13 Camping Must-Haves We Couldn't Live Without

On June 7th we hit the official 6-month mark! It's hard to believe we've been on the road for half a year already, and yet in some ways it feels like we've been out here a very. long. time. After hitting our halfway point, we've realized there are a few things we've really come to rely on while traveling across the country. So we thought we'd compile a list of a few of those must-haves we just can't live without.

1.  Camelback relay Water Filter

Image c/o AroundThePlate.org

Image c/o AroundThePlate.org

We originally wanted to get a larger water filter for the road, but we have a teeny-tiny fridge and we can't afford to give up counter space. We liked the Camelbak water filter design and that it double filtered -- on the way in and on the way out. Turns out that even though the filters are crazy hard to find, this guy really does the trick.

2.  Coffee Maker

We know: most people would have kicked this appliance right out the door. But we are coffee-a-holics. We get headaches when we don't drink our coffee. And while our coffee maker takes up space, it's a whole lot easier than using the french press everyday. 

3.  Dish Rack + Dish Mat

13 Camping Must-Haves We Couldn't Live Without

Before we left we bought a tiny fit-in-the-sink dish rack and brought along our dish drying mat from home. We wash every dish we have by hand, and I can't say enough about just how important these two items are to us. 

4.  Small fan / space heater

For obvious reasons (environmental impact, potential for blowing a breaker, noise), we try to limit how much we run the window AC we have. A small clip-on fan is fan-tastic (pun intended) for cutting back on electric usage and keeping us cool. On the flip side, we've used our small (but mighty!) space heater a ton. It's also very compact and uses little voltage. Another big plus.

5.  Verizon MiFi Hot Spot

Image c/o CNET.

Image c/o CNET.

While it's both a thorn in our sides (because data is crazy expensive through Verizon) and a blessing, our MiFi is mostly a blessing. We can't survive or work without internet, and it is crazy convenient to bring it with us wherever we go. If only Verizon would sponsor us already...

6.  Long Stem Lighter

We use this lighter to start fires, start the burners on our propane stove, and to light candles (a necessity in a small space). So I'd say this guy deserves a big thumbs up.

7.  Over the Stove Cutting Board

Image c/o brightcutleryknives.com

Image c/o brightcutleryknives.com

As far as kitchen items goes, this guy is a winner. It's from Camco, a company that specializes in products for RVers. We purchased this cutting board online thinking it'd be handy since it fits over the stovetop of most campers and creates extra counter space. What we didn't anticipate is that we'd chop every onion, potato, pepper and vegetable under the sun on this thing. And when we do dishes, we set the drying mat on top of it, creating a safe place for dishes to be rinsed and dried. 

8.  Water Bottles

My big brother bought us a pair of new water bottles before we left, and they are a total necessity. We fill them up on the road, in the city, when we're traveling, in the trailer. Hydration is a must. 

9.  Hiking Boots

Mel's Mountain Cascade boots from Danner.

Mel's Mountain Cascade boots from Danner.

We hike a whole lot on the trip. In fact, I think we've done a hike in every state we've visited so far. These boots are definitely a need-to-have when traversing rocky terrain and the many trails we frequent. 

10.  Radio

When we first hit the road, our standard plug-in-the-wall radio didn't make the cut. We thought that if we wanted to listen to anything, we'd just stream it. What we didn't count on is unreliable cell service making that impossible at times. We pretty much have no entertainment other than listening to the radio in the car and now, thanks to our moms digging it out of storage and bringing it to us, our radio in the trailer. Listening to Morning Edition in the a.m. and All Things Considered in the p.m. makes our day a whole lot more informative and entertaining.

11.  Shower Caddy + Flip Flops

Image c/o Target.com

Image c/o Target.com

We live like college kids. And every college student living in a dorm knows that you've got to have a shower caddy and shower shoes when sharing public bathrooms. 

12.  Hand Broom + Dust Pan

We do a lot of sweeping in the trailer. I sweep at least 2x a day, and this handheld version is just the right size and takes up zero space. It's a win-win. 

13.  Bluetooth Speaker

Image c/o CNET.

Image c/o CNET.

We had never used a bluetooth speaker before we left on the trip, and it was a last minute impulse purchase thinking that we'd want some good sound in the trailer when listening to podcasts or playlists. Turns out this is single handedly the most important thing we purchased! In a small space, it makes us feel like we have surround sound. And when we're watching a Redbox rental or The Wire on Carson's computer, we no longer have to sit 2 feet from the computer just so we can hear it. It's a dream. We love it. Go get a bluetooth speaker already. 


Now that we've gone through some of the must-haves, let's talk about the things we certainly did not need to bring along. 

French Press 

You only need one form of coffee making device. And it turns out we're coffee maker people. At least until this one dies. 

Extra plates/bowls/silverware

We can only pretty much handle about 4 of anything at a time since we have to do dishes so often. We brought a little too much of this stuff, though it has come in handy when we have visitors. 

Notebooks, pens, pencils, etc. 

We seem to have an abundant amount of pens, pencils, writing utensils, highlighters, notebooks and more. Let's be honest: while I'm an avid list maker and do still need a notebook from time to time, oodles of sticky notes and notepads aren't necessary. 

We ditched these trinkets and decor items. We kept the books though (hey, we're not perfect!)

We ditched these trinkets and decor items. We kept the books though (hey, we're not perfect!)

Trinkets, Odds, Ends, Decor

I had packed a lot of trinkets and odds and ends along that I thought would make the trailer extra home-y. Turns out, they pretty much just got in the way. There's no room for things that aren't 100% necessary when you live in 120 sq feet. 

So there you have it. Let us know if you have any other dying questions about what we packed (and didn't) on the trip in the comments. We'll be sure to answer them!

13 must-haves for full-time RVers