3 Keys Set Up Tasks That Differ Among RV Types

The first job when pulling into a new campsite is getting things set up. RV set up is divided into multiple tasks depending on the type of RV you own and the campground you have chosen. For example, there are differences in electrical and water hookups, site leveling, and so forth.

On average, an RV can be set up and ready to go in anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes. First-timers can take considerably longer. And if you are camping in a wilderness site with no hookups whatsoever, you could be set up in 10 minutes or less.

Again, a lot of this depends on the type of RV you have. To illustrate the point, here are three key set up tasks that differ among RV types:

1. Parking

RV set up begins with parking. This task may be easier said than done, depending on your experience level. How you go about parking is largely determined by your RV. If you are working with a motorhome, you obviously don’t have the issues that come with parking a trailer. But the largest of motorhomes can be difficult to maneuver in tight spaces.

A fifth wheel is a type of travel trailer towed by a hitch built into the bed of a pickup truck. Therefore, the pivot is closer to the center of the vehicle. A standard travel trailer with a ball hitch has a pivot point at the rear of the truck. These differences affect turning radius. Simply put, your turning radius is better with a fifth wheel.

Fortunately, newer campgrounds offer drive-through sites that do not require any backing. Older campgrounds are a mixed bag. If you have to back your rig into your site, your best bet is to pull forward of the site in the same direction the site points. Backing in will be easier that way.

2. Stabilizing

Stabilizing a motorhome is generally not a big deal. Being that you are sitting on a minimum of four wheels, gravity and the RV’s suspension do most of the work. You simply lower the stabilizing jacks and let them do their thing. Older fifth wheels and travel trailers may have manual stabilizing jacks. Newer model should have automatic jacks.

The fifth wheel is arguably the hardest of the three RV types to stabilize because of the extra weight in the cabover portion. Furthermore, all three types of RVs may need plywood or boards underneath tires and jacks to stabilize them on soft ground.

3. Leveling

Once an RV is stabilized, it has to be leveled both laterally and front-to-back. This is accomplished by making tiny adjustments to each of the stabilizing jacks. Leveling can be a time-consuming process if you are working with manually operated jacks. The bigger the RV, the harder leveling is.

Parking, stabilizing, and leveling are part of every campground stay. Other set up tasks are seasonal. For example, camping in cold weather usually calls for RV skirting. According to Connecticut-based AirSkirts, the main differences in skirting products are found in how they are deployed.

AirSkirts are essentially inflatable bags that do not require fasteners. There are other skirting solutions that consist of large pieces of tarp material attached with fasteners and staked to the ground. Still other products come as a series of solid panels that are attached with screws. Each skirting product has its own deployment method.

Whether you own a motorhome, fifth wheel or travel trailer, there are certain set up procedures you follow. What you do may be different compared to your neighbors. It is all part of the game.