Welcome, intrepid explorers one and all!
If you’re like me, you have an unquenchable thirst for adventure. Your ears are finely tuned to the call of the wild. You believe that life is too short to be stuck behind a desk, doing some uninspiring office job 5 days a week for the next 30-odd years.
No matter where this finds you in the world, there are new places to explore and new experiences to be had. But you already knew that!
If this sounds like you and you happen to have an RV: this checklist is for you.
The article that is about to follow offers a comprehensive rundown of everything you need to know when planning for your next RV camping getaway. The following are the topics that will be covered:
- RV-Trailer Hookup
- Camping Essentials
- Outdoor Camping Essentials
- Leaving the Campsite
- Camping with Kids
- Camping with Pets.
And just when you thought this blog post couldn’t get more helpful – I also have a PDF version and Excel version of the checklist for you at the end of the blog. Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
- Pre-Trip RV Checklist
- RV Trailer Hook-Ups Checklist
- RV Camping Essentials Checklist
- Outdoor Camping Essentials Checklist
- Safety Checklist
- Leaving the Campsite Checklist
- Camping with Kids Checklist
- Camping with Pets Checklist
Pre-Trip RV Checklist
The pre-trip: Arguably one of the most important parts of any adventure!
This includes all of the research into the region/s you’ll be traveling through, any paperwork/permits you may need to fill out or acquire, ensuring your driver’s license is valid, and more.
Luckily for you, everything you’ll need to get sorted out before your trip begins is listed here.
- Vehicle registration and insurance
Arguably the most important paperwork you will need to tend to the entire trip. Make sure you have these two things sorted out – you never know what might happen
- Driver’s license
This one goes without saying, doesn’t it? No driver’s license, no driving!
- RV owner’s manual
By all means, bring a book or two on your trip. However, this will be the most important piece of literature you could hope to have out there
- Maps and navigation tools
Absolutely vital! If you’re not into the physical map experience, make sure you have maps saved on your phone of the areas you will be traveling to
- Campground reservations
It’s important to book ahead! I know from experience; there’s nothing worse than a long day of driving, only to get to your campsite someone (me) forgot to book. Don’t be like me. Be smarter
- Emergency contact information
If something goes wrong, you need to be able to get in contact with the right people!
Have a look for the numbers of the appropriate emergency services in the areas you’ll be traveling through, just in case.
Pre-Check RV Conditions (Exterior):
- Tires and tire pressure
You will need to get your RV weighed at each tire position to establish the correct PSI for each tire. The best way to do this is to go to a dedicated vehicle weigher.
If you aren’t able to do that, The maximum cold tire pressure will be inscribed on your tires. This is the maximum pressure they can be before you start driving; as tires heat up, the air inside them will expand and the pressure will rise further
- Wheel lug nuts
These should be as tight as possible. Have a professional to see to this if you don’t know how
- Exterior lights (headlights, brake lights, turn signals)
These should all be working; it is vital that they are, for the safety of others on the road (not just you!)
- Hitch and towing equipment (if applicable)
If you’re towing cargo, make sure it is connected securely and safely
- Roof and seals
These should be secure
- Windows and windshield
Check for any small chips or cracks; these could expand in the blink of an eye
- Awning condition and operation
Make sure this is working as it should be
- Propane tank and connections
Make sure this is full and secure
- RV exterior cleanliness
For your sake, take pride in your vehicle! Even if it’s a rental, it’s still a good idea to keep it tidy
- Slide-outs and their seals (if applicable)
Should be secured
- Spare tire and jack (if applicable)
Should be present and secure
- Mirrors and wipers
Make sure these are clean and functioning as they should be.
Pre-Check RV Conditions (Interior):
- Interior lights
Working as they should be
- Appliances (fridge, stove, oven, microwave, etc.)
Working as they should be
- Plumbing (sinks, faucets, toilets, showers)
Working as it should be
- Electrical systems (outlets, circuits, breakers)
Working as it should be
- HVAC system (heating and cooling)
Your HVAC will keep you comfortable in all weather conditions. If you have one in your RV, it pays to make sure it is working as it should be.
