How to Set Up Your RV at a Campground

Remembering everything you need to do to set up an RV at a campsite for the first time can be overwhelming! A checklist is helpful to have so that you don’t forget anything. Depending on what type of RV you have, your list will vary. Here is what we do when we arrive at a site with our 42 ft. fifth wheel!

Check in

There will be signs explaining where to park while checking in. During check in you will most likely get a map of the property, info about the park and a site assignment.

Scout the space

As we pull up, we get out and walk around the site. We make sure there isn’t any broken glass or debris in the site that could damage the rig. We take note of where the hookups are, so we know where to place the rig in the space. If you have slides, you’ll want to make sure you notice where trees, large rocks or electrical posts are. You have to make sure your slides will have room to open fully!

Pull in

The way you pull in will vary, depending on whether you have a pull-through site or a back-in site. Pull through sites are the easiest to get into. You literally just pull on in! For back in sites, having a backup camera is extremely helpful. If you don’t have one, hopefully you have a partner with you that can assist you! Your passenger should have a walkie talkie (because phones don’t always work in spotty service areas) and stand in the back of the site, helping guide the driver in.

Disconnect the tow vehicle

We manually lower the two front jacks and chock the wheels. Using our automatic leveling system, we raise the RV so the weight is no longer on the truck. We then disconnect the truck and pull away.

Level the RV

We push the “auto level” button and our automatic leveling system levels the rig and brings the rest of the jacks down. Every once in a while, we will get an error code and have to use a level on the back bumper to manually level it.

Connections

First, plug the surge protector into the electric panel. Next, turn on the breaker to make sure it works. Then turn it back off. Plug in the power cord. You now have electricity! Connect the water hose and turn on the water, then the sewer hose and your outside connections are complete.

Accessories

While one person is hooking up the connections, another can unload any chairs, rugs or outdoor accessories you want to set out.

Slides

If your RV has slides, someone can go inside and start opening them up as soon as the rig is level. We like to have one person push the button to open the slide while another person watches the space that is opening up to ensure nothing has fallen or is in the way of the slide opening up. We usually have a few things that need to be straightened up and put back in place once we arrive, so someone has the job of setting up the inside.

As mentioned earlier, setting up will look different for different RV types. I hope this glimpse into our family’s fifth wheel set up is helpful as you make a checklist for your RV!

And while you’re at it, download our Ultimate RV Checklist bundle, to make sure you don’t forget anything!

You might also be interested in this free video: Proper RV Campground Etiquette: Being Good To Your Neighbors:

Other Related Videos:

RV Checklist For Camping: Checking The Campground Source

How To Add An RV Water Filter At The Campground Source

About the Author: Lauren is a wife, mother of two, photographer, blogger and lover of nature and adventure! Currently traveling around the U.S. in a fifth wheel, Lauren and her family seek to live life to the fullest and continue to look for ways to simplify their lives in order to live larger with less. Follow along on their journey by visiting their family travel blog.
Discussion
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40 Responses to “How to Set Up Your RV at a Campground”
  1. Donnie Haywood
    Donnie Haywood

    RV Make: 36’ , RV Model: Ford, RV Year: 2009

    Love to know how to properly level my 36’ motor home????

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Donnie!

      We’d love to help!

      What is the year, make, and model of your RV?

      Thank you!

      Jessica
      RV Repair Club Video Membership

      Reply
  2. Paula Swartz
    Paula Swartz

    RV Make: Jayco, RV Year: 2018

    One more thing to add to the list of being a good neighbor is to not leave outside lights on all night.

    Reply
  3. gene c carsner
    gene c carsner

    RV Make: forest river, RV Model: 378 FB, RV Year: 2018, Brand: House Hold Fridge

    How to secure my household fridge from coming out?

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Gene,

      Residential refrigerators have rollers on the bottom to make them easier to move when installed in between cabinets in houses. These are not easily removed so I found the easiest way is to chock the rollers. Usually there is a lower plastic fascia piece that can come off. It might have a few screws and others just snap into place but you should be able to tell when on the ground looking at it. Once the fascia is removed you should see the rollers. You can either create a wedge and attach it to the floor with a screw or adhesive in front of the wheels or if you have a good enough angle you can just drive a screw right into the floor leaving the head of the screw up a little bit to block the wheel from rolling over it. Most fridges will have stoppers that can lower down to help it not move when in use but these aren’t good for travel. Creating a chock is the best option. I hope this helps!

