Back when we were looking to buy an RV, I thoroughly enjoyed touring the different types and floorplans. We went to an RV show and visited a couple of dealerships to view the models in their showrooms. I did not however, enjoy the buying process, Just not in my nature to sit through back and forth negotiations, financing conversations and hours of paperwork.
RV’ing became fun again when I got to go shopping for everything we needed in the RV. We decided early on to use as many of the duplicate items (such as bedding and some cooking utensils) we already had at home, but to also make sure that what we put in the RV were able to stay in the RV when we were not camping. There is nothing more frustrating than packing things from home, unpacking it at the campsite, and packing it again to bring back home. There would always be a couple of critical camp items you forget to bring or ones you leave behind and need back home again. Trust me, it will happen.
I wrote a whole separate post about setting up the RV initially and making sure we had all the basic supplies and necessities. You can read all about it here: RV Life – Initial Setup
Nice to Haves
Now for the fun stuff! This post is about the extra items we added for comfort, organization, and ease of use.
We quickly realized we needed a couple of additional items to not only personalize the RV, but also make camping easier and more fun for ourselves. When camping, you want to have as much time as possible to relax and enjoy the outdoors and not be busy with setting up your campsite. Already having the basics and not having to haul things back and forth for each individual trip made a huge difference.
I want to talk about these additional items individually, since they were such game changers for us. Of course, you are also more than welcome to watch the video we made about just this topic – RV Camping Must Haves.
What an excellent idea these were! We have two and they match the leather look of our couch and furniture accents perfectly. I use them mainly for footrests, especially when we are sitting on the couch watching a movie. The inside of these ottomans are great places to store our smaller blankets, you know, the ones you want late at night when curling up in front of the TV or with a book.
When the lid is flipped over, it becomes a perfect side table and provides a spot for snacks and drinks to be within arms reach. The lid even has handles, so it can do double duty as a serving tray. Theoretically, you can use them to serve someone breakfast in bed, but not holding my breath for that to ever happen in our RV! These little ottomans are also great for extra seating at the dinette since they are sturdy enough to sit on. Of course, since they are not super heavy, they can be moved outdoors if you need additional seating/storage/tables out there.
Oh my goodness, I didn’t realize we needed these until our first camping trip. You get ready for a shower and there is nowhere to hang your towel. Or you come into the RV and have to remember where to put your keys so they are not in the way or get lost among the kitchen counter clutter. We use these little clear command hooks in every single area of the RV. By the door we have three just for keys. Everyone knows where to hang the keys and where to look for them when they are needed. Then inside the utility cabinet, I hang flashlights, BBQ tools and even a fly swatter.
I use them in the kitchen for potholders, on the inside of the pantry for other lightweight items and like I mentioned, for towels in the bathroom, the bedroom and in the bunk house.
Linen Hanging Shelves
Lets talk RV closets quickly. I have mentioned the amount of storage so many times before, but there is a difference between usable and unusable storage. Here I have a slightly different opinion than most of the RV manufacturers. Do we really need hanging rods in an RV? I’m packing camping clothes for goodness sake, not suits and dresses that need hanging space.
Anyway, I bought some fabric linen hanging shelves at Walmart and used these in the bedroom closets. This way I’m utilizing the rod and creating shelving in the vertical space. Just so you know, I had to cut mine shorter to fit the available space. A quick snip with scissors took care of this and now I have usable shelves for shorts and t-shirts.
Pantry and Other Storage
The number one rule in an RV is to have a place for everything and everything in its place. Well, it is in our RV. I get irritable if I have to look at messy counters or cabinets. And I don’t want to be irritable when I camp. So I shopped for some plastic bins, baskets and containers and use these throughout to keep like items together.
For example, First Aid items are together in a bin with a secure lid. Small RV related items are in another. I group cleaning supplies together in a plastic basket, which means I can lift all of them out of the cabinet in one go and take them where I need to use them. Batteries (you are always looking for batteries when camping) are together in another compartment type of plastic container.
In the pantry cabinet I use plastic baskets for my random pans and my electric kettle. Plastic containers with air tight lids keep sugar, coffee and snacks together. My larger plastic bins can be used with our without their lids, and is a nice spot to group “dry” food items. Again, the whole bin can be pulled out if you need to find something.
I added small fabric bins to our master bedroom and these provide great storage spots for all the little items that end up on the side table. We also store our underwear in such a bin, where it acts as a drawer beneath our side tables. I added two larger fabric bins to the area under our couch, and they hold our towels and sheets.
Last in this category is the medicine cabinet in the bathroom. I used small plastic baskets that fit in the shelves and each basket groups certain items together. I now have all the small items contained, and the taller items are not falling all over the place when we travel.
I also have to mention this silly item that made such a huge difference in our drawers and on the shelves. You buy them in rolls, measure your space, cut them to size and place them on shelves and in drawers. Now things like plates or silverware don’t slide around easily, even when we are towing our trailer. Maybe this was an obvious item, or maybe you haven’t thought about it before, like me.
Ok, ok, this could be another silly and obvious item, but again, maybe you haven’t thought about it yet. We have a doormat just inside of the door and I’m always amazed at how much dirt gets trapped there and not tracked throughout the inside of the RV. I don’t mind sweeping, but love that I can just as easily shake out the rug when needed.
An Outdoor Rug
Speaking of trapping dirt – an outdoor rug is another RV Must Have in my opinion. We place ours under the awning right by the RV door and not only do we have another defined seating area, but it also traps dirt that would have made it inside the RV. We keep 4x metal pins in the RV and will secure our rug to the ground with these.
My second to last item is two full size trashcans. Still lightweight items, I keep one inside the RV and one outside. I line them with trash bags and we will dispose of those as frequently as needed. The outside one gets moved around depending on if I’m using the outdoor kitchen or the table under the awning. The closer it is to where you create a mess, the easier cleanup is for you and any guests you might have camping with you. We use to have two smaller ones – one for the kitchen and one for the bathroom – but they just got in the way. It is easy enough to carry something to the full size can when it is time to throw something away.
These are Pieter’s favorite type of lights to put up – not just around the campsite, but also at home. We used the exact same type as we have on our deck at home to string up around the campsite, usually close to or tied to the awning. Pieter uses cable ties (that he keeps in the RV) to keep them in place, and cuts these loose when we pack up camp.
The additional light is great at night when you are prepping food outside, or for reading outdoors, and makes it safe to walk around without worrying about tripping over obstacles. Ours are from Harbor Freight and was only $25/box! I would recommend getting a dedicated extension cord for these, so that you don’t have to unplug it all the time in case it is needed elsewhere.
Here is a quick way to watch our video on RV Camping Must Haves!
What did I miss or what did you add to your RV to make camping life a breeze? Feel free to comment or send me a message! And remember to follow Garies Girl for future post and video notifications!
Happy camping friends!