When we bought our travel trailer, we decided that in order to get the most use out of it we would implement what we call “minimal trip prep”. Minimal trip prep for us meant outfitting the trailer with everything we needed so we wouldn’t have to pack or unpack every time we went camping. Now, with the RV completely outfitted, all we have to do is throw a few clothes in the closet, round up our food, and hit the road. Hopefully, by seeing how we roll, you will be able to do the same!
Everyone needs the inevitable sewer hose, water hoses and filters, electrical paraphernalia, grill, chairs, etc., etc., etc. We enjoy having a few convenience items when we camp, whether it’s simply an indulgence or a time or space saver. In random order, here are some of the things we don’t camp without:
Picnic caddy. This is so handy for indoor and outdoor use. We use this to store our napkins, paper plates, paper bowls, plastic ware, and our salt and pepper shakers. It frees valuable cabinet and drawer storage space and is easy to carry right outside to the picnic table. While there are many similar models out there, this is a very nice model sold by Amazon. (We also like having pop-up mesh food covers when serving and eating outside.)
Headlamp and good flashlights. Okay, headlamps don’t look very cool, but man are they great when you need both hands free. We can’t count the times we’ve had to set up camp in the dark, and let’s face it, most parks are very dark! Good lights are a great investment and a necessary safety tool. As for flashlights we like the smaller tactical grade type.
Cordless vacuum. This one might be a budget buster, but hear us out. The Deik Cordless Vacuum, purchased from Amazon, is the one we use at home, and we take it with us when we go camping. It is lightweight, takes up very little room – we store it behind the little trash can in our bathroom – and it’s rechargeable. The best part is that the top part comes off and becomes a hand held mini vac. For such a small vacuum, this thing picks up just about everything. How many times have you stepped barefoot on one of those tiny pieces of gravel that got tracked into your camper? This little vacuum works on vinyl and wood floors, and carpet, too. LOVE IT! By the way, we aren’t getting paid for our recommendations, so this is not an ad, and we never recommend anything that we don’t use ourselves. Jeff Bezos, you’re getting a lot of free advertising, buddy.
Aluminum roll up table. Ours is by ALPS Mountaineering and is 28″ x 28″ X 27″ h, and of course, we purchased it from Amazon. These things are great. We mainly use ours to set the grill on, but we can also use it as a dining or card table. It rolls compactly and fits into it’s own carrying bag, is lightweight, and is easy to clean. We use this table every time we camp. There are lots of styles, colors, and sizes to choose from. We highly recommend that every camper have one of these. Ours is shown in the photo at the top of the page.
Sound machine and ear plugs. Yes, we’re talking about the same kind of sound machine used in babies’ nurseries to soothe them to sleep. Ours has settings for several different sounds, such as waterfall, ocean waves, rain, etc., and it runs on electric power or batteries. Have you ever tried to sleep while parked near a busy highway, or at a truck stop, or even a Walmart? If you have, then you know what we’re talking about. A sound machine will help drown out the background noise so you get a better nights sleep. As a side note, we will admit that we sometimes use ear plugs, too.
Weather radio. We live in Tornado Alley, and our weather can sometimes be pretty scary. Our weather radio runs on electricity or batteries and is just one more safety precaution for our travel trailer. Heavy rain and hail pounding your camper in the dark and not knowing what to expect does not make for happy campers.
Battery operated flameless candles. These are great for inside and outside. If you don’t have a campfire, a few of these sitting around will certainly give the campsite some ambiance. We use them on every camping trip. Beware these will melt if stored in a hot place.
Body wipes. We admit that we don’t always shower every day when we’re camping. Shocking, we know! Anyway, we love the convenience of using body wipes for a quick sponge bath. Our favorite are these Epic Wipes that we purchased from – you guessed it – Amazon. While they are not inexpensive, they are almost as large as a bath towel and are very refreshing. These are also great to use after hiking or being in the lake or to wipe down grubby kiddos.
Britta water pitcher. The one we use for the camper is a 5-cup pitcher. We drink a lot of water, and with the Britta pitcher, we can refill water bottles with filtered water and not have to carry so many bottles, which just adds to our towing weight. The pitcher we have is shown here, and it fits in the bottom shelf of our refrigerator door.
Flag and flagpole. Yep, we are proud Americans, and we like to fly our colors. We have an American flag and a couple of others. Our FlagPole Buddy brand pole, which we purchased from RV Upgrades, is a 16′ telescoping fiberglass pole that attaches the ladder on the back of our trailer. It can be seen (sort of) in the picture at the top of the page. We also have a garden flag stand with an American flag and an assortment of seasonal and decorative flags that we sometimes use to pretty up our campsite.
Inflatable ottoman. Like the one shown here from Amazon. These are also available from Bed, Bath & Beyond and catalogs. Most cost around $25.00 and come with a pump for easy inflation. There are tons of colors and patterns to choose from, and the covers zip off for washing. Dirt and grass does not stick to them so they’re great to use outside.
Space heater. Camping during colder weather prompted us to include a space heater on our “can’t live without” list. Ours is small enough that we can store it in one of the cabinets above the dinette, but it’s powerful enough to heat our 26′ trailer. Using the space heater instead of the furnace saves on propane, too.
Extra set of sheets. We thoroughly clean our camper before we leave a campground to go home, and that includes changing the sheets on the bed. With two sets of sheets, we can rotate them as we camp, and we have clean bedding for every trip. (We also keep pillows and a few extra blankets in our camper.)
That’s going to do it for our things we can’t live without. This is a constantly evolving list, so we will update you when we find more awesome items. Leave us a comment and let us know what you can’t live without. Thank you for stopping by, and we hope you will come back again for another great tip, trick, or trip.
Happy camping, y’all!
Mike and Kellye
As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true products, vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own. Photo copyright infringement is not intended. Our written content and photos are copyrighted, and may not be published without our permission.