Taking your new RV out for the first time can be a little intimidating. It may seem like there is simply too much to remember, but don’t worry. The list of things that scare you will shrink with time, knowledge, and experience. For your first time, these tips will help you make the most of your first campground stay.
The best thing you can do to ensure a smooth first camping trip is plan in advance. More and more people are enjoying RV travel, making campground reservations important. If you are planning to visit a first-come, first-served campground, you’ll want to do a little research to determine the best time to show up in order to snag a site. It’s always a good idea to touch base with the campground office the day before you head out on your trip. Verify your reservation and verify what time you can check in. Even if you plan to arrive early, something unexpected could happen. You don’t want to roll up to a locked gate after a long day’s drive.
Learn Your Rig
Practice using the RV systems before you leave home. This includes the landing gear, leveling process, slide outs, as well as hitching and unhitching if applicable. Don’t forget driving and parking practice, especially backing up. We’ve arrived at a campground with a pull-thru site reservation only to find there was a mix up and needed to move to a back-in site.
Make a Checklist
As you are practicing with your rig, make a checklist for packing, arrival, and departure. You don’t need a lot of gear to enjoy a great camping trip, but you will need some essentials. Create a checklist of items for setting up the RV at the campground. You’ll want to include things like:
✔ Deploy the jacks/levelers
✔ Chock the wheels
✔ Plug in the power
✔ Connect to water and sewer (if provided)
✔ Turn on the air conditioner (if needed)
✔ Open slides
✔ Turn on the water heater
✔ Turn on the LP gas
This itemized checklist will help things go smoothly at the campground and ensure you don’t forget anything. You’ll also be able to use the list in reverse upon departure.
Many campgrounds have an office that you will stop at first to register. Pay attention to your site’s location on the campground map looking closely for the approach. The campgrounds are always marked well once you move beyond the entry and you want to be sure you’ve noted a few landmarks or site numbers to help you navigate to yours. Scout out your site before actually pulling into it. Take notice of the power, water, and sewer hook ups. Be sure there is enough space to fully deploy your slides.
Remember that even if you can’t see your neighbors, they usually aren’t that far away. Be mindful of that when you are playing music or telling stories around the campfire. Most importantly, observe quiet hours. They are usually posted and typically start around 9 or 10pm. Also, be aware that the little privacy you have is limited to your campsite. Respect the space that other campers have chosen, and don’t walk through another campsite to get to another location in the campground.