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Home / Travel Resources / Travel Advice / Camping/RVing Tips

Camping/RVing Tips

Campfires

Campfire regulations are seasonal and vary from region to region. During the summer months forest fires are a very real danger and bans are put in place in the dryer areas. For detailed regional information about fire regulations, contact the BC Wildfire Service  or their Information Line at 1-888-336-7378. Always check with local BC Visitor Centre, as local regulations always supersede those of the BC Wildfire Service.

Please limit your use of campfires to cooking and warmth. They not only create a danger of forest fires, but the smoke from campfires pollutes the environment. When gathering fuel use only fallen wood and never live timber. Often, cut wood can be purchased from campgrounds.

Don't burn garbage in your campfire. The smell is unpleasant for you and your neighbours, and may even attract bears into your camp. Unburned waste left in a fire pit is an unappealing discovery for whoever uses the site after you.

Never leave a fire unattended and always make sure that it is fully extinguished. Even days after having burned down embers can stay hot and pose a hidden danger. Pull apart the logs and pour water over the coals. These simple rules will help keep British Columbia's forests for all to enjoy.

Camp Green Canada

Campers shoud use non-toxic biological products that effectively control odours from holding tanks. When campers dump into a sani-station or via a sewer hook-up, non-toxic biological products that are released aid the work of the septic system at the campground. 

Chemical RV odour control products can be harmful to you and the environment as they:

  • Damage campground septic systems and municipal sewage systems
  • Contaminate groundwater and surface water
  • Reduce air quality in your RV
  • Can affect your health

Non-toxic biological products are available that effectively control odours from holding tanks without causing harm to you or your environment. Ask for non-toxic products when you shop.

Camping Etiquette

Many people go camping to leave the city behind. Even though you're spending time away from your neighbours, it's important that you don't forget about the people who are camping around you. Following these simple suggestions will keep you on good terms with your fellow campers.

Be considerate when selecting a campsite and try to leave space between you and your neighbours.

Many campgrounds have a set quiet time, often from 10:00 pm until 7:00 am. Even if the campground you are staying in doesn't, be considerate. Even during the day, loud stereos can be a nuisance for those looking for peace and relaxation. The same applies to generators - if you feel it necessary to use one, try to do it when it will bother the least amount of other people.

It's a general rule that when you leave a campsite, you leave it cleaner than when you found it. There's nothing worse than arriving at a campsite to find litter on the ground and in the fire pit. It only takes a few minutes to pick up your empty cans, rubbish and cigarette butts. Most campsites have garbage cans for you to use, and if not, most highway rest stops have trash cans for travellers.

RV Towing Restrictions in BC

Towing an RV of less than 4,600 kg: Most recreational trailers weigh less than 4,600 kg, and thus may be driven by a driver with a passenger car driver's license (Class 5 or 7 in British Columbia). An air brake endorsement is required if either the truck or trailer has air brakes. For more details, visit ICBC Towing a Trailer.

Towing an RV more than 4,600 kg: For RV trailers weighing more than 4,600 kg and neither the recreational trailer nor your truck has air brakes, you need:
• Class 1, 2 or 3 driver's license, or
• Class 4 or 5 driver's license with a heavy trailer endorsement (code 20), or
• Class 4 or 5 driver's license with a house trailer endorsement (code 07).

If you want to tow an RV that weighs more than 4,600 kg and either the recreational trailer or your truck has air brakes, you need a Class 1 driver's license with an air brake endorsement. For more information check out ICBC Towing a Trailer.

Trailer Weight Calculation: Please note that the weight of the trailer is measured when fully loaded and the best way to determine this is to visit a truck weigh scale. Some RV owners assume the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) marked on their trailer is its actual weight. It isn't. The GVWR is the maximum weight a vehicle, with its load, is designed to safely carry. Operating an overloaded vehicle is dangerous and illegal.

Brakes: All trailers and towing dollies over 1,400 kg (3,080 lbs) must be equipped with brakes on all wheels plus a break-away device hooked to the trailer brake system.

Trailers with a laden weight over 2,800 kg (6,160 lbs) must have brakes and the brakes must be capable of being applied by the driver independently of the towing vehicle's brake. A surge brake does NOT meet this requirement. A breakaway brake is required. Brakes are required on all axles.

Towing Dolly Brake Requirements: Gross weight of dolly and motor vehicle carried is 1,400 kg (3,080 Ibs) or less.

Brakes are not required on the dolly if the net weight of dolly plus (+) the gross weight of motor vehicle carried plus (+) the gross weight of tow vehicle equals (=) less than the gross vehicle weight rating of the towing vehicle.

Combinations other than the two outlined above require brakes on the towing dolly. Brakes are not required on the motor vehicle being carried by the dolly.

Maximum RV Width: Maximum total overall width for RVs is 2.6 m (8 ft 6 in). Mirrors only may exceed the width by 20 cm (8 in) on each side.

Maximum RV Length: Maximum total length for a motorhome is 14 m (45 ft 11 in), however 14 m Motorhomes must have 3 axles. Maximum length for a towed RV is 12.5 m (41 ft). Maximum overall length for a combination is 20 m (65.6 ft).

Maximum RV Height: Maximum for any vehicle is 4.15 m (13 ft 8 in).

Passengers in Travel Trailers and Campers

No person shall be on, or in, a trailer used for living accommodation while it is moving on a highway. There is no difference here between a 5th wheel and regular trailer.

A person on, or in, a vehicle being driven or operated on, or across, a highway shall, while the vehicle is in motion, remain seated on a seat that has been securely installed in the passenger compartment of the vehicle.

Propane

The BC Safety Authority has issued the following notice about RV propane safety: RV propane safety checklist. RVs on any BC Ferry must have the propane shut off at the cylinder.

Sewage Disposal

In British Columbia we pride ourselves on having a clean environment. Disposing of grey and black water from RV holding tanks should be done responsibly. There are many sanidump stations around the province. Some sanidumps are free while others charge a modest dumping fee. For a list of places to dump visit sanidumps.com - Canada.

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Background Photo Credit: Destination British Columbia

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