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7 Handy RV Camper Checklists You Really Need to Use

7 Handy RV Camper Checklists You Really Need to Use

It’s easy to skip or overlook an important task no matter how long you’ve been RVing. However, if you’re not careful, you can skip an essential step in a process that could put you and your rig in danger. We’re firm believers in the practicality of RV checklists and have even compiled seven lists we think you should use. Let’s check them out and discuss the benefits of using one.

What Is an RV Checklist?

An RV checklist has essential items and tasks one should complete at varying points while RVing. You’ll find RV checklists to help make shopping, inspecting, using, and maintaining a camper as easy as possible. 

These checklists could easily contain dozens of important tasks that an RVer doesn’t want to forget or somehow overlook during the process.

Mortons on the Move RV parked next to waterway
A successful RV trip requires lots of planning and preparation.

How Is an RV Checklist Helpful?

The entire process of RVing can be full of excitement, from the beginning of shopping for a rig to packing up to head out for your first adventure. It all comes with a lot of emotions, excitement, and trepidation. With so many things to remember, you can easily forget important tasks that need to get done.

Using an RV checklist can help ensure you don’t forget something or leave anything behind that you’ll need during your travels. Some tasks can be very dangerous, especially when hitching and unhitching an RV. Failure to complete steps in the correct order can cause a very chaotic and hazardous situation. 

We’ve seen RVers make several mistakes because they got distracted during a process and weren’t using a checklist to keep them on task. 

Save yourself the trouble and create an RV checklist specific to your travel needs as soon as possible. And check out some options below to get you started.

Are There RV Checklist Apps?

You can find mobile apps for RV checklists. The most popular apps to help create one include RV Checklist, Ultimate RV Checklist, and Camping Checklist. Whether you have an iPhone or Android, you can find an app that helps ensure you stay on top of the tasks necessary to keep you and your RV in optimal shape.

If you’re not interested in installing another app, don’t underestimate the power of the “notes” feature on your phone. We’ve seen RVers create their own checklists that get the job done using these basic apps. 

No matter which you choose, it’s nice to have it readily available at a moment’s notice. Here are some handy lists to add to your camping applications.

Caitlin from Mortons on the Move sitting in front of RV
Before you sit back and relax at your campsite, make sure you check everything off your RV arrival checklist.

7 Handy RV Camper Checklists You Really Need to Use

Whether you’ve been RVing for years or just getting started, you should use these seven handy RV camper checklists. They’ll make you more efficient and help you to have confidence that you’re ready for your next adventure. Let’s dive in!

1. RV Shopping Checklist

The entire RV shopping experience can feel a little overwhelming. You’ll walk in and out of RVs, with the sales staff showering you with attention, information, and just about anything they can to keep you on their sales lot. 

The longer you spend in and around an RV, the easier it becomes to overlook certain things about an RV that may not work for your situation. But you may start to fall in love as the sales department bombards you with high-tech features and big fancy words crafted by an RV manufacturer’s marketing department.

Before heading to dealerships, we strongly recommend creating a checklist of essential items you need in an RV. This can help make it easy to tell the sales staff exactly what you do and don’t want. 

If you feel an item is essential, you don’t want to waste too much time or energy looking at rigs that don’t include those features. Families might include multiple bathrooms or a bunkhouse on their list.

Your RV shopping checklist will be unique to your situation. Just because an RV doesn’t check all the boxes on your list doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still look at it. You might discover a feature you didn’t even know existed or hadn’t considered.

Pro Tip: While RV shopping, make sure to be aware of these 5 Ways the RV Salesman Is Ripping You Off.

2. Pre-Delivery Inspection Checklist

RV manufacturers tout their massively large Pre-Delivery Inspections (PDI) that get done on every rig before it leaves the manufacturing plant. 

Dealerships will often make similar claims about thoroughly inspecting every rig before handing over the keys to its new owner. However, time after time, we hear stories of new RV owners finding serious issues when they go to pick up their new RVs from the dealership. 

Catching any potential issues before signing on the dotted line is essential because the dealership will take care of any repairs and work needed. You can also ensure it gets done quickly, as the dealership wants that RV off their lot as soon as possible. 

Before leaving the dealership, you should do your own pre-delivery inspection on your new RV. However, with so many systems and features that you need to test, you may easily overlook certain items. 

