or at least to us.
We jumped in this week and finally purchased an RV after discussing it for many years. It is beautiful! Now, is the task of what will we need on board.
So for those of you who camp or own an RV or camper what are your must haves? I will post a photo shortly.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Charming,
We also camp and I supply it just as I do my home, just not as much because of space limits. For years I'd load the RV with things from the house and after our trip would unload it. Now, I've collected enough items to just leave them in the RV and only load my food items. Just came back from a trip to Florida and am washing linens. As soon as I'm finished I'll take them back to the camper. Have fun! Look forward to seeing pictures.
I've already started a list and ordered some things for the kitchen because, like you, I did not want to be dragging stuff back and forth. Also, we are in a subdivision and will have to store it off site.
It is an excellent size for us but does not have as much outside storage as some models I've seen.
Here are 2 more photos. The cabinet over the stove top contains the microwave. What I might do is replace the microwave with one that is also a convection oven.
It is 29' with 3 slide outs. We lose the storage space over the cab section because the electronics are stored there.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Charming,
We just gave our camper trailer to DS. What he did not need, I pulled out and put in a box to give to the next unfortunate family to lose their home in a fire...most of the kitchen items...
You need the normal household stuff...downsized/lighter weight to a certain extent.
Corelle dishes, platters, mugs...but I still used a piece of anti-slid padding between each plate because of the roads we traveled and the jostling.
I found some pretty acrylic glasses out there that look like glass.
stainless pots (not the heavy best quality that I have in thehouse
couple sizes of non-stick skillets.
cooking utensils - not as many as you have in the house of course
small spice rack
Thinner bath towels than we normally use so that wet stuff would dry faster
An extra set of sheets for each bed...even if you are just going to gone on short trips. You never know when someone will get sick and sweat out the bed linens.
If you find you have plenty of storage:
smallish charcoal or propane grill
Many times we opened the awning and set up a table under it and cooked outside. Don't forget the lawn chairs!
Nonperishable food can be left in the camper between trips, but be sure to bring in flours and other grains in the summer...and canned/liquid goods in the winter.
I am cleaning up my slow laptop and copying files in preparation for a new laptop...this one has some severe issues...it's nearly 7 years old... I just deleted my travel checklist. Let me see if I can find it. I printed it before each trip and put it out on the counter. DH and I checked off items as we loaded for our trip.
We had a small loose leaf binder that we kept (among other things) check off lists. We started with a list of things to check before we moved it even one inch, such as make sure all drawers are latched, steps came in, refrig changed to propane, etc.
I did not want to buy duplicates of everything so I kept a list of what to make sure to pack. This changed somewhat as our physical condition demanded. We kept a collapsible crate to load the RV in fewer trips.
Remember that weight distribution is very important. Do not put all your heavy things in one area and consider the weight of built in equipment (like water which weighs a lot!). Besides the things that were kept inside I limited myself to one large tote that was kept underneath for things not regularly used like a large pot, cookie sheet.
Ps: nice rv. Almost make me wish we had not sold ours a couple years ago.This message has been edited. Last edited by: metwo,
I have a piece of outdoor carpet which you can pick up at Lowes or Walmart for outside the door.
A small broom and dustpan for quick clean ups.
Your camper is nice. You'll have a great time camping.
We just upgraded from a no-slide to a 3-slide and can't believe the difference in the space we now have.
The 3 slides is why I fell in love with this one. DH is 6'4" I'm 5'7" and we will be traveling with our greyhound.
We also noticed this one has the most driver leg room.
Congratulations, Charming. You're going to have a wonderful time. The others have covered most of the basics. I don't keep any food items in the camper because it gets way too hot. Bugs can be an issue, too. We also refuse to travel with the propane on and sometimes travel up to 8 hours or so a day. It's a safety issue in our minds.
We also don't travel with full water tanks because of the weight that shifts as you're traveling. We keep a bit in there for necessary stops when other facilities aren't available, but that's it. Unless you are in primitive campgrounds, most have water around somewhere.
