Setting Up Camp
RVers are some of the friendliest, most helpful people you will ever meet. Don’t be surprised if you pull into your site and your neighbor, whom you never met, is right there to assist and offer advice. Never be afraid to ask for help – everyone was a newbie at one time.
RVs vary, so this checklist is not meant to be all-inclusive. It is just a list of the high points to be sure you have it covered when you first take to a campground in your RV.
When you arrive
- If you’re new to RV camping, at check-in, ask if the campground provides an escort service for first-timers. A seasoned staffer will guide you to your site and assist you in getting parked and leveled.
After arriving at your assigned site
- Determine if you need to back in or if it is a pull-through site. Know where your water, electrical and sewer hookups are on your RV. Position the RV so you have easy access to the hookups on the site.
- Be sure there are no low-hanging branches or other obstacles that will interfere with the RV. If you have a slideout or awning, be sure there is room on either side for those to fully extend.
Once positioned at the site
- Apply the parking brake if you have a motorhome (as a safety precaution, slideouts will not operate if the parking brake is not engaged).
- The ground is not always flat, so level your RV as necessary, using blocks or stabilizing jacks if your RV is equipped with them.
- Chock the wheels securely to keep the RV stable on the site.
- If you are in a towable RV, disconnect the unit from the tow vehicle and stabilize the trailer hitch.
- Manually pull the entry steps out or, if yours are electronic, turn the switch off so the steps stay out when the door is closed. (Don’t forget to turn the switch back on before leaving or to pull up your steps before driving away.)
- If you have slideouts, remove the travel locks or brace bars. Whenever you are operating slideouts, keep all windows closed for safety and have someone on the outside watch for people, clearance and obstacles in its path.
- Make a connection. Plug the electrical shore power cord into the campsite receptacle that matches the amperage requirements of your RV. Electrical adapters may be needed, but keep extension cord use to a minimum.
- Switch your refrigerator to the AC setting to draw on the electricity rather than your propane.
- Always use a white potable RV drinking water hose. Attach it to the tank on the side of your unit and run the other end to the campground water supply. Turn on the water and check for any leaks.
- When you are hooked up to a water supply, you don’t need the 12-volt water pump. The pump is used to draw water from the fresh water tank when an external source is not available.
- If you have sewer service at your site, wear latex gloves to remove the cap from the sewer hose valve and attach the sewer hose to the sewer drain outlet. Be sure to turn it so the locking tabs securely lock in place. Place the sewer hose seal in the campground sewer connection. Attach the other end of the sewer hose in the seal and securely connect.
- Prop a rock or sewer hose support under the hose to create a slight slope from the RV down to the sewer connection so everything drains smoothly.
- If you are hooked to a sewer connection, you can open the gray water tank valve to allow sink and shower water to drain directly into the sewer. It is the smaller of the two valves. Never leave the black water tank valve open.
The finishing touches
- Turn the main LP gas supply valve on at the tank or bottles.
- Now it’s time to set up the exterior of your home away from home. Put an outdoor carpet mat down if you have one.
- Set up the lawn chairs and put the awning out per the manufacturer’s instructions – be sure to close and secure your awning if storms or winds are expected.
Now relax and enjoy your getaway! RVers often ask to tour your RV if it’s a model they are unfamiliar with and likewise will invite you in to see theirs.