If you don’t have an HVAC system, it would pay to look into getting one installed before you head off!
- Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors
Important – these should be working properly
- Fire extinguisher
This should be present, working, and securely fastened
- LP gas leak detector
Vital – working as it should be
- Slide-outs and their interior condition
These should be cleaned and secure
- Furniture and upholstery
Should be clean and secure
- Flooring and carpets
Make sure it is in place/lying flat to avoid a tripping hazard
- Cabinetry and storage areas
Should be clean and tidy
- Bedding and linens
Very important – make sure you have this clean and ready to go!
- Kitchen utensils and cookware
Pack everything you should conceivably need given your storage capabilities
- Bathroom supplies
Toilet paper is a must!
- Entertainment systems (TV, radio, DVD player, etc.)
This could be crucial if you’re traveling with kids
- RV cleanliness and sanitation
Don’t overlook the importance of cleanliness!
- First-aid kit
Vital. Make sure you have one packed
RV Trailer Hook-Ups Checklist
For the duration of your trip, chances are your RV is going to be your home away from home.
As such, the following are considerations that should not be overlooked! Doing so could at best cause considerable discomfort, and at worst get you and your fellow campers into some potentially dangerous situations.
- Water, electricity, and sewer hookups
Your lifelines for the extent of your trip. These must be in working order
- Propane and gas systems
Important – working as they should be
- Trailer leveling and stabilization
If you have a trailer, this is an important safety precaution
- Hitch and safety equipment
Make sure the hitch mechanism and light connectors are working as they should be
- Trailer maintenance and inspection
This should be an ongoing occurrence throughout your trip; aim to do this at least once a day
- Emergency tools and documentation:
You never know when you might need them!
- Campground reservation and site check
Make sure the campsite knows you have a trailer with you.
RV Camping Essentials Checklist
Camping is like blue cheese – you either love it or you hate it!
Luckily for you, if glamping is more your thing, you have every right to kit your RV out in a manner fit for royalty.
Taking these things into account will allow you to maximize comfort and minimize hassle, because, let’s face it: you’re worth it.
- Indoor bedding:
The most important things:
- Blankets/sleeping bags
- Kitchen essentials
The most important things:
- Personal items
Like me, you may like to travel with items that hold special sentimental value to you; make sure you bring them along for the ride
Top tip: don’t scrimp on the toiletry!
Make a note of the weather where you’re going and any more general weather systems in place
- Shoes for camping
Depending on the conditions, you will most likely need a good firm pair of closed-toe shoes – maybe even boots
- Towels and washcloths
- Food and snacks
This goes without saying, right?
- Camping gear
You may want to switch it up at some point. Why not bring a tent and camping tools just in case?
As far as I’m concerned, you can’t look past a good old-fashioned pack of cards!
Outdoor Camping Essentials Checklist
While a trip away in an RV is a world of fun, having the option to set up camp wherever you please (within the region’s rules and regulations of course) can take the experience to the next level.
- Outdoor furniture
A simple folding camp chair can go a long way. Make sure you have at least a couple to whip out for your companions
- Camping gear
I’m thinking sleeping bags, torches, insect repellant, warm clothes, portable stoves, the list goes on. Feel free to tailor this to your wants and needs!
- Tools for camping
At the very least, you’ll want to bring a hammer, pegs, a Swiss army knife, and some cutlery.
If I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: this isn’t an area you want to gloss over!
You’ll be very fortunate to get through a trip without needing to use any of these things – and if you do, you’ll be extremely glad you packed them.
Put your and your family/friend’s safety first.
- First aid kit
If you already have one, make sure it’s stocked up. If you don’t, go and get one!
- Emergency whistle
You never know when you might need one
- Fire extinguisher
The same applies
- Maps of the area
Either physical or saved on your phone – but why not both for good luck?
- Communication devices (cell phone, radio)
A must-have. Have emergency contact details ready as well
- Extra food and water
In the best-case scenario, you won’t need it. Worst case, you’ll be very glad you packed it
- Flashlight or headlamp with extra batteries
I know from experience: it pays to invest in a good headlamp!
