RV Checklist to Avoid Drive-Off Disasters

February 13, 2019

RV Checklist to Avoid Drive-Off Disasters

You’ve probably seen it happen—or maybe it’s happened to you: An RV pulls away from the campsite with a hose dragging behind, an awning flapping in the wind, a jack left behind—you get the picture. To avoid drive-off disasters like these, Dutchmen RV has put together tips and an RV departure checklist for newbies as well as experienced RVers.

You can avoid some disasters before you even make camp for the night. If you have a fifth-wheel hitched to a pickup or SUV, pay attention to where you park. Your vehicle may clear those low tree branches, but will the trailer? You might make a note when you stop, but forget when it comes time to leave, and then—oops! It’s best, if you can, to avoid parking under low branches or make sure your fifth-wheel can clear them before you park.

Another tip for preventing a problem when you leave your campsite is to know your mileage range. This is especially important when you’re making a day trip in a remote area with limited services. Even if your tank is full when you set out, you want to make sure you’ll have enough gas to get back to your campsite or to the next town.
Once you’ve camped and are about to head out, it’s important to make sure everything—inside and out of your recreational vehicle—is packed up and locked down. It’s not just embarrassing to have items falling out or left behind, it can be expensive and dangerous.

Experienced RVers always do a walk-around just before they depart the campsite. And, if you’re traveling with other adults, it helps to have each person do their own walk-around to cover all the bases. From the fold-down steps and the storage cabinets below the rig to slide rooms, antennas, and belongings around the campsite, it’s easy to forget to do something.
Here is a basic RV checklist for making sure you avoid drive-off disasters, inside and out.


  • Make sure all loose items are stowed and cupboard doors are closed and secured
  • Close ceiling vents and windows
  • Put down the TV/satellite dish and antennas
  • Secure items in the refrigerator
  • Turn off the water pump
  • Make sure slide rooms are in and secured
  • Secure interior doors
  • Turn off the water heater/furnace/air conditioner
  • Discard trash/recycling

  • Retract and stow awnings
  • Check fresh water tank level
  • Unplug power, water, sewer, cable, etc.
  • Take care of propane  
  • Secure range vent
  • Secure and lock outside storage bay doors
  • Raise leveling jacks
  • Remove wheel blocks
  • Clean windshields
  • Check tire pressure and fluid levels
  • Stow entry steps
  • Drain holding tanks

Finally, just before departure:

  • Do a safety inspection: turn signals, brakes, headlights

  • Have each adult do a last RV walk-around: check windows, slide rooms, roof antennas/vents, steps, and hookups

  • Do a tow vehicle walk-around, a hitch inspection, and a safety inspection

  • Inspect the site for left items and litter 

It takes a few extra minutes to do these checks, especially when you’re eager to be on your way to your next adventure. But it’s worth it to avoid drive-off disasters that will undoubtedly cost you time and money.

Share your own tips for avoiding drive-off disasters with us and other RVers on the Dutchmen Facebook page, where you’ll also find the latest RV news. And follow our Instagram account, @dutchmenrvcompany, for updates about our family of Dutchmen RV owners.

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