Before you take off in your RV, make sure you have all the essentials on board. These handy checklists will help you make sure you haven't forgotten anything. You might even find a few important items you haven't thought about.
You've bought your RV (or are thinking about it). Now you need to think about outfitting your rig. The following is a list of items we consider essential to equip your RV before you head out on your many RV excursions. Depending on your RV, you may not need all of these items or could possibly use others. Feel free to modify this list as needed.
* black water chemicals - Don't even think about using your toilet without adding waste chemicals first!
* disposable rubber gloves - Needed when you're dumping and flushing the black water tank.
* electrical adapters - A range of adapters to be able to plug your RV into whatever electrical service is available. If your RV is set up for 50-amp service, you'll need adapters to plug into either 30-amp service or 20-amp service. If your rig is 50-amp, there are also adapters that allow plugging in to both the 30-amp service and the 20-amp service to provide the 50-amps you need (depending on how the campground electrical service is wired).
* electrical extension cord - A 25-foot extension cord to match your RVs electrical rating (20-amp, 30-amp or 50-amp extension cord) for the times when you can't get close enough to the electrical outlet. It's not often, but when that time occurs you'll be glad you have the extension.
* extra bulbs - Again, check your manual for the types and sizes and carry extras. Remember extras for the interior as well as the exterior, for the stop lights, running lights and such.
* extra fuses - Check your RV manual for the types and sizes of fuses in your RV and carry extras of each.
* fire extinguisher - If you buy your RV new, it will already come equipped with a fire extinguisher. But if you buy used, it may or may not have one. This is certainly essential, and make sure to check the charge regularly.
* first-aid kit - A good one is essential. Make sure it includes (or you take along with it) things such as aspirin, antacid, cough syrup and the like, along with tweezers and a thermometer, bandages, first aid cream.
* flashlight - Although not absolutely essential we include this in our must have list. Include extra batteries also.
* fresh water hose - The "white" hose. Don't use a regular garden hose for your fresh water connection; they are not safe. A 25-footer will do in most situations, but it might be a good idea to carry an extra 25-footer for those times when you're further away from the water connection.
* garden hose - For rinsing out your black water tank or for whenever you might need a length of regular garden hose. Include a nozzle in you RV and remember, don't use your fresh water hose for rinsing out your black water tank. Use your fresh water hose for fresh water only.
* in-line water filter - This is well worth the price for clean, safe drinking water.
* level or stick-on levelers - How else can you make sure your RV is level?
* leveling blocks - The orange Lynx? levelers work great, but any pieces of wood cut into squares will do just fine. Don't depend on your stabilizer jacks to level your RV. They are meant for stabilizing, not leveling.
* matches - Or one of those butane match sticks, for lighting the range, oven, grill or starting your campfire in the evening.
* non-slip cabinet linings - You'll be sorry if you don't line those cabinets with this stuff.
* rags - You always need rags for something.
* RV toilet paper - the degradable type used for RVs and portable toilets. Using regular toilet paper will clog your black holding tank eventually.
* sewer hose - We recommend two sections; a 10-foot section and a 20-foot section, each with a fitting on one end for the RV connection. Or, you can purchase something like Camco's Quick Connect? system; two 10-foot sections that connect together quickly when you need that extra reach.
* sewer hose fittings - You might want a couple of different types for the sewer-end of the hose, and a rubber Sewer Ring. The sewer ring is a must have as some campgrounds require this fitting.
* tools - Make sure you carry the basics, such as:
- assortment of flat-head screwdrivers
- assortment of Phillips-head screwdrivers
- basic wrenches (both box and open end)
- channel locks
- fuse puller
- needle-nose pliers
- pliers, both large and small
- socket set (if you're so inclined)
- tire gauge
* water pressure regulator - A must have and buy a good one. Some campgrounds have too much water pressure, and you could end up blowing out the water lines in your RV. Also keep in mind that these regulators could lose their regulating abilities over time, so it's a good idea to buy a new one every couple of years or so, depending on how often you use it.
* wheel chocks - Or some form of locking the wheels of your RV. There are many options available on the market, but good old ordinary wheel chocks work best.
The following are not absolutely essential, but they are surely nice to have when needed. Seriously consider these items, but watch your load weight!
* another flashlight - Or two, with extra batteries.
* ant spray and ant traps - Because you will get ants at some point in your RVing experiences.
* awning tie-downs - Great for those slightly windy days. In a storm, however, it's best to close up your awning.
* axe - Again, self explanatory.
* broom and dust pan - Again, small and as portable as you can get.
