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Do You Have to Unhook at an RV Campground (for overnight stays)

If you’ve had a stressful or exhausting travel day, the last thing you might want to do is unhook your RV. This can be especially true if arriving at your campsite after dark and only staying for a single night. You may wonder, “Do we have to unhook the RV?” if you want to save time and energy.

Today, we’re going to look at this question so you’ll know the answer for your next overnight stay. Let’s get started.

Can I Leave My Camper Hitched Overnight?

Leaving your camper hitched overnight likely won’t cause any issues. Many RVers hitting the road early in the morning will hitch up their camper the day before. This allows them to take advantage of the sunlight and avoid making costly mistakes.

If you plan to stay inside your RV, consider dropping your landing gear or jacks to take some weight off your tow vehicle. This will reduce the movement you feel inside your rig as you move around.

Can I Leave My Fifth Wheel Hooked Up to My Truck Overnight? 

As long as you have stayed within the tow limits of your vehicle, leaving your fifth wheel hooked up to your truck overnight shouldn’t be an issue. Many RVers who travel full-time in their RVs will often stay hooked up during overnight stays.

When you plan to stay in your fifth wheel, you’ll want to park it on a level spot. This helps ensure that you can sleep comfortably and protects your propane appliances and the mechanics of your slides.

Pro Tip: Use these tips on the Right Way to Set Up an RV Campsite to make your site a success!

RVs and trucks parked in desert at campsite.
There are many pros and cons to leaving your RV hitched up over night.

Will My Camper Drain My Truck Battery? 

When you connect your camper to your trailer, it will rely on the truck’s battery to power the lights and various indicators. This is not an issue with the vehicle running as it doesn’t deplete the battery. However, some older vehicles send a constant charge through the charge pin on the seven-way connector anytime you connect something to it. Manufacturers have changed this in newer cars, so it’s important to know which type you have.

If you tow with an older vehicle and your battery may not be in good condition, you could wake up to a dead battery. So, it’s a good idea to unplug your camper from your tow vehicle at the end of the day. 

Be sure you plug your camper back into the tow vehicle before hitting the road. You don’t want to travel without brake lights, turn signals, or trailer brakes. Other drivers on the road will also appreciate you having and using all of them.

Man hooking up truck to trailer.
If you own an older vehicle, keeping your camper hooked up overnight might cause your battery to drain.

Do You Have to Unhook at an RV Campground? 

You don’t always have to unhook at an RV campground. As long as you fit within your campsite and are level, you can keep your trailer connected to your tow vehicle. However, if you need to raise or lower the front of your rig, you’ll need to unhook your RV.

You can’t lower the front of your RV when connected to your tow vehicle, but you can raise it. To safely lift your rig, you’ll need to stop before the point that it starts pulling your tow vehicle before you have to unhitch. You can damage your hitch and trailer if you lift your truck by raising your RV too much when connected.

What Are the Benefits of Staying Hooked Up Overnight?

Staying hooked up overnight is hugely beneficial, especially if you’re only stopping for the night. You don’t have to go through setting up your RV every time you park for the night. This can allow you to arrive late or leave early, whichever best fits your travel schedule.

Staying hooked up during overnight stays can also increase your safety. If an emergency happens and you need to leave quickly, you don’t have to stress when hitching up your RV. You can simply pull in any slides, raise any jacks, and hop in your tow vehicle to be on your way. Hooking up an RV is stressful enough, but trying to do it during an emergency or chaotic situation isn’t going to make it any easier.

Pro Tip: New to RV life? Find out Should You Leave Your RV Tanks Open at a Campground with Full Hook-Ups?

Truck parked next to RV at ocean.
If you’re heading out early in the morning, staying hooked up overnight can make hitting the road first thing easier.

What Are the Disadvantages of Staying Hooked Up Overnight?

The benefits of staying hooked up during overnight stays may outweigh the disadvantages. If you plan to stay in your RV, you’ll need to find a level spot to park. Doing so while hooked up to your truck can cause some problems. Your RV’s propane system requires levelness to work efficiently. Additionally, your propane refrigerator and other appliances may struggle if not on flat ground. You may also have difficulty getting comfortable in your RV.

Is It Worth Unhooking at an RV Campground for a One-Night Stay?

If you’re only staying for one night, it’s likely not worth the hassle to completely unhook your RV, especially after a stressful or exhausting travel day. As long as your RV is secure, your time is likely better spent getting some rest for your next travel day. 

You can always drop your leveling jacks or tongue jack to give your tow vehicle some help and stabilize your rig for the night. Ensure you bring up your jacks and connect your seven-way pin in the morning.

Do you prefer to stay hooked up for overnight stays in your RV? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!

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