Spring is Sprung! Hitting the Road in Your RV

At last, spring is in the air, and that means camping season is here. That said, there are a few things you need to do before you can hit the road in your RV and start adventuring. From dewinterizing and making sure maintenance is done to carefully planning your first trip of the year with the camper, here’s what you need to do before you go camping. 

Getting the RV Ready

First, you need to get the RV ready to go. This involves a variety of tasks, and depending on 1) the type of RV you have, 2) how old it is, and 3) what maintenance you took care of before putting it into storage, the list below may or may not be complete. Still, it is a good starting point.

Just make sure you add any tasks that are more specific to your situation onto your to-do list so you don’t forget them.

Tools

Check for Pests

Hopefully you took steps to prevent pests and kept an eye on your RV throughout the winter to ensure no unwanted guests made themselves at home. That said, even those who do both of those things will find pests in their campers from time to time.

Be sure to check all cabinets for signs of ants, mice, roaches, and other pests. If you find that you do have bugs or rodents in your RV, get rid of them before you start the camping season. You’ll be glad you did. 

De-Winterize Your RV Plumbing

The next thing you’ll want to do is remove the antifreeze from your RV plumbing. This is a super easy task that involves running water through the lines until the antifreeze is gone. It ensures your plumbing is ready to be used as soon as you hook up to water or fill your fresh tank. 

Check out more detailed instructions for de-winterizing your RV fulltime at the bottom of this article

Replace RV Batteries

Most RV owners choose to remove their batteries while their rig is in storage. They do this both to keep them from being stolen and to ensure they retain the proper amount of charge throughout the winter. Before you hit the road, make sure your batteries are charged up and ready to go, and reinstall them so they can be used during your trip. 

Refill Propane

You’ll also want to make sure you have plenty of propane, especially if the weather is still chilly and you’ll be using the furnace to stay warm. Go get those tanks refilled (and recertified, if necessary), and check your propane lines for leaks and loose connections. 

This video explains how to go about checking the lines.

Check Alarm Batteries

Another thing you’ll want to check out before you go? The batteries in all of your alarms. In fact, we recommend replacing the batteries every spring, whether or not they seem to be dead. This will ensure you are safe from smoke, fire, propane, etc.

After all, replacing the batteries is easy enough and can be done in mere minutes while all of your other prep work is happening. 

Test Appliances

We also recommend testing your appliances to ensure they work before you get going:

  • Turn on the stove and oven and smell for gas leaks.
  • Test the fridge in both modes.
  • Run the microwave and vent fans.
  • Turn on the A/C, even if it’s not hot yet. It’s nice to know if you’ll need to repair the unit before the weather warms up.
  • Likewise, test the furnace.

If you find anything is out of order, decide whether you can camp without that appliance for the time being and how you will go about replacing it. 

Reseal Seams

If you resealed your camper before putting it into storage, chances are you won’t have to do it again (though it doesn’t hurt to visually check).

If you didn’t reseal at the beginning of the winter, we highly recommend doing so before the camping season is in full swing. This will keep water from getting into the ceiling, walls, and floor of your RV when those spring showers hit, helping ensure your RV lasts for years. 

You will want to reseal around the outsides of rooftop accessories such as vents and skylights using self-leveling lap sealant. Meanwhile, corner seams and the seams of accessories that are set into the RV wall can be sealed up using a non-sag RV sealant. In both instances, make sure you purchase an RV-specific sealant that is compatible with the type of roof your RV has. 

Inspect Tires

Before driving anywhere, make sure to visually inspect the tires for cracking, excessive wear, and other issues. Look at the expiration date on the side of the tire and replace the tires if they are expired or showing signs of damage or wear. You’ll also want to check the tire pressure and fill them with air if needed. 

Care for the Generator

Your RV generator should be run once a month for at least a couple of hours under load. This is just as true in winter as it is in summer, meaning you likely already ran your generator less than a month ago. That said, this time is a bit different, as there’s maintenance to be done first.

Before you head out to camp, change the generator oil, air filter, spark plug, and fuel filter. Put some Seafoam into the generator fuel tank, and then run the generator under load for a few hours to get it ready to go. 

Check Motorhome Engine and Lights

If you have a motorhome, now is also the time to check out the engine and the other parts under the hood. Get an oil change and replace the brakes if needed, and do any other vehicle maintenance that is due. Be sure to check your headlights, tail lights, and brake lights while you’re at it. 

Planning Your First Trip

The next step? Planning your first RV adventure of the spring. Honestly, if you ask us, this is a pretty fun task. That said, there are some things you will want to take into consideration when planning this first trip in order to ensure you don’t run into trouble and can have an awesome first camping trip of the year. 

Packing RV

Choose Your Destination Wisely

When deciding where you will go in your RV for the first trip of the year, think about the weather and road conditions. Generally, it’s best to stay relatively close to home in order to avoid driving far on potentially less-than-ideal roads. This also gives you a chance to find any issues with your RV while on a shorter trip and in a more familiar environment. 

How to Pick a Campground

Now that you know the area you’ll be visiting, it’s time to choose a specific campground. In our opinion, it’s ideal to choose a campsite with full hookups, as this allows you to hook everything up and really test every aspect of the RV. 

If you need a propane refill and can’t get one before you set out, a campground with a propane refill station is handy. Meanwhile, if you think your area may freeze one or two more times and want to avoid de-winterizing the plumbing for a while, a campground with a clean bathhouse is a must. 

If you need a propane refill and can’t get one before you set out, a campground with a propane refill station is handy. Meanwhile, if you think your area may freeze one or two more times and want to avoid de-winterizing the plumbing for a while, a campground with a clean bathhouse is a must. 

Consider What You Will Do

Many people think of summertime activities when they think of camping. Obviously, swimming is out of the question, so think about what kinds of cooler-weather activities you might do on those first few camping trips when the weather is still on the chilly side. 

Some of our favorite springtime camping activities include:

  • Campfires
  • Stargazing
  • Hiking/nature walks
  • Fishing
  • Using reciprocal memberships to visit local indoor attractions when the weather gets rainy

Know What to Pack

Finally, it is important to really think about what you’ll pack. If you’re used to packing for summer camping, you might reach only for shorts and tank tops. Unfortunately, that just doesn’t work for spring camping in most areas. 

Instead, you will want to pack layers so you can add or take away clothing as the weather changes throughout the day. Both shorts and long pants will likely be needed, and long sleep pants are usually appreciated. Extra blankets are never a bad idea for especially cold nights, and if you don’t like to use your RV furnace, make sure you have space heaters. 

Hopefully, this info helps you get ready quickly and helps your first camping trip of the season go smoothly. After all, we know you’ve been waiting for this moment (we all have!) and certainly wouldn’t want anything to ruin it.