Checklist – Arrival and Setup – Towables

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Please use this checklist as a guide and customize to your specific trailer and your own needs. Review the Owner’s Manual supplied with your RV to ensure that you complete all necessary steps for the safe operation of your RV.

Many items on this list may be completed out of sequence. Some items may not apply to you or may not be necessary for every type of RV camping.

Arrival & Checking In

  • Park RV near entrance or office as indicated by signs, doing your best not to block other trafficCheck in
  • Ask if discount is offered for RV club members such as the Good Sam Club, or
  • Escapees (generally 10% to 15% discount on daily rates)
  • Request a map of the park and directions on best way to drive to your slot
  • Request directions to park facilities of interest, including entry codes, if any
  • Ask if Internet access is offered and details on how to use it (WiFi SID and password, data phone line location, etc. See Internet Access)
  • If arriving after office is closed, look for after-hours check in instructions posted near entrance or office

Locating RV Slot

  • Find your slot on park map and determine entry and exit paths
  • Walk or take alternate transportation to RV slot before driving RV into park (Strongly recommended for large RV’s to avoid potential tight spots. See article Hard Labor Creek State Park Earned Its Name.)
  • Before driving RV into park, determine if park roads can safely accommodate RV entry and exit (keep an eye on narrow roads, sharp corners, low trees, etc.)
  • Before driving RV into park, determine if RV will fit into slot and if all [an error occurred while processing this directive]s can be deployed (keep an eye on trees, fences, utility poles, picnic tables, etc.)
  • Confirm that slot has expected facilities (electricity with correct amperage and plugs, water, sewer, etc.)
  • Test water faucet, especially in freezing weather
  • Plan RV approach path and angle

Driving In & Parking

  • If slot has no sewer facilities, drive to dump station and empty waste tanks, if needed
  • If slot has no water, drive to water source and fill fresh water tanks, if needed
  • Perform a two-way radio check, if using a spotter
  • Drive RV into slot and position as desired (be considerate to your neighbors by not crowding too close to their space)
  • Confirm that all necessary facilities are reachable from this position (electric, water, sewer, cable TV, etc.)
  • Walk around RV to confirm position allows deployment of slides and other RV features without obstruction (consider slide positions as deployed, awnings, steps, decks, etc.)
  • Check for high obstructions such as tree limbs (even small limbs almost touching RV can cause noise and damage slide covers in wind)
  • If clearance cannot be accurately determined, temporarily deploy slides and other features to confirm clearance
  • If slides or other features were temporarily deployed to check clearance, move slides, etc. back in until RV is completely parked and level
  • Determine if RV is level laterally (place level on floor inside RV or use level attached to outside of RV)
  • If RV is not level laterally, place leveling blocks in front of or behind the wheels on appropriate side and drive RV on top of blocks
  • Chock trailer wheels
  • Place blocks to prevent sinking and marking paved surface
  • Lower leveling or tongue jacks until they support front weight of trailer
  • Remove safety chains 
  • Remove sway bars
  • Disconnect RV coupler from the tow vehicle
  • Disconnect RV cable from the tow vehicle
  • Store umbilical cord and breakaway switch cable in RV compartment, if available
  • Unhitch RV from tow vehicle
  • Install coupler lock (optional)

Setting Up

  • Level RV lengthwise (use tongue or leveling jacks to raise or lower front)
  • Deploy steps and hand rails
  • Unlock slide mechanism, if available
  • Deploy slides (from inside RV, confirm that slides form a seal all around)
  • Deploy decks and other heavy external features
  • Lower or install jacks and apply enough tension to minimize RV movement (do not place a significant amount of weight on stabilizing jacks or attempt to lift a portion of the RV with them)
  • Check if RV is still level in both directions, and adjust leveling jacks, if necessary
  • If you have an electric outlet tester, use it now
  • If you have an RV surge protector, plug it into the outlet
  • Connect electricity and make sure breaker is turned on
  • Connect cable TV and telephone line
  • Connect water hose and [an error occurred while processing this directive]
  • If slot has sewer: Connect sewer hose and make sure both ends are secure
  • If slot has sewer: Open gray tank valves
  • If slot has sewer: Empty black tanks, if needed
  • If slot has sewer: Close black tank valves (to prevent odors escaping through roof vents)
  • Turn on all propane bottle valves and check for leaks
  • Fill water heater tank by opening hot water faucet valve until water comes out
  • Turn on propane water heater, if needed
  • Turn on water pump, if no external water source is available
  • Confirm that refrigerator is turned on and running on AC
  • Turn on air conditioners or furnace and set thermostat
  • Remove items from RV which are kept outside (chairs, grills, etc.)
  • Remove all fasteners used to secure cabinet doors and other items
  • Unlock tabs on external range hood vent
  • Return all items to their normal locations
  • Raise roof-mounted TV antenna
  • Raise roof-mounted satellite dishes
  • Lock all external RV panels


  • Record tow vehicle’s ending miles:
  • Record towing miles in trailer log book (ending miles minus starting miles)
  • If using an engine tuner in the tow vehicle and have returned the engine to “stock” programming before towing, then re-install desired performance programming
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