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35 Little Things to Remember to Pack for Your Big RV Trip

| Updated Oct 31, 2023

Here's a list of little things to remember that make a big difference on the road…

Packing for an RV road trip can be both exciting and overwhelming. With limited space, it's important to prioritize what items to bring along. And while it's easy to focus on the big-ticket items, it's the small things that can often make the biggest difference.

One such example is a tool kit. It may not seem like a glamorous item, but having the right tools on hand can make all the difference in a pinch. Whether it's a loose screw or a minor repair, having a tool kit can save you time and money by allowing you to quickly fix the issue without needing to visit a repair shop.

Another important item to consider is a water filter. While most RVs come equipped with a water filtration system, it's always a good idea to have a backup. A portable water filter can ensure that you have access to clean, safe drinking water no matter where you are on your journey. Plus, it's a more sustainable option than buying bottled water along the way.

In summary, it's important not to overlook the small things when packing for an RV road trip. A tool kit, water filter, and portable speaker may seem like insignificant items, but they can make all the difference in ensuring a smooth and enjoyable journey.

There are at least 35 little things that can make a big difference in your next RV trip!

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35 Little Things to Remember Before You Hit the Road

little things to remember
Sometimes it's the little things to remember to make the RV trip great!

In the RV Lifestyle Facebook group, one of our followers is completing an RV build to take a great family trip soon. He asked our RV Lifestyle Facebook group on the “little things” he should take with him on the trip. 

He received a lot of great input, and I thought it would make for a very useful post. We also had another recent FB post asking what RVers forgot on their first RV trip. Learn from their mistakes, and don't forget to pack these little things!

I have written in the past about 7 must-haves for your first RV trip. However, I am expanding on that post to include these other “small things” the group recommended.  

Just because something is small does not mean it is not important. In order to remember all the things you need for your next camping excursion, you may want to keep a checklist. 

The following are important items that you can add to your list!

rv toolbox

1. Basic Tool Box

It is always a good idea to have a small tool kit on hand in your RV. You never know when you might need a screwdriver or wrench or to hit something with a hammer! What are the little things to remember to put in your RV toolbox?

This is definitely one of those things you’ll kick yourself for not having if you end up needing it. 

2. RV Surge Protector

Protect your RV from electrical threats with a surge protector. That way a power surge or low voltage issues will not cause harm to your rig’s electrical system. 

This small investment can save your whole electrical system! We recommend reading Does a Surge Protector Provide Enough Protection? to learn more.

Our RV has a surge protector built-in. If yours doesn't, I recommend you get one to go between the power cord and the pedestal. In older campgrounds, there are a lot of pedestals with bad connections that can damage tur RV's electrical system and your appliances.

We recommend the 30 Amp Surge Guard or 50 Amp Surge Guard. You can get 5% off either of those surge protectors (or any TechnoRV products) with the coupon code RVLIFESTYLE5.

When you plug in the other end of the cord to the shore connector on the RV, lock it in place. With ours, it's a turn to the right. We also have a locking wheel on the plug to make it seven more secure.

 See this video for an example.

3. Water Pressure Regulator

You do not want your RV’s water system to get damaged or spring a leak! That is why you want to look into a good water pressure regulator for your RV. 

It’s an $8 part that will save your plumbing system. Read Answers to Top 10 RV Water Pressure Regulator Questions.

4. Water Filter

Having an RV water filter ensures that you have clean, safe drinking water. A water filtration system cleans out the gross gunk in many campground water hookup systems. 

5. Foldable Rake

This little item can be very useful. You never know what the ground cover will be like when camping. Use a rake to even it out.  

You can also use a foldable rake to put out a fire, clear out a sitting area, or make your trailer more level. 

6. Portable Air Compressor

little things to remember tires
Be prepared.

The last thing you want is to be stranded somewhere with a flat tire, especially if you are going to be far away from services! 

A portable air compressor can pump up your tires if needed to get you out of a jam. It can also help keep your tires properly inflated to ensure they have a longer life. 

A nifty trick is to use your air compressor to “dust off” picnic tables, BBQs, and other campground fixtures.

7. Portable Speaker

Okay, a portable speaker might not be a “must-have.” But it sure can make your trip better! If you like music, that is. 

Some portable speakers are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. But they still produce a great (and loud!) sound. 

If you enjoy listening to music when traveling, I highly recommend bringing along a small speaker that does not take up a lot of space. 

While it is always excellent to hear the sounds of nature, it is also great to hear some good tunes once in a while. 

Just be sure to respect your neighbors!


