Expert Advice

Top Tips for First-Time RV Owners


Congrats on your new purchase of your RV! This is an exciting time as you plan new RV adventures and upcoming vacations.

Perhaps you recently found your new home sweet home on wheels at an RV show near you, enlisted the help of a local RV dealer or renovated a pre-owned rig. This guide will take you through what you need to know and how to get your new RV ready for its first road trip. Let’s get started!

What to do immediately after purchasing your RV

Get your RV insured – Having insurance on your new RV is very important in case of accidents or unexpected things that may come up along the way. Do your homework and check out what to look for with RV insurance.

Make sure your tow-vehicle is prepared – Ensure you have the proper hitching gear attached to your vehicle. If you have never towed before, your RV dealer will be able to properly outfit your car with a hitch mount, torsion bars, sway control, chains and an emergency break. Having your vehicle properly configured is one of the most important things to do before you go on your first trip to ensure you are always safe on the road. Here are some things to keep in mind for towing your RV.

Get to know your RV – Your RV has so many things that make it great, so take some time to get to know it. Your RV dealer will walk-through the details with you before you pull out of the lot for the first time, so be sure to pay attention. They will teach you how to turn on your pumps, the lights, awning and even show you some hidden gems you might not even know were there! Going through the RV in-depth on your own is good practice to do every time you get a new (or new-to-you) RV so that you can properly outfit it with anything else you might need and be fully prepared for your first road trip.

Think about storage – Now that you have this new adventure mobile… think about where is it going to live when you are not using it? Most people don’t live on a large plot of land to just store it near their house, so make sure you do some research before bringing it home and find a place that you feel is secure and well-priced to store your RV. Farmers will often rent out a space on their land for you to store your RV, as well as there are the regular storage facilities located in most towns. A quick google search should help you find some decent options for your region. Once you have a storage facility lined up, check out these tips on how to store your RV.

Purchase the essential accessories that don’t come with your RV – Here is a list of some of the most popular accessories you will need to ensure your RV can work to the best of its abilities.

Purchase the essential accessories that don’t come with your RV – Here is a list of some of the most popular accessories you will need to ensure your RV can work to the best of its abilities.

  • Sewer Hose
  • Drinking Water Hose
  • 30 AMP Extension Cord
  • 30 AMP to 15 AMP Adapter
  • Lynx Levelers Leveling Blocks
  • Toilet Chemicals
  • Basic Tool Kit – Having a series of screwdrivers, wrenches, hammer and a few other basic items can come in handy.
  • Wheel Chalks – You always want the security of knowing your RV is secured and will not roll away. The wheel chalks are a good idea to use on your RV even if you are just on flat ground.
  •  X-Chook Wheel Stabilizer for Dual Axle RVs – This locks up the tires on a dual axle and is an additional way to ensure your RV will not roll away. It also makes it harder for someone to steal your trailer.
  • Trailer Hitch Lock – This hitch lock goes on the tongue of your RV to make it difficult to steal while you are unhitched or it is in storage.

Check out an RV show near you to get the scoop on the latest and greatest in RVs and RV accessories.

Once You Have Picked Up Your RV:

Now that you have picked up your RV there are so many things you want to do to get it ready! Here are some things to make sure you do before you head out on your road trip.

Look over all the owner manuals & complete the warranty cards – This might seem tedious and typically something you never do with other things you buy for your house, but you essentially just bought yourself a mobile home! Make sure you know all the ins and outs of your RV, so that in case anything breaks down or there is an emergency, you know exactly what to do and what is covered.

Practice driving your RV – This may seem silly, but it is very important for first-time RV owners to learn how your RV turns, backs up and even breaks. This can easily be done in an empty parking lot at a school, church, mall or sports complex. It is something that everyone should do each time you get a new RV, so that you know exactly what to expect once you hit the road.

Outfit your rig – Now for the fun part: putting everything else is into your RV to make it feel like your new home! Here is a great list of RV essentials not to forget before you hit the road.

Photo credit: CNA Photography

Your RV Is Now Ready to Go!

Take it on a test run – No matter whether you have owned an RV before or not, taking your new RV on a short test run is the best way to ensure you are not missing anything crucial and it is the best way to learn the ins and outs of your camper and get comfortable with it. A weekend trip away (ideally, close to home) will prepare you for your longer road trips on the horizon.

Plan your next road trip – Now that you are all ready to go, it’s time for you to plan your first road trip with your new RV. The best (and most exciting!) part of owning an RV is the endless opportunity of places you can visit and explore.

Now you are all set to enjoy your new RV and the many adventures it will take you on for many years to come!

Got a handy tip for RVing? Join the Go RVing Canada community and chime in on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Chris and Nicole are a Canadian couple exploring Canada one province and territory at a time! Follow along with Chris and Nicole’s outdoor photography adventures on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

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