This post may contain affiliate links. See our affiliate disclaimer here.
When you are new to RVing the task of parking and setting-up your RV at a new destination can be daunting. Don’t fear, the process only takes about 30 minutes and you will master the set-up and breakdown before your know it. In the meantime, here is a step-by-step guide to setting up and leveling a fifth wheel.
- Park – Well Duh, but I have a few tips on parking for newbies. If possible, try to book pull-thru sites until you are really comfortable driving the fifth wheel. When you have to back-in, have your partner get out and call you on speakerphone so they can guide you without having to shout across the RV park. Once you start shouting, you’ll likely get a crowd watching you back-in.
- Check your Levelness – Using your automatic system or a manual level, check if the RV is even from left to right. If one side is at least 0.5 degrees higher you will want to drive up on some blocks before unhitching. We use these stackable Camco leveling blocks. Each block will change the levelness about 0.5 degrees, so stacking three high (as pictured) will correct for 1.5 degrees. Always back-up about a foot before driving onto the pads as the levelness may change based on where on the site you are parked.
- Unhitch – Put pads under all of your jacks (we just use the Camco leveling blocks mentioned above) and ground the front jacks. Then raise the trailer off the hitch, unlock it and unplug brake light and breakaway cables. Move your tow vehicle away before leveling. If something goes wrong, you don’t want to damage your truck as well.
- Leveling the Fifth Wheel – On newer rigs, you can simply press Auto Level and wait. The RV will set the front jacks to level and then put the rear jacks down. If the site isn’t level and you don’t drive up on blocks as described in step 2, your auto-level will likely fail or raise your tires off the ground.
- Plug in the Electric – Make sure the switch on the campground box is off, then flip it back on once both ends are properly plugged in. I also recommend having a surge protector. We always plug in the electric as soon as we are unhooked, so we can get the AC running in the RV, which is often stuffy from a long day of travel.
- Put out the Slides – Before putting out the slides, do a visual inspection to make sure no cabinets have opened and nothing has fallen on the ground (it will happen at some point, no matter how well you packed up). I typically open one slide about six inches so I can do a quick walk-through before fully opening the slides.
- Hook up the Water – If using a new water filter, hook it up first and let water run for two minutes before connecting the hose. Open the sink faucets in the RV before you turn on the water to allow any trapped air to escape.
- Look up Emergency Contacts – Look up the nearest hospital and emergency vet clinic and put the names and addresses in your phone or on your fridge.
- Unpack – Pull out anything you stored for safekeeping, set-up your hammock and enjoy!