You’re an old pro at RV camping now, and can just sneak a week at camp without breaking a sweat. Renting RV for a week isn’t as long as it sounds, and as you don’t need to pack for every contingency because you’ll be home soon, you know there is ample room for what’s important: fun stuff.
For a short trip, on a rental RV, you can just pack the basics. Skip the specialty gear that makes long-term RV living easy, and rough it. Whatever you don’t bring, you probably can live without for a few days if you are just renting RV for a week, so let’s talk toys, and because there’s no shame in having fun, we’ll put the list in bold letters.
Leave the Hair Dryer; Bring Some Paperbacks
Reading is the old standby. My wife reads two or three at a time, leaving them at different spots. If you’re packing for a reader, bring the comfy chair. Zero-gravity chairs are standard camp gear these days, and some have side tables attached. The table may have a built-in cup-holder with a drain hole, so your cold drink won’t sweat all over the books you just set down there.
Should you bring the propane deep fryer? Nah, use that one cast iron skillet all the time and bring a telescope instead. Telescopes are way easier than fryers to keep clean, and you should take advantage of being away from city lights. A cardboard planisphere will save you from searching for a cell signal all night, and makes astronomy simple.
Light up the night
Other fun nighttime toys feature glow-in-the-dark tech, so now you can play GITD ball or even disc golf after sundown. Yes, volleyballs have it, too—add some LED rope light to the net. GITD face paint and LED runner’s gloves help you find the other players. There’s a whole list at this blog. Check out her recipe for GITD Jello!
Avoid the GITD pool stuff, though. Commercial pools have rules, and if they’re open at night, they’ll have lights. If they don’t have night lights, the pool is closed.
Change the Campfire Color
Campfire color changers are very popular, easily available online, and haven’t been ruled unsafe yet. They’re a mix of salts and metals, such as copper sulfate and copper chloride, that add an eldritch quality to the fire. Copper sulfate is used as an herbicide and pesticide, so, it’s pretty, but do you want to be downwind of it? Anyway, read the bag before you toss it on the fire, and follow those instructions.
I’ve seen DIY types use scrap copper, even old pennies, aluminum cans, galvanized pipe, too. But don’t do that because:
- Defacing currency is a federal crime
- Your fire won’t get hot enough to burn away your beer cans
- It releases poison gases. Potassium chloride is often used as a color changer, and as a substitute for table salt, so that seems safer to me. Supposedly it makes the flame turn purple
We used to add some firewood made from bois d’arc trees to change the campfire color. It also burns very, very hot, so don’t add it to your wood grill to entertain yourself cooking supper, or your living room fireplace at home.
Most campgrounds don’t allow you to bring in your own firewood, though, so check if it’s ok before you load up a bundle of it.
Ok, But What Do We Do All Day When Renting RV For A Week?
Of course, you’re going to try whatever they do at your destination, that’s why you went there. Maybe you’re taking that RV to deer camp, maybe you have tickets to a NASCAR race. Canoeing, hiking, fishing, muddin’, craft shows, yoga classes, whatever it is you’re into.
But once you’ve got the spacing on the dog tether worked out, how do you fill those hours after the activity and before dinner? When Mommy & Daddy want to nap but the kids don’t.
If you’re going to convince the family you’re actually doing camp chores and not sawing logs, you’ll need some props. Here’s a short list, a few related items, and some stage business to help you sell the idea.
Productive Things for Dad to Do While Sitting Down
Inflate the inflatables. Since you rented that canoe at the campground, you have room to bring the giant pink flamingo pool float. And the rainbow unicorn. In fact, you’re going to need to break out your camp chair, because your wife brought one for everybody.
Being Dad, you brought a multi-tip adapter to fit the old air mattress pump, but also being Dad, no one knows your secret, so pretend to be really winded each time you get one aired up. If the air pump is really quiet, you can milk this one all afternoon.
Clean the cast iron skillet. Everyone wants to eat, and no one will move you from your chair as long as you’re wielding a stiff wire brush. When it’s time to stretch your legs a minute, clean the charcoal grill.
You’re either putting it away from today, or you’re getting it ready for tomorrow. Either way, you can’t leave fishhooks lying around, so, pick up those rods and reels. Sure enough, just as you thought, your tackle box is a mess. It might take a couple of hours to sort it all out. You might be working by the light of your headlamp well after dark.
Let’s face it, you’re on vacation and didn’t even bring a belt to wear. But you’re Dad, and everyone is still going to come to you to fix things, vacation or not. Pocket-sized multi-tools are available in just about any configuration imaginable, but any tool will have the basics: pliers, screwdrivers, and a knife. Cooler ones have a flashlight.
Polarized sunglasses and a big hat
Ok, those are for Mom. I hate to break it to you, but she’s been fooling you for years. Check her bag for an mp3 player that says “yes, dear,” every once in awhile.
Just kidding. Check her bag for the portable gaming devices she brought for the kids. That will keep them quiet for a bit, while you make sure no bugs can get into the hammock mosquito net, because you can’t know if it works well enough to nap in unless you nap in it.
Special Things for Mom to Do While Dad Pretends To Be Working
Art class for one
Geocache is so over. Crack open the tap on that bag of wine, break out the learn-to-paint kit, and hold your own painting class. The gourmet bag of wine is supplied separately by your local sommelier, but the kits come with paints, brushes, and tools – even easels!
Pill caddies have more-or-less water-tight lids, and each “day” on a typical 7-day caddy holds a small tube of paint.
Pro tip: use a small canvas and keep that easel low enough so you can watch the kids over the top of it.
Adult coloring books
Stress-relieving mandalas, fanciful faery folk, or really funny cuss words make staying in-between the lines more fun than ever. Everyone at the picnic table can enjoy the same 64 colors, while you enjoy grown-up coloring.
Before the dogs get them all wet in the canoe, where it will make the perfect dog bed, break out the yoga mat and cork wheel. Stretch the body and relax the mind so you’ll be ready to take over when Dad needs help with the kids.
Glass is a no-no at campgrounds, so you used re-sealable plastic jarsto make a portable hydroponic herb garden. It fits into the garden’s custom road box that you converted from an old cooler and decorated at home, and is unlikely to transport soil borne blights.
Or maybe you bought one online that’s wifi-enabled and has an app for your phone. Anyway, dinner doesn’t season itself, as you point out while updating your Instagram and xposting on Pinterest.
You’re Gonna Eat out Anyway, Right?
Because this week-long whirlwind RV trip ain’t your first rodeo, you’re leaving behind the air fryer and packing that Scrabble edition with the lazy Susan game board. Other than the cast iron skillet, you left the pots and pans at home and microwaved stuff on your eco-friendly disposable plates, so you have room for the Origami Paddler foldable SUP.
Playing back-into-the-box with all your toys is sure to impress everyone at camp with roadie-like skills. You had to make the hard choices about what to pack, but that’s what a pro does. And you make it look easy. So go ahead and go crazy fun when renting RV for a week.