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In this series of short articles, we’ll look at some of the things I consider when RVing by my use of checklists. Probably one of the most important checklists that I use every time I pull out of a site is my last minute departure checklist. In fact, I find this list so important that I bought a small notebook binder and on each card I have one step in the process so that I don’t skip anything and possible damage my RV when departing a campsite.
Once I had all of my steps prepared on the cards and in the order I wanted to perform them, I then took them to a printing business and for small fee I had them laminated and punched making it less likely for a card to rip out or to get wet if I am leaving on a rainy day. These are a few of the things I do to prepare, but my advice is that you find what works best for you and you follow your checklist in the same order every time you leave so you don’t forget something.
RV Last Minute Departure Checklist
- Utility Connections: If I’m at a place with sewer hook-ups, I start by emptying my gray and black water tanks. I then fill my fresh water supply, rinse out my sewer hoses, and then stow them away properly. Now I disconnect my power supply and my freshwater hose and stow those away as well.
- Awning: Often times I stow away any outdoor furniture and pull my awning in the night before I leave a site, but I also make sure to check one last time that the awning is properly secured before I drive away. I know this may seem like something too big to forget but I have actually seen someone drive away after forgetting to pull in their awning.
- Roof: Check your roof to be sure that your vents are closed, the TV antenna is cranked down and everything up there is secure.
- Fluids: Check you engine oil, coolant, and windshield washer fluid to be sure they are the proper levels.
- Slide outs. Make sure you have pulled your slides in all the way.
- Tires: Check the pressure in your tires or at least inspect them to make sure one of them is not low or flat. If your rig has dual wheel axles, you may not even notice that one of them is low, so I recommend using a tire bat to hit them with which will sound and feel differently if you hit a tire that is underinflated.
- Hitch: Make sure your hitch is correctly attached, lubricated, and that all of the safety mechanisms are working properly.
- Trailer lights: Now that you have attached your RV to the tow vehicle, test your lights on the trailer to make sure your electrical connectors are working properly. This is especially important if your rig has trailer brakes.
- Jacks: Once you have hitched up your RV to the tow vehicle, remember to retract your jack stands.
- Propane tanks: Whenever you travel you should close your propane tanks valves. This is very important if you plan on taking your RV on a vehicle ferry or traveling through tunnels.
- Outside compartments: Be sure to close and secure your compartments before departing.
- Mirrors: Check to make sure that your motorhome or tow vehicle’s mirrors are properly adjusted.
- Inside: Make sure to do a walk-through of the interior of your rig. Are all of you cabinets and doors secure? Are your windows closed or where you want them? Are countertop appliances such as a toaster or crock pot stowed away properly?
- Door step: This is probably one of the most forgotten items for people leaving a camp site. Remember to retract your steps to your door before pulling out.
Other Checklists to View Before You Depart
- RV Maintenance and Safety Checklist
- RV Camping Gear Checklist
- RV Kitchen and Grocery Checklist
- Checklist for RV’ing with Pets
- Checklist for Arriving at a New Campsite with Your RV
- Your Essential RV Toolkit
As I said before, not everything on this checklist may be something you need to do, but most of them apply to any RV. Keep in mind that there may be things you can remove from this checklist or something you may need to add to it, all circumstances are different and the key is getting to know your RV inside and out. Having good checklists is just ensures that you don’t make a costly mistake.