Excess Baggage: Things People Bring on RV Trips that They Don't Use

Have you ever had trouble packing and storing everything that you think you need in your RV? Well, the problem might not be a lack of space–the problem might be that you are bringing excess baggage. With a little thought and planning, you can easily weed out the things that you don’t truly need from the things that you do. Here is how.

Why practice moderation

A little is good, but a lot might not be better. As you prepare for your next trip, look at what you are packing. Make sure that you are bringing just enough for your trip and not the next four trips. Buying in bulk might save a little money, but if you pack and store in bulk, you will be tripping and stumbling over things that you really don’t need and seldom use.

Unnecessary excess in the kitchen

Compare the size of your RV kitchen with the one in your home. No wonder you have to economize on what you bring. But if you wanted all the luxuries of home, you probably wouldn’t be heading out in your RV

Food prep equipment–leave anything that only has one use

Keep it simple. Only bring things that have multiple uses. How many skillets or pans do you need? Bring the fewest that you think you can get by with. Do you really need the weight and bulk of a cast iron skillet? If you think you need it, use it for all the frying that you need to do. 

The same goes for cooking utensils and tableware. If you run into an occasion that requires more, opt for plastic and paper. Take just enough coffee cups and glasses as well.

You really don’t need that blender, food processor, toaster, toaster oven, bread making machine or air fryer either. If there is an appliance that you will be using daily, by all means bring it. But if it will only be used once or twice on a trip, you might want to consider leaving it home


Pretty much everywhere that you might choose to go, you will find stores where you can stock up on food. You don’t need a whole case of canned tuna or a large canister of flour. Bring what you plan on using for the first week, then restock at stores along the way.

Limit the volume of canned food. It is easy to store several cans of soup or fruit and veggies, but those are very easy to replace on the road. It might be hard, but limit the cans that you bring and you will save a lot of room.

In the refrigerator, keep just the basic condiments, along with one or two favorites. You don’t need five different kinds of salad dressing and 4 kinds of hot sauce. And stick to one kind of creamer for your coffee or tea.

And remember that when you shop on the road, you have limited room so only buy things to replace those that have been used up. Remember that limited space doesn’t mean you can’t eat healthy on the road.

Bringing along too much gear for entertainment

Every trip will have gray, rainy days where you just want to hunker down in your RV, so you need to bring things to do, but don’t overdo it. Keep in mind that you can still work out and stay fit without a lot of equipment.

Books of the bound variety

While you might want to bring an old-fashioned bound book or two, you can find a number of apps that will let you read books on your phone or tablet. You can bring a virtual library without adding weight or taking up space. Just make sure that you know how to work the app and download new books before you leave so you don’t have to spend time figuring it out while you are on the road.

Some campgrounds have communal libraries where you can trade books. Here, you can exchange the book that you just finished for one that you have been wanting to read. This gives you a bigger variety without taking up any extra space.


While they are nice, most guidebooks can hardly compare with the sources that you can find online. And don’t forget that online sources are updated much more frequently than printed books, so they stay accurate and up to date.


It’s always nice to bring games with you, but try to find games that are light and small. How many games can you play with a simple deck of cards? And don’t overlook games that you can download onto your phone or tablet. Like books, there is a wide variety available, and most are free or very inexpensive. You can fit a whole cupboard full of games on your tablet!

Puzzles are nice to pass the time, and they are light and take up little space. Just make sure that they are small enough to finish in one sitting–you don’t want to have to hold your plate in your hand while you eat because a half-finished puzzle is covering the table.

Don’t bring along your entire wardrobe 

Leave your gowns and suits at home. You might not even want to bring a necktie. You are headed out to enjoy the rustic elements of life, so keep your clothing selections simple. Bring clothes that are functional instead of the latest fashion.

And don’t bring too many. You can always wash them at the campground laundromat or stop at a laundromat as you drive. Bring enough for 4 to 5 days, then plan on doing a couple of small loads.

This applies to your towels and bedding as well. You might not even need an extra set. You may be able to strip your bed, wash them, then put them back on the same day. That will free up some much-needed space.

And leave most of your jewelry at home. It is easy to lose and can make you a target for thieves.

Take along tools that will get used

Sure you need some tools for that unexpected repair, but you don’t need to bring your entire workshop.  Pack a basic tool kit that includes:

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Hammer
  • Pliers
  • Screwdriver (that converts from standard to Phillips)
  • Vise grip
  • Wire cutters

And of course, you can’t forget the all-important and multi-use DUCT TAPE!

Finding a balance with your firewood

One more item that you should leave at home is firewood. You can buy wood at many stores and most campgrounds sell it. Since it is easy to buy, you might as well leave it at home. You will save space and won’t have the mess, which often includes a variety of insects, to worry about. Plus, transporting firewood can spread invasive forest pests, like emerald ash borer.

Get ready, pack, go!

Now that you have minimized what you are bringing, you might have room for a few extra fun things, but remember not to overdo it. Do your best to leave your work, worry, and problems at home. You are on the road to rest and relax, so that is what you should do!

And when you return from a trip and start to unpack and unload, list the items that you took that you never used. You can use this list to help reduce the unneeded items from your next trip. 

Remember…when it comes to packing, simpler is better. The fewer accessories and distractions you have, the more you can enjoy crossing items off your RV bucket list!

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