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Do you have an RV departure checklist? If not, it’s time to put one together.

Why do you need an RV checklist before driving down the road?

Well, imagine for a second that you’re heading out for a drive in your new RV. The dogs are along for the ride and everyone’s excited to go on an adventure. As you’re turning onto the main road, you suddenly hear crashing noises as the drawers fly open and items fall out onto the floor. This scares the dogs and they try scrambling onto your lap and under your feet causing you to struggle to control the 20,000 pound recreational vehicle you’re driving.

Sound a bit far fetched? Well, it happened to us. While I was able to safely stop our small Class A motorhome, we realized the danger of missing small details before getting on the road in our RV. This incident was the impetus for us to put together our first RV departure checklist.

Read more about the adventures and mis-adventures of RV living, check out my second book, Tales From the Open Road.

RV Departure Checklist

Having a well thought out and complete pre-travel RV checklist will improve safety on the road and make sure important tasks are not forgotten. RVs of every kind are complex with many things that need to be checked prior to getting on the road. Add in a tow vehicle and the complexity goes up.

What should be on your RV pre-trip checklist?

In short, everything. When we created our pre-departure checklist, we started on the outside of the RV. For example,

  • Tire pressure checked and visual inspection
  • Bay doors locked
  • Hoses and cables disconnected

We listed each item that needed to be checked and included instructions as to what needed to be done. Doors needed to be “locked” and hoses needed to be “disconnected.” We followed the same process for the inside of the RV which ended up becoming quite a long RV checklist before driving down the road.

Update and Modify Your RV Checklist

Each time we move into a new RV, we update our R departure checklist. To give you a brief summary, we started RV life in a Class A motorhome towing a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and traveling with two large dogs. Then we downsized to a ProMaster Class B RV and also tested a series of Class B RVs by different manufacturers. Now we live out of a 4×4 pop-up truck camper.

I hope our checklist will give you a good starting point for creating your own RV checklist before driving down the road.

RV Checklist Departure

Here is a list of items to consider for your checklist. Watch the video to see the pre-departure RV checklist in action.


Portable solar panel detached and put away
– Carpets and mats put away
– Exterior storage doors locked
– Awning retracted
– Windshield cleaned
– Rear view and side view cameras cleaned
– Tire pressure checked and visual inspection (RV and tow car)
– Hoses and cables disconnected
Portable electrical management system box stowed
– Locks and keys collected and stored
– Steps are cleared and carpet is put away
– Antenna down
– Fans on the roof are closed
– Slides in, locked and post-it secured
– Kitchen secured
Travel Berkey strapped down (Berkey Water Filter review)
– Water pump off
– Water heater off
– Lights off including storage bays and closets
– Generator off
– Inverter off
– Bathroom products secured
– Shower door latched
– Toilet flushed (and secured if using a portable toilet)
– Drawers pushed in all the way
– Doors closed
– Refrigerator items secured
– Windows closed
– Dog water bowl level check
– Fuel check
– Windshield wipers in working order
– Leveling jacks retracted
– Steps retracted when engine is on
Leveling blocks and Hosspads put away
– Tire chock put away
– Tow car in tow mode
– Secure tow car to RV
– Check all safety pins
– Attach brake line to tow car
– Check turn signals and brake lights
Walkie talkies charged and ready to use
– Water, coffee and snacks easily accessible by the passenger

Now it’s time to put together your RV checklist and make sure to use it before you hit the road.

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