Tips and tricks for departing a campground quickly and easily.
What do you need to do before departing a campground? Whether you're driving your RV, or towing, there are a few things that a responsible camper should do. I'll list the items below, and explain how or why. Remember, "leave no trace" and "leave it better than you found it".
Camping is a lot of fun, but each of us have our own responsibilities before we leave. If you're camping solo, it all falls on you. So, you want to make sure that you develop an order so you don't forget anything.
Looking for a great Travel Trailer Arrival Checklist?
Travel Trailer Departure Checklist for Outside
I am sharing an image of the departure checklist, and giving a few details on the steps. However if you would like to print or view the departure checklist, there is a PDF option at the bottom of this post.
- Clean up campsite. Take a quick walk around to make sure none of your trash debris has blown out of your view.
- Pack up chairs, grill, rugs etc.. I prefer to shake out my rugs and mats before I store them so that they will be clean the next day.
- Dump & Flush Tanks at your site if you have full hookups. If you don't, you will do this as you leave the campground.
- Bring in Slides Make sure everything is stowed and bring in your slides.
- Disconnect City Water Generally I fill a tub or a sink with some soapy water just in case I need to wipe something down. Of course the city water spigot is a quick option as well.
- Turn Breaker OFF at Pole Please always turn the breaker off whenever you are connecting and in this case disconnecting shore power.
- Disconnect Shore Power and stow the cord. TIP: I wipe my cord down and coil it inside the camper door. Why? Because it's usually the first thing I do when I arrive at a campground, and being right inside the door makes it easy to grab.
- Raise Stabilizer Jacks You may think this goes without saying, but one time while departing a campground, I got distracted near the power supply, stopped to unplug it and totally FORGOT to raise that jack. Needless to say, when I went to connect my tow vehicle, I broke the stabilizer jack that I forgot to raise. Did you know? You can get an adapter for your drill so that you don't have to manually raise and lower your stabilizer jacks?
- Raise Jack, Connect to Tow Vehicle These next few steps are very important, and you will want to take note that you don't forget anything.
- Secure Anti-Sway Bars, Chains & Break Away Cable to your tow vehicle. Hopefully your dealership or whomever you purchase your camper from has showed you the proper setup.
- Insert Pin in Locking Lever I never tow my camper without inserting the SAFETY Coupler Pin to lock that lever in place. In addition, make sure your break away cable is connected to your tow vehicle, not your chain. It may be a good idea to order an extra coupler pin to keep in your toolbox.
- Plug in Cord to tow vehicle. This is the last thing I do when departing a campground, and I always make sure I'm disconnected from shore power before I do it.
- Remove Wheel Chocks and store them somewhere where you can easily get to them.
- Lock Storage I call them the basement doors, but whatever you call them, it's best to lock them before you hit the road.
- Perform Final Walkthrough Indoors If you are camping with a partner, hopefully they have taken care of the indoor walkthrough. However, if like me you're camping solo, it's time to use my inside departure checklist for indoors. If you are camping solo and you have slides, you may want to do the indoor stuff first.
- Turn off Fridge Whether you choose to travel with the fridge (propane) on is totally up to you. If you choose to do so, please check laws and statutes where you will be traveling, particularly if you will be traveling through tunnels.
- Turn Propane Off
- Secure Steps & Handrail Look UP, is your awning in? Are your slides in?
- Lock Door Make one last walk around to make sure all windows are closed and everything is secure. Don't forget to look under your camper to make sure there is nothing left there.
It may sound overwhelming, but as you get a little more experience under your belt, it will be second nature. My first camping season was short and light, as was the second season. However, I've definitely made up for lost time since then. I prefer camping within 3 or 4 hours from home, but I have done trips that take 2 to 3 days to get there. Have you heard about the 3,3,3 camping rule?
Three, Three, Three Camping Rule
First, limit your travel to no more than 300 miles in one day. Second, arrive no later than 3 p.m. Finally, stay at your destination for at least three days. NomadicNews.com
Tip: If you're just pulling in for an overnight stay, don't disconnect your tow vehicle. Try to adjust your camper to the most level spot in the driveway/campsite. I recommend disconnecting your 7 pin cord from your tow vehicle before connecting to shore power. If you're stopping again for an overnight the next night, be sure to stow your water hose and power cord somewhere in easy reach for the next overnight stop.
RV Departing a Campground Printable Checklist
So, in a nutshell, when departing a campground in an RV, it is important to properly clean up and dispose of any trash or waste, and to leave the campsite in the same condition as when you arrived. Additionally, check to make sure that all systems in the RV are in good working order and that any necessary maintenance or repairs have been completed before leaving. It's also important to ensure that you have all your personal belongings and disconnect any utilities, like water and electric supply. Finally, check-in with the campground management to ensure that you have fulfilled all check-out procedures before leaving the campground. Let me know if I left anything off the list. Happy Camping!!
Gail Wilson is the author and mastermind behind My Repurposed Life. She is obsessed with finding potential in unexpected places and believes that with a little hard work and imagination, any old thing can be made useful again, including herself!
Gail reinvented herself during a midlife crisis and has found purpose again. She hopes you will find new ideas for old things and pick up a few tools along the way.