RV Essentials List for Newbies: The Gear You Never Want To Forget

Planning your first RV vacation? Great!

While preparing for an RV trip is fun, getting all your gear sorted out can be a bit overwhelming.

Creating a checklist of RV essentials is your starting point for an enjoyable, safe, and less stressful road trip.

Even though an RV gives you more room to store your gear, you don’t want to end up under-packing necessary items and overstuffing on the least important ones!

For your guide, here’s a comprehensive list of RV gear and packing tips for beginners that you never want to forget… ever.


Most likely, you will be sleeping in the comfort of your RV bedroom so shelter isn’t going to be a major concern.

However, it helps to bring some foldable chairs and a table that you can conveniently set up for outdoor viewing with your family.

It’s also a great idea to make your RV more ‘homey’ by adding lights, vintage rugs, a hammock, throws, pillows, and a few accessories.

If you’re planning for an extended trip, it makes sense to upgrade your RV mattress.

Storage is important too. You'll benefit from well-planned RV organizers, kitchen shelves, suction cups on doors, and space-saving containers.

Personal Items and Toiletries

The key to staying fresh and comfy throughout your outdoor adventures is to have enough personal care items and toiletries. A basic hygiene kit should contain the following items:

  • Travel-size shampoo/conditioner
  • Antibacterial soap (choose eco-friendly options)
  • Alcohol and hand sanitizers
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray or mosquito repellent
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Floss
  • Deodorant
  • Hair ties
  • Wet wipes
  • Tissue

As a general RV rule for beginners, each person should have their own toiletry or hygiene kit for easy access when they need it.

First Aid kit

Accidents and injuries can happen in the wild outdoors so make sure you have a first aid kit within your reach.

  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Antibacterial ointment for cuts, bruises, and wounds
  • Butterfly bandages
  • Gauze pads
  • Non Stick sterile pads
  • Pain relievers such as Ibuprofen
  • Antihistamine
  • Splinter tweezers
  • Safety pins
  • Medical adhesive tape
  • Hydrogen peroxide

It’s also a great idea to bring a first aid manual so you’d know what to do in case an emergency happens. Your knowledge of basic first aid care goes a long way in keeping your family safe.


You don’t have to bring your entire wardrobe even though you have quite a big space in your RV camper. Unless you’re having a long trip (over one week), stick to a few staples.

Warm rainproof clothing

Pack insulated rainproof jackets and clothes that allow you to enjoy the outdoors without getting soaked when it rains. If going to colder regions, pack thin yet insulated jackets that keep you warm without the bulk.

Light, breathable shirts

Most RV adventures include moderate to intense physical activities, such as walking, hiking, and swimming. It’s best to bring clothes that allow you to move freely and easily. Choose moisture-wicking sports or workout shirts that keep you cool all day. You can just layer with a jacket in case it gets cold.


It’s best to wear casual sneakers that make walking comfortable. If you’re hiking, consider packing a pair of protective technical kicks that are easy on your feet. Depending on the activities you anticipate (and the weather), you can also stash a pair of boots, hiking sandals, or flats.

Socks and underwear

Go for breathable underwear and socks.


Pack a lightweight hat or visor since you’d be spending most of your time outdoors. If you’re going somewhere cold, you also need a beanie or a winter hat.

Note: Only pack essential clothes. As a rule of thumb, bring one top for each day, plus one extra. Then, only bring half the amount of pants since you can wear each pair for two different days.

RV Kitchen Items and Supplies List

Since most RVs are equipped with a full kitchen, you will need to pack some basic items so you can cook your meals, such as:

  • Cooking pans
  • A large pot
  • Sheet pan
  • Plates
  • Utensils/Cutlery
  • Cups and mugs
  • Cooking utensils (tongs, spatulas, big spoons, ladles, etc.)
  • Dish towels
  • Dish soap and sponge
  • Food containers/zip lock bags

Water and Food

During your trip, you may have a hard time looking for restaurants or grocery stores to buy food and cooking supplies. That’s said, be sure to bring the following:

  • Drinking water (bring at least one gallon per person, per day)
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Meat
  • Salt, pepper, and spices
  • Cooking oils
  • Cheese
  • Bread
  • Biscuits
  • Nuts, chips, granola, and easy-to-eat snacks
  • Canned food
  • Eggs
  • Chips
  • Coffee, tea, and other beverages
  • Pancake mix

Outdoor Gear

Your outdoor gear will generally depend on your planned activities or adventures.

However, you'll most likely do some scenic driving, swimming, fishing, or hiking. You may also decide to go on a picnic or simply stroll around the park.

Therefore, you want to have these items in your RV camper too:

  • Binoculars
  • Backpack
  • Camping chairs and tables
  • Hammock
  • Picnic blanket
  • Food basket or cooler
  • Water bottles
  • Fishing rods and tackle
  • Compass, maps
  • Camping utensils


One of the perks of RVing is you can bring more than what you need. Therefore, feel free to add some more items to your list to make your trip a lot more comfortable, safer, and more convenient.


  • Pillows
  • Bedding
  • Towels
  • Extra blankets
  • Radio or Bluetooth speakers
  • Board games
  • Books
  • Entertainment

RV Supplies

  • Surge protector
  • Extension cords
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Shovel
  • Motor oil and transmission fluid
  • Emergency road kit
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Jumper cables
  • Portable generator
  • Electrical and duct tapes


  • Cleaning supplies
  • Laundry detergent
  • Trash bags
  • Large zip lock bags for documents, such as IDs, registrations, driver's license, tickets, reservations, etc.

Final Words

This list might seem overwhelming at first but they are some of the most basic and essential items you need to have a comfortable and enjoyable trip.

However, remember that each person or family is different so feel free to add or remove items in this essentials list for an RV to suit your needs.

Enjoy your trip!


This article was written by Mariam Simmons, an outdoor and fashion enthusiast. https://www.alpineswiss.com/