san diego KOA

How to Connect an RV to Full Hookups

As a newbie to RVing we had no idea how to connect an RV to full hookups when arriving at a campsite.

Of course our dealer didn’t explain any of it to us other than “just pull in and connect” (typical salesman) so we had to learn from experience and a little trial and error.  After many years on the road I think we have a pretty good idea of what works and which products are necessary for hooking up an RV at a campground.

rv surge protectors

Surge Protector

Our first two RVs didn’t have a built in surge protector so we had to purchase the external kind.  I can honestly tell you a surge protector is worth every penny as it’s saved our electrical system several times over the years.  Sure they’re bulky and expensive but trust me on this one, it’s better than getting fried. Below is the link for the 30a, 50a and built-in surge protector models we’ve owned. I’ve also included the Prime brand 50-30 step down “dog bone” which I feel is better quality than other brands plus it has a built in light to show power.

RV Water Regulator

Water Regulator

The PEX waterlines in most modern RVs can handle 100+psi but most RV manufacturers recommend keeping incoming water pressure between 40psi – 60psi.  Since water pressure varies by campground you should “always” use a water regulator.  Now I say always because we didn’t spend the big bucks on the adjustable water regulator, if you measure the pressure first and it’s under mfr. recommendations then you’re good to go without the regulator.  We purchased the Valterra brand because it allows 20% more flow than the Camco version.


best rv water set up

Water Filters and Softener

A constant battle with traveling across the USA is water quality and taste.  You never know what quality of water you’re getting from that hose connection.  In the first couple years we used to test our water at each campground but it was such a pain, now we always use a filter system.  A standard hose carbon filter is a great starting point for filtration, we prefer the Culligan brand because it has a higher flow rate and lasts longer than the Camco version (both are fine).  From there we run our water through the softener which removes more contaminants and reduces calcium which can destroy plumbing, fixtures and your water heater. We have the “Double Standard” model which is a bit larger and heavier than the “Standard” model so check the specs before purchase.  Our final step is “countertop purification” and for that we’ve been using a distiller but we recently began using the Waterlogic Firewall Hybrid instant filter that utilizes UV and Carbon Filtration that uses a fraction of the power but delivers water that’s 100% safe to drink and tastes great.


rv cable tv


A simple coax cable works for most RV parks that have a cable hook-up, and we’ve found 50ft is plenty long.  Of the few RV parks we visit in our travels only a small handful have cable, and of those only a couple have a quality non-static signal.


Sewer Connections

We have an entire article about sewer connections along with tips, tricks and product links that you can read (and watch the video) here:

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If you’re new to RVing we hope these simple full hook-up campsite connection steps will make your life a little bit simpler when arriving to a campground, if you’re a seasoned RVer and feel we’ve missed something that helps your connection process please share in the comments below.  See ya on the road!


A big THANKS to Fleetwood for hiring us to create this quick tip video and wanting to provide helpful information to RV’ers.

Famous for my "how-not-to" videos, and typically the man behind the camera, sometimes I’m forced to be here in the “spotlight”. When you see my face you’re probably reading something more technical than adventurous, but either way I do my best to tell it like it is and infuse my opinions into the commentary…after all this is a blog and not MSN.

Comments (25)

  • Monte Hicks

    Hey i have a 2008 keyston abd live in it what do i have to do if i have it hooked up to a water spekit abd there is constint water running to my tralir is there somethung i should open

  • Janet

    Question: Do you leave your sewer open to drain as used while camping or dump when full only? Thanks

    • Curious Minion

      You *never* want to leave the black tank valve open! That can lead to all sorts of unpleasantness clogging up your hose and drying out – eeew! And you should always have a pretty good quantity in the graywater tank before you dump so that it flushes the hose out after you dump the black tank. Some people leave the gray tank valve open until a day before they need to dump black so that the gray can partially fill. Others prefer to leave gray closed until you need to empty it.

  • Nina

    Great video – to the point and informative! Thank you!

  • Tamsen Jenkins

    Thank you for the great videos, links and tips. I am in my research phase at the moment and if all gose well, will be full timing it by this time next year.

  • Tsippi

    Thanks so much for this great video, which I’ve watched multiple times. I have two questions. 1) Do you worry about sodium from the softener in your drinking and cooking water? 2) When you visit Riverside County, CA (Palm Springs, etc) does anyone say anything about the softener? They are illegal in homes there; not sure about RVs. Thank you!

  • RTRick

    Turn off your ad blocker if you have one. I did and the amazon links were then visible.

  • This summer while camp hosting I was asked to show two women to their site. Once parked, one leaned out the window and said, “what next?” They had a class A motorhome and had no idea how to hook up anything! Two days later, after they were all settled in, they came in the office and asked if it was o.k. to put their jacks down.They were a trip and I give them credit for jumping in feet first.

    • Wow, that is crazy. Those are some brave women! I hate that a little education isn’t required before sending people off of the lot. With our first RV we got a brief walk through and that was that…we were on our own to figure things out.

  • Kari

    I am not able to view the amazon links. I am on my laptop, using Chrome. I will check your other page with the Amazon shopping list. Great article – thank you.

    • Thanks so much for the heads up Kari, not sure what’s going on, but we will look into it.

  • Randy Ochsenbein

    Great info as usual. Do you ever worry that someone might steal your water softener or other equipment that is NOT nailed down so to speak? I tend to worry about stuff like that.

    • We are not as it would take a few min to unhook it all and with it full of water it is heavy. We find that most campgrounds are filled with pretty great people who look out for each other.

  • Debbie from Illinois

    Great basic information. You guys do a great job with the videos.

  • Tom Quinn

    Very nice video! Thanks for sharing. Many of the things I had to learn on my own and wish the dealer would’ve shown me!

    Not required of course, but I would recommend using a 90-degree hose elbow (commonly brass) on your city water connection on the coach. It’s a little less awkward with the hose coming in from the bottom of the bay and it might prevent a hose kink or damage to the coach.

    Since you don’t use your black tank for sewage, one thing to note for those that do, when you have a full hook-up you don’t want to leave the blank tank valve open the entire time. You could end up with solids in the tank as the liquids will run out faster, and also potentially sewer gases coming back up and into your coach. Simply dump the black tank every few days depending on your usage.

    Thanks for the great videos!

  • Jim B

    I don’t see any Amazon links….using a Macbook….

  • Mike Mullin

    That’s a pretty wide range in prices for the 30 amp protectors. I’d the $83 one adequate? If not, what’s the deciding factor on which one to get?

    And why filter the water both external and internal to your RV?

    Thanks for the tips! It’s more meaningful getting recommendations from people that are full timing like you two.

  • Hi Guys! Interesting stuff you make it look easy. Odd question but… I thought you had a compost toilet and you didn’t need anything with that. Is that still the case or did you go back to the regular one.

    • Yes, we do have a composting toilet and would never go back to a regular toilet, we’re hooked! However, not everyone does so we go through all the steps as not to leave anyone out. We still have a grey tank but were able to combine our grey and black tank for additional grey water space. You can see how we did that here:

      • Donna Miller

        Could you give us the information regarding a compost toilet? Thanks!

        • Donna Miller

          Never mind… I found your video information!

  • Jason,

    “Below is the link for the 30a, 50a and built-in surge protector models we’ve owned.”

    You didn’t include the links. =)

    • you should see amazon links…if not, what are you viewing this on? (ipone, laptop…)

      • Scott

        I’m not seeing them either in Firefox 33.1.1 on a Linux desktop. I don’t imagine a Windows PC with Firefox would fare much better.


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