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RVing is a great way to explore the country and get away from it all. It’s like your own personal hotel on wheels! But what outfits should you pack for an RV trip? And, more importantly, what should you leave behind? Find out here!
What to Pack for an RV Trip
Table Of Contents
So you’ve just booked your RV trip! The RV is rented, you’ve planned your route, and now you just need to pack the most important things—your clothes!
When RVing, try not to assume you have space to take a full wardrobe of stuff, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. An RV has limited storage space, and if you’re sharing with people it can get cramped pretty easily. You’re going to want to pack as streamlined as possible and this means planning your wardrobe extra carefully!
Start by reading these general tips on packing for minimalist travel:
- How to Pack for Trips with Mixed Weather
- Create a Travel Capsule Wardrobe
- The Minimalista Packing List for Summer
- How to Pack Minimally for a Road Trip
What Do People Wear When RVing?
So for your RV trip, you’re going to want to plan your capsule travel wardrobe based on three important aspects: weather, location, and the activities you’ll be doing when on your trip.
A capsule wardrobe needs to be made up of reusable pieces that can be worked into different situations, but as you are also RVing—you want comfort pieces too, as a lot of your time will be spent driving or sitting in the camper, so things that are cool and not restrictive work best.
When planning your RV capsule wardrobe, stick to a color palette of items that can be easily mixed and matched. If you follow the rule of threes, you can plan to wear each item three times during the trip.
You CAN always hand wash some pieces in the sink of the RV if you need to! Choose quick-drying tops and tees and pack a small drying rack for any laundry needs. (Here’s how to do laundry while traveling!) This moisture-wicking, sun-protective shirt by Eddie Bauer is one example.
Your outfit choices for your RV trip will heavily be based on the activities you’ll be doing during the vacation. It’s advisable to have (at least) a rough itinerary for your RV trip. So you can plan outfits and where you NEED things. This stops the ‘I’ll bring it just in case’ element of your packing (something that always used to affect me—and leaves me with several pieces unworn!).
If you’re planning on hitting up a bunch of national parks and hiking into the wilderness, then you’re going to want to incorporate hiking pieces into your capsule wardrobe, ones that have UPF protection and are moisture-wicking, Like the Columbia Saturday Trail pants shown above!
Buy Anatomie Andrea Contrast Leggings: Anatomie
Besides hiking clothes, you could also add a couple of transitional pieces that can be dressed up if you decide to go to a dinner in a nice restaurant one evening or visit a local town rather than hit the trails. These Anatomie leggings are a TFG editor fave and transition from nature to evening wear well! (Check out our review on them!)
If you’re planning a coastal RV trip and cruising between beach towns, then skip the hiking boots and focus on the beachwear and cover-ups instead. You may be packing a rash guard and attaching a paddleboard to the roof rack.
Check out our great article series on the US National Parks for top outfit choices for those areas.
What to Wear on an RV Trip
One thing die-hard RVer’s know (and newbies fear), is being either too hot or too cold with the clothing choices you’ve made can be a serious damper on your fun holiday. But when you pack the right things, you’ll be able to compensate for hot or cooler moments during your trip.
Here is a packing list for a 10-day RV trip:
- Two short sleeve tops
- Two long sleeve tops
- Two additional tops
- One pair of blue jeans
- One pair of pull-on pants or leggings
- One additional bottom
- One dress, or a jumpsuit
- One rain jacket
- One warm layer
- Thermals (if very cold)
- Three socks
- Ten underwear
- Three bras
- One versatile sleep set
- Sun hat
- Waterproof hiking boots (hiking)
- Slip on sneakers (sightseeing)
- Flip-flops/Slip on UGGs (wear around the RV)
Your RV outfits should be versatile, packable, uber comfortable, and of course—easy to wash on the go.
Let’s get into more detail on how to dress comfy, yet cute for your RV adventure!
The weather can be unpredictable, but for an RV trip, you do want to pack at least one jacket. If you choose a good rain jacket, you can layer underneath if it’s also cold. The Orvis Pack-and-Go jacket folds down into a super small bundle that shouldn’t take up a ton of precious space but will keep you warm and dry if showers hit.
