Nothing beats the thrill of spending your first night in an RV. Knowing you can go anywhere with your family and friends, your belongings, and even your pets.

Knowing that you’ve already unpacked for your vacation despite the fact that you haven’t even left yet. And knowing you’re about to be treated to some of the world’s best sights from the luxury of your snug RV passenger seat.

We’re envious. We wish we could go back in time and do it all over again, but for now, we’ll settle for making other first-time campers’ experiences as stress-free as possible.

So you’ve planned your first RV trip; now what? RVing is not the same as staying in a hotel or a static caravan. It’s better now.

You’ll only have to unpack once, there are no restrictions on where you can go or what you can do on your trip, and nothing beats putting up your camper after a hard day of driving.

If you’ve recently booked your first RV vacation, you’re not alone. RVing and camping have witnessed a significant increase in the last two years. In 2018, 28 million individuals went on RV vacations.

According to preliminary data, that figure might be up to 68 percent higher in 2020. And that figure is expected to rise much further this year. RVing across the United States is a popular item on many people’s vacation wish lists.

There has never been a better time to take a vacation in an RV. So, how do you get ready for your first RV trip? There are a lot of things you need to think about:

When are you going?
Where will you be staying?
How long will your journey last?
What are your plans for your trip?
Which path should I take?
What to Bring

We can’t help you with everything on that list right now. What we can do is take all of the stress out of packing.

The good news is that preparing for your first RV trip is quite straightforward. However, there are some items that first-time campers seldom consider packing.

Today, we’ll go through 37 things you shouldn’t take on your first RV vacation, three things you should never pack, and how to pack like an expert. Let’s get started on that list straight away.

While preparing for an RV adventure is exciting, packing all the gear you’ll need can be overwhelming.

To help reduce your stress, we’ve put together a checklist of camping necessities, including RV accessories, kitchen supplies, clothing, personal items, and more that you should bring on every trip.

RV Essentials:

  • Surge protector
  • Electrical adapters
  • Toilet chemicals
  • Sewer kit
  • RV-friendly toilet paper
  • Water pressure regulator
  • Drinking water hose
  • Leveling blocks
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Extension chords
  • Wheel chocks
  • Shovel
  • Electrical and duct tape
  • Extra cotter pins
  • Extra motor oil and transmission fluid
  • Flashlight
  • Battery jumper cables
  • Emergency road kit
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Large zip-close bag for documents, including license, registration, reservations, etc.

Kitchen and cooking supplies:

While it may be tempting to eat on paper plates and drink from red Solo cups for the duration of the vacation.

Packing your own cooking supplies will make it a much more relaxing experience.

  • Water bottles
  • Cutting board
  • Utensils/cutting knives
  • Can opener
  • Tongs and skewers
  • Dish soap
  • Camping griddle and pie iron
  • Bowls, plates, and cups
  • Paper towels
  • Garbage bags
  • Plastic wrap
  • Zip close bags 
  • Potholders
  • Dish towels
  • Napkins
  • Can opener
  • Skillets
  • Disinfecting wipes
  • Matches and lighter
  • Food storage container
  • Cooler 

Food staples:

One of the best aspects of RV vacations is that you have complete choice over what you eat and when you eat it. You can have take-out every night if you want to.

However, you can also cook all of your favorite meals while on the go. If you or anyone in your family has food allergies, RVing might be a fantastic way to spend your vacation.

We know numerous children who, while RVing, were able to eat the same meals as the rest of their family for the first time. It’s an emotionally charged encounter all around.

Bringing your own food also makes RVing a great vacation for those on a tight budget. You can meal prep whatever you’re going to eat before you go if you like.

Then freeze it and keep it in your RV. This eliminates the trouble of being on the go and allows you to save significantly on mealtimes. Don’t forget to bring snacks. Nothing is more frustrating than running out of food.

  • Batter mixes
  • Vegetables and fruits
  • Butter or margarine
  • Cereal
  • Condiments, including mayo, ketchup, mustard, relish, etc.
  • Grill meats, like hot dogs, burgers, brats, etc.
  • Drink mix packets
  • Eggs
  • S’more ingredients
  • Freeze-dried meals
  • Salt, pepper, herbs, and spices
  • Bread
  • Baking items, including flour, cornmeal, sugar, etc.
  • Canned foods
  • Peanut butter and jelly 
  • Snacks, including crackers, chips, pretzels, etc.
  • Cooking spray or oil
  • Soups
  • Alcohol

Clothing and bedroom items:

One of the most enjoyable aspects of RVing vacations is the ability to tailor them to your specific preferences.

That means you can spend a week on the beach soaking up the rays.

You can hike around Yellowstone for a week if you want.

You can even plan a ski weekend for yourself.

When it comes to RVing vacations, the sky is the limit. However, deciding what you’ll be doing on your vacation before you leave will make packing a lot easier.

The good news is that there are no weight or packing restrictions when it comes to RV vacations.

You won’t have to worry about cramming all of your belongings into a single little luggage. In fact, most RVs provide built-in clothing storage.

  • Hat
  • Rain gear
  • Shoes, including sneakers, hiking boots, sandals, etc.
  • Bathing suit
  • Sweatshirts and jackets
  • Socks
  • Underwear
  • Pants and shorts
  • Short and long sleeve t-shirts
  • Clothes hangers
  • Alarm clock
  • Sewing kit
  • Towels
  • Sheets and blankets
  • Pillows

Personal items and toiletries:

When it comes to bringing critical information, consider everything you could need documentation of while on the road. All of your RV and camping packing lists, as well as your car registration, campground bookings, and roadside assistance information, should be maintained in a folder for convenient access.

