If you’re new to RV camping, it’s essential to be prepared for every possible situation. So we’ve put together this printable RV camping checklist to help make your first time a success!
Having an RV checklist can help you ensure that you have everything you need so that you don’t forget anything important.
As a new RVer, there is a lot you don’t know, but a complete set of RV camping checklists can give you the knowledge you need from experts who have seen it and done it all.
It can also give you peace of mind, knowing that you’ve got it all covered before heading out on your adventure. As a result, you can spend less time worrying and more time enjoying your trip.
This ultimate pack of RV checklists will help you prepare for your trip and ensure you have everything you need, from your bathroom to your bedroom, kitchen, outdoor living, and safety.
Once you arrive at your site, our Setup RV checklist will get you set up quickly, and our RV Departure Checklist will make sure you are ready to roll out safely. If you are traveling with kids or pets, we have checklists to help with that, too.
These RV camping checklists are free, downloadable, and printable, making it easy to have a copy in hand when the information is needed. Unfortunately, we don’t always have access to the internet while traveling.
First Time RV Owner’s Checklist
First-time RV owners have a lot to think about before hitting the open road. So we’ve put together a First Time RV Owner’s Checklist to help make sure you’re prepared for your first RV adventure.
This is a checklist of items we think you should bring on your first RV vacation – the essentials. We always suggest bringing items from home first before purchasing those items new, as this will save you time and money.
This list does not include items that should automatically come with your RV, like sewer and water hoses.
Here’s what you’ll need to bring on your trip:
- A sense of adventure! RVs are all about exploring new places and experiencing the great outdoors.
- A reliable vehicle. If you have a travel trailer, it will need to be towed behind a truck or SUV. Ensure your vehicle is up to the task by checking its towing capacity.
- A place to stay. Many RV parks and campgrounds offer water, electricity, and sewage hookups. Research ahead of time to find a park that meets your needs.
- A plan. Know where you’re going and what you want to see and do. Having a plan will help you make the most of your trip.
- Supplies for your RV. Before you hit the road, stock up on RV essentials like food, water, propane, and other supplies for your RV.
The following is a list of items you should bring when RV camping. This list is meant to be a general guide, and you may need to add or remove items based on your specific needs.
- Campsite reservation confirmation
- Directions to the campground
- Driver’s license and registration
- Insurance information
- Cash or credit cards
- Flashlight & batteries
- First aid kit
- Wheel chocks
- Stabilizer supports
- Duck tape
- Camping chairs
- Bedding and pillows
- Broom and dustpan
- Command strips
- RV safe toilet paper
- Firestarters & matches
*It is prohibited to bring firewood across state lines
- Clothes for all weather
- Personal hygiene items
- Shower essentials
- Prescriptions and medications
- Electronic device chargers
- Books and games
- Enough food for your trip –plan meals ahead
- Snacks and drinks
- Food and water bowls for pets
- Spices and oils
- Utensils, plates, and bowls
- Pots and pans
- Ziplock bags
- Paper towels
- Dish soap and dish towels
- Hiking boots or shoes
- Bikes and helmets
- Water bottles
- Sunscreen and bug repellant
- Sunglasses and sun hats
- Bathing suits and towels
RV Kitchen Checklist
RVing is a great way to see the country and spend time with family and friends. However, one of the challenges of RVing is keeping the kitchen stocked and organized.
RV living means living small and minimalistic because of limited space. When it comes to kitchen items to bring with you, we encourage you to leave large appliances at home and bring one or two tools to perform multiple tasks.
For example, you can use one spatula in a frying pan and the other on the grill.
RV rentals sometimes include a fully equipped kitchen with basic cookware. Still, it never hurts to bring along a few extra cooking supplies. So, to make life a little easier here is our complete RV kitchen checklist.