Buy REI Co-op Taereen Pants: REI (Sizes 0-16)
An RV trip is not the time to wear your tightest skinny jeans! However, comfy pants like these Tareen pants are great for an RV trip. They’re light and stretchy, with pockets in the front and back. These come in a neutral shade that you can coordinate your tops around, and you can be dressed up a little slip ons for any RV look.
Check out the best packable rain jackets for more ideas!
Buy IBKÜL Long Sleeve Mock: Amazon
When choosing tops, go for something that’s moisture-wicking. This technology used to mainly be found in sportswear, but you can now get a great range of more fashion-forward choices in moisture-wicking materials.
A long sleeve will protect you from sun on a hot clear day, (find one with UPF too!). The IBKÜL long sleeve shirt will be comfortable enough for all your RVing activities, plus you can layer it on a cooler day too.
Buy Yogalicious Racerback Tank Top: Amazon
A great tank option is this Yogalicious racerback tank. It feels super luxurious (and we love the range of colors available). It’s a stretchy polyester/spandex blend that feels like a second skin so you’ll feel so free to move, drive, walk, and more. You can team it with pull-on pants, or leggings easily, plus it comes in a range of colors for you to find a travel capsule style.
Buy REI Co-op Sun Up Jumpsuit: REI
A jumpsuit might not sound the most practical of wardrobe items, but you get the whole outfit from one piece of clothing. This REI jumpsuit is flexible to wear too, from hiking to seeing the city sights. Plus it has great UPF levels so you can wear it knowing you’re protected from the rays too.
You won’t be casual all the time so why not don a cute dress that’s also practical? This Columbia halter dress should be included on that list! It makes an awesome all-around dress due to the UPF 40 protection and fabric that pulls away moisture from the body.
Great for RVing as it packs light and It also has a zip security pocket to keep a phone or cards in place and comes in gorgeous colors and a range of sizes (XS-XL).
Buy Zella Live In High Waist Leggings: Nordstrom
The Zella Live In Leggings are great! Our readers rave about them for travel, for wearing under a tunic or for an airplane look, but they also work great for an athleisure style when RVing. The comfortable waistband won’t dig in as you’re sat for long hours driving, plus they can be worn for hiking, sleeping, or just lounging around the RV.
The best leggings for travel could expand your RV list!
Merino Wool Sweater
We love the J. Crew Tippi merino wool sweater, it’s always been a huge TFG favorite for travel due to its versatility. It looks great, is thin but still keeps you warm if temperatures drop at night, and you can go for days without washing it and it won’t retain odors. So this also would work for an RV trip too! (To learn more, check out our review on the J. Crew Tippi!)
What Are the Best Shoes for Rving?
Shoes can take up a ton of space when packing, so you want to bring a few pairs as possible. Think back to what you NEED, like hiking shoes/boots, if you’re hitting the trails, you might need sneakers instead if your trip is more likely to consist of towns and cities.
Then you should also bring a pair of easy to slip on shoes—in the summer, something like flip-flops or sliders, and in the spring, a pair of UGGs would be great.
Why slip-on shoes? Because when you’re RVing, you transition from indoors to outdoors a lot, whether it be to utilize the outdoor space as an additional living area, to head out for food at a rest stop, or simply to admire the view as you drive along the road.
So if (like me) you opt for comfort and bare/socked feet inside the RV—and why wouldn’t you, you don’t want to be trailing in the dirt to your temporary home—you want shoes that are easy to slip on in a moment’s notice if you stop for gas or at a diner along the way.
We love ipanema flip flops, They are super comfy and the T-bar styling makes them a little fancier than standard flip flops, and they come in a ton of cute colors. They’re great for throwing on at a moment’s notice when you spot an Instagram worthy view from the RV that you need to take a picture of!
They’re also cute enough to pair with a dress if you plan on a dinner or head into town sightseeing.
These are the most comfortable shoes for travel!
