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Top Beginner Mistakes in a Camping Trailer

Leaving out trailer keys at home!”, “This post makes me feel way better about our adventures, seeing we aren’t the only ones who have made rookie mistakes”, You won’t stop laughing!

Well, we’ve all made them, and sometimes reading about other people’s mistakes might just keep you from doing the same. You don’t want to be “that guy” when you move your trailer around the campground. It can be embarrassing and dangerous. We asked a ton of people about there rookie mistakes and how you can avoid them. You think you’ve thought of everything but guess what….

Well, it was with a small 5th wheel years ago.

First trip we underestimated how much gas it would take to pull it. Pulled it to Dillons Beach and didn’t have enough gas to leave and get back to the gas station. Had to have AAA come out and give us gas. Lol. We looked like ding dongs.”

“I’ve got many….we held up the dump line when we left Dillons cause I didn’t know there was a valve to release unused gray water. I stood there with the sink on while the line waited. We didn’t know to keep the black valve closed when in full hook up. So all the tp gathered in the black tank over about a year. My husband and dad had to unclog it during a trip. That was a crappy time lol. My husband backed over a tiny tree when we pulled in to get water when arriving at a campground. It tore the sewage release pipe nearly clean off. We used calking and a lot of faith for 4 days praying it would hold lol. We used the campsite bathrooms mostly just in case other than nighttime. It’s always an adventure. Lots of learning experiences for sure.” 

“I have 2. One was not my fault but still. Hitch failed and dropped my 18k lbs RV on my bed. Fortunately, I was just pulling out of the park at maybe 3mph. My tailgate caught the kingpin and stop it from hitting the ground. The second was dimpled the corner of my cab turning to tight.”

“Nearly rolled it down a hill hitching. Took x-chocks off too soon.”


Not checking and re-packing the bearings before a long trip. We limped into our campground with a nearly-destroyed wheel and got stuck there for two days in a torrential rainstorm before we could get someone out to fix it. Amazingly, we are still married”

“Not buying one before California decided that they all should be used for homeless folks…wonderful idea and I’m glad they did but I should have bought one prior…the price skyrocketed now and there’s no way we can afford one”

We hooked up to a 100psi water hose… without a regulator busted our line… went to take a shower and water was coming up under the stairs….Looked at the pamphlet of the RV resort… right on the front page huge yellow lettering.. “warning water pressure 100psi, any damages made we are not responsible

Was looking for a site I found online, went down a road that became one lane super rutted and next to steep cliff. Came around a corner and had to brake quickly because a big truck was coming the other way. The next few minutes was nerve-racking as I had to back down the road quite a ways until I found a spot to 7 point turn the entire camping rig around with very little room for error.”

1st time using my Anderson Levelers I put them in front of the tires but backed up instead of pulling forward. Got one stuck between the wheels. Had to give it a little extra gas to pop it loose. The campsite next to me got a good laugh”. 

“Also, unhooked the sewer drain hose while it was still partially in the cleanout. The whole tube went slithering down the sewer pipe.”

“Opened black hose attempting to drain into a large bucket instead of dumping into the septic tank. I was covered!”

“My sister in law didn’t make sure the valve was closed to the black tank before removing the cap. Also found out her toddler threw a bunch of baby wipes and a plastic fork down there too. It was a real shit show.  Our laughing wasn’t helping her situation. Especially when she had to reach her arm up the pipe to pull out all the toddler’s surprises. After she got in the car she asked her kids who put the fork in the toilet. Your youngest asked if it was a white fork. She said yes and he said, “wasn’t me!”

“Parking is on the street so someone could hit it and not having enough insurance to cover the total cost”

“That’s a long list, my friend. Mine was essentially broken when it came off the assembly line. I used the crap out of my warranty.”

Starting to drive off with the power cord still plugged in! Luckily, I noticed it in my rearview before anything got damaged. Now I do a couple of laps around the camper before leaving just to be sure.”

“Forgot to empty freezer when parked and shore power went out… raw chicken and melted ice cream filled the freezer…never have I smelled anything worse, 3yrs later and it still lingers.”

“Forgot to close my tailgate when I pulled out of my driveway I tow a fifth wheel so you know what happened.”

“Never regretted buying a 36foot not too big not too small just right size for 2-3 people.”

“I just got it over with on the first camping trip, 4hr away from home.
Backed into a tree.. Just bumper damage and my pride was gone!!”

“We have learned that you are going to have issues no matter what, we have just enjoyed the ride. I have a list of uhh ohhs throughout the years of camping. The trailer is always a learning curve and just when you think you have it down another wrench is thrown into the works.”

“First trip we underestimated how much gas it would take to pull it. Pulled it to Dillons Beach and didn’t have enough gas to leave and get back to the gas station. Had to have AAA come out and give us gas. Lol. We looked like ding dongs.”