- Nonstick pans
- Cleaning supplies
- A trash can and trash bags
- Cutting boards
- Mixing bowls
- Casserole dishes
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Potholders and oven mitts
- Can opener
- Dish towels and sponges
- Coffee maker
- Toaster oven
- Slow cooker
- Outdoor grill
- Camping stove
- Portable cooler
- Picnic blanket
- Dish soap
- Paper towels
- Plates, cups, cutlery
- Cooking utensils
RV Grocery Checklist
For a short trip, it is always a good idea to list the meals and snacks you plan to eat to avoid buying too much food, which may go to waste. Bonus points if you can make some items in advance for easy prep and clean up.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning. RV kitchens are typically smaller than standard home kitchens, so be sure to plan and stock up on non-perishable items.
Also, if you’re RVing with kids, don’t forget to pack snacks and drinks to keep them happy and hydrated.
With all of the modern conveniences in today’s RVs, there is no reason why your meals should be any different than the meals you prepare at home.
- Pancake mix
Lunch & Dinner items
- Sandwich meat
- PB &J
- Hotdogs & buns
- Hamburgers & buns
- Granola bars
- Apple Sauce
- Trail mix
- S’more items
- Oil & butter
- Cooking spray
- Salt & pepper
- BBQ sauce
- Coffee creamer
- Baking supplies
RV Bathroom Checklist
RV Bathrooms can be one of the most challenging rooms to pack and keep clean. Small spaces, lots of nooks and crannies, and limited storage contribute to the RV bathroom being a potential breeding ground for germs and dirt.
However, with a bit of planning and an RV Bathroom Checklist, you can keep your RV bathroom organized, clean, and fresh all trip long!
This bathroom checklist lists the basics but leaves room for personalization. If you are heading out on a full-time adventure, you may want to bring items such as hairdryers and laundry soap from home.
You will only need to bring shower shoes and a shower caddy if you use the campground bathhouse.
- Hand soap/shower soap
- Towels & facecloths
- Toothbrush & toothpaste
- Makeup essentials
- Hair essentials, including brushes and hair dryers
- RV safe toilet paper
- Feminine products
- Shaving products
- Laundry bag, soap, and quarters
- Shower shoes
- Shower caddy
- Prescription medicines
- Contact lens supplies
- A toilet brush
- A small step stool
- A rug or mat for the floor
- Storage containers for bathroom items
RV Bedroom Checklist
Whether you’re on a short RV vacation or plan on living out of your RV permanently, some creature comforts from home help make your RV feel more like home.
But before you start packing up your entire bedroom, consider what you really need to make your RV feel like home sweet home.
Here’s an RV bedroom packing checklist to help you get started. Since you will be spending most of your time adventuring, this RV bedroom checklist is short.
But, we have included everything you need to make you feel comfy and cozy and ready for a good night’s sleep.
- Extra blankets
- Suitcases (duffel bags are more practical)
- Storage bins
- Favorite books for nighttime reading
- Favorite pillow or blanket for kids
Camping & Outdoor RV Gear Checklist
RV camping is a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and enjoy the great outdoors.
However, before you head out into the wilderness, it’s important to ensure you have all the essential gear. Here’s a quick rundown of what you’ll need for a successful RV camping trip:
- Camping chair
- Picnic table
- Screen tent
- Portable fire pit
- BBQ or outdoor grill & utensils
- Portable cooking table
- Inflatable kayaks
- Stand up paddleboards, and lifejackets
- Electric bike or scooter
- Snorkel equipment
- Fishing equipment
- Patio lights
Checklist For RVing With Kids
RVing with kids can be a great way to bond as a family and create lasting memories. There is no better way for kids to learn than to have them experience nature and the world around them. And there is no better way to do this than in an RV.
But, as any parent knows, going on vacation with kids can be a bit of a challenge.
There’s the packing, the planning, and the constant worry that you’ve forgotten something important. If you’re planning to take your family on an RV trip, it’s important to be prepared.
In addition to the usual camping supplies, you’ll need to pack some extra items to keep your little ones safe and comfortable.
