How To

    Packing for an RV Trip

    RV trips are an option for affordable summer family vacations. Make sure you're prepared before you head out on the road by following this checklist.

    Next to backwoods camping or canoe trips, packing for an RV vacation may seem relatively simple. Because of the large amount of space in an RV compared to that of a backpack, along with the closeness to civilization that will allow travelers to purchase additional supplies, not a lot of danger is posed if something is forgotten at home. However, the last thing you want to do after you finally get on the road is stop to pick up something that could have been packed if only a list was made.

    I recall from my childhood when my parents took me on a cross-country trip in our RV. The conflicts that ensued from the realization of forgotten items were only heightened in the close quarters of our temporary home on wheels, which is the last thing you’ll want to happen on a family vacation. Below is an essential packing list for extended RV trips. Keep in mind that this list is complete, but depending on the length of your trip, type of RV and location of travel, modifications may be necessary. This list is made with the “bare minimum” RV in mind, so some items may not be needed. The packing checklist is divided into the categories of cooking, personal, and other supplies.


    • Food (the most obvious)
    • Pots/pans/mixing bowls
    • Timer
    • Stove/grill
    • Charcoal
    • Paper towel/napkins
    • Plates/bowls/cups
    • Coffee pot/mugs/filters
    • Cooking spray
    • Utensils
    • Matches/lighter
    • Can opener/corkscrew
    • Water
    • Wash bin/sponges/dish soap
    • Towels
    • Pot holder
    • Aluminum foil
    • Ziploc bags/gladware
    • Garbage bags
    • Cooler
    • Salt, pepper, spices
    • Condiments


    • Toilet paper
    • Klenex
    • Towels/cash cloths
    • T-shirts/long-sleeved shirts
    • Shorts/pants
    • Sweatshirts
    • Thermal clothes
    • Waterproof clothes
    • Undergarments/socks
    • Rain jacket
    • Road shoes, water shoes, hiking shoes
    • Hat/bandana
    • Sunglasses
    • Chapstick
    • Shampoo/conditioner/soap
    • Medications
    • Shower basket
    • Razors
    • Face wash

    Other supplies

    • Bug spray
    • Sunscreen
    • Aloe
    • Camping chairs
    • Flashlight/batteries
    • First aid kit/medicine
    • Swiss Army Knife
    • Bungee cords/rope
    • Laundry detergent
    • Bedding
    • Radio
    • Family games/books
    • Backpack/hydration system
    • Lantern
    • Portable table/chairs/tablecloth
    • Bug netting/tent
    • Outdoor carpet/tarp
    • Citronella candles
    • Small umbrella
    • GPS
    • Electronic chargers
    • Cleaning supplies
    • Hand sanitizer
    • Firewood/fire starter
    • Life jackets/tubes/inflatable kayak and paddle
    • Volley ball/soccer ball/etc.
    • Bikes/helmets
    • Binoculars
    • Camera
    • Duct tape
    • Clothesline/pins
    • Tool kit

    If you need to figure out some destinations for your RV trip, check out our list of eight great RV campgrounds in the U.S.

    Image from Claygate on the Wikimedia Commons

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