You’ve booked your campsites and have your route planned, and now it’s down to the wire for getting on the road! Here is my ultimate packing list and tips for first time RV trips! 

This post is in partnership with GoRving, and let’s be honest, that’s like my dream partnership. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I didn indeed love it this much. 

Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved the idea of traveling across the United States. Taking a classic highway, blaring some tunes, and hitting the road for adventure with a hundred cheesy stops along the way. I have always wanted to map out a route along from National Park to National Park, collecting memories and polaroids along the way. 

In my mind, I can even see the tinge that time leaves around the edges of a photograph. And now, I here I am, in my 30’s and looking to create those moments, finally. I can see my mutt and I hitting the road and living the life, campfires, mountain roads, and amazing sunsets. It feels like a bucket list dream, and one that has never been more accessible to anyone – especially with the movement of van life (something we can all thank mellinails for). 

A few weeks ago, I teamed up with GoRVing for an epic trip through the mountains of Virginia. I recreated a childhood trip my mother took me on, stopping at the same places and reliving the experience from a very personal space. But this time, every afternoon when it downpoured on my campsite, I didn’t have to fight with soggy gear. I simply went inside and listened to the thunder in the distance and relaxed. 

Here’s what I learned from my week long camper trip: What to pack, what to leave behind, and a few handy tips for safe storage. 

What to pack for a first time RV trip

Want a printable? Download my Ultimate RV Packing List now!

If you are renting a camper for the first time, be sure to read what it comes with so that you can scratch off anything you don’t need before you even start packing! Make sure the RV is stocked with up to date fire extinguishers as well. Safety first. 

Cooking Supplies for Camping:

  • 1 Plate per person
  • 1 Bowl per person
  • 1 mixing bowl 
  • 1 mug / glass per person
  • 1 Chef knife
  • 1 cutting board
  • Propane grill* (I love, and will always love a classic Coleman, however, this bulkier Char-Broil portable grill does make some dreamy grill marks).
  • Small propane canisters* (skip and buy at camp store if saving space)
  • Tongs
  • 1 French Press
  • 1 pot (I really love this Lodge Dutch Oven, but it may be a bit more than the average person needs)
  • 1 skillet
  • Bottle opener
  • Trash bags

*The portable propane grill is a total optional thing. Your RV has a stove, your campsite will have a grill. Only pack if you aren’t comfortable cooking over fire and will use. 

Food to Pack for Camping:

Don’t bring much food down besides granola bars and snacks for the drive. Another thing I pack ahead is condiments so I don’t waste money on items I don’t need. See my list of condiments to pack ahead below. Otherwise, stop at local markets and stock up on just what you need. RV refrigerators and freezers aren’t huge, so don’t overpack it with things you aren’t going to use. Once parked, here’s what I buy: 

  • Water x 2 
  • Coffee
  • Butter
  • Eggs
  • Yogurt
  • Breakfast sausage
  • Bacon
  • Bagels
  • Hot dog rolls x 2
  • Hamburger Buns x 2
  • Bread 
  • Deli Meats
  • Cheese
  • Hot dogs
  • Brats 
  • Ground Beef
  • 1 tri-tip or big steaks 
  • 1 chicken, cooked
  • Onion
  • Pepper
  • Cucumber 
  • Greens 
  • Tomatoes
  • Granola
  • Marshmallows
  • Graham Crackers
  • Chocolate Bars
  • Baked Beans x 2

Condiments to Pack: 

  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Mayo
  • Relish
  • Salt 
  • Pepper
  • Olive Oil
  • Salad Dressing

Clothing (Per Person) :

Nope, I don’t have a change of clothes per day per person, because the truth is, you can rinse and hang a lot of these items to reuse. Save the space and roll with the minimal packing

  • 1 or 2 Swimsuits 
  • 1 or 2 pairs of sweat wicking pants (I am obsessed with Kuhl pants when I travel)
  • 1 or 2 pairs of shorts
  • 4 pairs of socks
  • 7 underwear
  • 5 Shirts / Tank tops
  • 1 set PJs
  • 1 hoodie
  • 1 rain jacket
  • 1 pair sandals
  • 1 pair boots

Other necessary supplies

  • Marin toilet paper
  • First Aid Kit
  • Any needed prescriptions & vitamins 
  • Pocket knife
  • 1 12′ rope
  • Flashlight
  • Bed Linens / Sleeping Bags
  • Pillows (cuz if you are sleeping in an RV you might as well have a good pillow)
  • 1 towel and washcloth per person
  • Soap 
  • Shampoo
  • Dry shampoo
  • Toothbrushes
  • Brush / Comb
  • Sunscreen 
  • Dish soap 
  • Sponge
  • Dish towel
  • Floor mat (Or yoga mat that doubles as floor mat if you have one in the car)
  • Broom
  • Hatchet

Other fun supplies

OK. ready to download the complete checklist now? Just click here.