I'd suggest that you join the Good Sam Club and buy the Directory. It's like a telephone book of campgrounds throughout the country. It doesn't include all campgrounds, of course, but its sure better than just trusting luck to find one. And trust the ratings when you see them. If it says a 4.5, then you DON'T want to stay there. AMHIK. You might also want to get the Mountain Travel Guides, especially for the eastern US. Its very helpful to know which roads might be a problem for a motorhome. We've been on a few that definitely WERE NOT SAFE for RV travel, but we didn't know better at the time.
Get chocks and use them. Also get leveling blocks from either walmart or camping world. Both sell them. Be particular about using tissue specifically for RVs or boats, very careful about what goes down all drain. Use non-formaldehyde toilet chemicals to control odor.
If you have any specific questions, please send me a PM and I'll answer as best I can.
One more word of caution:
DO NOT TRUST YOUR GPS!
Charming, Congrats on the new RV ~ you will have a great time exploring in it!
Lots of excellent solutions re indoor necessities so I'll just make a few suggestions about things for the outside - sitting outside is half the fun! Need some battery powered lanterns (not propane re safety concerns), a folding table (do you have under-unit storage?), chairs (of course) plus a large roll-up piece of carpet or astro-turf to place under the outside "stuff" - keeps the RV that much cleaner!
I also like to have a "Smokey Joe" for campgrounds/places without convenient outside grills, "clicker type" firestarter (don't know what they are called), axe or hatchet, small collapseble (sp?) shovel, bungee cords (useful for many things) and WD40 for all the squeaks that will drive you crazy!
Amen! ESPECIALLY with an RV. We've had some hilarious (afterwards) adventures.
The GPS doesn't take into consideration the HEIGHT limits of an RV--thank goodness we READ bridge under/overpass signs!!!
Nor a dirt/gravel road through a cow field vs. a paved road (thank you, Texas person who warned us that was NOT suitable road for an RV! It was for pickup trucks only).
Nor narrow residential-only streets where street parking is THE thing... and someone was cutting a tree down and the equipment was blocking the street. We had an unscheduled 30 minute delay while they finished. No way to turn around or even backup at that point.
I bought double of many things thinking I'd be cooking.
Rarely does that happen. We are so busy enjoying our vacation destination, there's barely any cooking going on.
In retrospect, I'd have let the kitchen stuff go and just stocked easy-fix meals. Really much depends on how you USE your RV. I use a nice one-pot non-skillet to cook on the stove. And, then a few white "Corning" pieces that are multipurpose to serve, eat from, or use in the micro.
There are two components to being in an RV.
1. Getting TO the destination.
2. BEING at the destination.
They can easily call for completely different foods to eat/prepare.
There's no way I'm going to crank up the stove while we are driving TO the destination. You're not supposed to, and after the sugar went flying everywhere the first time I opened the refrigerator door just as The Husband was turning a corner.... OOPS!
So, now it's either sandwiches or quick-to-eat frozen dinners in the microwave.
And because we travel well into the evening, there's no way I'm cooking up a full course meal at 10PM--especially if we are boondocking. Ditto for a breakfast. We usually get going around 5am.
There are also destination trips, and road trips, and they also call for different types of gear and food prep. Road trips are actually more involved and require more in the way of tools and mechanical things than a destination trip does. Also more food planning.
So, knowing how you are really going to use the RV will help you decide more than anything how to stock any of it--kitchen, bath, mechanics.
Most everyone I know overstocks it in the beginning.
Keureg and supplies
pot holders for hot foods even from micro
napkins/paper towels unless you have a laundry in yours
baby wipes (lots) very handy for everything when water is limited such as when boondocking: keeps hands clean, bathing and bathroom cleanup, cleaning up countertops and tables, mopping floors, etc. *We like Huggies unscented brand best*
Then there are other things to stock. The Husband, being a former Boy Scout is prepared for just about anything that can happen.
We have business card holder pages in a binder that we leave in the cabinet. No more searching.
