The Off-Road Camper Trailer Shakedown Trip: What You Need to Know


You’ve finally purchased your new off-road camper, and now it’s finally time for your long-awaited maiden voyage. But before you go away for several weeks or months to remote locations, it’s best to go on a shakedown trip first.

A shakedown trip in your off-road camper trailer will help you test-run the trailer, identify potential issues and prepare for a longer trip. In this post, we’ll explain how a shakedown trip works and all you need to know about it.

What is a shakedown trip?

This is a short trip in your new camper trailer, usually somewhere close to home, to test the trailer and get familiar with it before your first off-road trip. Going on a shakedown trip before your main trip helps you figure out what you need to plan for your main trip, get familiar with your camper’s system, appliances, and accessories, identify potential issues, and work out any kinks before your main trip.

Tips for a successful shakedown trip

Choose A Reasonable Destination

A shakedown trip is a simple one in a controlled environment. You don’t want to travel too far from home for this trip since you’re just getting used to your camper trailer. Choose somewhere nearby to call for help if you encounter any issues.

Do a Pre-Trip Inspection

Read your user manual and thoroughly check your vehicle and trailer before you hit the road. Inspect everything from tires to brakes, batteries, suspension, and other essential components. Ensure you fix any issues you identify and ensure the vehicle is in perfect working order.

Do a Practice Setup

One of the goals of a shakedown trip is to get familiar with the setup of your camper trailer.

Practice setting up and taking down the trailer a few times before the trip. That way, you can identify and fix any issues with this process before the actual trip.

Make a Checklist and Pack Essentials

A shakedown checklist isn’t just about your camping vehicle. It also helps you figure out what to pack and how to prepare for your main trip.  You must make a comprehensive checklist of everything you’ll need for your off-road trip and pack them. This lets you figure out the best way to pack the essentials without cluttering your RV.

Know Your Trailer’s Limitations

Check the manual to understand the capabilities and limitations of your camper trailer, such as the towing capacity, weight distribution, off-road performance, ground clearance, and so on. The shakedown trip allows you to plan a trip considering all these limitations.

Brush Up On Your Off-Roading Trip

Whether you’re new to offroading or you’ve been out a few times, your shakedown trip is an opportunity to brush up on your skills. You may consider signing up for a training course or going on a trip with an expert. Before hitting the road, you should also practice towing or driving your RV

Off-road driving requires extra caution and a different style than regular road travel. Head to a nearby empty parking lot to get familiar with the basics and learn how to back up, avoid obstacles, and maneuver the vehicle effectively.

Document and Evaluate

Your shakedown trip is meant to be a learning experience, so take notes. Pay attention to your trailer’s performance, and note any system and accessories issues. Evaluate the trip and determine areas you need to adjust for future trips.


Even though it’s just a shakedown trip, don’t forget to have fun and enjoy it. It’s an opportunity to experience the great outdoors, so enjoy the experience while learning as much as possible about your new camper trailer and future adventure.