Just what is an RV walkaround, anyway? Who should do it? And how often? RV walkarounds can not only save time, but they can save you money, too! And sometimes a lot of it!
Walk around before you hitch up
Here are some things we check before even hitching our fifth-wheel RV to our truck:
RV inside walkaround
Methodically walk around the interior of your RV. Check the following:
- Breakable decorations. Stow away any items that may fall and/or break during travel.
- Furniture. We lay our dining chairs down on the floor to prevent them from toppling over if we hit a bump. Some RVs feature straps that fit over the dining chairs and then clamp to the floor. However you do it, make sure all furniture is secured for travel.
- Window shades. Retract window shades. (We learned this lesson after a particularly rough stretch of road in Kentucky. A large window shade bumped loose and fell. The shade ripped and had to be replaced.)
- Microwave. Secure the microwave glass turntable. I wedge a piece of pool noodle between the glass and the inside top of the microwave. Alternatively, you can simply remove the glass and store it in a safe place.
- Refrigerator. Check to see that refrigerator items are secured for travel. Use spring tension rods to hold items in place if your fridge doesn’t have built-in bars. Or simply place refrigerator items inside a cooler for transport.
- Slides. Make sure that the slides can be safely retracted. Move any furniture, fans, rugs, pillows, blankets, etc., that may get in the way of the retracting slide.
- Latches. Double-check that all cabinets and cupboards are securely closed. I use Velcro loops to secure adjoining cabinet handles together. Secure shower glass doors and closet doors. Ours has a clamp latch that must be pushed down until we hear it click into its locking position.
- Electronics. Turn off all lights, radio, TV, and any other electronics. Make sure all are secured for travel. (My husband loves our big TV. He uses strips of soft foam as a padding material all around the television.)
RV outside walkaround
- Awning. Check to see that there is no debris on your extended awning. Then fully retract it and check that it’s secured in place. (Same goes for any built-in awnings over slide-outs.) Our battery-powered leaf blower makes this easy and quick! (Did you know you can do more with leaf blowers than just blow leaves? I explain more here.)
- Slides. Before you retract the slide-outs, get up on the roof and remove any and all debris from the top of all slide-outs. You might be surprised at how many leaves, pine needles, tree nuts, branches, etc., you’ll discover up there! Again, we use our leaf blower.
- TV antenna. Some RVs feature a television antenna that can be raised and lowered. Make sure your antenna is lowered for travel. We place our satellite dish on the top of our RV while camping, so we make sure to bring it down, disconnect cables, and stow everything away before hitching up to the truck.
- Steps. If your RV has solid steps, sweep (or blow) dust and debris off the treads. Then make sure you’ve securely stored them on your pre-hitch walkaround.
- Hoses. Check to make sure all hoses (water and electrical) are removed from the campground’s connectors and stowed away.
- Vents. Look to see that all roof vents are securely closed.
Walkaround after hitching up
Walk all around your rig. Inspect both high and low areas.
- Tanks. Double-check to see the propane tanks are turned off. Also, make sure your black and gray tanks are securely closed and that you’ve capped the RV’s drain tube.
- Levelers. Look to see that all leveling jacks have been fully retracted.
- Slides. Visually inspect that all slides are fully retracted.
- Tug test. Perform a tug test before you get ready to drive away. Learn more about that here.
- Chocks. Remove leveling blocks, chocks, wheel locks, etc.
- Mirrors. Adjust interior and exterior truck mirrors for the driver.
- Lights. Test that both the truck and RV lights are functioning properly, e.g., turn signals, brake lights, running lights, emergency flashers.
- Electronics. Check to see that your backup camera, tire pressure monitor, GPS, and any other electronics are working properly.
Walkaround after pulling away from the campsite
We’ve made it a habit to pull out of our campsite, stop, and go back for a final walkaround before leaving the campground.
- Personal belongings. We check to see that we’ve left nothing behind, e.g., water filter and pressure regulator, surge protector, personal belongings.
- Fire. If we’ve had a fire in the fire pit, we douse one final time with water. Also, check for s’mores roasting sticks or any other campfire utensils. In addition, if we’ve used the campground’s grill, we check it and remove any foil, personal utensils, etc., and also make sure the coals are cold.
Walkaround before parking in a new campsite
We like to perform a quick walkaround on our assigned campsite before parking.
- Site ground check. First, we check for debris on the ground. (We once found some wood screws! Go figure!) Next, we visually inspect to see how level the parking site is and whether we’ll need leveling blocks.
- Check overhead. Look up to check for low-hanging branches or wires that might interfere with safely parking your RV.
- Campground neighbors. Check the position of other RVs in relation to your assigned campsite. Begin to plan your parking strategy.
- Electrical box. Finally, we open the electrical box and look at the connections. (One campground manager was shocked when we pointed out a melted 50-amp electrical socket!)
These are the RV walkarounds we perform. Do you perform a walkaround, too? Can you add anything to our walkaround checklist? Do so in the comments, please.