Spring has sprung in most parts of the country and many families are gearing up for a summer filled with fun and adventure. Many of these adventures will include RV’s as more and more families are learning the many benefits of RV travel! It’s a pretty simple undertaking, but one of the hardest aspects is knowing what to pack and what to leave behind. Read on for our expert RV Tips for packing for a family RV Trip.
RV Tips: Packing for a Family RV Trip
The snow has melted and the sun has warmed the air to near 70 degrees. As we put away our snowboarding gear and pull out our kayaks and climbing gear, our tents and our sleeping bags, we are getting excited to hit the road.
However, our all but neglected RV stands in wait for the plethora of repairs we ignored during the winter months. As with all things, our first road trip of the year cannot begin without some serious elbow grease and hours committed to getting our rig road worthy! This is when we scour the web looking for RV Tips. And then the really tough part begins … deciding what to take with us.
Of course, we are last minute people. We leave everything until the very last days and hours. Like I said, I am always in search of RV tips to make the prep go smoother. In fact, last August, we planned an epic 4 month RV adventure from SOCAL all the way up into Egmont, BC. We waited until three days before the trip to fully renovate the whole front half of the RV. Sixteen hour days proved to be enough and we took off as scheduled!
In the next five days, we have some serious repairs and a lot of cleaning and packing to get ready for our trip to the South East. But we also have to decide what will make the cut and join us on our excursion, and what we will leave at home.
RV’s really truly have a lot of space for storage in them. But, for a family that will be traveling with 12 of their 14 family members, space is not as readily available to us. Hence, we are very very careful with what we bring on a family RV trip. Here are some of our RV Tips … our Do’s and Don’ts for packing for a family RV trip.
First, our RV Tips list of what we don’t bring:
Since I despise cooking, leaving behind our plethora of pots and pans is a sacrifice I’m more than willing to make. In fact, it’s my favorite of all RV Tips. There just really isn’t the space or, for that matter, the appliances in which to make a really extraordinary meal. The stove is tiny, the microwave is tiny and our oven was so pointlessly tiny that we removed it. With that said, some of the more luxurious Coaches like the Newmar Dutch Star that we demoed for 5 months had gourmet meal worthy kitchens. But, our modest little 1999 Georgie Boy is no Newmar.
We opt instead for one big cast iron Dutch oven and a few smaller cast iron pots and pans for cooking over a fire … something the kids love to do. This means I rarely cook when traveling! Win/win!
I’m married to the thriftiest man on the planet. He’s so thrifty that he does 99% of the shopping while we are on the road traveling. He does so because we are, unfortunately, not made of money, and he is a much more astute shopper. He goes in valuing the ever-loving buck; I go in valuing the ever-loving minute. He’s about saving money, while I’m about saving time. But, all this to say that back in the day before the RV, when we would take camping trips, we would stock up on firewood and bring our own. That is no longer the case. In honor of space (and weight) constraints, Dan is willing to fork out $4 for a tiny bundle of wood when we go to places that forbid burning of resident wood.
So, ok, this may sound like overkill, but we keep everything as lightweight as possible, including ourselves!! LOL. Seriously though, if there is a lightweight equivalent of something, bring it instead.
For example, plastic (reusable) plates over heavy dinnerware, paperback books over hardcover. RedBox or the Amazon Firestick over your DVD collection. A select few tools for repairs over your toolbox. Fresh produce over canned produce, etc.
One exception — we do bring our Bowflex SelectTech weights. We can’t live without them … well, Dan and the boys can’t live without them and we do relegate them to the truck we drive, so they aren’t technically IN the RV.
And that is all. A Short List, Yes. Now for our RV Tips list of the things we DO bring!
Road trips are when you say YES to electronics of all types. Tablets, phones, whatever it takes to keep the kids occupied when barreling down the road are absolute necessities. The key to maximizing the lasting effects of electronics on your children is to limit their use to drive time only. Time and a place, parents, time and a place!
Obviously we leave behind the desktop computers, the multiple monitors, the scanners, copiers and all that office jazz, but Dan works on the road, I blog on the road and the kids do school and write blogs for their sponsors on the road. Hence, we need laptop computers. But even if we were simply traveling for vacation, laptops are a constant source of educational information, especially for those kids of ours that don’t have smart phones (the majority).
We all use computers to find cool destinations and to learn about the locale as well, so leaving them behind is not an option.
We are mostly dry campers, meaning we don’t camp in campgrounds. Instead, we find amazing spots along the river, aside a cliff face, in our National Forests and BLM. We love it, it’s quiet, peaceful and we have complete privacy. The downside means we very rarely have hookups to electricity.
Living off the grid is fun and challenging, but my husband has to work, the kids have to do school and I, as mentioned, blog. Off grid living isn’t a fulltime option for us. We bring along our trusty Goal Zero Yeti to keep our phones, lights, laptops and cameras powered on all day and night!
WiFi Signal Amplifier
Again, due to the fact that we are rarely anywhere that offers wifi, we never travel without our amplifier. As a non-techie mom, I have no idea how it works. I just know that, if we are on the fringe of service, this device will boost our signal. And that’s all I need to know. If you plan to travel with your RV and need a good wifi signal, a wifi signal amplifier or booster is a great investment!
Taking a family RV trip is a lesson in minimalism, and the crazy thing is that I never miss the things we leave at home. In fact, our house is impossible to keep clean. We own too much stuff. Every time we get back in the RV we all take a collective sigh of relief. I’m expecting to feel the same sense of excitement and unrestricted relief in exactly 5 days!