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RV Camping Checklist: Printable Packing Lists for Beginners (Essentials & Must-haves)

RV camping can be so much fun! Soaking in the beauty of the great outdoors while enjoying the comforts of home on wheels is like a win-win. This RV camping checklist and free printable will ensure you’re prepared for the adventure ahead!

RV camping checklist with view of motorhome on red rock in front of mountains
Get ready for adventure with this RV camping checklist!

This post may contain affiliate links. For more info, see my disclosures.

Whether you’re a newbie to RV camping (in that case, welcome!), or you just got a new camper and want to ensure you’ve got what you need, this RV camping checklist has the best camper must haves.

From a weekend getaway to your local state park, or an epic adventure like Utah national parks road trip in your rig, these RV camping list essentials will help you create lasting memories along the way, instead of worrying what you forgot!

Grab your free printable RV camping checklist at the bottom of this guide.

Let’s dive in!

RV camping checklist essentials

driving down scenic road with yellow trees camping RV checklist
Adequately prepared for a fall scenic drive through Wisconsin

The first time setting up your RV can be quite a financial surprise. From kitchen items to bedding, activities and tools, it’s like paying for a small house all over again.

I tried to use consignment sales as best as I could so it wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg for supplies when we bought our camper, but it all adds up! My favorite items that I personally use in our motorhome are suggested below in this camping RV checklist as well.

Consider your first trip a test run when it comes to packing for your camping trip! The best part about this RV packing checklist is that you can customize it for your needs.

Be sure to read to the bottom where you’ll find the detailed list on how to get your rig road-ready, too.

RV Camping Checklist

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    Ultimate RV packing list: inside your RV

    camping RV checklist view of storage tubs in front of motorhome
    Loading up the RV for the season with bedding, towels, etc.

    All the comforts of home inside your RV – kind of! 😉 It’s a good idea to consider using what you already own before buying new to save money for more RV vacations! Whether you’re going on a long trip or a short weekend getaway, all the little things and details will help make your experience even better.

    Personal items

    • Clothing items: enough for each person. Include shoes and sandals. Pack for the weather and any adventures you’re planning. Don’t forget hats and outerwear, too.
    • Clothing storage: organize clothes in collapsible bins, hanging shelves or over-the-door hooks to maximize space and minimize clutter. Don’t forget to get creative with shoe storage, too.
    • Personal items: toiletries, towels, medications and first-aid kit. Don’t forget the eco-friendly sunblock and bug spray! Make sure you have RV toilet paper, too!
    • Laundry essentials: if you’re going on a long trip in your RV camper, pack a laundry bag, soap and quarters for machines, too.

    Home and comfort items

    • Bedding: pack cozy blankets, sheets and pillows for each person to ensure a restful night’s sleep after a day of adventures. Pack based on the temperatures for your adventure – we had to add lots of layers while on our Banff to Jasper road trip!
    • Collapsible bucket and collapsible stool: two different uses, yet very handy to have both inside your RV when you don’t have as much space as a home. We often use the collapsible bucket for cleaning muddy paws off our dogs.
    • Climate control: Ensure comfort in all weather with a fan for warm days and extra blankets or a portable heater for chilly nights. My family uses Vornado products, which are compact and perfect for warming or cooling the space!
    • Lighting: equip your RV with adequate lighting options, such as LED lanterns, for a homey glow after sundown. Battery-powered puck lights are great for dim spaces inside your RV.
    • Window coverings: ensure privacy and help with temperature control. Don’t forget a windshield cover, too.
    • Cleaning supplies: keep your small space tidy with eco-friendly cleaning products, a mini dust pan and hand-held vacuum (the best thing ever if you have kids or pets).
    • Storage tubs: Keeps items organized and dry with storage bins that fit your space. This RV packing checklist wouldn’t be complete without them!


    • Entertainment: include books, board games and a deck of cards to turn rainy days into memorable family moments. Clue and UNO are my family’s favorites!
    • Electronics: don’t forget chargers for smartphones, tablets, and other gadgets to stay connected and entertained on the go. And take a few back up batteries – you never know when you’ll need them on an RV trip!
    • Wifi device – pack a hot spot if you feel you need connection while camping. Remember most state and national parks don’t have great service. Starlink is also a popular option for many RVers.

    Kitchen and cooking checklist for your RV adventure

    knives and cutting board with peppers on picnic table with camper in distance
    Prepping breakfast in the morning sunshine with kitchen essentials

    This is probably the area where I was most specific when setting up my RV, and it honestly took a few trips to get it all right!

