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10 Most Commonly Forgotten Steps on Your Pre-Departure RV Checklist

10 Most Commonly Forgotten Steps on Your Pre-Departure RV Checklist

From ripped-off awnings and dragging sewer hoses to crushed trucks, we have seen some major mistakes made in the RV community. We’ve all been there, forgetting to do something before leaving. In the camping lifestyle, sometimes failing to do one thing can lead to a memorable experience. Today, we’re looking at ten of the most commonly forgotten steps on your pre-trip RV checklist.

Although you can’t control everything on a travel day, there are certain things you can do. These are tasks you don’t want to forget. Let’s take a look!

What Is So Important That an RV Checklist is Needed?

Forgetting to check and pin a kingpin can crush a truck under a fifth wheel: I’ve seen it multiple times. Improper sway control setup can cause loss of trailer control: We have seen that, too. Or simply forgetting to lock the refrigerator door to find pickle juice, splattered eggs, and jelly all over the floor (done that multiple times). This isn’t how you want to start a camping trip. At worst, it could mean a life-threatening incident.

Keeping a checklist of what you need to do before hitting the road reduces the chances of a mistake happening. You also eliminate unnecessary repairs. If you drive off while your stairs or jacks are still down, I guarantee it will ruin your camping trip.

Pro Tip: Get our seven most important RV checklists.

10 Most Commonly Forgotten Steps On Your Pre-Trip Checklist

We’ve been RVing for a long time. However, we’ve still fallen victim to forgetting tasks, leading to frustration and stress. Don’t make our mistakes! Here are ten of the most commonly forgotten steps on your pre-flight RV checklist. These are not the most critical items, but some of the most commonly missed.

1. Leaving the Antenna or Satellite Up

You might have an antenna to watch TV if you have an older RV. It’s easy to forget to bring it down because it’s on top of the RV and not something you can easily see. Ensure this task is on your checklist, or you’ll rip off your antenna and damage your roof when you hit a low-lying limb or go under a low-clearance bridge.

dish on motorhome left up
Remember to also take in any satellite dishes not attached to your RV.

2. Failing to Secure All Cabinets

Your RV goes through turmoil on the road. It’s almost like an earthquake as you travel 65 miles per hour down the interstate. You must secure your cabinets before leaving. Some people use velcro ties or child locks to keep dishes, toiletries, or gadgets from falling out during travel. If you fail to close the cabinets, you might walk into a disaster zone when you arrive at the campsite. Instead of sitting around a campfire, you might be sweeping up broken glass or going to Walmart to buy a new coffee maker.

3. Forgetting to Lock the Fridge

When you secure the cabinets, ensure you’ve also locked the refrigerator. Just one pothole or bump in the road can open the door. Glass jars, milk cartons, coffee creamer, and more will break, bust, and splatter all over the place. Instead of arriving home and enjoying a football game on TV, you’ll be mopping up a mess.

Luckily, most RV fridges latch themselves when closed, but some or residential replacement fridges require you to manually lock it.

RV refrigerator
Forgetting to secure your RV refrigerator before going down the road can result in a disaster.

4. Failing to Secure Fridge Contents

Before you lock the fridge, ensure you’ve correctly stored the contents inside. You don’t want bottles and cartons sliding around. Use refrigerator bars and fridge braces to keep food items in place. Even if you have a lock on the outside door, it’s less likely the door will swing open if the contents aren’t jostling around inside.

5. Leaving Items On Countertop

Some people use museum putty or reusable fasteners to secure items on the countertop like a Keurig, plants, or photo frames. If you’re not using this, then remove all items from the countertop. Place the Keurig in a cabinet. Put plants in the kitchen sink. Stick photo frames in a drawer. If you leave things out, you’ll clean up broken pieces when you arrive at your destination. These pieces can also get under slide-outs, which can be challenging to clean under. Additionally, if you don’t realize that something has slid under the slide-out room, you’ll potentially damage the floor and slide when it extends. This isn’t how you want to start or end a camping trip.

6. Failing to Secure All Doors

You should close all doors. If you have a smaller RV, this isn’t too hard to remember. But if you have a toy hauler with two bathrooms, a garage, a bedroom, and multiple closets, it’s easier to forget a door. Ensure that pocket doors snap in place, and don’t forget the shower doors. They should always lock into place as well.

Secure any door or window before departing in your RV.

7. Failing to Secure Window Blinds

Many travelers enjoy raising their blinds to allow natural light in the RV while camping. Don’t forget to lower the blinds and secure them to the wall when the weekend trip ends. They could damage the wall, break, or bend if you leave them loose. This goes for any window treatment. If you’ve renovated or changed out the factory valances, ensure the decor is secure before traveling.

8. Forgetting to Put On Valve Caps

If you’re in a hurry, it’s easy to forget the simple tasks you do every camping trip. This is one reason we suggest never to be in a rush when packing up. But sometimes things happen and you have to leave quickly. When you empty your tanks and pack your hoses, don’t forget to put on the valve caps. You don’t want to drain waste as you travel down the highway. Not only is this gross, but it’s also harmful to the environment.

9. Not Stowing Away Steps

You’d think that leaving the steps down wouldn’t happen because they’re something you can easily see. However, you’d be surprised at how often this happens. Always do a walk-around before you get in your motorhome or tow vehicle. This will help reduce potential problems with a raised antenna, dangling valve caps, or open stairs.

RV vent
Ensuring your RV vents are closed whenever in transit is vital for avoiding damage or leaks.

10. Forgetting to Close Vents

Finally, many RVers open the vents to allow free-flowing air. Don’t forget to close them before leaving. Like leaving up the antenna, leaving a vent open could damage the roof or vent lid. A low-lying limb could easily rip off the cover. Also, if it starts raining, you’ll find pools of water inside your RV. Add this one to your pre-flight RV checklist.

What Can Help You Remember Your Pre-Trip Tasks?

A checklist is of course, the best way to remember everything. Go down the list item by item before pulling out. For our drivable RV’s, we also use velcro bands we place on the steering wheel to remind us of certain tasks. Hard to drive away with a reminder on the steering wheel, but you have to remember to put them there each time you stop.

Always go down the checklist no matter how long you’ve been RVing. Some people will laminate a checklist and use dry-erase markers each trip. Don’t get lazy. Even the most seasoned travelers can forget something every once in a while. Hang it by the door and be diligent about your pre-trip tasks every time.

Pro Tip: Check out key tips for every new RVer and seasoned RVers alike.

Even the Most Seasoned RVers Forget Things

Don’t think that you’ll remember everything on every camping trip. There will be a day when you don’t feel well or are more hurried than usual. Make a checklist and review it every trip so that your adventures are smooth. 

Have you ever forgotten a task? Did it come back to bite you? Let us know in the comments!

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About Mortons on the Move

Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
Now, they are Discovery Channel & PBS TV Co-stars of “Go North” on Amazon Prime Video, co-founders and instructors of RV Masterclass, and contributing authors for and an Arizona travel guide.

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