Travel Trailer Setup & Takedown Guide with Checklists
Plus, helpful tips for getting safely setup when traveling with kids.

By: Dom Carson

Travel trailers are a great way to explore the outdoors and the Winnebago Micro Minnie travel trailer is an excellent option for those who want to travel with all the comforts of home. However, if you're new to hooking up travel trailers, it can be a daunting task. 

In this blog post, I'll guide you through the process of hooking up, setting up, and taking down the Winnebago Micro Minnie travel trailer, providing tips on how to do it safely, and managing to do it solo with kids. (Read this article to find out how I use my trailer for work, also!).

Hooking Up a Travel Trailer

The first step in using your Winnebago Micro Minnie travel trailer is hooking it up to your tow vehicle.

Here are the steps to follow:

1. Position the tow vehicle

  • Align the tow vehicle to your trailer and check that the trailer jack is high enough so the ball can slide under the trailer tongue with enough clearance when you back the tow vehicle up.
  • Back the tow vehicle up and position it so the ball is right under the trailer coupler. (This can take a few tries so don’t get discouraged!).
  • Put the tow vehicle in park with the emergency brake on.

2. Connect the hitch.

  • Remove the safety pin and lift and pull back the latch on the trailer tongue so that the trailer can slide onto the ball attached to your tow vehicle.
  • Lower the trailer jack so that the trailer coupler slides down onto the ball.
  • Slide the safety latch forward and down, this will tell you that you are hooked up correctly if it goes all the way.
  • Replace the safety pin in the latch.
  • If the latch will not nestle down fully you may have to pull slightly forward with the tow vehicle. Be very careful.

3. Attach the safety chains. Attach the safety chains to the tow vehicles hitch. (You must hook them to the vehicle and not the smaller holes on the weight distribution hitch if you are using one.) The chains should be crossed under the hitch in an ‘X’ pattern to keep the trailer from hitting the ground in case of a disconnection.

4. Attach the breakaway cable. This must be a separate connection, not hooked to the safety chains.

5. Connect the wiring harness. Plug the electrical cord from the trailer into the tow vehicle's electrical outlet. Check the lights to make sure they are working.

6. Remove the wheel chocks and put them in the trailer.

7. Fully retract the trailers front jack and stow any blocks.

Unhooking/Setting Up Your Travel Trailer

Once you've hooked up your trailer, towed to your campsite and parked, it's time to set it up.

Here are the steps to follow:

1. Level the trailer. Use a bubble level to ensure the trailer is level from front to back and side to side. Use blocks under the low side tires or pull forward or back to find a more level spot or you can use curved RV leveling blocks (as shown in the photo below).

2. Set wheel chocks on the side without blocks.

3. Unhook all chains and cables.

4. Detach the trailer. Place the jack block down and remove the safety pin and slide the latch up and back on the trailer tongue to release the ball. Raise the jack to lift the trailer off the ball. Double check all cables are unhooked and the trailer is blocked, then move the tow vehicle forward. 

5. Use the front jack to level front to back

6. Place all 4 stabilizer jack pads down and extend jacks onto them. These should only be used to stabilize, not to lift the trailer off the ground.

7. Extend the slide-out. If your trailer has a slide-out, extend it carefully to avoid hitting any obstacles. 

8. Open the awning, if wanted. 

9. Connect to utilities: Connect the water, sewer, and electrical utilities to the trailer if you’re at a site with services.

10. Turn on the appliances: Turn on the appliances and make sure they are working correctly. This includes the air conditioner, heater, refrigerator, and stove.

Taking Down Your Travel Trailer to Leave Camp

When it's time to take down your trailer, follow these steps:

  1. Turn off the appliances. Turn off all the appliances, including the air conditioner, heater, refrigerator, and stove.
  2. Disconnect the utilities. Disconnect the water, sewer, and electrical utilities from the trailer.
  3. Close all windows and vents and make sure everything is secure inside. 
  4. Retract the slide-out. If your trailer has a slide-out, retract it carefully to avoid hitting any obstacles.
  5. Secure the awning. Retract and secure the awning.
  6. Lock the door, fold in the handle, and lock all the storage compartments. 
  7. Raise the stabilizer jacks. Stow the pads.
  8. Now follow the same steps used in the hooking up section above.

