Written by 12:26 am RV Maintenance

How To Get Your Camper Ready For Camping Season

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The warmer temperatures of Spring bring the excitement of the upcoming camping season. We look forward to the adventures ahead and most of us can’t wait to book our first camping trip. Now is the time to pull the camper out of storage and make sure it’s ready for the new season.

De-winterizing your camper is something every RV owner must do, unless you are a full-timer. For the rest of us, getting our camper ready for camping season is just another part of owning an RV.

Travel Trailer In Front Of Cliffs

In this article we are going to cover how to de-winterize your camper so you’re ready for camping season. Following these simple tasks will ensure your camping season is a success.

Let’s jump in…

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How To Get Your Camper Ready For Camping Season

One of my favorite and most exciting times of the year is when the temperatures begin to warm up. It means it’s the beginning of another camping season.

While most RV owners are ready to hitch up and head to the campground, there are a few tasks that must be completed beforehand. The last thing you want is to show up to the campground and realize your camper has issues that could have been avoided.

De-winterizing your camper is an easy, yet extremely important part of getting your camper ready for camping season.

Flush And Sanitize Your Water System

If you used an RV safe antifreeze to prepare your camper for winter, you will want to make sure you flush the water system. This can be done by hooking up to a city water connection or by filling your freshwater tank and using the water pump.

Water Faucet Running

Start by opening all water faucets in the camper, including any outdoor showers. Don’t forget to flush the toilet a few times as well.

Once the water is clear, close all faucets and turn off the water pump (if using the freshwater tank).

Use this opportunity to check for any water leaks as well. Nothing ruins a camping trip faster than a water leak.

Many RV owners use compressed air to blow any residual water out of their plumbing lines during the winterization process. Regardless of which method you used to prepare your camper for the winter, you will still want to sanitize your freshwater tank and the plumbing lines before you set out on your first camping trip.

Even if you’re not using your camper’s water system for drinking, you still use the water for showering and washing dishes. So, it is important to make sure your water system is free of bacteria and other contaminants.

For more information, be sure to check out How To Sanitize Your Fresh Water Holding Tank.

Inspect Your Propane System

Check the level of your propane tanks and have them refilled if needed. I have made the mistake of “assuming” our propane tanks were full, only to run out of propane in the middle of a camping trip.

Propane Flame

There are many methods for checking the levels in your tanks. You can use the “heft” method, which is basically lifting the tanks and determining the propane levels based on the weight of the tank.

Another method, which I find particularly useful, is  pouring hot water down the side of the tank. As you run your hand down the side of the tank, the propane level will be where the tank gets cold.

For a more “high-tech” method, many RV owners opt for using sensors like the Mopeka Propane Tank Sensors. These sensors mount to the bottom of your propane tank and transmit the tank levels to your phone via Bluetooth.

After verifying the tank levels, visually inspect all propane lines, connections, and fittings. If anything is damaged, replace it immediately.

Test Your Camper’s Battery

Before your first camping trip of the year, visually inspect your camper’s battery for signs of cracks and corrosion. You will also want to check the charge of the battery. RV batteries will lose some of their charge over time, even when disconnected.

To check the charge of your battery, make sure the camper is not plugged into shore power or to a tow vehicle. Using a voltmeter set to DC volts, place the red lead to the positive terminal and the black lead to the negative terminal.

A fully charged battery should read somewhere close to 12.5 volts. If you are getting a reading below 12 volts, be sure the battery is charged before you take your camper out.

Keep in mind, however, if you have a lead acid battery, be sure to check the water levels BEFORE charging the battery. If the water levels are low, fill the cells with distilled water to cover the plates.

Check All Appliances

Before heading to the campground, make sure you check all of your camper’s appliances. Turn on the fridge and make sure it cools off. Consider placing an inexpensive thermometer inside to monitor the temperature.

Turn on the stove to make sure all of the burners are working properly. If you find a burner not lighting, it might be a good idea to have it checked by a professional.

