Okay, camping season is coming up again. Whether this is your first season RVing or your twentieth, it’s a good idea to think carefully about what you’re packing. We won’t get into how to pack these items; everybody has their own system anyway.


For RV maintenance…

You have stuff at home to help you take care of household jobs, so take care of your home away from home. Pack a toolbox and load it with a wrench set, voltmeter, screwdrivers, a hammer, and a dedicated headlamp. A small, portable drill can be very handy to have along as well. Other items to have on hand for RV maintenance include batteries (AA, AAA, C, D), extra light bulbs, duct tape, an extra hose, extension cord, a tarp, rope, and scissors. Don’t forget items such as leveling blocks, jumper cables, adapters, holding tank chemicals, extra fuses, bungee cords, and a tire pressure gage. Items such as lighters, matches, a compass, and chargers aren’t necessarily RV maintenance related, but they are necessary to handle other RV life tasks.


For household duties…

The kitchen is the heart of the home, including in the RV. You’ll need the right gear and accessories to manage cooking, inside or out. Your packing list should include the basics such as a can opener, cooking utensils, knives, grill flipper, dishes, cups, tumblers, mixing spoons, pizza cutter, coffee mugs, silverware, cutting boards, mixing bowls, oven mitts, pots, and pans. For outdoors, a grill, Dutch oven, and a portable kitchen station can all prove useful.  Bring along storage bags, foil, dish soap, and paper towels as well to be able to meal prep, clean up dishes, or to store food. You may also consider some basic appliances such as a toaster, an instant pot, and a coffee maker. A hatchet also makes the packing list, as chopping wood for campfires may be necessary at times – as well as fun.

For keeping the RV, and everyone inside it, nice and clean, pack a few cleaning supplies such as Chlorox wipes, Febreze, Spic n’ Span (or similar), laundry soap, and dish soap. A small handheld vacuum, a broom with dustpan, and microfiber cloths can round out your cleaning equipment. A laundry line to use outside to help towels and wet clothing dry out is also a must-have item to have on your packing list when it comes to managing an RV household.


For personal use…

You’ll want to consider every member of the camping party and their individual needs, especially if you have kids who can’t (or seem unable to) pack themselves. Pack clothing that is appropriate for the season and the anticipated weather, as well as the unanticipated such as raincoats or ponchos. It can be sunny one minute and raining the next. Pack enough socks, sturdy shoes, and sandals.

Personal toiletry items such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, bar soap, razors, makeup, shaving cream, contact solution and case, etc., should be placed in a kit for each individual. Create a storage rack in the bathroom to hold onto these kits for easier access.

You’ll also need to pack sunscreen and bug spray, as well as a first aid kit and sunglasses. Depending on your chosen activities, you may need to bring a personal backpack, water bottle, helmet, swimsuit, beach towel, or walking poles.


For fun activities…

Camping is about spending time together. Many of the activities can be enjoyed outdoors, such as throwing a football or baseball around, so bring the sporting equipment to take part in a game of catch at a more open space. Cornhole, ladder ball, spike ball, and other outdoor games can be easily packed and stored to provide hours of entertainment. If you have a particular outdoor pursuit you really enjoy, such as biking or kayaking or fishing or golfing, then bring along that equipment as well if you plan to do those activities and already own the assets. If not, you can often rent those sorts of items depending on the campground you’re staying and the surrounding attractions.

Plan for down days as well, such as when it rains or folks simply need a breather. A Kindle can be useful if you’re a bookworm and want to bring along multiple novels without taking up much space. Some favorite movies, on DVD or Blu-Ray, allow you to watch something without having to worry about an internet connection. Board games, checkers, chess, and the old standby deck of cards, should be on every RV packing list. If you have younger kids, think about packing coloring books, activity books, or Play-Doh to mix up the things to do.

Of course, don’t forget the camping chairs. Choose ones that are comfortable and easily portable, as you may need to use them at the campsite as well as someplace else such as the beach or an outdoor concert.


For the kiddos…

Depending on the ages of the kids coming along, you’ll need to adjust your packing list. Babies and toddlers need a lot of extra gear, including pack n’ plays, strollers, age-appropriate toys, highchair or booster, sippy cups, diapers or pull-ups, and linens. Some families like to set up a tent outside the RV to use as a covered, separate play area for younger kids, or for teens to have their own space.


It’s important to prepare for what life will throw at you. You can have reasonable expectations, but you should also anticipate the unexpected so that you can respond and reduce down time or injury. Create a checklist for everything, not just for packing up the RV. Create checklists for setting up and breaking down camp as well. This way, there’s a method to the madness and you have some guidelines on hand to help remind you of important details, even if you’ve done something a hundred times before. So, give it some thought, load up, and go camping – enjoy!