Wecome To RVs and OHVs

This blog is all about RVs (recreational vehicles) and OHVs (Off Highway Vehicles), camping, and survival
and how they work together to provide wholesome family fun and great learning opportunities.
Many posts are intended to familiarize novice campers and RVers with RV systems and basic camping and survival
skills. But even experienced RVers and campers will enjoy the anecdotes and may even benefit from a new
perspective. Comments, questions, and suggestions are encouraged.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Candle/Flower Pot Heater

Someone sent me a description of a candle/flower pot heater.  The article claimed it could heat a small room (like an RV or a tent) for 15 cents a day.  Right!

The idea is that nested clay flower pots placed over the candle (or candles) act as a radiator to capture and distribute the heat of the candle(s).  That may, in fact, work to some extent -- that is, it will capture and hold the heat and you may feel it more if you are close to it than you would just being the same distance from an open candle flame.  However, the idea of heating a small room with a candle is ludicrous.  It is simply impossible.  A candle only puts out from 30 to 77 watts of heat.  It would take a lot of candles to match the output of a typical 1500 electric heater, which, if used 10 hours a day would cost less than $1.50 per day with electricity going for less than $.10/wkhr.   Stacking a bunch of flower pots on top of some candles will not multiple the heat.  Remember your basic physics:  energy cannot be created or destroyed (although it can be lost, as in losing heat through uninsulated windows).

So why is this in a blog on RVs and OHVs?   Well, one of the videos I found online showed a guy testing a flower pot heater in a motorhome.  He had closed off the main salon so he was only trying to heat an area of about 8' x 15'.  He tried using one large candle, using 4 tealights, and even using the burner on the stove.  In one documented test, the measured temperature inside the motorhome started out at 68° when he lit the heater.  A little more than two hours later it was 64°.  What happened was the sun went behind the clouds so he lost any solar heating that might have warmed the interior to 68° and clearly the candle wasn't contributing much, if anything, to keeping it warm.  The flower pot did get warm to the touch, which could be useful if your hands were cold, but I' rather wrap them around a cup of my favorite hot beverage.

Too bad it doesn't work.  It would sure be nice to have a simple, inexpensive, auxiliary heat source for our RVs.  If you really need to supplement your RV furnace, try using an electric heater or a propane powered catalytic heater.  If you have shore power or are willing and able to run your generator, the electric heater option is clean and easy to use.  Portable catalytic heaters are also simple, but you must keep a couple of windows slightly open to provide sufficient ventilation so you won't suffocate.  Even heaters that are designed for indoor use and purport to not give off any toxic fumes WILL consume oxygen and without adequate ventilation you will die!

We can put candle heaters in the same category as Mountain Dew light sticks -- a fun idea that doesn't work!  You'll find articles on the Internet that promote both of these ideas, but you will also find plenty of articles that debunk them.

Don't get taken in!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Wet Wipes

We're always looking for more convenient ways to improve our camping experience.  We like tools and appliances that are lighter weight and easier to use.  We like tents that are easy to set up.  Of course, camping in an RV is all about convenience.  But there are little things that can boost convenience too.

Wet wipes have long provided added convenience for the messy task of changing baby diapers.  They can also be very useful when camping.  There are many different types of specialty wipes on the market today, ranging from hand sanitizers to tire shine.  There are general purpose cleaning wipes than find many uses at home and around camp.  But to get the most out of wet wipes, check out the ones designed for specific needs you may have in your RV or while camping.  Wet wipes often take up less space and are more convenient to use than liquid or aerosol cleaners.  Sometimes you can even tuck them in your pocket or pact for use out on the trail.  Just be sure to seal them in a Ziploc type plastic bag so they stay moist.

