One of the great things about traveling with an RV is the ease and comfort of having so much with you at all times. This is one of the great benefits my husband and I have enjoyed since purchasing our trailer this past summer. We love the luxury of having a kitchen, bathroom and bedroom but these aren’t much use to you unless they are properly equipped with essential supplies. Before we could prepare for our first trip we knew we needed to get the trailer stocked with some simple necessities.

The first weekend after purchasing our trailer, we began making an RV Essentials Checklist of what we would need to keep in the trailer at all times. We started by walking slowly through each area in our trailer, looking at what we would use and of course noting what supplies would be needed. As we considered our list, we broke everything in to two categories: Regular Use and Emergency. Keeping this in mind helped ensure we had what we needed within arms’ reach.


Since the only camping I did growing up was “tent camping”, having access to a full kitchen and the ability to cook indoors was seen as such a blessing. We could cook indoors when the weather was bad and we didn’t have live off of junk food or pull over to look for a restaurant. But without dishes, the kitchen couldn’t be much use to us, so we filled the cabinets and drawers with pots, pans, plates, bowls, cups, utensils and more. While we knew we didn’t want to keep perishable food in the trailer, we did want to keep some food on hand for emergencies. We stocked one of the cabinets with a few basic items including bottled water, canned fruit, soup, chili and raw oats. All of these items would stay fresh and give us options if we ever ran out of food while vacationing.

We also like to keep some cooking staples in the cupboards at all times, so we filled a few containers with some flour, sugar, salt, pepper, and a few other spices we often use in our cooking. Continuing to think of how our kitchen would be used, we knew it needed to be equipped to clean the dishes. We gathered soap, rags, and a towel for cleaning and drying. With our kitchen now supplied with items for regular use and a few emergency items, we moved on to the next zone in our trailer.


It’s hard to compete with the benefit of having a personal bathroom on board while traveling. We love the ease of not having to pull over to find a rest room at odd hours and that we have access to a shower whenever needed. However, the real ease comes when everything we need is right at our fingertips. After bringing in some towels, soap and wash cloths, we got to work gathering some of our personal hygiene items. Keeping in mind what we use on a regular basis, my husband and I each brought in a bag filled with our toiletries in either travel or standard size. By keeping an extra stash of our regularly used toiletry items in the trailer we wouldn’t have to chance forgetting something once we were already on the road. The bathroom was now stocked with shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, hair styling products and other items we knew we would use regularly. To prepare for emergencies, we also put together a small first aid kit. We included bandages, disinfecting wipes, healing ointment, a thermometer and a few over the counter medications for treating headaches, pain, fever and stomach aches. With these supplies available, we felt secure that simple injuries and illnesses could be well treated.


Moving on to the bedroom(s), we made up each bed so they could all be ready for use on our next vacation. Extra spare sheets and blankets were moved from our house to the trailer and after buying some pillows, the beds were all taken care of. We then considered what items we would typically reach for before bed or if we woke up in the middle of the night. We gathered a flashlight, lip balm, lotion, a box of tissues and a couple bottles of water and placed them within arms’ reach of our bed. In the closet of our bedroom, we set up a laundry bag to function as our hamper so we could easily bring in our used clothing at the end of a trip. We also put a few extra coats in the closet that we could permanently keep in the trailer in case we ever forgot or if conditions were colder than expected. Then we went through our extra shoes and sandals and found some we could keep in the trailer as well. Taking a little extra time up front to set these things aside would keep us well equipped for most circumstances.


While the indoor luxuries of an RV are definitely appreciated, the real reason we got our trailer was to go camping and enjoy the great outdoors. To do this with added comfort, we always keep a couple camp chairs and a large outdoor mat in one of the storage compartments of our RV.  Another item we keep handy is a small folding table that we set up next to our camp chairs. It’s light weight, easy to put up and a great help when we’re eating outdoors. As soon as the RV is parked, the first thing we do to “set up camp” is to pull out these items and within minutes we’re ready to relax and enjoy the outdoors. When we want to get up and going, we love having along some simple yard games and activities. We keep a frisbee, kite, and bocce ball set in one of the storage compartments and without taking up much room at all, we have hours of entertainment options.

While every family’s needs and interests vary, keeping your RV stocked with some basic essentials can take the stress out of vacation planning. With your RV fully equipped, the only thing standing between you and your next vacation is packing up some food and clothing and planning where to go. Keeping the essentials continually stocked in our trailer has allowed us to be more spontaneous and carefree in our travels. For more information and a free printable checklist see below.


Prior to purchasing our trailer, in eager anticipation we began to stash away a few items here or there that we could move inside our future RV. Despite this we needed to gather quite a few more items to complete the list that we had compiled. Since we were on a budget, we knew we didn’t want to spend tons of money, so we used two methods to keep the cost low: scavenging, and discount shopping.

To us “scavenging” meant going through our own house to find what extra things we had lying around that could be permanently kept in the trailer. Every home can use a good decluttering on a regular basis and this was the perfect time. We went through cupboards and drawers in the kitchen and bathrooms, did a quick scan of our closets and before we knew it, we had found many extra items to outfit our trailer and we were left with a much shorter list of remaining items. With this list in hand we made a trip in to town to do some discount shopping at a few stores with prices we knew would be in our budget. When we got home, we finished stocking our trailer with these items and our trailer was officially ready with the basic essentials. With all the essentials in place, we could begin looking forward to our next vacation.


Emily Helgeson
Author: Emily HelgesonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Emily Helgeson lives with her husband and two children in Eastern Washington. They enjoy adventuring together and are learning how to use their RV to continue this lifestyle with their growing family.

Add comment

Security code

More share buttons