We also have a accordion file that has all the information for all the accessories and appliances. It also stays in the cabinet. Any recalls can then be handled. (been there)
Make sure your insurance covers both the RV AND the contents. Many don't cover contents.
Check your roadside assistance, especially about towing. Some are better than others. We've broken down even though we have bought NEW RV's. You know how that goes.
If you have carpeting, get a small handheld carpet shampooer and keep it with you. Trust me. Mud, motion sickness, food spills, we've had it all.
Keep santizing wipes around, regardless of brand. These are different than the *Huggies* and make certain areas cleaner. But, you can't jjust let it set there. Clean with the sanitizer wipe, then rinse off with a Huggie, and in our case, we dry it, too. You will thank me if you are boondocking with limited water and having certain intestinal issues. Cleanliness....
Garbage bags of various sizes. Small grocery-size, tall kitchen size, and jumbo. They came in handy for many things.
A small portable fan. A small portable heater.
Even with a/c, the fan will move the air around much better. 100 degrees on the sunny hot beach... Yowsa. Fan makes a big difference.
The heater is for when you are AT the destination. Don't use when traveling. Just seems like the RVs are cooler and the extra heat helps.
The rug for outside the door so there's a nice area. And, the rug to wipe your feet on. AND, the rugs that wrap around the steps. All are precautions to keep as much dirt outside. Or in our case, sand.
Sorry you will have to store off-site. Although we are in a subdivision, it just so happens that the HOA allows them if they are in the backyard. Our lot is one of the very few that can do that!
Because of your off-site situation, lists will be critical. Also, getting doubles of the essentials to just stay in it, and then making a list of what IS in it so you don't forget.
One final very serious item. DO NOT OVERLOAD. Understand the weight limits. While it's confusing, read about them different weights on the various Internet sites. In an accident, no matter who's fault--like a car cuts in front of you, YOU will be held liable because of being overweight. This is just a strong suggestion... if you have a truck scale anywhere nearby, load the vehicle before each trip and get yourself weighed with it all in there so you have documentation that you were not overweighed for that particular trip.
It can look like you have lots of weight available on the specs that come with the RV, but once you put water in the tanks, it can very quickly disappear. Get it weighed EMPTY first, so you don't overload, then when loaded get it weighed again.
I'm sure all this seems overwhelming to you, but never fear. You'll sort through for what applies to you.
Forgot to mention that the Good Sam Road Service is top notch. We've had to use it for flat tires on several occasions and they were wonderful. Sometimes had to wait a while for help, but then we were out in the sticks, so it was expected. It covers both the truck and the RV, in our case, as well as our other vehicle. When we first got it, none of the other companies would cover the RV.
Thanks for all the great hints and tips. Everyone provided something I had not thought about. Fortunately for us we spent several hours with the previous owners and they were very helpful with the ins and outs of the long road trip they took earlier this year. Some things we had already read about on other websites.
But - the wetwipes - would not have thought about, same with the small shampooer.
The kitchen list will be quite handy - I have a few things set aside (we bought a second can opener - I don't use electric - when our neighbor borrowed ours in an emergency situation and forgot to return it right away) but peelers, etc are easy to forget about.
Living at the beach, many outdoor things we already have in duplicate and triplicate. The biggest drawback on this unit is the small amount of storage. That seems to be the big difference between 29' and 31'.
We have already joined the Good Sam roadside assistance program. One other suggestion the previous owners had was to get the Magellan GPS from Camping World. You can program it with the height and weight of your RV and will be a big help in steering clear of problems. Plus it has many of the campgrounds from their book already loaded. Not 100% but a big help in avoiding low overpasses. The previous owners had one problem - road construction and a detour put them on a bad road.
Charming, Hope you won't object to my injecting a few comments here in your thread but it's something I feel strongly about but would never start a thread about just for it....
