While we love tent camping (and always will), RV camping is one of our favorite ways to adventure. Our vintage 1976 Toyota Chinook is fairly small as far as RVs go – but it’s the perfect size for us! It allows us to have many of the comforts of home such as a bed, bathroom, sink, a small amount of storage and even a fridge. We’ve taken numerous trips in it, everything from a quick overnighter to a five-week-long adventure. It’s definitely not a minimalist approach to exploring the outdoors like backpacking – but it allows us a much greater amount of freedom, and the ability to stay away from home for much longer periods of time.

RV Camping Gear List: our favorite essentials for van life, RV, and camper camping adventures

We’ve chosen to highlight only our favorite gear in our RV camping gear list – the things that have withstood everyday use while on the road, and that we just could not do without. (For more of our camping favorites, including sleeping bags and pads, check out our camping gear list.) Here’s some of our favorite gear that we’ve packed over thousands of miles of adventures:


There’s nothing like the disappointment of craving a great meal by the campfire, and then burning it into a charred mess on a cheap, flimsy piece of camp cookware. We upgraded our cooking kit with the fantastic Halulite series from GSI Outdoors, and love this cookware’s thoughtful design. Its durable anodized aluminum construction performs like our high-end pots and pans at home, and cleans up really easily. Our all-time favorite is the GSI Outdoors Halulite 2.0 L Pot. The pot’s locking handles allow for easy hot-pot handling, and the integrated silicone thumb pads and perforated holes in the lid make it easy to strain water when we’re boiling pasta or steaming veggies.

Our favorite campsite cookware: the GSI Halulite Pot features a non-stick anodized aluminum surface, silicone thumb pads and strainer holes perfect for making pasta

And for cooking utensils, the all-in-one GSI Outdoors Gourmet Kitchen Set 11 can’t be beat. The 11-piece set is packed in a durable, zippered nylon case, making it easy to remember everything we need to create great campsite cuisine. The kit includes a spatula, spoon, whisk, waterproof salt & pepper shakers, two condiment bottles, a cutting board, a scraper, a scrubber, and a towel. No more forgetting the spatula and salt!

Coleman Triton Series 2-Burner Camp Stove

Our Coleman Triton Camp Stove is one of the most-used pieces of gear that we own. It’s made of steel and has been thrown around more times than we can count. We use it to make coffee and food, sometimes several times a day. It’s a bit on the heavy side (11 pounds) and bulky (21 x 12.5 x 4.25 inches), so we not recommend this for backpacking. It’s perfect, though, for van life and camper camping: we can fit several large pans going at once with the dual burner system. Average boil time is only three minutes: the stove gets VERY hot (11,000 BTU’s), quickly. The folding wind-block shield has been useful a number of times when it’s been a bit gusty. Our favorite feature of this stove is how quickly it cools off after use. Typically by the time we’re done eating, it’s cool enough to the touch for us to fold and stow it away without worrying about burning ourselves or melting something in the camper. Bonus? The regulator and a Bic lighter both fit within the closed stove, so they’re both ready whenever we need them.

Goal Zero Flip 10 Recharger

This little portable charging device has come in handy so many times. The Goal Zero Flip 10 is perfect for charging our smartphones (around 2 hours to fully charge), headlamps, GoPros and some small cameras. This compact little battery recharges through a USB port, and also connects to a compatible solar panel like the Goal Zero Nomad series for nearly unlimited power on the road.

Camping essentials: the Goal Zero Flip 10 Recharger is a tiny battery that packs a powerful punch, perfect for recharging phones and small electronics at the campsite

Leatherman Sidekick

Does this even need explaining? If you own this multitool, you know what we mean. If you don’t, consider getting one. The Leatherman Sidekick includes spring-action needle nose pliers, spring-action regular pliers, spring-action wire cutters, a wire stripper, a 420HC knife, a 420HC serrated knife, saw, small ruler, can opener, bottle opener, and a wood and metal file. It packs easily into its included case, and has been incredibly useful a countless number of times.

REI Co-Op Trail Chairs

Long days on the road and the trail should end in comfort. These little fold up chairs have kept our butts off the ground (literally) more times than we can count. REI Co-Op Trail Chairs pack up flat for easy storage, and are made of really durable material. Despite some pretty hard use, our chairs still look good and perform well. And they work great as a buffer on a cold, wet bench: unbuckled, they lay flat on a picnic table bench or wood stump for extra comfort and a dry place to sit.

