Hubby and I got our first travel trailer last September and were only able to take it out once before we put it into storage for the winter, but I’ll tell you what, I wish I would have found a list last year before we went out for our first venture! LOL
We have rented pop-ups in the past when we would go to our annual family reunion in Michigan, and they usually came with everything that we needed. If they didn’t, there was always someone at camp that had what we needed since we travel over 1400 miles one way to spend the week with all of our extended family.
I want to share with you a very short, but important list of items that you will want to make sure you have before you take your travel trailer out for the first time. I would suggest writing everything down. I know we all like to think, “oh, I’ll remember that!” On our first trip, we had 1 full sheet of things we wanted to make sure we put in the trailer, but thank goodness we had that same pad of paper with us in the camper! We ended up writing down another half page of items we want to make sure we bring on the next trip.
Having a generator is very important and making sure you have the correct generator is even more important! When we went on our first trip in the travel trailer we had, what we thought, was a great, quiet generator. The generator was quieter than our neighbor’s generator, which was great. However, we couldn’t even brew our coffee in the morning without shutting everything else in the trailer down. Coffee makers take a lot of energy because of the heating coils in them to make your coffee hot. So if you plan on going dry camping and will not be hooked up to any kind of power, be sure that your generator is strong enough to power everything that you need. Be sure to check out our blog on generators where we discuss all the details what size generator you need for a travel trailer.
2. Gas Can
If you are going to be dry camping and not “glamping” you want to make sure that you have enough gas to keep your generator running when it needs to be running. We like this gas can because of its no-spill spout. It may cost a little bit more, but it’s worth it. You can tip the can vertical, insert the spout into the generator opening, then press the button to begin and control pouring. To stop pouring simply release the button. Practically eliminates spills and overflows.
3. ¾ inch Drill Socket and Drill
We suggest having a separate ¾ in. drill socket and cordless drill specifically for the travel trailer. It is essential that you keep the battery charged all the time and have it located in a place where it can be easily accessed when you pull up to your campsite. We have ours placed in the under-belly storage so that when we park we can hop out of the truck and know exactly where the drill is so that we can lower the leveling jacks. Bring your cordless drill with this bit attached to it and you can zip your jack stands up and down effortlessly.
4. Leveling Blocks
We found these excellent leveling blocks that my husband really likes. They are more convenient than wood blocks because they interlock with each other and are easy to store. These leveling blocks allow you to stack the interlocking blocks to the desired height for easy leveling.
5. Wheel Chocks
Wheel chocks are very important! Once you have your travel trailer parked, you want to make sure that you have your wheels chocked, so the trailer doesn’t roll on you once you disconnect it from your vehicle. We found these wheel chocks, they are heavy duty, solid rubber.
6. 3 Foot Level
Once you have your travel trailer parked, you want to make sure that it is level, so you are not rolling off the bed while trying to go to sleep. We suggest getting a 3-foot level to make sure you are level front to back, and side to side. A 2-foot level is too short to measure accurately and a 4-foot level is too long to store easily. We find that a 3-foot level is perfect. Also, check out our articles called How To Level a Travel Trailer on a Slope for some great tips on how to quickly and easily level up your travel trailer.
7. Outdoor RV or Travel Trailer Rug
Unless you want to follow everyone in and out of your travel trailer around with a broom, you should invest in an outdoor RV or travel trailer rug. We chose this one because it is large enough to cover most of the side of our trailer. We take our Skye Bird with us and as I’m sure you know, dogs can and will drag in lots of dirt and grass on their paws. By putting this large area rug out in front of our stairs and under the awning, she will lay here instead of on the dirt, weeds, or grass helping to keep that stuff from traveling into the trailer with her. Same goes for our shoes, right? When we go camping, we are walking around on dirt and gravel for the most part, and having the outdoor RV rug to wipe our feet on before entering the trailer helps keep most of the dirt out. Another great thing about this particular rug is the carrying bag! This allows for easy cleanup and storage.