Tips for Efficient Packing & Storage: 

  • To make sure things compress down easily, pack in dry bags that you can squeeze down. Suitcases can take up more space than needed. 
  • Store all the outdoor cooking supplies and unused items in the additional under storage in your RV to keep the inside clutter free while you’re living in it.
  • Embrace rubber containers for anything you don’t have latched down.
  • Store plates and dishes inside large bowls or skillets while traveling to avoid them sliding around. 
  • Store everything in an area with a latched door to prevent spills and breakage while traveling. 
  • Make sure all latches are closed before driving. 

What you DON’T need to pack for your first RV trip: 

  • Wood. There will be firewood available at any campground and most don’t allow you to bring wood from out of state anyway. Save the space and only buy what you need. 
  • Extra clothes. Seriously, do not overthink this. Rinse and repeat. Unless you are trying to impress someone… 
  • Duplicates of anything (except shoes, have at least one spare just in case they get waterlogged)
  • Spare blankets – one sleeping bag per person is really all you need.
  • Anything you are over thinking. No really, trust me. You’ll be fine.

Now that you have your list ready to go, here are some places you should check out on your trip to get you inspired.

If you’ve enjoyed this travel review or any other adventures on Pass The sushi, let me know where you found us in the comments below, I love hearing from you! Be sure to check out my other fun travel tips and follow along on Instagram @passthesushi & @girlcarnivoreTwitter Facebook.

No really, this is the Ultimate packing list for a first time RV (or for those of us who like to be overly organized) camping trip. Downloadable check list and more.


  1. I love how in-depth this list is. RV tripping is kind of like traveling in a house, so there’s a lot you could forget.

  2. This is great information! Thank you!! I’ve always wanted to take an RV trip but packing for one seemed overwhelming. Thanks for breaking it down for me!

  3. I’ve never taken an RV trip but it sounds like fun! I plan to save your post in case I decide to take a trip soon!


  4. I love RV trips! So much fun and quite an adventure. The list is awesome, thanks for sharing.

  5. You have created a great list for RV. I love doing a road trip but never done one with RV, recently I was on a road trip in Australia and saw so many caravan or RV camp. I even take a look to the RV camp area to check out the facilities. Seems so interesting.

  6. Catherine Santiago Jose says:

    To be honest, I have never tried to go in a camping but our family our planning to have one before the end of this year and these tips of yours will definitely help me to pack those things are needed during the camping days.

  7. I would love to go on an RV trip with my family one of these years. I’d love to just drive and see the whole country!

  8. great list to help pack an RV fr the first time. people should find this very helpful

  9. alexandra cook says:

    Wonderful..Glad you shared this amazing list. I am a travel bug and looking forward to experience RV trip later this year this list will help me out.

  10. This is list is great, especially if it is your first time going camping or RVing. I find that you can use the list for other trips also. This is perfect for everyone as a guide

  11. What a helpful list. I have never been RV camping. I might try it one day, but then again, I do like my personal space. But we shall see! It would be an adventure, that’s for sure.

  12. this is such a great idea and def something that i need to do before we head out on our own adventure too. cant wait to share w/ a few friends as well!

  13. I agree with what you wrote about not bringing too many snacks for the ride up. It creates a lot off mess you don’t want to deal with either at the campsite or when you get home.

  14. If renting an RV is a thing, I would like to do an RV trip with my husband at least once. I know that it would be so much fun!

  15. We have been thinking about taking an RV trip as a family but it seems overwhelming. This packing list would definitely make it easier, since I have no idea what we would need. This is really helpful.

  16. I think having a dutch oven is a great cooking option to not take up too much space and it is so versatile.

  17. This is a great list! Even though I know better, I still often overpack.
    My parents loved to camp, so I have a lot of camping memories. Over the years we had a VW camper, a trailer and then an RV. It was so much fun. My husband and I (and our kids) have only gone tent camping because it is so affordable. I’d love to rent an RV sometime and take a big trip.

  18. This looks like a super complete list to me. I am sure you won’t miss anything as long as you follow this. You are such a guru in this.

  19. My husband & I are planning our first really long road trip from SC to Alaska for 6 weeks next summer. This is really going to help with that.

  20. Our neighbor is taking an RV trip next year and they’ll travel all over the US and visit national parks. It sounds exciting. I would like to try it too someday.

  21. This sure is a great packing list. A lot of great items on here. I have never been on an RV trip before. I think it would be so much fun though.

  22. We have been tent camping all summer with the exception of a few hotels, but we really wanted to get an RV. I love your list to help families get prepared to go on an RV trip for the first time. I’ll be keeping this list in case we still end up with an RV.

  23. I haven’t been on an RV trip but I’d love to take one one day. It’s actually one of my goals to visit as many states as possible! I’d love to drive across the country.

  24. I have to bookmark this post! Thanks so much for sharing this useful packing list! Very informative.

  25. I’d love to go RVing. Thank you for the great list of what we should pack!

  26. Packing extra medical and cleaning supplies before going to an RV camp sounds important for sure. I can see why this is something every RV camper needs considering how unpredictable things may be when you go to a camp that you’re not familiar with. I’ll prepare those supplies first before we start looking for an RV resort in the area.

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