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Tips for Packing an RV for Full-Time Living!

When preparing to move into an RV to travel in full-time, one of the challenges you’ll face is deciding what to bring in the RV. It is minimalism at it’s finest and you’ll definitely need as many tips for packing an RV for full-time living as you can get.
The entire process – selling items (sometimes even your house), putting other items in storage (“we will need that someday!”), putting aside what you want to bring in the RV and then cutting that in half…and in half again. It ends up being much more difficult than you anticipated. We Googled, asked the advice from other full-timers, and went back and forth on a lot of items. Yet, we still made some mistakes.
In fact, after only 3 months of being on the road full-time, we did some major switches on what we brought!
So we decided to write a post to help any newbie full-timers out there who are in this very same struggle! Here are our tips:

1. You don’t need as many RV supplies and tools as you think!

Start with the basic items needed to operate the RV, which are wheel chocks, leveling blocks, a sewer hose, a fresh water hose, propane, and a tire inflator. You may also want/need additional accessories, such as a tow bar, extra storage rack, solar panels, etc. Click here to check out our full list here to see the specific items we use and love. 

Avoid bringing the items you could easily just buy while on the road if you absolutely needed them, especially if your space is limited. It’s easy to go overboard buying all sorts of accessories for the RV. We recommend getting the bare minimum and then you can always purchase more as you, if there are items you wish you had. It’s much easier to do this then deal with the frustration of having too much crammed in!

rv packing tips tools
One of the biggest mistakes that we made was how many tools we packed in the RV and truck! We are so tired of hauling around a bunch of stuff that we don’t ever use. We therefore recommend you stick to the basic tools (screwdrivers, drill, pliers, hammer etc). There’s no reason to haul around specialty tools for that rare occasion or instance that you’ll need it. You can always buy or rent it!

2. Consider where you plan to stay/park most of the time.

If you plan to “boondock” (dry camp for free!) as often as possible, there are going to be things you’ll need that you wouldn’t necessarily need while staying at RV parks. For boondocking, you might need more “camping supplies”, such as coolers, lanterns, outdoor tables, etc. Read our Beginner’s Guide to Boondocking for more information on

However, RV parks might be more your style, in which case you’ll have space for other “bonus” items.instead of the traditional camping supplies. You might choose to bring a propane fire pit (many RV parks don’t allow any other kind of campfires, which we didn’t know!), a hammock, kayaks, or golf clubs!

3. Treat yourself to the comforts of home.

We all have those items that are our staples. You’ll sit there and try to justify whether you should or should not bring them along. Our advice: BRING THEM! Make room for them. Make it work! If they make your life easier/better, they deserve to make the cut. You don’t even have to justify it. We are so happy we chose to bring along the items that we love and have used for years, even though some of them may seem unnecessary when your space is limited.

4. And last, your “everyday living” items…


I know clothes are the hardest to pack, especially for us women! This tends to vary for each person and will depend on the length of your trip, but I will say that you need to pack for all weather types. No matter where you are in the U.S., the weather can change quickly! We were surprised by the temperatures in many places. It rarely seemed to be the weather we expected. Now, this doesn’t mean you need to bring everything in your closet.

Try to limit yourself to 1 or 2 of each of the following items: coat/jacket, swimsuit, sweatshirt and sweatpants, tennis shoes, etc. Find solid clothes that can pair well with many things. People often refer to this as the “capsule” wardrobe. While there are variations, the concept is to have around a dozen staple pieces of clothing in coordinating colors that can be worn often and interchangeably, thereby saving closet space but still giving you up to 30 or more different outfits. Google it and you’ll find tons of resources to help!

Other household items

When it comes to bathroom and kitchen items, my general advice is to bring 1-2 per person in the RV. So things like towels, plates, cups/mugs, etc you won’t need your standard full set of. Remember, there is not much sink space for dirty dishes and not much hamper space for dirty clothes and linens. Dishes are washed immediately after use and towels are washed weekly, so there’s really no need for spare items.

The rest is up to you!

Everything else is pretty much up to your own discretion. If you can find a spot for it in the RV and think it will get used on a regular basis, bring it! Just be cautious of your RV’s weight limits. You’ll be VERY surprised at how quickly weight can add up.

You also don’t want clutter. Make sure everything has a safe spot where it won’t get broken during travel. Invest in tubs, baskets, and storage items that will help you stay organized. You definitely don’t want your small space feeling even smaller because of all the items inside of it it.

I hope these tips help you minimize your items in order to maximize your adventure! If you need more tips or suggestions for what to bring along in your RV, here’s a FREE printable RV packing list we think will help as well.

5 items that improved RV life for us!

After a year of full-time RVing, we slowly added these items to our home on wheels and they greatly improved RV life for us. We never expected to want or need these items when we first started out and love sharing them with newbie RVers! If you’re interested in finding out what these items are, check out this post: 5 Items That Improved RV Life for Us!

Looking for more RVing tips?

Check out these posts:


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3 years ago

very helpful and a gerat thing to look ay emptily for first timers. 100%RECCAMENDED FOR ANYONE IN IT ALREDY OR THINKING ABOUT IT, sorry i hit my caps lock and shift at the same time honest mistake –_–

Sandra Patterson
Sandra Patterson
5 years ago

I like your tip about making sure that you invest in tubs and other storage containers so that you don’t get cluttered. My husband and I are going on a year-long road trip soon with our RV, and we want to be sure that we are fully prepared! Although we may invest in some extra storage space so that the RV area can be as clear as possible. Thanks for the article!

Daniel McKenzie
Daniel McKenzie
5 years ago

Thank you Sandra! Hope you have the best time ever on your trip, that sounds amazing!

6 years ago

Thanks so much for the tips. I am in the process of moving out of my 1650 sq. ft. house into a 32′ fifth wheel, which I have parked on my two-acre property. My granddaughter and hubby are moving into the house to help with the mortgage payments on the property. I won’t be traveling anywhere, just staying put in my own yard, but your tips are invaluable. Keep ’em coming!

6 years ago

Instapot has been a godsend. It does so much and replaces 3 different types of cookers – such as a rice cooker, a slow cooker and pressure cooker because it can do all those things together.

Daniel McKenzie
Daniel McKenzie
6 years ago
Reply to  Sue

Hi Sue,

Thanks for reading and for commenting! We’ve heard so many good things about the Instapot that we might just have to get ourselves one! Who knows, maybe Santa will bring us one this year! Safe travels!