What You Do and Don't Need to Have in Your RV

Updated on December 25, 2019
TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

I am an RV enthusiast with more than 50 years of experience owning, driving, traveling and living in recreational vehicles.

When people begin their lives as RV owners, it is common for them to buy too many accessories. They also spend a good deal of unnecessary money doing so.

This leads to overcrowding in their units and less enjoyable vacations due to the lack of space those things create.

This is why RVers need to pay close attention to what they buy for their travel units and what they keep in them, and why they need to clean the excess away every so often.

If they don't do this, their things will overtake them!

Get rid of the things you don't need or don't use so that your RV will be safer and more comfortable.
Get rid of the things you don't need or don't use so that your RV will be safer and more comfortable. | Source

Get Rid of Certain Things That Came With the RV

Recreational vehicles come equipped differently.

  • If they are new, they may or may not have basics such as sewer hoses and jacks.
  • If they are previously owned, they can come equipped with everything imaginable.
  • You will find that you don't need many of these items either because they are duplicates, are not things you will need for your particular type of travel, are old and worn or just take up too much space.

It's going to be up to you to decide which items to keep on board, which to store for possible future use and which to donate or toss.

What you don't want is to stuff your travel unit areas with all sorts of paraphernalia that you likely will never use but that will constantly be in your way.

It is harder than you may think to pick and choose, but doing so is a must. Here are some tips that will help.

Keep Only What You Will Need and Use

The most important items to keep on board are those that add to function or without which you will not have what you need in order to be comfortable during your travels.

These include but are not limited to

  • appropriate bedding and linens, (a comfortable mattress)
  • appropriately weight rated towing equipment,
  • sewer cleaning equipment,
  • water hoses,
  • dishes, silverware, pots and pans, and cookware,
  • laundry, soap and personal soaps and shampoos,
  • cleaning equipment such as rags, mops, brooms and dusters
  • portable heaters and fans and
  • a basic tool kit.

However, you should keep these in limited amounts where possible. A service of dishes for four comprised of thin, stacking and unbreakable dishes will work better than a service for 8 and will take up much less space in your galley closet.

Also, not every unit needs the same items.

For example, larger coaches usually have carpeting while smaller ones likely do not. Therefore, a vacuum cleaner becomes a necessity in one but is not needed in the other.

What matters here is that you do not carry duplicate items or those you likely will not use on a particular vacation.

You won't need swimwear if you will be traveling in cold weather, but you definitely will need at least one warm coat!

Keep Space and Weight Limitations In Mind

Those who bear in mind that an RV is actually only a vehicle with a very limited area for living and storage do much better if they follow the above advice.

If you overload your travel unit or put so many items in it that you make it claustrophobic or dangerous to drive, you’ll be unhappy and likely will cause problems for yourself.

How to Load and Pack Your RV for Safety and Comfort provides some good tips about deal with loading issues, but common sense should prevail.

For example,

  1. if you have several hobbies, choose one that takes up very little space to carry with you, rather than trying to take several that will severely limit your living area.
  2. leave bulky, heavy items at home and
  3. avoid taking several items that can do the same job. For example, a pot can be used for carrying water, cooking or washing dishes.

Keep items light and limited. Avoid loading golfing equipment, fishing gear or similar types of heavy, bulky sports equipment. Instead take cards, puzzles and similar things that will entertain you but not take up much space.

RV owners must stock their coaches with household goods that save space and are light weight.
RV owners must stock their coaches with household goods that save space and are light weight. | Source

Why You Need to Keep These Basics on Board

There are reasons you need to have basic items available when traveling:

1. Obviously you need to be able to sleep , cook and eat so bedding, linens, dishes and cooking are givens.

2. Portable fans and heaters are important to have in case cooling or heating units stop working as they will be able to work off of the campground's electric system separately from that of your RV if necessary.

3. Basic cleaning items such as a broom, duster, rags, ammonia, cleanser and buckets, mops and other items are must haves if you want to keep your RV clean.

