First Time RV Setup. A Step-by-Step User’s Guide

Around the world, more people are purchasing RV campers for their idea of a perfect getaway. Approximately 8.9 million households own an RV, and millions of other campers have rented them for their extended camping trips. However, the process of setting up an RV at a campsite can be tricky for those who are camping with an RV for the first time. For those who are new to RV camping, here is a step-by-step RV setup checklist to properly set up a camper for your next camping vacation.

Pick a Site

The key to a successful camping trip is a good campsite. You’ll want to set up your travel trailer at a campsite with the proper hookups that is relatively flat. Check each camping spot for easy access to water and electricity hookups, and check for other utilities such as a sewage system. Before parking the RV, clear the area of any low hanging branches, or obstacles on the ground.

Hit the Brakes

No matter where you are, it’s always advised that you apply the parking break before you begin to set up your RV. This is to ensure that the wheels will stay locked, preventing the RV from rolling away. RVs can be huge vehicles, with motorized RVs weighing tens of thousands of pounds. In addition, some travelers carry thousands of pounds of cargo. The larger the RV, the more stabilization and ground support it will need. Once you’ve parked the RV, place quality rubber truck wheel chocks in front of the wheels to ensure they are properly secured.

Level the Ground

Since the ground is not always flat, you may need to level it, to ensure that the utilities will work correctly, and the camper won’t sway in heavy winds. Remove stones or other protrusions, fill in small depressions and pack them tightly.

Support the RV

It is recommended that RV owners invest in supporting pads for RVs, commonly known as RV jack pads or camper jack pads. Quality  RoadWarrior RV Jack Pads by DICA provide five major benefits:

  • Guaranteed unbreakable support
  • Safely distribute the weight of the jack supports over the ground
  • Protect surfaces like asphalt, concrete or soft soil from being damaged by the jack foot
  • Protect the jack foot from being bent and/or becoming stuck if it were to push into the ground
  • Provide ease of placement and retrieval with an handle design.

Place your RV jack pads under your RV jacks as seen in the below video. Lower the jacks, checking to ensure that the jack will be centered in the middle of the jack pad. Once you’re on target, repeat the process for the remaining jacks on your RV.

If you have a leveling option for your RV, use it to ensure your hookups will function properly. If your RV is un-level and you don’t have an automatic leveling mechanism, you may need to add cribbing to your jack pad setup, or adjust your camping location. The cribbing option DICA recommends is additional jack pads that can increase height under the RV jack.

Hook it Up

Once the RV is supported and leveled, it’s time to connect it to the services provided by the campgrounds. This most common includes electric and water services, but the exact hookup varies from campsite to campsite. Switch on any appliances that need to be running, such as a refrigerator or A/C unit.

Finishing Touches

Once the RV is secured and set up, it’s time to add the finishing touches of your travel trailer setup. This checklist includes setting up the interior and exterior of your RV. Stock your cabinets, store your food, and set the beds. For the outside, set up an outdoor camping mat, picnic table, or lawn chair. Many RVs also come equipped with awnings, which can be used to help create a simple but cozy environment during your trip.

Congratulations, you’ve learned how to set up a camper! Enjoy your well supported, level and comfortable RV campsite. For additional information beyond this RV camper checklist, see the following sites: