Lisa Brown
by Lisa Brown
Posted August 18, 2017

You’re so excited that you can hardly contain yourself…you’re GOING CAMPING in an RV! But hold on there, you need to compose yourself because you’ve got a lot to pack! We’re going to help by putting a whole new spin on PACK and PLAY!

We’ve made this check list and categorized everything you’ll need to help make your next camping trip awesome. Whether this is your first camping trip or your fiftieth, we hope this will serve as a guide to help make your camping or RV trip an awesome and worry-free experience. Depending on where you go, your destination(s) will dictate your needs, so plan accordingly.

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty…

Your campsite

The best part of camping is spending more time in the great outdoors. Here’s everything you’ll need to spend as much time outside as possible:

  • Campsite rug or mat – keep the dirt outside!
  • Folding camp chair(s) – one for each person
  • Small folding camp table(s) – to set your grill on or your drinks/food
  • Cooler(s) – for beverages and refrigerated food
  • Grill & charcoal or propane
  • Sun/rain shade or dining canopy
  • Lantern(s)
  • Flashlight(s)
  • Extra batteries
  • Clothes line and clothes pins
  • Bug repellent

Sitting around the campfire

Now, what’s an RV camping trip without a good ole’ campfire? Before you leave, find out if you’ll be camping or parking in a fire ban area. If so, might as well just scratch those items off your list…or…better yet, detour and go where you can have one because seriously, there’s nothing better on a camping trip than s’mores and wienies on a stick over a hot bed of coals!

around the campfire

  • Fire pit – wood burning or propane
  • Firewood – pick up at the camp store
  • Fire Starter
  • Lighter and/or matches
  • Campfire grate
  • Pie Irons
  • Marshmallow or wiener sticks
  • Outdoor blanket(s)
  • Popcorn pot
  • Grilling tools
  • Grilling/Campfire Mitts
  • Hatchet – for cutting up kindling

Indoor or outdoor kitchen

When you camp, you’ll need to set up your indoor or outdoor kitchen. Try to keep it simple. You don’t need to be a culinary wizard to put out fabulous meals, but you will need some basics to get you cooking.

  • Vinyl table cloth – for picnic table
  • Camp stove & fuel
  • Paper products – plates, napkins, paper towels, cups and plastic cutlery
  • Grilling spices & seasonings, salt & pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • Aluminum foil
  • Aluminum foil pans
  • Food storage bags
  • Large skillet
  • Cooking pots
  • Dutch oven
  • Cooking tools
  • Whisk
  • Pancake flipper/spatula
  • Mixing bowls – collapsible ones rock!
  • Cutting knives
  • Pot holder
  • Bottle opener/corkscrew
  • Can opener
  • Plates – unbreakable plastic or melamine
  • Silverware
  • Cups or unbreakable glasses
  • Pot scrubber/sponge
  • Portable wash basin
  • Drying rack
  • Quick drying dishtowels
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Antibacterial wipes
  • Eco-Friendly dish soap
  • Trash bags


You’ll want to pack supplies that will keep your campers and yourself active and interested. Research area hiking trails, geocaching, points of interest, etc. before you go so you’ll know what to pack.  Don’t forget, you may have to deal with inclement weather. Don’t let the weather rain on your parade!  There’s plenty to do inside, if you plan for it. Just enjoy your camping experience and each other.

activity supplies

  • Fishing pole & tackle (and license)
  • Kayak(s), canoe, etc. and paddles
  • Board games
  • Sports balls – soft Nerf’s are awesome!
  • Bicycle(s) & helmet(s)
  • Day pack
  • Reusable water bottles
  • Trekking poles
  • Compass
  • Multi-tool and/or pocket knife
  • Hand-held GPS
  • 2-way radios
  • Binoculars
  • Maps
  • Camera & lenses
  • Nature guide books – i.e. plants, birds, etc.
  • Star & constellation guides

For the kids

Camping is a great way to unplug and take it outside.  Get your kids creating and using their imaginations by rock painting or leaf pressing. Take them on a hike to learn about the new world around them. Be persuasive with your own participation! Show your interest and they will be interested too. Have scavenger hunts or educational nature identification games (i.e. trees, birds, flowers, etc.). The object is to get them outside and moving.  

