Setup and Break Down Checklists for Your RV

Setup and break down checklists are important for every RVer not just newbies. Using a checklist will help prevent mistakes and keep you on track as you prepare the RV.

Our Biggest RV Mistakes

Mistakes during setup and break down can happen! Having a checklist will help you to avoid mistakes. Here are a few of the big mistakes we’ve made along the way.

Power Cord

Our first huge mistake happened while we were breaking down in the middle of a cold, pouring rain. Phil turned off the breaker the pedestal and walked to the passengers side of the rig. He then gave me the go ahead to pull the rig forward about 5 feet so he could hook up the dolly.

you me and the rv, turn off water heater during rv break down using checklists
Turning Off the Water Heater during Break Down

Tow Dolly

Our second mistake happened after we were distracted during the break down. Someone came over to talk to Phil and he forgot to put the pin in our tow dolly. When we had the dolly he would put the pin in the well of the spare tire. After he finished talking Phil thought he put the pin in the dolly. So we pulled out of Fort Wilderness dragging the dolly ramps. Thankfully, someone waved us down about a mile down the road and we were able to fix the problem with only scratches on the bottom of the ramps.

It seems all of our problems stem from that dang dolly! So glad we divorced her!! If you want to know the pros and cons of using a dolly we outline them in this video.

What Should Be on Your Checklist


Seriously, every step along the way should be included on your checklist. Even the little things you don’t think you will ever forget. Adding everything will help to develop a routine that will increase efficiency and decrease the risk of mistakes. Here are just a few of the items on our checklist:

  • Plug Surge Protector into pedestal watch for E-0 code
  • Wait for RV level
  • Turn pedestal breaker on
  • Plug in the power cord
  • Verify jacks are down
  • Observe opening slides
  • Check slide seals are not tucked in slide
you me and the rv, disconnect the sewer during RV break down using a checklist
Disconnecting the Sewer Hose during Break Down
setup and break down checklists, you me and the rv

Update the Checklists

Your setup and break down checklists should be updated regularly. As you add or subtract items from your rig your checklist should reflect the changes. For example, we divorced the tow dolly and now use a Blue Ox tow bar for our Jeep. Also, adding solar required us to add the charge controller to our checklist as well.

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Our RV Break Down

The Best RV Checklist

The best checklist is the one you are the most comfortable with and you will use every time! It can be laminated so you can use a grease pencil or dry erase marker. You can print them each time and use a pen to check them off. You can even use slap wrist bracelets on your steering wheel like we do!

Free Downloadable Checklists

We have created 4 checklists to help you create your perfect checklist. You can download one or all of them.


There is a pdf version for setup and break down. There are blank spaces so you can add items that are specific to your RV. Start with these and make adjustments as you go along.

download rv setup and break down checklists, pdf
Click here for PDF Checklist


We have also created an Excel version of the setup and breakdown checklists. You can edit these for your specific RV. They are a great way to start building your perfect checklist.

download rv setup and break down checklist, excel
Click here for Excel Checklist

**Don’t forget to check your spam folder if you don’t receive the email with the checklists**

Setup and Break Down Checklists

Most RV mistakes happen during setup and break down so here are some tips to keep you safe.

  • Use a checklist
  • Use a checklist
  • Did I mention the checklist?
  • Allow yourself plenty of time
  • Don’t rush
  • Avoid distractions
  • If distractions occur review your checklist from the top to make sure you didn’t lose your place.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help
  • Develop a routine that you do every time
  • For couples, practice your partner’s routine. This way you are confident in the event you need to set up or break down on your own.
  • Always do a complete walkaround the RV before you move it.
  • Never move the RV if you can’t see your spotter in the mirrors.
connecting the toad during RV break down, you me and the rv, rv checklists
Connecting the Toad During Break Down

We hope the checklists are helpful and get you started on your RV journey on the right foot!

