Tips to Prepare Your RV For Tailgate Season
I can’t believe it’s already August! We’ve got NFL preseason games on now and it’s not long until college football will start up.
But first, we really need to get the RV in shape. It’s time to transition from camping season to tailgating season. It’s like RV spring cleaning but in the dead of summer heat.
So, get out your cleaning gloves and your elbow grease. It’s time to prepare your RV for tailgate season!
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Prepare Your RV for Tailgating Season
I’ve got four weekends until football season. That’s not a lot of time to prepare the RV, especially when you consider the schedule.
The next two weekends are full of things like football Fan Day and Open Practice.
And one of the couples at the tailgate will be having a baby this fall. At least they are having the baby shower before the season starts. But that’s another weekend day gone.
I’ve also got two charity events that will take up weekend days between now and kickoff.
My weekends are pretty full between now and the football season starting. I have only three weekend days without anything currently scheduled before I head out to the first tailgate.
So it looks like some of these projects are going to have to be week night endeavors. The good news is that it is easy to break down the giant task of getting the RV ready when you plan far enough in advance.
Not so busy yourself? Check out these 30 Tips To Survive Until Football Season to help pass the days till kickoff.
Tasks Perfect for Weeknight Prep
Here are some of the tasks that I can easily do during the week, to save the limited weekend time for big projects.
Spray the Outdoor Gear
A new bottle of Permethrin has already been ordered and arrived.
Added bonus, it also kills fleas, ticks, and lice. All nasty pests that no one has time for during tailgate season.
One preseason application is generally sufficient to get past the mosquito season. Permethrin is generally good for six weeks, which puts us into October. When the bugs are less pesky.
This is an easy weeknight project – it generally takes less than an hour to pull the chairs out of the RV and spray them down. Then I’ll leave the chairs in the garage to completely dry out.
The next evening, I’ll pack all the chairs back up and store them in the basement.
Clear Out Unused Items in the RV Basement
Going through the RV basement is a bit of a task.
But it is so much better to do when the slides are in. No bumping your head on the slide or hurting your back by bending over the whole time.
And since I’ll already have the chairs out, that’s half the work. I’ll spend one evening, when I’m packing up the chairs after spraying them for the mosquito repellent just going through the basement compartments. Getting rid of items that I’ve collected but don’t ever use.
Yes, I’m pretty bad about collecting all the latest tailgating gadgets. Some of which never get used. Some of which are duds. These need to go.
It’s also a great time to make sure all the fans are in the RV. Because you know those early season tailgates are going to be brutally hot.
Sanitize The Water System
I usually do this about twice a year. Once during spring cleaning.
And again right before football season.
I want to make sure that no one gets sick from drinking the water from the RV tanks, so I pay particular attention to possible contamination in the water system. No one has time for being sick during tailgating season!
Since I don’t need to pull the slides out and the water just needs to sit there for a long time, this is a great weeknight task.
To sanitize the RV water system:
- Dilute 1/4 cup of bleach into a gallon of water for every 15 gallons of water in your fresh water tank.
- Add this to your freshwater tank. Hopefully, you have a gravity fill system to make it real easy. Otherwise, you’ll need to funnel it into your hose.
- Once you pour the diluted bleach + water mixture into the tank, then finish filling it up with fresh water.
- Run the water at each tap until you smell bleach (kitchen sink, bathroom sink, shower, outdoor shower, toilet). Close the tap.
- Let it sit overnight or at least four hours.
- Drain your freshwater tank. Refill with fresh water.
- Open each faucet and run the water until you cannot smell any bleach.
- Close all faucets.
Hey, at least you don’t have to worry about flushing any antifreeze out of the system this time around!
Regularly checking engine fluids and battery levels is part of RV maintenance.
Since they found an oil leak from my engine oil back in December when I took the RV in for service, I need to make sure that the fix is still working. And check the oil level. Hopefully, I won’t need any additional oil. I haven’t driven enough miles yet to need an engine oil change, so just checking the fluids should be sufficient there.
However, since I took the RV out several times, for baseball tailgating and other overnight stops with the generator running, this spring and summer, I also need to change out the oil in the generator.
Learning to change the oil in your generator will save you a lot of money. As tailgaters, we tend to run our generators more than most RVers.
And all those generator hours mean regular oil changes. If you are paying someone else to do these, it’ll add up fast.
Clear Out the Electronics
Tailgating means lots of pictures and videos.
Last season, I shot over 52 GB of photos and videos on my cellphone alone! That’s not including any photos or videos from other cameras.
So I need to clear out the memory on my cellphone and cameras.
For me, that means downloading everything directly to my computer and then deleting it off the phone or camera memory. I’ve found that just hooking it up to the computer and letting it run for several hours does the job.
Don’t forget to clear out your Dash Cam too!
Tickets and Parking Passes
Within the next few weeks, we will all be getting our tickets and our parking passes delivered.
In particular, the parking passes tend to come electronically and they require you to print them out at home.
