The Ultimate RV Packing List for First Time Campers

July 09, 2020 9 min read

The Ultimate RV Packing List for First Time Campers

Going on an RV adventure is something that many people have on their bucket list. 

The idea of hitting the open road and exploring some of the most beautiful nature in the country while maintaining the basic comforts is a very appealing idea. Especially now, when it is more accessible than ever before. 

There is not only a wide range of ready-to-go RVs at more affordable prices, but you can also build out your own camper van from scratch, as there are countless online communities that have laid out the entire process.

However, before you can go on your dream adventure in an RV, you need to figure out what you're going to bring so that you're not left without essential items in the middle of nowhere.

To ensure that you make the most of your trip and have everything you need, let's go over some of the essential items that you should include in your packing list. In the article, we'll even cover things that might even take your trip to a whole new level in terms of your opportunities for exploration.

Electric Bikes

Even though an RV is incredibly convenient for travel, it does have its drawbacks. Mainly, when touring the country with an RV, you will always have to worry about how you'll access different sites.

When traveling to remote natural spots, you may find that the roads are too narrow or too run down to safely drive through with a sometimes-bulky RV. Other times, you may even reach a dead end, with only a narrow trail continuing towards your destination. 

guys riding bikes in front of RV

The same problems can arise in cities as well. Many cities have very strict regulations regarding parking and will force you to pay enormous fees to park near the city center. In fact, many cities prohibit RV parking or sleeping in the car, so you might not be able to access them conveniently.

Luckily, in all of the situations listed above, electric bikes can serve as the perfect solution.

Instead of worrying about where to park your large vehicle in a crowded city, you can just leave it in a spacious and secure parking lot a few miles away and head into town using your electric bicycle.

While a traditional bicycle might make the journey a bit tiresome, especially when you consider that you have to drive back to your RV afterward, electric bikes remove this problem altogether by enabling you to travel dozens of miles in a single charge, avoiding traffic andmaking commuting a breeze

Using electric bikes that have fat tires, you and your family can access even the most remote nature's locations, or drive through narrow streets of cities without worrying about parking or driving restrictions.

riding ebikes outside wilderness

What's more, electric bikes are incredibly fun to use, allowing you to enjoy pedaling yourself while also saving your energy and enabling you to drive much longer distances compared to a traditional bicycle.

Today, electric bikes have become more affordable than ever before. They're designed to last many years, providing you and your family with a reliable and fun mode of transportation that can take you anywhere you might want to go.

There’s also a wide range of electric bikes that you can choose from, from portablecommuter bikes toelectric mountain bikes that can handle almost any terrain. 

Folding bikes can be especially convenient in an RV because they don’t take up a lot of space. When you’re traveling with children, having a way to easily store multiple bicycles is essential, and sometimes you might not want to use an outside rack on a permanent basis.

Cooking Equipment

Novice RV enthusiasts make the mistake of not including some sort of cooking arrangements in their van. 

Many RVs already come with a stove, but if yours doesn't, you should seriously consider buying it separately, as it will provide you with much more freedom and convenience when you're out in nature and want a comforting meal.

Even if your RV comes with a stove, you should remember that you will still need equipment to cook in, as well as various utensils, plates, and other little things that make cooking on the go possible.

rv life cooking

You'll need a reliable and sturdy pan, as that will give you a lot of flexibility and enable you to prepare almost any meal if you're willing to get creative.

A pot is another essential addition to your RVs kitchen, as it will allow you to prepare soups, boil pasta, and even boil water for tea or coffee if you don't have a designated teapot for boiling water.

You should also include at least a few spatulas, a couple of good knives, as well as forks and spoons of various sizes. Having a grater can also provide you with more options and save you the time of having to cut everything with a knife.

Finally, when packing for your kitchen, you can't forget to bring all of your most-used spices and herbs, or at least the basics like salt, pepper, and oil.

Using familiar kitchen utensils and having your favorite spices will help make your meals just as good as at home, which can be great in the evenings when you and your family feel worn down and just want something comforting to help unwind.

If you plan on taking electric bikes to more remote national park locations, you might want to consider having a box or a bag with some bare-bones cooking essentials. That way, you don't have to rummage through your RVs kitchen every time and can just grab it and get going.

Bathroom Essentials

One of the best things about traveling with an RV is the ability to shower and take advantage of the bathroom facilities. In fact, this is one of the main things that allow families to travel around the country for months at a time without getting tired of the typical inconveniences posed by living in national parks.

However, to take advantage of the amenities that a typical RV can offer, you must make sure to bring your bathroom essentials. Otherwise, you'll likely find that even though you have the basic amenities, you can't really use them to their full potential.

rv life bathroom

That's why before heading out on your first RV adventure, you should sit down and take a close look at what your typical daily bathroom routine looks like. 

