Best RV Tips from Real RVers

100 All-Time Best RV Tips from Real RVers

100 RV tips might sound like a lot, but these are quick tips and tricks that we’ve broken down into 16 different categories. In many cases, we’ve provided links to additional reading, if you’d like to dive deeper. Best of all, these great tips and ideas come from some of the top RV influencers and industry experts who want to help you have a successful, smooth and fun camping trip.

Tap below to jump to a topic that interests you most or just start scrolling: 

Tips for Creating Useful RV Checklists

Useful RV Checklists ExamplesUseful RV Checklists Examples

Create lists for everything — most importantly have an RV departure checklist and always carry it with you so that you can check off your "ready to go" items before you head out.

Lippert has multiple checklists that can help you create your own RV departure checklist…

RV Driving and Navigation Tips

  • Plan an RV-Safe Route. In today’s world, there are great apps that will help you, like RV Life’s Trip Wizard.
  • On a similar note, consider getting an RV-specific GPS to use while towing to avoid getting in a pickle with low clearances.
  • Know the height of your RV! Best to measure and post your rig's overall height on a label near your dashboard.
  • Pay attention to all bridge and overhead signs. You do not want to hit any low clearance areas and risk damage to the RV.
  • When traveling with kids in a motorhome, be sure to check laws in the states to determine if the children need to be in car seats or boosters.
  • Be sure to pay attention to posted speed limits and noise restrictions at campgrounds.
  • It's a good idea to have two people with a set of keys to the RV.

Looking for more guidance? Then read How to Plan an RV Trip from full-time RVer Donna Weathers.

RV Towing Safety Tips

Car and camper with safe towing setupCar and camper with safe towing setup
  • Be sure part of your pre-trip inspection includes testing all of your tow vehicle and rig's lights, brakes, signals, clearance and four-way flashers.
  • Also, test your breakaway switch for proper operation before you leave on your trip!
  • Utilize sway bars when towing a travel trailer, pop-up camper or other unit with an a-frame.
  • Be sure to distribute weight evenly while traveling. If you know you are heavy on one side due to appliances and furniture, distribute your personal items to the opposite side.
  • Always do a pull test to make sure the hitch is locked in place.
  • Avoid towing in high winds.

If you own a travel trailer, check out How to Tow a Travel Trailer, Plus 5 Equipment Essentials.

RV Tools You Should Bring Along

  • Get a small tool box or premade tool kit. Collect all of the basics for unexpected small repairs that may need to be made
  • In the event of a flat tire, your car tire's wrench might not fit the trailer tire lug nuts, so double check that you have the correct gear with you.
  • Here’s a quick list of tools and gear you should keep in your camper at all times:
    • A cordless screw gun
    • Appropriate drive bits
    • Standard and phillips screwdrivers
    • Socket set
    • Duct tape
    • Electrical tape
    • Gorilla® glue
    • Scissors
    • Sharpie® marker
    • Small hammer
    • Small level
    • Various nails and screws
    • WD40®
    • Bunge® cords
    • Regular cord and rope

Campsite Setup and RV Leveling Tips

Lippert Power Tongue Jack Leveling an RVLippert Power Tongue Jack Leveling an RV
  • Be sure to walk your campsite first before backing into it. And, LOOK UP to ensure a branch or two won't become part of your roof!
  • Be aware of your direction and the sunrise. Not everyone wants to wake up with the sun in their face. If you have blinds then it doesn't matter which way you face.
  • When backing into a site, put your pride away and determine who gives better directions. Backing up isn't the hard part, guiding someone is.
  • Don't park on an incline and steer clear of being near the bottom of a hill or slope. These areas tend to have more saturation from any type of rainfall or extra moisture. You are more likely to get stuck in the mud.
  • If you have manual-crank jacks, get an adapter for a cordless drill to make putting them down and up a cinch.
  • For the manual rear stabilizer jacks, use an appropriately sized socket on a cordless drill to quickly raise and lower the jacks. Saves time and energy.
  • Even if you have auto leveling, be sure to take some blocks of wood with you. You may need them if your site is off from side to side or front to back.
  • Never raise your coach's wheels off the ground!
  • Check around your campsite before extending slides to make sure you don't hit anything!
  • Be sure to wipe down your hydraulic jacks with extended stays. Be sure to keep free of dirt and debris.

