Know Before You Go Camping in British Columbia.  Looking to find winter camping?

Gold Creek - Golden Ears Provincial Park

7 Steps to Getting Your Camper or RV ready for the Camping Season

When we get a day or two of sunshine at this time of year I, like others who Camp/RV, start counting the days until our first trip. So, it’s time to plan the number of camping trips and prepare the trailer for the first outdoor adventure. We have a 24.5-foot Denali and here are the seven main steps I take to prepare.

Camping Season is Almost Here | Photo PoMoDee

1. Start Booking Your Camping Spots

It’s time to do the camping mambo, so to speak.  We turn to our calendars, or in my case my cell phone’s digital one.  I plan all my trips in that handy, trusty little box, that does such a good job that I have now enlisted it to telling me when to book.  This year I want to camp in a BC Provincial Park and go online to BC Parks reservation system to make a booking. They have information on their site about how far in advance you can book and which sites require a reservation.  I check with friends to see who will join in, and then enter my data and book it as soon as I can.  If you prefer you can call the BC Parks call centre. 

Reservations for 2023 open in March for Parks Canada sites, and private campgrounds are already booking up fast. Get more information on most campgrounds in BC here.

Cleaning the Roof | Photo PoMoDee

2. Air Out The Unit And Give It A Good Clean

So now I’ve booked my site, and it’s time to “wake up” my summer home.  Laugh at my wording, but it has been a cold, rainy, snowy fall and winter so it’s time to think about the unveiling of the RV, Motorhome or even the tent.  Who says you can’t bring out the tent and dust it off, set it up and make sure that all the zippers, pulls and guy wires are intact?  Great time to give it a wash and really air it out. Tenters often don’t give a thought to their sleeping accommodation until packing the vehicle for the trip or worse, they arrive at the location and find that its missing pieces or it has “had” a winter stow-a-way.  Let this year be different – a prepared year.

Time to Remove the Cover | Photo PoMoDee

It really doesn’t matter what your mode of camping is, they all have similarities that need attending to.  Chances are your RV or camper has been closed up, unattended for the last five months. First thing to do is take off the protective covering you used for storing.  But before pulling it off, why not give it a really good shampoo and a hose down and let it dry, before packing it away for the next five plus months.  You will feel better about storing the cover clean, so when it comes time to put the RV to sleep for next winter it’s one less thing to do.

Check Your Tires | Photo PoMoDee

3. Time For Maintenance on Your Tires

We have finished washing and drying the cover which is stored for the season -– what’s next?  Tires.  The vehicle has been leaning on them for the winter and might just be a little “tired”, so why not take the time now to rotate, clean and grease the bearings.  Checking over every inch of the outside is the best place to start.  Make sure there are no new problems that need attending to. 

4. Water System On Board? Time For A Good Flushing

If you have a travel trailer, tent trailer, fifth wheel, motorhome or even a truck camper, chances are you have a water system attached that you winterized for the winter.  You used a non-toxic antifreeze designed for RVs and will now need to flush the system out with fresh water until there is no more pink water flowing.  Once this is done, some people like to add a ¼ cup of liquid bleach and run it through the tank and then flush it once again with fresh water.  Once this is done, it is now time to turn the heater’s bypass valve into the operating (normal) position and check each and every tap and faucet for leaks.  Better to find it now rather than on a camping trip.

RV Supplies (note the prices shown are not necessarily current prices) | Photo PoMoDee

5. Check Your Batteries

Always wear protective safety gear when checking batteries at any time.  First, make sure you have disconnected the hook-up power (the 120V power cord) and then make sure that all power is in the OFF position.  We trickle charge our trailer all winter to maintain charge to the battery – other friends remove their batteries in the fall and keep them stored with a trickle charge in their shed or garage. Check the battery connections to make sure that they are clean and that the terminals have not corroded over the fall and winter.  Check all sides including the bottom of the battery for cracks, as this sometimes happens during a severe winter freeze.  Replace all cracked batteries.  Check the battery fluid levels and only use “distilled water”.

Inspect Propane Tanks

6. Inspect Propane Tanks

Propane tanks are the next item up for inspection.  Make sure the tanks are in the off position.  This is where you want to check hoses, regulators and valves for premature aging and/or drying out.  If you notice any of the above, replace and then proceed to testing the refrigerator, stove and furnace.

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7. Clean the Inside

Final things to do, is give the whole inside a complete wash, vacuum and wipe out all cupboards and drawers. I always do a thorough clean before putting the RV to sleep for the winter but I also do a spring clean to freshen the trailer. It allows me to check for leaks, mold or if pests have entered. I then open windows to air out the rig to make sure I have clean air for the first trip. As well as inside, I clean out the passthroughs and repacking this allows me to confirm I have all items needed for the first camping trip and to purge unwanted items.

For more tips check out: RV Maintenance Tips for Keeping Your Exterior in Top Shape

To locate places to camp in BC go to the Camping Map.

Share your BC travel and camping pictures using hashtag #campinbc, #explorebc

It’s always a great day to #CampinBC

Published: February 28th, 2023

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