Congratulations on the purchase of your new RV. Before setting out on your first RV road trip, get ready with the Best First Time RV Checklist. In this list, we will cover some of the essentials you will need for a successful RV trip. This will include things like clothing, bedding, food, and the hookups needed for success.

Bedding & Clothes

You have planned your first RV trip. What bedding and clothing should you take?

First, let’s look at your bedding. A good quality sleeping bag is usually a good place to state. No matter where you are going it may get cool at night, even when traveling in the summer. It has also been known to snow in the south during the winter months.

RVs are usually insulated pretty well and some type on a heater. These heaters will run off your propane or electricity. If you have to run the heat on resort electricity and are paying for electricity, keep this in mind. Also, if your heater runs off your propane, in some case so does your stove and refrigerator. Adding a quality sleeping bag will reduce the run time on your heating system.

Other options for bedding are as simple as using a blanket and sheet of the beds. This very well could be the best option for comfort. I always like to bring an extra blanket or 2 just in case we have one of those chilly nights. And don’t forget your pillows.

When getting your clothing together there are a few things to keep in mind other than where you are traveling to. For travel, days bring something comfortable. You will be traveling for a period of time, it’s always best to be comfortable. Remember your not heading to a fashion show.

Watch upcoming weather for the location you are traveling to. Make the determination while packing what clothes you will need. A good rule of thumb is to have enough clothes for 5 sets of everything for every 3 days of the trip. This means for a 6-day trip, bring 10 shirts, 10 pants or shorts, and 10 pairs of undergarments. Socks is a little different, especially if you plan on hiking. I prefer to bring 2 pairs for every day.

Shirts should be a good mix of short and long sleeve depending on your location. Shorts or pants are dependent on your location. I am one of those crazy folks that wear shorts until the temperature hit 32 degrees. So I usually have a 4 to 1 ratio of short to pants. But remember where you are going and that you will have a few nights sitting by the campfire.

Along with the regular clothing, a hooded sweatshirt, rain gear and at least 2 pairs of footwear. As far as footwear, if you are planning hiking on trails. Make sure the footwear you bring is comfortable and broken in. It is not a wise idea to try and break in a new pair of hiking boot while on a trip. IT is the fastest way to ruin a trip.

Depending on where you are staying. Some RV resorts have laundry facilities on site. Don’t forget to bring some laundry detergent with you. You will find a limited selection at most resorts and the cost may be slighting higher than at your local stores.

Food & Snacks

Everyone has there different tastes in food. Think of planning your first days’ meal and bring those along with food and snacks for the trip. You will be able to find a local shopping center once you get settled in your location. Simply ask the resort when you check in. They usually have a better idea of local suppliers.

I only suggest the first 24 hours of food just so you can get settled after a long journey. Who feels like shopping after a long drive? Not me!

When it comes to snacks a good plan is to stock your cabinets with a few small treats for the drive. Depending on how long of a trip you have ahead of you. It is a good plan to stick with the snacks you can eat on the road. It is also a good idea to make simple things like sandwiches you can keep in the refrigerator during the trip.

One snack that is always a campfire favorite is smores. This marshmallow, chocolate, and gramcracker treats have been a campfire treat for decades. Resorts know this a take advantage of this by having the ingredients handy but at an increased cost. That is why I recommend you bring some with you.

Hookups

The most important things of the first time RV checklist are your hookups. Having your water and electrical hookups are not complete without your sewer hose. Depending on what type of site you have awaiting you. All your hookups should normally be on the RV. It is never a bad idea to go through all you hookup to make sure they are in good working order.

I highly recommend to also test each hookup for proper function. If you note any hookup not functioning as it should replace it before traveling. I also recommend testing all the hookups as if you were on your trip. If possible do this at least a week or two before you head out. This gives you time to order any hookup or parts that may need attention. It also gives you a little practice as the first time RVer to run through your equipment.

Accessories

The Best First Time RV Checklist finishes with some needed accessories that will hopefully save your trip.


Once you have settled into your campsite and recharged your batteries. Make sure you have some extra batteries for the flashlights and weather radio. These two essential things will help you at night and in case of severe weather in your area. Some resorts will announce if there is a chance of severe weather in your area. Being one step ahead will save you from running to batten down the hatches if needed.

Other accessories depend on where you are going and what you will be doing. Some important accessories include some type of rope to dry clothes. For the night adventures and occasional during the day you will need insect repellent. For those evening meals, you need something to cook in like pots, pans, and utensils. For eating it is recommended to some disposable utensils, plates, and cups. These are optional if you would rather bring household plates and such. One thing to keep in mind with these is the added weight.

While traveling we want to bring a much as we can while keeping the weight done.

First TIme RV Checklist

The following list is an Example and can be modified for your needs.

