Some of the most debated topics in the RV community are things like which toilet paper is best, which brand of truck is best for towing, and even debates on whether or not to cover your RV when you’re not using it.
Since 2015 we have met some great people through our weekend adventures. One thing we have learned with meeting these folks is that although we all share many of the same interests, we are all individuals and have varying opinions on certain topics.
You can find evidence of these highly debated topics in any RV forum or in the comment section of any social media post.
In most cases, the people debating these topics are not right or wrong, it’s just a matter of opinion and what works best for certain people.
That’s what this article is about. We took several online polls, or surveys, to find out where people stand on 5 of the most debated and controversial topics in the RV community.
Let’s jump in…
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- The 5 Most Debated Topics In The RV Community
- Toilet Paper Debate
- Tow Vehicle Brand Loyalty
- Leaving Exterior Lights On Overnight Controversy
- Traveling With Propane On Debate
- Do You Drink The Water In Your Fresh Water Tank?
- Final Thoughts
The 5 Most Debated Topics In The RV Community
We asked real RVers to fill out surveys that we posted on our Facebook page and Facebook group asking where they stood on some of the most debated and controversial topics in the RV community.
The responses we got were just as we suspected. While many of the opinions are very different, what we found is that what works for one family may not work for another.
Keep in mind, however, that this is just a small fraction of the overall RV community. But I believe that the results would be similar with more RV owners answering the survey questions.
1. The Toilet Paper Debate
The toilet paper debate is probably the most controversial topic among RV owners. The opinions on what you should or shouldn’t put into the toilet of your RV vary and fall into 4 main categories.
The first category of RV owners do not put toilet paper or any paper product in the toilet of their RV. In fact, some of these RVers don’t use their toilet at all and instead opt for using the campground bathrooms.
The second group only uses “RV Safe” toilet paper, the third only uses “Septic Safe” toilet paper, and finally, the last group uses whatever they can get their hands on.
We had 45 RVers respond to our survey and the results are listed below.
What Type Of Toilet Paper Do You Use In Your RV?
- Don’t Flush Toilet Paper – 11.1%
- RV Safe Toilet Paper – 33.3%
- Septic Safe Toilet Paper – 15.5%
- Regular Toilet Paper – 40%
Keep in mind that there are no right or wrong answers. It comes down to what works best for you and your family’s needs.
For us, we have found that there is no real benefit to using RV safe toilet paper. We use “septic safe” toilet paper and use plenty of water when we flush.
In addition, we also make sure to thoroughly clean our black tank each time we dump to prevent a build-up of paper and solids in the tank.
2. Tow Vehicle Brand Loyalty
Many RV owners are loyalists when it comes to a specific brand they prefer when towing their campers or fifth wheels.
Talking about which tow vehicle is best for hauling a camper can lead to some serious debates. There are those that have the opinion that nothing should be towed by a truck smaller than an F-450, even a pop-up camper.
At the other end of the debate are those that say they can pull anything with their trucks, even the largest fifth wheel camper.
I understand that brand loyalty is one thing, but when it comes to towing capacity, it’s best not to rely on a brand alone to determine what a vehicle can, or can’t, tow.
However, in our survey, we asked our fellow RV owners if they had a preferred brand for towing their rig. Out of the 36 respondents, 18 people said they prefer Ford over any other truck brand.
Coming in second with 10 votes was Chevy/GMC and Dodge/Ram in third with 7 votes. Finally, we had one RVer that prefers Jeep.
Do You Have A Preferred Brand For A Tow Vehicle?
- Ford – 50%
- Chevy/GMC – 27.7%
- Dodge/Ram – 19.4%
- Jeep – 2.7%
- Toyota – 0%
- Nissan – 0%
For us, we have no preferred truck brand. We tow our Kodiak camper with a 2015 Chevy Silverado 1500.
3. Leaving Exterior Lights On Overnight Controversy
Another highly debated topic in the RV community is exterior lights being left on all night. These newer model travel trailers and fifth wheels have so many accent lights around them that they resemble a spaceship at night.
The controversy surrounding these exterior lights is what time should the exterior lights be turned off, or is it okay to leave them on after a certain time? And why not just leave a small porch light on versus every exterior light that a rig is equipped with, like front cap lights.