Here’s some ideas for tots, tweens and teens…

  • Squirt guns
  • Glow sticks, bracelets and necklaces
  • Kites
  • Bug catching
  • Hacky sacks
  • Puzzles
  • Coloring books and crayons
  • Paint sets (for rocks)
  • Soccer ball
  • Kids’ playing cards
  • Sketch book, pens and charcoals
  • Camera

Personal items

You’ll need to pack a ‘Go Bag’ in which will hold personal items for each person or a communal bag for the whole family to dig into when they need to. You may want to add to this list to fit your individual needs.

personal supplies

  • First aid kit
  • Sunscreen – SPF 30+
  • Prescriptions
  • Lip balm
  • Toilet paper
  • Feminine supplies
  • Sunglasses
  • Reading glasses
  • Eco-Friendly toiletries
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Brush/Comb
  • Cash


When it comes to clothing, each person should plan to pack their own wardrobe.  Rolling your clothes compacts them, saving much needed space. A good rule of thumb is each person should pack for one clean outfit per day, PLUS 2 extra days of socks, underwear and T-shirts. Better to have more clothes than you think that you’ll need.

  • Sweatshirt or light jacket
  • Swimsuit & towel
  • Sun-shielding hat
  • Moisture-wicking T-shirts – short/long sleeve
  • Moisture-wicking underwear
  • Quick-dry pants/shorts
  • Bandana or buff
  • Sock – synthetic or wool
  • Jacket or vest
  • Gloves
  • Rain jacket or poncho
  • All-terrain/hiking shoes/boots
  • In-camp shoes
  • Shower shoes
  • Shower towel and wash cloth


While it’s great to take a vacation from technology, you’ll still want some electronics to communicate with loved ones back at home and also to record your trip. It’s best to start your trip with all devices charged up and ready to use.

  • Cellphone(s)
  • Tablet
  • Battery banks – for charging cellphones and tablets
  • Charger cords & plugs
  • Camera
  • GPS


In RV’s or campers, you’re most likely not going to have your own room, unless you travel solo.  So, be prepared for smaller and less private sleeping arrangements. RV’s can have dinettes that convert to small beds, pull-out sofa sleepers, and over-the-cab bunks. Any which way, be prepared to provide each with their own bedding.

  • Sleeping Bags and/or bed linens, sheets, and blankets
  • Pillows
  • Air mattress (as needed)
  • Sleepwear or pajamas
  • Ear plugs (because inevitably someone in your camper will snore…loudly!)
  • Small battery operated fan


pet supplies

Of course, you don’t want to forget Fido and Fluffy on your RV camping trip; dogs and cats love to go seek their own adventures. Be mindful and respectful of where you take them, especially in wooded areas or in campgrounds with other pets. Also, be sure that their immunizations are up to date, most importantly, their rabies vaccine.

  • Pet bed
  • Pet food & bowls
  • Harness or collar & leash
  • Toys and chewies
  • Flea & tick prevention
  • Pet waste collection bags

So, there you have a comprehensive list to outfit your RV or camper!  

One more important thing to remember before you go loading up your RV…WEIGHT. You need to know that each RV has its own weight limit for cargo, so always research your RV’s manufacturer specifications. This is typically printed and posted inside a cabinet door or on the door of the RV.

Always try to make your items ‘multi-use’. Pack as light as possible, but pack for need and comfort. Don’t fret if you forget something. Wherever you park, you’ll be within a few miles of a store to get what you need…or, make friends with your camping neighbors and borrow. You never know what friendships could ensue over that borrowed spatula or cup of sugar.

Lisa Brown

Already having been a nomad at birth, three continents and eight countries by her first birthday, traveling is in her blood. Upon graduating high school, she enlisted in the Coast Guard to feed her nomadic spirit and to sail the high seas. She married another Coastie and traveled even more. In 2014, they sold it all to seek high mountains, lush valleys, dark caves and deep canyons with their two cats. When she's not blogging or writing, you'll have a hard time finding her; she will be out riding her dual sport motorcycle or hiking with her husband. You can read more of writing on their blog


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