Tips for a Safe and Enjoyable

  • Do not leave your awning open while unattended.
  • Be aware of sharp outside corners on your rig and your hitch, be it tag-along or fifth-wheel. Consider either using Fun Noodles or flagging the area to help your crew stay safe!
  • Don't forget to invest in a well-equipped first aid kit to take on your camping trip. Always have it with you, and make sure it is well stocked. In case of emergency, you'll be glad you did!
  • Having a hard time with your outdoor lights? Did you forget to bring a lantern? Point a head lamp into a jug full of water. Instant lantern!
  • Rubber bands and hair ties are great for keeping things like paper towels, napkins and plates from blowing away in the wind.
  • DO NOT take firewood with you. In many states, it is illegal to transport wood.
  • Pine cones are a great way to start a fire easily.
  • Always be sure your fire pit is free of low burning cinders.

RV Storage Tips

  • Bring collapsible storage totes. They are great for both storage and things like carrying your picnic supplies in and out of the camper.
  • Roll your bath, kitchen, and beach towels tightly for storing — making efficient use of space in cupboards and drawers.
  • Organize your cabinets using shelves that stack and plastic pull-out drawers.
  • Bring a mesh pop up hamper for laundry. It takes up less space when not in use.
  • Bring downsized toiletries for personal use. If you stay in hotels often, collect the complimentary items (mini shampoos, lotions, soaps, etc.) for your RV.
  • You can add extra under-chassis storage or a hitch cargo carrier to many RVs too!

Check out RV Storage Ideas to Help You Get Organized for even more great tips and tricks.

RV Cooking Tips

Mother and daughter cooking in an RVMother and daughter cooking in an RV
  • Bring your slow cooker for simple dinners but use the disposable liners — makes cleanup after mealtime easy in the camper!
  • Take a cast iron pan, and if you have access to electric, an electric skillet.
  • Pre-cook and freeze some meals so that there is more time to enjoy the camping experience!
  • Premix scrambled-eggs in a disposable container you can pour out of, like a small milk jug.
  • Pie iron, hot dog forks, and an over the fire popcorn maker are a must!
  • Foil pack meals are a go-to because they are super easy to cook over a fire, and each person can choose what they want.
  • If you're making corn on the cob on a campfire, leave the husk on, soak in water for a few minutes, then put directly next to the coals. The water will keep the kernels from burning.
  • To prevent the black soot from building up when cooking over an open fire using a pot or kettle, coat the outside of the pot with dish soap, and when you are done cooking, cleanup will be quick and easy.

Cooking While RVing: Part 1 has even more great cooking tips!

RV Interior Tips

  • Add curtains to your bunkhouse beds and the kids will fall asleep faster with fewer distractions.
  • Is it a little chilly in your RV? Invest in a heated mattress pad. Simply turn on a half hour before bedtime, and relax in the nice warmed sheets. This can save on trying to keep the rig at a higher temp at night while you sleep in warmth.
  • Use a dry-erase board for important notes or information your family will want to keep top-of-mind.
  • Be sure to check and change batteries in your smoke detectors on a regular basis.
  • As you travel, make note of what would make your lives easier and make those purchases.

Tips for RV Shore Power and Electricity

  • If your camper is not equipped with a battery shut-off, consider installing one to prevent battery drain.
  • When hooking up to any post or power source be sure to test the integrity of the power by measuring the incoming voltage and verifying the polarity of that voltage.
  • A voltmeter is a huge tool to have on hand. Doesn't have to be the biggest on the market. You can usually pick one up for around $20.
  • To protect your RV investment, invest in a surge protector.
  • Use pool noodles or something to cover exposed wires and cords outside so that you do not trip or get tangled.

RV Fresh Water, Waste Water and Septic Tips

Dumping a black water tank with an RV sewer hoseDumping a black water tank with an RV sewer hose
  • Carry two hoses. One for fresh water and one for cleaning out your sewer hose.
  • Always try to dump your tanks before you travel.
  • Use a water pressure regulator on city water, and be sure to take it with you when you leave.
  • Always turn off water when you leave your rig to avoid any leaks.
  • Remember to use RV and marine grade toilet paper to avoid clogs in your septic system.
  • Leave your grey tank closed until AFTER you dump your black tank. That water will help rinse out any waste left in your hose.
  • Do not leave your black tank open. Only open it when you are ready to dump.

