There are a lot of details to keep track of when you’re planning and packing for a camping trip (a packing checklist like this one can help). However, there are certain items that the majority of RVers feel are essential and won’t leave home without them. We will go through the Top 10, plus list a few more must-haves, that should also be included on your packing list.


  1. Basic Tool Kit: If you’re a seasonal RVer, like to boondock, or RV full-time, you’re your tool kit will be more extensive than your that of your average weekend warrior. Don’t feel like you need to run out and buy everything at the get-go. A lot of times, if you need a tool that you don’t own or have on hand, you can either borrow it or simply run out and buy your own (if you have the space available and depending on what tool it is). At the basic level, you will need tools that will be handy on simple DIY fixes or help you avoid unnecessary service appointments. These basic tools include: full assortment of screwdrivers or a multi-screwdriver. A set of open-end wrenches and a crescent wrench are compact and light and easy to bring along. Assorted pliers are also high on the list of basic tool kit items, as as a socket set and a cordless drill with assorted bits. Of course, no basic tool kit is complete without a hammer. Other items you might want to toss in are assorted zip ties, plumbing/leak repair tape, LED flashlights or headlamps, and a tape measure.


  1. First Aid Kit: Being prepared is key not just for whatever could happen to your RV while you’re traveling, but what could happen to you and your fellow travelers. You can choose from a variety of sizes of first aid kits at local pharmacies. The American Red Cross also has complete survival kits. Choose a kit that has enough supplies for your number of travelers. A separate smaller, more compact kit should go with you on any outings. These kits have band-aids, gauze, various creams, and cleaning wipes. And of course, don’t forget any important prescription medication, in addition to your typical assortment of NSAIDs.


  1. All-Weather Extension Cord: Interior and exterior extension cords are built differently. An all-weather extension cord is an essential part of your RV packing list because it ensures you can hook up to a power source no matter where you camp or however the site configuration. Power cords are three-prong and come in a variety of lengths as well as either 50 or 30 amps. All-weather gives you peace of mind that the extension cord is watertight and can handle the elements, which can change in the blink of an eye in Michigan.


  1. Dump Station Kit: Many RV units come equipped with a functional bathroom. This perk comes at a slight price: cleaning out the tanks when they get full or prior to leaving the campground, park, or resort. You’ll want certain items on hand for this particular job: disposable sanitation gloves, a sturdy sewer hose with end caps (to prevent spills) and transparent elbow (for visualization), a dedicated black tank flush-out hose, a four-in-one adapter, sanitary wipes or cleaner, and holding tank treatment to help reduce odors. Many of these accessories can be placed in a dedicated tote, making everything easy to find, use, and put back away.


  1. Camp Chairs and Outdoor Rugs: Make your RV’s outdoor spaces an extension of your indoor living space with chairs and an outdoor rug. The outdoor rug helps to trap dirt, sand, and other grime before you return to your RV, as well as provide a cleaner surface directly out your front door. Plus, it adds a bit of personality to your patio area. When it comes to camping chairs, the options are abundant. For a chair for yourself, don’t skimp on comfort and durability. Since you’ll be spending plenty of time in the chairs, find one that will support your back well. For families with infants and toddlers, perhaps consider a camping chair that rocks.


  1. Water Filter. Water isn’t the same everywhere you go. Some water comes from private wells, while other campgrounds may utilize city water. Depending, water can carry sediments, impurities, bacteria, have a foul smells, etc. The best way to have consistently clean and safe drinking, cooking, and bathing water is to utilize a water filter. An inline water filter filters the water as it comes from the source and before it goes into your RV. This is a popular choice and affordable. This type of water filter also helps to protect your RV’s plumbing because the water is filtered prior to entering the RV. Another water filter type that’s popular with RVers is a canister water filtration system, which can either be mounted near your fresh water inlet to filter all the water coming into your RV, or mounted under the sink you use for drinking water.


  1. Marine-Grade Toilet Paper. Regular toilet paper causes clogs, not just in your RV’s plumbing system, but in the campground’s septic system as well. Marine-grade toilet paper is biodegradable and breaks down quickly and easily with water. That being said, you still need to be conscientious of how much toilet paper you use. Wads of toilet paper can still cause problems with your RV’s plumbing system and tank.


  1. Clothesline/Paracord: For wet or damp clothes, there’s no better place to let them dry out than outside on a clothesline. When it comes to choosing a clothesline, you have a lot of options, however, at the end of the day you want something strong, durable, and reusable. Travel clotheslines are typically made from stainless steel, nylon, or cotton. Stainless steel ones have a plastic coating to help with durability, but they are also heavier. For security, look for a clothesline that uses clips or steel hooks. As for length, look for one that is at least 10 feet long. If you plan to hang heavy wet towels on a regular basis, then look for a heavier duty clothesline that can withstand the weight.


  1. Non-breakable Dishware: Dishware designs run the gamut, allowing you to choose a color or pattern that suits your personal style. Non-breakable dishware travels easily – and you don’t need to worry about them breaking in transit – are lightweight, and can be cleaned between meals, saving on waste compared to disposable paper plates.


  1. Boot Trays. Boot trays are the unsung heroes of the campsite. Whether you keep it outside or inside (or both), boot trays give footwear a home as well as keep all the dirt and grime in one place. Boot trays help to save your floors, too, from wear, tear, and staining. Identify a location in your RV as near to the door as possible and make sure to measure it to ensure the tray fits in that location. Outside, any size boot tray will do. When it’s time to clean up, all you need to do is hose it down.



Other common must-haves include:

  • leveling blocks/wheel chocks
  • table covers
  • grill/blackstone/hotdog sticks
  • board games, deck of cards, rain day activities
  • rain gear
  • flashlight/outdoor lantern
  • sunscreen, bug spray
  • toiletry kits if campers are planning to use the camp showers
  • walkie-talkies (phones do not always have service)

Check out our network of member suppliers, who will be able to provide many or all of these items!