Welcome to RV UNIVERSITY Saturday, January 25 2020 @ 09:06 am UTC

Campground Set-up 101 By Mark J. Polk

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Somebody recently asked me what I enjoyed the most about RVing. It didn't take long for me to respond that it was the people you meet at the campground. I don't know of anywhere else that you can meet complete strangers and within a couple of hours feel as if you've known them forever. People at campgrounds are some of the friendliest most helpful people you will ever meet. I have seen it time and again when a camper pulls in and they are having problems with something and their next door neighbor, whom they never met, is right there to assist them. I have also observed and assisted several campers who were new to RVing and not really sure how to set their unit up when they arrive at the campground. While talking to these new Rvers it came up more than once how they wished that they had a checklist to follow to make things easier. I thought this was a wonderful idea, so I added a campground set-up checklist to our e-book “Checklists for RVers”


This is an excerpt from the e-book to assist new campers when they arrive at the campground.


Campground Set-Up Checklist: (Travel Trailer & Motor Home)

It would be impossible to cover everything involved with this checklist because of the vast differences between RVs. However most RVs do have many things in common and that is what we will concentrate on. The purpose of this checklist is to provide a basic system of what to do when you arrive at your site. Use only the items that apply to your RV and feel free to tailor the list to your needs. (Pop Ups see separate checklist)

  • If you are in a motor home and are towing a vehicle you may want to disconnect the vehicle in the campground registration parking lot before going to your site. Have someone drive the vehicle in front of you to assist in locating your site.
  • Conduct a site survey. Identify where all campground connections are and where you want the RV located to have access to all connections. Take into consideration where slide outs will be and if there is room to put the awning out. Make sure there are no low hanging branches or other obstacles that will interfere with the RV.
  • Determine if you need to back in or if it is a pull through site. Position the RV on the site and double-check all clearances and access to hook ups.
  • If you have a motor home set the parking brake.
  • Level RV as required.
  • Chock the wheels.
  • Disconnect from the tow vehicle if applicable (see unhitching checklist).
  • Put stabilizer jacks down if applicable.
  • If you have a motor home and there is a battery disconnect switch for the chassis battery turn it off to prevent any drain on the starting battery.
  • If you have an auxiliary battery disconnect switch for the coach battery(s) it should be on.
  • Put the entry steps out. If you have a switch for the steps turn it off so the steps stay out when the door is closed.
  • Remove slide out travel locks. Put slide out(s) out if they won't interfere with making basic hook ups. Have someone watch for clearance and obstacles in the slide out path. Be sure the driver's seat is not in the way of the slide out.
  • Test the campground electricity voltage and polarity with a voltmeter prior to plugging the unit in. Pull enough power cord from the compartment to reach the campground electrical connection. Plug into the receptacle that matches the amperage requirements of your RV. Use electrical adapters as required. If at all possible try to avoid using an extension cord. Some campgrounds have a circuit breaker in the box that must be turned on to allow electricity to the RV.
  • Check the RV to make sure electricity is working. If you have a plug in voltmeter plug it into a wall outlet so you can monitor campground voltage during your stay. Any readings below 105 volts or above 135 volts can be dangerous to your appliances and electronic equipment.
  • Turn the refrigerator on in the electric mode.
  • If you have a water pressure regulator hook it up to the campground water supply.
  • If you have an exterior water filter hook it up to the city water inlet on the RV. If you don't use a filter attach a 90-degree elbow to the city water inlet to prevent the hose from kinking.
  • Attach one end of your potable RV drinking hose (white hose) to the campground water supply and the other end to the city water inlet on the RV.
  • Turn the water on and check for any leaks. Make sure you have water coming into the RV.
  • When you are hooked up to a city water supply do not use the 12-volt water pump. Only use this when you don't have an external water supply and need to draw water from the fresh water tank.
  • Wearing gloves, remove the cap from the sewer hose valve and attach the sewer hose to the sewer drain outlet. Be sure to turn it so the locking tabs securely lock in place. Place the sewer hose donut or seal in the campground sewer connection. Attach the other end of the sewer hose in the donut. Be sure and get a good seal and connection.
  • If you have a sewer hose support set it up now allowing a slope from the RV down to the sewer connection to assist in dumping the tanks.
  • If you're going to be at the campground for a couple of days or more you can slightly open the gray water tank knife valve to allow sink and shower water to drain directly into the sewer. It is the smaller of the two valves. If your only there for the night leave it closed. NEVER leave the black tank valve open (the larger valve). You only open the black tank valve when dumping the tank. When the black tank is ¾ full or full its time to dump it. Dumping the black tank before its near full can cause problems. You will want plenty of water in the gray tank at this time to help flush the sewer hose out. To dump tanks pull the black tank valve all the way out. Let it drain completely then close the valve. Now open the gray tank valve and allow it to drain completely and flush the sewer hose out at the same time. Close the valve. Treat the black tank with holding tank chemicals every time you dump it.
  • Turn the main LP gas supply valve on at the tank or bottles.
  • If you want hot water at this time be sure that the water heater tank is full of water before you light it. If your water heater has a bypass kit on it make sure that it is not in the bypass mode. Open a hot water faucet and when you get a steady flow of water (no air) the water heater tank is full and you can light the water heater. Follow the instructions for the type of water heater you have. There may also be an electric mode on the water heater. It will take a little longer to heat the water but it will conserve your LP gas.
  • If the campground has a cable TV hook up connect your TV coax cable from the RV to the cable connection. If they don't offer cable raise the TV antenna on the RV. Turn the TV and the power booster on. Pull down on the antenna base plate and rotate the antenna until you get the best reception. If you have cable do not use the antenna booster.
  • Open the locking tabs on the outside range hood vent door if you plan to use the range exhaust fan.
  • Put the outdoor carpet mat down
  • Set up the lawn chairs
  • Put the awning out (see awning checklist)
  • Start the BBQ and have fun!!

Happy Camping, Mark

Copyright by Mark J. Polk owner of RV Education 101

RV Expert Mark Polk, seen on TV, is the producer & host of America's most highly regarded series of DVD's, videos, books, and e-books.http://www.rveducation101.com/

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RV Awning Use, Care and Accessories
RV Safety Features, Tips and Tricks
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Winterizing & Storing your RV
EZ RV Add Ons and Must Have RV Products
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RV Campground Basics
Marks Recommended 10 minute RV Essential Items
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