The Only RV Setup and Teardown Checklist You’ll Ever Need

Apr 16, 2021 | Best Camping Gear

The Only RV Setup and Teardown Checklist You’ll Ever Need

By Mara Kuhn

We’ve all been there. We’ve got our trailer hooked up and ready to go on a camping adventure. We’ve gone through the whole process in our heads over and over. “Did I hooked the travel trailer properly? Did I secure all our loose items?” And yet, as you pull away, you wonder what you might find when you open your trailer door at your destination.

Having an in-depth RV checklist, like the one we provide below, is great for first-time and newbie RVers, but also useful for seasoned veterans. Because hey, we all forget things sometimes! Once you know you’ve crossed everything off the list, you can focus on enjoying all the stops and experiences along the way, instead of worrying about what’s rattling around inside or outside your camper.

Why Use an RV Setup and Tear-Down Checklist

A setup and tear-down checklist can help keep you organized and ready for adventure at a moment’s notice. Want to get away this weekend? No problem. Packing up quickly to avoid a storm or meet up with a friend? Easy peasy. When you know exactly what you need to do to hit the road and then set up when you reach your destination, you can take some of the guesswork out of your next trip. Plus, you can rest assured that the last time you packed up your camper, you stored everything away in its proper place, so it’s ready for use.

Checklists can also help you keep your camper in tip-top shape, so you don’t get stuck handling unexpected repairs or issues on the road (but if you do, there are ways to handle that, too!). With our lists below, you’ll be touching and looking at many parts of your camper. If you see anything amiss, make a note of it and check it out the next time you’re able. The more familiar you are with your rig, the better you’ll be at spotting issues and handling them promptly.

The setup and teardown steps that you take will depend somewhat on which type of camper you have (a motorhome or class C won’t have to unhook their trailer, for example), but the principles are the same. Take a look through the lists below, pull out what is needed for your particular RV, and get camping!

Arrival/Setup Checklist

Exterior

  • Check level
  • If necessary, level side to side
  • Chock your tires
  • Place support blocks under stabilizing jack
  • Unhook your trailer
  • Manually level trailer front to back or engage leveling system
  • Connect surge protector and power cord
  • Connect water regulator and hose
  • Connect sewer hose if sewer is available
  • Put out the awning and outdoor furniture, rugs, etc.

Interior

  • Extend any slide-outs
  • Turn on the refrigerator (or switch power source)
  • Turn on heat/air if needed
  • Light pilot light for the oven
  • Turn on water heater
  • Unpack secured items
  • Set up furniture, as needed

Teardown/Departure Checklist

Interior

  • Turn off AC/heat
  • Turn off the water heater and pump
  • Leave enough water in toilet to make a seal, but not so much that it will splash out of the bowl when you drive
  • Switch refrigerator to in-transit power source
  • Secure refrigerator bars
  • Assure all lights, radios, and TV are off
  • Close and secure roof vents (dust will come in if you don’t)
  • Lower TV antenna
  • Secure and lock windows
  • Secure all loose objects
  • Secure and lock all cabinet doors and drawers
  • Make sure the oven pilot light is off
  • Close slide outs
  • Close and lock your door

Exterior

  • Retract and secure the awning
  • Make sure all outside gear (tables, rugs, solar suitcases, satellite dishes, etc.) are stored away properly
  • Disconnect, drain, rinse, and store all hoses
  • Unplug shore power cords and adapters
  • Turn off propane
  • Stow entry steps
  • Retract stabilizing jacks
  • Hitch up to the vehicle
  • Attach break-away switch
  • Attach safety chains
  • Attach weight distribution
  • Plug-in 7-pin trailer plug to tow vehicle
  • Remove and stow leveling blocks
  • Remove and stow wheel chocks
  • Check trailer lights to make sure they are working properly
  • Check tire-pressure

Final Walk Around

  • Double-check that all outside compartments and doors are locked
  • Walk around, make sure everything looks stored properly
  • Look above, below, and around the trailer for any connections or items you may have missed
  • Clean up any trash and leave the campsite better than found it
  • Pack up yourself, your kids, and your pets, and hit the road!
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