What Should I Pack in My RV? RV Packing Tips Beginners

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With over 600,000 new RVs sold in 2021, there’s a pretty good chance that number includes many first-time RV owners. Maybe you’re one of them. If so, you may need some RV packing tips for beginners.

We’ve got a few tips that will help you when it comes to packing your RV for your first and all future trips. Let’s get started.

What Do I Need for My First RV Trip?

You should start collecting items for your first RV trip as soon as possible. Don’t wait until the last minute to gather supplies, or you may forget things. 

Additionally, some products may not be available or could be on backorder. You don’t want to delay your first trip because you didn’t plan accordingly.

You’ll find that quite a few places sell RV supplies. RV dealerships will typically have the most expensive RV gear. 

You can also find some accessories at big box home improvement stores and Walmart. However, we suggest shopping online for the most extensive selection and best prices. Here are some items we included in our RV packing tips for beginners.

Keep in Mind: Make sure you have everything you need for your RV with our complete list of RV essentials.

Camping and RV equipment packed for a beginners RV trip.

Water Hookups

Connecting to a water source at your campsite or filling up your tanks requires some items. One important purchase is a potable drinking water hose. 

Teknor Apex-4006-50 Zero-G 1/2" x 50', Blue
  • Lead-free, complies with consumer product safety improvement act of 2008 for lead content
  • Manufactured with f.D.A. Sanctioned materials

This will look like a standard hose, but the manufacturer didn’t use any chemicals that could affect the taste or quality of the water. You’ll use it to put water in your tanks and connect to your city water connection.

Renator RV Water Pressure Regulator for RV Camper. Brass Lead-free Adjustable RV Water Pressure Regulator with Gauge. RV Water Regulator for Camper Travel Trailer, Reducer Valve W Filter. M11-0660R.
  • EASY TO INSTALL, EASY TO USE. Effortlessly adjust and monitor your water pressure, and enjoy strong showers and good...
  • 1-YEAR WARRANTY AND U.S.-BASED PHONE AND EMAIL SUPPORT. Renator is one of the only companies based in the U.S.; we do...

Additionally, you’ll also want a water pressure regulator. This will help avoid issues if your campsite has high pressure. 

You may enjoy lots of water pressure when you shower at home. However, high water pressure in an RV can cause water lines to burst and fittings to leak.

Camco 40045 TastePURE Inline RV Water Filter, Greatly Reduces Bad Taste, Odors, Chlorine and Sediment in Drinking Water (2 Pack)
  • Safe Water Matters: GAC (Granular Activated Carbon) filtration greatly reduces bad taste, odor, chlorine, and sediment;...
  • Multiple Uses: Can be attached to any standard gardening or water hose to provide healthier drinking water and cleaner...

The final water product you’ll need for your first trip is a water filter. You can get it online and in most places that sell RV accessories. These come in various qualities, and you typically get what you pay for. 

A basic water filter will keep large sediment out of your water system. But some of the most expensive options will filter out substances that may affect the taste or smell as well.

Pro Tip: For our favorite RV water accessories, check out our RV Water Accessories list on Amazon.

Electric Hookups

Your RV should come with an appropriately sized power cable, typically a 30-amp or 50-amp one. They usually measure 25 to 30 ft long.

Camco 25' PowerGrip Cord with 50M/50F-90 Degree Locking Adapter | Allows for Easy RV Connection to Distant Power Outlets | Built to Last (55574) , Black
  • Extended Length: Extends 25 feet long, providing the necessary length to power your RV at distant power sources.
  • Flexible, Safe and Durable Construction: Power cord is extremely flexible. Coated with a heavy-duty flame retardant,...

While 30 ft might sound long enough, you’ll want to have an adequate extension cord on hand. If you spend a lot of time in campgrounds, you’ll discover that some parks place their power pedestals in difficult-to-reach locations. This is when an RV extension cord comes in handy!

Additionally, the most crucial electrical accessory you need to purchase is a surge protector. These protect your RV from electrical surges. A power surge can do massive damage to your electrical system. 

Progressive Industries 50 Amp Portable RV Electrical Management System Surge Protector (1 MIN), EMS-PT50X , Black
  • Surge Protection: 5-Mode / 3,580J / 88,000A. Ratings: 50A / 120V/240V / 12,000W. Operating Temperatures: -40C to +105C
  • Weather Resistant/designed for Outdoor Use

You don’t want to replace air conditioners, refrigerators, and other appliances in your new RV. Some surge protectors will also monitor the power and watch for drops in voltage, which can cause equal amounts of damage as surges.

There’s More: For our favorite RV electrical accessories, check out our RV Electrical Accessories list on Amazon.

Sewer Hookups

You should always dump your tanks after you use your RV. You don’t want to put your RV in storage with anything in your tanks. If you do, you might come back to a smelly RV. You’ll need a few things to empty at the end of your first trip.

Camco 20' (39742) RhinoFLEX 20-Foot RV Sewer Hose Kit, Swivel Transparent Elbow with 4-in-1 Dump Station Fitting-Storage Caps Included , Black
  • Kit includes: 2 10 foot Rhino FLEX sewer hoses with pre attached bayonet and lug fittings, transparent elbow with 4 in 1...
  • Fits a variety of dump station pipes: The transparent elbow connects to the 4 in 1 adapter, which fits 3 inch slips or 3...

You’ll need a sewer hose and the appropriate attachments. You can purchase a sewer hose kit that includes everything you need to get the job done. 

