There are many surfaces to park your RV at, and one of the options is gravel or a proper gravel parking pad. But is it a good option?
Should you store an RV on gravel? It’s perfectly fine to park an RV on gravel, as long as the gravel drains so that your RV tires aren’t parked in water. A gravel parking pad should be properly compacted, so it can drain and remain stabilized for a long time.
Tires should never remain in the water, or they can cause tire rot.
The workaround for puddles is to use rubber or wood mats to elevate the tires, but this is just short-term. What you probably need, is a proper RV parking pad.
Is Parking on Gravel Bad for RV Tires?
Parking on gravel should not damage your RV tires if it’s a traditional stone or crushed rock, which it generally is. But it must also be drained of water at all times.
You probably don’t need a concrete pad, as long as the gravel is compacted, and allow for water to train.
If you’re worried about your RV tires, you can use rubber mats or wood under RV tires to protect the tires a bit, but make sure they won’t hold water for the tires to sit in. This is generally not necessary, as long as the tires aren’t sitting in a puddle.
Typically, gravel shouldn’t cause any issue to your tires. Just make sure the tires are properly inflated, and avoid lengthy or high-temperature storage if at all possible. This can cause dry rot in tires.
Things to Do When Parking your RV
When you park the RV, you may want to close the windows, take off their batteries and propane tanks, and lock it up.
Putting the jacks down is up to you, but isn’t usually necessary if you’re not in the trailer. The stabilizing jacks are used for when you’re walking around your trailer so it doesn’t rock back and forth. They don’t do much while it’s stored if you’re not in there.
Both gravel and concrete are fine for parking, even long-term. Grass and weeds are not.
Lots of times, people simply don’t have an area designed for storing their RVs, so they decide to pay to store their RV or travel trailer on a gravel parking lot. Usually, these lots are gated and protected, so a lot of RVs can be parked there.
The cost to store your RV on a fenced gravel parking pad is around $75 to $125 a month.
Can You Store Your RV on Gravel for Longer Time?
Storing RVs on gravel for longer times should be fine, as long as the tires aren’t sitting in a puddle, and the soil underneath is properly compacted. It’s advisable to place the tires on the blocks, to remove the weight on the tires.
If the RV remains on tires, it’s a good idea to move the RV every few months so it sits in another position on the tire.
If it’s outside, and the area gets a lot of rain, then it’s important to make sure there aren’t any puddles underneath your tires. Rain can cause erosion under the gravel, so it’s important to make the water properly drain. You can put larger rocks on the lower parts, to help with this.
To stabilize the gravel, you can put a geotextile layer underneath. Road cloth place underneath will stabilize and separate gravel properly, which is usually the best choice.
How Do You Make a Parking Pad for an RV?
RV parking pad construction can be done by anyone, and it’s not that complicated. Here’s the easiest way to create your own gravel parking pad:
- Rent a sod cutter and peel away the top 2 inches of grass and soil. Roll it up and either dispose of it or use it somewhere else
- Buy landscape fabric/weed barrier and roll it out in the same place
- Find a place in your local area where you can buy some ⅝” of clean crushed rock, and have them deliver it to your house and lay it down at the spot
- Then simply rake it out, and that’s it. You can put a border out of bricks or plastic/metal strips to keep the grass on one side, and the rock on the order.
If you want to further stabilize your parking pad, you can do that. Similar to creating a parking pad for your car, you may want to dig deeper to 5-6” and place the larger crushed rock down as a base. This will reduce mud and runoff, and save you money.
To fully stabilize your parking pad, use a geotextile layer underneath, which you will top with gravel. This material is similar to road cloth, but more robust and designed for driveways and roadways.
Here’s a video on making your own RV parking pad:
How Much Does It Cost for a Gravel RV Pad?
The total costs to create your own RV gravel pad would be about $300 to $500.
Crushed rock isn’t expensive, and ⅝” of washed crushed rock costs about $50 per cubic yard, plus a small delivery fee. Then, $100 for renting the sod cutter for a day, $50-100 for disposing of the sod/soil, and about $200 for the crushed rock.
Best gravel for RV pad
The most common type of gravel for parking in driveways, in general, is a crushed limestone of up to 1” in size, and this also applies for gravel RV pads. Crushed concrete is another good choice.
Many people also prefer pea gravel, which has nice looks but it can create some problems migrating and spreading underneath the weight of vehicles. It’s important that pea gravel is stabilized for the long term.
How thick should a gravel RV pad be?
This will depend on the ground beneath and the size of the RV. For most RVs, a 6” deep gravel pad, stabilized underneath to prevent runoff and mud should be sufficient enough for both dry and rainy days.
A good way to do this is to place a geotextile layer under the gravel to prevent seepage into the ground below. It also provides a barrier layer to impede the travel of mud up into your gravel section.
If the area gets a lot of water it may accumulate unless you properly grade and compact it. Poorly compacted soil will cause erosion under your gravel, which can cause settling or washout.
Gravel vs Concrete RV Pad
As mentioned previously, a gravel parking pad is a good option to park your RV, but concrete is a great option as well. Which one is better? The one which is cheaper and without moisture.
Gravel is cheaper, and as long as it’s properly drained and compacted can be a great option.
Cement/concrete is also a good option, as long as it’s dry, but can be expensive. In general, anything other than grass or weeds should be fine for an RV to be parked on, as long as it’s compacted and/or free of moisture.
Should I Store My RV With Tires off the Ground?
Ideally, when storing RVs for a longer time, the tires should be placed on blocks to remove the weight from the tires. If you can’t do that, then you should completely unload the vehicle, inflate the tires properly and make sure that the storage surface is firm, clean, drained, and reasonably leveled.
When storing an RV in winter with the tires on the ground, avoid moving the vehicle, but make sure to move it every few months to prevent ozone cracking in the tire bulge area. This will also prevent flat-spotting. After winter, adjust the inflation before putting the vehicle back on tires.
Here’s one way of preparing to get a gravel pad in place for an RV:
Is It Legal to Park an RV in Your Driveway?
It is legal to park the RV in your driveway, but there are certain laws. Usually, your RV shouldn’t extend all the way to the sidewalk, or the street, and there may need to be some space left on your driveway for parking.
For example, you’re generally not allowed to park in front of your house on the street, as it is usually against a city code to park any commercial or recreational vehicle on the street.
The neighbors can complain and it may be considered a “neighborhood nuisance”.
If no neighbor complains and no police arrive at your house, then it probably isn’t a big deal. However, if they do complain, and the police come, then you usually have about 24 hours to move it.
There may be some HOA rules about parking an RV in the backyard as well, which you’ll need to follow. Some areas have time limits for how long you can park in your backyard or driveway.
If you can’t park your RV at home, you can pay to park at a secured lot in your area. Should cost around $75 to $100, and contain other RVs as well. It’s a safe area, and you don’t have to worry about anything.