Whether it's due to a strictly enforced checkout time or the excitement of getting back on the road, many people feel rushed when breaking camp. Unfortunately, that can result in mistakes being made, things going undone, or possessions being left behind. To ensure this doesn't happen, it's a good idea to make a list that includes the following steps, delegate responsibilities, and develop a routine.
Ready the Exterior
The first thing you want to do is put everything outside the RV away. This includes any patio furniture or camping chairs, lamps or rope lights, outdoor plants, and welcome mats. Put away your TV antennae, satellite dish, or unhook the cable television cord.
Unhook Everything: Dump the contents of the black and gray holding tanks, disconnect and rinse out the sewer hose and coupler, and store them. Although some people prefer to drive with their fresh water tank empty to use less fuel, we always fill our fresh water tank so we're prepared in case of emergencies. Unhook and put the fresh water hose away. Unplug the electrical power cord, store it, and make sure to lock the access door. Turn off the propane.
Check the Exterior: Inspect the slide out covers to make sure they're free of debris before bringing in the slide outs. Check the locks on all of the cargo doors. Examine the tires for any visible cracks and make sure they're properly filled to the correct pressure. Then, measure the oil and coolant levels; refill as needed.
Check the Tow Vehicle: If you pull a cargo trailer or toad, make sure all contents are evenly distributed for balance. Check the tires, the safety chains and hitch coupling, as well as any brakes and lights connectors. Lock the doors.
Ready the Interior
The first step here, too, is to put everything away. Secure any pictures, plants, or knick-knacks you have displayed, and gather together all trash so you can dispose of it before leaving the park.
Bathroom: Make sure to secure items within the cabinets and shower. Double check the latches on all of the doors so they don't swing open and dump the contents or slam while you're driving. Turn off the lights and latch the door.
Kitchen: Wash any dirty dishes and place them in whatever method you use for transportation. There are many different stackable containers, etc.—available at RV and camping stores, as well as online—that can keep your dinnerware safe and organized in transit.
Secure any countertop appliances like your coffee maker. Make sure all drawers and cabinet doors are closed and properly latched. Personally, we also use Velcro fasteners to double secure our cabinet doors; we've had latches fail too many times while driving.
Check the contents of the refrigerator. Put things that you suspect will roll around in a crisper drawer or on the door so you don't experience a food avalanche when you stop and open it. Remember to latch the door.
Pull in the Slide Outs
One of the last things is to retract the slide outs. This may require you pull them in with a hand crank or merely push a button, depending on the complexity of your rig.
Some slide outs have safety features that must be put in place for the slide out to move, such as the Captain’s chair adjusted to the front-most position or the bed retracted and out of the way. Make sure to clear the area before buttoning up.
Set the Temperature: Your personal preferences, the time of year, and the region in which you'll be driving determines what steps you take to ensure your comfort, as well as the comfort of any two or four-legged passengers. Shut the windows and secure the blinds to keep them from swinging during the drive. Set the thermostats and fans, or turn them off.
Although your routine will vary based on your motorhome and lifestyle, these are some of the most common steps. Before you leave, secure any pets, raise the jacks and retrieve the blocks, and then check the mirrors. Make sure your steps have retracted. Check over your list to ensure you haven't missed anything, and safely exit the park. Have a safe trip!
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