Even the most experienced RV camping set up person may find something new and helpful from reading this post. Don’t hesitate to forward a link to someone who you feel will benefit from the information within.
The following items are an important part of recreational vehicle camping (RVing).
Detailed in this post are 3 to 6 very important things needed before you go on that RV trip (depending on your RV, not all of the items listed may pertain to you). The items listed may not be all that you need but this is a great beginning. If there is something more you feel you should get or something better out there that you can purchase (other than what I have listed in this post), get it.
One more thing, read the instructions that come with anything you buy, before you use it.
Level Ground and Parking the RV
Parking the RV and leveling it are very important when you RV camp. It helps if you can park your RV on level ground, but that isn’t always possible.
Once you determine the best spot to park your RV, you will likely need to back it up at some point. Sometimes you may have to move it forward and backwards a few times, to get that RV positioned just right.
If you aren’t RVing by yourself, you will likely ask someone with you to be a backup spotter.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people trying to park a RV as a team. One person is in the drivers seat with the window down. They are trying not to hit a tree or a bush or the electrical pedestal as they back into their campsite.
The other person is outside on the ground. They are in the campsite behind the RV trying to guide the driver with hand signals or yelling out to them.
(1) Walkie Talkies
(Note; If you are a solo RVer, walkie talkies probably won’t be something that will help you).
My husband is a genius. He bought us a pair of walkie talkies just for this task. It takes all of the guesswork out of “Did my partner say stop? Or cut it? Or what? When left was indicated, was I supposed to move the trailer left or where they trying to tell me I’m about to hit something on the left?
If you have a helper for parking your RV, get yourself a set of good quality walkie talkies. My husband recommends Midland Brand walkie talkies.
Your partner will appreciate that you have a pair of walkie talkies and so will all of the surrounding campers who don’t have to listen to the two of you yelling back and forth.
(2) A Magnetic Level
Some RVs come with sophisticated automated leveling systems. Some do not. If your RV does not, you will likely need to see how close to level your RV is, right where it sits. You may get lucky and won’t have to do anything to help level the RV. To check how close you are, you will want to use a magnetic level.
Place the level so that you can measure the left to right tilt of the RV. Some people choose to place the level on a counter. Others choose to place it on the inside floor of the RV.
If the level indicates the RV is tipped down too far to the left, you may need to roll the left wheel(s) of the RV up onto one or more leveling block to get it as close to level as you can. If the RV is tipped down too far to the right, roll the right wheel(s) of the RV up on one or more leveling block.
(3) Leveling and Leveling Blocks
Leveling is very important. It helps ensure that the refrigerator operates correctly. It helps ensure gray and black water run in the direction the trailer manufacture intended for it to move, (down and out along the RVs sewer piping). It helps ensure rainwater runs off of the RV properly.
An unlevel RV will cause unlatched doors to open or close when you don’t want them to. It could cause a refrigerator door to open too quickly and perhaps damage the hinge if it opens too far or too fast.
An unlevel RV may also cause you to feel odd. You may feel off balanced as you try to stand and/or walk.
As mentioned above, leveling blocks can be used to help you raise the left or the right side of your RV, so that it is as close to level as you can get it in those directions. Now it’s time to level the RV from front to back.
Pertaining to trailers, some trailer tongue jacks are manual, some are electronic. either way, you will want to sit the foot of the jack on one or more of the leveling blocks.
Place some leveling blocks under the jack. Allow the foot of the jack to touch the top of the stack of leveling blocks. Unpin the trailer and lift the tongue up until the tongue’s coupler releases the ball hitch. Make sure the coupler is well above the ball then move the tow vehicle a few feet away from the tongue. Put the magnetic level on the tongue, and check to see if the trailer is level front to back. If the front is high, lower the jack. If the rear is high, raise the jack.
Once the RV is level, you will lower the stabilizers (our little Chalet had 4 manual stabilizer feet, our current trailer has 4 electronic stabilizer jacks). If you do not have electronic stabilizers, you will need to lower them by hand. To make your task easier, you could use a drill and the appropriate sized socket to do this.
If the trailer is on soft ground, place one leveling block under the foot of each stabilizer.
Note; Stabilizers are simply for stability and are not meant to be used to level the RV.
(4) Wheel Chocks
Now that your RV is level left to right and front to back, you need to make sure it stays put. Wheel chocks are used to help ensure that happens. You should place one chock in front of a wheel that is not sitting with a leveling block under it and one in back of that wheel.
I prefer the chocks that have a string because it seems to make it easier to remove the chock when it’s time to tear down your campsite. Just pull on the string when it’s time to remove it from the trailer’s wheel.
I’ve used this brand that has a string and another brand that doesn’t have a string. Other than the ease of removing them with the string, they both seem to work the same.
(5) Dual Axels, RV Stability and a Little Bit of Security
(Note; If you don’t have dual axels, you won’t need these stabilizers).
Our current RV has dual axles.
To help keep it more stable while it is parked and in use, we use our dual axel tire locking chock X-shaped wheel stabilizers. They are real easy to install and come with a locking device so someone can’t easily remove them from the RV (stealing them when you aren’t there).
You can install these with a socket and a ratchet or a drill with a socket attachment.
You will need to take a look at your RV to determine the size of the socket needed to open and close these wheel stabilizers.
(6) If Your RV is a Trailer You Will Want to Get a Coupler Lock.
(Note; If your RV is a motorhome or a camper, you won’t need a ball socket coupler lock for those units).
Typically when someone tows a trailer to a campsite, they will unhitch their tow vehicle from their trailer. At some point, they may leave their campsite and trailer behind to go hike or swim or fish (or go out to the grocery store to buy fish).
It is important that they attach a coupler lock into the ball socket of the tongue. This will prevent a thief from hooking up to that trailer and driving off with it.
This coupler lock looks to be well crafted. It’s color makes it highly visible. Hopefully a would be thief would see it and pass by the trailer with this attached because it wouldn’t be an easy task to steal that trailer.