How to Pack for Success When Traveling in a Rented RV

Use This RV Packing Guide for Your Upcoming Vacation in an RV

RVs have a lot of storage space when compared to a car, minivan or SUV, but it’s still necessary to carefully plan what you bring in the RV. While planning your trip, make note of the places where you will be able to stop to shop for refills on consumable goods as well as places where you can get a replacement if something wears out, gets left behind or is suddenly needed.

What you need for your RV trip depends on where you’re going, when you’re going there, whether you’ll be camping in one location or visiting many places, and how many people are in your travel group. Special circumstances, such as traveling with babies or pets, are also a factor. Each person’s RV packing list will be different. This guide will help you to customize a packing list so that you can have a successful trip.

Essential Supplies and Equipment in Your RV Camping Checklist

Whether you’re going to a campground near a small desert town or venturing across the entire USA from one coast to the other, there are many supplies that will be essential to your comfort. Kitchen essentials, such as a can opener, paper plates and wet wipes, are key to maintaining comfort and sanitation.

Be sure to bring nonbreakable dishes, such as plastic bowls and reusable water bottles, instead of glassware. Bring well-used towels, blankets and bed sheets for each person’s use. Most campgrounds have laundry facilities, so you don’t need to bring extras.

Consider multifunctional items. Dish soap also works as hand soap, and a mobile tablet doubles as a TV, phone and electronic reader. Some of your essentials might change based on your destination; you might like to bring bicycles along on a state park visit or fishing gear for time at the lake.

What to Include in Your RV Departure Checklist

An RV departure checklist is what you need to make before you get on the road. The checklist should include a safety check, such as confirming the air pressure in the RV’s tires is sufficient and making sure the windshield-wiper fluid is full. The departure checklist should also include putting copies of the RV’s renter’s insurance policy and the rental contract in the vehicle.

Your RV departure checklist may also include verifying your campground reservations. You might want to double-check your planned route for any problems, like road closures and road construction. Also, don’t forget to bring the owner’s contact information in case you need to call them while you’re traveling.

RV Trip Packing Checklist for Families and People With Pets

When traveling with children, it might be tempting to bring a whole box of toys. Children are adaptable, and they can have as much fun hanging around the campfire or playing with the rocks they find by the lake as they do with a tub of building blocks. Limit kids to one or two toys or a quiet activity, such as a coloring book with crayons.

Plan on making a few laundromat stops when traveling with kids. A reasonable number of outfits to pack for each child is four to six. Bring extra undergarments for children who are working on potty training. At the laundromat, everybody’s clothes can be washed and dried in one load, and you can wash everyone’s linens in another washer at the same time.

When traveling with pets, bring one or two favorite toys and your pet’s blanket. A leash and collar are essential to your pet’s safety. For children and pets, bring along medications and contact information for medical or veterinary providers.

How a Printable RV Packing List Streamlines the Packing Process

When packing for your RV trip and getting everything ready both at home and in the RV, it’s easy to forget something. A printable packing list makes it less likely that you’ll leave something behind. You could modify the printable list for each trip, such as a trip to the lake versus a cross-country road trip.

A printable RV packing list could also be laminated if you tend to go to the same place each time you travel. With a laminated list, you can cross things off with a dry-erase marker. When you’re done with the list, you wipe off the laminated page with a damp cloth.

Printable lists can be posted in a convenient spot, such as on the fridge. Each time something is packed, cross it off. Each person traveling with you will be up to date on the packing process.

What Should Not Be on Your RV Packing List

Now that you have a good idea of what you should bring for your vacation or winter in an RV, it is good to know what not to bring with you. Unusual cooking utensils or appliances that only do one thing can probably stay at home. Specialty ingredients should also be skipped in lieu of ingredients that you’ll use in many recipes.

It might be tempting to bring a stack of hardcover books or a few cases of canned soup. These items are heavy and take up a lot of space. Keep in mind that most towns and campgrounds have at least one store for restocking, and you may even find some thrift stores along the way to drop off the one or two paperbacks you’re done with and pick up a new one.

Avoid bringing your own firewood. Some states have restrictions on transporting firewood because of horticultural pests.

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