You bought a camper! Now what?

You’ve purchased a travel trailer. Great! Now what?

We were new to the entire world of camping and didn’t realize that the day you purchase the camper that we wouldn’t be able to take it home. You buy a car and take it home same day, so why can’t we take our camper? We’ve since learned the camping world in general runs on a different time table than the rest of the world. I don’t mean to bash the camping community but camper dealers are slow. Ask any camper owner that has dealt with a dealer and you will find it takes time.

We purchased our camper from a dealer and signed all the paperwork. We learned the camper would need to go through an inspection process before it would be released to us. The dealer does a final check of everything including a leak test to make sure everything is sealed up properly. If your dealer doesn’t do this, I suggest you request it. It will save you some heartache if you find anything wrong once you are home. The inspection wasn’t the problem for us. It was the scheduling that took some time. We were excited and didn’t like that we had to wait. But we agreed and made an appointment for a couple of weeks later to pick up the camper. On pick up day, the technician went over several things with us, the hookups, how to level it, and the electrical points. Then we were on our way.

Peggy. Our first camper

We were eager to go to a campsite and give this thing a try. But an empty camper isn’t much fun. And as newbies we didn’t really realize what all it would take to make a trailer “live in” ready. Sheets and blankets, pillows, towels, cooking utensils, food, outside chairs, leveling blocks, wheel chocks… the mist went in and on. We did our best to prep our camper with the things we thought we needed. But until you are at a campsite, away from home with no salt for your dinner, do you realize what all you might need.

I blame myself for not being more prepared. I am usually the one that plans and researches months in advance. But I didn’t research this as well as I should have. We spent lots of money that first camping trip at the nearest Dollar General just getting things we didn’t realize we would need/want.

So, to hopefully help you if you are a first timer, or if you would just like to see someone else’s thought process, I’ve compiled a list of items I think should be standard and always stocked on your camper. I’ll have blogs later highlighting things I’ve added to make our stays more comfortable but these are the basics that should always be in your trailer year round.

  • Sheets/blankets/pillows for beds
  • Throw blankets
  • Toothbrush with case/toothpaste
  • Shampoo/conditioner/soap/personal hygiene products
  • Shower caddy if you plan on going to the bath houses
  • Cheap flip flops for bathhouse shower
  • Towels/wash cloths
  • Camper/RV toilet paper
  • Food! Snacks! Plan your meals and think about all the things needed to cook those meals. Seasonings, salt, pepper, butter, etc. You won’t have your pantry in the camper unless you stock it.
  • Camp stove or grill if you plan on cooking outside
  • Aluminum foil
  • Unbreakable plates and cups
  • Silverware
  • Cooking/serving spoons and mixing bowls
  • Can opener
  • Scissors
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Sharp kitchen knife with cover
  • Coffee pot/coffee/creamer/sugar
  • Toothpicks
  • Kitchen hand towels
  • Paper towels
  • Garbage bags
  • Pot holders or trivets
  • Zip lock bags all sizes
  • Wheel chocks
  • Leveling blocks
  • Surge protector for electrical hookup
  • RV drinking water hoses
  • Sewage hose (if it didn’t come with camper)
  • Extension cords
  • Charcoal or propane for grill
  • Lighter/matches/lighter fluid
  • Camping chairs
  • Rug at camper door for muddy feet
  • Flashlight or lantern
  • First aid kit
  • Inspect repellant
  • Sunscreen
  • Extra batteries/chargers
  • Pens/pencils/paper
  • Board games
  • Camera
  • Sticks for S’mores!

I know this feels like a lot but many of these things we forgot the first few times we camped and wished we had them. Be mindful of weight restrictions for your camper but these things shouldn’t push you over your limit.

We are RV camping, not primitive camping so we are not trying to “rough it”. We understand that everyone has a different idea of how camping should be. We purchased a travel trailer so we could be comfortable while we enjoy family time and nature. So, ultimately think about how you want to spend your time, pick the items on the list that’s important to you and then go have fun! Make an adventure!

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