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35 Little Things to Remember to Pack for Your Big RV Trip 1
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8. Road Atlas: Digital or Non-Digital

We always recommend keeping a hardcopy road atlas in your RV in case your GPS fails. However, most GPS systems and apps allow you to look up routes ahead of time and download them to your phone. That way, you can still access them even when you do not have cell service. 

In addition, you may want to consider getting a Low Clearance Early Detection System. This is especially helpful (and safer!) for large RVs. It helps you navigate around bridges and other hazards that are too low for your vehicle to clear. 

9. White Noise Machine

little things to remember white noise
Will the new sounds keep you up?

I know this may seem like an odd item to add to the list. But it can be very helpful to some folks! 

When camping, it may be hard to fall asleep at night or take an afternoon nap. That is because you hear unique noises, and are in a different environment than you are used to, especially if you are traveling around a lot! 

A white noise machine can help you drown out foreign noises and lull you to sleep. It can also help keep you asleep once you finally nod off. 

If you are a light sleeper, a white noise machine may be worth considering for your next trip. 

10. Long Jumper Cables

Do not risk being stranded with a dead battery and no jumper cables. Or ones that are too short to reach your RV’s engine. 

Another thing to consider is a jumper starter that can jump-start a rig without needing another vehicle. This may be a good idea for you boondockers out there!

So, make sure to include jumper cables in your Emergency Roadside Kit.

11. Emergency Radio

little things to remember weather
Remember the weather!

An emergency radio can help you stay in touch with the NOAA Emergency Radio Station in the event of a natural disaster or emergency. They can help you identify fire danger or recovery information for other natural disasters. 

All in all, it can help keep you and your family safe. 

12. Folding Step Stool

Whether you need to fix your awning or clean up a spill in a high cabinet, this little step stool saves the day. 

The best part about this stool is that it folds up flat for easy storage. It can easily be stored in an outdoor storage hatch or utility closet inside. It can even be tucked away under a couch or bed if they are elevated above the floor.

13. Welding Gloves

Welding gloves can be used in a number of camping situations. They come in handy by the campfire for moving wood around. They’re also great for handling your generator.

In addition to protecting your hands from heat, they can protect your fingers while clearing your site of debris or carrying things with sharp edges.

14. Truck & RV Fuel Stations App

There are lots of helpful apps for RVers, including ones to find propane and fuel stations when out on the road. It provides the address and freeway exit of each fuel station. 

That way you can determine when and where to stop. 

15. Duct Tape

You probably already know that duct tape can come in very handy around the home. It is no different when you are in your RV! As one person in our community said, “If it moves and it shouldn’t, use duct tape.” 

Use it to temporarily repair frayed wires, holes or leaks, or hang up holiday decorations. The uses are endless with good ol’ duct tape!

16. Space Heater

Space heaters are great for warming up an RV. Even though they are small, they are mighty. 

A small electric space heater can quickly warm your RV, keeping you toasty in chilly camping conditions. They are simple to use since all you need is a plug. 

You can check out The 5 Best Electric Heaters for RVs.

17. Fan

Just like a heater, having one of the 3 Best Camping Fans to Keep Cool can be make camping that much more enjoyable. Fans are great for cooling you when it is not hot enough to warrant using the air conditioner. 

18. Small Electric Washing Machine

Okay, this isn't quite a small item, but it is relatively small compared to standard washers. We decided to include it because one of our RV Lifestyle members, Justin, raves about his. He says it fits perfectly in their bathroom.

A portable washing machine is excellent for folks doing a lot of traveling or all full-time RVers. While they have a small capacity, they can be perfect for small loads.  

19. Travel Foot Massager Tool

I never thought about taking a foot massager tool with me in my RV. But what a great idea! What could be better to relieve the aches and pains from a long hike or attending an event? 

20. Rain Gear

Another small thing to keep on hand is rain gear. That way, you can be prepared for any unforeseen downfalls. 

Keep a poncho and rain boots in a closet for rainy days. Here me out on this one… Another great tip is to purchase plastic disposable shower caps to wear over your socks inside your shoes. They can help keep your feet from getting soaked!

21. COMFORTABLE Pillow & Bedding

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Comfort is key to a successful camping trip, and that includes a super comfortable pillow. Instead of just grabbing a spare pillow from your house, invest in a good one specifically for your RV.

We also have recommendations on How to Stay Comfortable on a Road Trip and The 3 Best RV Bedding Solutions [REVIEW and VIDEO].

22. Fly Swatter

A fly swatter makes a great addition to your RV. You can quickly rid your space of annoying flying insects. 

