RV Packing 101: The Ultimate Guide

While packing for a trip, it is common practice to pack more than necessary. This is especially true if traveling with kids. Bringing those items ‘just in case’ is common practice, but space within RVs usually won’t accommodate such thinking. Less is more, and packing only the necessities and must-have staples will keep the RV free of clutter while offering more free space. Once you are on the road, you will be glad you didn’t take everything and the kitchen sink with you.  Here’s a guide for packing for your RV trip.

RV Packing Necessities

 This section can always be tailored to your personal likes and preferred activities, but universal items include camping chairs and a portable hammock, like this one from Coalatree.

Other staples for most RVers can include binoculars, sun screen bug spray and a camera, along with a backpack for nature hikes.  

Other necessities include flashlights or headlamps, a heavy-duty extension cord and a portable power station. The one pictured below great for any emergency as well as many conveniences, such as cell phone charging.

Although most campgrounds provide them, some RVers pack their own portable fire rings and portable grills. A quick check at your reserved campground will let you know if these two items are needed or not. 

For the outdoors enthusiasts, items such as fishing gear, bikes or kayaks can be safely attached to the back of the RV or in any outer, underneath storage compartments. For the kids, don’t forget the S’mores kits, outdoor games such as Giant Jenga or Cornhole, and water toys such as boogie boards or tubes. 

Hammocking can be a great way to relax outside of your RV and enjoy the sites, sounds, and smells of nature.

RV Packing – Don’t Forget the Tools

Don’t leave home without them but try to only take what will fit in one regular-sized toolbox. Some examples: 

  • Set of socket wrenches
  • Hammer
  • A Philips and flathead screwdriver
  • Duct tape
  • Scissors
  • WD-40
  • Pocket knife

Also, many travel with a tarp and rope. While these items can be picked up at most RV general stores or locations around the RV Park, they will usually cost more and it’s best to always have them on hand, as you never know when you might need them. It’s always good to stay on top of RV maintenance. 

Kitchen Equipment

Space is limited within the kitchen, so being able to have everything on hand similar to your home kitchen isn’t manageable. It might seem difficult, not taking everything on a road trip, but just a key few items can be used for easy meal preps.  Pairing down and using the space most efficiently will allow comfort and ease. Many recommend traveling with an air fryer can make mealtime easier. For outdoor cooking, supplies such as a cast iron skillet, electric stove or even a camp stove are staples for many. A few pots and pans, coffee maker and a few utensils such as tongs, wooden spoon and a few mixing bowls. 

A clean and organized RV kitchen is a happy one!

Food storage and clean-up

For less work after meals, consider heavy-duty paper plates and napkins, along with plastic cups. For leftovers, be sure to bring along aluminum foil, reusable storage containers and/or plastic storage baggies. These types of storage items are great when it comes time to organize your RV.

Paper towels, potholders, matches, sponges, and dish soap should also be packed within the RV’s kitchen. If bringing regular plates and glasses, be sure to add a drying rack. 


Unless you plan on eating out most meals, bringing along food and condiments can be problematic, just because of the storage space issues mentioned above. Easy to cook menu items such as pancakes, hots dogs, brats, and hamburgers are campsite favorites. For the kids, be sure to bring along PB &J. Lunch meats for sandwiches with potato chips are easy, no cook lunches are great for everyone. Don’t forget the condiments and S’mores ingredients. 

Oatmeal and cereal are also great breakfast choices. 


A first aid kit is always important to bring along. Also, a spray bottle of peroxide, Tylenol, and Dramamine for those who suffer from car sickness or motion sickness. Bug spray, tweezers and sunscreen are also great items to pack.

RV Packing – Essential Items

These items should always be on hand and will typically always be within the RV storage. They include the sewer hose, emergency road kit and jumper cables, along with the water pressure regulator, drinking water hose, fire extinguishers and a tire pressure gauge. Also necessary for each trip are wheel chocks and leveling blocks, extra motor oil and transmission fluid. 

Extra Items

For those bringing pets along, there will be a handful of essentials for them. Paperwork such as registration, insurance and reservation confirmation papers should have a place within the glovebox or storage file box. Extra blankets, towels and bedding, along with a few cleaning supplies should also be tucked away for all road trips. 

Books, board games, puzzles and decks of cards won’t take up too much space and will (hopefully) keep parents from hearing are we there yet’ too many times. 

While most of these items can be stored within the RV during trips, some things like suitcases for clothes and bathroom bags full of toiletries will always be added last minute. While even the bare necessities seem like a lot, once you get organized before the first trip, each additional trip’s additions will allow for plenty of items, with little clutter. Just like at home, having a place for everything and keeping everything in its’ place is essential for a comfy and well-supplied RV trip.

If you find yourself limited on space, yet still love to RV, browse our inventory as we may have the RV that will fit your needs and allow you to pack your RV with whatever you desire!

About Debra Pamplin

Since 2007, Debra Pamplin has worn her freelancing hat proudly. Though she has written about music and RV topics over the years, travel writing has always been her priority. Since the beginning of her career, she has had many articles published on a variety of topics. Websites such as USA Today Travel, Coldwell Banker and NerdWallet.com have published her stories. Her byline has appeared in numerous print publications and popular websites over the years. https://www.clippings.me/debrapamplin

| Website