Packing for an RV Vacation

Whether you have been RVing for years or are preparing for your first adventure, there is always something to learn to make packing for an RV vacation easier. From keeping the RV stocked with basics to quickly loading up the rest, we will help you make the process more efficient and ensure you have all you need.

packing of rv
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The more that you are able to keep in the RV, the more likely you will have all you need at your destination. However, this requires a lot of duplicates that may not be in your budget, and temperatures, bugs and rodents must also be considered. A tip for packing things from home is to have a bin for each room of the RV in the corresponding room at home, so the week before vacation you can just place things in the bin to be moved to the RV. 


The most important items to keep in the RV are the necessities for eating and cooking. Many RVers prefer Corelle or enamelware dishes. It is normal to be concerned about breakage while traveling, however if breakable items are stored on non slip shelf liners in latching cabinets, there is rarely a problem. Other families choose to use paper products to reduce time spent cleaning up after meals. 

You will also want a frying pan, a large pot, a chef’s knife, cutting board, can opener, food storage containers and cooking and eating utensils.  If you like to cook over a campfire, a dutch oven is a great addition. For drinking, it is helpful for each family member to have a cup that can be used for hot or cold, as well as a water bottle. And don’t forget a couple towels, pot holders, paper towels, sponges and garbage bags.

If you ask a group of full timers “What appliances do I need in my RV kitchen?”, the number one answer will be an Instant Pot. If you have one at home, bring it along – it is invaluable for making quick, simple meals that allow you to focus on fun and relaxation. The second answer will likely be an ice maker. RV freezers are small, so if you love ice in your drinks an ice maker is a must have for the RV kitchen.

Are you a coffee drinker? French presses and pour overs are often preferred for ease of use and storage, but many people use an electric drip pot or single serving machine. Just don’t forget to pack the coffee!

Basic foods like baking mixes, oil, spices, and canned goods are great to keep in the rv, but be sure to store in a rodent and insect proof container. If you store your RV somewhere with freezing temperatures, be careful about storing liquids and appliances, especially ones that may retain water or that have sensitive electronics. 


While you will likely remember to bring all the toiletries you use on a daily basis, don’t forget bug spray, anti-itch cream, sunblock, a first aid kit, painkillers and allergy medication. Even if you don’t typically have allergies, be prepared for new environments and potential bug bites. If you will be limited by water supply consider dry shampoo and body wipes, and if you will be using a bath house, it is helpful to have a shower caddy or two as well as a flashlight for those nighttime trips.

bathroom supplies
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Turkish bath towels are great for the RV, as they store small and dry easily, but be sure to wash and dry them several times at home, as they become more absorbent over time. Also remember bedding for each bed, and a spare for each size bed in case of a spill or sick kid. If you keep pillows and blankets in the RV you may want to air them out the week before the trip.


Clothes may be the most difficult thing to pack. Start by cleaning out your closet at home – most of us have clothes we never wear taking up space in our bedroom, but they are great to keep in the RV closet. While you may not have enough for an entire second wardrobe, having a few basics will reduce the stress of packing for an RV trip. Consider what activities you will be doing and if you plan to do laundry to avoid bringing unnecessary items. 

The most important part of packing clothes for your RV trip is to bring layers! Even if you think you know the climate you are visiting, you don’t want to find yourself too cold to sit outside when the temperature drops at night, or too hot when the daytime temperature unexpectedly spikes. Also be sure to bring good walking or hiking shoes and shoes that can get wet, so you don’t miss any opportunities due to lack of appropriate footwear. Finally, pack rain gear! Inexpensive or one time use ponchos are a great item to keep in the RV, so you always know you are prepared for a storm.


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While many RV vacations will be filled with adventure, leaving you too exhausted at night to do anything by fall into bed, it is good to have some family entertainment on hand. While you will have to pack the kids’ favorite toys every trip, you can keep some things in the RV like cards, board games, puzzles, drawing supplies, instruments and books. Make sure you have things that family members can do independently, as well as group activities so you can invite new friends over for game night. 

Most RVers love spending time outside and meeting people, so make your site the place to be with outdoor activities like cornhole, ladderball and a propane fire pit (don’t forget the lighter). It is not unusual for a campground to have restrictions on wood fires, but propane is often still allowed. And since you have that propane tank, you may want to consider a portable grill or Blackstone so you can cook dinner while enjoying your outdoor activities.

camping set up

Other great additions to the outdoor space are folding camp chairs, an outdoor rug, a portable hammock, and a folding screen tent or small sleeping tent. Don’t forget to consider the activities you will be doing. You may need to bring fishing poles and a tackle box, swimsuits and beach toys, hiking sticks and backpacks, a baby carrier, cooler or binoculars. If you are bringing a pet don’t forget their supplies.

Some easily forgotten but essential items that are great to keep in the RV are charging cords, scissors, headphones, and paper and pen.

While it seems like a lot to pack for an RV trip, each family quickly figures out what combination of storage in the RV and packing at home works best for them, and by noting the items in this article you will be prepared for a relaxing and enjoyable RV vacation.

While packing your RV for a vacation may be a lot of work, preparing to have a great time doesn’t have to be! Join Family RV Caravans for an all-inclusive vacation – just bring your family and your RV and we will do the rest. Register today to join other families on a vacation that is guided by RV experts.