Pre-Flight Checklist?

Early last year a friend asked us if we didn’t need to use a checklist before we depart a campground and tow the trailer.  We laughed off the question, stating the obvious, “We do this every week, we’re good at it.”  There are a number of ways we could mess up our trailer, if we didn’t sort things properly before driving away.  One example is the rooftop stuff – imagine some of these things being torn off the roof or driven down into the trailer by a low hanging limb.

1-P1020777

Or what if, as our friends were recounting tonight, we failed to latch a window?  There is a tremendous pressure change when a big truck passes us on the highway and we’ve heard stories of windows mysteriously disappearing on driving days.  If you’re good with masking tape and fortunate enough to find double-ply cardboard in the nearest dumpster then perhaps you don’t need that window.  On the other hand, do you really want to give away something so dear?

Outside view of temp window

The thing is, you never know what you’re missing until it’s gone.  Friends were talking this evening of the events they’ve suffered, or have heard of from others, caused by not properly preparing the truck or trailer for towing down the road.  There are seemingly endless ways to ruin your day and perhaps empty your wallet through carelessness.  We finally saw the light, thanks in part to Doug’s and another Airstreamer, Marshall’s suggestions.

We use a checklist before every towing day.  Included in the list is Marshall’s item, to look at the entire rig from 100′ away and see the big picture.  Does anything look wrong from “out there?”  Then work on the checklist.

Friends suggested tonight we could share this list here, and lacking a more important topic we decided to comply.  Then again, maybe this is the most important topic we could share?  Here’s the checklist:

                  INDOOR ITEMS
Jewelry on wife
Jewelry box on lower shelf
Windows closed and latched
Vents closed, including Salem (ram) vent
Water pump off
Cabinets lashed and closed, including pantry doors
Brita pitcher and fruit bowl stored in sink
Catalytic heater stowed and latched
Shower head, etc. on shower floor
Headphones and TV put away
Items secured in vanity cabinet
Desk drawer secured
Laptops put away and stored
Inverter off
Furnace thermostat turned down
Outdoor temperature thermometer placed inside
Oven pilot lite off
Purse and food bag in truck
                    OUTDOOR ITEMS
Awnings closed and latched rear and both sides
Bars, breakaway, chains, and seven-way plug all connected
Chocks removed and stored
Jack stand removed and stored
D/C water, store hose and filter
Unplug shore power connection, store cords
If boondocking, d/c inverter, unplug from inverter, store cord, set Fridge to auto operation
Antennas down
Solar panels down and latched
Door closed and latched, double-locked
Doormat stowed in truck
Steps folded up
Tire pressure monitor hooked up and reading 4 trailer tires
Lucy  (our GPS) plugged in and reset trip miles
Mirrors extended for towing
Check brake and turn signal lights
Leveling Blocks stored

_______________________________

This list is on our iPad and our iPhone, so we can access it readily before towing.  You may have fewer, or more, issues you want included.  You may not need a list.  We thought we didn’t until we realized WE DO.

Thanks to Doug for reminding us we are fallible.  We should have listened sooner.  Thanks to Marshall for the apt suggestion of looking at the big picture too.  And thanks to Rich and Julie, John and Barbara, and Jay for suggesting we share the checklist here.  We need all the help we can get and really appreciate our friends.

See you down the road!

Jim and Debbie

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5 responses to “Pre-Flight Checklist?

  1. Love it…. jewelry first :-)

  2. Glad we discussed this with our new Airstreamers last night. Thanks for posting it. My “jewelry” is my camera and accessories. We also have dog related items for Geo on our list.

  3. Selene Montgomery

    On our first trip in our second RV, a seasoned camper saw us going through a checklist while hooking up our fifth wheel. He said to never give up the checklist or at some point we’d pay the price. With 7 years and 4 RVs under our belt, we still use our departure checklist, and it has saved us many times.

  4. Carolyn Beardshear

    And we Airstreamers always brag about “not having to pack a suitcase” when we change locations. Yeah. Be careful what you wish for. Still, I wouldn’t change our lifestyle for anything.

    • It was sort of funny, two years ago, when we crashed the Fiat 500, that all our possessions from the car were in Wal-Mart bags. Lacking a suitcase, we packed into small shopping bags. Worked fine until the wrecker guy needed all our stuff out of the car. “These twelve shopping bags and the laptop case are ours”.

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