Advice for Road-Tripping RVers: Part One

An RV parked at a seaside campsite as dusk settles.

Photo © Laura Martone

Last week, the winner of Moon’s recent road trip giveaway was announced, and even though the contest is over, I still have road-tripping on the brain. I guess that’s no surprise, considering that my husband, Dan, and I will be hitting the road next week for an excursion to Lafayette, the heart of Louisiana’s Cajun Country – and shortly before Memorial Day, we’ll be making our seasonal trek to northern Michigan. That means, of course, that we’ll be packing our van with all the road trip essentials that I mentioned in my last post.

Of course, packing for my next road trip has led me down memory lane, and consequently, I can’t help but recall our long-ago RV excursions, and the specific packing skills that those required. After all, whether you’re planning a family vacation or hoping to pursue various outdoor activities, RV camping is a terrific way to travel across America – and the trip is bound to go easier with the right supplies on board. As I wrote in my last post, such supplies might include anything from maps and audiobooks to jumper cables and insect repellent. In addition to all the items listed in that post, RV travelers might also benefit from a slew of other essentials.

Depending on whether you have a truck and a 5th-wheel travel trailer or a motorhome with an attached trailer for cars, bicycles, motorcycles, boats, and other extra vehicles, you should consider bringing (or procuring) the following reference materials and paperwork:

    • appliance manuals
    • boat permit
    • fishing licenses
    • registration for towed vehicles, motorcycles, and boats
    • RV manuals
    • RV registration

If, like most budget-conscious RV travelers, you plan to prepare a lot of meals inside your self-contained kitchen, remember to pack the following items (plus other related supplies mentioned in my previous post, such as paper towels and cleaning supplies):

    • aluminum foil
    • bakeware (such as oven-safe pans)
    • barbecue utensils (such as tongs and spatulas)
    • broom and dustpan
    • cooking utensils
    • cookware (such as stovetop pots and pans)
    • cutlery and eating utensils
    • cutting board and mixing bowls
    • dishes, bowls, and glasses (preferably plastic)
    • dish towels, sponges, and scrub brush
    • dishwashing soap
    • food (including dry goods, specialty items, limited produce, and condiments)
    • mop and bucket
    • oven mitts
    • portable stove and stove fuel or propane bottles
    • purified water (in bottles or gallon jugs) and iodine tablets
    • salt, pepper, spices, and herbs
    • wastebasket
    • water filters, spare water pump, and collapsible plastic water jug (with a spigot)

Other basic supplies might include:

    • barbecue grill
    • bicycle pump
    • boards, rope, a shovel, and chains (in case your wheels get stuck in sand or mud)
    • comforter and sheets
    • electrical outlet tester
    • extra car battery
    • filled propane tanks and extra propane
    • firewood and/or charcoal
    • folding shovel
    • folding table and chairs
    • gas-powered generator (if your RV has no built-in unit)
    • hatchet and/or small ax
    • indoor/outdoor outlet adapters
    • lantern and extra batteries
    • mat or rug (for the entryway)
    • netting for awning area (to impede flying insects)
    • portable waste tank
    • sewer and water hoses (as long as possible)
    • sink plug
    • spare sets of keys (for RV, car, motorcycles, boat, etc.)
    • spare tires (for RV, car, etc.)
    • sun shower
    • toilet paper
    • tool kits for RV, plus any additional vehicles (such as bicycles, motorcycles, cars, and boats)
    • TV satellite dish or wiring to connect to an RV park’s cable television
    • walkie-talkies (helpful for parking in a tight spot)
    • waste bags for pet droppings

As I mentioned in my last post, many of the items listed here can easily be found on the road, especially at the 24-hour truck stops located throughout the United States.

So, what do you think, RVers? Have I forgotten anything? If so, please share by commenting below – and stay tuned for my next post, which will offer even more advice for RV travelers in America.

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