Many RVers, especially full-timers, say that the exterior lights that other RVers leave on at night affect their sleep. Others say they are no bother because they have black-out shades or some other means to block the light from coming into their rigs at night.
When asked if they leave their exterior lights on or off all night while at the campground, the responses were nothing like I was expecting.
We had a total of 74 RVers answer our survey and an overwhelming 79.7% do not leave their exterior lights on when camping.
9.4% said they do leave their lights on, and another 10.8% said it depends on the circumstances.
Do You Leave Your RV Exterior Lights On All Night?
- No – 79.7%
- Yes – 9.4%
- It Depends – 10.8%
Of the campers that do leave their lights on, or said it depends, they said that they will either leave the undercarriage lights or will use small solar lights that aren’t very bright.
For us, we do leave the exterior lights on all night. The main reason is for safety. Not only for our safety, but for the safety of our dogs as well. One of our dogs is blind from diabetes so making sure there are no wildlife or other creatures in the vicinity is crucial for him.
4. Traveling With Propane On Debate
Traveling with the propane tanks on or off is another topic that tends to get a lot of attention in the controversy category.
RV refrigerators can typically run on 120V, 12V, or propane. The main reason RV owners travel with their propane tanks on is so the refrigerator stays on to keep things cool.
On the other side of the debate are those who prefer to travel with the propane off.
Most RVers that travel with the propane on say they have been doing it for years and have never had an issue.
However, those that turn it off say it’s because of the safety and fire risks involved with leaving the propane on.
If the unthinkable happens and there is an accident, a broken or ruptured propane line will add another level of danger to an already bad situation.
In our survey we had 38 RV owners respond and found that the debate surrounding traveling with the propane on or off is almost equal. 44.7% of the respondents say they do travel with it on while 55.2% turn it off when they travel.
Do You Travel With The Propane Turned On?
- Yes – 44.7%
- No – 55.2%
As for us, we turn the propane off. The campgrounds we typically stay at are close enough to home that there is no real need to keep the fridge running while we’re on the road.
5. Do You Drink The Water In Your Fresh Water Tank?
If you’re boondocking or staying at a campground that does not have fresh water hookups, your RV fresh water tank can provide the water you need to shower, flush the toilet, and even drink.
You can fill the tank with potable water from home, campgrounds, or any other place that offers clean water.
However, many RV owners do not drink the water that is stored in the fresh water tank. Instead, they opt for an external water filter like a Berkey, or they have bottled water on board.
The debate that surrounds drinking the water in the fresh tank comes down to preference. Those that refuse to drink the water say it’s because of bacteria growth within the tank. Even if they regularly clean and sanitize the fresh water tank, they prefer to use filtered water for drinking.
On the other side of the debate are those that regularly drink the water from the tank. Many of these RVers say they have been drinking the water for years with no problems or issues.
I have to say I was a bit surprised by the results of our poll. Out of the 43 RV owners who responded, an overwhelming 83.7% said they do not drink the water from their fresh water tank. On the other hand, only 16.2% said they do drink the water, with one couple saying they only drink from the tank if they’re desperate.
Do You Drink The Water In Your RV Fresh Water Tank?
- Yes – 16.2%
- No – 83.7%
For us, we have never used our fresh water tank, but if we had a need to use it, we wouldn’t drink from the tank. We would carry additional bottled water or some other form of filtered water for drinking.
As you can see, there are many highly debated and controversial topics among RV owners in the RV community. The ones listed in this article are just a small sample of the differing opinions we all have. In addition, the RV owners who participated in our surveys represent a very small fraction of the RV community. However, I believe it would be safe to say that the results would be very similar if more RVers voiced their opinions.
In most cases, there is no wrong or right side of the debate. It’s a matter of personal preference and what works best for each of us. That’s what makes the RV community so great. It’s different people coming together with one common interest, to explore and spend time with our families.
What are your thoughts on the most debated and controversial topics in the RV community? Do you have anything to add to the discussion? If so, drop us a comment below and let us know.
David is a U.S. Air Force veteran who currently lives on the Texas Gulf Coast with his wonderful wife of 26 years and their two furry companions, Gus and LuLu.
As an outdoor and RV enthusiast, David loves to spend his free time taking road trips and spending as much time as possible at the campground with the family in their 2018 Dutchmen Kodiak 201QB travel trailer