Traveling in an RV is one of those great adventures: the thrill of exploring new places and carrying your home with you. And when your path takes you to Montana, an even more fantastic adventure awaits. As a new RV owner, there are some essential things to remember as you travel the Treasure State. Here are a few tips to get you ready for an exciting experience.
Summer is prime time for travel in Montana, especially for RVers. Temperatures in much of the state don’t top the 90s, and overnight lows keep it comfortable. But keep in mind that this busy season can make it difficult to fly by the seat of your pants. Advance bookings are your friend, especially if you plan to check out areas close to Montana’s premier national parks: Glacier and Yellowstone.
On the other hand, spring and fall—and even overwintering if you have the right gear—tend to be more relaxed. But a long winter means many campgrounds are closed in the colder months, and some may have utilities like water shut off from October to May. Be sure to check shut-off dates as you get past Labor Day. But if you can make dry camping work, you will have some serenity in the calm of the off-season.
Just because you’re in a hard-sided camper doesn’t mean you don’t need to consider wildlife while RVing in Montana. If you have food or cooking utensils outside your RV, you could be drawing in chipmunks and raccoons or even bears. And respecting wildlife is part of the law in many places you’ll stay. Learn how to be bear aware, and keep a clean camp to protect the critters that call the state home.
Remember that site length includes your vehicle if you’re towing your camper. And it’s a good idea to practice backing up before you get there to save yourself the frustration of trying to get into position while the whole campground watches. When planning, be specific on electrical—do you need 30 or 50 amp? Do the sites have full hookups, just electrical, or are they dry? Plan your dump and water fill stations, especially if the spot you’re staying in doesn’t have full amenities. It might be many miles down the road to the next fill-up or dump.
You’re going to be in some remote areas in Montana. Practice dumping your black tank before you hit up a busy dump station, and ensure you have everything you need. Do your slides work? And how about your generator? When you’re far from a specialized shop, it can be challenging to get that work done, so it’s best to check everything out in advance.
It goes beyond just downloading your favorite podcasts or audiobooks. Offline maps are essential, as well as letting your loved ones know you might not be in touch for a few days. But that’s part of the beauty in disconnecting. Take the extra time to look up from your phone and out at the view.
When planning your trip, you have plenty of spots to choose from. Whether you’re okay with boondocking in the mountains, far off of paved roads and with no amenities, or prefer all the comforts, you’ll have different priorities.
Split the difference with a stay at a Highline Adventures property, where you can find the support of a developed campsite in a gateway community with that local campground feel. Butte KOA Journey has easy access to Blacktail Creek with a fenced dog area and a seasonal pool. Bozeman Trail Campground has sites for those big rigs while still being close to town. Glacier Peaks RV Park and Mountain View RV Park offer easy access to Glacier with more services in town. And Osens RV Park puts you right at the gateway to Yellowstone. Book your stay, and gear up for the Montana RV life.