Lastly, be sure the microwave and air conditioner are in proper working order. And, if you didn’t perform the annual maintenance on you’re A/C prior to storing your camper for the winter, now is the time to do it.

Inspect And Test Your Safety Devices

Another especially key step in de-winterizing your camper is testing the safety devices. You will need to check the operation of your smoke detectors, LP detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors. Be sure to replace the batteries in all battery-powered devices.

In addition to the above safety devices, check your camper’s fire extinguishers. If they are not fully charged, replace them or, if possible, have them recharged.

By making sure your safety devices are in good working order, you will be better prepared should an emergency arise while you’re at the campground.

Inspect Your Tires

Of every device or accessory on your camper, the tires are the true work horses. And, when not maintained, can leave you stranded on the side of the road.

Tire Tread Closeup

Visually inspect your tires for signs of wear and cracks in the sidewalls. In addition, check the pressure in each tire and make sure they are properly inflated to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Over inflated and underinflated tires can cause premature wear and could lead to something more catastrophic, like a blowout.

To learn more, check out our comprehensive guide on RV Tire Maintenance.

Inspect All Seals And Weatherstripping

Take a walk around your camper and inspect the weatherstripping around the door and windows. In addition, check the seals on your slides and around any roof vents.

If you find cracks in your seals or weatherstripping, now is the time to replace them. Don’t wait until you have a water leak that could cause damage later.

Inspect And Grease Stabilizer Arms

Another part of getting my camper ready for camping season is making sure the stabilizer arms are working properly. I do this by lowering the stabilizers on our camper and applying a coat of white lithium grease to the threaded part of the arm. The I retract and extend the arms a few times to make sure the threads are covered.

This makes it much smoother and easier to lift and raise the arms at the campground and helps protect the threads from rust.

Clean The Inside And Outside Of Your Camper

Now that you know that everything is in working order and your camper is ready for camping season, it’s time to give it a good cleaning.

Wash the exterior with a quality RV wash and wax to bring out the shine and have it looking like new again. I recommend using something like Gel Gloss RV Wash And Wax. I have been using it on our Kodiak for the past few years and it works great.

On the inside of your travel trailer, sweep and mop the floors. Wipe down all surfaces and wash the linens on the bed. Open all cabinets and drawers to check for signs of any rodents that may have found refuge in your camper over the winter months.

Even if you cleaned your camper before storing it for the winter, you will be glad you gave it another quick cleaning.

Inspect Your Gear

Part of my de-winterizing checklist includes inspecting our camping gear. By checking things like the sewer hoses, water hoses, and electrical cables, you can rest assured you won’t have any surprises when you get to the campground.

It’s also a good idea to pull out any canopies, camping chairs, portable grills, and camping tables to make sure they are all ready for the upcoming camping season.

Stock Your Camper

The final step in the de-winterizing process is to pre-stock your camper for your upcoming trips. Certain items like canned goods and other non-perishables can be stocked ahead of time.

Other items that be stocked now are things like toothpaste, shampoo, soap, and toilet paper. We shop in the travel section of our local Dollar General to find the smaller sizes of toiletries for our camper. You would be shocked at the amount of space you save with the smaller bottles.

Book Your Sites

Now that your camper is ready for the upcoming camping season, it’s time to start booking your sites. There are many apps that are available for Android and iPhone that are very useful for this.

We use RV Life Pro to plan our camping trips for the year. It is an invaluable resource for finding and booking RV sites. Not only does the program allow you to read reviews of campgrounds, but it also turns your phone into an RV safe GPS.

If you are interested, you can learn more by visiting the RV Life Pro website.

RV LIFE Pro Banner

Final Thoughts

Getting your camper ready for the upcoming camping season is fairly straightforward. Many of the tasks in this de-winterization process are routine maintenance that should be done at least annually.

By following the suggestions listed above, when the time comes to take that first camping trip, all you will need to do is stock some food, clothes, and maybe something cold to drink.

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Last modified: April 21, 2024