woman holding a phone and the screen says "The Ultimate RVing Camping Checklist"

Don’t Go RVing Without This Camping Checklist!

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Whether you’re a seasoned pro or an RVing newbie, there is a lot to consider before heading out. Don’t go RVing without this camping checklist!

Motorhome parked by a lake surrounded by mountains
Don’t go RVing without this camping checklist!

Before every trip, there is a certain amount of anxiety with a mix of excitement to hit the road. Sometimes, you might be in a bit of a rush to get going. But before you hit the open road, there is a laundry list of items you need to check. Ensuring your RV is secure (and road-worthy) is extremely important. To make it easier, we’ve created this handy RV camping checklist.

Nothing ruins a camping trip – or hauling the RV anywhere – like a preventable mistake. Seasoned RVers know and make it a habit to run through this checklist before setting off. Most RVs, from huge motorhomes to tiny teardrops, have a lot of common to-do items.

This is a handy general list. You may add extra items that are unique to your setup or you may not apply all the items.

The Ultimate RVing Camping Checklist

To prevent mishaps, it is best to run through this camping checklist before you take off. For most, it’s a good idea for one person to tackle the inside and one person to tackle the outside. Then, check the other’s work by running through the list. Two sets of eyes are better than one.

Securing inside your RV

Start off the camping checklist by securing the interior of your RV. This includes:

  • Close all windows, blinds, and roof vents
  • Prepare the refrigerator for travel and secure
  • Stowaway or secure the TV and any large items
  • Secure loose items (foldable baskets are great)
  • Close and latch all cabinets, drawers, and interior doors

Turn off your RV systems

Next, make sure all the switches and systems in your RV are turned off. This includes:

  • Lights and accessories (you don’t want to drain the auxiliary battery)
  • Fans
  • Heater or furnace
  • Air conditioner(s)
  • Water heater
  • Water pump
Motorhome parked at a campsite
Before you pull out, make sure you check your campsite for anything you might have missed.

Securing outside your RV

After the inside, it’s time to run through the camping checklist for the outside of your RV. This includes:

  • Lower the TV antenna and satellite dish
  • Retract cell phone booster
  • Pull-in slides
  • Stow outside items like chairs, grill, dog pen, etc.
  • Retract leveling system or jacks and ensure they are secure
  • Grab and store chocks and levelers
  • Close and lock outside storage compartments
  • Secure bike rack
  • Retract and secure awning(s)
  • Disconnect and store water hose, septic hose, cable TV wire, and electric cords
  • Check the cap on your sewer connection
  • Turn gas supply off at the source
  • Retract stairs

Before you pull out, make sure you check your campsite for anything you might have missed. Remember to properly dispose of all your garbage and bottles – leave no trace.

Check your RV & towing vehicle

Now that everything is stowed and secured, you’re probably gunning to get on the road. Before you take off, make sure you run through this checklist to check your RV and towing vehicle. Safety first.

  • Check your hitch connection and chains
  • Check all RV and towing vehicle fluid levels
  • For rigs with a toad, check the connection
  • Check all running lights, turn signals, brake lights, and headlights
  • Double-check any tie-downs if applicable
  • Look under your rig for any signs of leaks
  • Inspect and test your tires: tire pressure and tighten lug nuts

Lighten the Load

If this is the first trip of the season, this step won’t apply. But if you’re heading home after a weekend trip or heading to your next destination, make the trip a little easier for your towing rig. This is an important part of safe RV towing.

  • Dump your gray and black tanks

For boondockers, you may opt to leave your freshwater tank full (or partially full) if freshwater isn’t on your route. But for those who don’t need it, try to empty your fresh tanks. The heavy water can hurt your fuel economy – hello, fuel anxiety.

Printable PDF

Did we miss anything? What does your camping checklist look like?

14 thoughts on “Don’t Go RVing Without This Camping Checklist!”

  1. Timothy J. Connolly

    One advantage, and not a minor one, is having a clean bathroom and clean sink to use on your journey to your next destination. I would recommend keeping a 1/4 tank of freshwater which for us is about 10 gallons for flushing, washing hands, and maybe for cleaning up a few dishes after lunch.

  2. Timber Cruiser

    Linda, highlight and copy, paste into your word processing programs (Maybe notepad?) Then before you print, edit it, add what you t hink it needs, take out stuff you don’t even have on your own rig. Better than printing, put it on your phone. You could even do that as a series of voice recordings that would tell you what to do as you were doing it.

  3. Heres a link to a google sheet that you can open on an android phone Sheets App or with Chrome on the internet. Customize as you like.

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/11J4CrPLEnuyUU6_9bHojZhEBbgO58rP0lSQt2zhIixY/edit?usp=sharing

  4. If you have an RV GPS, switch it from car mode to RV mode (adjusts route based on height, length, weight, etc.)
    Sweep off tops of slides and clear slide paths before closing (even a pebble can gouge vinyl flooring)
    Empty trash

  5. Under Check your RV & towing vehicle add
    Check towing mirrors.
    Check trailer brake controller operation.

  6. I have a 3-page checklist in Word with checkboxes that I update after every trip. It started out as 1 page and has served us well over the years. I would recommend taking the Google sheet that TMX247 shared and saving a copy for yourself. Then add or delete based on your needs. No 2 lists will be alike.

  7. 4th year as a full timer i a class Aand we still use a check list before we depart. Additional items on our list:
    Inside:
    ‘lock out’ closet, shower and refrigerator doors so they won’t open
    ensure all drawers and cupboards are shut securely
    open all window shades to minimize rattles
    account for all wallets, keys, laptops and cell phones
    place all cables and cords out of harms way and with in reach if you plan to use them
    agree on route to next stop
    Outside:
    check items in storage are snug and/or haven’t shifted
    check all storage doors are securely shut
    place drinks and snacks with in reach

  8. I would like to move “retract awning” up the list above “Retract leveling system or jacks”. Last time we were out I did the awning last and found out that when I removed the jack the awning was pushing against a tree. It did bend the long tube that the fabric wraps around, it’s not bad enough to cause a problem but it could have cost me a new awning.

  9. Put, Check and recheck that the steps are up.
    I wacked mine a few times over the years. Ouch !!! We now have a note on the dash as a reminder.

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