Leaving the Campsite Checklist
Campsite etiquette is extremely important; it’s what can make or break a camping trip for you or anyone else!
Everybody wants to camp alongside other friendly, tidy, like-minded campers. Don’t forget these important things when leaving a campsite.
- Check for trash and clean up litter
It’s the least you can do! Think of the lovely people who will be using your spot after you
- Extinguish campfires completely
This is an extremely important one. Pour water on any embers before you leave, and make sure they’re fully extinguished
- Pack up and secure all food items
To avoid clutter, it can be good to keep track of what goes where in your kitchenette
- Take down and store camping gear
These days, tents can cost a pretty penny. Make sure you take yours with you
- Dispose of wastewater properly
The campsite you are at should have the facilities for this. If not, there will be public ones dotted around the place; make sure you know what you’re doing with your wastewater!
- Remove tent stakes and fill in any holes
Standing on a camouflage tent stake is a great way to ruin anyone’s camping trip. What’s more – you’re going to need them!
- Check for any personal items left behind
I’ve almost left some bizarre things at campsites – it always pays to be vigilant
- Double-check that the campsite is clean and tidy
Leave the campsite in the same condition you found it
- Ensure the campfire area is cold to the touch
Once you’ve confirmed this, you’re ready to go!
Camping with Kids Checklist
Camping with your kids can be one of the most amazing experiences for them and you; it’s an adventure, after all!
Cultivate their wonder and imagination as they witness places and experiences for the first time (or for the 10th time, for that matter).
Kids love camping. And if they don’t yet, they will after the camping trip you’re planning!
This list covers things you may need to take into consideration for kids of all ages.
It goes without saying these are equally as important as everything else on this checklist – if not more.
- Child-specific sleeping gear and bedding
If you have a young child, they may have different bedding needs to you. Make sure you keep them in mind
- Baby essentials (diapers, wipes, baby food)
Vital, vital, vital. Make it a pleasant trip for your little one!
- Sun protection and bug repellent for kids
There are gentler alternatives on the market that you may want to look into
- Outdoor toys and games for entertainment
Because, why not? Chances are you’ll get as much out of them as the kids will!
- Safety supplies and childproofing items
Make sure any potentially hazardous items in your RV are securely out of reach of little hands
- First aid supplies for children
Again, you may want to look into gentler or smaller alternatives
- Bedtime routine items and comfort items
Being somewhere new can be unsettling for the bravest of us. Make sure your little ones feel as comfortable as possible! It could be the difference between a good night’s sleep and a not-so-good night’s sleep.
Camping with Pets Checklist
Hey, you’ve come this far – why not bring Buddy along for the ride?
Make sure you pack all the things necessary to make your pet’s time as enjoyable as yours.
ID, vaccination records, and medication are some of the most important things to consider from this list; It pays to be prepared!
- Pet food and treats
Your pet is going to get hungry. Make sure you feed them. Your pet is also a good boy/girl – make sure they know it!
- Food and water dishes
They need a bowl, too
- Leash and collar/harness
If you’re planning on roaming, these are essential
- Poop bags and waste disposal
Goes without saying!
- Pet bed or blanket
Make sure you pack their bed and/or favorite blankie
- Towels for cleaning and drying pets
Just make sure you don’t get them mixed up with your ones!
- Pet medications and health records
This means flea and tick prevention, vaccinations, a first aid kit, etc. You can never be too careful
- Current ID tags and microchip information
In the unfortunate event of your pet going astray, make sure you have the means to find them again!
- Portable pet crate or carrier (if needed)
May be needed, depending on the pet
- Toys and entertainment for pets
Those long days on the road can make pets fairly restless; make sure they have something to keep them occupied, just like the kids
- Secure pet restraints for vehicles (car seat or harness)
In case of windy roads, or elderly pets – this one is your call.
Congratulations! You’ve reached the end of this little adventure in preparation for your upcoming RV camping experience!
If you’ve followed along closely, as I’m sure you have, you’ll be set to start your journey.
You never know when you might need a checklist as comprehensive as this one on your travels. Happy trails!The-Only-FREE-Printable-RV-Camping-Checklist-You-Need-_-TMBTent.com-All-Checklist