8. Broom and Dust Pan
Some people will wait to sweep out their trailer until they get home, but why would you want to bring the dirt home with you? Just buy an inexpensive extendable broom and dustpan set that you can keep in your under-belly storage, under-the-bed storage, or tucked away in one of your cabinets.
9. Battery Powered LED Light
You can’t always pull into your campsite during the daylight hours, so it is good to have a battery powered LED light on hand and again in a convenient place in your trailer storage. You also want to make sure that you have extra batteries on hand!
10. Outdoor table
We suggest getting an outdoor table for the convenience factor. For instance, if you have stuff that doesn’t need to be brought in every night, i.e., coffee maker, stainless steel coffee cups, paper plate holders, flashlights, etc. you can leave them on the outdoor table, and they can be easily found the next time you’re ready to use them. And you can put your cooler full of cold beverages underneath it. The outdoor table is also convenient for prepping your meals. We chose this outdoor table because it is lightweight, durable, and collapses small enough to go into a carrying bag.
If you are not going to be parking at an RV park, you are probably going to want a portable grill. You can find little propane grills or charcoal grills. We decided to get a propane grill that attaches to the back of our travel trailer, and we ran a line for the propane from our propane tanks at the front of the trailer. One thing you have to remember is to make sure that you get a gas line long enough to go from the propane tanks to the grill. We were about 3 feet short of that and had to set up our grill on our outside table on our first trip. Oh, the lessons we learned on our first trip!
12. Paper Plate holders
We all love the convenience of paper plates, right? Especially if we are just doing burgers and hot dogs on the grill. It is easy and convenient to grab paper plates for these quick and easy meals. As we all know, some paper plates are not of very good quality, so we got some of these plastic paper plate holders. Please keep in mind, paper plates are better than styrofoam plates. Yes, styrofoam plates are a little sturdier than paper plates, but they are not good for the environment. Plus with paper plates, when you are done eating you can just throw them into the fire pit, put your plastic holders on your outside table, and move on with your day!
13. Break-Resistant Plate and Bowl set
We know how convenient the paper plates are while camping, but if you decide that you want to grill up some steak or boneless chicken, you should have a set of plates and bowls so that you can cut your meat without cutting the paper plate along with it. My grandparents were avid RVers years ago and when we got our travel trailer my grandma highly suggested getting a Cornelle Dish set. This is the set she gifted us with for our “house warming gift” for the travel trailer. The Cornelle dish set is made with a break, and scratch resistant patented Vitrelle glass technology. They are lightweight and very durable. My grandparents had their set for over 30 years before they stopped traveling.
14. Coffee Maker
No campsite is complete without a coffee maker! We are passionate coffee drinkers, so we had to make sure that this was one of the first things be bought for the travel trailer. My husband likes his black, and well, I am more of a foofoo coffee drinker and need some creamer to sweeten mine up a bit. Many coffee makers are electric but this Coleman coffee maker runs on the stove top so you don’t have to power up the generator to make your coffee. Just light the stove burner and you are good to go. Mike here at RVBlogger loves his coffee maker and says he doesn’t have to worry about quiet time to make some coffee.
15. Cast Iron Skillet Set
We did not have a cast iron skillet set on our first venture out in the travel trailer, but I sure wish I did! Thank goodness our friends/neighbors had one! We were able to have sausage, bacon, and eggs for breakfast on our last morning out. We didn’t even pack a regular stove skillet, but we brought all the stuff for breakfast! This is another reason why it is essential to have a written down list! Lodge cast iron skillets are pre-seasoned and they really are the best. I suggest a dutch oven skillet combo for your first set. You’ll have all the bases covered.
16. Kitchen Utensils Set
We may have forgotten our skillet, but we were sure to bring our kitchen utensil set on our first outing! We found this excellent 38 piece set that has everything you should need in your travel trailer. Don’t forget to get measuring cups too!