We like these compact telescopic fly swatters.

23. Mosquito & Fly Repellent

One downside of being in nature is being around unwanted bugs. While many folks love all of nature’s creatures, most do not want mosquitos and flies “bugging” them. 

We have The Ultimate ‘Bug Off!’ Shopping List for Your RV you should definitely check out.

24. Silverware

This one might seem funny to some folks! It was certainly amusing to one of our RV lifestyle members. She forgot to pack silverware on one of her RV trips!

25. Stabilizers

One small item you do not want to go without is stabilizers for your rig! These small pads can help keep your rig level, making your camping experience much more enjoyable. 

We recommend Choosing an RV Leveling System or RV Stabilizers.

26. Comfy Camping Chairs

Sitting back and relaxing on a trip is one of the main reasons people RV! Camping chairs are an absolute must. If you are unsure what chair to get, check out the 5 Best Camping Chairs for Your RV!

27. Spare Keys / Hidden Key

It's a VERY GOOD IDEA to make an extra copy of your key and hide it on the outside of your rig using a magnetic hide-a-key. We also recommend leaving a spare with a family member that can ship it to you, just in case.

Of course, make sure you hide it in a clever place that won't easily be discovered by no-do-gooders.

28. Zip Ties

Zip ties are convenient, especially while camping. Zip ties are handy to tie up a cord or attach something inside your rig. 

29. Matches or Lighter

Nothing is worse than trying to light your stove only to realize you do not have matches or a lighter. Even if you just want some ambiance by lighting a candle, you do not want to learn too late that you cannot burn it. 

30. Paper Towels

Camping is messy, and paper towels can help keep you and your rig tidier. Paper towels help clean up spills at home and in your RV. They also make great napkins for those messy BBQ nights when camping. 

31. Can Opener

You'd be surprised by how many people forget to pack a can opener! It's not something you really think about until you stare dumbly at a can and wonder how the heck you will open it.

32. Pot Holders

Same as can openers, people often overlook packing pot holders. And, trust me, a double-upped towel doesn't work as well. Especially if you're using cast iron!

Do your hands a favor, and don't forget pot holders!

33. Large Trash Bags

Inside my rig, I use small trash bags or grocery store bags to line my trash cans. But having large trash bags for all the outside debris is really useful. 

The 13-gallon trash bags do not always cut, so I pick up the large black trash bags from Costco and bring a handful along. 

34. Corkscrew

We all know how catastrophic forgetting a corkscrew can be to some people's camping trip. Settling in for the evening with a nice glass of wine is a common RVer indulgence.

But what do you do if you forget a corkscrew? Well, you sure earn that glass of wine as a McGyver wannabe!

35. Dog Poop Bags

Last, but not least, bring along some dog poop bags. That is, if you travel with a dog, of course.

In addition, these little bags can be handy for other items too. Put raw meat or strong-smelling foods in them before throwing the food in your trash. It can help keep your trash fresher for longer!

We highly recommend using biodegradable dog poop bags They're only a couple more bucks and make all the difference to Mother Nature.

Speaking of dogs, we also recommend reading the 7 UNWRITTEN Rules of Camping with a Dog.

Add to the Conversation! What are your little things to remember?

There are lots of little things to remember and I know we didn't cover them all. So please share your suggestions in the comments below.


35 Little Things to Remember to Pack for Your Big RV Trip 2
Mike and Jennifer Wendland

Curious about the gear, gadgets, accessories, and RV products Mike & Jennifer use and recommend?

On this RV Lifestyle Travel blog, our RV Podcast and our RV Lifestyle YouTube Channel, we mention all sorts of RV-related products and gear that we use, So we created a special page that links to them. We update this all the time.  CLICK HERE to go to it directly. Have you caught one of our Amazon LIVE events yet? Just go here and Follow us – to be notified every time we go live.


Mike Wendland

Published on 2023-05-14

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

35 Responses to “35 Little Things to Remember to Pack for Your Big RV Trip”

May 18, 2023at11:17 am, Don Satow said:

A bucket – for when your roof leaks, when you need some soapy water to clean something, to add a little water/happy camper to your black tank, to pour water into you radiator, etc.

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May 19, 2023at7:42 am, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Thanks for sharing, Don! Team RV Lifestyle

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May 15, 2023at12:46 pm, Sam McVicker said:

Hatchet

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May 15, 2023at10:40 am, Gail Richter said:

Flip flops for the campground showers.

