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In a previous checklist I shared some of the things you should do when you depart from your home or a campsite and in this checklist we’ll look at some of the things you should do when you arrive at a new campsite. The more you set up and tear down your campsites, the easier for you it will become and eventually it will become second nature for you. However, every RV is different so having a checklist is a good idea until you become comfortable with these processes. Below are some things I always do when setting up but you may find that you need to do some things differently.
- Choose the right site for your RV: This is important to do in campgrounds and when boondocking. All campgrounds are different, and some may not be able to accommodate your needs. For example, you might be traveling in a large class A motorhome and towing a trailer or car. Is the spot you choose going to be large enough to suit your needs? If you have a 50 amp electrical supply but they only offer a 30 amp hookup, do you have an adapter and are you prepared to conserve electric to keep from blowing fuses? If you’re boondocking and rely on solar power, can you find a spot with enough sunshine to keep your system charged? Some questions can only be answered when you arrive at your campsite so you need to be prepared for any last minute changes. Once you’ve chosen your site, you’re ready to set up camp.
- Size up your site: I learned this lesson the hard way one time. After I set up my jacks, put out my awning and hooked up my sewer, water, and electric, I discovered my slide-outs wouldn’t extend all the way out because a tree was too close to my RV. That caused me to have to pack up everything I had just set up and move to another site. Now I always measure a spot to make sure I have enough room before I do any setting up.
- Levelers and jacks: This will vary depending upon your rig. I have a 5th wheel, so I have to lower my front stands before I disconnect my rig from the truck. Once unhitched I can lower my rear jacks and level my rig. Pro tip: Always carry wooden blocks to set under your jacks, this prevents damage to lawns or drives that may not handle the weight of your RV. I have seen class A motorhomes sink their stands into sod a solid six inches before they began to level the rig so don’t be the guy that damages a site. Also, using blocks in the winter prevents your jacks from freezing to the ground.
- Hook-ups: Once I have my rig leveled I hook up my water, electric, and sewer when I’m at a campground. When boondocking, I skip this step.
- Slide-outs: After hook-ups, I extend my slide-outs.
- Awning: If the weather is good and it’s not windy, I will set out my awning, lawn furniture, and a small rug near my door.
- Inside: This too will vary by circumstances and RVs. I usually turn on the faucets for a few seconds to blow the air out of the lines. I also will unpack some breakables such as glassware or counter top appliances as well as check my refrigerator for any spillage.
The first day I arrive someplace I am usually taking my time. After I’m set-up, I prefer to have a nice drink and dinner and then start working on my plans while I’m at the new site. This is how I do my setting up, your method may vary, but the real trick is to relax and enjoy yourself and don’t forget to explore – that’s one of the perks of RVing!