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RV Camping Checklist: The Essentials


RV camping has it all-in-one: transport, accommodation, food prep, and adventure. What more could you ask for?

If you plan on renting an RV or caravan for your vacation or have decided to become a full-time recreational vehicle owner, you could call this RV camping checklist the cherry on top. Make sure to pack the essential items listed here stretching from the obvious kitchen crockery to the crucial camping lantern, before you hit the road and head for the campsite.

The essentials will save you from having to drive to a store after you’ve already pitched camp, as well as making your trip one to remember.

Plan Ahead

If you are renting an RV or caravan during peak camping season, make sure to book it well in advance to avoid disappointment. There are some parts of France and Italy that have every spare RV rental booked for up to three years! If you think that touring and camping in a beautiful part of the world is a good idea, you can be sure many other people want to do the same thing.

Don’t forget to have some techniques on how to charge and/or preserve the batteries of your devices in the outdoors. I’m sure you’ll like to have your camera alive and well for those special moments.

Kitchen Essentials for RV Camping

Part of getting away from it all with an RV camping break, is avoiding the queues at malls and stores. This means menu planning. Check what dimensions the icebox or freezer section in your motorhome offers, and then craft a menu plan around that. If your family are avid meat eaters, and settling for tuna and macaroni casserole every night isn’t going to cut it, then you need to make sure the RV you rent has a fridge/freezer that’s nice and spacious.

Think Dual-Purpose

If the kitchen utensils double-up as serving dishes, it will save on storage and washing up afterwards. Are you struggling at the thought of adapting your favorite dishes for camping? An RV cookbook is what you need. There are a few excellent ones on the market that you can order, and they offer delicious recipes that have been created especially for smaller food prep areas.

This kitchen essentials list might seem long, but once you’ve ticked everything off your inventory, you’ll realize it all packs away very easily.

  • Dutch oven + lid (doubles up as a platter for barbeque)
  • Skillet + lid
  • Medium size saucepan + lid
  • 3 x microwave-friendly bowls (small, medium, large)
  • Serving spoons (doubles up as stirring spoons)
  • Crockery/eating/serving dishes (can be china or plastic)
  • Coffee pot
  • Water jug (can double as a pitcher to serve squash)
  • Cutting board
  • Dish towels, pot holders, oven mitts
  • Dish soap
  • Dual-purpose dish cleaning sponges with scrubber on one side
  • Sealable plastic bags, foil, plastic wrap
  • Measuring cups/spoons, bottle opener/corkscrew, peeler, can opener
  • Kitchen knives
  • Spices

Think Dual-Purpose

You can serve the food from the stovetop or barbeque directly to the table by using the saucepan, skillet, or Dutch oven. They must have lids that turn upside down to form a surface for another pan on top. Plus, the lids will keep bugs off your food and can double up as plate covers.

The stores located close to campsites know that they are the only option for campers and jack up their prices accordingly. They will do in an emergency, but try to pack and bring as much of your own condiments and cooking essentials from home. Don’t forget to portion out enough dog food for your pet if they are traveling with you. Dog food is one item small stores really like to mark-up high.

Cleaning and Camping: What Supplies You Need to Keep Your Motorhome Clean

Keeping your RV clean and neat means no bugs and lots of space to move around in comfortably. When you are traveling, you can stow your cleaning supplies in the empty trash container.

  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Compact toilet brush
  • Sponges (non-abrasive)
  • Disinfectant spray (use only with the windows open or else the fumes could activate the carbon alarm)
  • Dual-purpose mop/broom
  • Trash bags
  • 2 x plastic trash containers (large one for outside use, small one for inside)

Some motorhome and caravan rentals offer kitchen and housecleaning kits for a small additional fee. The bigger branches will definitely offer this facility. Before you use a standard cleaner for the surfaces inside your RV, check to see that there aren’t any special cleaning creams recommended for use instead.

Cleaning and Camping What Supplies You Need to Keep Your Motorhome Clean

Don’t Forget the First Aid

You know how irritating it is when you get stung by an ant or bitten by a mosquito at home, and you realize you’ve run out of antihistamine cream and bug repellant? Well, these things happen when you are camping as well. You need to have a first aid and safety supply kit on hand, and remember to check that it’s fully stocked before you head on out.

Your first aid/safety kit should contain:

  • Adhesive + crepe bandages
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Antibiotic cream
  • Tweezers
  • Insect repellant/mosquito skin spray
  • Sunblock
  • After sun cooling spray
  • Saline eye drops
  • Wound pads + white tape
  • Emergency medications (analgesics, antacids, antihistamines, cough syrup)
  • Daily meds (enough to last you for the whole trip)
  • Contact lens solution, case, and enough daily lenses to last for the trip
  • A copy (on your device or on paper) of any doctor’s instructions
  • A copy of your glasses prescription
  • Flashlight
  • Portable fire extinguisher (if your hire vehicle doesn’t come with one already)

Miscellaneous Essentials to Take With You on a Motorhome Camping Trip

Even the most meticulous planners sometimes forget an essential camping item if they don’t write it down and tick it off the list after it’s been packed. The best part about using an RV for a camping trip is that your home travels with you. These are the things that you will be so happy you packed, because they turn your RV into the kind of place where you can have important items at hand when you need them.

  • Duct tape
  • Batteries in every size
  • Mini-tool kit (screwdriver, hammer, wrenches, allen key set)
  • Jumper cables
  • 2 x bungee cords with hooks
  • Cellphone and device chargers
  • Camper lanterns (battery operated or gas)
  • Power strip/multiplug
  • Doormat
  • Hats and sunshades
  • Small ice chest for outdoors (sometimes the barbeque facilities are in a designated campsite area)
  • Firewood, coals, firelighters, matches
  • Barbeque tongs + forks

Don’t Forget the Cozy Comforts

If you are looking at this picture of a motorhome and thinking to yourself that it looks so cozy and comfortable, you’d be right! That is why in the United States, more motorhomes are owned by 11% of people aged 35 to 54 years old (and 9.3% people over 55 years), and millions more rent them every year. And that’s just the figures for RVs. If you add in towables like caravans and camper vans as well, a staggering number of people live the RV camping lifestyle and love doing so.

So let’s turn to what essentials to pack for a little extra comfort camping with a motorhome.

  • Bedding according to season (no good squeezing a duck down duvet into the cupboard in summer, or leaving home without one in fall)
  • Small electric or battery operated fan in season
  • Septic tank-friendly toilet paper and tissues
  • Hand sanitizer and soap (bar and in a dispenser)
  • All-in-one body and face cream
  • Laptop with enough downloads to keep the family happy
  • Board games + cards
  • Books and magazines
  • Candy, popcorn, nuts

When you have these essentials inside your RV, you can rest easy knowing that everything you and your family need is on board. Pack your clothes and toiletries into individual backpacks and head on out to the highway.

While it’s not a tragedy if you accidentally leave something behind, your journey will be much faster and happier if you have these essential RV items with you already.

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