How to Set Up Your RV at an RV Campsite

Ready to take your first RV trip? It’s good to know how to set up your RV at an RV campground before you head out on your first taste of the RV life. Since it depends somewhat on what type of recreational vehicle you have, the list varies a bit. 

However, there are some common steps to keep in mind no matter what motorhome you drive. Here’s a breakdown of how to set up your RV so you can have a great time out in the wilds. 

Check-In with the Office

Generally speaking, RV sites have signs that tell you where to park while you check in. During the check-in process, most RV campsites provide a map of the area. Moreover, they offer information about the park and hand out your site assignment. 

If you have questions about the grounds, amenities, or area, this is a great time to ask. Oftentimes, site administrators are happy to help you get situated so that you can start your adventure. 

Scout Your Spot

As you pull up to your designated area, it’s a good idea to hop out and walk the site. Unfortunately, not everyone who lives the RV life maintains as clean a lifestyle as others. As such, it’s a good idea to look out for debris or broken glass. 

When you want to enjoy the outdoors, the last thing you want to worry about is damage to your rig or a deflated tire

Additionally, it’s good to take note of the hookup locations. That helps you know how to situate your motorhome in the area. If your rig has slides, make sure to note whether there are trees, electrical posts, or large rocks in the way. You want to be able to open your slide-outs fully!

Pull In and Align Your Rig

How you pull in varies. Typically, this depends on whether the site has pull-throughs or back-in spaces. With a pull-through, parking is fairly straightforward. Quite literally, you just pull into the spot. 

However, back-in sites make things a bit more complicated. If you have a backup camera, it’s extremely helpful. Without one, it’s a good idea to have someone help you. 

One way to help is over a phone or walkie-talkie. Walkie-talkies are ideal because some remote RV parks have spotty service. With this option, the assistant stands behind the RV and helps to guide the driver into the spot. 

Alternatively, those without walkie-talkies need to establish clear signals and communication. The one helping should stand where the driver can see them in the side mirrors. Simply pointing helps the driver align the RV properly. 

Then, stack your hands with a large gap between them. As the driver backs into position, slowly bring your hands together to show them how close they are to the right spot. 

Disconnect Your Trailer

If you have a travel trailer, it’s a good idea to disconnect it and park your vehicle once you’re in position. 

One way to disconnect is to manually lower the front jacks and then chock the wheels. When your RV has an automatic leveling system, you can raise the rig so that the weight is no longer on your vehicle. Then, disconnect your vehicle and pull away. 

Level Your RV

These days, many RVs have an auto-level button. This starts the automatic leveling system and brings the jacks down. Occasionally, you might receive an error code. In this case, use a level on your back bumper and try to manually level your rig out. 

Connections & Hook-Ups

First, plug your surge protector into the electrical panel. Then, turn on your breaker to make sure everything works. If it does, turn it back off and plug in your power cord. 

Congratulations! You have power for your rig. 

Next, connect the water hose and turn on the water. After you do this, connect the sewer hose. When you finish, you have all the hook-ups you need!

Set Up Your RV Site

As one person hooks up all the connections, someone else can start to unload. Offload any accessories you brought to set up your space. 

  • Chairs
  • Rugs 
  • Grills
  • Outdoor accessories


If your RV has slides, it’s okay to open them up as soon as the motorhome is level. It’s a good idea to have someone inside to operate the slides while another person watches outside. In doing so, you have someone to make sure there are no issues. 

Occasionally, slides move out and hit poles when you don’t align your rig properly. Alternatively, there might be a fallen slide. Generally, it’s normal to have to straighten something or put it back in place once you arrive at the campground.  

Ready to Set Up Your RV?

As we mentioned, not all RVs are the same. How you set up your RV depends on the type of vehicle you have. However, with a little preparation before your trip, you can be ready.