Does it make you nervous thinking about your first trip with your new to you Travel Trailer? You are not really sure about how to set it up because you have never done this before? Yes, the dealer showed you how to do it, but you can’t really remember every step?
Here is a step-by-step guide ‘How to set up your Travel Trailer’, just follow these easy steps and print out the checklist for your convenience. (You can also find a lot of helpful tips in the Resource Library. )
Our first trip was very stressful to us, because we didn’t really know what to do or how to start. We thought learning by doing is great, but this is not really the best thing you should do when you are out in the woods.
Yes, the guy we bought the TT from did explain some things to us, but we couldn’t remember everything 2 months later. (Good idea to take a video while you get an introduction).
Also, some things are just pretty new and odd to do. Have you ever dumped a black tank before? Right, and actually what is a black tank? And do you know what a surge protector is? A lot of new things will come up and you don’t know what and how to do it.
This is why I wrote the checklist ‘How to set up your Travel Trailer or RV’.
Being prepared before you leave is always good, therefore check out the ‘Must-haves‘ for your RV. Just make sure you are not missing anything important for the inside or outside of your camper. We didn’t know anything about a surge protector or a water filter, but it is definitely recommended to have:
How to set up your RV or Travel Trailer
- check site
- level and chock wheels
- hook-up electricity (watch the video)
- hook up water
- hook up sewage
- slide outs
Step-by-Step guide to set up your TT
- Before you pull into a site, check for low hanging branches or big rocks on the ground. Try to find an even ground for parking your RV.
- Where are the hook-ups, electrical, water and sewage hook-ups? Park your RV close to them so you don’t need an extension cord, but far away from it, if you have a slide-out on this side.
- First thing after you parked your RV/TT is to level and to chock the wheels with blocks or stabilizing jacks. Check the levels on the side and the back of your RV/TT to be sure it is parked even.
- Drop the legs to stabilize it.
Set-up Basic Checklist
- Connect the electricity (I suggest you use a surge protector and check if everything is good) and plug your RV cable into the surge protector. Flip the breaker (watch the video below).
- Attach your water pressure regulator and the water filter to the water faucet and add your drinking water hose. Turn the water on.
- Turn on the propane if it was turned off during the drive.
- Attach your sewage hose onto the waste-water outlet. Use hose support for the black water.
- Keep the valves closed until you drain. Drain your tanks every 2-3 days (depending on usage). Always open the black tank (toilet tank) valve first, then the grey water tank valve (sink tank). Doing this will clean out the hose with the grey water tank water.
- Let the slide-outs out after the RV is leveled.
- Open your awning, but check the wind forecast for heavy winds.
- Place your outdoor rug in front of the entrance.
And now you can just relax, get your comfy chairs out and have fun with the family until it is time to pack up and go.
Here is your printable Checklist How to set up your Travel Trailer/RV
Watch this short video how to set up your surge protector step by step.
It was really windy when we arrived, it was hard to explain in the video. But here are the steps again:
- plug the surge protector into your electrical cord
- plug the surge protector into the electrical campsite outlet
- turn on the breaker switch
- check if the light is blue = for on and we have 2 yellow lights for o.k.
- turn off the breaker switch
- plug the electric cord in your camper outlet and secure the plug by turning it to the right
- go back to the campsite electrical box and turn the breaker switch on
If you are not sure what to pack for your trip, here is our packing list and also our tool list. Of course, add whatever is important for you:
Step by Step guide packing up your site Travel Trailer
- Dump the black and grey tank. Put the suggested chemicals in your black and grey tank “Happy Camper from Amazon” or something similar. Or add half a cup of Dawn dishwasher detergent, add about 3 gallons of water, let sit for half an hour and then dump it. Add a bio pod before storing the camper.
- Disconnect sewer hoses, wash them out and pack them away. We put the sewer hose in a trash bag and into the outside compartment.
- Dump your freshwater tank, you don’t need the extra weight driving.
- Bring the slides in.
- Make sure all windows are securely closed and the antenna is in.
- Disconnect the electricity.
- Pack away your surge protector.
- Hitch the car to the trailer.
- Connect camper brake lights.
- Attach the anti-sway bar and weight distribution unit.
- Make sure the parking brake is on.
- Then take chalks and levels off and pack them away.
- Close and lock all storage hatches.
- Bring the steps in.
- Make one last inspection tour around car and trailer before you drive home.
- Leave the fridge and freezer doors open, otherwise, the seals get moldy and the inside smells bad.
Watch this short video to explain all the steps again, how to set up your Travel Trailer the right way:
What you can do while you wait for your RV to arrive:
If this is your first RV and you are very excited and a little scared about the whole RVing thing, rent a RV similar to yours before you actually get yours and go on a short weekend trip close to home. Try it out, make yourself feel confident. It is definitley not rocket science, but good to know what you are doing. Check out RV share for the best deals near you.
Don’t make these RV mistakes.
This is what happened to us on our first travels:
We had so many incidents happen to us on our first trips. The last one occurred while driving on the Highway a window opened up and flew wide open. Not a good thing to happen, because you have to stop right away otherwise it is gone.
Or the antenna was still out while driving from the campground and people waving at us. We also had the steps still out while driving away, or left the surge protector plugged in at the campground and noticed that back home…(costly mistake).
RV 101 inside your RV
Of course, make sure that everything inside the camper is securely stored away and not flying around while you are driving.
Also, don’t use glasses and ceramic dishes, things break easily especially when cabinets open up while driving. I only use plastic dishes.
Check if all the cabinets are closed and you have nothing heavy stored on top of a shelf. Read also about Storage Ideas.
After 3 or 4 trips, we had it down. Now setting up the Travel Trailer or bringing it down runs like a well oiled machine. But it definitely took us some time until we actually knew what we were doing.
So just take it easy, one step after the other. Take your time and don’t let yourself get stressed out.
Summary of How to set up your RV or Travel Trailer
It can be stressful if you don’t know what you are doing, but setting up an RV or Travel Trailer will get easier after every trip. And the good thing is, 95 % of the campers are friendly and help you out with whatever your issue might be.
To make your life easier, just print out the downloads and check off each point to be sure, everything is done. Especially when you are just starting and you are not sure what are the right steps.
And now enjoy your adventures but don’t forget the packing and tool list:
Planing the first road trip can get overwhelming. How long shall we drive, where to park the Travel Trailer, shall I make campground reservations and so many more questions.
This is why you should read the step by step guide for planning a road trip
See you on the road,
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