RV Tips and Tricks

Essential items to have on board your RV at all times

A helpful checklist will keep you organized

A photo of an RV kitchen with a salad and cutting board in the countertop.
If you travel frequently, it is practical to have some items stored permanently in your RV. — Lisa F. Young/istock/thinkstock photo

How many times have you made it out of town and settled in for the long drive to your vacation spot, only to hear your significant other cry, “Darn it! We forgot…”?

Assuming you hadn’t forgotten your kids or the dog, if you left behind passports, travel insurance papers or the luxurious bath towels bought for poolside in the sunshine, the omission can lead to a testy U-turn or additional expenses you hadn’t planned on.

There are two easy ways to avoid these frustrations: make lists and equip your RV with its own set of essentials, well-secured to prevent damage.

Room by room, lightweight essentials can be listed ahead of time and other items added as you remember them. Then, the trick is not to raid those supplies and forget to replace them, just because you needed something in a hurry at home.

Below are lists of everything I could think of but, since I’m a full-timer, my RV is equipped for that lifestyle. It would help if those of you who are sometime travellers could tell readers what other items you have found useful—or essential—to have on hand.

Kitchen-dining area

  • Dishes
  • Glasses, coffee mugs and wine glasses
  • Cutlery: enough settings for yourselves, plus spares for visitors 
  • Pots, pans, appliances: think about the cooking you did on past trips and add the items you wished you’d had on board.
  • A slow cooker is especially useful, so meals can be ready for the table when you return tired from sightseeing, hiking or a day on the golf course
  • Spices you frequently use
  • A kettle or Mr. Coffee-style tea/coffee brewing system
  • A blender for your healthy fruit smoothies
  • Toaster
  • Frying pan, saucepans, a baking pan or two
  • Cutting board
  • Carving knives
  • Potato-peeler
  • Cheese grater
  • Microwave-safe containers

To discourage l’il critters, make sure all foodstuffs are in your fridge, a closed cupboard or sealed container before you go to bed.

Keep a powerful flashlight in your kitchen catch-all drawer together with a supply of all the batteries you may need—AA, AAA and D-size—and of replacement bulbs for the light fixtures throughout your RV. Don’t forget hubby’s tools, a roll-up patio mat, a broom and a small vacuum.

Living room-desk-entertainment centre

  • Cushions
  • TV remote
  • Computer connections
  • Crane US3 Super Wi-Fi antenna
  • Serial numbers for all RV equipment
  • Books and copies of RVwest you haven’t had time to read


  • Supply of towels and facecloths
  • Hair brushes, combs and hair dryer
  • Toothbrushes, toothpaste
  • Shampoo, soaps, sunscreens, personal supplies, etc. 

If you have cupboard space free, that’s also a good place to store the first-aid kit we discussed in Being safer than sorry takes just a few minutes.


Although it’s tempting to swap favourite bedlinens back and forth with your home, it helps to keep a basic set in the RV. A simple way to do this is to purchase those all-in-one bedding sets that come conveniently packaged in a zippered plastic bag. That way, you have comforters, sheets and pillow-cases all in one place. Couple that with some lightweight blankets and you’re all set. After laundering, be sure to dry items thoroughly before returning them to their bags.

So there you have it. If I haven’t forgotten something crucial, you should be well prepared, ready to enjoy your vacation free of all the "we-forgots" you remember only after you cross the border.

Stay safe and bon boyage!

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