      Sincerely,

      Dan
      RV Repair Club Technical Expert

      Reply
  4. James Murphy
    James Murphy

    RV Make: Coachman, RV Model: Freedom Express, RV Year: 2017

    Great web site

    Reply
  5. ORVAL PIERCE
    ORVAL PIERCE

    RV Make: KZ/Venture, RV Model: SportTrek, RV Year: 2018

    Don’t have cars, trucks, or RV extending out over the roadway, especially when they are often so narrow.

    Reply
  6. john chappelle
    john chappelle

    RV Make: Winegard, RV Model: Itasco, RV Year: 2005

    I would like to know how and if I can level my motor home, the material needs and when.

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hi John!

      We’d love to help!

      What is the year, make, and model of your RV?

      Thank you!

      Jessica
      RV Repair Club Video Membership

      Reply
    • Robert
      Robert

      RV Make: Rockwood , RV Model: Signature ultra light, RV Year: 2013

      Have seen a number of different set ups over the years . How far should I extend the front jacks.

      Reply
  7. howard
    howard

    RV Make: HR, RV Model: Scepter, RV Year: 2004

    #11 – don’t park your vehicle partway into the road way (as shown in step #10 of this video). 😉

    Reply
  8. Virginia Santana
    Virginia Santana

    RV Make: Ford, RV Model: Allegrobay, RV Year: 1991

    We cant figure out how the plumbing work and we cant find the hot water

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Virginia!

      That’s a great question!

      The ‘Ask an Expert’ section is currently for members to our online community. We do have a promotional offer if you are interested. This would include access to expert advice (like this), plus discounts, hours of Premium videos, etc. Please feel free to take a look. You can message us right back with your question if you decide to become a member and you will have a response within 1-2 business days from our experts!

      Please follow the steps below to receive the annual membership at the introductory rate:

      1. Click on the email link: https://go.rvrepairclub.com/C21042
      2. Click on the Premium Membership offer.
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      4. Fill in your Billing Details and create an account password.
      5. Fill in your debit/credit card information.
      6. Finish by clicking Complete Order.

      If you have any further questions, please contact Customer Service at 1-855-706-3536 at your earliest convenience, or chat with us on our site.

      We greatly appreciate your business!

      Sincerely,

      Jessica
      RV Repair Club Video Membership

      Reply
  9. Charles Zaehringer
    Charles Zaehringer

    RV Make: Jayco, RV Model: Alante 26x, RV Year: 2020

    A couple of doors on the outer storage compartments won’t stay closed. I see no adjustment and don’t know if I loosen the locks if that mech will slide to make it stay closed.

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Charles!

      We’d love to help!

      Could we have the year, make, and model of your RV?

      Thank you!

      Jessica
      RV Repair Club Video Membership

      Reply
  10. John
    John

    RV Make: Wunnebago, RV Model: Rialta, RV Year: 2001, Brand: Tri/Mark, Model Number: RD/ENR1993/72130

    That’s the door lock for the cabin. The key doesn’t turn in the lock . And am looking for maintenance ideas. Any ideas would be helpful. Thanks

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello John!

      We’d love to help!

      What is the year, make, and model of your RV by chance?

      Thank you!

      Jessica
      RV Repair Club Video Membership

      Reply
  11. Patricia M Ford
    Patricia M Ford

    RV Make: Aliner, RV Model: Ranger 2, RV Year: 2018

    I would like to see what others have done to “organize” these little boxes. They were obviously not designed by Campers. I am looking for hints as to how to maximize my storage spaces!

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Louis,

      Than you for contacting us. We do not sell any parts but here is the link of 30 RV parts stores in your area:

      https://www.yellowpages.com/lake-worth-fl/rv-parts

      If you have any other concerns, please contact us at 1-855-706-3536, or chat with us on our site.

      We greatly appreciate your business!

      Sincerely,

      Joan
      RV Repair Club Video Membership

      Reply
  12. Barry A Sponsler, Sr
    Barry A Sponsler, Sr

    RV Make: Thor, RV Model: A.C.E., RV Year: 2020

    New RV owners; What SURGE PROTECTOR for our 30 AMP system would you recommend?

    Reply
  13. Blair Hines
    Blair Hines

    RV Make: Forest River , RV Model: Cherokee 274RK 33', RV Year: 2018

    Could you explain how to level your trailer when you get to the campground?

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      The best thing to do is back into the spot where you want the trailer to be. Once you have a good spot you want to check to see how level it is side to side. I use an 8 inch level on the floor inside of the entrance door. You can use any flooring though like in a storage compartment. Don’t set it on the A frame, these are not always level with the main frame the floor sits on. If you need to raise a side you want to pull the trailer one foot forward and then put a leveling block behind the tires on the one side. Make sure all tires on the same side have the same amount of blocks. You then back the trailer up onto the block and check again. If it was really off level you might need more than one. Once it is level side to side you disconnect the trailer and pull the vehicle away. You then use the front tongue jack to level it front to back. This is all you need to do. I hope it helps!

