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Picking up a new TT this week - what all do we need?


Texas Sooner
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We are brand new to Escapees and will be picking up our new TT this week - a 30 footer with a single slide.  I would like to get some suggestions regarding what we "must have" for the TT along with what would be "nice to have" - things to outfit it with.  Our initial goal is to get the travel trailer from the dealer's lot to our home (about 60 miles) where we can then park it and start equipping and getting it arranged properly.  I've already had installed a 30 amp service receptacle so that we can plug it in and run everything.

Per the dealer's recommendation, we are getting a WD hitch installed so that is one thing we will already have.  I am guessing that we will need some type of wheel chocks once we get it home, along with some type of leveling blocks for the wheels.  Other than those items please feel free to offer advice because we really "don't know what we don't know" right now.

Also, our salesman said that the finance and paperwork guy will be offering us an extended service plan that is really a must have.  I've dealt with car dealers offering these whenever we've purchased a new vehicle so I guess it will be a similar experience with the RV.  Are extended warranties/service plans a necessity for a travel trailer, and if so, what plans are good ones and what do they usually run and for how long of a duration?

Another item - they told us that when we pick up the trailer they will spend about 3-hours going through everything and showing us how it works.  They are going to test out every device on the TT to make sure it works properly.  The temperature should be around 50° on the day that they do this but I see that it will drop down below freezing for several days right after that.  Will we need to drain the water out of it once we get it home to keep the plumbing and tanks from freezing and rupturing?  If so, is that something that we should ask them to show us how to do or will the manuals have that information in there?  

If any of this has been previously addressed on this forum please provide me with a link or point me in the right direction so that I can access it - no need to type another response if it's already there.  Thanks in advance for your help and we look forward to our membership in this club!

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Welcome!

I'm guessing from your name that you are in northern Texas.  The weather map shows temps in the mid to low 20's for the next few nights.  Without knowing your rig and how it is heated it is pretty hard to tell if freezing will be an issue, but it certainly will be a possibility at those temperatures.  Talk to the tech people at the RV place for more info.  I'm from Maine.  When I used to winterize it was more than draining.  I put antifreeze in the water lines (except the water heater) and in the drains.  There is a special antifreeze for water systems.  Your dealer will have it.  Be sure to get instructions on winterizing your rig.  DO NOT use automotive antifreeze.  It is extremely toxic.

As you note, chocking and leveling are necessary. 

whj469 is spot on about electrical protection.  You can get the kind that plugs in at the power pedestal or is built in.  The link is to Progressive which I use.  There are others, too. 

I would make sure I had bulbs, fuses, and tools that fit the RV screws, nuts and bolts -something always needs adjustment.  There are some pretty good articles about RV tool kits online. 

Remember to properly torque the lug nuts at 50 and 100 miles. 

Tire pressure gauge - ignoring tire pressure is a good way to get tire failure and trailer damage.

Waste tank odor can be an issue.  Some folks like deodorants with formaldehyde and the like. Some parks do not like you to use those substances as they can affect their septic system operations in sufficient quantity. I prefer RV Digest-It which I use in both gray and black tanks.  It handles odors and breaks down the contents.

Septic system compatible toilet paper.

Unbreakable kitchen things - when you go down the road there is a 8.4 earthquake going on behind you.  Glass breaks unless well protected.  We use Corel and plastic or metal.

15 and 20 amp adapters for your power connection.

Sewer hose.

Water hose and pressure regulator.  Be sure to check the manual to determine maximum pressure.

Spare batteries for remotes and sensors.

Duct tape.

There are a lot of good apps for RVing.  I like AllStays Camp & RV for clearances, rest areas and other travel info; Campendium for campgrounds; Maps for satellite views of stopping areas and complex intersections; and Mountain Directory for grades/road conditions in mountains.

When we started I made the mistake of buying a lot of things I thought I would need but didn't. 

Be sure to watch the weight of the things you bring in and weigh the loaded trailer and vehicle.  Weighing is a safety issue.  You do not want to be stopping and find the trailer has other ideas. 

Also measure the height of the rig and write it on your tow vehicle visor.  The reason is clear from this video.

Safe travels.

Wayne & Jinx
2017 F-350 diesel, dually
2006 Carriage Carri-Lite 36KSQ

 

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^^^^^^ This is a very thorough list on what I would consider to be the must haves.

