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The Best RV Setup Checklist for Your Dream Trip

RV setup checklist

RV camping has increased substantially over the last several years, spurred in part by the COVID pandemic. That has led many people to realize the many benefits both travel and outdoor recreation afford. But it has presented some challenges as well, including making it much harder to find camping sites.

This means that campers need to do more planning and strategizing about how to get the most out of their trip, which is not altogether a bad thing. One easy way to do this is to have a solid RV setup checklist. This will ensure that your RV is safe, secure, and ready for outdoor living.

There are lots of things that could go on this list, but we have condensed it down to the essential steps. Keep reading to find out what they are, so that you can get the most out of your dream RV trip.


When you arrive and check-in at the campground, confirm your space and ensure all the amenities you have requested are available at the site. (If staff have made any mix-ups, it is good to get that sorted out before going to the site).

Ask for a map of the campground and make sure you know where you are going. This is especially important if you are driving or towing larger campers that are more difficult to maneuver.

Make sure you know where the bathhouse (if you plan to use it) and any dump stations are located. This is also a chance to ask staff about the location of recreation points, including playgrounds, hiking trails, or boat rentals.

Also, familiarize yourself with the rules of the campground. These include speed limits, quiet times, pet requirements, and policies regarding campfires. If you have any questions about these, it is best to ask.


If you are towing any vehicles, it may be best time to disconnect those before heading to the campsite. Depending on the layout of the campground, the main parking lot may give you more space, and you will not be obstructing the roads in front of your campsite trying to do so.


Upon arriving at your site, the first thing on your RV setup checklist should be examining the area. Make sure it has plenty of space on either side and can clear any obstacles once slide-outs sides or awnings start coming out. Also, make sure you have parked your RV close enough to reach water, sewer, and electrical connections.

This also is an opportunity to look around the campsite for hazards or anything out of the ordinary. The point is to be absolutely sure of where you want your RV to go before you stabilize it.


While most campsites are level, look for any slope to the area in which you are parking. Make your RV is as level from left to right--most have built-in devices for doing so. This step is very important, as slide-outs, appliances, or plumbing components may fail to operate as effectively as they should if they are not level.

Once your RV is leveled from side to side, check your tires to make sure your trailer stays in place. (Note that you do not have to make it level backward and forwards just yet, as it should still be attached to your towing vehicle.)


Once your rig is secured and will not roll, you can unhitch it from your vehicle. Lower your tongue jack and hoist the RV. This is the point where you level the RV from front to back.

Disconnect all chains and breakaway cables. Also, remove weight distribution and sway bars and place them somewhere secure.

After you raise the RV, you can move your vehicle up. If you were using an electrical jack, remember to pull up just a few inches, then get out and disconnect the power.


Once your RV is unhitched, you can then stabilize it from rocking or bouncing. Lower any stabilizing or scissor jacks to make the RV as stable as possible. Jack pads are useful for dirt spaces so that jacks do not sink into the ground.


Next, connect water, electrical, and sewer. Be sure your water pressure regulator is engaged to keep from damaging your plumbing system. Also, make sure the sewer hookup is angled so that the easily drains.

Connect any surge protectors for electrical components. Make sure all connections are secure, then test the water lines and electrical outlets in your camper to confirm that they are working properly.

Turn on the AC or heat, as well as the water heater. Also, turn on your propane tank, if you will be using it during your stay.


On the inside of your trailer, extend the slideouts and turn on any appliances that you will be using. This includes the refrigerator and freezer.

Open any roof vents to encourage airflow. This will keep your camper smelling fresh and clean. Light the pilot light in your oven.

Extend your antenna, if your camper has one. Set up interior RV furniture.

If you like, you can go ahead and unpack any living items as well. Finally, lower your steps (if they are retractable) and put out the awning.

Final Touches

Once you have completed all the steps above, you are ready to unpack personal items. Set up outdoor furniture, including tables for preparing food or dining. Furnish your site with lanterns or lighting fixtures.

Finally, sit back and enjoy your camping space. You can have the peace of mind that your setup is secure and ready for recreation and enjoyment.

Learn More About Putting Together an RV Setup Checklist

Now that you have your RV setup checklist in place, you can have the confidence that your site is ready to go. With a little patience and planning, you will get the most out of your excursion while minimizing stress.

At Canopy RV Campground, we have spacious sites and top-notch amenities. We offer rates for everyone from overnight campers to monthly and seasonal campers. Reach out to us today to learn more or to book your RV vacation.


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