The BEST RV Departure Checklist For New RVers

RV Camping and Travel in our Jayco Travel Trailer

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Last Updated on October 10, 2022 by Lori

If you asked me to name one thing about RVing that I think can be one of the most stressful parts of the whole RV camping experience, I would have to say it’s the RV Departure

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been planning your trip for one day or for six months, making sure you have everything you need when you leave home or the campground can be one of the most stressful times for an RV owner. Download your Free RV Departure Checklist so you won’t leave anything behind at the campground!

Checklists For New RVers

We have the RV checklist departure routine down pretty well by now, so I’ve put together a few helpful tips that I think can help you in planning your RV vacation. 


This RV Checklist For Departure will soon become second nature to you – but for your first few times out in your RV, I know it will come in very handy!


  The BEST RV Departure Checklist for New RVers  

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Tips For RV Departure From The Campground

It’s a good idea for each of you to have your own – what I will call… “assigned” RV Departure Tasks.

For us, Tom takes care of securing most of the outside of the campground as well as hitching up the trailer, and I take care of securing the inside of the trailer. 

I will then go outside to check the campground area and he comes inside the RV for one last check of the inside before we leave.


Of course, this double-checking doesn’t always work…


We’ve forgotten to put down the antenna, close the bathroom vent, left the cover open on the back of the truck, and had to stop along the highway to close it; and, we have left our water pressure gauge on the spigot at the campground.  


But it’s ALWAYS a Good Thing To Double Check!  


RV Departure Checklist for New RVers


Campground RV Departure – List Of Things To Do


On the morning of departure, we like to get up early and have coffee by the fire. 


RV Camping By The Fire


If we aren’t rushed to get on the road, it’s usually bacon, eggs & hashbrowns on the Blackstone Griddle!  


Hashbrowns on the Blackstone Bacon on the Blackstone Grill    


If you’ve been thinking about whether or not to get a Blackstone – here’s my Review of the Blackstone Griddle.  


If we have an early departure, we have a quick breakfast of fruit, yogurt, or cereal either at the campground or on the road!


Breakfast on the Kancamagus Highway


How To Plan & Organize Your RV Departure From The Campground


TIP!  You want to start to pack up little by little – then you won’t feel rushed or overwhelmed.


So you’re NOT overwhelmed the first few times you pack up the campground –  I’ve put together this


RV Departure Checklist Printable and RV Trip Planner To Help!


FREE RV Departure Checklist



Outside The RV Checklist

  • Gather all trash, bottles & cans to take to the dumpster (this can begin the night before!)
  • Make sure fire is extinguished – if you were having “coffee by the fire” as we do!
  • Pack up the EZ Up (Pop Up Tent) – again – could be done the night before!
  • Pack up the chairs
  • Clean the grill and put away
  • Wipe off the table cloth & put away
  • Put clips holding down table cloth away
  • Citronella Candles
  • Sweep off the outdoor rug/fold up


Tip!  We use these handy bins to pack up the table cloth, table clips, Bic lighters, fire starter logs, etc.  They store easily in our RV storage area!


Hefty storage bin      

  • Close Awning
  • Put the bikes on the bike rack before hitching up the trailer & make sure they are secured!
  • Empty the water from the cooler (this makes it lighter to lift into the back of the truck)  I have a smaller cooler we use inside the truck on travel days!


The Best RV Departure Checklist For Inside The RV


Photo of our 23 ft. Jayco travel trailer kitchen    

  • Wipe off and wash any pots, utensils or dishes
  • Store all pots, pans, dishes, coffee pots, other small appliances
  • Wipe off all counters
  • Check items in the refrigerator – secure then turn off the refrigerator
  • Take down dining room table (if booth) OR secure dining room chairs
  • Lower antenna
  • Remove all trash from kitchen & bathroom
  • Fold and store afghans, blankets & pillows
  • Secure any loose items in the bedroom
  • Check all cabinet doors
  • Check all windows are locked
  • Close all shades



  • Secure shampoos, soaps, toothpaste, toothbrushes
  • Secure shower door
  • Close vent
  • Latch sliding door from bathroom to bedroom


I just threw this picture in of Buddy WAITING for us to be finished!  Isn’t he cute on his Camping Bed?

Buddy at Sleepy Hollow Campgrounds  


RV Departure Checklist – What You Need To Do For The RV

After everyone is finished using the bathroom in the trailer and everything is cleaned up around the campground:

  • Empty Black Tank
  • Empty Gray Water
  • Black Tank Flush
  • Drain hose and put away
  • Make sure both valves are closed
  • Store Green hose
  • Use Outdoor shower hose to wash off hands
  • Wrap Up Portable water hose and put bungee cords around it
  • Load all into the back of the truck

  How To Organize your RV Camping Items in the Back of the Truck

Related Reading: You might enjoy my article

  How To Organize Your RV Camping Items in the Back of the Truck


  • Hitch up the Travel Trailer
  • Use the jack to raise and lower the trailer (you will need to keep your electric plugged in so you can do this!)
  • Attach the Sway Bars
  • Secure Chains
  • Secure Brake Cable
  • Lock Hitch
  • Once hitched up — unplug electric
  • Put chocks away
  • Store away the wood planks used under the jack
  • Lock the hitch
  • Turn off water
  • Make sure you remove the Water Pressure Gauge and store
  • Turn off Propane Tanks
  • Remove Surge Protector & Store
  • Remove & Store Cable for RV


We don’t put Buddy into the truck until all of this is completed. 

One of the LAST things we do at the campground is to take the stake out of the ground. Buddy loves to go camping with us! 

Here he is while we have Coffee By the Fire!

  Tom and Buddy our Golden Retriever camping in the Catskills  

  • Antenna Down
  • Steps Up
  • Lock door and all compartments
  • Check Tires
  • Check brake lights, turn signals, headlights & windshield wipers
  • Fasten cover over the truck bed
  • Close outside vent


If we’re NOT at a Full Hook-up Site we take our blue boy to the dump station to empty our gray water before we secure the campground.  


Leaving the Campground


  • Drive To dumpster
  • Drive to dump station
  • Dump black tank
  • If there is no hose at the dump station, take the green hose off the back of the truck and flush out the black tank
  • Roll up hoses and store
  • Make sure all valves are closed


Be sure to pack your snacks and drinks and put them where you can easily get to them for your trip home.

Also…if you are heading to a new town or campground, plug in your destination in your GPS and route before you leave in case you lose your cell signal. 

This way the Route is already programmed and your GPS won’t stop giving you the directions!  


Why You Need An RV Checklist For Departure

Tom & I have come up with what we like to call…ONE LAST CHECK.

Can you guess WHY we came up with this list?….

Yep!  We have forgotten or we have seen other campers forget to do these things!  



  • Check all doors & storage doors are locked
  • Check the steps are up
  • Check the antenna is down
  • Check the hitch is locked
  • Check you are UNPLUGGED from the electric
  • Check you have removed your Water Pressure Gauge from the spigot
  • Check you have removed the chocks
  • Check your truck bed cover is closed
  • Check all valves are closed
  • Check brake lights and turn signals
  • Check that you have GAS!


You can find the Entire RV Checklist Printable HERE!  PLUS A FREE RV Trip Planner!


RV Departure Checklist and RV Trip Planner



Now you are all set to head to Your Next Adventure!

Do you have any stories or tips about YOUR RV Departure? 

I would LOVE to hear them!

RV Road Trip pulling our Jayco Travel Trailer    

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    The BEST RV Departure Checklist for New RVers


The Best RV Departure Checklist For New RVers



RV Departure Checklist A Step by Step Guide For New RVers      

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