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What To Pack In Your RV

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Photo of an RV kitchen with decorations on the counter. Photo credit @Travelarz on Wikimedia.After our post last month about how to pack your motorhome for safe travel and easy access, we wanted to follow up with some tips on what to pack. With weight concerns, potentially long travel times, repair needs, and full-time living requirements, planning your RV inventory isn't always an easy job.

Here we've collected a checklist based on manufacturer recommendations, advice from professional RVers, and our own experiences. Keep in mind that it's meant to be a starting point for you to customize towards your own needs — a weekend trip will have very different requirements from dry camping or full-time RV living. General advice is to bring 1-2 of most items for each person travelling in your RV, and to avoid bringing items you can easily buy while on the road.

Let us know in the comments if it helps you on your own trip, or if there's anything you would add!

Navigation & Emergency Supplies

  • Emergency contact information in each wallet (laminated or sealed in a plastic bag for waterproofing):
    • Family doctor(s),
    • Your insurance company and bank,
    • Friends you might be stopping to see along the way,
    • Your local embassy and emergency services at your destination if you're crossing borders.
  • A moderate amount of backup funds in the form of cash, travellers cheques, and/or credit cards
  • Cell phone, with extra battery and/or charger
  • Weather forecasts for your destination, either printed, on an online weather report or app, or through a weather radio
  • Backup navigation sources in the form of paper maps, a compass, and/or GPS
  • At least 1 certified, multipurpose, dry chemical ABC-class fire extinguisher (make sure it hasn't passed its maintenance or expiry date)
  • First aid kit, including:
    • Backup prescription medicine and over the counter medications
    • Heating pad
    • Ice pack
    • Emergency whistle(s)
  • Flashlight or portable lantern, with extra batteries if it isn't dynamo-powered
  • Large ziploc bag(s) with additional important documents:
    • RV owner manual and vehicle registration
    • Stamps and envelopes
    • Appliance manuals
    • Extra blank checks
    • Insurance papers
    • Membership cards and reservations
    • Campground directories
    • Folder for brochures and travel guides
    • Checklists for packing, hookup and pullout, and RV maintenance
  • Extra vehicle keys
  • Emergency road kit, including flares and hazard markers
  • Optional: Vehicle cell phone signal booster

Clothes & Linens

  • Linens for each bed, including:
    • Pillows
    • Blanket, throw, or duvet
    • Fitted and flat sheets (plus optional duvet cover)
    • Note: If you're renting your RV, dealers may offer housekeeping kits with linens and kitchen items
  • Towels, including:
    • Bath towel
    • Hand towel(s)
    • Facecloth(s)
    • Kitchen/dish towel(s)
  • A "capsule" wardrobe of about 12 pieces of clothing in coordinating colours, including:
    • 3-4 t-shirts or polos
    • At least 1 long-sleeved shirt, sweater, or sweatshirt
    • At least 2 comfortable pairs of pants
    • Optional: 1 pair of dress pants
    • 1 jacket
  • Undergarments, including at least 1-2 pairs of thick socks
  • Everyday shoes
  • A pair of comfortable waterproof or water resistant boots
  • Sleepwear and a pair of "packable" slippers or booties
  • A cap or hat
  • Lightweight rain gear, such as a poncho, waterproof shell, or travel umbrella
  • Cold-weather gloves (ideally water resistant or quick-drying)
  • Clothes hangers

Storage Containers

  • Backpack, daypack, tote, or beach bag
  • Colour-coded dividers, labels, and/or drawer organizers
  • Clear plastic storage totes
  • Collapsible laundry hamper
  • Permanent and whiteboard markers for labelling
  • Baskets for bulky clothing items, plastic lids, pantry items, cosmetics, bathroom items, silverware, etc.
  • Lidded and stackable plastic containers for dry foods (airtight if possible)
  • Reusable grocery bags
  • An ice chest or cooler if you plan to be serving a lot of drinks

Kitchen Supplies

  • Utensils, including:
    • Forks
    • Butter knives
    • Spoons
    • Serrated knife
    • Paring knife
    • Tongs
    • Peeler
    • Scissors
    • Plastic spatula
    • Rubber spatula
    • Mixing spoon
    • Serving spoon
    • Nesting measuring spoons
    • Optional: Ladle
    • Optional: Pizza cutter
    • Optional: Spoon rest
  • Dishes, including:
    • Plates
    • Cups
    • Tumbler or plastic mug(s)
    • 1-2 pots with lids
    • No-stick baking or cookie sheet
    • Large clear serving bowl
    • Deep mixing bowl
    • Multi-use measuring cup
    • Sealable salt & pepper shakers
    • Optional: Pitcher
    • Optional: Wine glasses
    • Optional: Pizza pan
  • Bag clips
  • Toothpicks
  • Dish drying rack
  • Cookbook and/or recipes
  • Electric or standard frying pan
  • Can opener (with bottle opener)
  • Parchment paper, aluminum foil, and plastic wrap
  • Pot holders, hot pads, and/or trivet
  • Cutting board
  • Oven and meat thermometers
  • Paper towel
  • Trash bags
  • Sealable plastic bags
  • Disposable aluminum pans
  • Rubber gloves
  • Dishwashing soap and sponge
  • For tea: Steeper and kettle
  • For coffee: Coffee maker and filters
  • For pasta: Plastic non-stick colander
  • Optional: Funnel
  • Optional: Grater
  • Optional: Water filter
  • Optional: Blender that can double as a food processor
  • Optional: Crockpot, ideally with a low and high temperature setting and a removable liner
  • Optional: Rice cooker with a non-stick removable bowl and a keep-warm feature
  • Optional: Vacuum food sealer
  • Optional: Toaster or toaster oven
  • Optional: Placemats