Here are some of the types of wet wipes I've seen that may be helpful:

    * General purpose wipes
    * Baby wipes
    * Glass wipes
    * Leather wipes
    * Tire wipes
    * Stainless steel wipes
    * Counter top wipes
    * Hand sanitizer wipes
    * Mechanic's degreaser wipes

    * Antiseptic wipes

While general purpose wipes can handle a myriad of tasks around camp, there are some places special purpose versions will definitely shine.  Baby wipes are especially gentle for cleaning sensitive skin on baby's of all ages.  Glass cleaners won't leave residue and streaks on mirrors and windows.  I don't find the little towelettes very good for cleaning big vehicle windshields but they're perfect for touching up rear view and shaving mirrors.  You will want to use leather wipes on your leather upholstery and to clean your shoes.  They are formulated so they don't try out the leather but do have additives to help keep leather supple and add to the shine.  Tires wipes are quick and easy way to add shine and protection to clean tires and rubber trim.  Stainless steel wipes are perfect for the comparatively small sinks and stoves in RVs and take up a lot less room than a big can of aerosol stainless steel cleaner.  Hand sanitizing wipes are a convenient way to protect yourself from germs at picnics and when you stop for meals on the trail.  You might even tuck a couple of mechanic's degreaser wipes into your tool kit or fanny pack on OHV trips.  The whole packet will probably be too big but for each trip you could put a couple in a Zip-loc type plastic bag.  They might not be as a effective as Goop cleaner and warm soap and water but they will get off a lot of the gunk that would otherwise end up inside your expensive riding gloves.  Antiseptic wipes are perfect for cleaning around small wounds before applying a Bandaid and cleaning your hands before eating out on the trail.

One word of caution:  don't put wet wipes, even so-called flushable wipes, in you RV toilet or Porta-potti.  They won't break down fast enough or well enough for complete flushing of the tanks when dumping.

Most wet wipes come in some kind of resealable container.  Be sure to close all plastic lids completely.  The pop-up feature is handy, but it often leaves enough of the next towelette sticking out to get in the way of proper sealing.  When that happens, they will dry out and become almost useless.  Flat packets often have a resealable flap.  I've found that if I store them with the flap down so the packet is resting on the flap it helps prevent the contents from drying out.  The weight of the remaining product helps keep the flap closed tightly and gravity brings moisture to the bottom so the next wipe is plenty moist.  For those with Zip-loc type seals on the end about all you can do is make sure it is completely sealed.

Antiseptic wipes usually come in individual packets for single use applications.  The nurse in your doctor's office probably uses one to clean your skin before giving you a shot or taking a blood sample.  It would be a good idea to have a supply of these in your camp kit and carry a few in your personal pocket first aid kit whenever you are out and about.

You may also encounter single use wet wipes at restaurants who serve "finger food".  They are helpful both for pre-cleaning  your  hands before eating and getting rid of the sticky residue afterwards. If you have some left over, tuck them in your pack or pocket for use on the trail.

Wipe out!


Saturday, January 16, 2016

Winter Dirt Biking

Dirt bike riding isn't nearly as popular in the winter as it is in the summer.   When we lived in sunny southern California, winter outings weren't usually too bad.  We did encounter snow on a couple of occasions, but mostly we didn't have to deal with temperatures much below about 40° F.  However, even 40° is cold enough to make one begin to question the sanity of being out on dirt bike.  And I've never found riding anything with only two wheels much fun in snow!

As with any other cold weather activity, the key to staying comfortable is dressing right.  Dressing in layers is definitely the right (or only) way to go.  Start out with some good thermal underwear and warm socks.  I always wear two pair of socks in my motorcycle boots winter and summer.  A pair of light weight dress socks avoids blisters and the thicker cushioned motorcross socks absorb impacts and help keep my feet warm.  Make sure your boots aren't too tight.  Tight boots will restrict blood flow and your feet will freeze!  For most of our California riding, ordinary riding pants over thermals were pretty adequate but regular jerseys were too cool under our Enduro jackets.  If you expect really cold temperatures you might double up the thermals or wear some sweat pants under your riding pants.  You could wear a sweater or sweatshirt as an extra layer under your jersey but we found that "Windchill" jerseys did the job without the extra bulk and restriction of movement of added garments.  Together with either glove liners or Windchill gloves, an  Enduro jacket, and a nylon face mask were pretty much all that was needed.  It if got really cold, a warmer motorcycle coat did the job.

