Planning for a road trip can be a daunting task, here is a simple checklist to help you prepare. Until we became full-time RVers I wasn’t a list maker. That has changed. I make lists for everything now. Probably because I can’t remember anything:). Hope this is helpful!
36 Things You Want in Your RV Before Hitting the Road
1. Leveling blocks –
Leveling blocks are a must-have unless you’re lucky enough to have self-leveling jacks. Just so happens, we are not.
We have encountered a number of campsites that were so unlevel we also had to use our handy-dandy hardwood blocks that my husband made to get our fifth wheel level.
The hardwood blocks measure 2 x 12 by 16.
We also have a set of 6 of the leveling squares pictured below. Click here for the current price.
2. Designated water hose-
This hose is only for drinking water Essential for RVing. Be sure to store in a clean container.
3. Grill- Propane or Charcoal –
We just bought this small charcoal tabletop Weber grill from Amazon. I think it cost about $30. Click here for the current price. I haven’t decided if it was the right choice. For $30, what the heck? Be sure to get the charcoal. Probably not adequate for a family of 4 or more. Perfect size for a couple or solo RVer.
4. Stepladder or ladder –
A must have is a tall step stool or collapsible ladder, we couldn’t manage without it. We store it in the back of the truck. It’s actually our sons-in-law (we borrowed it last year) I think we’ll buy him a new ladder for Christmas. Click Here for Price.
5. Patio Mat–
I love this mat, this is definitely a necessity if you RV full-time. Click here for the current price. I know you will love it! It helps from tracking in sand and dirt into the RV. Very easy to care for, it’s reversible, just hose it off to clean. I only wish I would have bought it sooner.
Lightweight and easy to store. Our mat size is 9×12. I’m seriously thinking of getting a second mat, maybe 5×9 to use for picnics and the beach.
6. Tool Box –
A toolbox is a must-have for every RVer, whether your a full-time or the occasional weekender. A basic toolbox should include a small hammer, screwdriver, pliers, wire cutter, nails/screws, tape measure, scissors, gorilla glue and duct tape for quick fixes. The carry tool tote below is very convenient.
Our toolbox (pictured above) in our truck holds the bigger and heavier tools and gadgets. It also helps to keep the weight off of the fifth wheel. If considering a toolbox like this, be sure to measure exactly. And you want a toolbox you can lock. Bill also stores the Def for our diesel truck in this toolbox.
Tip: if you own a diesel truck, try to buy Def from a dealership, not a truck stop. We learned this the hard way. After putting in Def from a truck stop our truck started stalling out. We were told that the Def from truck stops gets old and gummy. We haven’t had a problem since.
7. First Aid Kit
When going out camping with your family or friends, you need to ensure that you have a first aid kit with you. You can buy a ready-made first aid kit or assemble one yourself.
In case you do, never forget to include a first aid instruction booklet, band-aids, wound closure strips, tweezers, a pair of scissors, safety pins, sterile gloves, antiseptic wipes, alcohol prep pads, bandages, antibiotic ointment, burn cream, instant cold compress, thermometer, and some antacids.
8. Waste hose with preferably a clear elbow–
You probably already have this in your RV. But do check it for wear and tear. The one thing you really, really don’t want to fail, is your waste hose!
We highly recommend the clear elbow because you can see if you’ve flushed it clean. Not pretty but necessary. Don’t forget the gloves or hand sanitizer.
9. Coffee Pot-
If you’re a coffee person like me, you have to have your morning coffee. There’s nothing better than a good cup of coffee and a good breakfast when your camping. Because it has been so hot lately, I’ve been making Iced Coffee. This Ice Coffee is so good!
Simple Easy Recipe below:
Iced Coffee Recipe:
Iced Coffee Recipe: Make a strong pot of your favorite coffee (I use 10 cups of water with 5 scoops coffee, I use Folgers) Let it cool to room temperature(couple hours). Pour into a 2-quart pitcher. Add 1 can of Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk. Stir well. Refrigerate. Serve over ice. OMG! This is Sooooo Good!
10. Carpenter Level-
It’s a good idea to have a level in your RV. There is a level attached to our RV but it’s not very accurate. We compare the two levels be sure we get an accurate read. Click Here for the current price.
11. Clothes –
I know, I know, you won’t forget your clothes? Right? Well, let me just say, I did! This was years ago, but still fresh in my memory. Oh, I had them packed and ready to go, my bag sitting next to the door.
We were headed to Ohio for a week from Michigan to visit family, the kids were young. I made sure everyone was packed and in the car. We arrived 6 hours later only to discover my bag was missing.