PLEASE, Please, please ~ never rely on a GPS to tell you which way to go. Very sad story here last winter ~ husband and wife followed their GPS to a very bad place last winter and got stuck. No one in their right mind would have taken that road but the GPS said, "TURN NOW AND TAKE THIS ROAD!" so they did and became stuck ~ the road was impassable and they were many miles from anywhere.
After two days, husband decided to try to walk out to get help; wife stayed with the vehicle. Nearly 6 days passed and she was rescued; his remains were found a few months later. Never, never leave a main road just because the GPS says to do so.
When I first saw the news story, my stomach sank as it was across an area I know well where our family ranched ~ no maintained roads ~ but to a GPS system, guess it looked good....
So, yes, utilize a GPS but never let it make the final decisions for you when you are uncertain ~ it's an electronic device and not responsible for you in case the information programmed is wrong. Okay, off the pulpit now.
Charming, I think you are going to have some great adventures ahead with your new "toy" - ummm, meant RV ~ we did ~ hope you report back soon after taking the first one. Make it a 2 day trip to try out everything....
Thanks for the warning. I've been using a GPS for years and have learned to listen more carefully to her verbal instructions.
I'll second Idaho's warnings. Even here in north Georgia, the GPS signals are all messed up and folks are repeatedly warned not to rely on them.
Our friends who just left (and who live about 40 miles from us) related a situation where folks were driving through private property because the GPS told them to. Yes, there was a "road", but it was a private road on private property but the GPS saw it just as a road. Finally, the landowner had to put up a gate to stop the traffic. That never happened before GPS systems started being used.
And most systems are not geared for vehicles the size of an RV.
Magellan makes a GPS you can program with height, width and weight of the vehicle. The people who sold us the RV used it for a cross country trip and only had one problem with it the entire way. That was not because of an error in the GPS but because of work on a bridge caused a detour.
I have used a GPS with my business for years and for traveling from SC to NY to FL and have not had any serious issues with the directions provided. But I also know before leaving on a trip to actually RESEARCH where I'm going and which roads I expect to be on. I know, I'm kind of silly about these things.
RESEARCH...that is the key. Know where you are going and the approximate route before ever cranking the vehicle. And take a good old-fashioned paper map with you. When my gps dumped me downtown and going in circles, I pulled over, took out the paper map and found a route "out of Dodge."
The first time I tried to use mine I was about 40 miles from home and keyed in my home address just to see what route it would use. I headed home on the new hwy and she was INDIGNANT because I would not take the next exit to get onto the other road.
Our first trip to NYC using it was interesting. Anyone familiar with DC and I 95 and the stretch to the Woodrow Wilson bridge knows about all the construction. We were going through the area and all you could see were incomplete over passess and she completely lost the signal in that spaghetti mess of incomplete roads.
Hi Charming, My parents had RV's for many years. They finally sold their last one...kind of miss it b/c we would often go with them.
Anyway, just some suggestions.
My dad always had extra extension cords. Need at least a 50'/10 gauge. That should be strong enough to do whatever you need to do. There always seemed to be something we needed to hook up electric outside...like fans for sitting around when it's hot.
Awning...make sure the dang thing is secure before leaving campsite! Been there...done that.LOL Also, if a big wind comes up, be on the safe side and roll it up.
Extra tools to keep in the RV. Lug wrench, pipe wrench, tools to change a broken belt, jacks/etc.
An extra 50' white hose (made for RV's) makes the water not taste so weird. If you do not plan to drink the water, then a regular hose is fine.
A propane burner (for cooking) is nice.
I think others already mention leveling blocks.
Make sure your antenna is down before leaving campsite.
Bug spray is always good.
Flashlights w/ extra batteries.
You can actually buy covers for the top vents so if it's raining, it doesn't come in yet allows for the vents to remain open.
Optional~ Cool to have some RV lights at night to hang around campsite
A weather radio can sure come in handy.
You know the 3M hook thingies? Those also come in handy. They can come down when you want w/o tearing the walls/etc yet they hold whatever you want within reason/weight limits.