* bungee cords - You can purchase a package that includes various sizes.
* carpet or fake grass - To put down in front of the door; it really helps keep the area cleaner and also helps to keep from tracking all kinds of dirt into your RV.
* co-ax cable - For cable TV. If you're carrying a TV in your RV, you'll need this to avoid renting a cable from the campground, for those sites that have cable TV hookups.
* duct tape - Who doesn't use duct tape?
* electrical tester - For those times when you need to check the campground electrical service. Remember, this is in the nice to have category.
* electrician tape - Another goodie when needed.
* extra mirror - Just like at home, both of you are going to need the bathroom mirror at the same time. Consider this an "argument-saver".
* folding shovel - Self explanatory, and you'll need one some day.
* garden hose mending fittings - They are cheap and could come in handy.
* lubricating oil - A can of WD-40? will do just fine.
* more tools - If you seriously consider this item, you are mechanically-inclined and won't need to be told what to include here.
* regular extension cord - A 25-foot length of extension cord, rated at least 20-amp. Use an appropriate gauge cord, at least a 12-guage.
* rope and/or string - For those emergencies when you need to tie up, or down, something at your site.
* sewer hose support - You can travel without one, but they help a lot when dumping.
* Swiss Army Knife? - Just a nice item to have when you really could use one.
* telephone and telephone wire - Some campgrounds have free local phone service, and it's nice to have a phone to call local attractions for more info, make reservations at a local eatery and these types of calls. If you don't have a phone, you can always rent one from the campground.
* trash can - For the interior, so you don't have to put things in a free-standing plastic bag.
* vacuum cleaner - A small model, maybe even a 12-volt portable for those clean-up times.
* wand - For cleaning out your black water tank. It does a great job and a few years down the road you'll be glad you used it.
Packing Up Your RV
The following are generalized checklists for packing up after your RV trip. Since there are so many different types of RVs with different options on each one, it's nearly impossible to put together a checklist for each one. So keep in mind the following notes when using these lists:
These are general checklists you can use for packing up. Modify them any way you wish for your particular setup. Some items may not apply while other items for your rig and setup might be missing. But these checklists contain most of what needs to be done in every situation, regardless of whether you have a motorhome, travel trailer or tent camper.
The checklists are not necessarily in the order that things must be done. Rather, as long as you have everything checked off before you leave, you should be in good shape.
Packing Up: Inside
- Close and secure all cabinets, doors and drawers
- Close and/or secure all other doors (pass-thru, bathroom and bedroom closet doors)
- Close windows and secure blinds/drapes
- Disconnect and stow any electrical cords
- Double check items in cabinets to make sure they won't fall over
- Lower range top cover
- Lower roof satellite dish
- Lower roof TV antenna
- Lower roof vents
- Make sure the weight inside is as evenly distributed as possible
- Put cutting board in sink or stow in cabinet
- Put in the slide-outs
- Put travel bars in refrigerator
- Secure bathroom shower door
- Secure refrigerator door
- Shut off all gas pilot lights
- Shut off all lights, radios and electrical items
- Stow and secure all bathroom items
- Stow and secure any stand-alone tables, chairs and other objects
- Stow everything loose; coffee maker, toaster, dishes, cups, etc.
- Take down all portable clocks that could fall
- Turn off air conditioner or furnace
- Turn off electric water heater
- Turn off refrigerator
- Turn off water pump
- Wrap TV in a blanket and place on the floor
Packing Up: Outside
- Cap the RV sewer drain outlet
- Check lugs on wheels
- Check tire pressure
- Close front (and rear) window shutters
- Close/lock outside range hood vent
- Cover the outside water connection
- Disconnect shore power electrical cord and stow; close and secure the hatch
- Double check that sewer drain valves on RV are closed and remove the sewer hose
- Drain and flush black water holding tank
- Drain gray water tank
- Drain sewer hose, clean and stow
- If not operating the refrigerator, shut off the LP gas bottles
- Make sure all exterior storage items are secure; close and lock all compartments
- Put in 2-3 gallons of water and appropriate amount of holding tank chemical into the black water tank
- Put stabilizer jacks up and secure -or- Stow portable jacks
- Put steps up
- Put up all awnings
- Remove and stow any outside electrical connectors
- Remove and stow TV cable and/or phone cords
- Remove fresh water hose, drain and stow
- Stow all outside items: carpets, chairs, grill, etc.
- Stow satellite dish and stand
- Stow wheel chocks
- Take down and stow awning lights
- Turn off gas water heater