RV camping is luxurious compared to backpacking, tent camping, and many cabin rental opportunities. You get to bring all the comforts of home along with you from a working bathroom to a fully functional kitchen. However, many people get the wrong idea about RVing and set out without a full complement of camping gear. Parking your RV in a beautiful private or national park is still camping, and if you want to enjoy all the beautiful things nature has to offer, you’ll want to bring at least a little gear of the rugged variety. Pack your RV with tasty recipes, bring real bed linens, and delight in cool AC on warm summer days, but don’t forget these fifteen camping essentials, because RV camping is still camping.
1. Hiking Boots
Unless your goal is to spend 100 percent of your trip inside the clean safety of your RV, your feet are going to hit the ground. If you’re heading out to see the glories of natures and parks, hiking is probably on the itinerary. Whether you’re going mountain climbing, bird-spotting, or just taking in the wonderful forest air, don’t forget a pair of sturdy hiking boots. But leave them outside the RV when you come back to minimize mud cleanup.
2. Bug Spray
You can put screens on your RV windows, install an extra screen door, but you’re still going to spend time outside. Whether you’re going hiking, playing outdoor games, or just sitting around a fire with friends, the bugs will come. Ward them off with citronella candles and for individual use, remember to bring plenty of bug spray.
3. Mosquito Netting
But even more comfortable than covering yourself with bug spray is sitting bug-free on your own RV ‘porch’ under your awning. It’s nice to kick back with your traveling companions and new friends you meet at each campsite. The solution is several square yards of mosquito netting hanging from your awning edge. Get enough to wrap your entire awning in two parts, this allows you to leave a slit so you and friends can come and go and enjoy the great outdoors without the annoying bite of mosquitos or buzz of gnats.
4. Charcoal and Grilling Gear
One of the best things about an RV is the fully functional kitchen, usually complete with both a cooktop and oven. However, there’s something romantic about cooking on a fire out under the stars. Not to mention that an RV can really heat up if you get the oven going. While you can cook indoors, remember to bring your grilling gear. You may park somewhere with a grill, at which point you’ll want charcoal, a grill brush, oil, tongs, and anything else you like to grill with.
If you plan to cook over a campfire, or think this is a possibility, consider bringing your own grill stand, grilling gear, and possibly a small bundle of firewood. Firewood can often be collected on-site, but if it has rained this may not be possible.
5. Tin Foil
There is nothing more useful to campground cooking than tinfoil. Don’t have a pan or a lid you need? No problem, make one out of tinfoil. Tinfoil allows you to cook almost anything on a grill or in the coals of a fire. You can wrap root vegetables like potatoes and carrots, you can make ‘packet’ meals that steep deliciously together, and you can augment a minimized cooking kit. You can even make water-tight cups and bowls with it in a pinch. Always keep half a roll or more of tinfoil in your RV and you won’t regret it.
You never know when you’re going to need a nylon clothesline. These things are useful in more ways than you could possibly imagine because they’re not just for hanging clothes. To start with, camping clothing can get damp, even soaked, and you won’t want to take a detour to a laundromat. A clothesline allows you to dry anything from socks to bedding on the fly. You may also use it to rig up curtains, mosquito netting, a make-shift hammock, or as a binding in last-minute repairs.
7. Emergency Credit Card
A lot of things can happen to personal items on a camping trip. From getting pick-pocketed far from home to accidentally dropping your wallet in a ravine, there are a number of possible scenarios where you can wind up in trouble without access to your wallet or paperwork. We highly suggest keeping an emergency credit card stashed in a secret spot in your RV, preferably behind a combination lock or in your RV safe. This can ensure that you are never complete without a means of payment for last-minute supplies, repairs, or lodgings if your RV needs to go into the shop.
8. Camp Chairs with Cup Holders
When everything you need is inside the RV, it can be easy to forget that you’re going somewhere to spend time outside. Even if that is only a few feet from your front door. For the comfort of you, your traveling companions, and any new friends you make on the road be sure to pack along a stack of camp chairs. These let you lounge and drink steaming cups of cocoa (among other things) without sitting on the ground. Something that gets more important with age. We suggest your camp chairs come with cup-holders as well. It just makes life easier.
