Pack Smarter: Stef's RV Packing Check Lists

James & Stef Adinaro James & Stef Adinaro  |  10.01.2016

You’ve got Stef here, hi all!

I only have to make a mistake once. (Well, okay, twice if you count how many times I’ve bonked my head on the bike rack on our Travato.)


Though James has hit his head three times. Apparently, I’m a quicker learner.

Take our last big trip. In July, we excitedly hit the road with our bikes locked and loaded from our home state of Utah for 3 weeks of Midwestern adventures. The plan was GNR, the Lake Superior Adventure, and tons & tons of biking all along the way.

A few hours into the drive, James decided THEN to start quizzing me about our packing.

Him: Did you remember the GoSun stove?

Me: Check!

Him: What about the yoga mats?

Me: Check! Check! I brought two!

Him: And you have all your bike stuff?

Me: Check! I brought my bike bag with everything, and you said you’d pack our mountain bike shoes right?


…(more silence)…

Me: Uh, James?

Him: Well, I’m trying to think of a way to not get in trouble here, but I can’t.

As regimented and organized as James is, he still managed to forget our mountain biking shoes. To non-cyclists it probably doesn’t SOUND like a big deal, a silly pair of shoes. But we can’t ride our mountain bikes without them! They have special clips on the bottoms that go with our special pedals. And the main reason we RV is for biking adventures! We needed those shoes. In the end, after buying new ones at a bike shop in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, it turned out to be a $200 mistake.


But aren’t my new shoes pretty?

Fast forward to present day. James and I are packing up for another big trip! We’re heading up to Vancouver and then down the Pacific Coast and eventually ending up at the Pomona RV Show.  But THIS time no one will be forgetting any mountain biking shoes OR anything else, no sirree. You know why? Because I got smart! I’ve finally, FINALLY made packing lists.

James being James has always suggested the idea of packing lists, but me being me, well I tend to like to fly by the seat of my pants.

Alright fine, I’ll call it what it really is. I’m a bit lazy.

So, perhaps the bike shoes mistake was one of those blessings in disguise. Or maybe it was all part of some master scheme of James’ to get me to create some lists. Whatever it was, there are now lists. And I have to admit, they’ve actually been a huge help in prepping for this trip. SO much so, I wanted to share them with y’all. How have I been packing without them all these years?

To keep it manageable, I’ve created 3 different lists: 1) the galley, 2) the bed/bath things, and then 3) the BEST list of all: RV Living. I had to turn to James to create the “Prepping the RV” and “RV Maintenance” lists, and you can find those over on his article HERE. I don’t really have much to do with that stuff. The INSIDE is my domain.

SO! The lists are below and if you want to print out PDF copy click here. Give them a try when you’re heading out on your next RV trip. They’ve definitely saved me a ton of time and brainpower. Lazy Stef likes the sound of that!

Packing List for RV Galley

  • Drink ware: cups, mugs, wine glasses, beverage koozies
  • Plates and bowls
  • Eating utensils
  • Knives: food prep and steak
  • Cooking utensils: spatula, large spoons, tongs, whisk, etc
  • Mixing bowls
  • Cooking pots/pans
  • Measuring cups/spoons
  • Bottle, can, and wine openers
  • Cutting board
  • Tea kettle
  • Grill
  • Blender
  • Food processor
  • Toaster
  • Scissors
  • Egg cooker
  • Colander
  • Food storage: Tupperware, baggies, aluminum foil., etc.
  • Napkins and paper towels
  • Dish soap & cleaning products
  • Sponges, rags, towels, potholder
  • Trash bags
  • Ice cube trays
  • Bag clips
  • Lighter/matches
  • Campfire fork

Packing List for RV Bed and Bath Necessities

  • Bedding and pillows
  • Soap: hand, shower
  • Washcloths and/or shower puffs
  • Towels: bath, hand, and beach
  • Shampoo, conditioner, and hair styling products
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss
  • Shower-house bag
  • Shower-house flip-flops
  • Toilet paper
  • Facial tissue
  • Toiletry kit: lip balm, deodorant, nail clippers, files, tweezers, razor, etc.
  • Skin care: lotion, powder, night cream, etc.
  • Hair Necessities: brush, comb, hair ties, etc.
  • Pharmacy: anti-inflammatories, antacids, prescriptions, allergy, etc.
  • Sleep aids: Earplugs, eye-mask, mini-fan, lavender essential oil, etc.
  • Laundry: detergent, wash bag, roll of quarters
  • Blow dryer