Mom & Dad always kept big bath/beach towels in the seats. White this is optional, it seemed to be easier to simply remove the towels and wash them rather than clean the seats. And of course you must buy a coordinating color
A night light always came in handy for our family. It seemed like somebody always needed to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.
Everyone has already given you most of the basics. I tried to think of things that one might not consider.
Have fun! Our family has had some memorable moments while RVing
"Until one has loved an animal, part of their soul remains unawakened"
In addition to the packing checklist, you should make two more lists:
DH and I had a system...he did the outside...I did the inside (including rolling the antennae down). It doesn't hurt for each to know the others job in case one of you gets sick. Before long, you don't have to worry about the list...you just automatically get things ready when they need to be.
Thought of one more thing, Charming. Find the location of your nearest or most convenient "pump out" station and make a goal to always empty the tanks before getting home.
I know ~ you're tired and just want to get home but it's so much better to do it before getting home than realizing you need to go do it in a day or two ~ or worse leaving the tanks semi-filled for the next trip!
Also, many pump outs are free if you "fill up" = check around.
PS. Not sure anyone has posted this one ~ a small hand-held leveler with the "bubble."This message has been edited. Last edited by: Idaho Resident,
IR is right on!
Our state park will let us pull in and dump after a trip...before DH put a "dump station" in when he built his shop and plumbed it. Dump the holding tanks, add a bit more water to the 'black water' (stinky) tank, and the chemical. You are ready to go again without having to worry about that!
Ditto the level! We had one adhered to the front and to the rear of the camper. I also had a 2 foot level that fit behind a banquette seat cushion. I put it in the floor front to back to check the level that way...sleeping with your head lower than your feet doesn't work out well. One thing we learned...if we were level right on the dot, shower water would generally run around the edge of the tub surround and hit the floor. We started lowering that side just an ooch...the water stayed in the tub.
It's AMAZING how great minds think alike! Although the RV has 3 built in level bubbles I put one in last night as I was putting away all my new cool kitchen stuff!
I had not thought about draining the black water one last time before storing. Fortunately, we bought an annual membership to the state parks and we can use their dump station. There are 2 within a few miles of our house.
A lot of great ideas here that I need to go through. The folks who sold us the RV went through the whole process of set up and take down and I took copious notes. I translated them into a 3 page point sheet. We used the notes to go through the whole set up take down process once and will do it again before we head to the state park Monday week for our first "road" trip.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Charming,
As I said before, it seems a bit overwhelming at first but you'll soon be an old pro. Best thing is to enjoy all the little adventures that are sure to come along.
Truthfully, most state parks we've visited had dump stations so we never had to worry about finding some place to dump on the way home. We are lucky to have a Camping World only about four miles from the house and should the need arise, we can dump there. Don't recall whether there's a charge or not.
I hadn't thought about Camping World. Yep, we are also close to a Camping World. Funny - there is a state park about 5 miles south, another 5 miles north and a Camping world about 5 miles west (the only east of us is water). So no matter where we go - we will pass one on the way home.
Camping World is a great place to get ideas too. Some items can only be purchased at RV stores...but others can be purchased cheaper elsewhere.
I always looked in the "women's" department whenever we stopped for anything...mainly for ideas.
OH! I had cabinets over the couch. Sometimes no matter how well you close the doors, sometimes they pop open if you hit a bump or bounce out of a pothole. Sometimes even turning into some driveway openings to service stations that are steep, you "rack" the camper causing doors to pop open. I got some cardboard boxes and cut the front down leaving a couple of inches across the bottom. Cereals, crackers, boxed mixes, etc. did not shift around. I put a package of paper napkins between the boxes to fill in gaps. Plastic basket work good too, but I liked the boxes.
I found a cutting board with "wire" handles that pushed in/pulled out. It sat perfectly over the sink adding a bit more counter space...and a place to chop and dice too...with a bowl underneath (it was narrower than the sink and I could push scraps off and into the bowl). Just think about how much good stuff son has now that we gave him the trailer. LOL
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