When traveling with my 13′ travel trailer, space is of the essence. As such, I’ve had to really learn what truly constitutes an “essential” and which comforts I can do without.
Packing for a camping trip in your travel trailer is quite different than packing for a camping trip with a tent. While you might be tempted to bring more than you need, your travel trailer can easily start to feel cramped with too many unnecessary items.
When preparing for your first travel trailer trip, I recommend making a list of everything you feel you just can’t live without (and use my checklist below to cross-reference). These are the absolute basics that will keep you on the road without having to hit up a store along the way. More often than not, you’ll find that you can make do with a lot less!
From what items to bring to my top packing tips, here’s how to pack for your first travel trailer camping trip!
Travel Trailer & RV Packing List For Beginners
Plan to cook on the road? These are some of my favorite travel trailer cooking items that I bring with me on every single trip!
Camping Stove with Fuel (If you want to cook outside of the camper.)
Collapsible Food Storage Containers & Ziplock Bags
Stovetop Cutting Board (Great space saver!)
Matches & Lighter
Cooler & Ice (if you don’t have a fridge)
Note: It’s tempting to want to bring an appliance or two when traveling in a camper, but ask yourself if you truly need it. If you really can’t live without your smoothies, this compact blender is perfect for small spaces.
Read more: The Ultimate Guide To Vegan Camping
Bed & Bath Essentials
Given that your bed is built into the camper, this is the section where skipping the tent really comes in handy. With a trailer, you don’t need sleeping pads, tarps, or sleeping bags (unless you prefer those over sheets and a comforter).
Here are some of my favorite travel trailer bed & bath essentials!
Toiletries (Shampoo, Conditioner, Deodorant, Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Moisturizer, Face Cleanser, Soap, Contact Lens Solution, Floss, Hair Ties, Make-up, Medications, Brush & Comb, Floss, Nail Clippers)
Camping in a travel trailer is just so much harder without each of these items. They come with me on every single trip.
Indoor & Outdoor Mats
Portable Speaker (not a necessity, but I bring it on all of my camping trips).
Adapters & Portable Charger
Generator (I love this brand!)
Travel Trailer Safety Essentials
These safety essentials are going to be what physically keep your travel trailer on the road. When I first purchased my trailer, I learned super fast that each and every one of them is absolutely crucial to travel trailer camping.
Tips for Packing for Your First Travel Trailer Camping Trip
Plan Your Meals Ahead of Time
Knowing exactly what food to bring and how much of each ingredient you need is going to be a lifesaver when packing your travel trailer. I’d advise you to always slightly overpack your food (you absolutely don’t want to run out), and bring as many dry, canned items as possible.
Additionally, try to avoid any glass storage containers, as things can fall over and shuffle while on the road.
Secure Loose Items
Though it seems almost inevitable that things are going to be slightly moved around after every road trip in your travel trailer, securing loose items before you take off will ensure that they don’t break and you don’t wind up with a huge mess.
Put everything in cabinets and closets, keep any heavy items low to the ground, and use slip-resistant shelf paper or storage containers to keep individual items in place.
Use Bungee Cables
Most camper travel trailers come with cabinet and closet doors that click shut, but you’d be surprised how little it takes for these to fling open. I recommend securing all doors with bungee cables while in transit.
Know Your Trailer Weight Limit
Every camping travel trailer will come with a manufacturer’s weight limit. This is the advisable load that your trailer can sustain without encountering structural issues. You’ll definitely want to know what this limit is and stay well under it for your personal safety, the safety of others, and the longevity of your trailer.
Balance the Load
Once you’ve chosen everything that you want to take on your camping trip, it’s time to pack it all inside the trailer. In doing this, make sure you balance the load throughout the trailer as evenly as possible or put ever-so-slightly more weight near the front. This will help prevent axel strain, tire blowouts, and a lopsided trailer.
Prime Your Travel Trailer
Before you take off on your camping trip, do a walkaround of your rig. Make sure your tanks are emptied, unplug your water hose, pull in any awnings, and take off the wheel chocks, jacks, and leveling blocks. Then, do a quick tire pressure check and ensure that your hitch is secured.