Unless you are lucky enough to live in a year-round RVing climate, you are probably opening up the RV for camping season this month. While many experts recommend a “shakedown” trip if you purchase a new RV, we strongly suggest that you make this a yearly tradition, even if you are a camping veteran.
What is a Shake Down Trip?
A shake down trip refers to a short, close to home, excursion with your RV for the purpose of testing out the systems and stocking up on necessary supplies. We used to be so excited about dewinterizing our travel trailer and hitting the road that we skipped this tradition for years. Then we ended up on a 10-day vacation in Myrtle Beach without any running water. A problem that could have been easily fixed at home became a lot more complicated on the road.
Now we visit a favorite nearby campground where we enjoy a shake down weekend every spring. Something we avoided has become a favorite family tradition, an event we look forward to that marks the opening of our official camping season.
3 Reasons You Should Plan a Yearly Shake Down Trip
- Identify any maintenance issues before embarking on longer trips.
We take very good care of our RV, and most of the time it opens up without any issues at all. However, fuses do blow out and squirrels do sometimes chew on propane lines. When you set aside a weekend at the campground to tend to these basic maintenance issues, you can take care of your chores in a beautiful and relaxing environment.
- Practice working all your systems in a low stress environment.
When you are on an RV vacation, you don’t want to worry about anything except enjoying your precious time at the campground. The last thing you want to do is figure out how to get your hot water heater working. Take care of this ahead of time on a shake down trip, and you will coast through your RV set up for the rest of the season.
- Make sure your RV is properly packed.
Pack up your RV and then head out for your shake down trip. Once settled at the campground, you will inevitably discover items you forgot. No worries…your home is nearby and you can pack that tire pressure gage as soon as you return. You might also discover a few items that you don’t really need. You can ditch that clutter before your next big trip.
Our yearly shake down trip has turned into a fun, relaxing way to celebrate the beginning of camping season. And other RVers seem to feel the same. This year we will be joined at the campground by many other camping friends, eager to test out those tanks and then share s’mores around the fire.
See you at the campground!
Jeremy and Stephanie Puglisi are the co hosts of the weekly RV Family Travel Atlas and Campground of the Week podcasts, as well as the creators of the RVFTA Podcast Network. They are also the authors of The Idiots Guide to RV Vacations and the Acadia National Park Adventure Guide. After buying their very first pop up camper six years ago, Jeremy and Stephanie caught the RV bug in a big way, and now spend over 70 nights a year in their travel trailer with their three sons, Theo, Max, and Wes, and sweet Maggie the pup. You can follow along on their adventures (and misadventures) at rvfamilytravelatlas.com.