For tent campers, packing up to break camp involves a bit of cleaning, some tent rolling and trying to get that bulky mass stuffed into what seems like too small a bag. It came out of it, it must go back in. Once complete and all the tent pegs have been gathered, the happy campers move about making sure they have everything. They are soon driving through the park toward the main gate passing several large shiny motorhomes. “That’s the way to camp!” one quips. “Breaking camp is the twist of a key!”
Well, it may seem that easy and quick, but it is not. Slides that expand the living space must be powered back in. Leveling jacks must be retracted. Disconnecting of the water hose, sewage hook-up, and the electric power cable must be done, storing each in its unique place. Awnings and TV antennas must be stored. Basement lockers are checked that they are all latched and secure. Tires are inspected to verify they are ready to go and may need to be individually pressure tested.
Finally, when all of the exterior preparation is complete, the interior needs attention. Loose items, dishes and small appliances have to be stored so that they will not fly about while motoring down the road. Roof vents are closed and secured. Sliding doors and other moving entry closures must be locked in place to prevent their movement when on the road.
This procedure varies depending on the RV type and how it is equipped. Many people use a checklist to ensure they include all the necessary tasks. All too many campers have witnessed an RV departing that failed to disconnect one or more of the services. This is not only embarrassing, it can cause serious damage to the vehicle, campground property, or both.
Here are some tips on the lighter side of breaking camp with your diesel pusher.
- Don’t start your diesel engine 2 hours before departing camp.
- Don’t salute your camp friends with your air horns as you leave at 6 am.
- Don’t cut the corner and run over your neighbor’s cooler, two deck chairs and a camping stove.
- If your speedo reads 30 MPH but you are not moving, you probably forgot to retract your jacks.
- If you fail to retract any slides, be sure you display wide load banners on the front and back of the coach.
- Use hand signals, not shouting, at 6 am or campers may have special hand gestures for you.
- If you are towing a car, be sure to take it out of park. Your RV fuel mileage will be far better.
So, next time you find yourself envying the ease of breaking camp in one of those luxurious RV’s, think again. Things are not always what they seem. But, whatever it takes to make or break camp, regardless of your camping style, it’s all worth it. Get out and enjoy.