Everyone’s guilty of over-packing. Unless you’re a practicing minimalist, there’s almost always something in your bag that you don’t really need. When it comes to packing for your first RV trip, those unneeded and unnecessary things can get in the way—and add lots of weight.
That’s not to say that most modern RVs, including travel trailers, aren’t perfectly roomy—in fact, there are a ton of storage areas that make traveling much easier. But there are a certain few things you’ll want with you. And you may have to make sacrifices as you do your packing.
We find it easiest to break things up into specific areas: Kitchen, Bed/Bath, and general RV needs. You’ll also find a few things we recommend leaving at home—both to save space and to make sure you have a great time on your first trip.
One of the best parts of traveling in an RV is the ability to cook meals like you would at home instead of hitting a restaurant every night. We recommend some of the following:
- Cooking utensils
- Stackable mixing bowls
- Pots and pans
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Knives and a cutting board
- Food and canned goods (unless you want to stock up once you’re there)
- Aluminum foil and food storage containers
- Dish soap
- Sponges/Scrubbers, towels, and pot holders
- Trash bags
There’s an opportunity to bring one or two appliances along, though be considerate of your space. Do you really need your bread maker? Or that particularly bulky blender? The more trips you go on, of course, the more you’ll realize what you need and what you don’t.
Bed and Bath Needs
If you’re traveling as a couple, you’ll only need one set of bedding, but remember additional bedding for every pull-out or bunk your RV may have.
- Sheets and blankets
- Towels and washcloths or shower puffs
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Toilet paper and tissues
- Shower house bag and flip flops
- Laundry detergent
RV and Camping Needs
If you’ve been camping before, you’ve got a good base idea of what to bring along for this. Remember, you’re going out to relax—to get away from things. You may still need to work, but think of the various ways you’ll get to play as well. Aside from your camping supplies, below is a list of popular items you might want to bring for some additional fun!
- Flashlights and headlamps
- Refillable water bottles
- Clothes (be sensible)
- Sunscreen and insect repellant
- Camping chairs
- Deck of cards
- Outdoor rug
- Smart phone or tablet
- Fishing gear, hiking boots, bikes, or other outdoor gear
The No-Go List
Before any trip, it’s important to remember a couple of things. First, unless you’re becoming a full-time traveler, you don’t need to pack up your entire life. A few nice decorations for the RV; sure. Otherwise, be practical and realize you’re going to be camping. Second, storage space is certainly important on an RV (like the Happier Camper, for example), but so is weight. These are a few things we recommend leaving at home.
- Heavy tools (other than those necessary to operating or working on the RV)
- Abundant kitchen appliances (as mentioned above)
- Firewood (most campsites require that no wood be carried in because of invasive species)
- Food in bulk (try meal-planning to know exactly what you’ll need)
With a few trips under your belt a few more miles on the RV, you’ll soon have a good grasp of what you need, what you want, and what you simply don’t on any trip. For the must-haves, visit Camping World, and we’ll outfit you with all of the necessities.