You’ve got the RV, you’ve got the reservation, and you secured that month-long discount like a pro when renting RV for a month, not to mention all the steep end-of-the-year sales on your camp gear. Though jam-packed with cabinets and storage bays, RV interiors are small – a typical size is around 300 square feet, about the size of a small bedroom.
RVs can range from the size of the bed in a teardrop trailer up to the industry maximum of 400 sq. ft. The RV Industry Association notes that some state standards are still set to the “outdated” limit of 320 sq. ft.
Being the pro you are, you checked out all that when renting RV for a month and chose one legal on all the roads you’re traveling. Now you’ve got to fit all of your stuff in it. So I will be sharing some preparation tips and hacks for your month-long RV adventure.
Preparing To Pack Your RV
If your SO couldn’t stand you organizing all your backpacking gear in the living room, now that you’ve graduated to RV camping, you’re going to need a plan. And some work space. Set up that canopy you bought out in the backyard and work there.
It’s good practice for when you’ll be doing it at camp, and it keeps the house tidy. Clear out space in the garage, maybe, because you’ll need a place to store your RV stuff when it’s not in the RV. So, now you’re ready to pack.
What You Need To Do Before Your 30 Day Odyssey
Request HoldMail and Stop Recurring Orders
I know, you’re raring to go on your 30 day odyssey, but don’t neglect the place you spend the other 335 days of the year. Of course, you long ago placed all your bills to auto-draft from the bank, but stop by your local U.S. Post Office (or their website, holdmail.usps.com) and request they hold your mail.
You don’t want that piling up with all the online stuff that you forgot to stop ordering. BTW stop ordering stuff online a few weeks before you go, including any recurring orders automatically shipped each month, like prescription medications.
Find a Pharmacy Onsite
Speaking of which, even though you stocked up for this trip, things happen. It’s smart to find a pharmacy near your destination where you could get replacements or refills. It’s pretty easy with national chains, but independent pharmacies may require a call from your doctor. So the next thing you need to do after renting RV for a month is to decide on a location and find a nearby pharmacy.
Make Necessary Arrangements to Your House
Have a lawn service that will continue to mow and avoid nuisance fines for tall grass. Put the lights on timers, set the A/C to 88º or so, remove all the perishables from the fridge and the fruit bowl, cover the basics. Pull the battery from the car you’re leaving at home and hook it to your trickle charger in the garage. Make arrangements to keep up your regular maintenance.
Tips When Packing For an RV Trip
Don’t Pack Items That Can Be Bought From Campground Store
Even though it’s way bigger than your old tent, RV space is limited. Of course you’ll need the basics, like a fire extinguisher, roadside flare kit (there’s nice LED “flare” kits these days), and a first-aid kit.
Bug repellant of some kind, and the Tick Key, seriously, you need one of those, just trust me on this. Many campgrounds have a general store; shop there instead of bringing everything with you – remember that fridge won’t be on while you’re towing the RV.
Pack According To Your Planned Activities
Planned activities are easier to pack for than preparing for just anything that might come along. So plan some activities and pack for them. If you’re hiking in the mountains this time, you won’t need the kids’ swim fins from last time by the lake.
Some Items Are Provided By Campground
Get out your gear and take a look at it. Anything the campground provides, leave that stuff behind. You’re going to be buying firewood there, because laws and stuff, so you don’t need that chainsaw. Most places have outdoor grills for you to use, so just bring the charcoal if it’s not sold at camp. In short, if you’re unlikely to use it, don’t bring it.
Make Room for What Is Important to YOU
If it’s important to you, make room for it. I’ve seen people travel with potted plants to put around their campsite. Not a bad idea – lemon plants smell like lemons, work like citronella, and you can rub the leaves on your skin as an insect repellant. Some people have their names on a sign out front.
A lot of people have custom-made step units leading up to their doors. You chose to rent an RV for a month so that you can pack what you want.
