How to Set Up Your RV at a Campground the First Time

Last updated on December 22nd, 2021 at 02:40 pm. Originally published on May 15th, 2015

When you pull into a campground, especially as a newbie RV’er chances are that you are not too sure how to set up your rig.

Sometimes it’s easier to have a checklist with you. This will enable you to keep track of what you have and haven’t done especially if you are new to the RV scene. Make a habit of using a check list. If you split the chores between individuals have one person manage the checklist so instances of “I thought you did that!” do not occur.


It is almost impossible to cover everything involved in setting up an RV due to the differences between the models. However, all RV’s have certain things in common and these commonalities are what we will concentrate on in this post.

Tailor the list according to your needs.

  • Arrival at RV Campground
Checking in at the camp
Checking in at the Camp
  1. Disconnect any towed cars after arriving at the campground registration parking lot. Check in and ask if any discounts are available.
  2. Get a map of the campground and locate your campsite.
  3. Survey the site assigned to you. If you have a large vehicle, it is best to do this using an alternative vehicle or walk to the site. Does it have sufficient space for your rig? Do you know where all the connections are? Is there room for your awning? Figure out whether you will drive through or have to back up into your site.
  • Setting up your RV for the first time


pullthru site

  1. Don’t forget to set the parking brake if you are driving a motor home and chock the wheels.
  2. Disconnect tow vehicle and put down stabilizer jacks.
  3. If the battery for your Chassis has a disconnect switch, disconnect it.
  4. Test the voltage of the electricity with a voltmeter before hooking up your rig
  5. Plug in your RV to the receptacle that matches your amperage requirements. Anything below 105 volts and above 135 can damage your appliances.
  6. Some campgrounds may require the use of an electrical adapter while others have a circuit breaker which you will need to turn on for electricity to flow into your RV.
  7. Check to ensure your electricity is working.
  8. Turn on your fridge
  9. Hook up your water regulator to the water supply. Use a water filter at the inlet of your fresh water tank. Now you can attach your white water hose to the camp supply and your RV. Check to ensure water is flowing into your RV. Do not use the water pump. The pump is only used to draw water from the fresh water tank when no other water source is available.
  10. Wear gloves and attach the sewer hose to the drain outlet. Ensure the locking tabs are secured by turning it. Most campgrounds now require a sewer donut or seal on the sewer connection. Ensure your connection is sealed securely.

    sewer Hookup

    sewer hose support

    If you have a sewer support system, set it up now allowing a slight slope from the RV to the sewer connection.

  11. Turn the supply of LPG on at the valve of the tank or bottle.
  12. Ensure that your water heater bypass is not on bypass mode and that the heater tank is full of water. Your heater probably has electric mode which helps you save LPG.
  13. If your campground and RV have cable TV, hook it up using the TV coax cable. If no cable connection is available, raise your antennae
  14. Put out RV mat
  15. Set up your chairs
  16. Fire up the BBQ

Dumping black and grey water in an Rv Campground

If you intend to stay at the campground for a few days, you can open the gray water tank valve slightly. This will allow water to drain directly into the sewer. If you are only staying a night, leave it closed. Never leave the valve on your black tank open and do not dump your black water until the tank is almost full.

You will need gray water when dumping your black water tank so close the valve the day or night before you intend to dump your black water to allow it to accumulate.

  1. To drain the black water tank, open the valve completely and let it drain. Close the valve when this is done.
  2. Open the gray water tank valve and dump it. This will flush the sewer hose of whatever gunk is left after dumping the black water tank.
  3. Treat your black water tank after every dump.

There are several things an RV’er needs to do before they hit the road. If you are preoccupied you will inevitably overlook a step.

Take the time to learn how your RV works. You should be able to fix any minor problems and know how many amps your breaker can handle. Take a practice drive if you are a beginner and bring tools and spare parts in case something happens.


RV’ers are usually very friendly so if you get stuck, ask your neighbor if they can help. Remember to keep it fun and enjoy the road.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to comment below!

Looking for more helpful tips? Check out All About RV Hook Ups: What you Need to Know

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