Enjoyment of your vacation may depend on how you handle transportation needs once you park at a campground or RV park.

Secure your Load

Make sure everything in your trailer is put away in cabinets and whatever is not in cabinets is safely tied down so it can’t move. Checking the fridge is a good idea to make sure there is nothing that will spill or be thrown around during the trip. You wouldn’t want to get to your destination and find a fridge full of broken eggs or spilled milk. Not a fun way to start your trip.

Happy Travels!!

A New Roaring 20’s

Can you believe it? It’s the start of another new year! And not only that, but the start of a new decade!! Just like our ancestors of the similarly named roaring 20’s of a previous millennium, there’s no doubt there are all kinds of adventures old and new just waiting for all of us.

These are exciting times to be part of the RV industry. And our hope is to share that excitement with you. There are so many lasting memories to be made and to share in when you enjoy those special times with your friends and family, or even just for a rejuvenation by yourself. Our rental fleet stands ready to provide a weekend or longer for a events or even just to get away for a few days.

There’s nothing like the wonder in a child’s eyes the first time they haul in a fish. Or the enjoyment of enjoying friends and family around the glow of a campfire.

Maybe you simply need temporary housing for a local event. Many of our units have been rented during trade shows and annual fairs.

We’ve been honored the last few years to provide rentals and repair services to many. We’re now in the process of expanding this website into an even larger resource that you can turn to for more of your RV needs – not only for rentals, but also for your current and future RV units.

Feel free to share your special stories and experiences so that other’s can enjoy and learn from also. If you have any questions, please use any of our contact forms or simply email – any of our staff family will be pleased to help you!

Southside RV Rentals

Advantages of Rentals Being Our Main Business

Have you been thinking about renting an RV for your next vacation? There is an insider secret that many of our previous customers might know that you haven’t discovered yet – you can get more value by renting from us here at Southside where our main specialty is rentals. Of course everything has its pros and cons and is subject to personal opinion and bias, but here are some things to think about.

First of all, make sure you understand the differences between Class A (looks like a bus), Class C (more like a camper), Class B (the size of a large van) and, of course, pull-behinds and 5th wheels which are towed instead of driven. Many companies who are dealers just rent what they have in stock at the time – sometimes taken in used and currently for sale. Renting is a sideline for many dealers – some do it well – others might treat it like a sideline. A specialized RV rental business is highly likely to take excellent care and give special attention to their RV’s. Renters of an RV rental business like this one recognize that the unit itself is usually well cared for and are usually more respectful of the property they are renting which benefits future renters as well.

Of course everyone knows that large dealer companies have overhead costs to cover. Specialized RV rental businesses are much more likely to offer personalized added value in comparison for your rental, simply because they can!

Fees, fees and a few more fees! The big companies love them so much that sometimes they don’t even tell you about them until you’re picking up the keys. This is a common complaint in the industry. When comparing prices, always ask about Transport Fees, Cleaning Fees, Tear-Down and Retrieval Fees, and Dump Fees. Our fees are already spelled out on our website so there should be no surprises.

One thing that does represent a legitimate concern are breakdowns. Southside Camper Rental and Supplies does everything in it’s power to make sure everything is in good condition to avoid any problems. Other dealers rental units might not have been maintained and inspected as well as these units where rental is our main focus.

As in all things money, caveat emptor (buyer beware) and make sure you get a signed rental agreement AND read it. Do a little research, ask for some references and follow your instincts.

So, when you rent from us, you are more likely to enjoy your vacation, probably save a chunk of your change from our low prices for souvenirs, and make some new friends, at no extra charge.

Choosing The Right Rental

If you are looking to rent an RV for any reason, there are usually many things that you have to do in order to find what will fit your needs the best. Most people think that getting a camper for an upcoming event is just a matter of going to the nearest rental store and finding one. However, you need to consider some additional things. The procedure of renting an RV has to take into account everything that you are going to need during the trip to ensure that you end up having a good time. Thankfully, the process is often very easy to go through just as long as you are straightforward about your approach.

The first thing you would need to do is decide on what you’re planning to use the camper for. For instance, if you are looking to rent one for use by your whole family, you may need to get one which is sizeable enough for this. Each person has to have more than enough room to sleep and relax in. Considering that most of the time campers are rented for purposes of relaxation, this is something that one should not really take for granted.

In addition to that, you may also need to figure out what kind of equipment you need on the RV. For instance, if you are the kind of person who loves cooking, you may need to rent one which has a gas cooker. This also means that you would need to think of how to get food for the RV. Getting one which also has a refrigerator may be in your best interests if you are looking to find an RV you can easily cook in. Thankfully beyond minor size and feature differences, most of these requirements are already included in almost all RV’s as standard equipment.

Once you have all your requirements listed down, you can then go ahead to find a rental business like us who can rent the RV that you need. Since everyone has different needs as far as these vehicles are concerned, the best way to get the one that suits you most is by consult our large variety of rental options. This way, you can easily just go through the inventory and choose the one that suits you most. It is very easy to get the ideal RV rental in this manner since you may not need to spend too much time on the process.

Once you have found the RV that you think is ideal for you, you should then proceed to examine it. In most cases, these RVs are found online, which means that one may not get the opportunity to examine them in such a setting. Once you have found the one you are looking for, it is a great idea to visit us and find out more about the RV in question. After you are sure that everything checks out for your needs, you can then reserve the rental and go ahead with planning your trip.