Did you take the plunge and buy your first RV? Are you ready to head out on your first camping trip? If so, take a moment to review the list of the most common mistakes made by RVers (both new and seasoned). We are all bound to make mistakes from time to time, but learning via the experiences of others is far better and cheaper than committing the error yourself.

Choosing the Right Route

If your choice of RV is a larger rig, be sure to plan your trip to avoid traveling roads that have overpasses too low for you to safely clear or twisty roads or streets too narrow for you to comfortably navigate. Plan ahead and research the most favorable route to get to the campground without having to deal with these challenges along the way. Make sure you check for the campground's availability times.

Probably Not the Best Route

Not Leveling the RV Upon Arrival

Either through inexperience or forgetfulness, many RVers don’t properly level their RV when setting up camp, then leave the rig out of level for the rest of their stay. Not only is this uncomfortable when you are trying to relax or sleep inside the RV, but it can also cause your RV (especially the refrigerator) not to function properly. Always level your RV when you arrive at camp so you don’t have to concern yourself with it later on.

Level Your RV

Pulling Out of a Campsite Without Walking Around Your RV First

Here is a list of things to look for:

- Wheel chocks removed and stowed
- Water hose removed and stowed (don’t forget the pressure regulator!)
- Power cord retracted
- Sewer hose removed and stowed
- Entry step retracted
- Roof vents down
 -TV antenna down
 -Stabilizing jacks retracted
 -Patio awning secured in travel mode
 -Hitch or dinghy tow bar is properly latched and safety chains are in place
 -Refrigerator door travel locks are deployed
 -Water pump is shut off

Remove Your Wheel Chocks

Staying at Home Too Often

Not using your RV enough is a mistake many RV owners are guilty of. If you make the commitment to buy a RV, then you should make the commitment to set time aside and use it as frequently as possible. Even if you can only escape for short trips, look for fun and interesting places to RV that aren't too far from home. In the Northwest, we are blessed with so many places to RV close to home. Ocean beaches, Puget Sound, the Cascades and Eastern Washington are all within easy reach for a weekend RV getaway.

Get Out There and Enjoy Spots Like This

While there is no shame in making mistakes with your new RV, you can avoid them with a little forethought and effort possibly saving you from costly repairs or operating your RV in an unsafe manner. Check out a previous article, Maiden Voyage for more tips on how to prepare for your first outting.

Dave Helgeson
Author: Dave HelgesonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Dave Helgeson is the MHRV Show Director. He and his wife love to travel across the west in their RV. Dave writes about all things RVing but loves to share destinations and boondocking advice.

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