Snowsuits, like the ones you wore as a kid or like the ones worn by snowmobilers will keep you warm in pretty cold weather, but I've found it more comfortable and convenient so simply dress in layers.

Glove liners often cost almost as much as the gloves themselves.  We found we could use fairly inexpensive (knit gloves) under our normal riding gloves and they kept our hands pretty warm.  Sometimes even got them two pair for $1.00 at our local dollar store.  Windchill gloves were usually quite comfortable without any additional liners at a little more than the price of regular riding gloves.  Bulky winter work ("polar") gloves were very warm but are too clumsy for handling the controls and ski gloves,which are warm and flexible, don't  provide enough protection against brush.  If you hands are still cold you might try glove lines under windchill gloves.  Or get some "Hot Hands" chemical hand warmers.   You can use similar chemical warmers inside your boots to keep your feet warmer too. They even make pads large enough to warm you back or your tummy.

Road bikes and snowmobiles have electrically heated hand guards and gauntlets that might be adapted to dirt bikes, but the extra wiring might be prone to get caught on bushes and the magneto on dirt bikes may not be able to supply enough power for the heating elements.  I've tried electrically (battery powered) heated socks but didn't find the performance worth the extra weight of the batteries.

You should feel just a little cool when you're ready to ride.  If you're already warm, you're going to get TOO warm once you start riding.  Although bipping along at a stiff pace will add a bit of wind chill, your physical exertion is going to warm you up to the point where you'll need to stop and start stripping off layers before you get soaked in sweat if you are dressed TOO warm to start with.  If you start out warm and cozy you will get too warm and start to sweat once you get going, even with the wind chill factor.

Dirt bikes aren't very stable in the snow.   I've seen some guys use studded tires to improve traction, but those two narrow tires are still pretty skittish.  I've even seen guys try riding with sand paddle tires in deep powder snow.  Sometimes running a lower than usual tire pressure will improve traction a little bit.  But, basically dirt bikes are made to ride in the dirt, not the snow.  ATVs, with their softer, fatter tires and 4WD are a lot better adapted for getting around in the snow.  And, of course, snowmobiles are a blast!

When you get back to camp, get out of your cold and possibly damp clothing as soon as you can and swap it for something warm and dry.  I keep an old pair of puffy snow boots I call my desert slippers to change into to quickly warm cold feet and keep the chill off.  A steaming cup of your favorite hot beverage next to a blazing fire will also be a pleasant way to chase off any remaining chill.  Or get inside  a warm tent or RV.

Stay warm!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Camping Supplies from Dollar Tree

I am a strong proponent of looking for camping and RV/OHV supplies everywhere I go.  I have found bargains at drug stores, farm and ranch stores, and grocery stores as well as at RV, OHV, camping, and outdoor outlets.  You can often find things you can use for camping in your own basement, attic, or garage.  One kind of surprising place I've found is my local dollar store.  The solvent resistance foam tiles on the counter of my enclosed motorcycle trailer are kids animal puzzle tiles from the 99 Cents Store in California.  We get most of our cleaning supplies, toiletries, sundries and OTC medication from Dollar Tree along with flashlights, batteries, and kitchen utensils.

