Getting started in the RV life can feel overwhelming and confusing at times, but I am here to help with that! I’ve put together some handy lists and guides that you can reference and use to make your life easier – just make any adjustments to fit your needs.
We live in Philadelphia, but we purchased our Class B motorhome in Tucson, AZ. That’s a long way from home! It only made sense that our maiden voyage with our RV would be from Tucson to Philly, starting the day of purchase!
As we were preparing for our trip, I realized there were a lot of things that I felt like we needed for our first trip. Now, I know you can buy just about anything anywhere you are in the United States thanks stores like Walmart, but I wanted to have the peace of mind knowing that I had all the items I needed.
SO – a couple weeks before our scheduled purchase date, we contacted the RV dealer we were purchasing from and asked if we could ship a few items directly to them and we would pick them up when we arrive. The people at the dealer said that would be completely fine. Fantastic!
Well, little did they know – we would be sending MANY items to their location. We bought EVERYTHING we needed (a lot of times just wanted) from Amazon and had it shipped directly to where we would be picking up our new motorhome. When we arrived at the dealer, the people working were so relieved to get all our boxes out of the way! LOL! And everyone was very curious how we were going to fit all the stuff we bought in our little van. But we made it happen!
Below is a list of all the items we bought before we took our first trip. I’ve added some of my personal comments and opinions for some of the items. If you have any questions about any of the products listed here, please let me know in the comments and I’ll be happy to help.
We love our espresso and lucky for us our favorite is Nespresso brand, so we can easily have it everyday, at home and on the road in our RV. This mini version of the Nespresso fits perfectly on our kitchen counter. We use it multiple times a day, every day.
This is my favorite item we have with us. I use it almost everyday. I have nothing but great things to say about this grill. It’s the perfect size for the two of us and gives off ample flame/heat to cook anything I want.
If you get the same Coleman Portable Grill we got (listed above), you should get this case to go with it. It makes storing the grill very easy. The case is good quality and zips completely closed.
If you want to hook your grill up to your on-board propane, you’ll need this hose at one of the connection pieces. You don’t need this if you are going to connect a propane canister to the grill, but you really don’t need to carry the extra propane canisters.
I love this set of collapsible measuring cups and compact measuring spoons. I love the size. I love the colors. I love the shapes. I love the quality. I show these to everyone that comes in the van because I think they are so cute. I don’t use them a lot, but I’ve been glad I’ve had them when I did want to use them and they take up close to no space, so I don’t mind having them in the drawer.
I love to cook! The instant pot is an exciting addition to my kitchen – it does so much. Check out some of my instant pot recipes to try for yourself.
This is a multipurpose item for us. We use it to store overflow produce on the counter when we have too much to fit in our produce basket. We also use it as intended, washing off produce or draining food like boiled pasta or potatoes. But then when we aren’t using it, it folds up discreetly and sits at the bottom of the kitchen drawer unnoticed.
I can’t get enough of these collapsible items! This pot is pretty straight-forward. It works well for boiling things and the lids fits snugly. It easily folds down for storage or transport. You could easily take this pot with you in a backpack for any hike-in tent camping without taking up too much space.
I like the cases that this silverware set comes with – it keeps the silverware perfectly so that it doesn’t rattle with we’re driving. The utensils are lightweight, but sturdy.
I really appreciate having kitchen shears around. They make things like trimming meat and clipping asparagus quick and easy over. The cover on the scissors reminds us that this set is for food only.
These little ice cube trays fit great in our little freezer. I love that they have lids in case we start moving before the water is frozen.
Sometimes simple is best. I love this basic can opener – it’s easy to use and very compact. We don’t eat a lot of canned food, but I like to keep some canned vegetables in stock just in case. I also cook a lot with canned tomato paste or sauce so this tool comes in handy. Plus, it’s also a bottle opener! Two in one for something so small and at a great price!
We decided to leave these at home before our third trip and then ended up needing them on that third trip. We had an issue with our on-board battery system and needed the jumper cables as part of troubleshooting and solving the problem. Luckily we were at Dan’s brother’s house and he had a set of jumper cables for us to use. These are definitely worth keeping around.
This jump starter pack is a bit redundant with the jumper cables, but its always better to be prepared, and it does so much more. This jump starter allows you to jump start your battery without another vehicle. This is very important when you are boondocking for long periods in more remote areas. It can also act as a charging station for your laptop, phone, and other USB charging electronics.
Something that’s very important on a roadtrip, but easy to forget about is tire care. It is important to ensure that your tires are properly inflated. This little gauge can tell you if you need to make any adjustments before your next departure.
This is a great little air compressor that comes with a storage bag. It’s good to have to be able to inflate your tires when needed, but it can also be used to blow up any other inflatables you may have with you (see my fun toys page).
If you have an RV with 30amp service like we do, you’ll need this adapter cord if you want to plug into a regular house plug (15amp).
We don’t typically plug the van into shore power (we’ve only done it twice do far), but when we do, this piece is necessary to ensure we don’t accidentally overpower the battery system. It’s boring, but it’s important.
