There’s a lot of amazing stuff you can do in a week-long camping trip.
You could do a tour of several of the national parks… or one long in-depth visit with one of the biggest, like Yellowstone or Glacier.
You could traverse the west coast’s famous Highway 1 from end to end.
But no matter what you’re doing for your seven-day camping extravaganza, packing for it can be a challenge. In this post, we’ll walk you through how to pack for a week-long trip, including all the factors you need to think about while you’re making your packing list.
How to Pack for a Week Long Trip
Packing for any trip is a skill that requires practice. But packing for longer trips takes even more forethought.
That’s doubly true for when you’re packing for an RV trip, where you’ll have to be sure you have not only your personal essentials, but household essentials as well, like bedsheets, cookware, and towels.
When considering what to pack for a one-week trip, we recommend making not just one all-encompassing list, but rather separating it up into several categories, which will help ensure you remember to take everything you need. For example, here are some sample 1-week packing lists that may work for you and your family.
- NOTE: For camping, it’s a good idea to ensure your clothing is lightweight, moisture-wicking, and can be layered. That way, you can adjust your outfits to the temperature around you, no matter what activity you’re partaking in or what the weather is like. Of course, if you’re planning a winter camping trip or to travel somewhere snowy, it’s important to bring along even more outerwear and gear built specifically for more serious weather.
Accessories and Personal Items
- Clothing accessories, like hats and scarves
- Personal electronic items, like cell phones and laptops (although it’s nice to take the chance to disconnect if you can!)
- Medications and other necessary personal devices, like inhalers
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Body wash
- Face wash
- Moisturizers, including any special facial moisturizers you might use
- Sunscreen and chapstick with SPF
- Hair products, brushes, etc
- Tweezers and other grooming supplies
- This list will vary depending on what your version of “adventure” looks like, but don’t get caught without the gear you need to make your dream vacation a reality! Whether that means special hiking gear (like boots and trekking poles), your trusty mountain bike, or a kayak, be sure to bring it — or make arrangements for rentals once you arrive at your destination.
And, for an RV trip, wherein you’re basically bringing a whole house along for the ride, don’t forget about the following categories:
- Pots, pans, mixing bowls, cooking utensils, and everything else you need to whip up your favorite recipes
- Dishes for serving and eating
- Flatware and serveware
- Kitchen towels
Linens and Towels
- Bath towels
- Hand towels
- Face towels
Household Goods, Including Food
- Dry foods, like cereal and rice
- Fresh foods, like produce, milk, and deli meats
- Road snacks, like nuts and jerky
- Other miscellaneous household items, like paper towels and hand soap
Emergency Safety Items
From traffic triangles to thermal blankets, there are certain emergency items no camper should be without. Here’s our post on emergency preparedness items you need to have onboard before you pull out of the driveway.
What Should I Pack for a 7-Day Trip?
As you can see, packing for a week-long trip can be pretty overwhelming, particularly in the event that you’re renting an RV. All those household goods, food, etc can end up taking up a lot of space, both mentally and physically. And along with making sure everything’s represented, you also need to make sure you have enough of everything to last for a whole week.
That said, when looking over your week-long trip packing list, it’s important to think critically about things you might *not* need, as well — or at least to plan to buy some of the items once you arrive. (This is especially true for those taking their vacation in a travel trailer, where weight is an important consideration and can even be a safety concern.)
For instance, on the list above, you’ll note the “cookware” and “linens and towels” categories may have been taken care of by the RV renter-owner, who often provides these items when you’re renting on the peer-to-peer market. Certain RV owners may also provide adventure gear, like bicycles and kayaks, sometimes at an additional charge.
Furthermore, your grocery list holds a special place in your packing list for a week — or at least it should. We recommend that campers put off buying their groceries until they’ve arrived at their destinations, as all that food is heavy and can put a lot of extra weight into your rig. For those hauling travel trailers, that extra weight can become a serious burden on their hitch… or even a downright safety issue if it puts you over your towing weight limit. Plus, your food stores will be a lot fresher and better thought-out if you purchase them once you’re already set up at your campsite and ready to start your vacation. (That said, you probably want to make sure you have a few quick snack items, at the very least; there’s nothing like attempting to set up your campsite hangry!)
