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Camping Must-Haves for Your RV or Trailer

Camping Must-Haves for Your RV or Trailer

After spending 8 months in a 2015 Shasta re-issue on our grand USA RV road trip, we realized a lot of things we needed for long-term camping that we didn’t have.  Here are some of my favorite items as well as ones that have been mentioned by camping friends in the know. I’m assuming your RV or trailer has a refrigerator, bathroom, etc so I didn’t list any of those items though people did mention them.

Camping Must-Haves for Your RV or Trailer

  • Baby Wipes. Yes, I know in an RV you have water but it is a pain to go inside all the time. Baby wipes are great to clean up hands, faces and random messes. I buy a case at the beginning of the season and throw a pack or two in per trip.
  • A comfy bed. Many people suggested foam toppers since RV mattresses can be not so comfy. We ended up buying one for our trip as the table cushions squished down to nothing and my hips started hurting right away.  We made the bed up with linens though we did have a sleeping bag for Evan for when Dewey came and visited.
blue percolator
  • Coffee! – We all know that it is the nectar of the gods but it seems even more so when you are camping. Now to determine how I want to make said coffee. When we went camping as a family, we used a percolator but on our trip, I bought a tiny, 4-cup coffee maker. It ended up being more like 2 mugs of coffee and perfect for just me.
  • Something to bake in. – My camper had a stovetop (gas) and a microwave but we used our toaster oven more than anything else on our trip. This plugin pizza oven looks cool too.
  • Something to cook on outdoors.  – Thankfully, we kept our old camp stove from our camping days. We ended up cooking on our camp stove most days. We didn’t buy a bbq grill but at times I regretted not having one.
  • Camp Chairs – Here I need help. What is the best camp chair? So many of them are either huge or unwieldy or they make your legs go to sleep. What is your favourite camp chair? We went with the normal folding variety and they worked fine.
RV Mat
  • RV Rug – I love how a rug in front of your RV cuts down on the dirt and sand that gets in your trailer. It goes a long way to helping keep it clean!
  • Wine tool – We know there will be wine, right? I love this double-action wine tool. Who needs those fancy-schmancy corkscrews? Not me!
  • Dishes – Don’t forget to take enough dishes! I like to have 2 or 3 more than people who will be eating. I always need extra so that I have a place to put cooked (and uncooked) food that I need to transfer. I much prefer to use actual dishes instead of paper plates. It takes a little more effort but is much less wasteful. A friend gave us a Corelle dinner set and it was perfect for camping.
  • Screen tent and an awning – Thankfully my trailer comes with an awning. Unfortunately, it scares me because it is basically a big wad of canvas and 3 poles. I will be practicing putting that up before we leave. We thought about getting a screen tent because of mosquitos but we didn’t really miss not having one. With a bigger family, I would have one because then it wouldn’t be me taking it down and putting it up by myself. What say you?
  • Trash Bag Holder – Like my kitchen comment above, I would rather keep the garbage smell outside if possible. I realize that is not always possible (helllooooo, wildlife) but I will be packing a collapsible trash can for when it is.
  • BBQ Lighters and backup matches – You can’t have a campfire without a match. Enough said.
  • Weather Radio – When you are from Alabama, you are scared of inclement weather. Since I may not always have good internet, I will be bringing along a weather radio.
pie iron
  • Pie Irons – Cooking over a campfire is so much easier in a pie iron. I must admit that mostly we just make campfire pizzas but I’ve also heard they are great for making bacon.
  • Head Lamp – I love headlamps. They are so much more useful than flashlights because you can still use your hands. Plus this one has red LEDs so I can read without bugging Evan after he goes to sleep. Score!
  • Tool Set – You never know when you will need a hammer or a screwdriver. I am going to splurge on a tool kit with a case so it is all in one place when I need it. This came in really handy when our trailer door broke.
Nat Geo Road Atlas
  • An Atlas – I plan to buy the National Geographic Road Atlas – Adventure Edition because it includes additional information on National Parks. We planned to mark the routes we took but we never did. The atlas came in handy more than once, though, because much of the US doesn’t have cell service.
  • DIY Firestarters – Make your campfire easy peasy with a DIY firestarter.
  • Cast Iron Frying Pan – You can’t beat a cast iron pan for cooking on the stove, on the camp stove or on the fire.
  • Glow in the Dark Duct Tape – Use the duct tape to mark your awning poles so you don’t run into them. Who knew?
glow in the dark duct tape
  • Hatchet – You have to have something to make kindling with, right? No hatchet means no fire.
  • Dishpans – my RV sink was TINY. I mean, holds 6 cups of water tiny. One plate didn’t actually fit. Instead of trying to make it work and causing a HUGE mess, I will be taking along dishpans so I can wash and rinse my dishes outside. I bought the cheapy Sterlite ones but I think the splurge on collapsible ones might be worth it.
  • Marshmallow and Hot Dog Roasting Sticks – Because S’mores and hot dogs are amazing.
  • Lantern – While headlamps are great, sometimes you need a bigger light source. An LED lantern works great and is easy on batteries.
  • Hammock – Okay, so a hammock isn’t a must-have but it was suggested by at least 10 people so who am I to argue? Plus they are pretty cheap and fold down into a tiny package.
  • Games and Cards – Great for learning and a fun way to while away the evening (because we are going to be limiting screens on our trip). We played a lot of UNO on our trip and Evan loved playing Operation.
  • Music – I will be loading up my iPhone with loads of music. I am also going to bring along Evan’s ukelele. No time like the present to learn how to play it.
  • Books – I can’t wait to take the time to enjoy a good book. The wifi may be crappy but at least it will mean I will take the time to read more. We also listened to many, many books on Audible (use this link to sign up and get 2 free books). Perfect for long car rides!
  • A hot water bottle. There is a fine line between warm and “OMG I may die of sweat in my sleep”. A hot water bottle is a great way to get warm and cozy without overheating the whole RV or trailer.

So tell me…what are YOUR camping must-haves?

AN RV driving into the sun

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Alice Carroll

Monday 12th of October 2020

Wow, I never thought before about bringing a pie iron to a camping trip in order to have a quick way to prepare something to eat. That would be perfect when my friends and I get a tailgating trailer rental soon for my best friend's bridal shower. Getting to travel while also partying would be quite a memorable experience to have.

Steve Studer

Friday 1st of November 2019

I notice firewood was not mention you should always take your own firewood as you don't know what will be at any Camp spot, also tablecloths for the picnic tables that are at all campgrounds. You mentioned a hatchet but I also carry a axe a shovel and pail for water for putting out the fires. Steve

Merry Kuchle

Friday 1st of November 2019

It depends. In Canada, they request you don’t take firewood from province to province as it can spread tree diseases.

Aaron c southard

Wednesday 19th of June 2019

Have a tent on hand for rambunctious youngins! They enjoy those freedoms with an extension cord and a TV/game system....plus a little more privacy for adults!

Merry Kuchle

Wednesday 19th of June 2019

That is a good one!

Ramona Taylor

Saturday 15th of June 2019

Ice maker!!

Brett

Tuesday 30th of April 2019

Thank you for including s'mores supplies. That's a must have!

I also despise sleeping bags. Maybe it's because I move so much in my sleep? They end up all twisted around me and I feel trapped!!

Merry Kuchle

Tuesday 30th of April 2019

Same!!! I hate that feeling!