How to Set Up An RV When RVing Full Time

  • SumoMe

This is me and Eli in our old baseball uniforms before we went RVing full time

One of the things my Mom and Dad really wanted when we first started RVing full time is some kind of checklist that listed all the steps you need to do when you set up your RV at the RV campsite.

We went online and we couldn’t find a good RV setup checklist anywhere!

So Eli and I decided to make one of our own. We made this checklist for anyone who is RVing for the first time, wants to RV full time or is just thinking about RVing full time.

It will let you know that although we are not RV experts, anyone can set up an RV, so don’t be afraid of RVing full time. It’s not that hard.

In fact, if we can do it then you can do it too!

Keep in mind that this checklist is for our RV which is a Chaparral fifth wheel RV and your setup might be a little bit different.

Even so, when you first arrive at the RV park, most of the steps will be pretty much the same.

So here goes!

1. Park the RV

  • This might seem kind of obvious, but you should park the RV so that the electric, water and sewer hookups are on the same side as their hookups. Its kind of like pulling up to fill the diesel tank and making sure the gas cap is on the right side!

2. Level the RV

  • Go inside your RV and take out your level and measure how level the RV is.  If the RV is level then proceed to step 3.
  • If it is not level, then get some 2×10 lumber cut to about 12 inches long and place them behind the wheels on the side of the RV that is lower than the other.
  • Then just back up the RV so it lands on the 2x10s. It helps to have a spotter next to the wheels with a walkie talkie.
  • If you don’t have a walkie talkie, then yelling works too! Just be careful of this if its late at night because RV people go to bed earlier than kids…
  • If needed, add and adjust the 2x10s until the RV is level.

You can also get some RV Leveling Blocks, lots of people in the RV parks have these and they say they work really well too.

3.  Chock the RV Wheels

  • Put something in front of and behind the RV wheels that can keep the 5th wheel from moving. We recommend the Camco RV Super Wheel Chock because they work so well.
  • Blocks of wood and bricks work too, but you really don’t want to worry about the RV moving so get some good chocks because they don’t cost much.

4. Put Down the Front Stabilizers

  • Then place extra 2×10 pieces cut at 12 inches directly under the stabilizers and extend the stabilizers half way.
  • Next pull and drop the RV stabilizer feet over the 2×10 blocks, replace the pins then press the extend button until the RV starts to lift off the back of the truck hitch slightly.

*We really recommend JT Strongarms Short Jack Stabilizer because when we RV’d for the first time without them, the RV felt like it was swimming and rocking. My brother and I move fast and the RV would move around making me and my Dad seasick.

After Majors RV installed the JT Strongarms for us, its been smooth sailing!

5. Put Down the Rear Stabilizers

  • Like the front stabilizers, put down the back stabilizers until they nearly reach the ground. Place extra 2x10s under the feet and then fully extend the stabilizers.
  • The more 2x10s you use under the rear stabilizers, the more stable and less rocky the RV will be. Sometimes I put seven or eight of them under the feet to make it really tight. If you do this in combination with the JT Strongarms Short Jack Stabilizer, your RV will be as rock solid as home!
  • Once the feet are all the way down, tighten up the JT Strongarms until the whole stabilizer assembly is secure.

6. Detach the Truck from the RV

  • Make sure you see daylight between the hitch on the truck and the hitch plate on your fifth wheel RV, then pull out hitch pin.
  • Here’s a BIG tip: If the pin is stuck, shift the truck into Neutral. This lessens the pressure on the hitch pin so you can release it way more easily. Dad started doing this after some guy came up to him in Pennsylvania on our first RVing trip. He saw my Dad sweating and pulling on the pin until he was blue in the face. This friendly guy put Dad out of his misery. It was funny!
  • Once the pin is released, unhook your electrical line as well as the emergency brake stop.

7. Hook Up the Electric

  • Withdraw the electric cord from the electric hole. If the electric cable does not reach you should have 30-Amp RV Extension Cord as a backup. It really stinks to park your RV and the cord won’t reach the outlet!
  • Next, open up the electric box, make sure that the breaker switch is in the off position then hook up the electrical cord.
  • Lastly, flip the breaker switch to the on position.

8. Slide Out the Slideouts 

  • This is easy! Just press the switches in each room for each slideout and the slideout will go out.

9. Let Mom In!

  • Open the door for her and let her into the RV. She will be happy!

10. Hook Up the Water

  • Pull out the water hose and screw it into the water input valve on the RV.
  • Put the water levers in the “on” or “town water” position.
  • Then turn on the water from the RV campsite.

11. Hook Up the Sewer

12. Roll out the Awning ( if needed)

  • Press the awning button until the awning is all the way out. Then grab one side of the awning and pull it down roughly 6 inches lower than the other side of the awning*.
  • Tighten the screws on the awning post until its tight. Then tighten the awning screws on the other side so both sides are secure.

*We recommend you do this so that when it rains, the rainwater will drain off the awning and not gather on the awning itself. This prevents rainwater from splitting the awning!

13. Lay Down the RV Patio Mat

  • To keep dirt and bugs and stuff put of the RV, put down a big carpet, artificial turf or what we recommend is the RV Patio Mat like the one we have. It folds up and is good to do whittling on too.
  • Place this on the ground right outside the RV and spread it out in front of the RV door.

14. Put Up the Antenna

  • Go inside the RV and crank up the TV antennae so you can get watch Phineas and Ferb while RVing full time!

15. Get Organized

  • Organize and put away any stuff hat fell off shelves and drawers while you were RVing.
  • Pick up all your dirty clothes on your bedroom floor and put them in the hamper (in our full time RV the hamper is under the bathroom sink through a cool secret trap door). If you do this without being asked, Mom and Dad will be so happy!

Oh yes, one more thing: when you are full time RVing, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you’re in the RV park. RV people are very friendly and love to help you – so ask them for help.

And that is how you set up your RV at the campground when RVing full time cross country!

Tell us what you think? Was this step by step guide helpful? My brother Eli and I would really like to know what you think so please put in a comment below.

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