Food & Drinks

  • Note: Have enough extra food for at least one day for each three days you'll be gone.
  • Meal plans
  • Vitamins and/or supplements
  • Bread and/or cereal
  • Vegetable oil and/or olive oil
  • Snacks (chips, nuts, candy, dried fruits, microwave popcorn, granola bars, etc.)
  • Seasoning and spices (salt, pepper, vinegar, steak sauce, taco spices, etc.)
  • Condiments (ketchup, mustard, relish, mayonnaise, peanut butter, jam, salad dressing, etc.)
  • Drink bases (tea, ground coffee, hot chocolate mix, water flavouring, juice mixes, etc.)
  • Baking supplies (flour, sugar, butter, baking powder, baking soda, cornstarch, etc.)
  • Instant foods (minute rice, instant potatoes, deli meat, canned soups, oatmeal, Kraft dinner, etc.)
  • Optional: Cheese, milk, eggs
  • Optional: Personal drinking water

Bath & Hygiene

  • Sunscreen and sunglasses
  • Bug spray
  • RV-friendly toilet paper
  • Facial tissues and/or wet wipes
  • Toothbrush, floss and toothpaste
  • Soap and shampoo
  • Deodorant and moisturizing lotion
  • Shaving kit
  • Hand-held mirror
  • Hairbrush and/or comb
  • Cotton swabs and/or cotton balls
  • Prescription medicine and over the counter medications
  • Prescription glasses, contact lenses, and/or contact solution
  • Detergent and/or dryer sheets
  • Loose change for coin-operated machines
  • Optional: Delicates drying rack
  • Optional: Clothes iron
  • Optional: Hair dryer
  • Optional: Backup cordless alarm clock and battery
  • Optional: Compact dehumidifier and/or moisture absorbers

Entertainment

  • Binoculars or field glasses
  • Nature guides
  • Bathing suit and beach towel
  • Laptop computer
  • Camera, charger, and optional accessories
  • Portable stereo system or wireless speakers
  • Cards or board games
  • Colouring books and supplies
  • Sporting equipment (golf clubs, fishing poles, bikes, kayak, etc.)
  • Paperback books or an e-reader
  • Hammock and frame
  • Battery-operated lantern(s)
  • Mosquito coils and/or citronella candles
  • Small folding table, folding chairs, table cloth, and clips
  • Note: Transporting firewood is prohibited in most areas, and it can be found at most campsites, so it's best not to pack any.

Pet Supplies

  • Food and water bowls
  • Toys and treats
  • Packaged pet food
  • Leash and harness
  • Any prescriptions or medicines
  • Plastic bags for picking up waste
  • Blanket and bed
  • Extra towel
  • Optional: Pet seatbelt

Cleaning & Repair Equipment

  • Basic tool set (hammer, screwdriver set, wrench, socket set, pliers, etc.)
  • Large bucket
  • Small shovel
  • Work gloves
  • Collapsible step stool
  • Slide conditioner
  • Self-leveling water-tight sealant
  • Spare fuses
  • Extra split pins
  • Firestarter, lighter, and/or waterproof matches
  • Duct tape and electrical tape
  • Extension cords and electrical adapters
  • Bungee cords
  • Multimeter
  • Vehicle jack
  • Tire repair kit, including pressure gauge and 12/120v tire inflator
  • Battery jumper cables
  • Wheel chocks and leveling blocks
  • Backup motor oil and transmission fluid
  • Hookup supplies:
    • Sewer hose
    • Electrical hookups
    • Fresh water hose
    • Replacement water filter
    • Water pressure regulator
    • Flush valve
    • Sensor treatment
    • Black tank treatment (tablets or fluid)
  • Cleaning supplies:
    • Rags and/or chamois
    • Broom and/or swiffer
    • Disposable gloves
    • Disinfectant
    • Vinegar
    • Window cleaner
    • Carpet or floor cleaner
    • Toilet and bathroom cleaner
  • Optional: Hitch or tow bar, including cover

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