Pre-Trip Inspection List

‘When you’re about to head out on a road trip, have you ever second guessed yourself with your to-do list? Or perhaps you are prone to that creeping feeling that you’ve forgotten something. Often, new and experienced RVers alike can forget important details before hitting the road. Sometimes we’re just out of practice, or other times we just get too busy and forget something small. After all, no one is perfect. This is where a pre-trip inspection list can be immensely helpful. Having a simple checklist of anything and everything an RVer could need before hitting the road can trim down time spent preparing for your journey and alleviate additional stress. Are you ready to learn some of the best tips from seasoned RVers to prepare for your next trip to a Harvest Hosts location, campground, or boondocking site? Let’s get to work on our pre-trip inspection list!

Inside

We’ve put together a list of tasks that need to be completed inside before hitting the road. Be sure to visit the links to see additional lists Harvest Hosts has put together in the past so you can be fully prepared! Keep in mind that these task list items are in no specific order, and many can be completed in the order you prefer.

General

  • Be sure your home-on-wheels is clean.
  • Make sure you have all necessary keys, including your RV door keys, engine keys, keys to bay doors, keys to the fresh water fill port, etc.
  • Print out your Harvest Hosts membership or have it available on your phone/computer.
  • Secure any loose items on counters, nightstands, in the shower, etc.
  • Bring in the slides.
  • Bring up your jacks if they are automatic.
  • Turn off all appliances, gas and electric, and check the pilot as well. 
  • Turn the fridge off or set it to battery power
  • Make sure your fridge contents are secure (if applicable).
  • Close all roof vents.
  • Close all doors, drawers, and cabinets.
  • Shut the windows and secure  the blinds.
  • Check for anything in the refrigerator that could spill. Lock the refrigerator and freezer doors if possible.
  • Turn off the water pump.
  • Turn off the water heater.
  • Close or reassemble the range top cover.
  • Turn off all lights and accessories that could drain the auxiliary battery (including an antenna booster if applicable!).
  • Secure or safely stash any large items such as TVs and computers that might move or fall while traveling.
  • Ensure that your dining table is secure (if applicable).
  • Turn the heat or AC off.
  • Secure your pocket door.
  • Put sink covers in place.
  • Make sure all plants or other decorations are stowed away or secured properly.
  • Are your emergency roadside supplies packed?
  • Are all of your essentials packed?

Kids

  • Put away any toys or clothing.
  • Gather activities for kids to enjoy within close range, such as games, books, etc.
  • Gather an assortment of drinks/snacks to keep nearby.
  • Make sure all children use the bathroom.
  • Ensure all car seats/boosters are installed properly (whether in a motorhome or tow vehicle).

Pets

  • Empty and secure any water and food bowls.
  • Allow your pet to relieve themselves, if possible.
  • Ensure that pet(s) are secured in a carrier or wherever they typically ride.
  • Do you have all of your pet essentials like food, medication, toys, beds, etc.?

Just Before Driving

  • Lock your entry door.
  • Retract steps if they are automatic.
  • Open any blinds or curtains for the front windows
  • Remove your front window privacy cover or tie back curtain (if applicable).
  • Adjust your mirrors.
  • Check gauges for gas levels.
  • Set up GPS or maps.
  • Ensure your spouse, kids, and pets are on board.

Outside

Checking all of the outside components can be a bit of a hassle. Because of all of the small details that can be missed, a list like this one is essential. If you aren’t sure how to check your air pressure in your tires, click on the link for our helpful guide to RV tires. 

  • Ensure all campsite accessories are away (portable fire pit, chairs, tables, etc.).
  • Check your hot water heater burner tube and other appliances for dust, debris, or cobwebs.
  • Fill your fresh water holding tank with enough potable water to reach your destination.
  • Drain your black and grey holding tanks.
  • Lower your antenna.
  • Retract your awning and lock it into place.
  • Remove all tire covers (if applicable).
  • Check and adjust the air pressure for all tires on the RV, tow, or towed vehicle (including spares!).
  • Check the lug nuts on all of your wheels. Discoloration or stains around lug nuts could indicate that they may be loose.
  • Secure and lock all storage bays.
  • Check your bike rack and bikes (if applicable).
  • Check that your water hose, sewer hose, and power cord are all properly stored
  • Remove any manual stabilizer blocks or jacks.
  • Remove wheel chocks (if applicable – only once the RV and vehicles are properly hitched/secured).
  • Stow the steps if they are manual.
  • Store doormat (if applicable).
  • Check and secure the cap on the sewer outlet.
  • Turn off the LP gas supply.
  • Double check hitches, tow bar, etc.
  • Check all fluid levels for RV and/or tow vehicles.
  • Check headlights, turn signals, and brake lights on the RV or tow vehicle.
Credit: RV Web Network

Hitting the Road

Whether you’re wrapping up a stay at a campground or dusting off the RV for your first trip of the year, a pre-trip inspection list is essential. When looking at a long checklist, it can feel overwhelming. It’s easier to break it up into sections. Some couples that travel in their RV will even divide up the inside and outside tasks to work more quickly as a team. Click to get your printable pre-trip list to prepare you for the next time you hit the road!

Credit: Togo RV

What does your pre-trip list include? Are you ready for your next RV trip? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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Comments

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  1. John P
    8th April, 2021

    I disagree with turning off the LP. I want (need) my refrigerator to remain cold when I’m heading down the road.

    1. stan
      25th April, 2021

      Preferably shut off LP gas for safety. Most RV refrigerators can run on DC. If you have correctly set up your tow plugs it should run for the time you’re driving without draining the battery. Your tow vehicle should be able to keep the batteries charged.

    2. Sam Leash
      4th May, 2021

      That makes sense. I switch my fridge to electric while driving, but to each their own!

  2. John and sherry
    6th April, 2021

    Love that checklist. We have been RV ing since 1999 John has a routine he follows. One thing is simple and gives us a bit of extra security, when everything is stashed, stowed, picked up hooked up ,he helps me out of our 5th wheel, locks door puts up steps. He then helps me into the truck and he walks around the rig checking doors storage etc and then he gets in and off we go! Have never left anything behind yet! And always have the sewer items stowed,lol

    1. Sam Leash
      4th May, 2021

      Sounds like you have a great system going. Thanks for sharing!