Do you love going on trips as often as possible but really dread shopping and packing and organizing every time for hours before you go? How to pack an RV without the stress?
It is a lot of work if you don’t have a plan. You run in and out of your camper hundreds of times and definitely need a vacation when you are done packing. It is so exhausting.
So what can you do to shorten this up? How do you pack an RV without the stress?
Best tips on how to pack an RV easy and without stress:
- Use sleeping bags and keep them in the camper
- Keep separate camper towels in the camper
- Leave all your necessities in boxes inside the RV
- Do not bring a lot of clothes
- Keep it to a bare minimum
- Make a meal list and shop accordingly
- Keep selected spices, toiletries, some clothes, and shoes in the camper
- Buy most of the drinks at your location.
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What can you keep in the RV?
Here is a list of things you can keep in your camper if you go frequently on trips. If you winterize your RV over winter, then I would take everything out and add peppermint oil, to keep rodents out.
- kitchen paper
- cleaning stuff, detergent, soap, sponges (I keep all this in a tote with a lid underneath my sink)
- bathroom towels/kitchen towels
- dishes, cups, bowls, cutlery
- grilling utensils
- pots and pans
- blankets, pillows, sleeping bags for the kids
- dog dishes, dog beds, poop bags, etc.
- camping shoes, flip flops
- hats, sunglasses
- camping chairs and table, sun umbrella
- electric heater (small)
- additional fan above the bed
What should you bring every time you go on a trip?
We use camping clothes. I normally wear the same shorts, pants, hiking shoes, shirts, etc. when we go camping. I know exactly how many shirts and pants I need and don’t overpack.
I used to bring a lot of clothes because “you never know what can happen”. No, absolutely nothing ever happened. I never ran out of fresh clothes, 50% of the clothes I packed, I brought straight back home. So, just really think small when it comes to packing clothes.
When we come back from a trip, I just wash the clothes and pack them in my ‘camper hamper’ for my next trip.
Also, I leave rain jackets, shoes, a warm sweater inside the camper.
Here are some helpful items for packing and storing:
What kind of food should you bring?
Of course, it depends on what you like to eat. But I also try to make it really easy for myself, i.e. we make easy foods mainly on the Blackstone griddle because washing dishes is a pain.
If you have an outdoor kitchen – great, if you don’t have an outdoor kitchen just get a grill or griddle. We love our Blackstone griddle because we cook almost all of our dinners on it. No grease and smell inside and cleaning up is easy.
Here are some easy foods to bring:
- Orange juice, water
- Pita, Bread, Toast
- Salami, Ham
- Salad, Tomatoes, Cucumber
- Baby Carrots, Hummus, Olives
Here are some great recipes, that you can easily make on the griddle:
- Flatbread Pizza
- Spaghetti, Tomato sauce, Mozzarella cheese
- Campfire nachos
- Chicken enchiladas
- Haloumi with vegetables
Don’t forget drinks, but we normally go shopping when we are camping once or twice a week for fresh food like vegetables and fruit and also get water, beer and wine.
I start making a shopping list at least one week before our trip and go shopping for all the dry food we need. I just keep all the food in a box, that I can bring inside the camper easily a day prior or on the day we leave.
One or two days prior to the trip I go shopping for all the fridge food and fresh food and pack it in the cooler I bring with us on our trip. As soon as the fridge is cold, I pack the food into the fridge and keep the cooler for drinks only.
And that is actually it. It is no stress because I have a checklist so I feel pretty confident that I didn’t forget anything essential.
This is why I have made a Packing and Tool List I am checking off when I collect all the stuff for our trip.
Download the Packing and Tool List here and just add whatever is essential for you to bring.
Mark what you keep in the RV and check off what you collected in your hamper/bag.
After your trip write on the packing list what you missed, what you didn’t need and what you have to buy new for the next trip. Believe me, if you don’t write it down you will forget it until you start packing for your next trip.
This is not a must-have but pretty cool to have
This Luzy light is awesome. It is a solar light, so we just keep it outside in the sun and at night it really shines bright. Very lightweight and super cute.
And with this Luzy light you can even recharge your devices:
Give chores to the family members
I take care of the inside, my husband takes care of the car and the outside of the camper. He checks that the propane is full, the tires are filled and in good condition, weight distribution and sway bar is all good to go, and so on.
Kids can also help packing, or checking off stuff from your list. They like to be involved and love to have a job during packing and unpacking. So use them to help you.
10 things you definitely need to bring:
This is the bare minimum if you want to hit the road quickly and very minimalistic.
- Extension Car Mirrors to see what is going on around you.
- Water hose pressure regulator
- Water filter for better water
- Two water hoses, one to attach to the water faucet and one to clean out the sewer hose. You don’t want to use the same one.
- Sewer hose extension / dump extension
- Happy Camper, RV toilet paper if you don’t want to deal with a mess
- Food and drinks for your needs
- Clothes (try to pack as little as possible)
- Toiletries that you didn’t leave in the camper.
If you want to be comfortable and want to know all of the must-haves, check this out: 51 RV must-haves and RV accessories
Of course, tape, bungee straps, sealant if you encounter a leak and so much more is always good to have with you, but let’s keep it simple and just add what you think is a must-have for you.
It also depends on whether you drive a Motorhome, a B or C class, or pull a Travel Trailer or 5th wheel, and in what condition it is in.
Check your safety items first
Safety items should be number one on your list so check before you start your trip: smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detector, a fire extinguisher, just make sure everything is included and up to standard.
Also make sure you have things like extra water, emergency equipment, and any medications that you may need.
Packing the RV will become a routine
- The more often you do this, the easier it will get.
- Restock, remove or add as soon as possible or you will forget until you go on your next trip. (Just write whatever you ran out on your Packing List for the next trip).
- Everything has a place, so keep it in that place and standardize your process.
- Try to bring as little as possible from the house.
- Don’t overpack on clothes, just pack what you really need.
How do you pack your RV light?
By bringing only the necessities. No, you don’t need everything that you have at home. Let the kids run around in nature and have them explore new stuff, let them use their fantasy. Our son needed a couple of branches and cardboards and he built a treehouse in the woods for hours.
Bring some simple games for the whole family. We love to play UNO and scrabble. We always bring dices for some kind of funny games.
And just remember, there is a shop almost everywhere to buy whatever you forgot to bring.
If you have a meal list and you shop accordingly, you will be fine.
Know the weight that you pack
Make sure you load everything you bring evenly in your RV. It is also a good exercise to weigh your RV at the next weigh station after you packed everything, so you know if you are overloaded, which wouldn’t be a good thing.
You can also just weigh everything before you carry it inside the RV in order to have some idea of the additional weight you are adding. You might be surprised.
We normally drive with an almost empty water tank, because we don’t want to pull all the additional weight of the water. If you go boondocking, you will need the water, otherwise, just leave a couple of gallons in the tank in case you need to use the toilet while on the road.
Summary of How to pack an RV without the stress
Camping is relaxing or Best tips on how to pack an RV without the stress
Going on camping trips should not be stressful. This is why it is essential to have packing lists and to pack accordingly.
Above all, it is a camping trip and besides hiking clothes and comfortable pants you shouldn’t need a lot of other stuff. Bring just the essentials, it will be enough. Try to keep as much camping stuff as possible inside the RV, this will make your life so much easier.
See you on the road,
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