Camping meals and water storage

We always pack a couple Nalgene water bottles and several snacks when we’re out for a short trip. For longer adventures, we turn to our large water containers and a number of delicious backpacking meals to help fuel our adventures and keep us hydrated on the road. (What is it about a campfire, campstove, and a day on the road that makes just about everything taste better?)

The perfect cup of campsite coffee: KUJU Coffee is an ultra-portable and ultra-tasty pour-over coffee package that's perfect for RV camping, backpacking, or road trip adventures

KUJU Coffee

There’s simply nothing better than the first cup of coffee at a foggy campsite on a crisp, chilly morning. KUJU Coffee is an ultra-portable pour-over system that eliminates the need for a fancy press or coffee gadget, and produces a perfectly smooth, balanced cup of coffee in minutes. Just unwrap the single-use air-sealed package, unfold the paper tabs, open the top of the filter, and pour hot water. Wait patiently for a few minutes, and savor the aroma. Then enjoy a perfectly blended cup of pour-over coffee that bests the best coffee houses and offers simple, no-mess cleanup.

Good To-Go Oatmeal

Is it possible to get excited about oatmeal? We had some serious doubts, but after trying this Oatmeal from Good To-Go, we’ve totally changed our minds. It’s packed with gluten-free rolled oats, whole grain quinoa flakes, cinnamon, raw pumpkin seeds, raw sunflower seeds, dried banana flakes and even chia seeds and hemp seed hearts. I’ve honestly never enjoyed oatmeal as much as I did on a recent trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It only took five minutes to make, and it was the perfect meal for a sunrise view of the mountains with a mug of steaming coffee.

Patagonia Provisions Red Bean Chili with Chipotle + Corn

Did you know that Patagonia makes more than just great clothing and gear? Turns out they make delicious backpacking and camping food – meals that will make you feel like you’re at a restaurant rather in the woods. One of our favorites is the Red Bean Chili with Chipotle + Corn. It’s gluten-free and vegan, and packed full of the robust flavors that we crave after a long day on the trail or on the road. (Check out more of our Provisions favorites in our full Patagonia Provisions review.

Our favorite backpacking and camping food: Good To-Go Mexican Quinoa Bowl is spicy, easy to prepare and incredibly delicious

Good To-Go Mexican Quinoa Bowl

One of the things that can be the hardest about traveling is eating healthy. Luckily, Good To-Go makes this easier than ever with their incredibly tasty meals. Most of them only take 15 minutes or less to make – and the best part is that you prepare them in the pouch they came in. That means no more messy camp dishes! Our favorite is the Mexican Quinoa Bowl. When we crave food it’s typically pizza or Mexican, so, needless to say, we were super stoked to find this ultra-tasty gluten-free and vegan dish. It’s packed with butternut squash, black beans, tomato, and corn, and has a gourmet mole poblano sauce to tie it all together. For even more flavor, we toss grated cheese into the bag before eating to add the perfect topping to an already perfect meal. (Check out more of our favorite flavors from this outstanding brand created by an Iron Chef in our Good To-Go Vegetarian Backpacking Meals review.)

Patagonia Provisions Mango + Almond Bars

Sometimes when we’re on the road, we want a snack but we don’t want to cook, but also want to avoid gas station food or rest-stop snacks. Our solution? These Fruit + Almond Bars from Patagonia Provisions. They’re perfect for getting us down the road and keeping hunger at bay. Unlike a lot of energy bars, these actually taste really good, and aren’t too sweet.

Reliance water storage container

This jug hasn’t made every single trip – but it’s the one piece of gear that we find ourselves missing when it gets left behind. Why? Because you need water for almost everything: drinking to stay hydrated, cooking, washing, and (of course!) coffee. Our Reliance Water Container is a good size for two people, and it helps extend the amount of time before we need to “go back to the well”. We all know how time-consuming hunting down basic essentials can be when you’re in a new place – including water!

RV camping gear cleaning and maintenance

Good quality camping gear can be an investment – but with proper care and regular maintenance, it should last a long time. Take a look at our outdoor gear cleaning and maintenance guide for easy tips on caring for some of your most essential pieces.

Please Leave No Trace

Please remember to camp responsibly by following these simple tips to Leave No Trace, and remember to pack out everything you pack in to help preserve the beauty of our favorite outdoor spaces and places.

Erin McGrady is a freelance web designer, writer and photographer at Authentic Asheville who loves to hike, run, backpack, cycle and swim. Her mission is to inspire others to get out and experience the great outdoors. She lives in Asheville, North Carolina.