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Written by the Getaway Couple Rae & Jason

2020 has been dubbed the “year of the RV” by the Boston Herald. While that’s exciting news for the RV industry, that means there will be a large increase of newbie RVers in the campground. We remember our first year on the road; even the simplest of tasks threw us off and made us doubt we made the right choice to buy an RV. We wanted to write this article for the newbies, to show you how easy it is to set up your RV for the first time. With our help, you’ll be a pro in no time!

Have a Spotter and Level Properly

First things first, when you pull into a campground you’ll need to have a spotter to watch out for low branches and trees. Nothing ruins a camping trip like tearing your roof! Once you arrive at your site, have your spotter assist you in backing up. Or better yet, book a pull through site! Either way, you’ll want to read this article first, which is about the importance of leveling your RV properly. This will ensure you protect your RV from long term damage and keep it in tip top shape for years to come.

Setup Electrical

Once you’re in your site and your RV is level, it’s time to start setting up your connections. The first thing you’ll want to connect is electrical. While this is not absolutely necessary to do first, we like to plug in our electrical first so we can get the air conditioner cooling right away. To plug in your electrical, you’ll simply use the cable that came with your RV; screw in one end to your rig and plug the other into the electrical pole provided by the campground.


Plug or screw your electrical cord into your RV first.
Plug or screw your electrical cord into your RV first.

Be sure that the electrical is turned off at the pole when you are plugging in! We also recommend purchasing an RV surge protector as an added safety feature. Sometimes the electrical can’t be trusted at a campground, and a surge protector ensures your rig stays safe from high or low voltage. We are thankful for ours as it has saved our bacon more than a few times over the years. 

 

We recommend purchasing an RV surge protector as an added safety feature.
We recommend purchasing an RV surge protector as an added safety feature.

Setup Water

Next, you will connect your water. Depending on your RV, this could be as simple as screwing in a hose, or at the most complicated configuring your panel settings. Our RV uses a P1 Nautilus panel that has pictures of each setting so it makes it easy to understand. You will connect your water hose to the spigot and the other end to your RV (set your panel if needed) and turn on the water. Simple enough!

 

Our Nautilus Panel with diagrams of what the different water connections mean.
Our Nautilus Panel with diagrams of what the different water connections mean.

 

The water connections at campgrounds are almost always potable (meaning, you can drink it) but if you prefer you can add on additional water filters. This also helps with preventing sediment building up in your RV pipes. Camco offers an affordable and easy to add on filter here. We’ve used that type of filter for years and haven’t had any problems. If you’re a water connoisseur, you can look into more advanced water filtration systems like this one

 

You can add on additional RV water filters depending on how you like your water to taste.
You can add on additional RV water filters depending on how you like your water to taste.

Setup Sewer

Lastly, you will connect your sewer. When we first started RVing, this is what we were most intimidated about. It turns out, it’s nothing to worry about! Once you get into good habits and become familiar with the dumping process, RV sewer becomes the least of your worries. To set up your sewer, you will need to connect the sewer hose to your RV outlet and the other end to the sewer connection provided by the campground. 


We recommend the Rhino Sewer Hose and the Hose Support products by Camco. These are affordable and very durable products. While the hose support isn’t necessary it does make the job easier. Also, invest in some disposable gloves and disinfectant spray!


Setup Outdoor Equipment

Now, this is the fun part! I’m sure you don’t need us to tell you how to set up your outdoor area, but if you’re at a loss of where to start, we recommend a comfortable set of camping chairs, an outdoor rug, a propane fire pit, and of course a fun cup for your beverage of choice. If you’re still looking for suggestions, check out our other article that has 15 RV accessories you need for summer. 

 

Enjoy your first RV trip!
Enjoy your first RV trip!

We want to end this with a quick word of advice. If at any time you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by your RV, remember to slow down, breathe, and refocus. RVing is extremely rewarding and once you’re past the learning curve, you will be able to take on anything this lifestyle throws at you! So enjoy the process and we hope to see you on the open road. 

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