RV Information from Kampgrounds of America, Inc.

Packing for a trip cross country

Nina Genovese

From the very beginning you will learn that packing your RV for the family is basically a compromise. Make mental notes of what to bring, but begin initial packing in your family room or living room. There, start to store and sort through things that you will really be using. Think through everything at least a half dozen times.

One of the most important things to remember to pack are tools. A good list of tools to include are: pliers, an assortment of both open and closed. end wrenches, adjustable wrench, extra hose, several wooden leveling blocks, and, of course, a hammer and two or three sizes of screwdrivers, to include regular blade and Philips blades.

Next comes clothing. For early summer traveling the heaviest piece of clothing should be a sweater. Sportsclothes, such as jeans, t-shirts, and tops will become your basic wardrobe. In fact, anything that is wash and wear or permanent press is recommended highly. This type of clothing fits in with sightseeing very well. Plan to take along at least five days of clothing (shirts, underwear, socks, etc.) and use a laundry in between. Footwear should consist of old dependables, sneakers, plus one pair of your most comfortable casual shoes.

You can have some clothing on hangers in the closet and fold the rest in the camper's drawers. You can take along an iron but will probably hardly use it. Of course, if you intend to visit some special places, you'll want to pack some dressy type of clothing.

Don't forget sheets, pillows, pillow cases, blankets, sleeping bags, and towels. One set of bedding for each person and two towels each should suffice. The bedding items are no problem to store, since they'll stay on the beds.

The kitchen may prove to be the hardest part in packing for this trip. Your best bet is to organize around a menu plan. Pack three different size pots to cook with. An electric fry pan and coffee pot are musts. Disposable aluminum pans are useful too. If you don't like doing dishes, plan to include paper plates, plastic forks, spoons and knives, and paper towels. Paper cups, plastic glasses and a couple of plastic mixing bowls can be thrown in for good measure. A toaster and some cooking utensils are left to your personal preferences. Pack the cabinets in the kitchen very tightly so that when the RV is in motion, the items won't fall all over the place. Avoid glass articles if at all possible.

When deciding on what food items to pack, leave enough room to store up to four or five days of food. Again, avoid glass items. Powdered milk, cocoa, packaged ice tea, punch mix, tea, cereal, canned foods. and anything else that won't spoil and take up too much room should be included. The easiest way to decide on kitchen supplies is to go through the things in your kitchen at home and note which things you use everyday.

Most RVs have a medicine cabinet. Pack it full with a first-aid kit, aspirin, toothbrushes and toothpaste, soap, shampoo, cleaners, RV toilet paper, bowl cleaner, and a blow dryer. Some of these items can be kept in a small box and stored in the sink cabinet.

Try to pack your RV in an organized way. Make use of the spaces that are there. Have a check list and use it. Go over it all the time. Remember that if you tried to get the contents of your house into a 22-foot RV that it just wouldn't fit!

The most important thing is to secure everything in your RV. When in motion, doors should be closed and locked, drawers closed, table and counter tops cleared off, and refrigerator locked. If necessary, use rubber bands to tie your cabinet doors down.

Take along maps, a CB radio if possible, bathing suits, rubber thongs, ice cubes, alarm clock, oil for your RV, a gas can, rags, a water hose, lanterns, camp stove, fuel, wooden matches, plenty of batteries, portable radio, wood planks to prevent your RV from rolling when parked, camera, film, cards, games, small broom, sponges, and plastic bags.

Even though there is much planning involved, careful preparation will let you enjoy your trip. The first time you pack your RV, you'll make mistakes, but find that RVing is a great way to travel.

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