Take Your RV Checklist To the Next Level

Don’t get caught out: use these tips to take your humble checklist to the next level…


What kind of traveller are you? Are you on the road full time? Or perhaps you like to escape for a few months each year or can only get away now and then. And how do you keep on top of all the jobs associated with being an RV owner? We’re talking about a range of jobs, such as when to service your rig, clean/replace filters, and remembering to pack necessary spares and the right clothes for the climates you’ll be in, through to whether you have all the right tools.

We think you get the idea, but how do you stay on top of it all? Relying on your memory might work if you’re a traveller on the road full time, but for many of us who have a few sleeps in between getaways, things can soon be forgotten. That’s when it’s time for a good old-fashioned list. As basic as that sounds, we don’t always get things right. But we’re not just talking about your average checklist. There’s lots of things to consider when you own a caravan, so let’s show you how to take a humble checklist to the next level.


If you’ve ever pulled out of your driveway or from an overnight stay and had a nagging thought down the road that you’ve forgotten something, you’ll agree that a trusty general checklist can be handy.

But rather than having one massive checklist, we think you’re better off creating a number of smaller checklists and dividing each into different areas. For example, have one checklist that covers the caravan’s interior, another for the exterior, and another for your vehicle, etc., Aim to limit each list to a single A4 page. 

Keep your checklist handy.

As for the frequency with which you refer to it, that depends on your own routine and how good your memory is. Something like a simple “before we drive off” style of list might only need to be checked the first day you leave. Although, if you have a habit of forgetting to check things like whether the stabiliser legs are up or the hatches and awnings are locked, then you might want to use the checklist each time you depart. 


Besides the general checklist, you could categorise further, drilling into certain areas so that you’re better covered. Here are a few category ideas to get you started:


When you purchase a new vehicle, you get a service logbook that indicates servicing requirements. Things generally included are the date and/or kilometre intervals, plus what gets checked, and what needs to be replaced.

But things are quite different when you purchase a caravan. Some manufacturers put together some form of servicing logbook, but in some cases, they don’t come with a good service interval booklet supplied. As a caravan is made up of many different supplied components, it’s best that you take the time to read all the manufacturer’s specs and compile your own service-style logbook to suit your needs.

Don’t forget to include servicing in your range of checklists.

Not everything that needs to be inspected is obvious, but could have detrimental effects if they go wrong. For example, how often do you inspect, clean, and replace the seals on your toilet cassette? That could spell a big disaster if it developed a leak somewhere in the system. 

How often do you inspect your caravan’s roof and the condition of all the seals? Having an unknown leak in this area could be doing major hidden water damage inside the walls and cabinets that can go undetected until it’s too late. This is one reason why we suggest you make a checklist that suits your caravan and its frequency of use.


Keeping a list of service replacement parts, such as filters, seals, O rings, batteries, wheel bearings and wheel nuts, is also a good idea. Date and label them too, where appropriate.

In addition, include the name of the part, its specifications including model and part number, and where you might have last bought it.

You’ll even find some replacement service parts might need unique tools. One example is a tube spanner that removes the anode on a water heater. Another is a C ring spanner that’s used for a filter clamp. These items should also be included on your checklist and stored accordingly.


What to take and what you should leave home is really important for every RV owner, since the weight of what you carry adds up. 

We use a simple note-taking app to record ideas.

Creating different categories for your packing checklist ensures you’re only carrying items that are applicable for a particular trip. You know that tomahawk and sand pegs you might have stored in your tunnel boot? Well, they’re not needed for a weekend stay in Melbourne’s CBD!

Start with a popular checklist category such as ‘Beachside’ and record the items appropriate for that type of travel, which you would not normally need to carry. Items such as beach towels, sand pegs, water toys could be examples of these. Other categories could include riverside stays, an outback run, camp cooking, etc.


Giving the caravan roof a clean before checking the seals.

Keep in mind you may not store everything in your RV all of the time, so include the storage location on your checklist as well. That way, you can find the item easily when it’s needed. 

Another effective technique is to use tubs containing the items specific to the categories listed above. Label the tubs and cross-reference them with your checklist to confirm the tub’s contents before transferring the items into your RV.


Even if you’re a seasoned traveller, you may come across an idea or be given some advice that you’d like to include on your own set-up. As basic as it is, we find keeping a notebook or recording ideas in one of the myriad checklist apps (Google search for more info) helps us record what items we’d like to add to our checklist. Our philosophy is, you’re never too old to learn.


We all do things differently, and some of you could be thinking you don’t need lists as you never forget anything. If you’re that type of person, lucky you!

Even the last time you had your van’s seals checked should be on a checklist. Improper sealing will inevitably lead to damage – hopefully not as drastic as this!

But knowing how many kilometres our wheel bearings have done since being replaced, what spec of grease we used, or how many tyre rotations we’ve done, isn’t something we’ll remember on a daily basis. So having a service checklist is our go-to for those answers. No one ever aims to leave anything behind or forget something when setting off, so do yourself a favour and use a simple checklist!