      Sincerely,

      Dan
      RV Repair Club Technical Expert

      Reply
  14. Ken Edin
    Ken Edin

    Brand: Dometic, Model Number: RM2351

    My fridge works during the early morning and in the evening it stays at 37 degrees, but gets up to 47 degrees during the middle part of the day. We are very adamant about not opening it unless we have to in
    order to keep it cool.

    Reply
  15. Ronald Sitka
    Ronald Sitka

    RV Make: Imagine, RV Model: Grand Design 3000QB, RV Year: 2019

    We are new to RVing. Got ours in January and have only been on two short trips due to Pandemic. I don’t have automatic levelers so want to know how to set up and level my RV when I get to a campsite. Thanks for any help.

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Ronald!

      We will need more information in order to further assist you. What is the year, make, model of you’re RV?

      Thank you

      Sincerely

      Ayan
      RV Repair Club Video Membership

      Reply
  16. James Berard
    James Berard

    RV Make: Winnebago, RV Model: Vista 29 VE, RV Year: 2020

    I am a new to RVing. I have been out with my RV twice so far. After reading various post I wondered if should I also purchase leveling blocks.
    Thanks.

    Reply
  17. David Guido
    David Guido

    RV Make: Northern Lite, RV Model: 8-11 Limited Edition , RV Year: 2021, Brand: Dometic, Model Number: DM2683RBFX

    My refrigerator is a 3 way. I was told by the retailers where I got my truck camper that I should turn off the refrigerator when traveling
    This does not make any sense to me as it seems to me it should run off 12v DC as long as the truck is supplying a charge to the camper ( which I have confirmed it does). So why would couldn’t I switch to DC power while on the move? Sure I could use gas, but was advised against this due to problems of wind turbulence and jarring while on the road.
    Please advise. Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hi David. The point of the 3 way fridge is to operate on battery while traveling. The 12v option isn’t made for standard use, it is only put there for travel reasons. The 12v doesn’t cool as well as gas or electric, it just does a good job of keeping it cold once the fridge is cold. This is why it is only good for travel and as long as your hot wire from the vehicle is working fine then this is what you should be using during travel. The only times you want to make sure to turn it off is if you park the vehicle for a while so you don’t drain the chassis battery and also if parked on a steep incline for more than an hour, this can damage the cooling unit. Other than that, you are fine using the 12v while traveling.
      Dan
      RV Repair Club

      Reply
  18. Michael Shelton
    Michael Shelton

    RV Make: Fleetwood , RV Model: Tioga 28Y , RV Year: 2012, Brand: Fleetwood , Model Number: Y

    Need to replace lenses for rear and side view camera. Got washed buy “pro” and never worked again, just a fuzzy image. These side views are approx. 1+” dia. mounted on lower side mirror.

    Reply
    • Michael Shelton
      Michael Shelton

      RV Make: Fleetwood , RV Model: Tioga 28Y , RV Year: 2012

      BTW, it is setup to a Pioneer AVH-P1400dvd head unit. Came standard that year model (2012)

      Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Michael. Most likely the whole cameras will need replaced when the lens get damaged or blurry. There are many different kinds of cameras out there. The Pioneer system you have is just what they are connected to, most likely the cameras are not Pioneer. You would have to contact the RV manufacture to see what was used for that year. I have tried looking for lenses in the past but never had any luck, I always had to replace the complete camera.
      Dan
      RV Repair Club

      Reply
  19. JOHN
    JOHN

    RV Make: wild wood, RV Model: 200r, RV Year: 2018

    how to maintain slide outw

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hi John. Can we please get the make, model and year of your RV?
      Jean
      RV Repair Club Video Membership

      Reply
  20. SUSANNE M DOOLEY
    SUSANNE M DOOLEY

    RV Make: Fleetwood, RV Model: Tioga w/ Chevy , RV Year: 1977

    Haven’t been camping since I was a kid. I have no idea what I’m doing. Anyone have an original manual for the Tioga?

    Reply
  21. Diane Weeks
    Diane Weeks

    RV Make: Motorhome, RV Model: Beaver monterey, RV Year: 2003

    If ground is not level what device helps.

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Diane,
      Please send the year, make and model of your RV, and then I can forward your question to our expert. Thank you!
      Sincerely,

      Sarah
      RV Repair Club Video Membership

      Reply