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RV Pantry Staples: Beginner’s Guide to Stocking an RV Kitchen

| Updated Jan 15, 2024

Here’s a beginner’s guide to stocking an RV kitchen, covering RV pantry staples and storage tips…

“Pantry” is a generous term for the space in your RV allotted for food. In many cases, RVers don’t have much more than a cabinet and a small fridge. 

So, what are the must-haves for every RV kitchen? How do you store it all to optimize the space? 

We list out RV pantry staples in different categories. Plus, we’ll recommend some tips, products, and other resources to help you organize your RV kitchen.

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RV Pantry Staples

The following lists serve as a beginner’s guide to stocking your RV kitchen. These are items that are must-haves or really-nice-to-have in an RV at all times. 

These items don’t serve as a meal plan. You’ll have to add the ingredients for your favorite dishes and planned meals. But these are the go-to items for cooking and popular meals. 

We’ll include a list of camping favorites, too!

spices

Spices & Seasonings

  • Salt and pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Chili powder
  • Cumin
  • Paprika
  • Basil
  • Red pepper flakes

OR you can consolidate these spices…

“Consolidated” Spices & Seasonings

Instead of a long list of individual spices, some RVers stock their spice rack with pre-made seasonings for different types of food.

Here are some versatile favorites:

Dairy

dairy
  • Butter
  • Milk
  • Coffee Creamer
  • Eggs
  • Sour Cream
  • Sliced Cheese for burgers & sandwiches
  • Shredded Cheese

Grains

  • Pasta
  • Bread
  • Rice
  • Oatmeal

Canned & Jarred Goods

canned goods

Newbie RVers often make the mistake of stocking too many canned goods. Then, they sit in their RV for months or even years! 

So, don’t overdo it on canned goods, but it’s nice to keep some of the following on hand:

  • Canned veggies (corn, green beans, peas, etc.)
  • Chili
  • Baked, Black, or Refried Beans
  • Canned Tuna or Chicken

Condiments

  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Mayonnaise
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Soy Sauce
  • Hot Sauce
  • Salad Dressing
  • Syrup

Miscellaneous

RV Pantry Staples: Beginner’s Guide to Stocking an RV Kitchen 1

Quick Meals

Camping Favorites

RV Pantry Staples: Beginner’s Guide to Stocking an RV Kitchen 2

These are camping favorites that always seem to hit the spot.

  • Burgers
  • Hot dogs
  • Peanut Butter & Jelly (or Uncrustables)
  • Chips & Dip
  • Popcorn
  • Nuts
  • Frozen Grapes (Healthy, refreshing snack! Just pop grapes in the freezer.)

Desserts & Treats

Ok, these aren’t pantry staples, but they’re all delicious & perfect for camping! It’s nice to plan for at least one of these desserts to enjoy on your trip.

The following are 10 Easy Campfire Snacks & Treats. Some may need an explanation, so click the link to see what you need to make them. 

  • S’mores
  • Cinnamon Roll-Ups
  • Campfire Tarts
  • Banana Boats
  • Kiss Pies
  • Foil Pack Fries
  • Bacon on a Stick
  • Apple Pie in a Cup
  • Walking Tacos
  • Road Trip Snack Boxes

Read about all 10 Easy Campfire Snacks & Treats.

Tips & Products for Organizing Your RV Pantry

Now, how are you supposed to fit all the above RV pantry staples AND the rest of your menu items? It is possible, we promise, especially with the following products, tips, and tricks…

Stackable & Expandable Shelf Racks

If you don’t have enough shelf space… put another shelf on the shelf! A few of these simple cabinet shelf racks potentially double your pantry storage. 

Since these are expandable, you can size them to perfectly fit your RV pantry. Or, stack them to make the most of vertical space.

Stackable Plastic Food Containers with Handle

Organizing food products into plastic bins is also very helpful. You can easily pull out organized bins.

Measure your RV pantry to determine what sizes will fit your storage space best. These plastic food bins are nifty because they’re narrow, tall, stackable, and have a handle to easy pull them out.

You can also better organize your RV freezer with the 5 Best Freezer Meal Containers for Food Prep.

Tension Rods

This is a FAVORITE RV HACK as it keeps items in your pantry and fridge from sliding around. You can divide your pantry into sections with small tension rods.

You put them in from left to right, so you have a front, back, and (possibly) a middle section. Then the items you place in each section will stay in a nice, organized line. 

We recommend buying a pack (or two) of small tension rods. You’ll likely use them in your bathroom, too!

Magnetic Spice Jars

Magnetic spice shelves or jars are a great space-saving solution. They also save you money because you can buy seasonings in bulk and then refill these containers as needed.

This jar set comes with a magnetic plate you can mount on a wall or cabinet door. Or, you can stick the jars directly on your RV fridge.

Clean Out Your Pantry Often

Remember how we said canned goods have a way of living on your shelf for months or even years? Well, those unwanted foods are taking up valuable pantry space. 

So, every few camping trips, go through your pantry and remove any items that have been sitting their too long. If you haven’t eaten it yet, you’re not going to. 

A great hack is to put little colored stickers on non-perishable items. Write the date you stocked the RV on the sticker. Or, designate certain colors for Spring, Fall, Winter, and Summer. 

Then, every season or every few months, removed the stickered items that have sat there too long.

Create Meals Plans Before You Travel

By planning ahead, you can save money and lots of pantry space on your camping trip. You don’t end up buying random food products that you stuff into the pantry and never touch. 

We know creating meal plans is tedious, but you can reuse them every camping trip! Or create a few different meal plans that you can cycle through. 

Once you have a set meal plan, you can create reusable grocery lists. So, with time, the whole process becomes systemized and makes your packing and planning that much easier!

Organize with Organized Obie Products

Like what you see in these videos? We'd appreciate it if you would Subscribe to our YouTube Channel (easy to do right here) and consider “ringing the bell icon” to be notified of any new video from us. 🙂 Thanks!

We love these products so much that when we got our new RV, one of the first things we did is added a bunch of Organized Obie organizational and storage nets and products.

We picked out an assortment of bags, nets, hangars, hooks, shower organizers, a unique shower towel rack, and various others. We use them in our kitchen, bathroom, closet… everywhere, really!

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Are You an RV Newbie? Or Thinking of Joining the RV Lifestyle?  

newbie guide

THIS is the ebook to get first – before you purchase anything- to make sure you are heading in the right direction with the right RV and plans.

So, buckle up and get ready for the ride of your life. Consider this not just a guide—but an invitation to discover the joy of RV travel and the freedom of the open road.

You’ll find it all in this 64-page ebook (digital PDF – NOT a print book) The Newbies Guide to the RV Lifestyle

Mike Wendland

Published on 2023-04-17

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.

2 Responses to “RV Pantry Staples: Beginner’s Guide to Stocking an RV Kitchen”

April 17, 2023at1:52 pm, Pam Shook said:

Would like to see an article on recycle and reuse of items for the Camping such as those below that also helps with storage
Kitchen Tips:
Premeasure bulky items such as rice, oatmeal, mashed potatoes, etc into small zip lock bags then store in a plastic bin and leave the boxes at home. You can reuse the bags for left overs.
Have been looking for bowls for cereal, soup, ice cream, etc that would stack together and save space. One day the light went on!!! Use 16 oz containers that sour cheese and cottage cheese come in and are very durable for no cost. Plus keep the lids and use for storage like my Mother did when I was a kid.

Reply

April 20, 2023at9:08 am, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Great tips, Pam! thanks for sharing – Team RV Lifestyle

Reply

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