By Mark Polk
Part of planning a trip in our RV is planning which KOA campgrounds we will be staying at along the way. We know what to expect at a KOA campground and we have never been disappointed. If you have been RVing for any amount of time you already know that a big part of the camping experience is the campground experience. This month I am including a checklist that will help you get the most from your campground experience. Most of what is written in this checklist is common sense, but it helps to serve as a reminder of how to make your next stay at a KOA as pleasant and carefree as possible.
If you know where you'll be staying make campground reservations in advance, particularly during the prime travel season. This way there is always a site waiting for you when you arrive.
You should stop traveling while there is still plenty of daylight to set up and get settled in at the campground.
Make sure the electrical source is compatible with your RV's electrical system.
Make sure the site will accommodate the length of your RV.
If temperatures are hot outside, request a site that is in the shade, if possible. Try to position the RV, with the side the refrigerator is located on, in the shade to help the refrigerator work more efficiently.
Check the site for any overhead obstacles that might interfere with setting up the RV.
When you position the unit at the site make sure there is enough clearance for slide-outs and the patio awning.
Level the RV and chock the wheels before disconnecting from the tow vehicle (for towable RVs).
Test the polarity and voltage before plugging the RV into any electrical source. After you test the polarity and voltage turn the breaker off, plug the RV in, and turn the breaker back on.
Campground voltage can fluctuate depending on the demand. You should monitor the AC voltage coming into your RV, with a digital voltmeter, throughout your stay at the campground. Plug the meter into any 120-volt outlet in the RV where it will be easy to monitor the AC voltage during your camping trip. By monitoring the AC voltage you can protect thousands of dollars worth of electrical equipment and appliances in your RV. If AC voltage drops below 105-volts or goes above 130-volts you should turn electronic equipment and appliances off until the power is restored. Some digital meters have an audible alarm to warn you of high or low voltage conditions.
Keep a variety of electrical adapters on hand in case you need them. You should also have an extension cord that is compatible with the electrical system on your RV. The gauges of wire used in standard household type extension cords are not suitable for RV hook ups.
Use a water pressure regulator at the campground water source to prevent damage to your plumbing from high water pressure.
Use a white RV drinking hose to connect from the water source to the RV. Hoses not labeled safe for drinking can contribute to lead and other dangerous chemicals getting in the water. It's a good idea to have a 4-foot, 10-foot and 25-foot hose so you can always reach the campground water hook up.
You should always filter the water going into the RV with a high quality filtration system. The 4-foot or 10-foot drinking hose can be used to go from a water filter to the city water connector on the RV.
Take along a green or black garden hose for all other uses, like flushing out holding tanks or cleaning the RV.
It's a good idea to have a 10-foot and a 20-foot sewer hose available so you can always reach the campground sewer connection. Spend a little extra and get heavy-duty sewer hoses. Keep an assortment of sewer hose adapters and connectors on hand.
If you're going to be leaving the campground for more than few minutes it's a good idea to turn the water supply off until you return.
Always store the awning when you're not going to be at the campsite and leave it in the stored position at night.
Lock your RV and secure valuables when you are not physically at the campsite.
Always keep a spare set of keys for the RV and any other vehicles.
Always practice good campground etiquette and be sure to leave the campsite in the same condition you found it, or better.
If you travel with pets, respect other campers as it pertains to your pets. Always use a leash, control any barking and always clean up after your pets.
Hopefully this will help make all of your campground experiences happy memories rather than memories you would like to forget. For checklists like this and many more, be sure to get a copy of my Checklists for RVers E-book. Have a great time camping at your favorite KOA campground.
Copyright 2006 by Mark J. Polk, owner of RV Education 101
RV Expert Mark Polk, seen on TV, is the producer & host of America's most highly regarded series of DVD's, videos, books, and e-books. www.rveducation101.com/
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