We picked up our first RV two weekends ago. After picking up your RV, especially first timers it’s recommended to do what’s called a “Shakedown Trip”. It’s an opportunity to get to know your RV and how it does. Think of it as a practice run for both you and your RV. You figure out how to setup and teardown, what you forgot, what you didn’t expect, and so much more. It’s recommended to do it within about 30 minutes or so of where you live. For us, we ended up booking a spot about 20 minutes from home last weekend for our first trip. We’ve actually passed by this campground so many times but never realized what all was back the lane and just how pretty it is!
- Do Your Research – We watched so manny hours of Youtube Videos on items you need, setup, and just all the things. I’ll share in an upcoming post some of our favorite resources for this. We also read our RV manual and looked up various information we weren’t sure about.
- Purchase What You Need – We purchased the items we needed that were essential for a first trip – things for electric, water, sewer, leveling, and other setup. Most of it we got on Amazon.
- Shop Your House – Since we bought things we didn’t already own for the RV, we shopped the house for almost everything for inside. Silverware, paper towel holder, knives, hot pads, pots and pans, decor, blankets, pillows, containers for in the cabinets, plates, cups, games, tools, a heater, and so much more I found inside the house. We purchased a few things we didn’t already have, but shopping the house (and garage) saved us a lot of $.
- Organization – Teddy organized the outside (under RV storage + truck storage) and I took care of the inside. We both gave each other an overview of where things were before we headed out. We tried to make sure things made sense in their locations as much as possible and would be easy to get to later. Example – You don’t want the leveling blocks
- Make A Reservation – We booked a campsite about 20 minutes from home with great reviews. We wanted a back-in so we could practice maneuvering the RV. We also checked the route to get there to ensure there weren’t any very sharp turns or low bridges we needed to be aware of.
Tips for the Shakeout
- Find someone to watch the dog(s). While part of the reason we got a camper was to be able to bring the dogs, we didn’t bring them this time so we could just focus on the setup/teardown and wouldn’t be distracted while still very new at this. Bailey went to the beach with Teddy’s parents (who also have a black lab!) and Remington went to the Puppy Country Club for his weekend. He’s still a handful and loves it there so it made the most sense.
- Don’t rush. Keep reminding yourself of this. Even if you are in a rush mentally, convince yourself you’re not in a rush. You miss and forget and break things more easily when you’re in a rush. When you move slowly, the chances of that significantly decrease. You are not in a rush.
- Try to get there while it’s still light out. Since this first trip is only 30 minutes or so from home (ideally), try to figure out a schedule so you can arrive there with at least 1-2 hours of daylight remaining. Over the summer, the chances of this are much higher than in the fall/winter when the sun sets earlier.
- Plan your meals in advance. This way you have the ingredients you need on hand including spices, condiments, and sides. Your RV will likely not be as stocked as a home kitchen so this is an opportunity to make sure you think through what you will eat including snacks and drinks before leaving.
- Teddy was able to back into our spot with only having to readjust once. I was so impressed.
- We got everything totally setup with no bickering or rushing or getting annoyed (we heard this is where couples can tend to get frustrated with each other).
- Our bed was actually comfortable. I put a 4 inch mattress topper on it and it truly wasn’t bad. We may still look into using another mattress in here that we already have at home to replace it down the line but it’s not essential right now.
- Breakfast sandwiches on Saturday morning (sausage, egg, cheese on hamburger buns) were incredible. Easy and delicious.
- The leaves were beginning to change at the campground and we got to see them on our drive in and around the campground.
Lows + Learning Moments
- I set off the smoke alarm toasting some hamburger buns for breakfast sandwiches. Whoops. It wasn’t a big deal honestly but a lil embarrassing when your alarm goes off with neighbors like 25 feet away.
- We had planned in advance to go get pizza the first night so we wouldn’t have to worry about cooking. We found a spot around 8 with good reviews and went to call and it was a 45-minute wait. We found somewhere else a bit further away and sat in construction for about 15-20 minutes. This also wasn’t a huge deal, but we learned if we can try to get food earlier or bring something easy to just heat up, or just even be more aware what’s around, it can make the process easier.
Overall we had a great first trip. We figured out a few things we still wanted to purchase and a few things we forgot at home to bring next time. Set up and tear down wasn’t too difficult and we learned a lot. We’re looking forward to our next adventure!