To keep things simple during the season, I print all my passes out when they first come in. Then I store them inside the RV, near the drivers seat so that I can reach them once I get to the RV lot on Friday.
The tickets also get stored inside the RV once they get delivered. Those are hidden away, and I’m not telling you where they are! (Those Clean Old Fashioned Hate tickets can be valuable on the secondary market)
But by storing both the tickets and parking passes in the RV, it is one less thing to remember come game day. Or rather, game weekend.
And if I need to give some away or trade them for other seats, they are available. Don’t worry, I plan on making every game. But it’s not unheard of for us to switch around tickets when friends have extra family members or friends coming to games. Having all the tickets on hand just makes that easier.
General RV Cleaning
It is amazing how dirty the RV gets during the summer camping season.
Sand, gravel, dirt, dog hair. It all collects no matter how much I try to clean as I go.
As a result, I need to do a deep clean a couple times a year. And what better time than right now?
Unfortunately, to do a proper clean, I need to pull all the slides out. This means that I need room and that means taking up the whole driveway.
And that means it is a weekend job. Not to mention how long it takes to properly clean everything.
Some of the hot spots that will need special attention:
- Clean and condition the leather and the dash
- Clean wood cabinets and furniture with Pledge to help condition the wood.
- Clear clogs from the shower drain. My long hair builds up in drains really quick.
- Clean out the fridge and pantry of expired food.
- Check fire detector batteries if you have a traditional 9 volt detector instead of one with a 10 year battery.
Cleaning Out the Tailgating Closet
When the slides are in, much of the RV closet is inaccessible. All the drawers are blocked. And I have to climb over the bed to get to the hanging clothes.
So, while the slides are out for a general cleaning, I’ll also need to go through the RV closet.
I’ll need to make sure that I have clothes in the RV for tailgating. By going through the tailgating wardrobe now, I don’t have to spend so much time each week packing and unpacking. It’ll be already in the RV.
I always like to keep extra t-shirts (short and long sleeve), sweatshirts, jackets, shorts, and sweats in the RV. I know that I won’t use it all every weekend, but I’d rather have extras than not have something when I need.
After all, isn’t that one of the awesome benefits of RV tailgating? You’ve got showers for when it rains or is way hot. Or way cold. And you have clean clothes to put on after.
Also, for Georgia Tech, this is the first time in a very long time, at least that I can remember, that our White Out game is during hot weather. So I need to make sure that I have something on hand specifically for that game.
Exterior RV Cleaning
But notice, I’m not worrying a whole lot about the outside of the RV while prepping the RV for tailgating season. There are two things below that I’ll take care of, but that is it.
A full wash and wax would totally be a weekend project for me. But that is one task that I usually outsource. I hate getting up on the roof of RVs.
And since I’ll be hitting the road for game one, I’ll leave early and stop by one of the truck washes on my way out of town. It’s just not worth my limited time to take on that task myself.
RV Awning Touchup
One thing that I will take care of that is on the outside of the RV though is the awning. It’s usually something that they don’t touch at the truck washes. And is pretty easy to handle on my own.
While I have the RV out and I’m working inside, I’ll roll the awning out. Let it air out.
If there is a musty, moldy smell, then I’ll apply some Thetford RV awning cleaner to the top and bottom of the awning.
If you don’t want to buy awning cleaner, you can also dilute some bleach, in about 1:4 or 1:5 mixture. (Precision isn’t necessary here.) One advantage of the awning cleaner though is that it has UV protection for the awning where the bleach mixture won’t. But bleach still cleans.
Apply the awning cleaner, then roll it up and let it sit for an hour or more. Meanwhile, I’ll work on some other projects around the RV.
Then roll it out and thoroughly rinse it off. I’ve found that using a high-powered nozzle on the water hose is helpful for things that might be a little more stuck on.
Another thing that I’ll do on the exterior of the RV is to apply some 303 Tire Balm and Protectant to the RV tires.
Applying Protectant to your RV tires is a cheap and effective measure to extend the life of the tires. It helps to stop cracking and dry rot.
And makes the tires look good.
Upgrades to Make Livability Better
It’s been on my to do list for awhile – I’ve even had the materials for over a year, just sitting in my garage.
It is time to finally install the Reflectix that’s just been staring at me, begging to be put to use in the RV.
Reflectix in the exterior cabinets and behind large furniture like the sofa really helps reduce the heat transfer.
In the summer, it keeps everything inside cooler as it reflects the sun’s energy away from the RV.
In the winter, Reflectix keeps the heat inside the RV.
Time permitting, I’ll probably do some other minor upgrades to the RV.
And I’ve already done one of the best RV mods for livability: upgrading the RV shower head!
Ready or Not, Here Comes RV Tailgating Season
Looking forward to college football and the best of RV tailgating!
This year, my first college football tailgate will be Georgia Tech at Clemson on a Thursday night. August 29. What’s your first game this year?
What else are you doing to prepare your RV for tailgating season? Comment below!
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