RV Travel Tips to Enjoy Your Destination

  • Pre-plan: It’s fun to look at all the things you can do when you arrive at your destination, but don’t forget to reserve your camping spot enough in advance to be sure it’s available.
  • Learn to wing it! Counter to the advice above, you don’t need to micromanage your trip. Driving a fully self-contained vehicle with all the comforts of home allows you to discover some of the country's hidden gems. Relax your pace, and focus on the journey instead of the destination.
  • Think like a traveler, not a tourist. A traveler sees opportunity for adventure around every corner, a tourist can only find attractions that are well labeled and come with a steep admission price. If you're in it for the long haul, change your perspective and embrace a traveler's perspective.
  • Live like a local! RVing allows you to immerse yourself in the local culture. Throw out those guidebooks and start mingling with the locals. Ask the locals about great places to eat and for fun, out-of-the-box adventure ideas like lazy river tubing or sledding.
  • Avoid the crowds. While it might be tempting to visit attractions like museums and parks on "free admission" days, you'll pay in lost time and long lines. The leisurely RV lifestyle allows us to avoid these days and visit popular attractions on their lowest crowd days. To save money, invest in a National Park Pass or a museum pass with nationwide reciprocity.
  • Learn to roll with it! RVing is a fun and adventurous lifestyle, but sometimes things don't go as planned.
  • Include rainy day options for entertainment. Books, cards, games, small, easy craft projects, etc.
  • Leave your devices at home. Enjoy each other and the great outdoors or, at the very least, set specific hours and rules for when using electronics is okay, especially with your kids.
  • Don't worry, be happy!

Camping Tips for Being a Good Neighbor

  • Not everyone wants help with their RV. Always ask if someone needs your help. Do not barge in.
  • Do not distract a person who is breaking down or setting up camp. Remember they may miss something important if you distract them.
  • Love the wild animals in and around your campsite, but be sure to obey rules of feeding animals. If wild animals are fed by you in your campsite, you may jeopardize their life as the next camper may have an issue with them.
  • Camping with your fur baby best friend? Make sure their shots are up-to-date, and be sure to let your vet know of any new adventures in different locations that may require other vaccinations.
  • If you have a pet, leave a sign on your RV indicating that and maybe an emergency number!
  • Leave your site better than you found it.

RV Teardown Tips

  • Keep rubber bands or elastic hair ties handy for wrapping around cabinet door pulls while traveling. Especially a cabinet with any glass bottles or glassware.
  • Always check that drawers and cabinet doors didn't open during transit before opening slides. Even if you only traveled for one mile.
  • Remember to tie your chairs down or lay them flat during travel to avoid them breaking or damaging anything.
  • Be sure to close your windows before traveling.
  • ALWAYS sweep the living area floors before retracting slides in order to prevent an object from tearing or ripping the floor.

RV Tire Safety Tips

RV Tire Safety Using Tire Linc Tire Pressure Monitoring SystemRV Tire Safety Using Tire Linc Tire Pressure Monitoring System
  • Did you know that tires have a manufacture date on them? They're the last four numbers in the DOT number. The first two numbers indicate the week and the last two indicate the year of manufacture. Be sure to replace the tires on your trailer or fifth-wheel when they are between five to seven years old.
  • Did you know that the sun's rays can deteriorate rubber over time? Cover your tires when strong sun is present to prolong the life of the tire.
  • Check your tires each time you stop. It may seem tedious, but that routine may save you from a blowout.
  • An RV tire pressure monitoring system is worth its weight in gold.

RV Maintenance Tips

  • Read and understand the owner's/operations manuals for the equipment in your RV. This will not only help you maintain your RV but will help you understand the maintenance schedules you should maintain.
  • Take the time to properly maintain your RV. Perform preventive maintenance as scheduled.
  • Wet dryer sheets remove bugs from nose of coach without scratching.
  • Winterize your unit properly.
  • Put mothballs under your camper during storage to keep mice away!

RV Influencers and Contributors

Thank you to Kimberly Travaglino, Melissa Popp, Kristin Chapman, Julie Minne, Dalton Campbell, Viki Brown, Mary Wilton, Debbie Hamilton, Becky Phelan, Audrey Trahan, Stacy Schmitt, Dawn Hanson, Debbie Dermid, Alisha Howton, Connie Brown, David Boles, Denise Brassie, Sue Villarreal, Diane Tullia, Jessica Holley, Brooke Miller, Ryan Mclaughlin, Leonard Boyer, Sadie Bear, Emily Stahley, Jeff Curran, Ruth Brinckerhoff, George Truman, Kenneth Turner, Dawn Hanson, Joyce Danovi, Scott Seggerman, Brooke Miller, Mary Manjeau, John & Kari Hamp and Connie Brown for their ideas and input as seasoned RVers.

Tip #101: Relax and enjoy your time in the great outdoors with friends and family that have joined you on your trip. Safe travels!