Saturday, September 30, 2023


Performing RV walkarounds can save time and money

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.


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.


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1 year ago

I always check the hose spigot to assure I packed the regulator and the electrical box to assure I took the EMS.

1 year ago

I would add one to New campsite: we have a stick cut to the width of the slide. It is used to measure how far away we need to be from utilities or anything else before we attempt to park.

1 year ago
Reply to  Jim

I have a tape piece attached to my water hose to the exact length of the slide.

1 year ago

I have check list that I use for departure and another for arrivals. Each box has to be checked or list does not get completed. Helps prevent damages.

1 year ago

Saw a lot of items to check that I might have missed. On our refer I have a screw in stop that keeps the freezer & bottom door locked so it can’t open. I had a 19′ Utopia trailer once & the refer door came open & dumped everything out, what a mess. Next trip I had made a lock for the door!

1 year ago

Visually check fifth wheel hitch, making sure locking jaw or bar is fully engaged around king pin, while legs are still down (slightly raised off ground), before tug test. Then raise legs, remove chock blocks. Then finish walk around.

1 year ago

One of the most important things is to check your tires!

1 year ago

I do an additional walk around at each fuel and rest stop. I always touch my wheels to make sure the wheel bearings are not getting hot. One burned out wheel bearing is more than enough for me…

1 year ago

Never a bad idea to check tires for nails and screws as well as tire pressure, lugs, etc.. on motorhome, trailer or tow vehicle.

1 year ago

Lost the spare tire cover on very rough Interstate in Indiana. Lock was not tight and it vibrated off. Cost $400 to replace. Never did see the first one.
New cover has a safety lead. It cannot leave the vehicle.

1 year ago

We will now check our bike rack very carefully. We discovered that the pin on ours was not actually inserted through the the hitch AND rack. We discovered this when a very kind woman followed us for a long way before we finally reached a 4 lane highway and she could flag us down. She told us our rack had fallen off and she had run over one of the bikes. Thankfully, her car wasn’t damaged. Anyway, we drove back but never saw the bikes or the rack again. The bikes were old and mostly sentimental value. The rack was a stupid design and we weren’t real sad it was gone. Lesson learned, the hard way.

Retired and Loving it
1 year ago

Before we plug in, I always check the electrical plug with a meter to ensure it is working correctly. Learned this lesson the hard way after a very long and tiring day of travel. Thought the plug had blown our electrical system. Luckily it did not. Have found faulty plugs at different campgrounds and asked to be moved to another site. Ps. Do this first so if your box is bad, you haven’t started your set up, and can move easily.

Alan wells
1 year ago

Good list. When I do my final walk around I pull on every door to make sure it is locked and latched. Don’t want one flying open if we hit some rough roads.

Seann Fox
1 year ago

Microwave… I use a folded memory foam pillow inside it to protect the turntable glass instead of the foam noodle. Just one less thing to carry and take up space.

1 year ago
Reply to  Seann Fox

We remove the glass “plate” from the microwave, wrap it in a towel, and stow it in a drawer. Nothing extra to carry since we already carry towels.

1 year ago
Reply to  Seann Fox

We have a storage basket in the microwave. This is for snacks, fruit etc. Just enough weight to keep the glass in place and a handy place for goodies. When I want to use the appliance for it’s intended purpose, I just put the basket on some available horizonal surface (table, front seat, bed)

Last edited 1 year ago by Cathi
RV Staff
1 year ago
Reply to  Cathi

What an efficient and yummy tip, Cathi. Thanks! Have a good night. 😀 –Diane

1 year ago

Ironically, we could have used this reminder last weekend. We had an issue with our fridge and had the cover off the outside. My husband was distracted when he went to put it back on and never fully twisted the clips to lock it on. (The distraction was another story….not the best campground we have ever stayed)

Two miles down the road, we were flagged by another car and when we stopped, the cover was gone.

So maybe include in the exterior wall around: check all vent covers and hatches are fully closed and locked.

1 year ago
Reply to  Jewel

Good advice! Thanks Jewel. Happy travels!

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