On RV campgrounds, the temperature can drop, so UGGs make the perfect slip on for these occasions. These Bailey UGGs have the traditional fluffy sheepskin lining that keeps you toasty. They are stain and water-resistant, so the morning dew or evening chill around your RV camping site won’t be an issue if you’re wearing these!
What Is the Best Luggage for an RV Trip?
Wheeled Duffle Bag
If you’re taking an RV rental from home, it’s much easier to pack up without thinking about storing a suitcase in the RV too, but often you fly to a destination and collect an RV once you’re there—so this brings up another issue, luggage!
For an RV trip, I’d say that hard shell luggage is a definite NO! Once unpacked, you don’t want to be tripping over it, and there simply might not be enough room to keep it inside the vehicle with you.
Samsonite bags are well known for their durability, and this Samsonite Andante has wheels which makes it a good option if you are flying and then RVing as you can pull it through the airport with ease!
Packable Duffle Bag
A soft duffle bag without wheels or a folding suitcase is another good option, as once you are unpacked, you can fold it into a small bundle and have more chance of storing it away without tripping over it for the rest of your vacay.
The Bago 60L Packable Duffle Bag is a versatile duffle that has a ton of pockets to help you get organized. Its size will help you to remain focused when packing as when it’s full, you know you can’t add more! Plus, at the bargain price point and with the bold and modern color varieties, you can easily get a different color for each family member so you can see in an instant whose things belong to whom!
Use Packing Cubes to Stay Organised
You can also sort your RV style using packing cubes for easy to organize garment storage. Compass Rose packing cubes are color-coded and numbered, so you know exactly where everything is! Try organizing by underwear in one cube, tops in another, and bottoms in a third. Or you could pack by day and put a full outfit into each cube.
See the full list of wheeled duffle bags!
When traveling in an RV, you’ll need some of the standard, essential toiletries, including:
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Body wash
- Moisturizer (face and body)
- Makeup (we recommend keeping it simple: mascara, concealer, and a lip tint that doubles as a blush)
- Hair ties and bobby pins
- Dry shampoo
Hanging Toiletry Bag
Pack your toiletries into a hanging toiletry bag so you can economize on space. The slim eBags designed bag takes up less space than a pair of jeans and stays flat, while having several compartments for your beauty odds and ends!
What Should I NOT Pack for an RV Vacation?
If you take an RV from home, it can be tempting to throw in an odd extra pair of shoes or an extra jumper for “just in case”. However, an RV closet space is tiny—much smaller than in a hotel, so even though there may be no airline luggage restrictions if you don’t need to fly, you still need to resist overpacking.
You can maybe avoid packing pajamas, instead, use a pair of sports leggings that are comfy enough to wear during the ride and could also be used for hiking on a warm day too.
Although you may be thinking PJs are super comfy, the beauty of being on an RV trip is seeing the delights of nature and country surrounding you, and you never know when you may spot a view or a landmark by the side of the road that warrants pulling over to snap a quick picture with it for your vacation memories. You want to be wearing an outfit that feels as good for pictures as it will for traveling.
Extra RV Travel Tips
If you’re in an RV, the chances are your space to hang clothes is limited. You can fit more in though if you have hangers that are slim. These folding hangers are great as they open as wide as you need them (in case your closet is not full standard depth).
Buy Pack Gear Portable Luggage Organizer: Amazon
You might also consider using a folding organizer like this Pack Gear portable one. Similar to using packing cubes, this lightweight organizer can hang over a doorway in your RV to give you extra storage room. You can pack all of your stuff inside at home, and then put the whole thing in your luggage, so when you arrive at your RV you can just pull it out and you’re already unpacked!
You may want to split it with a partner too, with you having a pocket each for small bits and pieces, like underwear, bottom layers or accessories, like scarves or wool hats.
What are your tips on how to pack when RVing? Share and comment below!
For more tips on road trips, please read:
- Cross Country Road Trip Essentials
- Wondering What Things to Pack for a Road Trip? Here Are Our Top 8 Essentials
- Car Camping Checklist for a Week in the National Parks in Utah
- How to Pack for a USA Southwest Road Trip
Suggested travel resources:
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