Finally, although this doesn’t directly play into what to pack for a week-long trip, we also strongly encourage campers to avoid traveling with their rigs full of water, whether fresh or waste. Water adds a shocking amount of weight — eight pounds a gallon! — and with some RVs boasting holding tanks with a combined total of over 100 gallons, water is a fast way to take your weight over the limit. Instead, fill up once you arrive at the campground… or, if you’re boondocking, right before you get to the point where it’s time to get off-grid.
How Do You Pack Light for a Week-Long Trip?
We’ve covered all the basics of your week vacation packing list. But just as important as considering what to pack for a week-long trip… is considering what not to.
It’s all too easy to *over*pack for your week-long vacation, and doing so can quickly lead to a claustrophobic, cluttered camping space that’s anything but relaxing. Thus, learning how to pack for a week trip is also the process of learning how to avoid going overboard.
We recommend going through all of your clothing and ensuring you actually have about one outfit per day, along with any special extras you might need (some fancy duds for date night; your favorite hiking outfit for that awesome trial you found near the campground). Extra pairs of socks and underwear can come in handy and don’t take up too much space, but you want to avoid just throwing all your favorite clothing into one big pile… especially if you’re traveling with multiple people. (It may seem like your rig has a lot of storage room, but trust us, it goes fast!)
When it comes to accessories and shoes, it’s also easy to overdo it. Chances are you’re really only going to wear one, or maybe two, pairs of shoes — and if you’re actually the type to wear more than that in a week’s time, you might want to tone it down for your vacation. Packing more than you need may seem comforting, like it ensures you’ll have everything you want whenever you want it, but in the limited footprint of an RV, having too much stuff can become a burden quickly. Plus, it means more schlepping of things onto and off of the rig!
Finally, one of the easiest things to go seriously overboard with when it comes to packing for a week-long trip: food! You may be wondering how on earth you’re going to feed your family while limited by an RV’s abbreviated kitchen (and abbreviated refrigerator).
Well, for one thing, you might plan to go to the grocery store a time or two during your trip rather than trying to cram a whole bunch of fresh ingredients into your tiny little kitchen. That said, meal planning works just as well on the road as at home, and it’s easy to make a big, one-pot meal, like stew or chili, that can be reused for several lunches and dinners.
Even so, if you’ve got kids along for the ride (or just a very hungry spouse), you may not be sure how you’re going to get all of the necessary items into the confines of your RV kitchen. If that’s the case, check out this post about meal planning and fresh food storage on your RV, and these tips for building a menu specifically geared toward a vacation that’s set to last a week or longer.
How Much Clothes Should I Pack for a Week-Long Trip?
We’ve already gone over the basic rule of thumb when it comes to packing clothes: one outfit per day, plus necessary extras! That said, you might still be wondering how you’re going to fit all those clothes into your RV closet.
As anyone who’s ever read or watched Marie Kondo knows, folding up your clothing is a great way to keep them neat, organized — and, most importantly, taking up as little real estate as possible. It can also be a good idea to utilize extra organization tools and techniques, such as purchasing hanging closet organizers to separate out more of the closet space and ensure everyone has the room they need for their items.
We’ve also written a variety of RVshare blog posts about fun ways to ensure your rig is well-organized, such as:
- How to Keep Your Camper Organized
- 5 Secret Ways To Organize Your RV Cupboard Space
- 8 Clever Ways to Add More Space to your Camper
No matter where your week-long trip is taking you, renting on the RVshare peer-to-peer market is a great way to get where you’re going with ease. Our network of well-maintained rigs are owned and offered for rent by everyday people just like you, which means you stand to save a bundle on the big box store prices.
Along with cash savings, renting on the peer-to-peer market gives you the opportunity to choose from a wider array of RV body styles and types, as well as to use the opportunity to potentially even make a friend in the bargain.
Check out the RVshare rental listings in your area today to get your one-week trip of a lifetime started!
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