For the first couple of years of RVing it seemed I learned something new every time I pulled into a campground and hook up. Often times it was not the most enjoyable experience but a good lesson learned. Over the years, experienced RVers develop a mental “checklist” of items to inspect, clean, and prepare for when hooking up at a campground. One tip for beginners; Ask the campground host if they provide assistance for beginners.
Here is the list of thirteen campground hookup essentials everyone should follow:
Choose a site that best fits your needs if possible
You may want the patio side away from the glaring sun in the afternoon, or you may want to see a beautiful sunset. North facing campsites will have the sun warming the patio early in the morning. The closer you are to the bathroom, shower and laundromat, the more traffic and noise you will have. If you need WiFi, check with the campground host to see if the signal is strong enough to get to the site they have given you.
Inspect the site
Before entering the site, stop and get out to inspect the site for low hanging limbs, obstacles that would get in the way of a slide room, broken glass or other sharp items on the pad, and line of site for a satellite dish.
If the site is a tight fit to back into with a trailer, use the “S” method
As you approach the site, turn the wheel slightly to the left, then the right, and back to the left. This will create a zig zag with the truck and trailer and leaves the trailer angled towards the pad and the truck angled for an easy back up.
If traveling with pets, check the slab for engine fluids such as antifreeze, oil, or transmission fluid
These are all hazardous for pets and you might want to pick another site? Also, check to see where the neighbor’s generator exhaust is pointed! You don’t want carbon monoxide from the exhaust going to your pet area, or even your patio/bedroom.
If you are camping in extreme heat, check to see what side the refrigerator will be parked on during the heat of the day. Your refrigerator will run more efficient if it’s not in direct sunlight in the hot afternoon.
Pull into the camp site
Chock the wheels and unhook the trailer/towed vehicle.
Level the rig before extending the sliderooms. A level coach means a level chassis which means a solid and flush sidewall for the room to extend out!
Sanitize the water faucet, dump station and picnic table with ½ cup bleach in a gallon of water. Fecal coli and other pathogens can form on exposed fixtures and a simple spray and wipe down will provide a sanitized environment.
Check the water pressure before connecting. Most campgrounds use a well system with pump and could have 60 psi or more which will flood your rig. Most experienced RVers use a pressure regulator set to the pressure their system can handle and an inline filter like the one available from Shurflo/Pentek. Make sure you use an approved drinking water hose for the supply and store it away from the drain hose equipment. I like to add a quick disconnect to the hose and the city water fill connection. Make sure the valve is set to city water, not “fill tank” if you rig has this feature.
It is also a good idea to check water quality with either a digital water quality tester from Intellitec, or the more advanced test kit from Filter Mate available at most home improvement stores.
Connect your dump hose to the dump station if applicable but leave the valves closed. Open valves let odors into the rig and worse, allow liquid to drain out and solids to stay in the tank and pyramid!
Check the electrical supply at the campground before plugging in. With all circuits off, plug in a digital monitor or analog to the source you will be using. You may need a 30/15 amp adapter. Turn on the circuit for your source and make sure the power is between 112-volts -130-volts. Anything less or more is unacceptable. Also check for proper wiring with the digital monitor or a GFCI tester. It’s a good idea to use a surge protector such as the Surge Guard from TRC which monitors the amp draw, voltage, and shuts the system down during low or high voltage.
Open your propane tank slowly! There is an excess flow valve designed into the POL valve connected to the tank and opening it fast with shut down the valve until pressure subsides which can be several minutes. Check the stove and oven before opening the valve to make sure they are not on.
To ensure you have easy access to this handy checklist, feel free to download, print, and share with your RVing friends.
About the author:
Dave Solberg: Managing Editor, RV Repair Club
For the last 25 years, Dave has conducted RV maintenance and safety seminars, developed dealer and owner training programs, written RV safety and handyman articles, authored an RV handbook reference guide and logged over 100,000 miles on the road in an RV.
RV Repair Club is your go-to online resource for enthusiasts who want quality RV maintenance, repair, and upgrade information – a community where passionate RVers can come together to gather knowledge and share their experiences.
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