RV Life – Initial Setup

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Setting up the RV for our first camping weekend was such a fun project for me.

RV Setup for your First Trip - Garies Girl

I’ve always loved to camp and we were very experienced campers back in South Africa. We didn’t have a fancy setup, but even back then my love for organizing made for worry-free camping. We had a nice size tent and all the amenities that went with it. Our camping supplies and items were nicely contained in camping boxes, and each sported labelling not only on the outside but also on the inside of the lid. I did get teased about it at first, but soon all my friends were looking for similar labels and systems.

So when I got the opportunity to set up this RV, I couldn’t contain my excitement. I wrote out a list of bare necessities and started collecting items from my house.

Basic Needs – To Sleep and To Eat

To start out with, you will need some basics to be able to use your RV. Think along the lines of being able to sleep, cook and eat something in the RV. Here is my list of the items we added from the start.

For the sleeping areas I added:

  • Comforters
  • Pillows
  • Sheets
  • Throw Pillows
  • Blankets

I found these cute RV themed blankets online and you will love them!

RV Bedroom Basics

For the kitchen:

  • Plates, Bowls, Cups and Coffee Mugs
  • Pots and Pans
  • Plastic Food Storage Containers
  • Silverware
  • Sharp Knife Set
  • Cutting Board
  • Cooking Utensils (wooden spoons, tongs, etc.)
  • Can/Bottle Opener
  • Dish Towels and Cleaning Cloths/Sponges
  • Pot Holders
  • Drying Rack
  • Electric Kettle

Looking for RV kitchenware? I found these on Amazon and they are perfect for RV camping.

RV Kitchen Basics

The following items are pantry staples. I try and take a picture of the pantry when we finish a trip so that I can easily look back to see what I need to get for the next trip:

  • Instant Coffee and Sugar
  • Salt, Pepper and BBQ Spices
  • Oil and Vinegar
  • Unopened Sides (Pasta and Rice), Snacks and Cookies

Additional kitchen items included:

  • Paper Plates, Paper Towels and Napkins
  • Ziploc Bags and Trash Bags
  • Placemats
  • Plastic Tablecloths

You cannot go wrong with some Made in the USA placemats to bring some color and fun to the table. These are great options and easy to keep clean.

RV Additional Kitchen Items

Additional Items

Still on the inside of the RV, we added the following items to the bathroom:

  • Towels (bath towels, hand towels, beach towels)
  • RV Toilet Paper and Chemicals
  • Shampoo, Conditioner, Body Wash and Soap
  • Toothbrushes and Toothpaste
  • Hairbrushes
  • Hand Soap
  • Body Lotion
  • Bug Spray
RV Bathroom Basics

General and Entertainment Items:

  • First Aid Kit
  • Small Flashlights
  • Assorted Batteries
  • General Cleaning Supplies
  • Dog Leash
  • Broom and Dustpan
  • Playing Cards
  • Uno
  • Paperbacks and Magazines

RV Basics

Outside Needs

For the outside of the RV, we packed the following items:

  • Camping Chairs
  • Folding Table
  • BBQ Grill and Tools
  • BBQ Casserole (a South African camping MUST HAVE)
  • Lightweight Cooler for Ice

RV Outside Camping

Now, to be able to park and hook your RV up to a campsite, you need some additional items. We bought a lot of these items at the RV Store, but you will most likely find these cheaper elsewhere:

  • Electrical Hookup Cable
  • Sewer Hose
  • Water Hose
  • Leveling Blocks
  • Wheel Chocks (Wedges)
  • Jack Pads

RV Basics

We recently upgraded our yellow plastic wheel chocks. The new ones are great – heavy duty rubber Wheel Chocks and we cannot be happier with this new product.

And lastly, in case a tire change is needed, you will want to have these on hand:

  • Hydraulic Bottle Jack
  • RV Jacks (at least 2) for support
  • Lug Wrench

That is my initial setup list. After our next few camping trips, we added some more items that I consider MUST HAVES – read all about those items here: RV Life ā€“ Our Camping Must Haves

What else did you stock your RV with for that first camping trip?

Did you miss our RV Tour post? Not to worry – here is the link: RV Life ā€“ A Tour of Our RV.

10 thoughts

    1. Hi Nancy! Thank you for reaching out. Yes, we do keep one large trashcan outside and one large one inside. I found the smaller ones inside is just a waste of time (pun intended), lol. When a bag is full, we remove it and leave it on the back of the truck. We dispose of it when we pass the dumpsters or when we leave at the end of our trip. If our site doesn’t recycle, we just keep those separate and take them home with us. Good question!


  1. Thanks for this helpful post. I thought I had everything I would need for our first trip in a few weeks, but had forgotten a few of the things you had listed.


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