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May 15, 2023at10:35 am, Gail Richters said:

A roll of quarters for washing machines. DH packs “Car towels” aka old terry cloth towels for wiping down the truck, etc. He also built a wood step stool that when you turn it upside down stores his tool box & a few things in the truck bed.

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May 15, 2023at2:01 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Good additions – thanks for sharing these, Gail! Team RV Lifestyle

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June 23, 2022at10:10 am, Amy Nichols said:

Great list, and prompted a good discussion! Appreciate others’ comments and suggestions, too. We would add: favorite spices (hot sauce); small weather station, binoculars, phones, jacket, small cooler (for lunch on the road), ear plugs, swim suit, exercise equipment. We are 2.5 weeks into a 3 month journey—will let you know what we over- and underpacked.

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June 25, 2022at9:34 am, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Great suggestions, Amy! Thanks for sharing – Team RV Lifestyle

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June 23, 2022at6:15 am, 7 Things RVers Wish They Had Known Before Becoming RVers | RV Lifestyle said:

[…] But pack carefully. Ask yourself if you think you will truly use something. And don’t forget these Little Things to Remember to Pack for Your Big RV Trip […]

Reply

November 13, 2021at10:45 pm, Lyes Benarbane said:

Now, this, this is a good introduction to the sublime joys of a life on the road

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November 13, 2021at10:08 pm, Susan Lane said:

That’s a really good and helpful checklist! Thanks for the article!

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November 13, 2021at8:04 am, Kelly Freeman said:

On an RV trip, I always bring my six kiddos!

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November 11, 2021at10:58 am, Theresa Jenkins said:

…now that we are getting old…portable power is something to have

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November 08, 2021at10:36 am, Pamela Snyder said:

So helpful..just when you think you’re ready..there is one more thing!!

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November 08, 2021at10:36 am, Sheila Majka said:

Cell phone chargers , a correct.tire pressure gauge

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November 04, 2021at7:25 am, Lynn said:

Always such helpful information! Thanks for sharing!!

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November 03, 2021at11:33 pm, Jennifer Davis said:

I would bring a first aid kit, batteries, a notebook with important numbers & an emergency kit.

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November 03, 2021at9:14 pm, Jeannie said:

Wipes – lots and lots of wipes

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November 03, 2021at8:47 am, E Pennock said:

We keep a pair of needle nose pliers in the glove box

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November 03, 2021at8:19 am, Mark Clifford said:

My wife and myself, both, have LED headlamps that we always bring when camping. They are great for outside, in the dark, emergency repairs when you need two hands, and for inside in closed-in areas. Also, we have used them when walking back to our campsite in the dark, they are better for us than a hand-held flashlight.

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November 03, 2021at7:58 am, Mike said:

Campfire starting items… kindling, cardboard/paper, matches, in a waterproof container in an outside compartment.

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November 03, 2021at4:57 am, Geri said:

Electrolyte drink mixes (individual ones). They sure help on the road.

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November 02, 2021at7:46 pm, Dana said:

Keep debating if this lifestyle is something I’d enjoy. Will try a few places in-state to see

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November 02, 2021at7:30 pm, Betsy said:

Such handy tips. I learned a lot!

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November 02, 2021at1:30 pm, Thomas P said:

A mobile hotspot cellular amplifier. Had one in the house until new antenna went up nearby – it’s great for grabbing signals in the wilderness as well.

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November 02, 2021at9:12 am, Kari B said:

Great list! I love the idea of bringing a foldable rake.

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November 02, 2021at7:37 am, Peter M. said:

Great List!

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November 01, 2021at9:53 pm, Bill Robbins said:

Don’t forget flashlights, weather radio, emergency warning lights.

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November 01, 2021at6:38 pm, heather miller said:

A lot of great information

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November 01, 2021at4:28 pm, Susan Smith said:

Wipes (cleaning, flushable, facial, and/or baby) are essential for us and especially if we end up boondocking. They are ready to go when we are!

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November 01, 2021at2:14 pm, Ashley said:

Cozy clothes and strong coffee!

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November 01, 2021at1:49 pm, Dee Powell said:

The things I forgot on my first couple trips was dish soap and hand soap. I had paper plates but I couldn’t wash my pots and pans till I got home…:)

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November 01, 2021at10:00 am, Nancy Regan said:

My must have is a rechargeable motion-activated night light for when I get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, I don’t stumble around in the dark.

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November 01, 2021at9:31 am, Ron Lewen said:

Coffee!

Don’t ask me how I know 😀

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October 22, 2021at1:41 pm, Chuck said:

Under tools…A ratcheting screwdriver and at least two of every size Robertson bit if your RV is made in Canada.

Reply

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