Thanks for stopping by. We hope to see you on the road someday.

photo credit: Lift Your Eyes Photography

Phil & Stacy

Author: Stacy, You, Me & the RV, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 2020

**Disclosures: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and other affiliate programs. These programs are affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and other affiliated sites. It does not cost you anything to use these links.


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    My husband & I are in the learning phase prior to starting our journey. You guys are so awesome and personable!

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    Jim Ivie

    You guys are so informative and down to earth in your explanations, its very easy to binge watch your videos. I am retired Air Force and about 3 to 4 years out from buying an RV. Doing a lot of research to prepare for being unprepared at RV living (Hurry Up and Wait). Keep up the good work and the service you provide for new RVers. Thanks again for all the info and hopefully we’ll see you on the road some day.

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    Nancy Ruegner

    I didn’t get the maintenence and setup tear down checklist emails. I am wondering if at somepoint I accidently blocked you. Please send it out to my husbands email that I put here, then I can try to unblock you if that is what happened. I love watching your videos.

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    Jim Meehan

    You guys are great. We are on the verge of getting back into our RV after it has been in storage for 10 years. What can I say grandkids etc.. Watching your videos was an excellent way of reviewing all the things I think I have lost. We spent 14 mos all around the country with 4 mos in Alaska 11 years ago and put on 25K miles on Rocky(our 99DSDP from Newmar). This year the Wall Street Journal has declared the Year of the RV, and we agree. So it is back to having our first shake down trip soon and then probably N to Canada to see some sites we missed, and revisit those that we loved. We hope you keep traveling. for us it will be mostly stints away from our So Jersey home to come back to school plays and baseball games.

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    Paul Duggan

    We enjoy your channel and got a kick out of your departure role reversal. We are full timers for three years and love it, but we’ve yet to switch departure duties.

    I recognized the San Antonio park you moved to. We stayed there in January 2019. We had a scary incident at the entrance unhooking our toad. We pulled in on a Sunday afternoon so no one was in the office. I picked up the site information packet at the office and decided to unhook there in the entrance. I got everything unhooked and secured. I turned around to see the toad gone. Now that’s a weird feeling. It was rolling back out the driveway. I failed to put the CRV in park and the driveway has a slight incline.

    My first thought was where did the car go. Then I thought I could catch it, but my 62 year old body said no way. I thought it would hit the brick post at the entry way, but it didn’t. It rolled completely out the entrance across the two lane road onto the opposite shoulder, that thankfully was flat and hit a high cattle fence. Amazingly no traffic on the road and no damage occurred, but my heart was about to explode.

    When I got back to the coach, my darling wife was on her phone completely unaware of what had just transpired. I didn’t tell her about till Easter.

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    Hi Stacy and Phil,
    My partner and I started watching your Vlogs just last week. We are not new to the RV world but definitely new to technical/connection side of it. We have been Escapees members for over 20 years and at one time had our domicile in Livingston. We still have our mail box there along with our mail box in our base home (sticks and bricks now) in Oregon.

    We watch most of your youtube vlogs on the TV using Firestick so we don’t see the comments area until I log in on the laptop. But be assured we are loving them. And even though we have been RVing for years, we are still learning so much as new things are always coming along. We spent the first part of this winter at Quartzsite, boon docking on the desert. Hopefully that will be on your travel plans once this COVID-19 opens up and we can get back on the road.

    We are planning a trip to TX this summer if all is safe. Fredericksburg is one of our favorites places too.

    Several times you have said to put our remarks on that video. How old do you not want comments?

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      You can comment anytime on our videos! We love the community we are building. I do understand that our TV viewers are unable to comment and that is ok. We are just grateful you are here to support our channel and us by watching. We are not sure where our travels will take us after Phil’s shoulder has healed. I guess COVID will determine that for us too! Stay will out there!

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      David Gauthier

      One thing as a RV how we can help our fellow RV, avoid bothering someone hocking up or packing up unless asked. Most people have system.