One of the best checklists we’ve found for buyers to do their own PDI is from Jason and Rae of Getaway Couple. Their RV Pre-Delivery Inspection Checklist is six pages that can help you walk through testing the various systems and components of your rig.

RV parked next to lake with boat at campsite.
From buying your RV to packing up at the end of your trip, there is a checklist for all stages of RV life.

3. Packing Checklist

No one wants to get to their campsite and realize they forgot something important. Depending on the item, it may require you to return home to retrieve it. Don’t forget your packing checklist to ensure you arrive at your campsite with everything you need.

Your packing checklist should include the food, dishes, clothes, and any gear you’ll need during your trip. If preparing a meal that requires specific items or utensils, you better put it on your list. 

If you want to ensure you don’t forget the paddles for your kayak, put them on there too. Togo RV provides a fantastic packing checklist that includes everything you need to create your own list. 

Pro Tip: A packing checklist can also help you not bring unnecessary items on your camping trip. Here’s what we suggest you NOT bring with you!

4. Departure Checklist

A departure checklist has everything you need to do when hitching up your rig and before you hit the road. This should include a detailed, step-by-step guide to hitching your RV. 

You don’t want to overlook any steps during this process, as it could put you and your RV at risk. The steps for hitching will be unique to your specific setup. 

If you’re new to RVing, you may work closely with the techs at the dealership to help walk you through the process.

However, a departure checklist is more than just hitching your RV. It should also include making sure your lights work, you’ve locked all the outside storage compartments, and you have performed any essential tasks, so your RV is safe for travel.

 Good Sam has created an example of a departure checklist that we think is a great place to start.

5. Arrival Checklist

When you arrive at your campsite, you may feel a little overwhelmed with the setup. However, if you use Keep Your Daydream’s Setup Checklist, you’ll be ready to start camping. 

Using one of these RV checklists will set you up for success before you unhitch. If not, you’ll need to go through the entire hitching process again to adjust your RV.

Remembering to check the water and electrical connections before unhitching is a pro move. You might discover that the hookups are too far from where you’ve parked your RV. 

Trust us, you don’t want to go through the entire hitching process to move your RV a foot or two so you can reach them. Using your arrival checklist is much easier, so you don’t overlook one of these steps.

Pro Tip: How you set up your campsite may cause your RV neighbor to hate you! Make sure to never do these 8 Things You’re Probably Doing To Annoy Your RV Neighbor.

RV parked at campsite in the desert
Remember to continually monitor your RV’s maintenance checklist to ensure you can go on all your epic adventures.

6. Tearing Down Campsite Checklist

All good things must end, including camping trips. You want to ensure you properly stow away your gear and prepare your RV to hit the road. If you don’t store your stuff properly, you may find things shifted or even broke in transit. You should always do a walkaround at your site and ensure you have all your gear.

If you need an example of a good tearing-down checklist, Lippert Components has a combined arrival/departure checklist that you should consider. It can help you pack up your site and prepare your rig to hit the road.

7. Maintenance Checklist

If you want your RV to last, you better keep up with its maintenance. If not, you can almost guarantee that it will have a shorter lifespan. 

Most RV manufacturers include a maintenance checklist in the owner’s manual that comes with an RV. 

If you can’t find it, contact your manufacturer and see if you can get a digital copy emailed to you for your model. There’s a good chance they can help you.

Lippert Components, who makes many of the items you’ll need to maintain, provides a fairly in-depth maintenance checklist. 

We also love the resources from Phil and Stacy of Today is Someday (aka You, Me, and the RV). They’ve been RVing for years and have done a phenomenal job of detailing their adventures on their channel. 

Commonly Missed RV and Vehicle Maintenance Items | Preventing Catastrophic Failure and Breakdowns

RV Checklists Can Mean Less Stressful Adventures

RVing can be a mixture of excitement and stress. However, you can shed some of that stress by having RV checklists covering the key areas and important tasks you must remember during your adventures. 

Remember that no pre-made checklist will be a 100% match for your situation. You must add the specific steps you trust to complete tasks.

Do you use RV checklists during your travels? Tell us 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 The RVers, producers of “Go North” on Amazon Prime, co-founders and instructors of RV Masterclass, and contributing authors for Hwy.co and an Arizona travel guide.

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Kevin

Tuesday 13th of December 2022

Add in another... preflight checklist for flat towing. On my list there about a dozen things that have to be perfect, or expensive damage is likely

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