It can be hard to know what to bring with you in your RV and what to leave at home when packing for a trip. If you’re moving into your RV for a longer term, it can be even harder. You will have to sell, give away, or store whatever you don’t take.
One of the first ways to save space and weight and simplify your RV life, is to minimize clothing. When we started RVing full-time, we had play clothes, nice clothes, dress clothes, and several pairs of shoes for each person. This added up to hundreds of pounds of cargo.
After a year of travel, I realized that khakis/slacks and a collared polo-type shirt would be suitable anywhere we went, from hiking trails to museums. For girls who love dresses, choose a skirt or jumper that would pair with a polo shirt. Tiny had a lot of outfits consisting of leggings and a coordinating shirt, gifts from family members. Though cute, the leggings all were colorful prints and only “went” with the shirt that came with them. Since she still has toiletting accidents, Tiny goes though more bottoms than tops, and it didn’t make sense to have a bunch of tops and bottoms that only go with one other item. As these get stained, torn, and outgrown, I’m getting rid of them and replacing them with basic navy or khaki slacks and solid colored polo shirts.When she has an accident, I can change just her pants, not a whole outfit.
IN THE GALLEY
Another place unnecessary things sneak in is the galley, or kitchen. We have a big stainless steel stockpot, large enough to make soup or chili or boil pasta for my family of 8. We also have a smaller enameled cast iron dutch oven. 90% of our cooking is done in these two pots. Either pot can be used on the gas range in the RV, on our propane camp stove, or on a grate over a wood or charcoal fire. I don’t need a teakettle to heat water for my coffee; I can heat water in a pot. I don’t need dishpans to hold washing and rinsing water; we wash dishes in the big stockpot, and fill a large plastic salad bowl with rinse water. I don’t need a garlic press, cheese slicer, hard-boiled-egg cutter, etc. One large and one small cutting board and a small assortment of knives take care of anything I want to cut, chop, or dice.
Dehydrated foods also can help save weight and space. We often use a stew blend consisting of dehydrated potatoes, carrots, onion, celery, bell pepper and cabbage.
IN THE HEAD
I used to love big, thick, plush bath towels. They’re so warm and fluffy to wrap up in after a shower or bath. They take longer to dry, though, and take up more space when folded and stacked in the bathroom cubby, so in the RV we use thin beach towels. They are lighter and dry quicker on a clothesline between showers, so they can be reused a few times before washing. They also dry much quicker in a laundromat dryer.
We use campground showers when available instead of showering in the RV. This not only saves the cost of the propane we use for heating water, but saves time, since there are usually multiple showers, at a minimum one for men and one for women. When we have multiple people showering in different showers at once, though, it’s harder for everyone to share family size bottles of product like we would at home. To make going back and forth to campground showers easier, each child has a Dopp kit with their deodorant, toothbrush, and other personal care items. To further simplify, most of us use a 3-in-1 hair and body care product. Several brands offer these, mostly aimed at men. It’s simply a shampoo/conditioner/body wash all in one. It makes sense if you think about it- a product that will clean the hair and scalp should clean the skin of the body too, shouldn’t it? These products may not be best for everyone, but I recommend you at least give it a try. It’s so much simpler to carry around one product instead of a shampoo, a conditioner, and a bar of soap or bottle of body wash.
Do you need a bathroom scale in your teeny RV bathroom? I carried one around for a year before deciding we don’t need it. Many grocery stores have a “Higi station” or similar health station where I can check my weight and blood pressure from time to time.
Simplifying your beauty routine is important. Wear your hair in a style you can wash and air-dry, and you can leave behind the hot curlers, straightening iron, blow dryer, etc. If you don’t want to forgo makeup entirely, choose a foundation with SPF protection, one mascara and blush suitable for everyday wear, and one or two choices of lip color. I don’t need ten lipsticks to choose from or glitter eyeshadow, and you probably don’t either.
Packing light for your RV trip or fulltiming life may seem challenging at first, but will bless you and your family in the long run. Less stuff means you can have a smaller RV, spend less time cleaning up and repacking your RV, and spend more time making memories!