I've mentioned Dollar Tree and other dollar stores in several places in this blog.  Not long ago I found a camping article on Pinterest that also entreated readers to shop their local dollar store for camping supplies and things to keep kids occupied.  There were come negative comments in response to her presentation.  As with anything you buy, you should make your own decisions and buy what works for you.  The writer touted the advantages of dollar store flashlights and batteries.  At least one reader rejected her advice.  He preferred to buy sturdier flashlights that lasted longer.  I stand by my original recommendation of using dollar store flashlights and batteries, especially for kids and loaners.  Like the critical reader, I like to have a couple of high quality Maglites for my own use, but have found it particularly advantageous to use inexpensive and easily replaceable flashlights for kids and loaners.   Those light weight plastic flashlights may not be as durable as nicer ones but, hey, I'm not out serious $ if they are damaged or don't come back.  I was really ticked when one of my kids "borrowed" my good blue anodized Maglite for cave exploring and brought it back looking like it had been through a rock avalanche.


Many of the cleaning products at dollar stores are brand names so often there is no question about quality.  However, don't reject their own house brands or off brands.  My wife and I have found than many of the "Awesome" branded products at Dollar Tree are excellent and match or even sometimes exceed the performance of similar brand names.  In addition to liquid and aerosol cleaners you can often find a variety of wet wipes.  I've found leather wipes, tire wipes, stainless steel wipes,  and mechanics degreaser wipes in addition to traditional baby wipes and general purpose wipes.  They seem to come and go so I advise stocking up on what you want/need when you see them.

OTC medications are another category I find Dollar Tree to be a good source for.  It enables me to easily and inexpensively stock my medicine cabinet with a variety of choices so all member of my family or group can chose their favorite pain relievers, etc.  Aspirin doesn't work for every one so I carry

acetaminophen and Ibuprofen too. Nice not to have to shell out big bucks for each bottle.  Since stuff in our RVs and camp kits often sit around a long time before being used it is also nice not have a large investment in disposable items that may have to be replaced periodically without being used up.  Fortunately, most medicines are good long after their official expiration dates, but if you have any concerns, it is inexpensive to replace them and maintain peace of mind.


Kitchen utensils are another group of things that I have found frequently suffer from abuse or loss during camping trips.  Items from a dollar store may not be restaurant quality but I find they usually at least match things I buy at grocery and department stores and, once again, the low cost makes them cheap and easy to replace when they get ruined or go missing while camping.  The low cost also means it is economical to bring along duplicates if you have room.  We've found it is often very nice to have extra spatula or serving spoon.

There are usually a good selection of toiletries and sundries, which allows me to stock up for camping and have enough for my whole group and to share with fellow campers should the opportunity arise.  The only downside is that with the cost so low it is easy to OVER buy for my family, but at least everyone has the products they like to use.

Inexpensive toys for camping can be a real boon to young families.  It is also gives grandparents a way to stock up on things to entertain their grandkids during and outing or a visit.  Things like sidewalk chalk and squirt guns appeal to kids of all ages.  Same with glow sticks, necklaces, and bracelets, which are fun for after dark activities.  Even adults enjoy cooling down on a summer afternoon with a "Supersoaker" squirt gun fight.  And the dollar store lets you arm your whole army without a big price tag and the low cost pretty much eliminates worry over them getting lost or damaged, which are both frequent occurrences with any group of active youngsters.

Flashlights and batteries are always good to have in camp.  While I do enjoy using my sturdy aircraft aluminum Maglite, inexpensive plastic flashlights and LED lights from the Dollar Tree are really nice for children and as loaners.  The low cost batteries may not last as long as higher priced brand names but since they spend so much time in storage it is good not to tie up a lot of money and yet have an adequate supply of replacements for every application.

