30+ Things You Should Never Set off in your RV Without

Last updated on May 14th, 2021 at 02:26 pm. Originally published on July 17th, 2017

Headed out on your first-ever RV trip?

It’s an exciting time, that’s for sure. You’re about to take on the road in a brand new way and have an epic adventure!

RVing is a unique way to travel because you get to take your trip at your own pace, customizing your itinerary and even changing it on a dime. You can plan out an amazing route filled with fascinating stops or make a simple beach getaway weekend into your own private island oasis. That’s what draws so many travelers to this unique way to see the country in the first world: It really is all up to you.

But if you’ve never gone on an RV trip before, you could be scratching your head about what exactly you need to bring along for the ride. After all, it’s not as simple as packing a suitcase full of clothes and hopping on an airplane. You’re basically driving a house on wheels, which means your list of travel essentials is totally different in a motorhome!

So, camping supplies do you need to have on your checklist? We put together this list of tips and tricks for first time RV camping beginners so you won’t leave home without everything you need.

RV Necessities

First of all, let’s talk about the necessities and essentials you’ll need for an RV road trip that you might not immediately think about.

Sure, you still need clothing, shoes, and toiletries… but you also need actual toilet paper, not to mention towels, cups, dishes, silverware, sheets, pillows, and more.

Fortunately, many rental RVs come equipped with all of these amenities, which can be a pretty huge convenience — even one you might consider paying extra for, which some rental agencies will ask you to do. Just imagine having to drag all of those everyday items into your rig from home before your trip. Not the most relaxing start to a vacation!

RVs also benefit from having some mechanical equipment onboard, since they are such large and fairly complex vehicles. For instance, your RV’s wastewater holding tanks mean you’ll need sewer hoses and connections, and you’ll also need the equipment to connect to your electrical and cable hookups. When connecting to a city water source, always make sure you use a certified potable water hose to avoid imparting any funky odors or flavors to your drinking water — they’re easy to spot because they’re bright white!

It’s also a good idea to keep an emergency kit on board, just in case — better safe than sorry. This might include simple tools to help on the roadside should you suddenly get a flat tire, but also road flares, warning triangles, and first aid supplies.

So now that you’re thinking more broadly about how much stuff goes into a well-prepared RV trip, let’s get into the nitty gritty. Here’s a simple list of RV packing essentials for beginners.

RV Camping Essential List

With so much stuff to think about, it’s easy to forget necessities like cooking supplies and pillows! Here’s what you need to make sure you have on board before you set out.

General Essentials to Pack in an RV

  • Electrical hookup cords
  • Sewer hose
  • Auxiliary cable for TV connection
  • Mobile hotspot for reliable WiFi or other signal boost equipment
  • Emergency kit

RV Living Essentials

  • Bedding including sheets, covers, pillows, and blankets
  • Towels: bath, hand, facial, dish and beach
  • Window coverings, if your rig doesn’t come with them
  • DVDs, books or other indoor entertainment items
  • Personal electronics, like laptops and cell phones, and their chargers
  • Prescription and preventative medications; facial tissues
  • Cleaning supplies including chemicals, hand vacuum, wet mop, etc

RV Kitchen Essentials

  • Dishes
  • Cups
  • Silverware
  • Bottle opener
  • Can opener
  • Cooking utensils and vessels — large spoons, pots, roasting pans, cookie sheets (this will depend on what you’re planning to prepare; here are some easy RV-friendly recipes)
  • Cutting board and knives
  • Paper towels and napkins
  • Coffee pot, mugs, and coffee
  • Other food items, although it can be beneficial to wait until you get to your destination to go shopping

RV Bathroom Essentials

  • Toiletries such as shampoo and conditioner, body wash, and facial lotion
  • RV-friendly toilet paper
  • RV toilet chemicals

RV Outdoor Essentials

  • Outdoor camping furniture like folding chairs
  • Large outdoor ground covering for under the awning
  • Extra LED lights
  • Citronella candles or bug spray
  • Outdoor games and activities

Essentials for RV Camping

Although it may seem extensive, this list just scratches the surface of all the things you may think of to bring on your next RV camping trip. Aside from the essentials, there are also lots of “must-have” accessories that can make your vacation a little bit more fun, unique, or convenient.

For instance, if you discover that you frequently forget to pull down your TV antenna or take in the automatic stairs, RVminders can be a great accessory to keep you from making an easily-avoided RV error. (Don’t worry: They happen to the best of us!)

And if you’re concerned about your RV’s interior decor, you might consider purchasing museum putty or non-skid grips to help keep all your decorations and spare items where you put them.

There are lots of other things that might be helpful on a trip, but no matter what you do, beware of overpacking! RVs are already very limited in living space, and bringing too much stuff along for the ride can quickly transform your home away from home into a claustrophobic mess.

RV Essential Must Haves

Depending on your personal situation and camping goals, there are a few other things you might need to pack in a camper trailer. For instance, your checklist might need to include things like toys for your kids, pet supplies, and any outdoor adventure gear if you’re taking on some epic new hikes, rock climbs, or kayaking stints during your trip.

When it comes down to it, the only person who really knows everything you need to bring along for the best possible vacation is you — but hopefully, this checklist will help you avoid forgetting something essential!


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