4. What You Need to Have in Your RV’s Tool Box has in-depth lists of tools and gadgets you should always take with you when you travel so that you can make repairs on the go when necessary, especially if you are not located near a repair shop when something goes wrong.

5. Ways to store food so that it doesn't spoil or get wasted is vitally important and lidded, containers that stack and seal are perfect for this purpose.

6. Using a gps system as well as camping guides such as a Good Sam Directory (which is the best and least costly camping guide available) is the best way to do this. My husband and I never travel without this travel guide because it saves us time and money and provides tons of reliable and important information.

7. Keeping your sewage system sanitary will keep your coach from to smelling so bad that you won't be able to use it! The only way to do this is by using the proper tools and chemicals.

How to Dump and Deep Clean Your RV's Sewer Tank in 5 Easy Steps not only shows you which items you must have to do the job but also how to do it.

8. Having appropriate wires and connectors on board allows you to hook up without problems.

Small RVs generally only need 30-amp connections, but larger ones require 50 amps or more. An adapter combined with proper wires will guarantee that you won't have problems.

My husband and I once had to leave a campground that only offered 20-amp hookups because we did not have the right equipment with us. We made sure that never happened again!

9. Wheel chocks can keep your RV from rolling if parked on uneven or slanted land. Tuck them up against your wheels and you can avoid a costly and dangerous accident. We never RV without them because although light weight and easy to store, they do a good job of protecting our RV.

If you want or feel you need more items, add them in as you travel after determining that doing so is necessary. Doing this can save you a good deal of money.

Appropriate Towing Equipment

If you will be towing a vehicle, you will need equipment that will help you to do so correctly and safely. No matter the equipment, you will need to make sure that it is properly weight rated for the vehicle it will be towing.

There are several towing methods available.

You can use

  • a tow bar,
  • tow dolly or
  • enclosed or open trailer

The best and easiest one to use is a tow bar that adjusts.

Dollies are awkward to use and trailers can be quite costly.

Each type has its own pros and cons, so it is up to an RV owner to decide whether he wants to tow, how much he wants to spend and what type of equipment he wants to buy.

It is common for people to choose a dolly or a non-adjustable tow bar at first, but they usually wind up trading it for an adjustable tow bar because, while expensive, it is much easier to use.

Travelers can choose not to take a car with them, but will quickly learn that doing so severely limits mobility.

Most people find that they will want to have a car with them, and that choosing the right type of equipment will make vacationing much easier. As you can see, it pays to look around for a deal before you buy!

Think Weight, Size and Necessity

If you are loading your coach with much more than what has been mentioned here, you can use the information in this article to identify the items you really need to have so that you can remove the others and give yourself more living space.

Ask yourself questions such as

  1. How many towels and sheets do you need?
  2. Do you need all of those appliances?
  3. Are your closets so full that you can't even find the clothes you want to wear?
  4. Do you have items that are old or broken or no longer useful?

Once you decide what you want to eliminate, either throw a garage sale or donate the unusable items to some worthy cause.

Remember that an RV is not a house and will always function better if you give it room to do so.

If you learn to think “weight, size and necessity” when equipping your recreational vehicle, you’ll always have the things you need to make your vacations enjoyable.

Doing this will keep you comfortable and will save money, too!

Do you agree that you need to travel light to travel better?

See results

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2018 Sondra Rochelle


Submit a Comment
  • TIMETRAVELER2 profile imageAUTHOR

    Sondra Rochelle 

    4 months ago from USA

    Glad to hear you're paying attention! You'll find lots of money saving ideas within my work and also many ways to make your RV more comfortable. Good Luck!

  • Jodah profile image

    John Hansen 

    4 months ago from Queensland Australia

    A very helpful article TT2. We bought an old Toyota Coaster bus that we have been converting to a motor home. Recently did our first major road trip...Brisbane to Darwin (approx 7000 km round trip) which gave us time to find out many things we still need, and which are not necessary. It is still always good to get tips from experienced RV users however so I will probably visit more of your article in future.


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