Tips for Hooking Up and Taking Down Your Trailer Safely

When hooking up, setting up, and taking down your trailer, safety is a top priority. 

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Always use a spotter: When backing up your tow vehicle to the trailer, use a spotter to guide you. I frequently do this alone and I find our aftermarket back up camera really useful.
  • Check the weight: Make sure the weight of the trailer does not exceed the towing capacity of your tow vehicle.
  • Keep the trailer level: Leveling the trailer is crucial to ensure stability and prevent accidents.
  • Be aware of height: Watch out for overhead clearance when driving with the trailer.
  • Check the brakes: Make sure the trailer brakes are working correctly.

Tips for When You’re Hooking Up/Taking Down the Trailer With Kids

First and foremost, make sure that children are safely secured in the vehicle away from the trailer and hitching area. At home, I usually try to hook up the trailer when our daughter is either napping during the day or I will hook it up after she goes to bed the night before we plan to leave. When she was younger, it was easy to have her secured in the car seat while we were hooking up. 

When I pull into a campsite, I keep both her and the dogs inside of the truck while I am leveling and unhooking the trailer. I usually pack some extra fun snacks for her so she is content to stay in the vehicle for a bit longer. I find it easier to focus on what I’m doing with the trailer when I know they are all safely contained. 

Sometimes, I have to hook the trailer up with her out and to keep her safe, I just hold her in my arms. 

Some Extra Tips for Travel Trailer Setup

I have these lists saved in a favorites folder on my phone and will have them up as I’m hooking up, setting up, and taking down. I like the reassurance that I won’t forget anything (especially after a long winter) and it makes me confident that I can do it alone. 

One thing that my step-mom taught me was that only one person should be responsible for hooking up the trailer at a time. This means that if I am doing it today, my partner is just watching or doing something else. By doing this, I can be fully responsible for making sure every step is done correctly and we don’t share the jobs and accidentally miss one step because we think the other person did it. 

This is all something that takes practice and once you do it a few times, you’ll feel more confident with it! I hope that I’ve given you some comprehensive steps to follow so that you can give it a try yourself and maybe open up some new doors for further exploration! 

Save or screenshot the free downloadables below so you can save them to your phone for future reference. I hope this guide and checklists help! Happy camping! 


Comments on this post are moderated, so they will not appear instantly. All relevant questions and helpful notes are welcome! If you have a service inquiry or question related to your RV, please reach out to the customer care team directly using the phone numbers or contact form on this page .

User commented on June 18, 2023 12:06 PM
One step omitted was anti sway and leveling bars.
User commented on June 18, 2023 12:42 PM
Didn’t see a reminder to fold & store entrance steps. You mention folding door hand rail, but forgot steps!
User commented on June 18, 2023 4:42 PM
With a trailer the size of the one in the story, there really should be a load leveling anti-sway hitch installed. Even our 16' Airstream uses one. Without it, the rear of our tow vehicle sagged and the trailer would sway from time to time. We are former Winnebago View owners. I miss it.
User commented on June 19, 2023 4:33 AM
The stabilizing jacks should be retracted before lower the trailer onto the tow vehical hitch.
User commented on June 19, 2023 6:48 AM
The point about one person doing the job start to finish is a good one. I got distracted once while installing the load leveling hitch and connecting up. As I walked out to jump in the truck to go, I paused to close the under bed storage and noticed a hitch pin laying in it. I glanced under the truck and saw the hitch was in the receiver but not pinned. Given my steep driveway, that could have been a bad day.
User commented on June 23, 2023 3:26 PM
My husband and I have a Winnebago Voyage travel trailer. I usually secure the inside of the trailer and he does the exterior...but we both know each other's jobs and could do them if need be. Two additional points to make: 1. Use a checklist, no matter how experienced you are at camping. This is our third season but we still use a thorough checklist - one that we've customized for our trailer. (My husband is a retired military helicopter pilot and believes in checklists for safety). I print a fresh copy for each trip. I can also make notes of things we've forgotten or repairs that need to be done on the list to take care of when we are home. 2. GOAL - Get Out And Look. It's even easier to look before you get in the truck. We take a moment to review the list to be sure we haven't missed anything. But then we both also walk around the truck & trailer before we leave. The few minutes it takes to double-check each other's work is worth it. Happy Camping!