“This post makes me feel way better about our adventures, seeing we aren’t the only ones who have made rookie mistakes”

“Not using my mirrors to look up… only watched the tires and side. Met an awkwardly angled tree on the passenger side”

“Backing up and hitting and damaging the gutters on the garage.”

Driving without emptying the black tank.”

“First time out, did not block the wheels from rolling. Rip the front jack off.”

“Used the leveling jacks to jack it up to do something underneath. Now I know this is a big no-no.”

“Not buying high and low surge protection for RV sites with full hookups.”

“The top layer of our door flew off on the freeway. We didn’t see it happen. I still feel bad for whoever was behind us.” 

Leaving out trailer keys at home!”

“Not having a place to keep it!”

“Forgot to secure the tv before we pulled the slide-outs in. TV was bent like a banana”

“Drove while the hitch wheel was still down, and bent the hitch… had to get it fixed cause couldn’t disconnect from the truck”

“No locking the fridge, 5 minutes later at the gas station floor was covered on eggshells and yolks”

“Brought the wife and not enough booze.”

Locking myself out the 1st night taking it home”

“Not having covered parking for it.”

Forgetting the key to the trailer at home. Luckily we were only 6 miles away. We always do a shakedown trip close to home at the beginning of the camping season”

“Driving across the country & forgetting our lifetime pass to National Parks.”

“Backing into the overhang on the side of our garage and shattering the rear window”

“Leaving the back stabilizers down while I moved it 2 feet forward. Luckily a little pounding with a hammer bent em back. This was the day after I bought it. After that, I created a checklist for moving and I am glad I did.”

Not knowing in the very beginning that you should have sway bars. Then having to drive 13 hours to The Keys, when it should have taken 8 1/2 hours!”

Backing up without a spotter, hit a basketball pole”

Pulling into a dead-end parking lot, long story short I had to wait 4 hours till the business closed, I’m a much better backer upper now!”

ulled into an Outback parking lot on a Sunday, parked at the back of an empty lot. cone out after lunch and the church crowd had completely surrounded the truck and camper. 2 hrs later I finally got out”

Forgot I added a second sway bar and had it tight and made a hairpin turn and broke it..”

“Driving into a ferry at low tide and ripping a stabilizer off. I was first in line. Baling wire came in handy for a quick fix and since then I had the trailer lifted 4 inches.”

“Didn’t check to see if the lip was below the ball”

Broke the key off in the door. My skinny wife had to crawl through the laundry shoot that goes from the storage cubby to the bedroom”

“I sold it and was lucky to have found it in a different city and YES, I bought it back.”

Not checking the closets. Not checking to see if we can get into the bed without crawling.”

Back up to it and only hooked the lights up and the safety chain … I guess I was in a hurry to get to the lake lol morning”

First time bought too big of one so sold it and went way smaller and now love I

Buying too heavy a trailer for the older Toyota Tundra, even though technically it should have been OK. Now looking for a smaller trailer, not a bigger truck.”

“Not sealing the window seals first. Check for leaks and also tires.”

“Trailer not chocked in wet soil with bigger blocks and when I uncoupled from the truck the trailer rolled off the jack block and hit my truck rear bumper. The block I used to chock trailer sunk in the mud and the jack stem went underground all the way to the trailer frame. Damage to my bumper ensued. ALWAYS CHOCK PROPERLY FOR BOTH DIRECTIONS BEFORE TOUCHING THAT JACK HANDLE!“

“Driving from Florida to MN after picking it up and somewhere in Wisconsin putting a dent in the right fender when I turned too sharp and hit the metal protector by the gas tank. Didn’t feel too bad buying a crowbar in the station when they told me an RV had taken out a gas pump!”

“Pinched the cable between the truck and the trailer.”

“Forget to detach their safety chains after unhooking their trailer. They pulled the tongue right into the ground and had to use a jack to get it back up”

“Not having covering from the weather or at least protecting the awning somehow before it disintegrates.

“Great question! Learning!! I just bought Coleman 2 wks ago. Took it out just for practice. Didn’t get hitch all the way onto the ball! Locked it just fine on top of the ball! My brother in law and sisters lost it! And my truck kept trying to tell me something was wrong! I kept pulling over! I’m lucky I still have a camper!!!”

“My Mom sold ours when the fifth child was born. Only camping trailer mistake I ever knew!”

“Forgot to unhook the chains from the truck”

“Backed over wheel chocks”

“Hurriedly put my a frame up to beat an incoming squall line. – mistake 1. Set it up downwind- mistake 2.

I got lucky. Just got a little water from the 60mph wind pushing the back roof panel in a bit. I have seen horror stories from people doing this. Next time I will a leave it down and wait for the squall in a truck or building and turn it upwind as well”

“I got lucky. Just got a little water from the 60mph wind pushing the back roof panel in a bit. I have seen horror stories from people doing this. …”  

“Checking to see how hard it is to make the bed… ours is almost impossible.”