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Old 01-21-2013, 09:57 PM   #1
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Weekend warrior advice for newbie

Looking for advice from fellow weekend warriors. For a close weekend outing, my parents used to go out on Thursday night and set up? If I did this would you just level up and leave electric, water etc for the next night? What about things like dishes, save them for later or just use paper? Should we tear down on Sunday or wait till Monday on a close outing?

On a close outing would you stock the fridge on Thursday or Friday?

I have a 23' Terry Bumper hitch. I have never helped with the leveling, but it seems fairly straightforward. Unhitched, use the jack to level front to back and then stabilizers for side to side. Check electric with ohm meter, turn off breaker inside, plug in, power up. Use water regulator on hose.
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:49 PM   #2
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Whether we go for the weekends or weeks we will have everything we use packed and ready the night before. Including the fridge. We keep ours fully stocked with plenty of dishes and utensils and cooking equipment. We also use some paper but not much. Basically we keep everything stocked and ready to roll, minus food of course...
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Old 01-21-2013, 11:16 PM   #3
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I work Mon through Thursday so I can go out Friday. Then wife collects 13 yr old grandson after she gets off work and he out of school and heads for the campground. Except now she's been out of work since late Sept. and no idea when/if she can go back to work. Hopefully things will get better for her.
Everything but the clothes for the weekend, food and medicines are kept in the MH so we can roll pretty quickly. Even jackets and rain gear is there.
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Old 01-22-2013, 05:13 PM   #4
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I start my fridge on propane Thursday morning before work. After work on Thursday night the fridge is cold enough that by adding cold food everything stays good and it’s ready to go. Also, Thursday after work I fill the fresh water holding tank (Where I go camping there is not water hook up) And, I throw in a change of clothes. Canned food and dishes I have stocked in the camper at all times. Friday before work if there is anything else I want to add to the camper or pickup truck I do it then. Then Friday after work I hook up and head out right away. Sometimes I even tow the trailer to work with me Friday morning so I can get out of there sooner. Once at the park I back in and level the trailer. To level it correctly you sometimes have to add blocks under the wheels for the correct side to side level. Don’t use the stabilizer jacks to level the trailer, there not made for that. I use a lot of paper plates at the park but, I do use some of the dishes out of the camper too. When I’m ready to go home I sometimes stay over at the park until Monday morning and then tow the trailer to work with me on Monday. After work on Monday I take the trailer home unload, and shut off the fridge. Take the dirty laundry in the house and start the clothes washer. Any dishes I got dirty I take into the house to be washed in the dish washer. Then I put clean dishes from the house into the trailer so I’m ready to go for the next time. I also repack any canned food I used back into the trailer. When I unhook Monday night I’m then ready to start the whole process over the next Thursday. Tuesday and Wednesday and most of Thursday morning are for yard work and any other jobs around the house that need doing.

By doing it in this way it takes me about 15 minutes at the park to get set up and take down.
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Old 01-22-2013, 05:16 PM   #5
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If you have more questions post them her or drop me a PM. I'm always willing to help out another weekend camper if I can.
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:57 PM   #6
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How much do you all worry about loading food etc as far as weight distribution. I have been reading tons of posts and it is hard to know how perfect everything has to be.
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Old 01-23-2013, 06:40 AM   #7
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Golly, I have a 20 foot TT and Because I only go camping with 1 to 3 other people I never thought about the food weighing enough to cause trouble with the weight distribution. If I think about it my sink is in the middle of my camper over the axles and I put all the canned food in a tote under the sink. (That way in the winter I just bring the tote in the house to keep it from freezing) Because your only a weekend camper I wouldn't think you have to bing the a whole grocery stores worth of food with you. And, the places I go camping at are usually only a short distance from a store if I forget something. So, in the long run I don't think the weight of the food will matter much. But, I don't know your camper lay out or how much food you plan to bring.
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Old 01-23-2013, 06:49 PM   #8
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Unhitched, use the jack to level front to back and then stabilizers for side to side.
No. As Caveman suggested, the first step - before you unhook the trailer from the tow vehicle - is to use a 4' carpenter's level on the floor of the RV and be sure the floor is level side to side. If not level, then use leveling blocks under the trailer tires to level the trailer side to side.