    • Food and meal plan: create your food list based on easy items that can be thrown together quickly with little fuss. Consider foods that can serve multiple purposes (like tortillas can be breakfast burritos and dinner quesadillas, as example). This is an area it will take some practice but no worries; you can always refine during your next camping trip.
    • Compact cookware: nesting pots and pans save space and make storage simple. You really just need a few things. A small pot and larger one (that still fits in your space) then a small sheet pan that fits your oven.
    • Durable dinnerware: plates, bowls and acrylic glasses that won’t break during travel. Please be kind to Mother Earth and don’t pack single use disposable plastics!
    • Utensils: consider items you’ll actually use based on what you plan to cook. Likely you’ll have limited storage, so consider carefully before buying too much.
    kitchen dishes on drying rack free printable rv camping checklist
    Collapsible dish drying rack – must-have on this RV packing list!
    • Collapsible kitchenware: Silicone colanders, measuring cups, and bowls compress for compact storage. I love the sets that save space in my RV!
    • Portable coffee maker: wake up to your favorite brew with a French press or pour-over that requires minimal space.
    • Knife solution: I love my Cuisinart knife set that includes covers for each blade. And good news too – they fit comfortably in the drawer while keeping my family safe.
    • Drying rack: I love my collapsible dish drying rack, which works perfect when needed and travels nicely.
    front of Blackstone grill with chicken fajitas cooking
    Love, love, love our Blackstone grill for camping
    • Food storage containers: stackable and airtight options preserve leftovers. Opt for square or rectangular shapes to maximize every inch in that tiny fridge of yours. I also love our reusable Stasher pouches, which do double-duty and make packing snacks for hikes like at Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico.
    • Spices: small, labeled jars save space and keep seasonings within easy reach. You don’t need full sized equipment for RV camping trips unless you’re planning full-time travel.
    • Water filtration: we decided to invest in a whole-RV water filtration system for our motorhome, but you can also get a filter for a water pitcher. Please avoid single use plastics as much as possible! ♻️
    • Grill: my family loves our Blackstone Grill! It folds down for storage and quickly assembles when we need it. Don’t forget a scraper, paper towels and extra propane for a smooth grilling experience.

    Outdoor living: campsite setup and accessories (a must have on this RV camping checklist)

    view of camping chairs and fire at sunset camping RV checklist
    RV camping list essentials: camping chairs!

    Enjoy your campsite with the right setup and accessories. You’ll want to spend plenty of time outdoors on your next adventure, and actually enjoy the beautiful places you go! This section is easy to evaluate what you might need right away and what can wait until your next trip, too.

    • Collapsible chairs: a campsite staple and a welcome haven after a day of exploration.
    • Hammock: this is a fun alternative to chairs. I loved relaxing in mine while exploring all the must-see activities in Grand Teton National Park.
    • Portable table: perfect for meals under the stars or an evening of cards. Also great as a helper for your grill when you need a side table!
    • String of lights or lantern: brighten those tranquil nights, weaving a soft glow around your outdoor sanctuary. Our family also uses head lamps when walking through campgrounds after dark.
    two golden retriever dogs staring in distance at wooded campground
    My dogs watching Elk in the distance in Jasper National Park, Canada
    • Outdoor rug: my family actually has 2 sizes, a large rug for creating a comfy space, and a smaller door mat for when the weather isn’t great (to keep the muck out!). Inside, we have an old rug of mine I got in college! 🤣
    • Outdoor games: consider compact yard games, scooters or activities that promise endless entertainment while RV camping. My kids enjoyed chalk and bubbles when they were younger!
    • Kid and pet accessories: remember to bring items that keep everyone happy and safe.

    Maintenance and safety: RV checklist for keeping your rig in check

    view of campers lined up at a campground on a sunny day
    Every kind of camper, travel trailer and motorhome has safety requirements

    Now that we’ve gone through the essentials on the RV checklist when it pertains to comfort and recreation, let’s get to the basics of keeping your rig ready to go for your outdoor adventure! This part of the camping RV checklist will help you hit the open road with confidence, especially for first-time campers.

