Over the last two weeks I shared the steps I systematically go through each time I arrive at a new campground, big picture and the details of unhitching. It only makes sense that today and next week, I share the steps of packing up and leaving a camp site.
Now you might be thinking why is a post about leaving a camp site necessary? Isn’t it just the reverse order of everything you did when you set up? It is. And it isn’t. If you put your jacks down, yes, you have to put them back up again. But leaving actually has more steps, more items to check off the list so I wanted to make sure you had a complete well-rounded picture of the entire process. Both arriving and leaving.
And just like setting up at a campground, this post reflects what I do as a trailer owner. Those with different rigs may have additional steps, different steps or steps that can be skipped. I’ll try to insert what I know about other types of rigs.
You’ll have to hammer out your own leaving a camp site checklist but my hope is that by sharing my list, you have a place to start and things to consider when creating your own.
Three Days Before Leaving a Camp Site
I envy those people who don’t start thinking about leaving until the day they leave. I’m not one of those people. Not even close. In fact, the fourth post of this blog was called How to Change a Lightbulb or 4 Years of Planning, Really? In it I told the story of how I drove my sister crazy in sticks-and-bricks life because when a lightbulb needed changed, I would add it to my list of things to do. And it could take days or weeks before I actually changed the burnt-out bulb. She was certain I spend more time writing down and thinking about changing the lightbulb than the amount of time it took to actually change the lightbulb.
I reference that story so you have context when I say that three to four days before leaving a camp site, I start thinking about leaving the camp site. I visualize, contemplate and I start a mental list of things to do. Maybe it’s silly and a time waster. But it’s my process and I find comfort in it. You have to find the rhythm and timing that works for you.
Because I split the hitching up process over two days (as you’ll read next week), during these days prior I review the weather for the coming days. It’s no fun hooking up while getting rained on or blown around by strong winds, having the hot sun beating down on you or in the dark. It makes the job harder and quite unpleasant. I keep a close eye on the weather in all the days prior and schedule my tasks accordingly. It doesn’t mean you’ll always avoid rain, wind, hot sun but it’ll give you the best chance to do so.
Two Days Before Leaving
The things on this day really have nothing to do with the necessity of leaving and everything to do with personal preference. Maybe these are on your list. Maybe not.
I like getting to a new place and not having to do any chores beyond setting up at least for a few days, maybe a week. And that means doing certain things as part of the process of leaving the place before. For me, it’s grocery shopping and laundry.
Because I generally stay a month, grocery shopping before I leave is a must because, by then, I am familiar with the grocery stores and which has items I love. I wrote a grocery shopping post to give you some tips and tricks. I like arriving at a new place with my pantry and refrigerator full. One less thing to worry about. Plus, I never know if the new location will have less selections for this non-meat-eating RVer.
The laundry is similar. I like knowing I have a week or more at a new place before I have to think about laundry. One thing I always include is my sheets. I don’t know. For me it’s the same as changing my sheets before I left on vacation in stick-and-bricks life. I loved coming home to fresh sheets . Similarly, something about a new RV spot just feels like should start with fresh sheets.
That said, there are other factors when it comes to laundry. In the post about doing laundry, I said I preferred doing it at the campground rather than at a laundry mat in town, if that is an option. So if the campground I’m leaving doesn’t have laundry, most likely I’ll do it at a laundry mat in town. But if the laundry mat is expensive or inconveniently located, laundry might have to wait until I get to the new location.
And while I’m in town, I fill the van’s gas tank. When I start on the road, I like getting several hours under my belt before the first stop.
The other thing I like to do two days before leaving is to clean and store the items I kept outside. This can include the big mat I put out in front of the trailer’s door, chairs, portable desk, solar decorative lantern as well as the tire covers.
Day Before Leaving a Campground
Two days prior to leaving, I make sure all the chores that require the use of my van are done because the day before I leave, I hook the van to the trailer.
Now, I have to pause here and say that there are a lot of considerations and there are reasons why this might not work. For example, if a site is quite unlevel and hooking up will mean spending the night in an uncomfortable uneven position. Another reason is if the site is short and doesn’t allow enough room for me to be in it while hooked up. In other words, if I hook up, the van will poke out in the road, potentially preventing others from getting past me.
Finally, I might not hook up the day before if my travel plans are such that I don’t have to leave early the next morning. Most of the time, the day I leave a campground I plan a long driving day which means I like to get on the road as early as possible. But if my next stop isn’t very far away and I don’t plan on leaving until check-out time, then I might as well hold off hooking up until the next morning if the weather is cooperating.
Any Day Before Leaving
You never know when your travels will bring you back to the same area. So, one thing I like to do during my stay is to make a note about what site(s) would be ideal if I returned.
I look for:
- Ease of reaching hookups.
- Proximity to bath house (or whatever amenities are important to you).
- Distance between rigs.
- Ease of getting in and out of space.
- Shade or not shade.
- Roominess of back-in sites and the ones I’ll have the least amount of difficulty getting into.
More to Come
I know you are on pins and needles with anticipation to read the steps of how to hook up the trailer, but you have to wait one more week. The posts of arriving and leaving campgrounds got unwieldy. I intended for them to be two post but I guess I had a lot to say on the subjects, making them more than double the length I planned. All this to say, come back next week and you’ll read the step-by-step of getting hitched up.
Besides the actual hooking up and leaving, do you have any “must do” tasks before leaving a camping spot?
Links to Referenced SSL Blog Posts Above:
- RV Checklist for Setting Up at a New Location
- Step-by-Step Guide to Unhitching a Travel Trailer
- How to Change a Lightbulb or 4 Years of Planning, Really?
- RV Life and Grocery Shopping
- RV Life and Doing Laundry While Traveling
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