Saturday, September 23, 2023


RV Checklists: Everything to do before leaving the campground


  • Secure all cabinets and drawers for travel.
  • Check to see that the TV is securely in place.
  • Empty all garbage cans and take garbage to a proper trash receptacle.
  • Flush toilet and close the lid.
  • Close all ceiling vents and windows.
  • Power off the water heater and water pump.
  • Clear all countertops, tables, and shelving.
  • Secure loose items for travel.
  • Check to make sure the refrigerator is off and doors are secured.
  • Turn off oven pilot light.
  • Lower TV and WiFi antennas.
  • Remove any obstructions that might impede slides from retracting.
  • Turn out all lights.


  • Sweep or use a blower to clear debris from the top of awnings and slides.
  • Bring in the awning(s) if they’ve been cleared.
  • Bring in satellite dish, or lower it, and secure for travel.
  • Retract slide-outs, if cleared.
  • Close and lock entry door(s).
  • Clear campsite of personal belongings.
  • Sweep or shake outdoor mat. Fold and put it away.
  • Double-check firepit. Pour water over ashes to make sure all embers are completely extinguished.

Water and sewer

  • Empty the black water tank. (Some RVers don’t dump the black tank unless it’s 1/3 to 1/2 full to avoid a “pyramid.”) Follow by emptying and rinsing the gray tank.
  • Put away sewer connection and hose. Be sure to cap sewer hose before storing.
  • Unhook, drain, and store freshwater hose. Remember your water pressure regulator and any filters!


  • Turn off the electrical breaker in the pedestal.
  • Unplug your electrical cord and put it away.
  • Remove your surge protector and store away.
  • If you have an inverter that powers the refrigerator and electric water heater, you can leave those on. 
  • Turn off gas water heater, if using.
  • Check to make sure propane tanks are turned off at the tank.

Ready the RV

  • Check tire pressure on all tires. Use air compressor, if needed.
  • Clean windshield and mirrors, if necessary.
  • Extend truck rearview mirrors, if applicable.
  • Put away any extra RV stabilizers (e.g., triangle fifth-wheel pin support).
  • Put up entry steps.
  • Plug in the seven-pin electrical cord from truck to RV for towing.
  • On a fifth-wheel RV, retract all stabilizers except the front jacks (to raise/lower the rig into hitch position). Once hitched, then retract the front jacks.
  • On other RVs, retract stabilizer jacks. Stow jack pads, if using.
  • Hitch RV to truck.
  • Fasten breakaway emergency switch.
  • Attach safety chains and sway bar for travel trailer.
  • Remove and store leveling blocks and chocks.
  • Check all lights on RV and tow vehicle, if applicable.
  • Adjust mirrors and cameras, if necessary.
  • Enter your next destination into your GPS.

Walk around

  • Check that all RV storage compartments are closed and locked.
  • Double-check to see that all slides are completely retracted.
  • Look under RV to make sure all jacks are up.
  • If towing a vehicle, hook it up now.
  • If flat towing, hook up tow bar.
    • Follow manufacturer’s directions for flat towing car.
    • Hook up electrical pig tail.
    • Check turn signals and brake lights on motorhome and tow vehicle.
    • Pull slowly forward and check that both arms of tow bar have engaged.
  • Pull out of campsite.
  • Make a final “site check” to make sure you’ve not left anything behind.
  • Thank the camp hosts and get back on the road!

Download a copy of this checklist here and carry it with you on your RV travels.

More checklists

Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh is an avid RVer and occasional work camper. Retired from 30+ years in the field of education as an author and educator, she now enjoys sharing tips and tricks that make RVing easier and more enjoyable.


  1. I bought a set of blank “slap bracelets” and wrote whatever I needed to remember on them (electric cords; secure cabinets; etc.) Then I “slap” one on my steering wheel for each item and voilà… instant reminders!
    I made a video if anyone is interested…

  2. You left out turning the A/C off on the inside check. And black tanks should be 2/3s full before emptying. Add water if not 2/3 full.

  3. I’m in Sturgis right now, a few days ago the water in the park was disrupted twice, I’m not sure what happened first time? But I saw the second time, I just stepped out of the camper, and saw a pickup pulling a Travel Trailer heading right for my camper, a woman was yelling as loud as she could running after the truck! The sun was bright I couldn’t see inside the truck, I thought at first there goes my new camper, she must had left it in drive and got out letting it run away! A Diesel can get going pretty good even at idle. Fortunately her husband was driving he was impatient and drove away before she could check that everything was disconnected, the fresh water hose was still connected and he ripped the entire post out of the ground! We had a Old Faithful in Sturgis that day! Slow down don’t move or even start your vehicle until you are 120% sure your trailer is ready! It could have been worse if it was still connected to the 50a service!!!

  4. One issue with this checklist, it mentions fifth wheel campers but says retract stabilizers and jacks then hook up to the tow vehicle? Don’t do this if you have a 5R your going to have issues especially if the front jacks can’t raise the 5R again after you realize you can’t hook up now! Not that most people would follow this suggestion but a newbie might just do it! I’ve seen people take advice without thinking about it!

  5. I downloaded a checklist for departure and personalized it for our fifth-wheel when we began full-timing in 2017. We were newbies to rving then. I still use this checklist for every departure today. I print multiple copies and have on a clipboard. After five years there have been occasions of getting sidetracked and had it not been for the checklist something would have been missed. I keep all the checklists in a notebook in case something mechanical or otherwise happens and I can show that we did due diligence/problem didn’t exist when we left last campground if insurance asks.

  6. I go around the trailer inside in a circle inside until I can do a circuit without catching one thing undone.
    Then I pack up and hook up the outside and do walk arounds until I can walk around without finding one thing out of place.
    Then I pull over a block or two down the road and do one more interior and exterior walk around.
    Even then I still miss something once in a while.

  7. A checklist would be great for most RVers and campers. I cannot begin to tell you how many leveling blocks, jack pads, sewer hoses and fittings, and water hoses and fittings I’ve collected over the last year. As a full-time RVer and a workkamper I watch people leave stuff behind weekly or more often. They simply don’t see it, remember it, or are in a hurry.


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