From here you can move on to the nice to haves and those will depend upon how much storage you have available.

For us those nice to haves include appliance for the kitchen (induction cooktop, electric skillet, toaster, coffee pot), dishes (I recommend Correlle), silverware and utensils (keep these at a minimum until you find out how much space you really have).

For the bath at least one extra set of towels

For the bedroom at least one extra set of bedding and no matter where you intend to travel at least one blanket.

Cleaning supplies (try to find ones that can do double duty in the kitchen and bath).

Things in an RV are subject to a lot of motion when going down the road and one lesson we learned was to not fall into the habit of thinking "well, this is for the RV" and buying something inexpensive. The inexpensive can end up costing more because you'll have to replace it. 

After that clothing dependent on where you are going to travel and again keep in mind space and weight, you'll find you don't need as much as you think you might.

 

 

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7 hours ago, Texas Sooner said:

Are extended warranties/service plans a necessity for a travel trailer,

While such programs do have their place, I doubt that it would be beneficial to you. What those amount to is a health insurance plan for the RV and I suggest you read this article that was in Escapee's Magazine twice in the past. It explains why you might want one under some circumstances. For most of us, it is not a good financial decision. 

7 hours ago, Texas Sooner said:

Will we need to drain the water out of it once we get it home to keep the plumbing and tanks from freezing and rupturing? 

If you are in north TX, near the OK border, there is a possibility of a freeze damaging the RV water system unless you keep some heat in it and leave the water heater operating. Since it is February, we don't have a lot of that period left, but it could happen. Draining everything is probably enough but to be sure I also use an air fitting to blow things out with compressed air, here in the Dallas area. I would not count on finding much information in the RV owner's manual but there will be owner's manuals for nearly all of the appliances and it is worth your time to read each one of them before you store them away. If you drain things, be sure to drain the water heater as it has a separate plug and if your refrigerator has an icemaker, that too should be drained. 

6 hours ago, whj469 said:

A high dollar electric management system, surge protector plus, this is a must have.

While I am an advocate of these devices, I don't know that I would put it at the top of my list because the ones that are sufficient and provide all of the protestors also cost around $250 for a 30a model. I would make it a priority before you begin to travel extensively but as long as your home outlet is properly wired, you should be fine for a time there. You did mention that you put in the outlet so if it should be wired incorrectly one of those devices would protect the RV from a miswired outlet. It is kind of like insurance, how safe do you wish to be? 

I agree with most of what others have suggested. On the waste tank chemicals, there are a lot of differing opinions on what should be used or should not and how to keep them healthy and happy. I am not an advocate of using any of the chemical additives but do always start the black tank use with enough water in it to cover the bottom of the tank and alway use a bowl more than half full of water when flushing solid waste. If in doubt, do use one of the additives and follow the directions on the container. There is much to learn so operate to the safe side for now and then modify your choices as you learn more. 

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The highlights of what I would get right off are pretty much indicated above (chocks, leveling blocks, sewer hose, potable water hose, regular hose, electrical surge protector/EMS, torque wrench, toilet paper).  Check with your dealer to see if they are going to give you a starter package that would include a sewer hose and connections and a potable water hose (different than a regular garden type hose).  Usually the one the dealer gives you is a cheap one and you might want to upgrade it.

Make sure you look carefully at the whole trailer.  Take a cup to try out the microwave (if your trailer has one).  Look at the roof and whatever the manufacturer used around the skylights and other holes (vents, etc.).  Make sure the slide moves smoothly and the rubber seals are intact.  There are lists around for pre-delivery inspections - you can save yourself a lot of grief by spotting issues early (like cracks in the dicor or tape on the roof that’s lifted a bit).  Make sure your water heater and fridge work on both propane and AC (assuming that’s how they are made).

Definitely get your dealer to tell you how to winterize your trailer if the temps are going to dip that low (buy RV antifreeze).  Winterizing a trailer isn’t that difficult, and it doesn’t take huge amounts of time unless your fresh tank drain is slow for some reason.

I’ve seen multiple paged lists of things to have for an RV.  I found I didn’t need many of those items, but needed things not on that list.  For instance, I have a small trailer so I only have a coffee pot for a separate kitchen appliance, and can easily get by without that.  I wouldn’t spend a lot of time/money immediately getting spare parts and tools (though you WILL need them later on).  It’s very easy to overload a trailer and weight is a big thing.  Start smaller and find out what you need for YOUR style of camping.

