How to take everything you need in the space you have.

There’s nothing worse than hitting the open highway in your RV only to realize you’ve left some “must haves” behind. Getting and staying organized is a key to enjoying your road trips.

We suggest that you start with the items that you need in case a mechanical problem occurs. Make sure you have the necessities like essential tools, road flares, leveling blocks, fresh water supply hose, tire inflator, disposable gloves, water pressure regulator, etc.

And on the topic of disposable gloves that are useful for black and grey water dumping, don’t forget the toilet paper! RV specific brands are a must and if you’re going off of the beaten path, chances are that they won’t have that type available. In a pinch, you can use single ply or septic safe brands. The last thing you need is a blackwater problem and those gloves will also be useful in road emergencies to keep your hands grease and oil free.

A first aid kit is a must. A surge protector could also prove useful.

Next you need to pack YOUR necessities. It goes without saying that you’ll need your personal bath items (toothbrush, comb, medications, etc.). But think about things that can do “double duty”. You don’t want to feel claustrophobic and you also don’t want so much stuff that you can’t find anything. A large bowl can be used to wash dishes, hold popcorn, or serve pasta. Also, think about the length of your trip. You don’t need to pack large amounts of things like toiletries and food if it’s only a weekend trip…and remember you can always replenish items if you’re on a longer trip.

Put clothing, towels, etc in baskets and bins. It makes it easy to keep them all together and also makes it easy to take back in the house to the washing machine when your trip is over. It also makes sense to pack clothing in the same color theme so that you can mix and match outfits. If you camp a lot, leave wearables you don’t need for day to day life on hangers in your RV (like bad weather gear and jackets you only wear to hike in).

Putting dry food items like flour, crackers and cereal in clear stackable containers with lids makes it easy to find what you need plus protect them from critters. Camping “newbies” seem to always have a fear of running out of food. Don’t make the mistake of wasting space and adding weight for a “just in case” moment – you really won’t need that 6 pack of Costco sized soups for your 4 day trip, trust us!

Shop for foods that store and cook easily. Instant potatoes, pouches of tuna, shrink wrapped meats are all camp friendly options.

Remember, if you’re towing a vehicle, it can be packed as well. We suggest sporting gear and nonperishable items you’ll want for every trip so that you don’t have to pack and unpack this space as often. The trunk of your “toad” or “errand mobile” is a perfect place to haul a box of firewood, too.

Whether you’ll be in a camper, travel trailer or motor home, you must pack carefully. Poorly and heavily packed RVs don’t travel well – or efficiently- and you also run the risk of damage or breakage of items. A balanced load is essential to safe travels, so put your heavier items on the bottom and spread them out along the entire length of your rig, stack lighter items on top, and secure all items! Always ask yourself, “is there a lightweight version I can take”. Opt for books on your tablet or phone instead of your hardback volumes. Pick plastic instead of glass. Bring packets of condiments instead of full sized versions. It all adds up.

Wondering how much weight your RV can handle? That’s in the manual. Read it. Hit the weigh station the first time before you pack…and then hit it again after you’re loaded up. You’ll only need to do this a time or two before you discover how much is too much.

Want to learn more tips and tricks on packing up your RV, start with