This checklist is full of items you can’t forget to keep kids happy.
- Clothes for every type of weather, including rain and sun gear
- Favorite games, toys, and books
- Favorite drinks and snacks
- Special blankets, pillows, and stuffed animals
- Bathing suits, goggles, towels, and sand toys
- Water toys and a pump if you are bringing inflatables
- Kid-sized flashlights
- Bikes, scooters, skateboards, and helmets
- Kid-sized camping chairs
- Chargers for electronics
Miscellaneous (But Handy) RV Items
Any RVer knows that there are some essential items you need to take on the road with you, like a good set of maps and a comfortable pillow. But some less obvious items can make your RVing experience more enjoyable.
So here are a few miscellaneous but handy RV items you might not have thought of:
- Honeywagon for dry camping: This is a portable dumping tank to be used when you are not hooked up to a direct sewer line. You can dump your gray and black water tanks into the honeywagon, which is then towed to the dump station to be dumped.
- Generator: First, it is important to note that not all campgrounds allow generators. If you are going to be staying off-grid for a short time and do not have solar panels, a generator can be helpful to keep the power on.
- Collapsible wagon: A collapsible wagon is handy for transporting things around the campground or off-site. We have used one to carry trash and recycling, beach gear, laundry, and kids.
- Drying rack and clothespins: Just like a generator, some campgrounds do not allow drying racks, while some restrict their use for drying beach towels only.
- Outdoor carpet: While not necessary, an outdoor carpet helps keep dirt, sand, and leaves from being tracked into the RV. If you are a “leave your shoes outside” kind of family, it provides extra comfort for your feet while making that transition. It also gives dogs and young kids a clean place to play outside.
- Bug light: Bugs happen because, let’s face it, you are camping in nature! A bug light will lure the bugs away from you so that you can enjoy your time outside without being carried off into the woods by the mosquitoes.
- Heated water hose: This is only a necessary item if where you will be staying experiences below-freezing temperatures for long periods.
RVing With Pets? We Have A Checklist For That Too!
It can be a great way to bond with your furry friends while exploring the great outdoors. Still, anyone who has ever RVed with a pet knows that some extra challenges come with it.
In addition to the standard list of items you need for RVing, you also need to make sure that you have everything to keep your furry friend comfortable and safe.
In addition to the basics like food and water, there are a few other items that are essential for a comfortable RVing experience with your pet.
The list below is intended for those bringing a cat or dog on the road. However, we have seen parrots, spiders, snakes, and hamsters travel with their families.
You know your pet’s needs far better than anyone else, so please adapt this checklist.
- Food for the duration of your trip stored in a sealed storage bin or bag
- Poop bags or litter box
- Leashes for walks and tie-outs
- Pet beds or blankets
- Copies of health documents and vaccination records
- Flea-tick medicine and prescriptions
- Portable water bowls for hikes
- Favorite toys
RV Maintenance & Safety Checklist
Your RV is basically a house that lives consistently along an earthquake’s fault line. Therefore, things will become worn and loosen more than a house in a stationary state.
Maintaining an RV is a serious business for even the most experienced travelers. However, it doesn’t have to be a nightmare with a bit of forethought and planning.
There are a few essential checks that every RV owner should carry out and monitor to ensure their safety and comfort on the road.
While every RV is different, checking on these items will ensure your RV’s longevity.
- Are your batteries clean and functioning correctly?
- Is your roof sealed with no leaks?
- Does your AC work properly with condensation dripping off the side and not into your RV?
- Check tire pressures
- Check fuel, water, windscreen wash, and oil levels regularly
- Have you checked your lights are working correctly?
- Do the gray water or black tanks need dumping?
- Are your solar panels clean and functioning correctly
- Have you cleaned your air vents and fans lately?
- Look for signs of wear and tear on:
- Propane hook up
- Cable and electric hook up to tow vehicle
Checklist For RV Tools To Pack
RV living comes with a lot of perks. You can travel the country, see new sights and experience different cultures. But it also comes with its own set of challenges, one of which is being prepared for any situation.
