Amber Rian shares her experience RVing (most recently in a 23' travel trailer) and being mobile in general.
RVing with your kids is rewarding; however, it can be difficult if you are unprepared. When you decide what to bring, take into account the size of your camper, whether will you also be tent camping at the site, and how long the trip will be.
But we don't have to overcomplicate things here. Kids are going to be excited about the trip, so lean into that. Let them pack their bags, suggest dinner ideas, and help load up the truck.
In this post, we cover great basic must-have items that work on any RVing trip, as well as some ideas to keep the whole family entertained during an RV adventure.
What Are the Must-Haves to Bring on an RV Trip With Kids?
Before you pack up the RV, first comes the grocery haul. I'm sure you planned out your meals or noted some hotspots along the way you want to hit up, but don't forget those in-between snacks or those s’mores ingredients. Make sure to grab a little extra for yourself too.
Snacks in the vehicle. Pack these how you normally do for everyday outings and don't go overboard with them. On past trips, I brought new and exciting snacks in the truck with us and they were mostly gone in the first hour!
Snacks in the camper. The best bet here, make sure everyone is maintained. If you are new to RVing, chances are making meals for everyone is going to take you longer to accomplish and you don't want to get overwhelmed in a tiny space with the kiddos not being able to wait.
There's no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.
— Alfred Wainwright
2. Appropriate Clothing
Whether you are going to a resort campground, state park, or boondocking, the weather won't matter one way or another to your kids if they can be well-dressed for it.
When packing, think about the weather—this is obvious—but also think about the activities you will do. Is there a pool, are there hiking trails, or will you be doing laundry on this trip?
Try not to overpack, but if there is room in the RV, prepare for anything. There is nothing worse than when your weekend away turns into a rainy, muddy mess, and no one brought a rain jacket or boots, or when you get the killer lakefront spot at the park and forget swimsuits and extra towels. Go out and make those beautiful camping memories and be prepared for a rainy day.
3. In-Seat Entertainment
Before you hit that open road and hit "play" on your carefully crafted playlist, ensure your little ones have their own entertainment queued up and ready to go. Whether you are a screen-time family, like to do sing-alongs, or license plate game crew, have those ready to deploy and keep the kids entertained.
If your little ones are still in car seats, get a travel tray so they can spread out a little with their books, coloring, or playing with dinosaurs!
Of course, when you get to your campsite, pull out the board games, yard games, and activities that the entire family can enjoy together.
4. First-Aid Items
While not always the most fun item to think about or bring, a first aid kit is a must. At least have yourself a “boo-boo” kit. You can easily prep and store something small for everyone's backpack, the car, and the RV. Ensure your kits have plenty of bandages and some tweezers.
You can find small, affordable kits almost anywhere now. Let your kids even pick them out and know where they are in case they need something or need to grab it for someone else.
Look into other first aid kits that will have additional items for if the kids get into poison ivy, take a big tumble, or get something in their eye.
5. Outdoor Mats
An outdoor mat is more than a must-have; it's a luxury item. Is your baby at that crawling stage? Well, she will need more than that sandy or rocky campsite under her. Did the kids just get done with a hike or get back from running around with new friends all day? You are going to want a nice landing spot for the clean-up or pre-bath routine.
Outdoor mats are great extenders to the entrance to your camper so leave shoes, dog leashes, and other needed items out on the mat.
6. Sleeping Bags or Fun Sheets
Kids might still be going at the end of a long day out. Incentivize bedtime with some cool sheets or sleeping bags they only use when camping.
If you have a separate bunk room, let the kids claim their space and make it their own. If you normally use a sound machine for the baby, don't forget to pack it for the trip too.
7. Something From Home
If your kids have a lucky item or favorite stuffy, don't leave it behind. The goal is family time, but your older kids may even want to bring their devices and that can be ok to use sometimes. Making sure everyone has their comfort items can help the whole family when spending time together in small spaces.
RV travel with the whole family adds another layer, but if you start off with the seven items listed above, you and your little campers will be ready for your next adventure.
Take into account the length of your trip, where you will be going, and the amount of storage space you have. And always remember to spend quality time and have fun. Happy camping!
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2022 Amber Rian