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New Full Timer (What to Pack?)


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I have just purchased a 35' Allegro motorhome and will start traveling soon. The plan is to live in the RV by myself, once the house is sold (soon.) Looking for general advice on things to take in the RV. What's most useful and what can be left behind. Dishes, coffee pot, tools, decorative items, etc. I have ideas but would appreciate the voice of experience. Thanks. ...Mike

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Things that can do double duty. But then again, once you sell the house, everything you own.


If you are alone, one small set of cookware, let's say 4 place settings of lightweight dishes (Corelle is nice because it is pretty durable) I say 4 place settings because you might have guests. Some will say paper everything, but that can begin to get expensive.


2 or 3 sets of cold weather and warm weather clothes. If you will be spending more time in warm weather (many of us do) then more warm weather clothes. A mid size tool box with a good set of wrenches (open/box ends work well - SAE and Metric would be nice) set of 3/8 sockets. screw drivers, set of 3 or 4 different pliers.


A lot depends on the amount of storage you have available.

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Take a month and make a list of everything you use daily during that month in terms of cooking apparatuses. If room, add some things you don't use all the time such as baking pans, electric knife, crockpot, etc. Add linens, bedding (will you ever have guests sleep over?), your medicine cabinet, paper products to get you started, travel books, reading books, clothes for the seasons, hobbies, fishing, BBQ, some stationery (stamps, envelopes), tools, water regulator, water hoses, bucket, cleaning products, wax for the RV, extension brush to wash the RV, cleaning rags, ladder, patio mat if you use one, outside table, 2-4 chairs (for guests), files, computer stuff.


You could start setting all this stuff in a corner of a room and add and subtract until you're ready to go. It will seem overwhelming but we've all gotten through it!

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Just enough clothes and linens to last you until you do laundry. Just enough kitchen ware to last you until you wash dishes. Just enough food to feed you until your next grocery shopping trip. Just enough cleaning products to keep things basically clean. Just enough tools to do those things you wouldn't want to wait for someone else to do. Just enough decorative items to make the place yours. Just enough toys to keep life fun. At least one extra chair to sit outside your rig for when you'd like someone passing by to stop and chat awhile.


Linda Sand

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Stick to plastic and double-duty as much as you can for kitchen-- storage container you can use as mixing bowl for example. Get rid of almost everything glass and replace with lighter weight plastic. Also remember that things like most pitchers will not fit in refrigerator so get smaller ones with tight lids in case they move around and tip over.


And personally I have a lot of simple clothing like t-shirts and shorts so I don't have to constantly be doing laundry.

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We are in a 36' fulltime and have a decent size kitchen and plenty of storage. I did not get rid of glass or metal items as they are used in my convection oven and could be used in a regular oven if we had one. We have regular flatwear and seldom use plastic. I do keep some plastic drink cups for the grandkids when they visit. We also have decent size closets and do laundry every couple of weeks. We have plenty of clothes to put clean clothing on daily. We did not want to fall into the habit of many we have met where they do not shower daily - even with hookups, and wear the same clothes day after day. We live like we did in our home. DH has tools, hunting and fishing gear along, we have a set of luggage that we have used a couple of times now. We like to cook on a grill, so have a tabletop propane grill. patio rugs, loveseat, 2 single chairs and a small table for under the awning. We also have paper, pencils, pens, stamps, envelopes, tape, etc and also a filing box for important papers. Computers, movies, books, maps. Dog supplies, our toiletries, several pairs of shoes/sandals/slippers. etc. etc.


The one thing I have heard many people say is that they had no idea it could get so cold in the south and wished they had kept more of their warm weather clothing. We have sweatshirts, light jackets and winter coats. We use them all. 40 seems darned cold down here even though we are from Michigan.

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Personally I would rely on CoachNet to jack up a heavy vehicle so I would skip the jacks. In my case I bought new and getting someone other than a professional to jack it up would have voided the warranty.


I do like my small air compressor, however b

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Some things that most people don't think about.


Polypro underwear (including one pair of long johns). This stuff will keep you surprisingly warm when it's cold. Use it as the bottom layer of clothing. I also have a goose down vest. Both of these will keep you warm when it's cold but won't overheat you if it warms up. Polypro can be like flannel (which I wear kayaking under a dry suit in 32-deg water) or like silk. The real thing will feel cool or cold at first but will warm you in seconds. (Both goose down and polypro.)


I also have a goose down sleeping bag that I take that I bought off Campmor (google it). Nothing will work in as wide a range of temperatures as real goose down but you can get snookered on pricing (they like to sell you duck down as "the same thing' (it's not)). It's also light weight. I typically have only a goose down vest and a good (lined but not insulated) rain jacket; mostly to block the wind.


A goose down sleeping bag will warm someone who is hypothermic very quickly, too.


As someone said above, it can get amazingly cold at night. In the desert SW it is not at all uncommon to be 70-deg at 2pm and 30-deg at 2am.


Many of us carry Corelle dishes. You can buy them at Goodwill and they are very tough, cheap, but still feel like "dishes". Turns out that a lot of RVers use them.


Slippers that you can wear inside but still go outside in occasionally. And something that you can wear on your feet in the rain.


Flashlights. I'm now using the 300-lumen pocket flashlights from Costco but at least 200 lumen minimum. I do not buy LED flashlights unless they list the lumen value. Don't pay $50 for one of them.