DO NOT use the stabilizer jacks until after the floor of the trailer is level, both side to side and front to rear.

One brand of leveling blocks is Lynx Levelers. I carry two 10-packs in my TT in case I park in the boonies, but usually one 10-pack will do the job.
Lynx Levelers to Level Your RV - PPL Motor Homes

You can also make your own using 2x6 or 2x8 lumber, plus some sort of pins to hold the boards together while you drive up on them. Been there, done that. But I like the Lynx levelers a lot better.

After the trailer is level side to side, then use wheel chocks to lock the trailer tires together so it cannot roll forward or backward, then unhook the trailer from the tow vehicle. Next use that 4' carpenter's level be sure the floor of the trailer is level front to rear. Use the tongue jack to raise or lower the front of the trailer as necessary to get the floor level.

Yes, you need a decent 4' carpenter's level as part of your required tools in the RV. Other required tools include a lug wrench that will fit all the lugs on your trailer. (Often the spare tire mount will use a different size lugwrench than the wheel lug nuts.) And a torque wrench with enough capacity to check the torque on all the wheel lugs on both the trailer and the tow vehicle. And, of course, at least one set of wheel chocks that will lock the two trailer tires together.
http://www.pplmotorhomes.com/parts/rv-jacks/x-chock.htm
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:54 PM   #9
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4' level, now you are talking. I know how to run that, thank you very much!
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:03 PM   #10
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Thanks for the advice on loading. So hard to know because a lot of the people that post are full timers.

On the subject of weekend warriors; do you ever try to park the camper in the camp site alone (wife might still be at work and don't need the confusion of the kids). If so, what are some ways to avoid running into or over something?

Where do you keep the kids when parking, buckled up and not allowed to move in the tow vehicle (even though they are screaming and driving me crazy)?
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:05 PM   #11
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Good questions Cjnfamily. And some good responses. But I have a question now regarding leveling the trailer. Can a guy just use those stick on bubble levels they sell in RV sections at the store? I used them on the pop up I used to own until I bought my trailer last fall. I will be picking up the TT in the spring and was planning to use the stick on bubble levels again. No need to store the 4' level and I don't have to worry about forgetting one. The stick on bubble levels worked great for me on the pop up. What say you?
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Old 01-24-2013, 07:19 AM   #12
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The reason for leveling the trailer is because Gas/ Electric refrigerators can quickly become damages if they run in the out of level position.( When your going down the road you can run the fridge because the bouncing around keeps it working.) That being said I have seen some people recommend you get one of those round bubble levels and place it on the bottom of your freezer and level the trailer from that. But, after I leveled the camper once this way I then put those stick on levels on the trailer and when backing in for the weekend I just use those. I might be living a little dangerously though but, I have been doing it this way for some time.
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Old 01-24-2013, 07:23 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Cjnfamily View Post
Thanks for the advice on loading. So hard to know because a lot of the people that post are full timers.

On the subject of weekend warriors; do you ever try to park the camper in the camp site alone (wife might still be at work and don't need the confusion of the kids). If so, what are some ways to avoid running into or over something?

Where do you keep the kids when parking, buckled up and not allowed to move in the tow vehicle (even though they are screaming and driving me crazy)?
When backing in alone you want to practice what is called the the "GOAL" method. That stands for "Get Out And Look". You may have to jump in and out of the vehicle several times to make sure your doing OK. I usually back a few feet then jump out and look, back a few feet more and then jump out and look, and so on untill I get backed in. It's slow and slightly embarassing but, it's a lot less embarrasing then backing into a tree and totaling out the trailer.
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Old 01-24-2013, 07:31 AM   #14
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Agree with GOAL method. Keep kids buckled up and in vehicle just put them on ignore. Last thing you need is worrying where they are at while you are backing a trailer with blind spots.
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