Tips for Beginners

Make a checklist of how to break down the camper and hitch up. Use it until you don’t need it. Look around when you leave camp to be sure you didn’t leave something behind.

Make a checklist of how to set up the camper and take off the hitch. Use it until you don’t need it.

Make a list of stuff to take. Check it before you leave. Not only for you but for any pets you bring. Don’t forget medication, sun screen, and insect repellent. You can leave stuff in the camper permanently if it can withstand heat and cold in your area. I do take out any bedding or paper products during the winter in case a mouse gets in. So far I haven’t had any problem.

Take extras of anything that would be awkward to replace. If you are not close to a town, you might want to take extra toiletries or if you are in Canada, you might not be able to find your favorite brands. I have two sets of trailer keys, 2 pairs of reading glasses, 2 pairs of driving glasses, etc. Since I go on long trips, I take extra soap, deodorant, toothpaste, etc. as I might be miles from the nearest town when I need them.

Electric Adapters
My camper uses a 30 amp plug in. I have adapters that allow me to use 15 amp and 50 amp sockets. I have used them both and they are simple and not that expensive. Most 50 amp outlets will have a 30 amp choice on the same box but not all of them.

Assuming you take showers in the camp facilities:
Take some shower shoes. Flip Flops work fine; you can walk to the bathroom in them and you avoid standing on wet shower floors (athletes foot anyone?). Taking off shoes and putting them back on is awkward in many shower facilities (no chairs).

A gym bag or similar size is useful for toiletries (shaving kit), a towel, and a change of clothes. It’s easier than carrying them individually. You can also use a bag that you reuse for groceries. A zip lock bag keeps your wet wash cloth from getting everything else wet.

Check carefully after you take a shower. Each camp is different and you may leave something behind because you had to put you wash cloth over the shower head and your shampoo up high. The majority of camp grounds lack enough hooks to hold your rain coat, clothes to change into, and a towel. You can throw your rain coat or towel over the shower door. Shelves for shampoo, soap, and a wash cloth are often limited.

Backpacking towels work well, pack small, and dry quickly.

If you boon dock (camping without electricity, water, or toilet facilities), you can use baby wipes or something similar as a substitute for showering.

Camco makes a collapsible broom that I find useful, especially in sandy sites.

Campsuds works for dishes and clothes alike. You can wash a few items like towels or clothing and hang them up to dry to avoid a full laundry stop.
For long trips, many camps have Laundromats but check ahead. I bring my own soap.

Check for ticks if you hiked where you might brush clothing on vegetation. There are at least 5 diseases you can get from ticks and they are serious. I have already had Lyme Disease (which I got in my back yard.)

Finding a camp ground before you go
I have found the app Allstays to be useful for finding campgrounds.

Ninety to ninety five percent of the time, you can get by without reservations. You have more flexibility about how long you want to stay at a spot. Exceptions are weekends at popular sites and many National Parks during the busy season. I make reservations because I don’t want to find out I don’t have a place to sleep at the end of a long drive. See previous page about using GPS coordinates to locate camp grounds.

Take extra water unless you know the water is potable. Some campgrounds out west have no water and a few campgrounds in more remote areas (Canada especially) have a sign stating “boil water before use”. You might ignore it and be fine but I don’t advise it. Having intestinal problems while driving or camping is no fun. I take blue Aqua Paks filled at home or at a safe water source. Almost all the time I have a 2.5 gallon Aqua Pak as back up and if I am boon docking in desert country I will add a 5 gallon Aqua Pak. I also use the melt water from my cooler (food in the cooler is isolated from the water).

Trailer Specific
If you are having trouble closing the lever over the ball, squat down and check that the ball is all the way up in the trailer coupler and not halfway.
To check leveling of the trailer right and left and front to back, a torpedo level works fine. it’s only 6 inches long. I put it on top of the closed Aliner as I always level the Aliner before I put up the top and walls.

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