Kindle if you like to read. Try to get one that has "3G" capability as it will download books on any 3g network it can find as well as WiFi (and no charges for that, either). The older "Kindle 3G" with button-sized keyboards commonly came with that. The 3rd gen Kindles with 3g (the Kindle 3g or Kindle KB) can also act as rudimentary web browsers. And even read books to you!


Smart cell phone with data capability. Just using Gasbuddy to find cheap fuel will pay for it.


Sunglasses. I do not use polarized sunglasses for driving or flying as they can create interference patterns in curved glass that may block out things that can hit you.


A leatherman (I use a Gerber, myself). I also carry a Victorinox Swiss Army knife (with scissors, magnifying glass, file, and wood saw). I use both of them often but the Victorinox is used at least every day.




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And something that you can wear on your feet in the rain.

I like Crocs with wool blend socks. The socks keep my feet warm even if wet and the Crocs wash off in the sink if they get muddy.


Those Swiffer mops can also be used to wash your windshield.


Linda Sand

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  • 3 weeks later...

I second Corelle. It's real "china" but light and durable. And double duty items can work really well. Also, foldable/stackable/inflatable can be a great help in fitting more things in a small space.


There are loads of RV packing lists out there, google "RV packing lists" and you'll get lots of ideas. But also think about what you like to do and what's important to you. Consider what things you use often, and thing you can't imagine not having to hand.


We travelled for 7 months in our 24' Class C a couple of years ago and were fine with very limited amount of things. But now as we empty our house and prepare to leave next month to fulltime, I find my choices of what to pack are different than before because the coach is going to be our home, not just something to go on vacation/camping in. And there's no house to leave it in until we come back. So we are taking more of our hobby stuff with us and extras like the sewing machine and more tools.

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Think weight, not volume as most will run out of CCC before they fill all their storage areas up. I first suggest weighing your RV empty to determine what your actual CCC is and where you can put your goodies, weight wise. As you load your RV, I would suggest putting a kitchen scale and a notebook by the door, so as you enter with a box of goodies in your arms you record your combined weight. Use the adjoining page for your DW. Of course she may keep a separate book so as not to disclose her actual weight to you (as mine would). Then subtract your weight from each entry to determine the weight of each item entered. Remember, weight distribution on each wheel is equally important as total weight. I use this technique when loading my small camper, which has a very low CCC, but the same principle applies to a bigger RV. I have found that empty, the road side is significantly heavier than the door side, (more so if carrying a full tank of water as my kitchen appliances, water heater and water tank are on that side.) So I plan my loading of heavier items on the door side. Also consider the weight distribution fore and aft as well.


Here's a list of some things you might want to take with you:

Don't forget the contents of your freezer/fridge and pantry, clothes (4 seasons worth), shoes, linens, foam topper for bed, pillows, window coverings/decorations, kitchen appliances (toaster ovens, blender, mixer, rice pot, coffee pot, slow cooker, dishwasher, etc.) kitchen utensils, pots and pans, misc. household items like lamps, chairs, washer/drier, etc., toiletries, make-up, medical supplies, cleaning supplies (vacuum, mop and broom) and chemicals, folding chairs, recliners, floor/door mats, tarps, rope and chains, screen rooms/tentage, toys (bikes, hobby and sporting equipt., fishing gear, hunting gear, guns and ammo, bicycles, motorcycles, ATVs, helmets and riding gear), TV/DVD/satellite equipt., stereo/music gear, game systems/computers, printers, family heirlooms/treasures, camera gear, safe, important papers, certificates, records, military decorations, awards, etc, locks and security system, portable heaters, generator/spare fuel (a Honda EU3000 is 150lbs + another 30lbs for can of gas), solar panels (controller, inverter, cabling, battery monitor, fuse blocks, breaker box and extra heavy batteries - I'm planning on an extensive solar setup that will allow me complete grid independence - of course that will weigh about 1,000lbs, so let's just say 500 lbs for an average, medium sized system), sewage hoses, fittings and sewer hose holder (a legal requirement in some states), fresh water hoses and fittings, electrical cords, surge protector, leveling gear, water filters, macerator pump, portable dump tanks, water bladder, patio/camping lights, lanterns, flashlights, tables, BBQ grill/fuel, tools (very heavy), spare parts, coolant, oil and filters (fuel, air and oil ), air compressor, ladder, pet supplies, cages, etc. I'm sure given a little thought much more could be added. This is my list just to get you thinking about you unique needs.


Finally don't forget to weigh your RV when done an adjust your load as necessary to comply with axle and wheel limits.



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Think weight, not volume as most will run out of CCC before they fill all their storage areas up.


Wow...people actually do all that? We fill the motorhome with what we figure we will need...not too much as there are stores everywhere. And go.


When you have 1900 pounds (with empty tanks) to play with like our first fiver you do pay attention to every bit of weight.

We had just a little less when we had fresh water half full and about 1/3 in each waste tank. We weighed everything and we also weighed the RV at a moving company where I was able to weigh all axles and then just one side to get even distribution. I had to adjust and go back a second time to get it right, but it kept us well once we adjusted.


I don't know just what the figures are now but at one time the folks at "Aweigh We Go" said that more than 80% of the RVs had at least one wheel overloaded. I wonder how much better it is today??

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