One of our favorite parts about having a travel trailer is the ability to leave it packed with most of our camping gear. Over the years we have added and eliminated items as we determined what we wanted to have with us on our camping trips. Today I’m highlighting our top 10 favorite items to keep in the camper–in no particular order.
Lest you think wipes are just for families with young children, read on about why I will always keep a pack of wipes in the camper. Need to wipe down that picnic tablecloth? A wipe can scour away those crumbs and drips. Did your s’more leave you with sticky fingers? Just grab a wipe and you’ll be good to go. No water or conserving water? Wipes can wash the day’s grim off a kiddo–or adult–lickety-split.
2. Weather alert radio
We’ve spent our share of nights riding out storms. On one of our early camping trips as a married couple, we were at Guilford Lake State Park when a tornado watch was issued. We only found out because the park ranger went site to site alerting people to be ready to seek shelter in the bathrooms. After that experience we soon purchased a weather radio that can be quickly programmed for whatever county we are staying in.
3. Collapsible dog kennel
We still have to leave our younger dog in a kennel while we are touring and away from the camper since she has a record of getting into trouble in our absence. Several years ago we purchased one from Amazon like this crate, and although it was great for our needs it was not super easy nor fast to put up and collapse on a daily basis. (There’s just not enough room in our camper to leave a crate of that size up all the time.) Last year we replaced it with a new model from L.L. Bean–and let me tell you: It’s worth every penny we spent. The design allows for really easy set up and tear down–and it is so much more compact than the old crate.
4. A battery-operated drill with a jack chuck
For a long time Jarrett used a manual crank on the trailer jacks (as well as on our former pop-up camper roof) until he noticed another individual using his cordless drill on his jacks. After a quick internet search Jarrett discovered that you can purchase a jack chuck and insert it into your cordless drill to operate your jacks (as well as some pop-up roofs). Now the set-up and tear-down process is much quicker and he doesn’t get nearly as sweaty doing it. Score!
5. Bed rails for the bunks
Back when we still had the pop-up camper, I had found two older bed rails at a rummage sale. We used one of them in the pop-up because our kiddos rolled around so much in their sleep we wanted to make sure they didn’t fall out of the bed. When we moved up to a travel trailer, the bed rails ended up working perfectly for the bunkhouse. They give me peace of mind that a kiddo isn’t going to roll out of those narrow beds and fall 5 feet down! I’m not sure what brand the bed rails are, but they are lighter than the version we had for the kids at home and they fold flat, so they can be stored under the bunk mattresses. This appears to be similar to what we are using in the camper.
6. Stick broom
During our pop-up camper days, we kept a small dust buster and a hand broom and dustpan in the cupboard to keep the floor free of sand, dirt, and crumbs. The travel trailer has more floor space, so we decided to upgrade to a stick vacuum, the Bissell 3-in-1 Vac, which also detaches to serve as a dust buster. (This looks like the newer but comparable product they have available now: the Bissell Featherweight.) Although stick brooms are not as powerful as a regular vacuum would be on carpeted portions, they still get the job done. And the kiddos love to use it to clean–so it’s a win-win for me!
7. Night lights
The floor area in our camper tends to get cluttered with shoes, bags, and dogs. So getting up to go to the bathroom in the night can be a rather interesting–ahem, painful–experience when all the lights are turned off. Popping a couple nightlights into a few outlets remedied that problem! We opted for the ones that automatically turn on when the room darkens, and then automatically shut off in daylight.
On a somewhat related note, headlamps are one of those versatile gadgets that all campers–whether RVers or tent campers–can find helpful. We’ve used headlamps to set up campsites after arriving at a campground later than expected. We’ve used headlamps to walk dogs before turning in for the night. We used to use headlamps a lot for the nighttime walk to the bathroom. And I’ve even used a headlamp to read after Jarrett has turned in for the night.
9. Rain gear
On those miserable rainy days, there are still times you will have to venture outside the camper–whether to go to the bathroom, walk dogs, etc. Having high quality rain gear can make a soggy experience more manageable. Jarrett has found that although many products may say they are waterproof or water resistant, after a while the rain water will start to seep through seams in clothing or the edges of boots. And since Jarrett hates getting wet feet while walking the dogs, and doesn’t want to have to change out of wet clothes, he absolutely loves his Gore-Tex coat, pants, and boots. Gore-Tex is expensive, but it does what it says it will do–keep you dry!
10. Ikea Jall laundry hamper
We discovered these laundry hampers last year after years of using the flimsy mesh ones that repeatedly ripped. One of the Jall hampers fits perfectly inside our back wardrobe cupboard alongside the hanging closet organizer. We can also put two of them side-by-side on the empty bunk so we can easily toss the dirty laundry in. When the hamper is full, the carrying handle makes it easier to haul it down to the laundry facility, and because it is on legs, the laundry bag portion doesn’t rest on the ground where it might be wet or dirty.
So there you have it–our 10 favorite things to have in the camper right now. What are some of your favorite things to have in your camper? Please visit the Facebook page and share!
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