    • Tire pressure gauge: regularly check your tires with a reliable gauge to maintain proper inflation and prevent blowouts. My family invested in a tire pressure monitoring system and it’s been an excellent peace of mind tool!
    • Tools: stock wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers, cordless drill and other handheld tools for on-the-go fixes and adjustments.
    • Leveling system: if your RV doesn’t come with a built-in system, you’ll need to grab leveling blocks and a bubble level to help. You’ll want to keep these somewhere easy to access as this is the first part of your set up. There are also electronic devices, like the LevelMate Pro, to make this step easier and faster. Fun fact: RV sites are rarely exactly level! 🙃
    • RV sewer kit: carry hoses, fittings and gloves to manage waste disposal cleanly and efficiently. Don’t forget the black tank treatment (liquid or tablets), too.
    • RV lock system: not-so-fun-fact: most RV’s have universal keys that work across multiple RV brands. Swapping out our locks for this code lock has been awesome for our family’s security (and bonus – our kids can work the lock without keys, too).
    • Phone mount for GPS: easily mount your phone while you drive so it’s easy to follow but in a safe, distraction-free position.
    • Flashlight and batteries: keep these handy for inspecting the RV during dark conditions or night-time emergencies.
    inside view of medicine cabinet with first aid kit and kids medications RV camping list
    Safety and medication items tuck away during RV travels
    • Fire extinguisher: equip your vehicle with a fire extinguisher suitable for electrical and fuel fires, keeping it in a handy location.
    • Satellite communicator: pack this 2-way satellite communicator in case of emergencies, especially when there’s no cell phone reception. It’s portable for hiking too, like the best hikes in Colorado and so many more places.
    • Emergency roadside kit: include items like warning triangles, a reflective vest, and jumper cables in case of a breakdown.
    • First aid kit: have bandages, antiseptics, and over-the-counter medications ready for minor injuries or sudden illness. My family has had to use ours several times over the years, like while visiting Banff in summer.
    lot of RVs and motorhomes in with rocky mountains behind RV camping checklist
    Keeping safe across epic RV adventures – Icefields Parkway, Canada
    • Water pressure regulator: protect your RV’s plumbing by using a regulator to manage water pressure from campground hookups.
    • Surge protector: Shield your electronic appliances from unexpected power surges with a robust surge protector.
    • Smoke and carbon monoxide detector: test these vital alarms before departure and replace batteries each camping season.
    • RV owner’s manual: familiarize yourself with your RV’s features and keep the manual accessible for troubleshooting and reference.

    Getting road-ready: your to-do list

    RV road trip view of road and valley between rocky canyon
    Hitting the road in Utah on an RV road trip!

    Before hitting the road, walk through these action items to ensure you’re ready for your RV adventure!

    • Inspect your tires: check for proper inflation, tread depth and signs of wear. This simple step is your first line of defense against roadside troubles.
    • Verify lights and signals: ensure all lights, including brake lights, turn signals, and headlights are functioning correctly. Clear visibility keeps you and others safe during your travels.
    • Check back up camera: test to ensure you can see out of it clearly.
    • Secure all hatches and storage: doors and compartments must be shut tight. Loose items can lead to damage or issues while driving. We even use bungee cords and rubber bands to pull the cabinets together after our Colorado road trip when a big bump created a huge catastrophe.
    • Test the battery: nothing stops a road trip faster than a dead battery. Make sure it’s fully charged and holding power like it should, especially if you’re RV camping without full hook-ups.
    how to get an RV ready to go with view of air pump and tire
    Leaving the campground prepared
    • Review hitch and towing equipment: confirm that they are secure and in good working order. Towing mishaps are the last thing you need.
    • Restock emergency kit: include items such as flares, first aid kit and a spare tire. These preparations could be a lifeline in a pinch.
    • Add water to your tank: just a bit, so that you’ll have enough water to get you to your campsite. When we take road trips, we like to add enough water to the tank to fill up water bottles and use our RV bathroom for breaks along the road. Water is heavy and you’ll use more gas if you fill up completely.

    Free printable camping RV checklists

    photo of lake with three checklists on top labeled RV camping checklist with items for download
    Download these checklists below ⬇️

    In my journey to streamline the RV setup process, I created a set of comprehensive, free printable RV checklists. Each sheet is key to a stress-free departure and a well organized adventure!

    From kitchen essentials to outdoor gear, these RV camping checklists will help you feel confident as you hit the road!

    Get the perfect RV camping checklist for your next adventure!

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      I hope you have an absolutely amazing RV camping trip, and that these RV camping checklists are helpful for you!

      Related content you might like:
      23 Incredible RV Vacations: Scenic RV Road Trips You Need to Take

      AMAZING Utah National Parks Road Trip (Map, Best Hikes, Scenic Route + More)
      Banff to Jasper Drive: 12 Must-see Stops on Icefields Parkway

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