Stuff for Your Stuff and Camp Hacks
Once you’ve culled the nonessentials, you can geek out on organization. Here’s an entry-level hack: pack your clothes and linens in vacuum-seal bags and compress them to save room. An upright vacuum cleaner will probably fit into some cabinet of your RV, so bring it along; as well as repacking those bags, you’ll need it to keep the carpet clean and the slide-out’s overlays free of debris that could get stuck and gouge the floor.
Secure Items in Cabinets with Containers
Bins and containers keep loose items secure inside cabinets and drawers, and temporary childproof locks secure those cabinets and drawers for travel. Get a label maker for those bins and make things easy on yourself.
Camp-Pro Hack: Use a screwdriver roll-up bag for your silverware. The knife block will probably need a toolbox.
Versatility of Hanging Shoe Bags
Hanging shoe bags can hold things other than shoes, and roll up for storage. Over-the-door hooks are a must for towels, because that bathroom is small and probably won’t have a shower curtain rod to throw them over (often the curtain is hung from track in the ceiling).
It’s common at camp to tie up a clothesline outside – don’t put it where people will walk into it and choke themselves, and take it down when you leave. It’s inconsiderate to girdle the trees or clothesline the guy who cuts the grass around there.
Stuff for the Outdoors when Renting RV for a Month
Clear the Grass Patch
Now that I mention it, mowers tend to give RVs a wide berth, so if you’re at a grassy site for a month, things may get shaggy around your tires and hookups.
Camp-Pro Hack: Bring a small electric weed-trimmer for your campsite. They’re quieter and don’t need gas or oil. Ask permission before you use it.
Bring Outdoor Lighting
Outdoor lighting will help you find your way around an unfamiliar campsite at night, so, it’s both practical and cool looking. LED rope light and the tried-and-true low-voltage Christmas tree lights go a long way around a canopy, and won’t keep tripping breakers all night.
Camp-Pro Hack: Mixing some bug lights into your design will make you the envy of camp. Ditch the tiki torches and quit setting yourself on fire when you trip over things.
Take Tech to the Next Level
Hard water, that is water rich in dissolved minerals such as calcium, is common around campgrounds, and bad for RVs. The dissolved minerals collect in pipes and water heater components. Portable water softeners protect the RV’s water heater and plumbing from such calcification, extending their service life for just a couple hundred bucks.
Camp-Pro Hack: Bring extra anode rods for the water heater. They’re cheaper than water softeners.
Outdoor Movie Entertainment
Video projectors are cheap nowadays, and plug into a laptop, if not the RV. Hang an old bed sheet or tarp from your camper’s awning, or use a sidewall of the outdoor canopy you put over the picnic table when the bugs were out, to make your own drive-in picture show.
Camp-Pro Hack: Bring DVDs because streaming may not work at rural Internet speeds.
Prevent Seasick with Wheel Stabilizer
Stop getting seasick and partner those old plastic chocks with tensionable tandem axle wheel stabilizers. These fit between the tires and greatly reduce the shake, rattle, and roll from walking around inside the trailer. They make stabilizers to go under the slide-out, too.
Take Tech Back Down a Level
Gadgets are fun, but don’t underestimate the good times that can be had with an old fashioned board game. They don’t need power and can be played indoors on a rainy day. Corn hole, ladderball, and horseshoes are perennial outdoor favorites, and you’ll feel left out if you don’t have at least one of them set up. Butterfly nets will wear the kids out and make them sleep all night.
Other Non-Tech Items
Get a hammock and some sturdy rope. Figuring out where to hang one is almost as much fun as figuring out how to get in it. Or out of it. It’s more fun as a couple, so get a big one.
Paper maps. GPS is surprisingly limited in some areas RVs like to go. I know they’re hard to fold, but unless you have a degree in geography, people will forgive you for folding it wrong.
The Best Hack is Experience
Of course, the best hacks are the ones you come up with yourself, so get out there and practice since you are renting RV for a month, or if you own the RV, practice at home. Then you’ll be ready for those days when your home is away from home. If you are looking to rent an RV long term, check out this guide.