Yep! I had nothing, clothes, makeup, toothbrush… Off to the store I go. Expensive trip. My tip to you is, before leaving, do a thorough walk-through making sure you have everything packed and loaded.
12. My Favorite Kitchen Appliances-
Hands Down, without a doubt, my number 1 fav is my George Foreman Grill with the deep dish pan that I purchased separately (Click here for current price). It doesn’t heat up the kitchen, takes up very little space and its electric.
I grill burgers, roast chicken breast, pizza, fried potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes, steak, waffles, and my husbands favorite on the George are brats and sauerkraut in beer! I know you were thinking it would be the Instapot. Nope. I love my George Foreman. My Pioneer Women Crockpot would be my 2nd pic. It also doesn’t heat up the kitchen. I just made the best pot roast ever!
13. Cleaning supplies-
The supplies I use are Dawn (blue) dish soap, which is great for removing stains from Bills tee shirts (every day).
I also like Clorox Spray Bleach for disinfecting countertops, sinks, handles, etc.. Bill uses the Clorox wipes after attaching hoses and setting up the RV. I keep a backup of my cleaning supplies in a dollar store bucket for easy access.
There is special toilet paper that is specifically meant for camping which you should carry and not the regular toilet paper.
Remember that your RV has a septic tank which must be emptied every time it is almost full. RV toilet paper is easily absorbed in the septic tank and decomposes faster than ordinary toilet paper.
Therefore, when you are out shopping for RV toilet paper look out for one that is marked safe for RV use. Avoid using regular toilet paper in your RV as it may cause your toilet to clog and may ruin your camping trip experience. After learning this lesson the hard way, I keep a good supply of RV toilet paper. It is NOT always available. Depends on your location? Don’t run out!
sunblock, lotion, spray or gel. SPF 15 means 1/15 of the burning radiation will reach the skin. Sunscreen with higher SPF does not last longer or remain effective longer. To play it safe use at least an SPF 30 or higher and reapply every couple of hours.I highly recommend Sun Bum sunblock. This sunscreen is hypoallergenic, paraben free, enriched with vitamin E. Until I tried this brand, I thought they were all alike. Before our RV life, I would just grab any sunscreen that was on sale at the drugstore. After we retired my husband has had a few bouts of skin cancer on his face. Very minor and treated successfully. Which made us even more conscious of protecting our skin from the sun. Since retiring, we RV full-time and winter in Florida.
Our first trip to Navarre Florida we stopped in a tourist shop to buy sunscreen and hats. The sales girl recommended Sun Bum, raving about how much she liked it! Now I know why it is everything she said. Not greasy, hypoallergenic and a great moisturizer. I use this instead of lotion. No, Sum Bum does not pay me! I really like this sunscreen!
Note* – Sunscreens have an expiration date. Last years left over might not prevent sunburn this summer.
Planning ahead will reduce stress when you hit the road. It can also save money by shopping for sales. Make a meal plan/grocery list a few weeks in advance.
I leave my list with a pen on the counter and every time you or family members say, we need blah blah blah, say add it to the list. As your trip grows closer, your shopping list will be ready.
17. Aluminum foil
– Aluminum foil is my go-to for so many things. From wrapping up leftovers to making hobo dinners over a campfire. To me, aluminum foil and duct tape are the necessities of life.
Carry a good lantern or flashlight. The bottom-line is you will need a lantern or flashlight when you are out camping in your RV.
You can opt to pack LED flashlights because they tend to be more durable and long-lasting compared to the ordinary flashlights. Remember to bring along enough batteries with you just in case.
19. Paper towel-
Rolls of paper towels should also go down on your packing list. Let’s face it you know what to use paper towels for, but I also use them instead of buying napkins. We use them to wrap leftovers to warm in the microwave. Not plastic.
Pack towels of different colors. I assign each person their very own towel, color coded. They use the same towel for the entire camping getaway. I keep a bag of rags that I hang on a hook inside my closet, made from old worn towels that I cut into dish towel size rags for big messes.
21. Lawn chairs-
Pack your favorite lawn chairs with you as you go RVing. If you have none, there are a number of good quality foldable lawn chairs that you can easily fold and carry along with you when you are going camping. These are now our favorite chairs. Click here for the current price.
Get good quality camping chairs that will make sitting around a campfire more enjoyable. I like roughing it, but comfort is my middle name, Not really.
22. Pet food–
Are you considering taking your furry friend along with you? Well, if yes, do not forget to pack food and his feeding and water bowls as well to avoid any inconvenience. Carry his favorite dog treats as well and also let him have a good time RVing with you.
