Going on an RV vacation is exciting. That said, it can also be a little bit overwhelming, especially if you don’t go RV camping on a regular basis. One thing that causes a lot of new RVers—and sometimes even the more seasoned RVers, if they haven’t been camping for a while—is figuring out what to pack for a one-week road trip.
This is understandable. There are a lot of little bits and pieces to remember when going on any trip, but an RV trip requires even more stuff. Not only do you need to remember your clothes and toiletries, you also need to pack the entire kitchen, remember your outdoor equipment, and make room for RV-specific items such as the sewer hose.
Fortunately, we’re here to help reduce your stress by providing some packing tips for a summer road trip, as well as a summer road trip packing list. These two things are sure to make packing up the RV for your next adventure a breeze.
Packing Tips for a One-Week Road Trip
Before we dive into our list, we have a few tips we’d like to offer you. These will help make packing, unpacking, and finding what you need a little easier. They’ll also help ensure you pack important essentials that are often forgotten.
If Renting, Find Out What’s Included
Will you be renting an RV for your getaway? If so, it’s a good idea to find out what’s included with your rental. Sometimes things like linens and dishes are included. Other times, you can pay a small amount for the RV to come stocked with these things. This will help make packing easier and is especially nice if you’ll be flying to pick up the rig.
Own Your RV? Consider Keeping It Stocked
If you own your own RV, you can save yourself time whenever you go camping by keeping things like dishes and linens—as well as entertainment items and outdoor gear—in the RV all the time. This makes packing much easier and is something you’re sure to thank yourself for later.
When packing an RV, it’s important to keep in mind the fact that every RV has weight limits. For safety, you must stay within these limits. For this reason, we recommend choosing lightweight items to keep inside, such as plastic dishes rather than porcelain ones or stoneware. You’ll also want to avoid packing too much in order to ensure you stay within the limits of your RV.
Give Yourself Time
Because there are so many things that must be taken on an RV trip, it’s always a good idea to give yourself plenty of time to pack. Not only will trying to pack everything in the couple of hours before your trip be stressful, it’s also likely to result in forgotten items. You can always get a head start by packing some things up the night before leaving.
Keep Important Papers Safe and Handy
Important documents such as rental and reservation confirmations, pet vaccination papers, and passports should be kept handy and in a safe spot. We recommend a waterproof bag for all of these things. From there, find a spot that is hidden away but not hard to get to, and stash the bag of papers away.
Use Packing Cubes
Packing cubes are wonderful no matter what kind of trip you’re packing for. That said, we especially love these for RV travel. Packing cubes are used to help organize a suitcase by giving you small cubes to put each set of items into. They’re great for RVing because the cubes can easily be moved from a suitcase or tote and into the RV drawers without unpacking each individual item.
Pack Sun and Bug Protection
Generally speaking, if you’re going camping, you’re going to be spending time outdoors. Therefore, it’s important that you pack for time outdoors by adding sun protection and bug protection to your bags. Sunscreen, sunglasses, hats, bug spray, and citronella candles are all good options.
Be Prepared for Weather Changes
You’ll also want to be prepared for changes in weather. Yes, you’ll be traveling during the summer, but many popular RV destinations can get chilly at night. Additionally, you never know when a thunderstorm might roll in, making things wet and changing the temperature. Pack a jacket, ponchos, an umbrella, rain boots, and long pants.
Meal Prep at Home
Fitting enough food for an entire week into an RV fridge and pantry is a challenge, to say the least. Meal prepping can help by removing excess packaging and paring down what you actually need to bring along. It’s also nice because it means you can spend less time trying to work in the tiny RV kitchen and more time having fun.
Put Foods in Stackable Containers
In addition to prepping meals at home, it can be helpful to put all food into stackable containers. This includes the foods you prep as well as pantry foods. Being able to stack all of your food high will help reduce wasted space, making the most of your teeny tiny RV pantry and fridge.
Use a Hangable Toiletry Bag
Toiletries are obviously must-have items, but packing them can be tricky. We highly recommend investing in a hanging toiletry bag for this purpose.
These are awesome because they’re waterproof, they hold all of your bathroom needs in one easy-to-carry bag, and the bag can be unfolded to hang in the bathroom, giving you easy access to your toiletries while in the RV. You can even fold the whole thing back up for trips to the bathhouse!
Pack Waterproof Bags for Dirty Clothes
You’re going camping. Wet, muddy, and super dirty clothes are going to happen. Make sure you’re prepared for this by packing waterproof bags to hold dirty clothes. This will make packing everything back up a lot easier.
Carry a Plastic Container with a Lid for Dirty Shoes
Finally, we find that leaving shoes outside of the RV tends to be the best option for keeping RV floors clean during a camping trip. However, you obviously don’t want to leave your footwear outside in the elements. A plastic tub with a lid is the perfect solution, giving you a place to store shoes outside of the RV while still protecting them from excessive sunshine, rain, and curious animals.
One-Week Summer Road Trip Packing List
Now that you know all of our best tips for packing, let’s talk about what you should pack for a week-long RV vacation. The items below are what we consider most important. Some of them may be included with a rental RV, and if you own an RV, you could definitely keep a lot of these things in the rig at all times. However, there are still a number of things that will need to be packed up every time you head out.
- Clothes, Shoes, Hats, Sunglasses, Jackets, and Swimsuits
- Pots, Pans, and Cooking Utensils
- Plates, Bowls, and Cups
- Mixing Bowls
- Dish Soap, Sponge, and Dish Towel
- Wet Wipes
- Paper Towels
- Can Opener
- First Aid Kit
- RV Toilet Paper
- Black Tank Drop Ins
- Shampoo, Conditioner, and Soap
- Brush and Comb
- Nail Clippers
- Toothbrushes, Toothpaste, and Floss
- Razor and Shaving Cream
- Bug Spray
- Other Toiletries
- Fresh Water Hose
- Garden Hose
- Sewer Hose
- Extension Cords
- Electric Adapters
- Wheel Chocks
- Leveling Blocks
- Phones and Chargers
- Laptops/Tablets and Chargers
- Hotspot and Charger
- Flashlights and Batteries
- Outdoor Recreation Gear
- Outdoor Games
- Board Games
- Toys for Kids
- Road Atlas
- Tool Kit
- Scissor Jack
- Tire Pressure Gauge
- Lighter or Matches
- Roasting Sticks
- Outdoor Rug
- Citronella Candles
As you can see, there is a lot to remember as you pack for an RV trip. That said, with this list and these handy tips, you should be good to go. Start packing now and get ready for the trip of a lifetime!