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    David, Donnell, & Lucy Stone

    Thanks you guys so much for the excellent information, insights, and experiences that you and several other “YouTubers” have shared. I am definitely a “list junkie“, and have incorporated several of your suggestions into our current checklists.

    We are a mature couple (in our mid 60s) from Central Texas who had always dreamed of RVing at least seasonally and perhaps full-time for many years once we both retired. In our case, God had another plan in mind for us and we have adopted and been raising a new 4 year old daughter for the past couple of years. Now as sheIs turning 6 and we finally approach that retirement stage of life, we have found that RV camping is perfect and we have absolutely re-embraced your motto, as our Credo; “TODAY” is indeed our “SOMEDAY” and we are embarking on our next journey as a family of 3 and looking to be FT RVers by the late Fall. Keep up the good work, and hopefully our paths may cross sometime in the future.

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      How sweet of you to take in that baby!! It just warms my heart to hear your story! I bet she is going to love camping! Take her young before she has a phone stuck to the palm of her hand!!

      Stay safe out there!

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    Thanks so much for the checklists! Hope you both are doing well and Phil is mending quickly.

    New to us 2013 Tiffin Allegro 36LA.

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    Gary Prade

    I appreciate the checklist – we have a ’17 33AA and have been RVing for over 20 years and I still found two items to add. A couple of comments on your list: on your outside arrival list you plug in your EMS and wait for E-0 then later turn on breaker; there is an order issue since the EMS won’t work until the breaker is on. The other thing you should add to your departure list is to walk the site and the unit – check lights, left items, trash, etc. That is ALWAYS the last thing I do.

    We really enjoy your vlogs – they are entertaining and educational!

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    Jeff and Angela

    My wife and I are both vets and truly enjoy following your adventures on YouTube. We are a year out for our retirement and have strong plans to get on the road. We take possession of our 2017 Fleetwood on Friday and we are sooooo excited. Your videos are inspiring and helpful. We have been avid campers for years and just sold our pull behind to make ready for our new life adventure. hopefully, we get a chance to meet on the road.

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    Thank you for the checklist! We love all your you tube videos! We are doing a 6 month “shakedown” to get really familiar with our RV, salivating when the day comes when we are getting out full time. Your checklist will come in handy to make the routine of setting up and breaking down deeply ingrained in our procedures when we actually get out on the road. Thank you again,

    We are happy that Phil is on the mend!
    Meredith and Joe

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    Bill Holmes (USN 1965-1969)

    Thank you for the setup/breakdown lists. Going FT sometime this summer or early fall, accumulating all the info I can, so far have your lists, those of Changing Lanes, and expense spreadsheets from Next Exit and Our Journey in Myles. Can’t wait but getting a new appreciation of “Trepidation” as well. Travel safe and Ride the Wind.

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    Ken and Corinne Glassman

    Thank you for your videos. We are glad to hear Phil’s surgery went well. Don’t be in too much of a hurry to jump back into the swing of things. The older we get, the longer it takes to heal. 😉

    Stay well and safe.

    Ken and Corinne Glassman

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    Kent kimerer

    We took delivery on a 33aa May 14. I appreciate your professional approach to your videos! I learn a greAt deal from you! Thanks!

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    Hello, Thank you for the checklists. Our first trip in our first RV starts this Monday. We are both excited and a little nervous. I’ve been watching your videos and they have been very helpful. I am certain the checklists will help us through our routine. Wish us luck.

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    Thank you for the spreadsheets. They will come in very handy.
    How did Phil’s surgery go? He will be flying with both wings before long.
    Stay safe,take care, hope to meet you 2 on the road shortly.

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    Thank you for the Excel sheet, great base to start our checklist from. I can’t see how to best start one at this moment, so many other things going on, this removes the “how do I start?” part.

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      Bruce M Wallace

      Have enjoyed your adventures. I am just beginning mine. Can’t wait!
      2014 Open Road 34TGA
      Wilsonville, Oregon

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