Your first RV trip should be fun, safe, and enjoyable. Once you've got your RV at home and are done jumping for joy, follow these tips to get completely familiar with your new RV before hitting the road on an extended trip.
6 Tips For Getting To Know Your New RV
- Learn to operate everything in your RV - Learn how to hookup and disconnect your shore power and water connections. Learn what all of the switches and controls inside your RV do. Expand and retract your awning. Learn to light your gas stove and oven. Learn how to use your refrigerator and switch between propane and electric mode. Learn how to use your furnace (propane and electric modes) and air conditioning units.
- Learn how to use your fire extinguisher and how to shut off your propane gas - In case of emergency, you should be prepared and know how to act quickly.
- Measure the height and length of your RV - This information is critical when driving under overpasses and other low hanging obstacles. Your overall length is important to know when choosing campsites or parking in tight spots with restrictions.
- Create and follow a road-ready checklist - There are many things to unhook and put away prior to leaving your campsite or home. A checklist is the most effective tool to ensure you've done everything. We've found it best to divide and conquer. Melissa checks and prepares the inside of the RV for travel and I check and prepare everything on the outside. You don't want to be that guy driving away with his antenna up or compartment hanging open.
- Make sure everything works before leaving on a trip - You don't want to find out when far from home that a slide out doesn't go in, that your water pump doesn't work or that you have a tire low on air. I check everything and test all of my equipment each time before leaving home. Key equipment to check and test are tires (tire pressure), slide outs, kitchen appliances, heat and air conditioners, water pump, detectors (smoke, carbon monoxide and propane), and generator.
- Go on a short "Shake Down Trip" close to home - Before heading out on your first extended RV trip, take your RV out on the road, go camping for a weekend and try everything out in an actual camp setting for a few days. It's also a great time to practice driving and using your RV. Drive on backroads practicing turning and get comfortable in your lane before heading out on the highway and into traffic. Make note of items that rattle, squeek, and shake while driving (the "shake down"). Practice pulling in and backing out of a campsite. Hook up and use everything in your RV. Actually live in your RV for a few days. Cook, eat, do dishes, use the toilet, shower, watch movies, the works. Before leaving dump and clean your waste tanks.
You may certainly have different equipment or things to learn about your RV that are different. So be sure to identify those things and learn about them. Of course, if you own a travel trailer or fifth wheel, you'll have to also add hooking up, disconnecting, and stabilizing to the list. I hope these steps get you started to understanding and enjoying your RV.
Have fun and enjoy your new RV.