Top Ten Non-Essential Essentials To Take RVing
Posted June 2012
Ahhhhh. The cold of winter is finally gone, and it’s time to dust off the camping gear for another summer of fun in the sun
- after you do a little happy dance, roll up your sleeves, and get to work because there’s a lot to do.
The RV needs servicing and nearly everything from sandals to bedding has a layer of off-season ick that requires cleaning. You’ll even have to make sure Rover gets all of his shots before you take him anywhere.
Important Items to Pack for a Trip
Unless you live in your motorhome—and I don’t—you’ll have to make a list of the things that you absolutely must take with you. Here’s a start.
- Medical First aid kit, meds, insurance card, sunscreen, tweezers, etc.
- Personal ID, important records, vehicle insurance, etc.
- Daily Needs Food, bedding, clothes
- Emergency Flares, flash light, cell phone, phone numbers, etc.
- Just in Case Maps, tools, extra cash, raincoat, spare keys, etc.
There are plenty more necessary items to pack. My family keeps most of these items in the motorhome all the time, so in the spring it’s just a bunch of cleaning and making sure everything works.
Now for the Stuff That Really Makes the Trip Memorable
The following list really serves two purposes. First, most of the top non-essential items that you need you already own, thereby providing great fun while RVing without spending a lot of money. Second, by taking these items along, you’ll have a first-rate experience without interfering with others who are camping near you.
Here are the top ten non-essential essentials in no particular order.
Taking pictures of your children, relatives and pets is only the tip of the iceberg. I love to photograph animals, flowers, scenery, highway signs, historical markers, rivers, and just about anything else that is going to remind me of the places I visit.
If you are a shutterbug, be sure to take extra memory cards, batteries, and connection cords for your camera.
2. Propane fire pit
Having a campfire is technically unnecessary, but for my family, it’s actually a super essential. We bring a compact portable campfire so that no matter where we go we can have a safely contained, controllable campfire.
Okay, I just had to add decadently tasty white puffs of sugar to the list. Ever since I was a kid, roasting marshmallows over the fire has been a must-do on every camping trip. If you share them with your camp neighbors, you will make new friends.
You can toast them to a light brown, burn them until they are a charred, flaky black, or eat them just as they are. I have also learned that with a little coloring, they make great bait for fishing.
If you like to watch birds or animals or whales or your neighbors, field glasses will do the trick.
Losing myself in the twists and turns of a mystery novel while I lounge on the beach or recline under the shade of a weeping willow tree helps me to pass the time. It also forces me to concentrate on the story, helping me to forget about work or stress back at home.
If mystery novels aren’t your thing, try the Bible, guidebooks (birds, trails, travel), crossword puzzles, or even sky charts to study the night sky.
Because I check out books from my library, this activity is absolutely free, and it doesn’t bother anyone.
They don’t take up much space when you pack; geez, some of the swimsuits I have seen are more or less non-existent. Do everyone a favor and make sure the darn thing fits.
Many of the campgrounds or backcountry places I camp have hot springs nearby. Occasionally, there is a pool or slicky slide or lake that just tempts me to want to splash around. Bring a suit for everyone.
Keeping track of places and people is important. I like to have a place to jot down addresses, sketch images that impress me, or just make note of something that looks suspicious.
Most important of all, I fill my journal with pressed flowers, descriptions of fun activities we do as a family, and personal epiphanies. There’s no structure to my camp journal; I include anything that inspires me.
Last week, I was in a campground visiting an old friend and heard the echoing melody of a flute. The camp host was playing a song that carried a somber, peaceful tone through the trees. If you play an instrument like a harmonica or guitar, take it along and sing songs by the campfire. If you are traveling to Appalachia, you probably won’t want to take a banjo.
Someone once said, “When using a public campground, a tuba placed on your picnic table will keep the campsites on either side vacant.” Go ahead and leave that at home with the banjo.
Radios, iPods, and CDs are good ways to bring music along while you camp, just remember to be respectful of others and keep the volume down.
9. Toys and Hobbies
Here’s a list of inexpensive toys that provide hours of enjoyable activity for free. You can be a good neighbor and invite others to join in. Many are good on a rainy day, too.
- Cards and card games
- Frisbee for catch and for disc golf
- Balls (beach ball, soccer ball, volley ball, football, baseball)
- Art supplies for painting
- Knitting projects
- Butterfly net
You’re on vacation so it’s ok ay to be lazy and doze off under the shelter of large, shady trees. You can also work on your tan and nod off to the soothing thrum of waves washing onto the beach or a gentle breeze tickling its way through the trees.
Enjoy Where You Go
The reasons I go camping are to unwind, de-stress, explore a new place, or just spend more time outside. The destination doesn’t have to be expensive or popular; it just has to help me relax. By bringing the non-essential essentials, I can do just that.
About the Author
Karen Ho Fatt is an avid outdoorswoman who provides expert advice for RVers and campers looking to warm up their outdoor spaces while out in the backwoods. Karen maintains a website where you can find the perfectly affordable RV fire pit and iron fire pits for your next trip.