I felt so overwhelmed when planning our big debut RV trip this spring. There were a thousand considerations for what to take and what was unnecessary—and some things I got right and some not so much! I thought it might be helpful to share a few of my Must Haves with you guys, here.
Tote Bag by Artist’s Loft™ Fundamentals™
I picked up this sweet bag one afternoon from Michaels, thinking it would be the perfect thing for toting my watercolor supplies on the trip. I ended up using it for my toiletries, as it fit perfectly into one of the RV drawers and was easy to grab for morning or evening use. I LOVE IT SO MUCH. Pockets all the way around, folds flat, features a wide bottom with an insert to keep things steady. NOT TO MENTION IT RETAILS FOR $5.99 and that doesn’t count sales or coupons. I’ve bought three more since coming home. One holds my journaling supplies, one I use to tote random things back and forth from studio to house, one holds whatever selection of specific paints I happen to be using on whatever project I’ve got going on at any given time. If I had three more, I could easily put them to good use.
SMALL ELECTRIC HEATER
This was such a lifesaver. Now to be clear, we could turn on the heat in our 25-foot rental, and we did when the unit was really cold. The consideration is the RV heater uses propane and our propane gauge was broken and being newbies, we had no idea how much propane we were using. Therefore, we were very conservative with anything that used propane. So when the evenings started to chill down, or when we first woke up in the morning, we plugged this baby in and she worked great to just cozy up the RV. I don’t think we ever slept with the electric heater on—somehow that seemed like not a great idea to me—but we loved having the option when we were awake (and paying attention).
One reason we didn’t need the RV heater running overnight was because we slept under an electric blanket. I borrowed one from a friend, and hers happened to have dual controls which was awesome because I sleep with an extra quilt when (seriously) Tim prefers just a sheet. I’m not sure he ever turned his side on (?) but I did mine, and I kept the control close in case I wanted to lower or turn off the heat in the night. Also, if I were buying, I would choose a heated blanket that is easy to machine wash. RV life is not pristine, and a good bit of stuff ends up piled on the bed. Washing on the road could be key.
FULL SIZE FOAM MATTRESS TOPPER
We were so nervous about sleeping poorly in the RV we actually allowed ourselves the option of hotel rooms half the trip. But after a week or two? We cancelled hotels and stayed in the RV because we slept so much better there! I do think the mattress was decent. But I also prioritized making it as comfortable as I could. We don’t own a full size bed and I decided to order new bedding for the trip, including this foam mattress topper THAT WE LOVED. I also bought flannel sheets (the bulk of our April southwest trip was cold) and they were cozy!!! I’m so glad I didn’t try to make-do with our queen bedding—there’s no space around the bed in a 25-foot rental so having sheets and blankets that fit was a win.
RV trip or not, Every. Single. Day. First. Thing. I wash my face and then apply sunscreen. This brand was recommended by my dermatologist and I can’t say enough about how much I love it. Great coverage while being very light. I was very diligent about this on the trip. If we were outdoors, I also wore a hat 100% of the time.
Burt’s Bees Colored Lip Balm
I didn’t wear much makeup, but I did wear chapstick all the time and I was so happy I’d thrown into my bag this colored lip balm in rose. I mean, 10,000 vacation photos and all :). I was surprised how much difference a little bit of color will make! (I hear you, Mom.)
NEUTROGENA NIGHT CALMING CLEANSING TOWELETTES
Here’s the thing. In the RV, we didn’t have hot water without turning on the hot water heater and then waiting 20 minutes for many gallons to heat up. I hadn’t realized this (duh) until the first night parked there along the beautiful Tennessee River. I was so glad I’d brought a package of Neutrogena face wipes, which just so happened to be in Night Calming Lavender, because I used those babies morning and night the rest of the trip. I loved it, my skin loved it, I now keep them at my sink at home.
NATIONAL PARKS PASSPORT
I received my National Parks Passport as a gift (thank you, Cindy!), and I had such fun collecting stamps at each national park welcome center in short order we bought one for Tim, too. And while I’m thinking of it, I’ll also mention that we both kept journals, as well. Tim tracked all the daily details in his, while in mind I added lists, sketches, that sort of thing. I also bought postcards at each national park or interesting gift shop, and many of these I pasted into my journal using double-sided tape. If you like this idea, add to your list: journal, scissors, markers or colored pencils, double-sided tape!
Other things we took that were either lifesavers or were particularly enjoyable:
a good microwave dish (we used the microwave all the time)
good broom and dustpan (you won’t believe the dirt/rocks/etc you will track in)
nice cocktail glasses x 2
Yeti x 2
extra totes, containers, ziplock bags (I was amazed how often we needed these!)
lots of extra “work” towels (used all the time); extra dish towels
salad bowl (we ate a lot of bag salads and it was nice to have this to toss them in)
WHAT WE HAD TO BUY ON THE ROAD
additional leveling blocks (we found these in the RV section at Walmart)
shorts and tees for Cathy—I’d only taken clothes for cool/cold weather and it hit the 90s a few days in a row, also Walmart
another sewer hose—ours had a tear (Walmart again)
So this is it, folks! My last post about this trip. Please comment below or email me with any questions! We’re still glowing from the travel, and it has been so much fun to share the journey with you!
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