Some people might be kind of choosy about tools and hardware, but low cost might allow you to supplement your tool box and spare parts with little investment and you don't have to worry about losing your good stuff.  I frequently find little items, like razor knives, that are handy to have in my camp kit.  I would not be likely to pay normal retail for them for such occasional use, but being able to have them at a reasonable price often makes many tasks around camp easier and more fun.  It also allows me to duplicate some hand tools so I can them where I frequently use them instead of having to always go back to my tool box when I need something.    An extra screwdriver and/or pair of pliers tucked into a pocket or pack can be very handy.  And they don't have to be heavy duty, precision items for occasional light use around camp or on the trail.  I've even picked up rolls of wire that is perfect for wiring hand grips on OHVs, sometimes getting 3 rolls of different colored wire for $1.00!  BTW, you'll find that a pair of specialized wire-tie pliers will make that task pretty easy and kind of fun, but you probably won't find them at your dollar store.  Try your favorite OHV or auto supply store.  Wire tie pliers have a locking mechanism to hold the wire secure while twisting it with a special built in spinner.

Having access to inexpensive products provides an opportunity to experiment with different things to find out what works best for you and what you like best.  If you get something you don't like, you've only wasted a dollar!  I've found that particularly useful for kitchen utensils.


Happy Shopping!

Friday, December 11, 2015

The Rule of Threes

The Rule of Threes is a basic concept for survival.  It applies in disaster situations and in wilderness survival situations.

Simple put, you an live 3 minutes without air, 3 hours without shelter (in an inhospitable climate), 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food.   In a disaster situation where you have victims injured by falling debris or from falling down, their injuries may have stopped their breathing.  You will need to clear their airway within 3 minutes and, if they don't start breathing on their own, begin CPR.  If you find yourself stranded in an inhospitable environment (cold and wet or very hot), you will need to see shelter or you will be likely to die with 3 hours.  If it is cold and wet you will need to find someplace warm and dry.  If it is hot you will need to seek shade and ways to remain cool.  If you are in a mild climate shelter may not be such an urgent need.  Water will be your next priority.  You can live only about 3 days without water. You will being to feel the affects of dehydration much sooner than that and will want to find water as soon as possible.  In hot weather you may not even last 3 days without water.  Most people will be able to survive about 3 weeks without food.  If you are particularly thin or have medical conditions that are sensitive to what you eat (like diabetes or hypoglycemia) you may experience difficulties much sooner.  If you have any such conditions you should take steps to ensure you always have timely access to necessary nutrition.    Your body fat reserves may affect how quickly you experience dehydration problems too.  Especially thin people may feel the effects of lack of water fasting before the end of the 3 days.  People with extra fat reserves may be able to last longer than the predicted 3 days.  While you can survive for about 3 weeks without food, you will begin to suffer the affects much sooner so it is a good idea to seek nutrition early in a survival situation.  Without food your body will begin to tap into your fat reserves and you will find  yourself low on energy and discover it is hard to think straight long before the 3 weeks is up.  Ever get a "hunger headache"?  Sometimes you only need to miss a meal or two before one strikes.

Knowing the Rule of Threes will help you prioritize your actions an emergency situation.  Otherwise, you might react to being thirsty or hungry and spend time looking for food and water and ignore the need for shelter until it is too late.

Threes a charm!

 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Winter Camping At Home -- Say What?

In most of the colder parts of the country, winter means storing our RVs and camping gear and holing up in front of  a cozy fireplace until the warm weather returns.  Those in the sunbelt can continue to enjoy outdoor pursuits.  When we lived in southern California even New Years Day was an opportunity for RVing and dirt biking in the Mojave Desert.  Not likely that is going to happen here in Utah!  So why they heck would anyone what to do any winter camping at home?

One big advantage to winter camping at home is you don't have far to go to recover if anything goes wrong.  Just as we've often suggested driveway or backyard "outings" as a way to develop your skills and get used to your equipment, you can use them for winter preparations as well.  If you should run into trouble, like say running out of propane, you can just go back inside to keep warm whereas, if you had a problem in a remote location you might not have any convenient way of handling the issue(s).