Bedding / Clothing

  • Sleeping Bag
  • Blankets
  • Pillows
  • Sheets
  • Pants
  • Shorts
  • T-shirts
  • Shoes
  • Socks
  • Hats
  • Sweatshirt
  • Gloves
  • Towels
  • Bathing Suit

Food & Snack

  • Beverages
  • Milk
  • Drinking Water
  • Sandwiches
  • Chips
  • Granola Bars
  • Deli Meat
  • Bread
  • Katsup
  • Mustard
  • Mayonaise
  • Butter
  • Pancake Mix
  • Bacon
  • Orange Juice
  • Marshmallow
  • Chocolate Bar
  • Gramcrackers

Hookups

  • Sewer Hose
  • Fresh Water Hose
  • Grey Water Hose
  • Utility Hose
  • Electrical Cord
  • Surge Protector
  • Leveling Blocks
  • Wheel Chock
  • Electrical Adapters
  • Water Pressure Regulator
  • Water Filter
  • 90 degree Water Coupling

Accessories

  • Flashlight
  • Weather Radio
  • Spare Batteries
  • Rope
  • Insect Repellent
  • Table Cloth
  • Cooking Utensils
  • Pots and Pans
  • Paper Plates
  • Paper Bowls
  • Plastic-Eating Utensils
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Sanitary Wipes
  • Toilet Paper
  • Cleaning Supplies

Conclusion

The Best First Time RV Checklist depend on a number of factor including your location, time of year, weather, and how much room you have. Starting out on the right foot will make your trip a success. I gave you a list of the thing I recommend. I’m sure there is a few things you would add and things you may not want to bring.

This checklist will hopefully get you started. If you have any questions or would like to add a comment.

Please Feel Free to add them below.

Also, Share with someone you may think needs this short checklist.

myrvessentials.com

Ken Sagendorph
Owner
ken.sagendorph@myrvessentials.com

20 Comments

  1. Olalekan Taliat

    Reply

    For a new owner of a recreational vehicle , the checklist could be overwhelming until after the first few trips. These trips really narrow down the items needed on the check list . for me not every item on the check list is mandatory as some of them could be readily available close to the camp , depending on the location. I once set out for camping with only a few items on my checklist and the rest I purchased less that four miles to the camp. These were disposable items though. This article really prepare first timers a great deal. I believe I have a few new owners to share this article with.

    • Ken Sagendorph

      Reply

      Totally agree with you Olaleken. Some items are interchangeable based on location traveling to and the accessibility on a place to purchase supplies. That would give folks a good place to start when planning a trip. Research the area to see if there is a place to purchase things like a trading post or shopping center.

      Please feel free to share. I would love to hear from your friends and get their input.   

  2. Louis

    Reply

    Thanks for the comprehensive list for people making their first RV journey. You had it all covered, as I couldn’t think of anything you left out. With this list, everyone can plan effectively and make sure they are no taken unawares on the trip. I’m surprised to hear about weather radio, does it mean this radio would only broadcast about the weather? 

    Once again, thanks for the list, very comprehensive!

    • Ken Sagendorph

      Reply

      Thank You for the comments, Louis. 

      To answer your question on weather radios. There are a few different types of weather radios. Some only broadcast severe weather in your area or region. While others you can program to a national weather service in your region that will have a continuous broadcast of the weather. This will give you all the weather in the area and region, good or bad, 

      Both are helpful. My personal choice would be an emergency or severe broadcasts radio. Just remember to turn it on and have it turned to the right region. The continuous broadcast could get annoying and upset other people to listen to the same information over and over.

  3. Ola

    Reply

    Tons of value to be found on this post on first time rv checklistsThis is a great and simple to follow guide. You laid it all out clearly and showed series of examples that helped emphasize your various points. This guide will be very useful for me because the checklist is an eye opener for me. The essentials needed for a succesful RV trip listed in this article are significant and weighty. thanks for sharing 

    • Ken Sagendorph

      Reply

      Glad I could be of assistance Ola. The way to a successful trip, whether it be in the RV or a cruise. I am one that likes to make life easy from the start so the trip becomes more enjoyable. 

      Now I mention it. While going on a cruise or flying somewhere out of your home country. It’s a good idea while traveling to have documentation of residency. Things like a passport or birth certificate. Thanks for reminding me. 

  4. Adamuts

    Reply

    Wow……. I found this article very insightful and helpful for RV checklist. This article gave things to consider in setting out an RV first road trip. But it always depend on the location, time of the year and weather. Foods and snacks, accessories, hookups and bedding and clothing are very essential in the checklist before moving out of your trip. Thank you for dishing out this informative article. Best regards

    • Ken Sagendorph

      Reply

      Thank you for the visit Adamuts. I have been camping and RVing since I was a kid. Trying to remember what my dad would bring and the things I bring. Then sort this out into a checklist of First Time RV Essentials was fun. I looked at some things I bring on every trip, then listed what I use on every trip and only use on particular trips. 