I had already purchased several first aids kits in the past and knew that this was the version that I prefer. I like the selection of items it has and the quality of the soft case. This is the type of item you don’t ever want to have to use, but when you do it’s super important. Unfortunately, we have had to pull the first aid kit out. Luckily, it did it’s job well.
Bungees come in very handy, especially in the RV. Not only do they hold things in place, but they can solve all kinds of small problems. I’ll do a follow-up post showing all the ways we use bungee cords. I’m sure there’s so many more ways we can put these to use. After our first trip, we didn’t take the whole pack of bungees with us – just a select few to put to good use without taking up extra space.
We’re not overly concerned with being perfectly level, but we do try to get somewhat level when we’re parking for the night. We don’t have this level mounted anywhere, we just keep it in the glove box and put in in the floor when we are concerned with being off level. It’s small and very easy to use.
This is a very simple piece that is very effective. It works surprisingly well. This came in very handy when we were still winterized since we couldn’t use the regular plumbing. We could put this little piece on a water bottle and have the perfect water flow for brushing our teeth, washing our hands, and washing dishes. We also have used this to effectively wash sand off our feet before coming in the van. We haven’t don’t this yet, but it would also work to use for a makeshift outdoor shower.
If you have a cassette toilet, you absolutely want to get this product. It works well. I don’t ever empty our cassette, but Dan tells me this is the best product we’ve tried so this is what we keep with us. It is made by the same company who manufactures our cassette toilet.
Just in case! It fixes everything, right?!
We don’t love this phone mount, but it’s what we have for now and it works. The price is right and it works better in our car in Philly. I think this doesn’t work well for us in the van because the vent that we’re using to mount on moves too freely right to left; it moves on turns while we’re driving, jostling the mount making it fall. We’re going to look into alternatives and will post an update when we get a new one. We do like this mount for our car at home, so much so that we got one for Dan’s mom.
It took me awhile to decide on this particular door mat and I’m very happy with my decision. It is the perfect size to fit right inside our side door. It is the right texture and pattern to hold dust, dirt, sand, etc. It is very effective in helping keeping the van floors clean.
These are quality, basic, all-purpose scissors. They fit nicely in my hand and move smoothly. They’ve been sharp enough to take care of all my cutting needs so far.
I use these to keep my clothes organized. I feel like I’m able to bring more clothes with me by fitting my things in these cubes. I use them when traveling with luggage as well.
I use these in our shoes. We each get a pair and put them in the shoes that we wore that day. This is a preventative measure, but I’m sure it helps.
This laundry bag has been in use since day one of travel, which at this point, would probably be about 6 months total time of daily usage. It looks pretty much like new even though we are constantly moving it around and opening and closing it.
This WeBoost system is the only cell booster we’ve tried so we can’t compare it to any other one. We did a lot of research before deciding on this one and purchasing it. WeBoost is the leasing brand of cell boosters in the industry and it has a good reputation. It does improve our cell signal, but it is not magic and does not ensure that we have a cell signal at all times.
I had to campaign hard for this purchase and I’m so glad I did. Running this dehumidifier can make the cabin of the RV comfortable without having to run the air conditioning. It has been a lifesaver during a heat wave in Hershey, PA and through out our Florida trip.
I love the idea of this bucket. It takes up hardly any space. While I do like it, after keeping it with us for 2 trips and not using it, we decided to not bring it along. Turns out we don’t need a bucket, but if you feel like you will, this is a great, compact option.
I’m so glad this is the dustpan I decided to get. I was debating about a few different small dustpan/broom combos. This one is so cute and small, but the best part is that it works great. The broom bristles are dense enough to pick up the smallest particles off the wood floor and the stuff that gets sweeped up doesn’t stick to the bristles. The dustpan has a strong, thin lip for collecting all the debris and not leaving behind that pesky dust line.
This little screwdriver is super handy, especially in the RV. There have already been several times that this little screwdriver was the perfect tool because anything else would have been too big. It comes with a bunch of different head shapes to switch out, which are all conveniently stored right in the screwdriver handle. If we lose this, we will definitely be buying it again.
We haven’t had to use this shovel yet (which I’m happy about), but we’ll continue keeping it with us just in case. Even though it is a slightly awkward shape, we’ve positioned it in a way that works with other things so there isn’t much wasted space.
If you have long hair, you know how important it is to have a good blowdryer. I’m completely satisfied with the purchase and would consider buying the same blowdryer again if this one stops working. It has multiple heat settings and speed settings, including an eco option. This blowdryer works great, even on the eco option. It has a strong airflow and ample heat. The size is great for the small space of the RV.
This hair straightener is adorable and it works great. It heats up quickly and doesn’t get overly hot. I like the way it leaves my hair looking and feeling. It comes with a little bag to use as a carrying case which has come in handy, especially when I’ve wanted to put it away before it’s cooled down completely.
I like the shape/point on these tweezers. It’s a set of two different style tweezers.