While the vast majority of people have universal steps like washing their teeth, there might be countless other little bathroom rituals that help you maintain your body clean, healthy, and vibrant. 

We've listed some of the most common bathroom essentials that you should consider bringing on your trip below.

  • Towels (beach and bath)
  • Soap
  • Shower gel, shampoo, hair products
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste
  • Drugs and medical essentials
  • Flip flops
  • Sanitizing wipes
  • Skincare products
  • Toilet paper

Although this list is by no means completed, it should give you a good basis to work with and help you structure your bathroom necessities in a more organized manner. At the same time, it might give you ideas of what else you might need on your trip so that you don't face any inconveniences when you're already on the road.

Entertainment & Outdoors

Any RV adventure is already packed with plenty of excitement. The whole nature of going on the road and exploring the country will provide more than enough memories because you'll always be engaged with new things that you haven't seen or done before.

However, even though the trip itself offers plenty of entertainment, you'll still need to figure out what you'll do in the quieter days when you're either resting or staying in one place for a while longer.

That's why packing plenty of entertainment for all family members is essential. Sure, taking a trip with electric bikes will always be an excellent option, but if you want to spend some time relaxing, you might want to consider other fun activities as well.

rv life camping with bikes

For one thing, you should make sure to pack at least a few books from your to-read list. This way, whenever you want to kick back and spend some time with yourself, you can just grab a book and continue where you left off. 

Books can also be great for those long road trips, as you can easily get lost for a few hours and turn the sometimes-mundane task of driving through the highway into a fun time that flies by.

If your RV has a TV, you should stock up on movies so that you always have something to watch after a long day of exploring. Make sure that you bring a wide variety of movies to help you choose something that different family members can enjoy.

You should also bring your most-used electronic devices, including phones, laptops, tablets, or e-readers. Double-check to ensure that all of the chargers are packed as well, since having a device die without the ability to charge it can be very frustrating.

No road trip can be possible without at least a couple of board games. Sure, having a deck of cards can sometimes be more than enough, but today, there are so many exciting board games to choose from, that you might find them becoming your favorite evening activity that brings the family closer together.

Finally, since you'll be spending a lot of time outdoors, you should also bring fun activities for the entire family that you can do outside. You can throw in a ball to kick around, darts, a frisbee, or a range of other fun outdoor games and always have something to do when the weather's great and you're itching for some friendly family competition.

camping at night

Think about what your family likes to do at home and consider which of those activities you could take with you on the road as well. Many of those activities can be taken with you on your electric bicycle trips as well.

Spending time outdoors also means that you'll need a way to comfortably set up outside. That's why you should also bring camping chairs, a table, and maybe even a hammock for setting up a nice place to chill out among the trees.

Consider Your Power Needs

Most of the comforts and conveniences that RVs can offer come down to having a stable source of power that you can rely on. 

And if you're opting for designated campsites during your trips, you'll likely find shore power hookups that will allow you to use all the electricity you might need, including running the AC as much as necessary.

However, if you decide to take your RV into the wilderness and explore more remote locations, chances are you won't have as easy of a time finding a source of power.

If you don't want to be left without electricity in these instances, it makes sense to consider the options for how to maintain power in your van.

And the good news is that there are many choices that can be customized depending on your budget, the time you want to invest, and the power needs of your family.

For those who are okay going without almost any electricity at all for a few days, not doing anything might be the best choice. You can turn a couple of lights on and even charge your phone using your car's main battery, and you probably won't run into any issues.

camper van solar power

You can also use power banks to give yourself more flexibility and put less strain on your battery if you're staying in one place for longer.

If you want to power your fridge, charge your laptop, and use ventilation when you're parked off the grid, you will need to figure out how to use electricity without draining your car battery. 

Many RVs come with leisure batteries that can power up your electronics without putting a strain on the battery that you use to start the vehicle. You can even set up an alternator that would charge your leisure battery when driving.

There are also solar power options at all budgets and power consumption levels. You can either opt for a simple foldable solar power panel that can generate electricity on sunny days, or even mount larger and more powerful solar panels on the roof of your RV and generate power all day long.

Having more power means you can not only charge essential electronics but also quickly recharge your electric bikes after each use.

Still, it might be a good idea to go on a couple of shorter trips to figure out your power needs before you settle on a solution. 

Final Words

Going on an RV adventure is one of the most fun and exciting activities that you and your family can take. However, if you don't want to run into unexpected issues in the middle of your trip, it's crucial to carefully put together a list of items you want to bring.

In this article, we've explored some of the essential items to put on your packing list, as well as other considerations that are important when you're hitting the road and want to feel as comfortable as possible.


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