      Weather, location, and time on year become a big factor depending on the season as well. I think on the fall and spring in the Northeast can be very unpredictable. While mid-summer is a great time to head north.

  5. Alblue

    Reply

    Oh thank you for detailing this RV first time checklist. Since my uncle bought his RV, he is quite excited to load stuffs in there. I agree that most of them are essentials. My uncle love to prepares a lot of dry snacks and barbeque stuffs. Oh, maybe you want to add medical kits? I remember him buying some first aids just to be safe. Since I will go soon with him for our first travel with his RV, I will make sure he get a look on this checklist too.

    • Ken Sagendorph

      Reply

      LOL..You would think a paramedic would have added the medical kit. Yes, an absolute must-have, especially those with kids on the trip. They always seem to find an injury.

      ON the same though things like medications including Epi-Pens and rescue inhalers for the unexpected reactions. 

      Dry snack can pretty much last an entire season if you buy in bulk. While it’s a great Idea to bring BBQ supplies. There is going to be that pot luck dinner at a location that may include a BBQ challenge. 

      Please share with your Uncle. I would love to hear his input along with the things he would add.

  6. Neil Brown

    Reply

    It’s better to be safe than sorry and have a good checklist to make sure you have all the essentials for a RV trip and bringing things along like your own smores is a great idea because convenience stores are always going to over charge.

    Always be prepared for any near by fishing holes, so it’s a good idea to bring the fishing gear along, that is if the RV’er is a fisherman. This is a really good blog and well written, a lot of people don’t really put a lot of thought into what they should take along for an extended trip, thanks.

    • Ken Sagendorph

      Reply

      Good point Neil, if you like fishing it will be a $$ saver to have your own gear. It’s like the old Boy Scout saying “Be Prepared” and your trip will go great no matter what mother nature hands you. 

      Thank You for stopping by. Please feel free to share.

    • Reply

      At this present time, I have not created a list of basic tools, Dan. I do bring a toolbox with things like a hammer. ax. socket set, box wrenches, and a few screwdrivers. There is also a set of allen wrenches and drill bits for my cordless drill. I could put a list together and create a future post. I will let you know when I get it together.

  7. Mike Bass

    Reply

    Good informative article overall. Even seasoned RVers can use an occasional refresher. One item I didn’t notice, or perhaps overlooked, is a cooler. My wife loads cold food that we take with us and I throw the cooler in the bed of my truck. We don’t empty the home fridge…usually just staples, lunchmeat, etc. We buy groceries after setting up at our destination. We use the cooler again when we break camp or head home. This system may not work for everyone but it works very well for us.

    • Reply

      Good though Mike. Some folks could benefit from your system. We usually do the same, but I really never thought of everyone doing it since some will use the RV frig. Depending on our length of travel and time of day we set out will depend on our travel menu.

  8. Reply

    Thank you so much for this article! The first time we rented an RV to go camping, I had no idea what all we needed. I am joking when I say I packed everything but the kitchen sink. Seriously. I packed the entire knife block! It was ridiculous. This list is much more practical and very useful .While we have yet to purchase our own RV, we do rent one a couple of times a summer and really enjoy it. Great website overall – thanks for the article.

    • Reply

      Thats a great story Kate. I know exactly how you feel. My first trip was the same way. I too twice as much as what we needed, then had to drag it all home.

      This list was focused on the essentials having the first time RVers in mind.

      If you keep renting, it just may be the time to bite the bullet. Not sure if you have read my post RV Beginners: Finding the Right RV It may help you in your search.

      Please feel free it ask if you have any questions.

  9. Reply

    Hi Ken, what a great list of things to take away on your trip with you. I’m in the UK and we don’t really have RV’s here, we are more caravan people haha. We do these type of holidays a lot and always forget something. I’m always cold so a hot water bottle is a must for me as I have spent many a night shivering without one, and when I get cold I just don’t heat up!
    I always like to take a compete evening meal too; something already cooked but easy to reheat in one container like a homemade lasagna.
    Thanks for your great tips!

    • Reply

      Great to see you stop by Stefanie. I don’t know about RVing in the UK. I do follow some folks on Youtube that have a website as well. “Keep You Daydreams” of “KYD” is a family that has been traveling the United States for a few years. They recently traveled New Zealand in a rental RV which was cool. They work great together and have created a few lists that are available on their website.

      I am one who creates checklists ever time I travel, especially to a tourist trap location. Our next vacation will be on a cruise this October, I have already started creating my list.

      I love your idea of creating a simple meal that just needs to be reheated.

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