RV Camping Checklist
5 camping checklists for the perfect trip
RV camping time is here and this trip is going to be the best ever. Whether you are an experienced RVer or a newbie, you will 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 donít 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. Thereís nothing worse than being miles from home and realizing that you have forgotten something. If itís 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:
Planning the trip
- Plan the trip
- Check over the RV
- Make home secure
- Decide what to bring
- Be camp aware
Obviously the first thing to do is plan the trip. Create an itinerary. This will include where you are 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? Donít over stay your welcome though, this should only be overnight and you should ask permission out of courtesy.
Itís 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 RVerís Friend for lists of RV friendly truck stops. When youíve planned the trip, then you need to make sure that you are roadworthy.
Making the RV safe and road worthy
Itís 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 youíve checked over the mechanical part of the vehicle, it wouldnít 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 donít forget the toilet.
Every RV should have a toolbox but donít overload it with things you donít need. Every tool that you carry should have at least 2 uses. I use a tool roll for my tools. Itís easy to carry, the tools donít rattle in the locker and I can easily see if something is missing.
These are the things I normally carry.
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.
- 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. Donít forget the duct tape.
- A flash light with a magnetic grip or a hook to attach it somewhere while youíre 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.
Learn where everything is stored and ensure it is actually there before you start your adventure.
Making 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.
Youíll 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.
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.
Donít forget the cameras. What could be worse than having the best vacation ever and no pictorial memories of the RV camping adventure?
- Health and Hygiene: Including toiletries, personal washing, clothes washing, medicines, prescriptions, sun block and glasses.
- Clothing: Dress according to the trip you are taking. Donít 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. Donít 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.
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, donít move. They may be checking a ditch or a low hanging tree limb.
When you have parked, set up your camp but donít leave stuff lying around to get mislaid. When you deploy your antenna, sat dish, wheel chocks and leveling blocks, itís a good idea to create a list so that you donít leave them behind. Always use the camping checklists.
- Learn and practice guide signals and commands. They should be clear and exaggerated.
- Check the area together so that you both know where youíre going.
- Always use wheel chocks and 2x6 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.
I heard of someone who uses clothes pins with items written on them. When they are 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 donít forget.
Thank you to Ian Patterson for this "RV Camping Checklist" article.