Sharing an RV with a multi-generation family relaxing in countryside on motor home vacation

One of the great things about RV camping is the versatility, especially models that feature extra bunks and storage for group camping trips. Many RVers strikeout on warm-weather vacations with their children and even pets packed for a family adventure. Others may want to go on a fun outing with a few of their close adult friends. However, no matter how handy and comfortable your RV is, it is definitely smaller than a normal house. Sharing an RV with a single tiny bathroom, basic kitchen, and limited living space can be challenging even for campers who really enjoy each other and that’s what we’re here to talk about today.

From sharing the bathroom to not driving each other crazy, sharing an RV between more than two people isn’t just about tricks. It’s almost an art form, a dance that every one of your fellow campers must learn. To help you get started for your adult getaway or family vacation, here are a few of our favorite pointers on RV living with three to five campers along for the ride.

Sharing Your RV With Multiple Campers

1) One Box Each for Private Storage

RV camping is all about efficient packing. For the most part, everything your party needs can be packed into communal storage spaces. Food, towels, ground blankets, pots and pans, these are all things that are easily shared and are probably already stocked in your RV no matter who is coming along. But for personal items like clothes and toiletries, make sure everyone knows where their individual storage cubies are located. You may also consider designating one storage box each for kids or friends to fill with toys, books, and other entertainment supplies.

2) Personal Hanging Shower Caddies

RV showers are notoriously small and there generally isn’t enough room to put your toiletries down without constantly knocking them over. Some full-time and regular RVers set up special caddies to hold their supplies in place, but this is harder to do with several people who may all have different personal toiletries in their kit. The answer is a simple suction-cup hook in the shower itself. 

From there, each person has their own roll-up toiletries bag that unrolls into a hanging shower caddy. When each person takes their turn in the shower, their caddy goes in and out with them so that no one winds up battling someone else’s shampoo bottle.

3) One Pot Meals Make Everything Easier

Cooking indoors is one of the great luxuries of RV camping, but an RV kitchen isn’t the most spacious area in the world. Instead of worrying about complex multi-course meals, focus on one-pot meals like spaghetti, chili, and casserole. Anything that can be made in a single dish will make everyone’s life easier. This means one big dish to clean plus one plate or bowl each and no juggling courses and serving at the same time. You can diversify with side-salads and tasty bread to dip in the sauce.

4) Brush Teeth at the Kitchen Sink

Another way to diversify bathroom tasks is to keep toothbrushes by the sink. There’s no real need to be next to the toilet and shower when brushing your teeth and far less constant demand for the kitchen sink. With a little rack for toothbrushes and a mount for a shared tube of paste, you can even have multiple people brushing their teeth at once even while the bathroom is occupied.

5) Bandanas, Flannels, and Less Frequent Bathing

That said, one thing to accept about RV camping is that it is camping. While you have the luxury of a shower any time you need one, there’s also no need to go overboard. It won’t kill anyone to skip a few of their regularly scheduled showers and, let’s face it, you only shower so much because work or school demands constant perfect cleanliness. When camping with friends or family, throw on a bandanna and a flannel and don’t worry too much about bathing unless there’s noticeable discomfort or smell.

6) Choose Your Playlist Carefully

Your destination may be the best campsite in the world but there will still be long hours on the road and things to do when you’re all tuckered out from hiking and adventures. Whether you all brought books, cards, board games, or personal devices, the playlist hooked up to your RV sound system is also going to matter a great deal. Certainly, don’t count on the radio to bail you out of a long boring drive through the middle of nowhere because there are often no good stations between major cities.

Instead, load up a USB drive with playlists that everyone on the trip can enjoy and encourage each member to load their own drive with music, podcasts, and archived radio shows that they might want to share.

Sharing the RV trip with a multi-generation family relaxing in countryside on motor home vacation

7) Encourage Morning People to Go Outside

When there are three to six people sleeping in the same RV, morning logistics can be pretty tricky. There will always be at least one person who wakes with the sun even if everyone else will be waking up between nine and noon. What that person does during their waking hours can significantly influence how happy the rest of the campers are that morning.

Encourage the morning people, however many of them there are, to go outside instead of puttering around the RV where everyone else is sleeping. They can take a book, take a hike, or just prepare the campsite for mid-morning breakfast. As long as they take their activities out where it won’t shake the rig and wake everyone else up too early.

8) Extra Curtains for Privacy

Depending on the ages of your fellow campers, people may want more privacy than an RV typically provides for. The back bedroom may have a small door or curtain, but the loft and bunk beds will not. When you’re sharing an RV, don’t be shy about rigging up an individual curtain for each bed (separate top and bottom bunk curtains) so that everyone can have a little privacy at least in their own bed.

Curtains are easy to set up wither with Command hooks and string or mounted bars with a simple flat sheet or blanket draped over the top. The simple privacy of a bed curtain can make adults (and teens) in bunk beds feel a lot more dignified.

9) Everyone Cleans the RV

RVs are small and can get surprisingly dirty. Especially when there are three to six people sleeping, camping, and recreating inside. From tracked-in mud to half-unpacked cubbies, peace and happiness can absolutely hinge on everyone doing their part to keep the cabin clean. Start by agreeing on a few damage-control policies like ditching dirty shoes at the door and set aside some time each day for everyone to clean.

Keep a dirt devil stashed in a corner for some quick lightweight vacuuming and a handy collection of Windex and paper towels or rags. At least once a day, take turns cleaning the floors, washing the dishes, and putting away anything that has been unpacked in the last few hours. When sharing an RV, communal cleaning helps everyone stay on the same page with no finger-pointing at the messiest camper.

10) Laundry Day

Finally, longer camping trips may require you and your large party to face the challenges of a public laundromat. Some campsites have a laundry facility and almost every small town in the US has one that you can pop into. The question is how you’re all going to do laundry efficiently.

The most practical answer is to simply pool all your laundry, run it together, and sort it afterward. However, if there are issues of privacy at hand, consider splitting the laundry between guys and girls so that underthings remain reasonably private.

Sharing your RV with multiple people is a lot more possible than most would imagine, you just have to know how to go about it. With these hacks and more you’re sure to think up along the way, you can make camping fun and easy whether you’re traveling with your children or a handful of close adult friends.