RV Packing List for Newbie Travelers

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Traveling in an RV or Airstream is an exciting adventure. You can venture out all over the country and see the magic of the outdoors up close and personal. However, if you’re a complete newbie, traveling like this can be a bit intimidating. There are so many things you need before you head out on the road that you might not have thought of. Also, you don’t want to get caught in an emergency where you need something important and don’t have it and aren’t able to get it. 

Airstream overlooking the gulf coast with a palm tree in the back

Keep reading if you’re new to Airstream or RV travel and don’t know where to begin. This article will go through the ultimate RV Packing List for newbie travelers, so you’ll have everything you need for your RV Road Trip!

Necessities and Airstream Travel Equipment

Before you hop on the road and start driving, you need some travel necessities and equipment to make the trip run smoothly. For example, if your Airstream or RV breaks down mid-trip and you don’t have an emergency roadside kit, it may take hours for roadside assistance to help you unless you have a roadside assistance provider. In addition, if you want to be as self-sufficient as possible on your travels, you will need a few things: 

  • Generator
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Battery jumper cables
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Drinking water hose
  • Sewer water hose
  • Portable Toilet
  • Portable Shower
  • Hydraulic or scissor jack
  • Alarm system
  • GPS tracker
  • Car emergency kit
  • Power adapter

These essentials are a few must-haves that need to prioritize getting before traveling anywhere. Your RV is your entire home while you’re traveling. You don’t want to forget the basics, or it could cost you much more than buying these essentials beforehand. 

Cleaning Supplies

You don’t want to travel in a filthy Airstream or RV, do you? Messes are bound to happen, especially when traveling with kids. Having an array of cleaning supplies readily available will help you tremendously during your travels. Here are some things you’ll need to get started:

  • Disinfectant spray
  • Paper towels
  • Trashbags
  • Dishwashing soap
  • Toilet brush
  • Carpet cleaner
  • Sponge
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Dish Towels

Let’s face it- messes are bound to happen on the road. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t be prepared! 

Bedroom Essentials

You want to make your Airstream or RV as comfortable as possible when on the road. For example, if you’re traveling during the winter, you may want to invest in a gas heater for your RV. If not, invest in tons of thick blankets and sleeping bags because it will be COLD. However, if you’re traveling during the summer, you won’t need to worry about these essentials as much. Here are a few bedroom essentials to get you started:

  • Wool blankets
  • Space heater
  • Sleeping bags
  • Sheets
  • Pillows
  • Pillowcases

Bathroom Essentials

When you’re on the road, the van is your hotel which means you need all of your toiletries and other personal items that you would typically take with you to a hotel. Remember that you need to travel light as it can be tough lugging around full-size toiletry bottles. Make sure you bring some travel-size containers so that you can take only what you need and leave what you don’t. In addition, having extra medication and ointments is helpful as well. Here’s a checklist to get started:

  • Aloe vera
  • Antiseptic cream
  • Band-aids
  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Burn cream
  • Prescription medications
  • Sewing kit
  • Gauze bandages
  • Anti-itch cream
  • First-Aid kit
  • Bath Towels

Entertainment Essentials for Airstream Travel

Traveling on the road tends to get boring, especially on long trips. There are only so many times you can play the license plate game without getting bored. Especially if you’re traveling with kids, you’re going to need an arsenal of entertainment to keep them from asking the dreaded question, “Are we there yet?” To keep everyone busy and, more importantly, quiet, here are a few things you’ll need:

  • Football (or any other outdoor sports ball)
  • Playing cards
  • Tablet or laptop (don’t forget chargers!)
  • Puzzles
  • Board Games
  • Movies
  • Video Games (if you have an Xbox or PlayStation set up)
  • Speaker
  • Outdoor activity gear (fishing, hiking, bike riding)

Bonus Items That Would Be Fun to Have On Your RV Packing List

Grabbing some solar panels to generate electricity would not only put less stress on the environment but also save you money on electricity. This is something we are currerntly working on for our Airstream. Plus, it allows you to boondock in places that you might not have been able to stay before (and save money).

In addition, if you want to cook instead of going out to eat, investing in a propane camping stove is your best bet. I love our propane stove that we have inside our Airstream kitchen, but I LOVE cooking out on the grill! The same thing goes for coffee as well. Grabbing an occasional coffee is one thing. However, buying coffee every day starts to rack up. Investing in a portable espresso maker or coffee maker will drastically save you money and keep you sane! This is one of the first things we set up when we get to a spot 🙂

Lastly, getting a portable fan will tremendously help those hot summer trips. If you don’t have electricity or don’t have A/C, investing in a large portable fan is necessary. 


Traveling in an RV doesn’t have to be complicated. As long as you have these major things, your trip will be smooth sailing! It’s a good idea to grab and fill out your packing checklists beforehand for your rv adventure so you’re not stuck having to go make up for lost time!

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Camper’s Inn RV Packing List for a First Time Camper

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