RV Checklist: What Do You Need?

Not again! George and Marsha Burke had been looking forward to their trip for months. They researched their destination to ensure that they would hit all of the sights and still have time to relax. They found the best deal for their transportation. Marsha had spent several hours comparing motorhomes online before they settled on which one to rent. They packed up their belongings and went to pick up the RV.

Easy to Find Checklist

When they stepped inside, they discovered a bare mattress in the bedroom. This wasn’t a huge problem because, being from Minnesota, they always carried a few blankets in the trunk of their car in case of emergencies. The issue that truly caught them unaware was discovered when they were ready to cook dinner–several hundred miles down the road. There were no pots, pans, plates, or utensils in the kitchen. At that point, the Burkes were wishing they had double-checked an RV checklist easily found online.

Basic Camping Needs

A list of basic camping needs would vary widely depending on the level of camping a traveler is planning on doing.

Basic First Aid Kit


This is a selection of items one might want whether camping in a tent, camper, or RV.

  • First aid kit–it’s advisable to keep one in your car at all times, as well.
  • Bug spray or citronella candles and sunscreen
  • Batteries
  • Flashlight, camping lantern, or phone with a light
  • Camera or phone with camera
  • Compass or phone with compass
  • Maps or GPS
  • Several days’ worth of water–for drinking, cooking, and clean up
  • Phone charger
  • Camping chairs
  • Swiss Army or pocketknife
  • Tool set including a hammer, saw or axe–for firewood, tire set with jack
  • Tarps, ropes, bungee straps, and duck tape
  • Quarters–may be necessary for hot showers, laundry, vending machines, or pay phones
Many of these items are for sale at the main office of some RV parks or campgrounds. It is a good idea to obtain knowledge of the destination and what amenities it offers.

Personal Camping Needs

When packing clothing and other personal items, it is better to be fully prepared for any and all temperatures and weather conditions. Some areas, although hot during the day can become fatally cold at night for an unprepared camper.

  • Hiking shoes or boots
  • Athletic shoes
  • Shower shoes–for use in public shower facilities
  • Long and short pants–during summer anyway
  • T-shirts, sweatshirts or flannels, and a jacket
  • Socks and under garments
  • Sleepwear
  • Bathing suit perhaps
  • Hat or cap
  • Rain gear–coat, boots, hat, umbrella

Other necessary personal items include toiletries and bedding, etc. These are additional things listed on an RV checklist to take into consideration.

Basic Sleeping Space


 Some RVs come equipped with all of the basic necessities, such as bedding, pillows, towels, and shower accessories; others do not.
Cozy Bedding


  • Bedding, such as sleeping bags, sheets, comforters, blankets, and pillows
  • Personal medications and vitamins
  • Glasses, sunglasses, contact lenses, and solution
  • Shampoo, soap, toothbrush, and toothpaste, Q-tips, razor, and blades
  • Hairbrush
  • Toilet paper
  • Towels and washcloths or sponges

The more “home-like” the sleeping space is, the more likely all occupants are to be enjoying restful nights’ sleep.

Kitchen Camping Needs

The kitchens in some RV rentals are equipped like an extended-stay motel. They have all of the basics including pots, pans, and cooking utensils, dinnerware, flatware, and cups.


Basic Kitchen


Along with the obvious range and oven, refrigerator, and sink, some also provide baking sheets, grills, and coffee makers. Verify whether the RV has the following and remember to bring them if it doesn’t.

  • Pots and pans
  • Utensils, such as a can opener, bottle opener, spatula, set of knives, etc.
  • Plates, bowls, glasses, forks, and spoons, etc.
  • Dish towels and sponges
  • Dish soap and kitchen cleaners
  • Garbage bags, broom, and mop
  • Aluminum foil or plastic wrap–sandwich bags and gallon-sized Ziplocs are handy
  • Paper towels
  • Condiments (salt, pepper, seasonings, and sauces, etc.)
Depending on the level with which one wants to “rough it,” some of these things could be combined. For example, a couple of spoons could double as cooking utensils. Some recycled plastic grocery bags could serve as trash bags…and even luggage.
Pots and Pans


Furthermore, if one plans to do all of the cooking in the kitchen of the motorhome, a BBQ grill, charcoal, firewood, lighter fluid, matches, and a lighter may be unnecessary. On the other hand, they, in addition to a cooler, may make an evening out by the fire more enjoyable.

RV Specific Camping Needs

Although some RV rentals include the majority of what is needed, it is always good to be prepared. It is better to have something and not need it than to need something and not have it.

  • Battery jumper and cables
  • Flares or flashlights
  • Tire pressure gauge and tire changing tools
  • Toilet chemicals and rock salt supply
  • Power inverter
  • Levelers – unless the RV has a hydraulic leveling system
  • Wood blocks to assist in leveling
  • Motor Oil
  • Windshield wiper fluid
  • Engine Coolant
  • Tool set
  • Fire extinguishers

Additional things to remember include personal identification, health insurance cards, any vehicular insurance paperwork, AAA, and confirmation of the campground reservation. With any trip, it is a good idea to leave your destination details with a friend or family; just in case.

Just for Fun

Camping can be fun for the whole family. No matter how well prepared, though, unexpected situations may arise. The weather could turn, requiring the family to be confined to the motorhome.




One member could become ill or suffer an allergic reaction to poison ivy. Some members just might not be as enthusiastic about the great outdoors. For these instances, having a supply of indoor activities is as important as the outdoor ones.

  • Outdoor activities– balls, bats, gloves; fishing and hiking equipment; Frisbee or horseshoes
  • Deck of cards, Dominoes, or board games
  • Books or magazines
  • iPad or Kindle
  • Ham Radio or CB
  • DVDs – if you have a well-equipped RV, laptop, or a portable DVD player

Additional items would include things like guidebooks featuring the local flora and fauna. This makes hikes more enjoyable, informative, and safe. It might not be a bad idea to pack easy snacks for on the go, as well as the traditional ingredients for S’mores.

In Conclusion

Obviously, different families requirements vary. The beauty of a ready-made RV checklist is that it provides the items most likely to be needed, as well as forgotten. This allows campers to begin the dialogue about what actual equipment is offered with the rental. It also helps establish what type of action the family, as a whole, is expecting. By being prepared, the Burkes can discuss whether a wild adventure or a moderate campground experience is more their cup of tea. When they arrive, George and Marsha can sit back and relax, knowing that they had planned for every contingency.

Thanks for reading!

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