Ready to Roam: Preparing Your RV for Camping Season
After months spent dreaming of hitting the open road, sharing stories around the campfire, and drifting off to sleep under the stars, spring is finally in full swing.
As RVers everywhere look ahead to camping season, we reached out to a few of our friends in the RV community for on-the-road insights and tips to keep your rig running smoothly all summer long. Here’s what they had to say:
Plan a “shake down” trip
Stephanie and Jeremy Puglisi are avid adventurers who spend considerable time on the road and in campgrounds throughout North America with their family of five. The couple launched the RV Family Travel Atlas (RVFTA) blog and podcast to inspire others to spend more time out in nature, too.
When asked how the Puglisi family prepares their RV for spring, Stephanie and Jeremy both agreed a “shake down” trip tops the list.
“A shake down trip refers to a short, close to home excursion with your RV for the purpose of testing out the systems and stocking up on necessary supplies.”
In what has now become a beloved family tradition, the Puglisis kick off the season with a weekend away at a nearby campground. While there, they’ll determine whether their RV is sufficiently stocked and properly packed; test its water, heating, and cooling systems; and keep an eye (and an ear) out for maintenance issues that, left unaddressed, could create costly disruptions to future holiday plans.
The pair confessed they learned this lesson the hard way: “We used to be so excited about dewinterizing our travel trailer and hitting the road that we skipped this tradition for years. Then we ended up on a 10-day vacation in Myrtle Beach without any running water.”
3 springtime RV DIYs: Tires, water heaters, and generators
Affectionately known as The RV Geeks, Peter and John are a trusted resource for RVers around the world keen to save time and money with DIY maintenance and repairs. After nearly two decades spent RVing full-time, the pair have built an extensive repertoire of handy “how to” videos that cover everything from cleaning headlights to installing awnings.
Not surprisingly, Peter and John had plenty of suggestions for their fellow “mechanically inclined” RVers, but narrowed it down to three top tips:
“Tires are an important safety item to maintain, and inflation pressures are key. We also flush, clean, and inspect our RV’s water heater every spring. And, of course, any RVer with a generator needs to keep in mind that it’s an engine, and requires the same type of annual maintenance as any other engine.”
Check your RV’s tire pressure
Flush and clean your RV’s water heater
Inspect and protect your RV’s generator
Spring clean your RV
All of us agreed that as winter melts away, a familiar ‘spring cleaning’ itch begs to be scratched. When it does, we head to our closets, cupboards, and pantries to organize and purge. But what about our RVs?
Before setting off on your shake down trip, we recommend devoting an afternoon to an RV spring clean. The job isn’t done after you remove its protective cover and run the vacuum around the interior, however; you’ll also want to take time to check your appliances are working correctly, switch out the batteries in your fire extinguisher, lubricate hinges, replenish your stock of linens, and so on. A few years ago, The RV Geeks published an RV spring cleaning checklist video, but shared one important update:
“An overall list of virtually everything we do to get our summer season off to a great start is outlined in this post and video, although the need to sanitize our fresh water system has been reduced or eliminated since we made the video with the installation of our Acuva Eco.”
Any other handy hacks that help you set the tone for a successful, adventure-filled RV season? Let us know!