If you have an RV you store at home during the winter you might consider spending a night or two in it just for fun, to maintain your familiarity with systems and supplies, and to keep your equipment in peak operating condition.  We did that in our truck camper when the onset of winter sneaked up on us before we could take it out for a shakedown cruise.  If you're in freezing weather you won't want to use any of the water or sewer systems, but you can still test out the furnace and determine if the bedding is adequate for cold nights.  And you could cook and eat in the RV.  Just be sure to take all the dishes back into the house to wash them.  Using your RV systems periodically while in storage is actually good for them.  Run the generator for an hour so two.  Disuse is one of the hardest things on equipment.

Our motorhome and camper have both served as extra guest rooms when we've had family visiting at Christmas on a number of occasions.  We had to educate our guests that there was no water and to not use the toilet, but otherwise they were quite warm and comfortable and enjoyed more privacy than they might have had crammed inside the house with other guests.  The grandkids especially liked staying in an RV.  If you live in the sunbelt where winterization isn't necessary, using the RV is even more convenient.

Winter opportunities for tent campers are more limited but still possible.  You may have to set up your tent in the snow, but even that can be surprisingly comfortable if you are prepared for it.  If that doesn't appeal to you and your family you might resort to setting up your tent in the garage or an outbuilding.  I've noticed that the temperature inside my garage is typically in the mid 40s even when the outside temperature is in the teens.  I've read that even just having a roof over your head can raise the temperature 20°F, which is often enough to prevent freezing of RV water lines etc.  A barn, shed, or greenhouse could also provide a temperate location for setting up a winter tent.

I've even seen folks set up dome tents in their family rooms and living rooms for the kids for a fun night or two and there is no reason that couldn't be done by kids of ALL ages.

Practicing your winter camping skills could turn out be more than just a fun diversion.  If you should experience a long term power outage during the winter, being able to  move into your RV or set up your tent in your living room might be your best way to survive.  The threat of long term power outages grows stronger every day.  Not only are we now facing possible outages from a strong EMP from solar activity, the terrorist organization ISIS is actively planning ways to disable the US power grid.  Many people aren't aware of just how vulnerable the power grid is nor how long it would take to replace damaged transformers and restore power.  It would likely be years!  Recent estimates I've read say that disabling as few as 9 key substations would disable the entire US power grid for a year and a half.

Practicing your campfire skills can also be fun in winter.   Gathering around a blazing fire is a good way to ward off the chill of winter activities.  Campfires may also become critical for cooking during an extended emergency.

Be cool and keep warm!


Saturday, November 21, 2015

Blowouts!

While a "blowout" sale is usually a good thing, having a tire blow out on your RV or tow vehicle certainly is not.  Blowouts can cause serious damage as pieces of the fragmented tire slam into parts of the vehicle or friction heats things up and causes a fire.  I've had motorhome and trailer tires blow out a few times, and it is never a pleasant or inexpensive proposition.  After a tire blew out on my enclosed motorcycle trailer I discovered it was likely caused by a failed magnet in the electric brakes that had locked up the brakes and made the tire drag.  In addition to the tire itself, it destroyed the wheel and the fender skirt and the collapse of the tire allowed the entry step to hit the ground and get bent way beyond repair.  The leaf spring on that side was also damaged.  I had to replace both springs and both brakes (both springs and brakes should always be replaced in pairs).  I was unable to find a matching fender skirt so I had to replace the skirts on both sides to maintain a satisfactory appearance.  By the time all was said and done the total bill came to about $1200 from a single blowout.

I had a nearly new right front tire blow out on a class A motorhome on one trip.   I discovered the cause of the failure was a new valve extension installed by the tire shop.  The technician there had claimed the braided stainless steel extensions I had been using were prone to failure and talked me into installing solid semi-truck style extensions.  Unfortunately, the new extension rubbed against the wheel cover until it wore a hole in it and allowed the air to leak out of the tire.  The flapping of the exploded tire ripped out all the wiring for the lights (headlight, park light, and turn signal) and destroyed the outside cabinet behind the wheel well.  We gathered up the scattered contents of the shattered cabinet and avoided driving after dark until I could re-wire the lights.  Then I had to rebuild the cabinet when I got home.

