10 RV trip packing tips

Adventure 3 min read

Stocking up the RV in the spring is a rite of passage many winter-weary travelers look forward to as freezing temperatures dissipate and camping trips appear on the horizon. However, this task is easier said than done. If you’re a newbie stocking up for the first time, or if you’re an experienced traveler who has become frustrated with your packing routine, these tips can help you get ready to hit the road with everything you need … and nothing you don’t!

1. Buy duplicates of necessities

It’s tempting to try to save money by using your home items in your RV. This is great, until you’re lugging pillows, skillets, and camping chairs in and out of the house for every trip. If at all possible, buy extras of the things you’ll use most, and leave them in the RV. This can be done economically by picking up items at garage sales or by getting lower quality items at discount stores.

2. Make a personalized packing list

You can easily find many RV-stocking checklists online. Find one that seems the most complete, and make your own version of it with only the items that are important to you. Use it for each and every trip. After a season of camping, you’ll figure out what items to add and which ones can be marked off. Be sure to keep a note of items that need to be restocked.

3. Use packing cubes to ease storage woes

RVs are notorious for having small storage spaces, and it’s easy to get things jumbled if you’re digging through the cabinets. Use color-coded packing cubes or storage bins to sort your items. That way, you’ll only have to pull out a cube or bin to get exactly what you need. 

4. Don’t overdo it

There is so much fun stuff available for RVs and for every hobby you might dream of doing while traveling. However, packing all of this into your rig can get tiresome. You don’t have to take everything with you for every trip. Focus on the items you’ll use most.

5. Delegate!

Each person traveling should be responsible for packing their own items. Make the kids a packing list that’s appropriate for their age. You can even use photos for younger children to help them work through a packing list. Many hands make less work.

6. Plan to do laundry on the road

Instead of packing your whole wardrobe, pack enough for a few days or a week. Most campgrounds have laundry facilities, making it easy to do a few loads (even several at once!) while you’re enjoying the campground amenities.

7. Plan for all weather

No matter what season you’re traveling during, you just might encounter all kinds of weather on the road, especially if you’re going on a long, multi-state road trip. Pack basic rain gear and extra jackets, just in case. You end up spending a lot more time outside when RVing, so make sure your wardrobe is up to the challenge.

8. Prepare for minor emergencies

RV for long enough, and you’ll experience sick children, wasp nests, broken-down vehicles, or other unexpected emergencies on your journeys. It’s easy to assume you’ll get what you need when you need it, but that isn’t the case if you land in a remote campground and encounter a problem in the middle of the night. Be sure to pack the items you’ll need to get through a minor emergency. Take a tub with basic medical supplies (medicines, bandages, etc.), and be sure to pack a tool kit for minor car and RV repairs.

9. Stocking the pantry

While fresh food items cannot be loaded until the last minute, it’s good to keep some shelf-stable items in an airtight container that can be loaded and unloaded easily. This might include things like spices, oils, sugar, and canned goods. Also, keep some super easy foods in the RV for those nights when you arrive at the campground late in the evening and don’t want to cook.

10. Find creative storage solutions that work for you

If you’re struggling with a lack of packing space, look for creative solutions. Maybe an over-the-door towel hanger would help. Perhaps you could put all of your shoes in a tub that is stored outside of the RV. Look at your RV interior to see if extra hooks, shelves, or nets would maximize your use of the space. Specialty stores and online retailers sell all kinds of useful gadgets.

Hopefully, these tips will make packing a more pleasant part of the process. Load that RV, and hit the road for epic adventures!

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