5 Smart Packing Tips For Your Small RV

James and I are in the process of packing up the RV for a big road trip!

The Fit RV Hits The Road

I love this phase: the bubbling anticipation, the prepping of the RV, the millions of trips out to the RV with armfuls of things from the house. I keep meaning to wear my pedometer on packing day, but invariably forget in all the excitement. I’m just sure I’m way over 10,000 steps!

We’ve come a long way with our packing efficiency, I’m happy to report. It has taken us many years of trial and error (loads & loads of error), but we can now pack our little Class B up like clockwork. You should have seen some of our first trips:

 Example 1: Our first night on the trip, as we prepared for bed…

Me: “Honey, which cupboard has the bedding?

James looked at me with dread: “I believe that would be the linen cabinet BACK AT THE HOUSE.”

 Example 2: Driving along a curvy road…

James: “What is all that stuff sliding around the floor back there?!”

Me: “I couldn’t get the hammock and the patio umbrella to fit anywhere!”

James: “Do you think we’ll need the patio umbrella? We have an awning.”

Me: “Of course we need the umbrella! What if it rains, and the picnic table is far from the awning, and it’s chained to the ground?! What do we do then, smart guy?

James: “We eat inside?”

Eventually, we got it right. We learned that all that extra stuff wasn’t only weighing the RV down, it was also weighing us down. After all, the whole point of RVing is freedom and exciting adventures, right? It only makes sense that part of that freedom should also be from dependence on all that unnecessary extra stuff that can bog us down. Once we figured that out, the RV pretty much packed itself. Well, okay, not really. But packing did get much, much simpler.

The Fit RV On The Road

If you are new to the joys of packing up a small RV for road trips, here are some of our lessons we learned. Hopefully we can save you some time from making our same mistakes:

Packing Tip #1:  Reuse towels and linens. Instead of wasting precious cupboard space on linens, plan a laundromat pit stop along your route.

Packing Tip #2: Plan your meals ahead. I know it sounds like a ton of work, but it eliminates overpacking foods you won’t use, and it saves you tons of time DURING the trip. When the meals are planned ahead, you’ve got more time for adventures on the road!

Packing Tip #3: Make a general packing list you can keep reusing for all your trips. Refine it and analyze it after each trip you take, because inevitably you’ll have things you ended up not needing or using. Your list will get more and more perfected with each trip you take. And, it speeds up the packing time immensely.

Packing Tip #4: Rewear your clothes. Years from now, when you look back on your trip, it won’t be the clothes you wore that you’ll remember, or that matter.

Packing Tip #5: Don’t go crazy with the kitchen accessories. If you’ve planned out your meals and there aren’t any plans for a Crock Pot meal, then don’t bring it! Even the little things: plates, utensils, cups, they add up and will suck your precious space. If there are only two of you, how many do you really need?

And probably the biggest…let me really emphasize that…the BIGGEST lesson we have learned about packing is this: The less stuff you bring, the less you’ll have to unpack at the trip’s end. While packing for a trip can be a ton of fun, I don’t know anyone who loves unpacking the RV after the trip! So, do yourself a favor. Save yourself from the post-trip unpacking blues. You can start by leaving the patio umbrellas at home.

Any readers out there have some more packing tips we can add to the list?

Stef spent 15 years as an educator in both the public K-12 setting and at the University level in Special Physical Education before making the leap to her true passion… the fitness world. She’s currently a personal trainer and wellness coach with a specialty in working with people with medical conditions and injuries. Stef has been a running enthusiast her entire adult life, and shares James’ love of cycling. She feels lucky they have a shared hobby in bicycling that enhances their RV lifestyle.

    7 thoughts on “5 Smart Packing Tips For Your Small RV

    1. Rhonda Sikvery

      I seal a meal every soup and stew I made during the year in the approximate size for my husband and myself. Also put maranaite in ice cider trays and bring them for salmon and steaks. I also freeze part of cookie dough to make fresh cookies. We go for 45 days at a time and I don’t worry about a good meal. Take out, thaw, eat

    2. Heidi

      We are new to the RV world and bought a 39FT last Oct, It obviously had endless storage! We tok about 8 trips in the RV before we decided we needed to downsize to make quick weekend trips easier. With that said the new RV is 24 FT and I need to pack only what we need and things that pack up small. (folding tables) Can anyone point me in the direction to a list of ‘MUST HAVEs” and things that break down to store in a small space. I was SO spoiled with the larger RV and want to make sure I don’t over pack or underpack.


    3. Stephen Cyr-Paulson

      Outside of food, nearly everything we need for traveling stays on the RV. All kitchen items, recreational accessories, toiletries, basic clothing including socks/undies, etc. After a trip, we wash bedding, towels, and clothes and return them to the washed RV. I invited a friend on a spur-of-the-moment trip and we were ready to go after a quick trip to the grocery store. No worrying whether I had remembered my toothbrush, a jacket, or the phone charger. I also use a list app to record any any needs discovered on the road (repair the back screen, pick up aluminum foil…) so I can wrap those up quickly when we get home. Always keep ready to roll!

      1. Dan Scott

        We do the same, except clothes are not packed either. We even keep kid’s games and toys in there, so when we go camping, the toys are a special treat and feel new and exciting again.

        1. Stefany - Post author

          Nice idea keeping kid’s games/toys packed! We do keep SOME things in there permanently. Linens, all kitchenware, etc. Not clothes and toiletries, but my wheels are turning about trying that out…

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