That’s why it’s important to pack the right tools when you hit the road.
With limited storage space, packing only the tools you will realistically need is imperative. Then, as you continue making more trips, you will decide what additional tools you will need for your own rig to fix minor repairs.
Here are some essential RV tools that you should never hit the open road without:
- Multi-bit screwdriver
- Small drill and drill bit set
- Disposable gloves
- Small shovel
- Utility knife
- Duct tape
- Roof sealant
- Silicone spray
- Car booster cable
- Battery tester
- Spare fuses
- Owner’s manuals of various equipment
RV Campground Set-Up Checklist
If you’re new to the RV world, setting up at a campground can seem like a dark art. There are many things to do, but it can be surprisingly easy with a little preparation.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when setting up your RV at a campground with water, electrical, and sewer hookups.
You will find the best setup sequence and items necessary for your rig over time. Still, if you are just beginning, we suggest having these items on hand when arriving at the campsite.
- Surge protector to keep your RV safe from inconsistencies in the power supply
- A stable set of wheel chocks
- Sewer hoses and hose support
- Y for your sewer hose when you need to hook two hoses into one sewer connection
- Water hoses
- Water purifier
- Water pressure gage
- Support blocks for stabilizers
Learn from our rookie mistakes when setting up your RV and ask yourself these questions:
Before I unhook my tow vehicle or park in a spot:
- Does the water and power work at my site?
- Is my rig as level as it can be?
- Can I reach the power box?
- Can I reach the water spigot?
- Can I reach my sewer connection?
- Can I extend my slides?
- Is there enough room to park my tow vehicle?
You may need to use a handheld level and a measuring tape to answer the questions above.
Once you have finished with the questions above, set them up in this sequence:
- Set up power source
- Set up water source
- Chock your wheels
- Unhitch your tow vehicle in such a way that it is easy to hitch back up again, i.e., no significant angles or slopes
- Set up your sewer connection
- Open slides after determining nothing has shifted inside while driving
- Set up items inside and out
One of the most important things to remember when setting up your RV for the first time is to read the owner’s manual. It will provide specific instructions on setting up your RV and what tools you will need.
Then, as you continue making trips, you will learn what additional items you need to bring on your adventures.
RV Departure Checklist
You can almost perform all setup tasks in reverse when departing from your campsite. Do a final sweep of your site to remove any debris you may not have noticed before. It is always best to leave your site in better condition than you found it.
- Items in cabinet secure
- Items in fridge secure
- Items removed from shelves
- Sweep before slides are brought in
- Doors are fastened securely
- Items removed from countertops
- Photos removed from walls
- Windows closed
- Heat/AC turned off
- Lights turned off
- Inverter turned on
- Outdoor furniture secured for transport
- Awnings are closed and secure
- Sweep outside carpet
- Outdoor fires extinguished
- Picnic tables moved to their original location
- Bits of garbage picked up
- All power, water, and cable are unhooked
- Outside storage doors secured
- Chocks removed from wheels.
- Items in underbelly storage are secure.
- Check RV brakes
- Check tire pressure
- Check RV brake, signal, and clearance lights
- Propane is turned off
Wrapping It Up
RVing is a great way to see the country, and with the right supplies and preparation, it can be easy and enjoyable. This complete RV camping checklist bundle will help you have everything you need before hitting the open road.
Don’t forget to download your free copy of the ultimate RV camping checklist now.
Angela Devaney, a former IT project management professional, embarked on an adventurous journey of full-time travel, which included touring West Africa in a converted overland truck and converting an ex-military 4×4 Sprinter van into a camper for a five-year South American expedition. She now utilizes her hands-on experience to create practical RV living and van life advice as a full-time digital media producer, reaching over a million users annually through her YouTube channel, blog, and newsletter. Angela also lends her expertise as the editor-in-chief of the Campervan Electrics Handbook.