RV Lifestyle

Setting up Camp: A Simple Guide for RV Newbies

setting up camp

Setting up camp can be a challenge for RV newbies. From choosing and packing your supplies to finding the right campsite and setting up your RV, there are a lot of things that may not have been covered at your RV orientation.

The good news is that setting up camp gets easier with practice, and the tips provided here will help you work out the kinks before you hit the open road.

Important Step Before You Embark – Practice!

The best time for RV newbies to get familiar with setting up camp is before you set out on a long-distance adventure.

Plan to have a weekend getaway in your driveway, including using the supplies you’ve brought along.

If you run into problems you will be glad you were only practicing. You will learn so much!

3 Things to Practice for Setting up Camping: 

  1. Parking and Leveling 

    Pull-through sites aren’t always available, so practice backing into a spot in your driveway or a large empty parking lot before you set off. The more level the surface you choose for setting up camp, the easier it will be. Even if your RV has an auto-leveling system, it helps to practice using manual tools such as leveling blocks, wheel chocks, and a bubble level. Begin by leveling side-to-side, and then level front-to-back.

  2. Packing and Supplies 

    RV newbies find out quickly that they have a home on wheels. You are going to need everything from linens and dishware to aloe lotion and undergarments. Practicing at home makes it easy to run inside for the things you’ve forgotten, but you are going to learn that the best option is to simply do without things you didn’t bring along. Try not to run inside the house when you think you need something during this practice time.

  3. Slideouts 

    Slideouts make life inside an RV roomier, but they add extra challenges to setting up camp. Your RV needs to be leveled as much as possible, and you will have to plan on the extra space needed when you choose the campsite. Trying to spend long periods in an RV without opening the slideouts is cumbersome at best and many motorhomes require extending them for access to sleeping or kitchen facilities. Practice using them and not using them. 

Selecting Your Site

Choosing the perfect campsite can be difficult if you have a small RV. RV newbies who start out with a longer rig will quickly learn that a perfect campsite is nearly impossible. The location you choose for setting up camp will make or break your camping excursion.

Need some help in finding an open spot at a campground this summer? CLICK HERE to read our article offering 17 insider tips on getting a campsite


Camp Etiquette

In addition to setting up camp, RV newbies should take the time to learn a bit of campsite etiquette. These social rules will make it easier for you to interact with other people, keep your RV safer, and generally be more acceptable in the camping domain.

There is a fine art to camping etiquette. CLICK HERE for our article on the unwritten rules of camping and watch the video below.

Leaving Your Campsite Unattended

If you brought along a passenger vehicle, it is convenient to leave your RV set up and use the car for exploring the local area. Before setting off on a day full of adventure, make sure you have secured your campsite. 

For RV newbies, setting up camp may seem daunting, but it isn’t as bad as we can make it sound. With practice, you will be able to set it up in a few minutes, and the more you do it, the easier it will get. The rewards are worth the effort you put into it.

Looking for something different than crowded campgrounds? CLICK HERE for our article on Harvest Hosts camping locations and what they are like.

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