Reducing stress when camping for the first time in a new travel trailer/camper

Anytime a camper, RV or trailer is purchased, there is a heightened level of stress on the first trip. To help dissipate the stress a short weekend trip is suggested.

Select a location that is close to home. On this first trip you don’t know what you’re going to forget, being near your home allows for a quick drive home to pick up the items that were forgotten. If you travel a great distance on the first trip, you may have to spend money on items that you already have at your home. Two of the same thing at double the cost is not a good way to start your camping experience.

Select a full hook up site. Many campgrounds and RV parks offer a variety of site options. These sites might be primitive with no hook ups, water only, water and electric, or full (water, electric and sewer). Selecting a full hook up site on your first trip provides an opportunity to complete all necessary tasks at the campsite without feeling rushed.

First, the unit set up. Getting the unit level may take some time, once your unit is level, the stabilizer jacks are set and you have the campsite in good order, write down some notes to build a check list specific to your unit. This will help you in the future and reduce the amount of time it takes to set up the unit.

Second, the unit should be connected to the electric power source. Power is typically offered in 30 amp or 50 amp service. If you unit has one air conditioner more than likely it will feature a 30 amp service. If you unit has two air conditioners it will have a 50 amp service. Some campgrounds and RV parks only have 50 amp service or a 30 amp service at the sites. It is important to have an adapter plug in your rig so you can properly hook up the electric service.

Next in the sequence is hooking up the water line. Most water systems provide two methods for using water. A holding tank with a 12 volt pump providing the pressure or a hook up for the campground water service. Testing both systems at the campsite is a good idea. It will help you understand the water systems. Using the tank is simple, fill it up with water and turn on the 12 volt pump and your ready.

There are a few extra steps when hooking up to campsite water. First, the campsite water pressure is unknown. To keep your plumbing lines in your RV protected from over-pressurization, a pressure reducing value is a good purchase. Second, an inline carbon filter should be purchased. This will help eliminate impurities in the water system and provide cleaner water for the unit. Finally, a good drinking grade water hose is necessary. This line should only be used for the connection and no other purpose. This will provide a safe water distribution system for the season.

Finally, the sewer connection, the least favorite part of camping. Carrying two 10 foot hoses to ensure the unit can connect to the sewer system is a good idea. At times, the sewer connection may be at an inconvenient spot compared to where you want to set up the unit. The camper will have two holding tanks. A grey water tank that holds sink and shower water and a black water tank that holds toilet waste. Leaving the tanks closed while at the site will allow the fluids to increase and prevent the buildup of solids in the tank. I use black tank treatment to help dissolve the solids in addition to the fluid increase method.

When dumping the tanks prior to campsite departure, always dump the black tank first and rinse the tank by pouring a bucket of water down the toilet or using the black tank spray down port if available. A clear elbow in the sewer hose will help you monitor the cleanliness of the water and help you properly clear the tanks. Being able to accomplish this the first time at the site rather than at a dump station can substantially reduce your stress. No one will be waiting for you to finish at your site.

Remember to take notes and create a check list so it becomes easier each time you head out on the road. The second trip out you might want to book a water and electric site and try using the dump station.

Go have some fun out there!


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