How to Create a User Manual for your RV

Last updated on October 12th, 2020 at 03:55 pm. Originally published on March 27th, 2018

How to Create an RV User Manual for Your Renters

Nobody is born knowing the ins and outs of how to use an RV. For most, hitching up a travel trailer, dumping a black tank, and even plugging into a power pedestal are all completely foreign tasks that must be explained. For this reason, as an RV owner who chooses to rent your RV out to others, one of the most important things you can offer your renters is information.

Obviously, you will do a walkthrough at the beginning of each rental, making sure your renters know the most important things. However, there are things that you won’t be able to cover in this walkthrough. On top of that, it’s very likely a renter will forget a thing or two during their trip.

Therefore, you will definitely want to create an RV user manual for your renters to reference while they’re out on their RV adventures. That said, creating a user manual can be a bit overwhelming. Where do you begin, and what do you include?

In this article, we will attempt to answer these questions, so you can provide your renters with the most helpful user manual possible.

RV User Manual

Walk Through Your RV

First, we highly recommend walking through your RV, going through all the tasks of setting up and tearing down as well as the motions of day-to-day life. In fact, you might even take the rig out for a camping trip yourself.

While doing this, take notes of things that people might have questions about, making sure you look at the processes from the perspective of a completely inexperienced individual. Don’t be afraid to write down too many things. You can never offer too much information.

Some Things to Include

Not sure what kinds of things to look for while walking through your camper? We have some suggestions of things renters commonly need to know. That said, if you see something that isn’t included here, especially if it’s unique to your RV, make sure to include it in your user manual as well.

Tips on Driving the Rig

If you won’t be delivering your RV, it’s important to keep in mind that your renter might be pulling a trailer or driving a big rig for the first time ever. Including tips on how to make turns and how to back up can be incredibly helpful.

Additionally, you will want to make notes on things such as what type of fuel to use and how tall the vehicle is. Be sure to go over these things in the walkthrough as well, and if you’re nervous, add little notes in places that make sense. For instance, you might add a sticker to the fuel cap reminding guests to use only a certain type of fuel.

How to Set Up

Another thing you’ll need to include if you aren’t delivering and setting up is information on how to get the camper level and ready to use. Add information on:

  • Leveling
  • Unhitching
  • Lowering jacks
  • Plugging into electricity
  • Hooking up to city water or filling the fresh tank
  • Hooking up to sewer

Include information such as where to find electric adapters, extension cords, extra water hoses, and sewer extensions. Also include info on awning usage if applicable.

Using the Plumbing System

RV plumbing systems are a bit unusual and can make renters nervous. Make sure you include tips and tricks on how to use the system properly. Include:

  • How to flush properly (use plenty of water)
  • Type of toilet paper to use
  • Tank capacity and how to conserve water
  • Using the pump
  • Using the water heater
  • Dumping the waste tanks

How to Use Appliances

For the most part, using RV appliances is pretty straightforward. However, there are some things that may raise questions. Make sure you add instructions on:

  • Lighting the stove and oven
  • How much can be run simultaneously
  • Using the generator (include limitations)
  • What to do if a breaker flips

Where to Find Items

For the most part, your renters will likely be bringing their own items along. That said, there are some things you will provide, and because they will be put away in storage bays, drawers, or cabinets, finding those things could be difficult.

With this in mind, we recommend adding a list of items included in the rental and where they are located. You might also choose to label the outsides of drawers or cabinets to let people know what is inside.

How to Pack Up

Just as important as setting up, there is the matter of packing up the RV when the trip has come to an end. This section of your RV user manual should include info on the following:

  • Safely unplugging
  • Unhooking city water
  • Dumping waste tanks
  • Hitching up
  • Reminders to pull up jacks, pull in stairs, close vent covers, lower TV antenna, etc
  • Any special packing instructions that are specific to your RV

Where to Find Campsites

For the most part, renters tend to book campsites before setting out on their adventures, and some owners may choose not to rent to those who don’t do this. However, if you are open to renting to those who prefer a more relaxed travel style, it might help to include a list of where to find campsites in your state. Including good budget campgrounds (as well as boondocking locations) is especially helpful.

Campendium is a good place to find options.

Where to Find Dump Stations

Another thing renters may end up needing to find is a good dump station. For this reason, some owners choose to include a list of dump stations in their state. In some cases, you might even be able to find free dump stations to include.

Check out Sanidumps to find options to include.

Things to Do in the Area

Finally, though they will likely come with some ideas of their own, it’s a good idea to give guests some ideas of things to do in the state. Including unique attractions or hidden gems is especially fun and likely to be appreciated by your guests.

User Manual for RV

Break Things Down

Once you have your list of important information to include, break it all down into sections that make sense and create a table of contents. This will make it easy for your renters to quickly find the information they need when they need it.

Include Photos

Photos are incredibly helpful, and therefore, incredibly important. Explaining how to do things like light the stovetop or even turn on the water pump might be a bit difficult using only words, but those instructions can be made crystal clear when photos are included alongside the words.

Create an Intro

When you have the body of your manual put together, make sure to add an intro to the beginning. This intro should be professional, but also personal and welcoming, so don’t be afraid to let some of you seep out onto the pages.

What do you think?

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How much can you make renting your RV?

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