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26 minutes ago, fpmtngal said:

 It’s very easy to overload a trailer and weight is a big thing.  Start smaller and find out what you need for YOUR style of camping.

This is very true. Our first few trips were either close to home or near a Walmart/Target where we could easily acquire things. Now when we reach a "gee I wish I had this" moment, we first decide if we can store it (weight/space) and if not, what do we want to get rid of if it is that high of a priority.

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We like Corelle for dishes, Angel Soft for TP, Rhino Flex for sewer hose, RV Water Store hoses for fresh water, an EMS, a door mat to help keep dirt outside, Swiffer for dusting including an extendable handle to do floors, Dawn (blue) for dishwashing, packing cubes or plastic shoe boxes to help organize stuff, retainer bars for fridge to keep stuff in when moving, and chargers for our electronics. That last one is so easy to forget to bring when part timing. :)

I suspect there's more but that what comes off the top of my head.

Linda Sand

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New, or new to you?  A brand new camper, has water in it already?  If worried about freezing, I'd request, if it has liquids, that the dealer throw in a winterizing of water system while you watch/help. RV anti-freeze is cheap. We just picked up what we considered the basics for our camper, hoses, power dog-bone to drop 50 amp to 30 amp which ours is wired for.  First few trips out, my wife carried a log book in the camper (still carry it, very useful).  We add anything we need to the list and pick it up before next trip.  Ask for a free tank or 2 of LP.  Check tires, alot that I have seen from factory are china bombs, that and new brakes/bearings was the first thing I did when I got it home.  Ours was used, actually 16yrs old.  You probably don't need to worry about that if new.  Second thing I did was put a progressive in-line power monitor/protection, worth it's weight in gold.

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Something else along the lines of the post above - go camping as soon as you can. Even if it’s in your driveway. It helps to actually do everything they told you about, you are more likely to remember it all.  I was camping 2 days after I got the trailer and was very glad it worked out that way, I learned a lot and got comfortable with my trailer.

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2 hours ago, fpmtngal said:

Something else along the lines of the post above - go camping as soon as you can. Even if it’s in your driveway. It helps to actually do everything they told you about, you are more likely to remember it all.  I was camping 2 days after I got the trailer and was very glad it worked out that way, I learned a lot and got comfortable with my trailer.

Our first trip was ten miles from the house we were about to sell. After that we took some things out and put others in so I'm glad we did it before selling everything.

Linda Sand

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All good advice above!  Pre-inspection, find an online forum for your unit specifically.  Spend some time there focused on common issues with used units like yours.  This will help you during the inspection.  
Don’t read about the bad stuff and let it discourage you, that’s very important.  (All brands have their problems) Try to see it like a top 3 list of things to inspect.  
If yours is new-factory-fresh, then you are probably good, so keep your top 3 list for the future.  (Examples might include caulk that cracks, and water fittings that tend to leak after some time goes by)

Items to consider;
smaller 2x8 chunks of lumber to roll tires on for side to side leveling or corner jack bracing.  Wider pieces tend to split easily in my experience.

oil filled electric heater-some feel any electric heater could “go wrong”. Your discretion. Also a weight  factor.

Small interior fan
Repurpose sleeping bags for warm bedding 
Repurpose a Travel bag For cosmetics/shower/shave items

 

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Wow.  The folks above did a really good job of listing important items.  The only thing I would add is an electric blanket.  If you've been travelling on a cold day, when you crawl into bed, it takes a looonnnngggg time to warm up.  Turn on the blanket as soon as you hook up and you'll get to sleep much quicker.

I'm not one to buy extended warranties, but everyone I know who's bought a new rv recently has been glad if they got it.  It seems rv's built in recent years have some quality issues, so it may be worth while.

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On 2/4/2021 at 8:30 AM, rickeieio said:

The only thing I would add is an electric blanket.  If you've been travelling on a cold day, when you crawl into bed, it takes a looonnnngggg time to warm up.  Turn on the blanket as soon as you hook up and you'll get to sleep much quicker.

We prefer a heated mattress pad. Heats as fast as a blanket but puts heat between you and the cold mattress and since heat rises it will be trapped above in your bedding. MY two cents.

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