Other personal essential items include:

  • Phone chargers
  • Cash and credit cards
  • Reservation confirmations
  • First-aid kit
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Batteries
  • Watch
  • Medications and prescriptions
  • Glasses or contact lenses
  • Sunglasses
  • Travel map and campground directory
  • Soap
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Brush and comb
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Floss
  • Deodorant
  • Hair ties
  • Lotion
  • Makeup
  • Razor
  • Shaving gel
  • Nail clippers

Camping and outdoor fun gear:

  • Camera
  • Wood
  • Camping chairs
  • Hammock
  • Frisbee
  • Fishing gear, including rods, tackle, license, etc.
  • Sports equipment, including football, basketball, baseball, mitt, etc.
  • Yard games, including corn hole, horseshoes, hula-hoops, etc.
  • Binoculars
  • Books and magazines
  • Playing cards
  • Puzzles
  • Radio
  • Headphones
  • Notepad or journal
  • Laptop
  • Saw or hatchet
  • Flotation devices
  • Guitar 

Tips for efficient RV packing

I believe we can all agree that the most difficult aspect of going on vacation is packing. Unfortunately, it also happens to be the most important part of going on vacation.

As a result, we went about gathering and testing all of the finest tips on how to do the packing for your vacation stress-free. And fortunately for you, we’re going to tell you about it today.

Plan ahead of time

The more you plan ahead of time for an RV vacation, the easier it will be to pack. This means that if you know you want to go trekking and visit a water park while you’re on vacation, you may pack accordingly.

It can be difficult to know where to begin when you don’t know what your plans are. We become overwhelmed by the number of options available to us and quickly develop decision fatigue.

The more you know about your vacation, the easier it will be to pack efficiently.

Create a checklist.

Making a checklist is the greatest method to prevent forgetting anything while packing. You can also use this packing list as a starting point for your own (as we have already done a lot of the hard work for you).

Check each item off your checklist as you bring it out to the RV. Then you’ll be able to see what’s lacking.

You might even want to make two checklists, one for everything you can pack ahead of time and one for things you’ll need to pack at the last minute. The last-minute checklist is especially useful because this time of year may be extremely stressful.

Everything needs a place.

According to research, one of the fundamental aspects that make individuals so comfortable on vacation is the fact that they are not surrounded by material. We live a minimalist lifestyle for a while and reap all of the emotional rewards.

While it may be tempting to pack EVERYTHING for your first RV trip, it is better to keep your packing to a minimum. Pack only what you can fit into your RV without making it feel cluttered or overpowering.

Allow yourself some time to unwind. Don’t take it if it doesn’t fit.

Before you go, put everything away.

It’s tempting to load everything into the back of the RV and drive away. However, if you take the time before leaving to unpack everything and put it in its proper position, you will be a lot happy.

You’ll be exhausted and probably not in the mood to unpack by the time you get to your first location. You’ll just want to get to the relaxing part and start cooking.

You can save yourself a lot of trouble by unpacking before you go. And you’ll know where everything is at all times.

Other suggestions:

  • Pack items in dry bags that can be squeezed down to ensure easy compression. Suitcases often take up more room than necessary.
  • To keep the inside of your RV clear of clutter while you’re living in it, keep all of your outdoor cooking gear and unwanted goods in the additional under storage.
  • Use rubber containers for anything that can’t be fastened down.
  • While traveling, keep plates and dishes inside large bowls or skillets to keep them from sliding around.
  • To avoid spills and breakage while traveling, keep everything in a room with a locked door.
  • Before driving, make sure all latches are closed.

What not to pack

Now, before we send you off on your once-in-a-lifetime journey, we’d like to leave you with one final bit of advice. Here are three items that you don’t need to pack for your RV vacation.


Wood is bulky and takes up a lot of room.

Most RV campgrounds sell it in little bundles, allowing you to stock up on it one night at a time.

Most individuals, however, discover that they can go on an entire RVing vacation without using any wood.

Additional Clothes

While you should carry a well-thought-out selection of outfits, you do not need to pack three of each item.

Most of these clothes are unlikely to be worn, and you might make better use of the space.

If you’re worried about running out of clean clothes on your trip, plan a couple of stops at a laundromat or stay at a campsite that has a washing machine.

Lots of blankets

You don’t have to go overboard when it comes to bedding. Yes, having all of your home comforts with you is convenient. However, you do not require three blankets.

Because your RV is small enough, you won’t need a separate blanket for the living area and the bedroom.

So, to save space, bring only the blankets you’ll need.

Packing for Kids

Nothing beats bringing your kids along on an RV journey and watching them enjoy camping and exploring. However, there are certain additional problems to be mindful of while preparing for and traveling with children.

When you have children, there are more people to manage and organize in the RV. Keep your family’s belongings organized and easily available by storing them in clear, transparent containers where your children can easily find their clothes, toys, and accessories.

Pack extra clothes because children tend to stain their clothes (and yours) more rapidly. Of course, if you’re traveling with babies or young children, don’t forget to pack diapers, wipes, bottles and a bottle washer, and baby sleep gear.

There are some fairly fantastic kids’ packs that are expressly designed for bringing children along on camping trips, as well as kid-sized camping mats and other camping gear.


Anything can happen on the road, so you should know how to keep your RV in good condition and bring all of the required gear. A fuel can, wheel chocks, and a pressure reducer are all required.

And, of course, you should bring all of your insurance and personal documentation with you!

Packing for an RV trip might be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Make a precise strategy for what you’ll do on the road and pack accordingly. And with this advice and checklists, you’ll be well on your way to becoming an RV packing pro in no time.