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Old 09-10-2020, 06:47 PM   #1
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Default KOA - Kampgrounds of America - DIY Policy

We’ve been ‘members’ of Kampgrounds of America (KOA) for a number of years. While a bit ‘pricey’, they represent a nice respite especially when looking for laundry, internet and showers. Further, each of the KOA franchises has to meet KOA standards, thus, one knows what they’re getting into when they arrive - - a nice clean facility with, as noted, many of the ancillary amenities that are particularly pleasant after periods in the boonies.

One knows what they’re getting into when they arrive,” we noted . . . until now! We were utterly unprepared for the ‘confrontation’ that occurred upon our arrival (8/4/20) at the Little Diamond Lake KOA campground (eastern Washington), particularly since we’d stayed at this facility in past years.

“You can’t stay here,” the receptionist intoned. Silence. “What?” came our astonished response. “You don’t have an approved camper,” she continued, “the owners won’t allow DIY campers here.”

We’d seen ‘threads’ on various forums in past years where others had received similar treatment, mostly on the east coast, from a few private campgrounds. Ironically, that’s why we joined KOA - - to avoid unpredictable treatment by privately owned campgrounds. We challenged the receptionist.

“We don’t care what the owners want . . . they are franchisees under the KOA trademark and must follow the various policies of KOA.” We were certain that KOA would not condone such discriminatory conduct. “It’s like McDonalds,” we continued, “you can be sure that McDonalds franchisees will be dumped if they don’t follow the requirements set up under the McDonald’s franchise.” The receptionist was unimpressed and refused our entry.

So, we took our complaint to KOA Corporate. To our further surprise we learned that KOA condones discriminating against DIY campers and further believes that “most campgrounds” similarily discriminate:

“As with most privately owned businesses a KOA franchisee does have the option of refusing service if they so chose. Most campgrounds, generally speaking will not allow an RV, camper or conversion if you will that does not sport an RVIA (Recreation Vehicle Industry Association) compliance sticker. That said, it is up to the individual campground to make that determination. We wish you the best and safe travels.” Camper Services <vkrservice@koa.net>


2016 159" High Top DIY ProMaster with 500ah Starlight Solar/Elite LiFePo4, 810watt Kyocera Solar w/MidNite Solar Classic MPPT, Magnum 2812/MMP250-60S Charger/PSW w/remote, Nations 280amp 2nd Alternator with DIY [formerly, Balmar] regulator, NovaCool R4500 12/120v frig, 2 burner TruInduction cookstop, SMEV 8005 sink, FloJet R4426143 pump. No A/C or indoor washroom.
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Old 09-10-2020, 07:37 PM   #2
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The problem is RVIA sets a minimum standard of do's and don'ts when it comes to RV manufacture. How many "van builds" have you watched on YouTube and thought "what the hell are they thinking" or "that's a good way to burn a rig to the ground" or "that thing is going to kill somebody".

I watched a pretty large YouTube channel install a solar system the other day and they drilled a hole in a metal roof and ran the wires through that hole without protecting the wires from the metal roof. There were about a hundred comments and not one person said. HEY YOUR GOING TO BURN THAT THING TO THE GROUND!!!! I tried to post a comment that just said something like "I noticed there was no protection on the wires where they passed through the hole you drilled in the roof. You might want to check that". It didn't post as they have it set up to where they have to approve what comments are posted. I checked back a few weeks later and still not one post mentioning that. They are also selling their services to build you a "custom" whatever you want. Also it wasn't something they did later as they showed in one clip them sealing it up without protecting those wires.

So you and I might be able to build a rig worthy of a RVIA sticker but not everyone can. I don't know anyone that wants to rent a space to someone that has a potential fire hazard or bomb parked surrounded by a dozen families with 5 kids each.

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Old 09-10-2020, 07:38 PM   #3
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Time to hit ebay and have your own branding decals done. Not very expensive even, from what others have told me when they got them.

Especially with the trend towards the less conspicuous script style decals, you could make it barely noticeable if you want.

I kind of like "Winston Custom Coaches"

Print up some home made business cards to back up the claim and give them and you may just get by.

Totally cheesy rule, IMO, as many DIY are much better than factory ones.

Reminds me of the no class B rules in Arizona in the snowbird park DW's brother goes to. You can get in and stay in the overnight sites with a $1000 ratty class C, but even a $400K ARV can't.
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Old 09-10-2020, 10:38 PM   #4
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No RVIA sticker but at least RV is visible. I am redoing my table arms and used a local company to cut by waterjet ¼” aluminum parts, they can do a nice emblem from 1/8’ aluminum which can be anodized to wide variety of colors. Instead of RVIA you could add RVmyA to my Voilà.
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Old 09-11-2020, 12:34 AM   #5
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From the Site team:
We have had to delete a good chunk of this thread for advocating fraud or other illegal activity.

There has been a spate of this recently. Please think before posting.
Thanks to everyone for your thoughtful contributions.
Formerly: 2005 Airstream Interstate (Sprinter 2500 T1N)
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Old 09-11-2020, 11:29 AM   #6
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This is less about safety or DIY and more about campground owners needing an easy and plausible way to refuse entry to vehicles that don't meet the campground's requirements whatever they are.

If you Google RV fire for example, probably most of the RV's in the photos are from RVIA member companies.


In addition to manufacturing errors and parts or appliance recalls and failures, many RV owner's DIY their RVIA sticker-ed RV's by adding solar, surge devices, propane tees, more batteries, lithium batteries, electric heaters etc. so risk is there whether there's a sticker or not.

Some RV builders aren't RVIA members and it's unlikely owners of those RV's are refused entry. RVIA member list: https://www.rvia.org/manufacturer-members-list - I don't see Roadtrek or Rapido on the RVIA list today for example. Roadtrek and Safari Condo are listed as CRVA members https://crva.ca/listing-category/rv-manufacturers/

World travelers ship their RV's around the globe also and it seems so unlikely that KOA would refuse entry to a well maintained RV from Germany or France for example.

Campgrounds just need a convient way to refuse entry for many reasons and mostly it's reasonable but sometimes it's not reasonable. Not much you can do but move on to a more welcoming place.

It's good that Winston brought it to our attention. The easiest way to avoid being refused entry is probably by calling the campground directly and accurately describing your RV and note the name of the person you spoke to. Maybe even email a photo if necessary. Some campgrounds have the "not older than 10 years" rule but routinely accommodate well maintained older RV's.
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Old 09-11-2020, 02:36 PM   #7
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They wouldn’t know whether my PM is 2014 or 2018 without looking at the sticker or registration. I could swap for the new grill and they wouldn’t be able to tell it from 2020.
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Old 09-11-2020, 03:33 PM   #8
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"Campgrounds just need a convient way to refuse entry for many reasons and mostly it's reasonable but sometimes it's not reasonable."

Agree, but there is a night and day difference between government and private. This discussion has been about mostly gov't until KOA. But KOA is not like an individual private campground.

Often best is being in person with the decision maker, and then, and then............. Just depends on circumstances with many variables.
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Old 09-12-2020, 11:17 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Bud View Post
"Campgrounds just need a convient way to refuse entry for many reasons .....
Much of the time, refusal of service really comes down to one underlying variable: They are not hungry for business. And then whatever reason is stated on top of that is mostly a convenient justification.

With more people buying RVs, the access pressure is increasing, and I suspect we will see more nopes at a variety of facilities, just because they can afford to pick and choose.

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