Stocking for Campsite Setup

Trip Planning

RV Packing List: A Complete Guide to Packing Your RV

Stocking your RV is all about striking the right balance of having everything you need without having too much of what you don’t. However, if you are brand new to RVing, how do you know what exactly you need and don’t need? Check out this RV packing guide to learn the essential items.

When it comes to your home, are you more of a collector or a minimalist? For your RV, the same tendencies apply. Carry along too much stuff, and the small space in your RV may feel cluttered—plus, you’ll spend a bunch of money on things you’ll never use. Bring too few items and you won’t have what you need when you need it, which can interrupt your fun and relaxation.

Finding the right balance is important, and this RV stocking guide can help you identify what is and isn’t essential as you prepare to pack. While it might feel complicated at first, after you camp a while, you’ll develop your own personalized packing list that matches your camping style. 

Click on the 6 categories below to help create your ultimate RV packing list. 

What to Pack

Before digging into the list of essential packing items, consider these overall tips for stocking your new RV:

  1. Investigate your Cargo Carrying Capacity (CCC): Every RV manufacturer declares the CCC of each model. This number represents how much weight you can safely pack in your RV. If you don’t have this information handy, look inside your rig for a yellow sticker showing these measurements. If you can’t find it, search online for the year, manufacturer, and model of your RV.
  2. Consider your camping style. As long as your gear weighs less than the CCC, there is no rule for how close you can and should come to that number. You’ll have to figure out your camping style to decide whether you prefer to be light and nimble or want to glamp it up with all the decor and gear your rig can handle. There’s no “right” way to RV, so find your own personal balance.
  3. Consider convenience. Some people never camp more than 20 miles away from a grocery store, while others prefer to park their rig far from any modern conveniences. When packing your RV, consider your preferences. If stores are handy, you can easily replenish items or purchase anything you’ve overlooked. If you are boondocking off grid, you need to be more prepared.
  4. Stay organized. As you stock everything in your RV, consider using containers and shelving to keep your cabinets and cargo spaces organized. 
  5. Keep notes. On your initial outings, use a note-taking app on your phone or tablet to jot down all the items you wish you had. This list will help you develop a more personalized packing list for future camping trips.

Safety first, especially when stocking your RV. Your rig is a rolling home away from home, and you need to be prepared for basic set up, as well as maintenance and emergencies. 

Camp Setup

To set up camp, you’ll need the following items:

  • Chocks
  • Leveling boards
  • Sewer hose 
  • Potable water hose
  • Water pressure regulator
  • Surge protector
  • Shore power converters (to move between 20, 30, and 50 amp hookups)
  • Black tank treatment
  • An extension cord appropriate for your amperage level 

Basic Tools & Gear

The following basic tools and gear can help you roll safely down the road and repair small problems:

  • Basic tool box
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Fuse replacement kit
  • Replacement bulbs
  • Air compressor
  • Jumper cables
  • Duct tape

Extra Gear

Other overlooked safety gear might include a rechargeable flashlight, a fly swatter, a water filter, and latex gloves. These will come in handy!

Campsite at night

Furnishing your campsite is a matter of personal preference. Some RVers love nothing more than a color-coordinated campsite outfitted with the latest gadgets, while others stick out a couple of chairs and call it good. 

Cozy Campsite

Here are some items you might want that will make your campsite even cozier:

  • One camp chair per person
  • An outdoor rug
  • Table cloth
  • Lanterns

Personalize Your Campsite

Now, comes the fun part. You can truly personalize your campsite with the following gear:

  • Awning lights
  • Pop-up shelter
  • Rope lights
  • Hammock
  • Outdoor games

The Campfire

What’s a campsite without a campfire? If you forget to stock these items, you’ll miss out on this revered camping ritual:

  • Firewood (note: some states do not allow the transport of firewood from area to area)
  • Fire starters
  • Lighter & matches
  • S’mores sticks


Before stocking the kitchen, once again consider your personal style. Do you think you’ll generally prepare sandwiches and cereal, or will you take pride in being the camp chef? For your first RV kitchen, you can easily start with extra items from around your house. Or, you can outfit your RV with all new gear. 

Eating Utensils

Of course, you’ll need the basic eating utensils. Consider purchasing non-glass items, whenever possible. Take along enough for each person, along with a few extras of the following:

  • Plates & bowls
  • Silverware
  • Cups and mugs
  • Refillable water bottles


Start with the basics you’d need for something as simple as mac and cheese, and then add whatever makes your culinary heart happy. Here are a few items to consider:

  • Nesting bowls 
  • Cutting board & quality knife set
  • Cooking utensils (spoons, ladle, tongs, peeler, whisk, etc.)
  • Collapsible colander
  • Measuring cups & spoons
  • Pots, skillets & baking wares
  • Storage containers

Pantry Staples

While it’s not advisable to leave many food items in your RV due to concerns about heat and pests, here are a few pantry items that you might keep stocked during the camping season:

  • Salt, pepper, sugar, & other seasonings
  • Nonstick spray
  • Oil & vinegar
  • Coffee (don’t forget the filters and coffee maker)

Misc. Kitchen Items

Finally, you’ll want these miscellaneous kitchen items to help keep your kitchen clean and functional:

  • Dish towels, washcloths, and pot holders
  • Sponges & dish soap
  • Can opener & bottle opener
  • Plastic baggies, aluminum foil, and plastic wrap
  • Trash can & bags

Outdoor Kitchen

Some RVers prefer to cook outside. Even if your RV doesn’t have an outdoor kitchen, you can create your own with the following items:

  • Outdoor grill 
  • Appropriate grill supplies (which vary based on whether you are using coals or propane, a traditional grill or flat top, or the open flames of your campfire)
  • Grill-safe table, grill legs, and/or folding camp kitchen

RV Kitchen

While most of the other categories have a lot of variation, this one is pretty straightforward. Take care of your health and hygiene with these items:


  • Shampoo, conditioner, & body wash
  • Toothpaste & toothbrush
  • Deodorant
  • Hairbrush
  • Contact lens solution
  • Shaving cream & razors
  • Hand soap & sanitizer
  • Towels, hand towels, & washcloths
  • Trash can & bags
  • Toilet paper that is appropriate for your black tank

Medicines & First AId:

  • Bandages and gauze
  • Antibacterial ointment for wound care
  • Antihistamine ointment for bug bites
  • Saline solution & alcohol wipes
  • Tweezers
  • Prescription medicines – while these won’t stay in the RV, remember to keep them in mind and stock up ahead of long trips
  • Over-the-counter medicines for your family’s common ailments, including headaches, stomachaches, allergies, and more. If you have children, remember to take along pediatric versions.

Additional Items

  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Aloe gel for sunburns
  • Hand sanitizer

It’s best if you can purchase dedicated bedding that stays in the RV since these bulky items may be annoying to tote in and out. However, some RVers make due with items from their house for a few seasons. 

Bedrooms & Closets

  • Pillows
  • Sheets
  • Blankets 
  • Laundry hamper
  • Jackets and rain gear
  • Swimming gear (if you plan to make a splash)
  • If you have old shoes and spare clothes that can “live” in the RV, it’s nice to leave them packed, just in case you ever take off without these essentials

This may seem like quite a bit of gear, but most campers won’t need to pack everything on this list, especially for your first few outings. Use this RV packing list as a starting point, and then create your own personalized packing list to use before each camping season or big trip. As you figure out your camping style, you’ll become an RV packing pro! 

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