Who would not love to enjoy a cold beer especially on a hot, sunny, summer afternoon? We carry an old beat up a cooler that we’ve owned for years. Even though our fifth wheel has a double door refrigerator we always use our cooler for the overflow.
And it’s just the two of us! We keep it outside by our steps. Because its nothing fancy we don’t worry about it being stolen.
24. Table Cloth-
I stock up on a least a couple from the dollar store. Shower curtains from the dollar store can be used also. They work great as drop cloths when I paint.
There are 101 uses of clothespins when you go out RVing. You can use them to clip your food bags and keep your food fresh, clip your paper to-do list together, and keep your clothes from falling off the clothesline, especially on a windy day. Clothespins can also be used to keep your tablecloth in place. Very versatile and inexpensive.
26. Phone Charger-
I highly recommend investing in a battery pack for your cell phone. Your phone needs to be functional just in case you encounter an emergency. I keep a phone charger in our truck at all times (car charger). I use Google GPS on my phone for traveling. Having a backup battery pack is a must-have especially if your a hiker or outdoor enthusiast.
TIP: Because Google has often taken us down the wrong road we purchased a Truckers Large Scale Atlas for backup. The second reason we purchased this Altas because it gives the location and height of bridges and overpasses. Our fifth wheel is 12’13” tall. Be sure to know the height of your RV.
Invest in good quality polarized sunglasses before you go RVing. Polarized lenses help protect your eyes from harmful UV rays and will also help you see images with a clear resolution. A good hat to protect you from the sun.
28. Bug spray-
There is a lot that is simply unpredictable about going camping. You might encounter bugs or other insects that crawl and an effective bug spray might come in handy.
Mosquitoes can also be a nuisance at night, spray your RV and keep your windows and doors closed as you camp around the bonfire at night. This will help kill the mosquitoes and give you peaceful nights in your RV.
Tip – Citronella Candles ATTRACT MOSQUITOES! Put the candle where you are not!
Despite all the preparation before hitting the road, having some petty cash for use on the way is certainly not a bad idea.
You might face some emergency situations or you might need to buy some souvenirs you come across while RVing, so carry a reasonable amount of money for use on the way. In certain areas, if you pay cash at the pump you can save money on gasoline or fuel.
Clean bedding is necessary for your camping trip. The type of bedding you carry will depend on the weather. Also, consider the amount of storage space that you have in your RV before stocking up more bedding than is necessary. Also, remember to carry your dog’s bed and a few rugs for him.
We bought this at Camping World, 50% off! I love this table. So versatile, I use it inside the RV and out. It collapses easily. Lightweight and easy to store.
32. Surge protector-
Protect your valuable electronic equipment and devices in your RV with a good power surge protector. Click here for the current price. A surge in electricity can be quite destructive and the potential loss and damage are huge compared to the simple act of getting a good surge protector. It is way better to be safe than sorry.
33. Fly Swatter–
Maybe not everyone’s essential? And I could safely assume not at the top of your shopping list.
I would put the fly swatter in the same category of necessities as toothpicks or maybe Q Tips? Not a necessity until you need one. I hang mine inside a cupboard door on a 3m command hook, which is definitely a necessity for every RVer!
Here’s a Little Trivia for you:
Invented in 1905:
- Flyswatter was invented by a school teacher
- Yellow Pages
- Popsicle invented by an 11-year-old
- Jukebox with 24 songs
- Windshield wipers
Another item easily overlooked. I prefer Martha Stewart or Pioneer Woman pot holders. It does make a difference. In the past, I would buy them from the dollar store and replace them when needed. Then I invested in some pretty ones from Pioneer Woman. They hold up wash after wash, much better quality.
Matches are usually the last things that come to most of our minds, especially when we have a whole RV camping trip ahead of us. The good thing is it was not forgotten. Please do not forget to carry a box of matches, Not unless you’re trying out for the next Survivor, rubbing sticks and stones together to light up a fire 🙂
36. Marshmallows –
No camping trip is complete without roasting marshmallows over a campfire. And if your RV is equipped with an outdoor tv screen (please invite me) what better way to make a memory by watching a scary movie and roasting marshmallows.
Or doing it the old fashion way, telling scary stories and sitting around a campfire that you used your matches to start while sitting in your comfy chairs, with your flashlight shining up your nose and putting those trash bags to use by throwing the empty marshmallow bags away. So start planning in advance so that you do not leave anything important behind. Go and enjoy your adventure in your RV!
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