9. Campsite Rules and Maps
If you’re going to a specific campsite, do not allow yourself to get blind-sided by accidentally breaking camp rules and getting a reprimand, fine, or kicked out. Believe it or not, every campsite is different when it comes to the rules. Some are pet-friendly, some are not. Some are kid-friendly, some are not. Some have fines for making too much noise and some are hot party spots. Not only should you know what kind of campsite you’re headed toward, but you should also keep a copy of the campsite rules printed in your RV. Grab the camp maps as well, just for convenience and navigation.
10. Clothing in Layers
The weather is more unpredictable than any of us would like to admit. Even if the weather channel predicts clear skies and perfect temperatures, cold fronts and rain storms can happen without much warning. So can unusually hot days and sun when you didn’t expect it. Not to mention the fact that restaurants and shops may have their own ideas about the right AC temperatures. The best way to pack for a camping trip is to plan for layers.
Pack for the hottest possible day and the coldest possible day during your trip. We suggest planning for tank-tops as your lowest layer, acting as undershirts and hot weather clothing. Cotton t-shirts are a good second layer followed by long-sleeve shirts, flannels, and sweatshirts. You may or may not need a heavy jacket, but extra pairs of socks are always a good idea.
And, of course, don’t forget your swimsuits. You never know where a surprise swimming or hot-tub opportunity might arise.
11. Rain Gear
Along the same lines, no matter what temperature it is there is always a chance of rain. Rain gear is useful in a number of situations, including waterfalls and aggressive sprinklers. If your clothes are packed well, most people will only need a simple fold-up poncho which can be easily kept in a pocket or purse. If you pack umbrellas, look into wind-proof umbrellas that can’t be turned inside out in a way that is only funny when it’s happening to someone else.
12. Solar Lantern
Having a portable light source is incredibly useful, whether or not your RV lights are working perfectly. From checking the ‘basement’ to taking night hikes to deal with temporary circuit repairs, a camping lantern is a great idea. Running on giant batteries is useful enough, and rechargeable batteries are even better. Your best option is a lantern that can run either on rechargeable batteries (with a charger plugged into your RV) and from a small solar panel on top.
13. Filtration Water Bottle
RV hookups are what make long camping trips possible. The ability to empty and refill your water tanks make the kitchen and bathroom convenient and clean. But the water in new places is not always delicious to drink. A filter faucet on your kitchen tap can fix that problem (and save you from the usual digestive adjustments) but what about where you fill your water bottle up in other places? A filtration water bottle can filter water as you drink it, ensuring that you are always drinking filtered water.
A life straw water bottle can even make it possible to drink water from streams and ponds along the way if that’s your jam.
14. Lotion and Chapstick
Most people don’t think about their skin when planning for a camping trip, but brisk mountain air, dry desserts, and travel, in general, can be surprisingly dehydrating for your skin. And no one likes living with chapped lips, itchy spots, or painful cuticles. Do not forget to pack at least one (large) bottle of lotion. Use this anywhere that feels dry or itchy.
We also suggest you pack a whole handful of chapsticks and stash them in various useful places. Keep one on the dash or driver console for solving AC-dried lips on the road. Keep another in a kitchen drawer, another in the bedroom, in your first aid kit, and another packed in your hiking backpack.
15. Old Towels
Finally, remember that camping trips can get messy. Whether you need to clean dirty shoes or dogs, muddy campers, or the outside of your RV, you will need some towels you don’t care about. Whether you pack old beach towels or fluffy luxury towels in your bathroom, be sure to also pack some old towels you don’t care about so you can clean any mess that happens to come up.
The most important thing to remember when RV camping is that it’s still camping. There will still be hiking, time spent outdoors, bugs, cooking over campfires, and potentially bad weather. Make sure to pack real camping gear along with ingredients for your dream recipes and pajamas for comfortable indoor sleeping. For more RV camping tips, tricks, and useful suggestions contact us today!