RV camping time is here and this trip will be the best ever! Whether you’re an experienced RVer or a newbie, you’ll want this experience to go well, with no hitches. No, I meant with nothing going wrong. Of course you want hitches like a trailer or jeep towing along behind. 🙂
What I meant was, you need RV camping checklists so that you don’t forget anything. I have lists everywhere, inside toolboxes, cupboards and lockers.
Having a good functional camping checklist is a habit you want to get into. There’s nothing worse than being miles from home and realizing that you have forgotten something. If it’s an essential item, then the trip will either be a disaster or costly or both. Believe me, I know.
For the perfect trip, you need to do five things:
- Plan the trip
- Check over the RV
- Make your home secure
- Decide what to bring
- Be camp aware
Plan the Trip
Obviously the first thing to do is to plan the trip. Create an itinerary. This will include where you’re going, the cost, booking a parking spot, the planned route, and where to stop over. Did you know that if you are RVing, camping overnight in places like Wal-Mart parking lots is acceptable? Don’t over stay your welcome though, this should only be overnight and you should ask permission out of courtesy.
It’s not a bad idea to start building an onboard library with maintenance books such The RV Handbook or The RVer’s Bible. Get a copy of The RVer’s Friend for lists of RV friendly truck stops. When you’ve planned the trip, then you need to make sure that you are roadworthy.
Check Over Your RV: Making the RV Safe and Road Worthy
It’s always wise when taking a long journey, to have your vehicle checked over by a mechanic. Get a service on the engine, have the tires and brakes checked. Make sure all of the onboard systems are working. Is the insurance up to date and is roadside assistance included?
Once you’ve checked over the mechanical part of the vehicle, it wouldn’t go amiss to check the interior. Is the fridge ok? Does the stove work? Check for gas leaks and plumbing for kitchen and bathroom water and don’t forget the toilet.
Every RV should have a toolbox but don’t overload it with things you don’t need. Every tool that you carry should have at least 2 uses. I use a tool roll for my tools. It’s easy to carry, the tools don’t rattle in the locker and I can easily see if something is missing.
These are the things I normally carry.
- You will need a set of tools to handle minor repairs. I like my tools to be multipurpose. An assortment of wrenches and especially adjustable wrenches and third hand clamps. You will also need screwdrivers; mine have several blades that attach to one handle.
- A claw hammer, an axe and saw. Mine are double edged.
- Rope, cord and bungee cords of varying lengths. Don’t forget the duct tape.
- A flash light with a magnetic grip or a hook to attach it somewhere while you’re working. Get batteries for the flashlight or buy self generating flashlights and save on batteries.
- Consider investing in a portable generator if your RV is not equipped with one. Exercise it once a month for two hours under a load. Use only 30A (minimum) RV extension cord.
Each locker and cupboard on my RV has a contents list taped inside. Everything has its place. You know the old saying, a place for everything and everything in its place.
A friend of mine color codes his stuff to which locker they belong in. Learn where everything is stored and ensure it is actually there before you start your adventure.
Also, make sure you’re comfortable operating your RV prior to your trip. It’s important to familiarize yourself with common RV mistakes so you can avoid them yourself.
Making Your Home Secure
Before you leave on your adventure, give a copy of your itinerary to a family member or a friend including, not only your phone numbers, but numbers for the places that you will be staying. The more contact information, the better.
You’ll be gone for a little while so make sure that you cancel all deliveries. Have someone come by to check for mail and look over the house for you. You can ask to have mail held by the post office until you return.
Decide What to Bring
This is always the big question. If you are a newbie, you will either bring too much or not enough.
Before you embark on your RV camping trip, make lists of things that you will need.
- Health and Hygiene: Including toiletries, personal washing, clothes washing, medicines, prescriptions, sun block and glasses.
- Clothing: Dress according to the trip you are taking. Don’t forget severe weather items like waterproofs and a set of warm clothing.
- Dining: Depending on your eating habits, make a list of things you will need in the kitchen and picnic areas. Don’t forget washing up and clearing up too.
- Fun: List the things you will need for entertainment. Books, games, pencils and crayons, and a radio or portable TV.
- Comfort: Bedding, pillows, awning, folding table and chairs and a small barbeque grill.
Don’t forget the cameras/mobile devices & batteries/charging equipment. What could be worse than having the best vacation ever and no pictures of the RV camping adventure?
Be Camp Aware: Things to Do When You Arrive at the Camp
When you come into camp, use a guide. The guide is the person who will ensure that you park safely. Much as you may not like the idea, they are in charge just like an air marshal parking a plain or a river pilot guiding a boat into dock. They have a clearer vision than you, listen to them. If you cannot see them, don’t move. They may be checking a ditch or a low hanging tree limb.
- Learn and practice guide signals and commands. They should be clear and exaggerated.
- Check the area together so that you both know where you’re going.
- Always use wheel chocks and 2×6 blocks of wood for leveling and stabilizing your vehicle.
- Open cabinets carefully when you arrive. Things will shift as you move in to camp. Add catch nets or boards inside each cupboard to stop stuff falling out and put non-skid matting on all shelves.
- Don’t leave storage bays open or food or trash lying around. You will be visited by mice, chipmunks, bears and more.
- Have a spare key hidden outside the RV incase of lockout.
When you have parked, set up your camp but don’t leave stuff lying around to get mislaid. When you deploy your antenna, sat dish, wheel chocks and leveling blocks, it’s a good idea to create a list so that you don’t leave them behind. Always use the camping checklists.
I heard of someone who uses clothes pins with items written on them. When they’re deployed, the clothes pin is clipped to the steering wheel. This is a sure way not to leave anything behind.
RV camping is a fun way of spending a vacation. Everyone is excited and in the excitement, things are forgotten. Enjoy your trip and the best way to enjoy it is to have RV camping checklists to follow so that you don’t forget.
Before I go, I want to share an additional resource. If you’re interested in creating a custom RV checklist, check out this site; here you can select items from a broad list and print a personalized form so you don’t overlook anything important. It’s very cool.