Have Everything On Hand: We’re those people who love to have all the cool gadgets on hand. For our favorite RV sewer accessories, check out our RV Sewer Accessories list on Amazon.

Other RV Essentials

You’ll discover that in RVing, you’ll continually add gizmos and gadgets to your list of RV essentials. You’ll want to have a few more essentials, including chocks for your wheels, rubber gloves for dumping your tanks, and some leveling blocks.

We’ve created several checklists, including our RVing Essentials Checklist, to help you avoid leaving something behind on your first trip and all future ones. This RV packing tip for beginners can guide you in the right direction if you feel confused.

What Should I Pack in My RV?

When you’re packing your RV for your first trip, you’ll want to think through all of the things you’ll need to use during your trip. It’s easy to remember clothes, bathroom toiletries, and food. However, you may forget some of the less obvious things.

For example, if you rely on coffee to get you going in the morning, you’ll likely want to bring a coffee maker, filters, and, of course, the coffee. Don’t forget you’ll need something to drink it out of too.

Many RVers will purchase inexpensive silverware and plates to keep in their RV to avoid forgetting little important items.

What Should You Not Pack in Your RV?

Firstly, you’ll want to avoid bringing anything breakable in your RV. This RV packing tip for beginners can save you a lot of trouble. You subject your RV to earthquake-like conditions every time you tow it down the highway. 

You don’t want to open the door to find your favorite plates shattered into a million pieces. Keep the fancy dishes at home and invest in a good set of plastic or metal plates and bowls that you can store in your RV.

Secondly, avoid bringing extra things that take up space and weight, such as kitchen appliances. You may not need many kitchen tools if you cook over the fire.

Dutch oven cooking over an open flame on a campfire grill grate

RV Packing Tips Beginners

Ready for your first trip? Take a look at what we think every beginner should have in their RV. 

1. Bring a Basic Tool Kit

You don’t need to bring every tool in the shed, but you’ll want a basic tool kit. Whether you need to make an adjustment or repair your RV, having a handful of basic tools can save the day. A kit with pliers, a hammer, screwdrivers, and wrenches will do the job.

CARTMAN Orange 39-Piece Tool Set - General Household Hand Tool Kit with Plastic Toolbox Storage Case
  • Contains the tools needed for most small repairs around the house
  • Heat treated and chrome plated to resist corrosion

2. Easy-to-Cook Meals

Our next RV packing tip for beginners involves coming prepared and packing light. Don’t try to overdo it when it comes to meals while camping.

Learning to cook and prepare meals in a tiny space requires some adjustment. However, camping often means cooking outside instead of inside your RV. 

Come with some easy-to-cook meals that minimize dirty dishes. And remember, you can cook over a campfire pretty simply.

3. Movies, Books, and Other Entertainment 

There will be days when mother nature doesn’t cooperate with your RVing plans. This means you’ll likely spend the bulk of these days inside your RV. You may enjoy rainy days more if you have movies, books, and fun games to provide some entertainment. 

Being crammed in a tiny space with your loved ones can quickly cause a camping trip to go south. So check the weather forecast and have a handful of supplies on hand just in case.

Four young kids playing cards in an RV

4. Don’t Forget Your Pets Stuff

Many RVers take their pets along on their camping adventures. This RV packing tip for beginners may slip your mind when you are so focused on loading everything else.

Whether you bring a cat, dog, or other types of animal, they’ll have some needs too. They’ll likely need some toys, food, and water bowls. 

They might enjoy their bed to make them more comfortable while traveling or in new places. And don’t forget to bring a leash and waste bags to clean up after your dog.

Pro Tip: If you’re not sure what additional items you’ll need if you’re bringing Fido on the camping trip, start by reading the 10 Must Have Items When RVing with Dogs!

5. Don’t Overpack

While you may feel tempted to pack as much as possible to avoid forgetting something, this can make for a miserable trip. Overloading your RV can cause issues while towing, especially if you don’t have a capable tow vehicle. 

You also don’t want to spend your entire trip in a cluttered mess. It’s better to err on the side of caution than bring too much stuff. If you discover you did forget something, add it to your packing list for your next trip. You don’t want to take many useless items that you’ll never use.

6. Download a Few Camping Apps

There are several apps that RVers use to enhance their RV experience. Apps like Campendium and iOverlander help RVers find resources like free campsites, potable water, and even dump stations. 

Another popular app RVers enjoy using is Nomad Near Me. This app allows users to connect with other RVers in the same campground. You can “friend” other RVers and then keep track of their adventures. It’s a great way to stay connected to the RV community whether you travel full-time or on the weekends.

7. Do a Dry Run in Your Driveway 

Our last RV packing tip for beginners is to do a dry run. One of the best ways to figure out what you need in your RV is to practice in your driveway. Enter your RV on a Friday and challenge your family not to go into the house. 

Start making a list of items you need to retrieve from your home to last the entire weekend. If you grabbed one of the items on our checklists, you’ll likely find you’re ready for your first campsite.

Woman following our RV packing tips beginners and doing a dry run test with her RV in the driveway.

Make Unforgettable Memories on Your RV Trip 

Following these RV packing tips for beginners will help prepare you for a smooth trip. But even if you forget to bring something, you’ll make some unforgettable memories on every RV trip.

If you go camping with your family, cherish every moment. Take the opportunity to put your phone in airplane mode and only pick it up to capture pictures and videos. 

RVing is a great way for families and couples to make memories and connect. RV trips can help you and your family bond. Where are you taking your next RV trip?

Last update on 2022-05-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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