Packing the Family | Summer RV Trips

Updated: Apr 14

What is the most daunting part of camping, especially when you have a family? Packing!

Forgetting something important can take a trip from great to terrible in the blink of an eye. It's enough to stop some people from taking a trip at all. As a mom of 3 (4 if you count my husband) I completely understand how the thought of getting everything packed can be overwhelming.

I am an organizer and make a list for everything, so I am here to take the stress out of getting your family on the road. My checklist covers everything you need for a successful trip, without the worry of forgetting something.

If you are looking for the digital checklist, you can find it here.

If you'd like the printable, click here.

If you're looking for in-depth information on making packing easier and the products I suggest, you're in the right place!

Thoughts on Packing

The number one biggest tip I can give you on packing your family for a trip is to make it simple.

Have a go-to routine for getting your gear out to the camper and stick to it. Once packing becomes a habit, you can get ready for your trip on autopilot and hit the road without that feeling of forgetting something.

I utilize a lot of collapsable tubs, plastic bins, and baskets to make packing as easy as it can be. You'll need to find bins that fit your camper, so I suggest making a note on your phone with the dimensions of every drawer, cabinet, and space you want to use for storage. That way when you're out and about and find good containers, you can know if they'll fit the rig or not! An example of the list I keep is on the left. It's pretty extensive, I wanted to be sure that, if I found something I thought might work in the camper, I had those dimensions.

Once you have containers that fit your rig, it's easy to pack them up in the house and carry them out to the camper. I have the kids help me carry out each tub so I don't have to do so much back and forth. I cannot stress how much of a difference a good system makes. Maybe containers don't work for you, but throwing things in a laundry basket and making only 2-3 trips out to the rig is the system you need. Find what works and stick to it!

The List

Let me break down each area with things to consider and a few tips. If you are looking for recommendations for items to purchase, click here!


These are your basic needs. What I bring on each trip varies greatly for each area depending on what we are doing and where we are going. If our camping trip is a weekend at a local campground to relax, I probably won't bring much past a toothbrushes, toothpaste, and bug spray. If we're going on a week long trip where we are sight seeing and venturing out a lot, I'll bring pretty much the entire medicine cabinet. Gage what you need, and leave the rest. Be prepared so you can be comfortable, but if you know you won't use your make up for a trip--I'd say leave it at home. The less you have to drag back and forth the better!

One of my favorite tips is to find bins that fit the medicine cabinet in your camper and store your toiletries in them in your house. Then, when it is time to go camping, all you have to do is grab the containers and go! You know you've got all of your necessities because that is where you always keep them! It's easy to label your containers (we have "Sun & Bug", "Medicine & First Aid", "Kids' Stuff", "Hair", "Mom's Stuff", and "Dad's Stuff"). This way I don't have to have 2 of everything and I never forget things.


My favorite container for clothes are collapsable fabric cubes. I have enough for each family

member to have up to 3 containers. The nice part is when we aren't using the camper I can collapse all of our cubes and store them in one, so they don't take up much space at home. Sometimes I can get away with using only one tub per person (in the summer!) when we are going on a weekend trip!

I pack enough pants, shirts, socks, undies, and PJs for all of the days we are gone, plus one extra set just in case. Then, I usually pack a sweatshirt, rain jacket, and sweatpants for everyone no matter the time of year. No one wants to be cold when the sun goes down!

If you have hanging space, I usually leave everything that is normally on hangers on the hanger to save me time. Then, if something is still clean when we get home I just move it right back to it's spot in the closet.


One of the biggest mistakes I see RVers make is over packing for the kids. Moms will drive themselves crazy trying to make sure they have all the entertainment they could possibly need. Then, they get to the campsite and the kids busy themselves with digging in the dirt, exploring, making new friends, and creating something out of nothing.

When it comes to the kids, don't over do it! Pack the essentials, their favorite stuffy and a pillow. Maybe a few outdoor toys, a game or movie incase it's rainy, and call it covered!


I am one of those moms that want to bring EVERYTHING for outdoors. When we get away from the daily grind, leave the tablets and home, and get into nature, I want the kids to have all. the. things. My compromise with myself is I try to bring different things every time. One time we have the soccer ball, the next we have the ball gloves and bat.

One great tip is to use