Packing List for RV Living and Recreation Supplies

  • Portable Lights: Flashlight, Headlamps, Lantern
  • Paper maps and/or road atlas
  • Fitness equipment: resistance bands, yoga mat, etc.
  • Headphones
  • Sunscreen
  • Walkie Talkies
  • Water bottles and/or backpack hydration system
  • Sport Specific shoes: water, running, hiking, cycling
  • Rain gear: jackets, umbrella, etc.
  • Water gear: swimsuits, wetsuits, dry bag, etc.
  • Sunglasses
  • Hats and visors
  • First Aid Kits (one large for RV and one portable for day hikes)
  • Insect repellant
  • Backpack(s)
  • Cameras & camera gear: (tripod, backup batteries, etc)
  • Binoculars
  • Camp chairs & portable table
  • Picnic/beach blanket
  • Outdoor rug
  • Office supplies: pens, paper, clips, permanent marker, tape, scissors, etc.
  • Device chargers & devices (computer, tablets, phones, etc.)
  • Media: books, audiobooks, magazines, movies
  • Inside fun: Cards, games, crosswords, puzzles
  • Outside fun: lawn games, Frisbee, etc.
  • Bike stuff: bikes, locks, helmets, kits, bike computers, HR monitors, toolkit, etc.

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  1. Reese Magnifico Posted on 06.12.2019

    Coffee maker. Just sayin’.

  2. avi kidron Posted on 06.01.2019

    Super Help! Thank you so much! avi

  3. Scott Baldassari Posted on 10.22.2018

    We leave nearly all the stuff on your lists in the van, do you really load and unload all that every time?
    We do of course, have to load and unload things like food, and fresh laundry and clothes.
    Bikes and paraphernalia all get moved when the bikes are loaded and unloaded. Disposables (paper plates, towels, soap, tp) are replaced on the trip as needed.

  4. Laura Posted on 10.14.2018

    Super helpful. thank you.

  5. Ron Posted on 09.23.2018

    We keep our 27′ Spirit loaded even when not in use. That way we only need to load needed clothing and the frig. We want it ready if there is a need to leave fast such as hurricane, spur of the moment trip to the Rio Grande valley or Texas hill country for a few days.

  6. KamperAl 2010 Sunova Posted on 07.01.2018

    It’s a shame you couldn’t call a trusted friend with a key to roundup the bike shoes and mail them to you c/o General Delivery along your route, probably a bit less than $200, imho.

  7. Tam Posted on 02.12.2018

    Great list! We have many many trips under our belts but I always like to put my eyes on a list. I also bring kitchen items that might seem unnecessary but if you love food and cooking is your hobby it makes traveling much more fun.

  8. Nancy Posted on 07.09.2017

    I use an app on my iPad called Packing Pro. It has a master list and you can customize it. When an item is packed, you check it off. I even add food items.

  9. Wendy Miler Posted on 07.09.2017

    Hey Stef, hope you can make it over to Vancouver Island, and see us at Triangle RV?!

  10. Hope Posted on 07.09.2017

    Wow! A blender and a food processor! We’ve been RVing for almost 30 years. Never have I needed those two items plus many of the other things on your lists. I think, after a few more trips, you’ll be trimming your lists a lot. Remember, there are stores everywhere! A lesson I learned on our first long trip to Alaska.

  11. shelly & art Posted on 10.16.2016

    I’m a list person, Art is not. Recently we sold our 31′ RV and bought a 26′ RV. Five feet doesn’t sound like much but in RV terms it’s a whole room, lol. We headed out on a ten day trial run before our big 4 month trip and found we forgot to bring some essentials. We are definitely using your “list idea” for all future RVing. Thanks so much!

  12. Greg Posted on 10.16.2016

    Great article Stef!

    I am not sure of the technology you are using to create, edit and check off your list, Old fashioned paper or digital but check out a program called Wunderlist. It goes on my phone, I pad and computer all at the same time. I always have one of them with me to add to, check off and even print out!

    It syncs your lists across any device you have it on and it is FREE!

    Check it out.

  13. Nanci Posted on 10.15.2016

    Holy Crap! Where did you find room for all that?
    I have a Travato 59K and I am betting you have a 59G which must have more storage area because if I had all that stuff there is no room for clothing.

  14. Kevin Posted on 10.08.2016

    We love lists… another thing we added to ours was a status for packed and stowed… packed means it’s ready at the house and stowed is once it’s in the van. It can be easy to leave an entire bag at home even when we group the bags. Lol

  15. Ted Posted on 10.03.2016

    Just wait till you bring “Mel” the magic tree kitten along for the ride. I’m sure the “cat list” will be extensive enough to push a few items off your other lists. Here are a few items that come to mind:

    Cat Litter – Just keep saying “It’s not sand… it’s cat litter”
    Roomba – To sweep up and keep James calm
    Jackson Galaxy Cat Whisperer DVD’s – Dr Spock for cat mom’s
    Elaborate, healthy, fiber rich, organic food ingredients for the furry hobo
    Bear alarm – to keep the cat from the bikes
    Vietnamese Egg Coffee – to keep the anxious cat mom calm