17. Space Saving Tupperware Set
If you are anything like me and cook to feed an Army, there are sure to be left-overs! We are a family of 7, and you want to make sure there is enough for everyone, and now that most of the kids are gone from home, I am yet to learn how to cut down my portion sizes to make just the right amount for the 2 of us. We always have left over, so we decided to get these collapsible containers so that they don’t take up too much space in our already small cabinets. I like these ones, in particular, because they are silicone and are BPA free.
18. Non-Slip Shelf Liners
This one another helpful tip from my Grandma. With their 30 years of RVing, they really learned a lot. Non-slip shelf liners are a great idea so that your dishes, spices, snacks, and anything else you may have on your shelves or in your cabinets don’t slide around while you are traveling.
19. Plastic Cups
Not always will you be drinking a cold beverage out of a can or bottle, so it is a great idea to have some plastic tumblers on hand for this exact reason. We found some plastic mason jar type cups that have lids and straws. Very cool and convenient to have, not only in the travel trailer but also to have at home for the weekend BBQs!
20. Sheets/Blankets for the Bed
I know, sounds silly to even have to write this down. However, this is another one of those things that we said, “oh, we should remember this!” We didn’t remember until we were getting ready to leave the house! Thank goodness it is a queen size bed, and we actually had some queen size sheets in the house. FYI – travel trailer queen sized mattress is actually a short queen so you queen sheets form the house will be too long to fit properly. If your good with that then great. If not check these short queen sheets out. And a blanket is always good to have for those cool summer nights.
21. Over the Door Shoe Organizer
This doesn’t have to be for just shoes, either! Yes, we had some shoes in it, but it is also a great place to store other things like flashlights, bathroom supplies, or even for adding a little bit more to your pantry space. We like this shoe organizer because it is made for narrow doors and for the oversized mesh pockets.
22. Camping Chairs
We are camping, right? Everyone needs to have their own chair to sit and relax in. I even suggest getting one for the little ones too! Camping chairs are collapsible and easily stored in the under-belly of the trailer. Camping chairs are great for sitting around the table and playing cards in the afternoon or sitting around the fire in the evening to roast your marshmallows for s’mores! And in case you’ve never tried one, zero gravity chairs are the best for relaxing!
23. Wood for the Fire
Whether you are dry camping or glamping, there is no guarantee that there is going to be firewood there and ready for use. We suggest getting a few bundles for just-in-case. Most campers will want a fire in the evening or maybe in first thing in the morning when the temperatures are lowest to help warm up or keep them warm. The fire pit is my favorite place to hang out in the evenings with music playing in the background and just catching-up or meeting new friends.
24. Fresh Water Tank Hose
If you are going dry camping, you need to make sure that you have a good, clean hose you can use to fill up your fresh water tank. You want to make sure that you tag this hose so that it can and should not be used for anything else.
25. Sewer or Black Tank Hose
I know we don’t want to talk about it, but we all do it. That’s right, we all use the toilet. If you are going to be filling up the black tank while you are camping, we would like to suggest this black tank hose with clear elbows so that you can see when the tank has been dumped and cleaned out. This set comes with everything you should need to clean out your tank.
Going out your first time in a travel trailer can be so much fun. We want you to have fun on your trip, and this is why we want to help make sure you have everything you need. Like we mentioned before, it is imperative that you write it down. We all think we can remember everything, and I am sure I have forgotten something in this blog, but we will all forget something.
We would like to know your thoughts and if you forgot something on your first trip out in your travel trailer. What would you recommend someone take with them that we did not mention here? Please leave your thoughts or suggestions in the comments section below.
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Jennifer Wright is a freelance writer, content writer, and published blogger. She is happily married to her husband of 23 years and has three grown boys. Jennifer was injured at work in 2011 and lost her job due to that injury. She was asked to help her friend write a couple of blogs, and it has now turned into her full-time position, which she absolutely loves. When Jennifer is not on her computer writing, she enjoys driving her 2017 Camaro, camping in her travel trailer, and spending time with her friends and family.