The loss of a left rear inside dual on a 40' diesel pusher managed to damage the primary plumbing near the water pump adjacent to the wheel well.  All my fresh water leaked out and I couldn't even use park hook ups until I was able to repair the broken pipe.  I never did figure out what caused that particular tire failure.  The tire had been in good condition at the start of the trip and I religiously check tire pressure every morning before hitting the road.  I suspect it may have been damaged by some kind of debris on the road.  You never know when you'll pick up a stray nail somewhere. 

Way too many blowouts are simply a result of under inflation.  A soft tire will quickly overheat and together with the stress of excessive flexing of the sidewalls will soon fail under highway conditions.  Under inflation can usually be avoided by simply checking tire pressure regularly.  Under inflated tires will usually look "squishy" and will be hotter than properly inflated tires after driving.  Whenever you discover an under inflated tire, bring it up to the correct pressure as soon as possible.  However, driving on an under inflated tire will sometimes have already caused enough internal damage that the tire has been weakened and will fail prematurely.  The best way to ensure proper inflation is to check tire pressure with an accurate gauge.  Truckers and some RVers will use a "tire thumper" as a way to quickly see if tire pressure is approximately where it should be.  Soft tires will give off a dull thump instead of a sharp thud and an experienced driver can usually feel the difference when the thumper strikes the tire.  Under inflated tires may show excessive wear on both edges of the tire. 

Over inflation isn't good either, but it usually doesn't cause the rapid and catastrophic failures associated with under inflation.   Over inflated tires will cause handling and ride problems, making the vehicle feel skittish and the ride harsh.  Over inflated tires will show excessive wear in the center of the tread.

Overloading is another common cause of tire failures.  Some large motorhomes are very close to the maximum chassis and/or tire rating as they come from the factory so it is all too easy to over load them with passengers and equipment.  If you suspect your vehicle is overloaded, take it to a truck scale and weight each individual wheel.  Having the weight on each wheel will allow to set the right tire pressure for the load.

Dragging trailers brakes can also cause tire failures.  If trailer tires get unusually hot when towing the brakes may be dragging and should be inspected and adjusted.  Sometimes the problem is that the brake controller in the two vehicle is maladjusted and that isn't really an equipment failure, it is an operator error.

Failed suspension components can put inappropriate stress on tires.  Weak or broken springs and/or shocks can stress tires and sometimes either rub directly on the tire or allow it to rub on other parts of the fame or body.  If a vehicle sags more on one corner than the others or if a wheel seems to be leaning or the body appears to be lower than it should be you should have the suspension checked.  Worn, bent, or broken suspension can not only cause tire failures but could cause a loss of control that may result in a serious accident.

A blowout on a motorhome is usually very apparent the instant it happens bu drivers of tow vehicles are not always immediately aware of tire failures on trailers.   A few years ago an older couple pulling a travel trailer through Idaho and Washington failed to notice a flat tire on the trailer.  Flaming debris from the dragging tire ignited several wildfires along their route.  How can a driver not notice a flat tire?  A flat on the vehicle you are driving is usually pretty obvious, but one on a trailer can be well disguised, especially if the trailer is relatively small compared to the weight and power of the tow vehicle.  The driver of a 40' motorhome pulling a little 15' utility trailer probably won't feel anything if a trailer tire blows out.  However, he should be able to see the trailer leaning when he checks his rear view mirrors or back up camera.  You should frequently monitor the attitude of your trailer when towing.  And also watch for signs of dust or smoke that could indicate a tire has failed.

If you do experience a blowout, DON'T jam on the brakes!   Keep a strong grip on the steering wheel and slowing; pull over out of traffic, allowing the vehicle to slow, using the brakes as little as possible.  Jamming on the brakes can cause a sudden grabbing of the damaged tire and wheel, resulting in an unexpected change of direction and/or loss of control. 

Smoothe motoring!