You may think you know what to pack for your first Cruise America RV rental adventure, but here are 5 things you might not realize you need until you’re already on the road.
For context, we rented Cruise America’s 25-foot Standard model for two adults plus our 50 pound dog, Nola. We had a terrific time driving this studio apartment across the country, and loved the challenge of deciding what to bring with us. In order to save fuel and simplify your trip, we suggest traveling as light as possible. But not too light…
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1. RV Leveling Blocks (Legos® for adults!)
You’ll find that many campsites are level, especially at private campgrounds like KOAs, but just one night in a tilted bed will have you wishing you’d brought levelers.
These simple leveling blocks can be used individually or stacked to the desired height. Sure, you can just bring some wood 2x10s to stack up, but these are much lighter (always thinking about MPG!) and take up very little space when stashed in their tote bag. To use:
- Position the RV in the most level part of your campsite.
- Place the blocks in front of the lowest wheel(s).
- With a partner off to the side spotting you, gently drive forward onto the blocks (this is easier than reversing onto the blocks).
- Place the shifter in PARK and set the parking brake.
- Walk around the inside of the RV and check your carpenter’s level (see below).
- If you need to readjust, carefully back the rig off of the blocks, then re-stack and/or reposition them.
- Take your time, embrace trial and error, and improve your spatial geometry!
Even though they’re called “heavy duty,” these plastic blocks will quickly get chewed up by rocks and pavement. You’ll also have to pick out embedded stones and debris. The 10 blocks included in this kit were plenty for most of the campsites we visited, but at Grand Canyon Trailer Village we had an unusually steep site. Fortunately, we were able to borrow an identical set of blocks from some very generous fellow campers!
OK, sure, I’m tossing in a bunch of tools and calling it a single item. However, I was able to fit all these tools into a single Husky tool bag, so it still felt like I was only packing one thing.
You will not actually need all these tools.
You probably/hopefully won’t break down on the side of the road. But you might need to tighten a screw on your portable grill, or duct tape the screen door to keep it from rattling as you drive. So here’s a list of basics to include in your toolkit:
Screwdrivers (both flat-head & Phillips)
Adjustable crescent wrench
Duct tape or Gaffer tape
Socket wrench set
Heavy-duty extension cord
These are easy to forget, so don’t forget them.
Magnetic phone mounts just make driving that much more pleasant. You’ll want 2, one for the driver, and one for the passenger. This pair of Maxboost Universal Air Vent Magnetic Phone Mounts are really strong, really inexpensive, and they fit the Ford dashboard vents.
It’s the middle of the night and you’re fast asleep dreaming of the beautiful desert vistas you drove through earlier that day. Then, of course, nature calls. To avoid waking your partner, you slide gingerly out of that nice warm bed, and then—
The horror! Your feet touch the cold, cold, so cold vinyl floor.
To prevent this from happening to you, we suggest non-slip, rubber-backed rugs in the following sizes and quantities:
|30″ × 45″
Two of these for the main area (you may need a third if you rent the 30-foot Large model)
|20″ × 30″
One of these outside the bathroom
|23″ × 17″
|9″ × 26″ stair tread rugs
Two for the entrance
The stair tread rugs for the steps aren’t crucial, but they’re really nice to have. I couldn’t quickly find any on Amazon that are sold individually, so I recommend these $3 ones that we found at our local Menards. Unfortunately, I can’t find exact matches on Amazon for the larger rugs, which we also found at Menards.
The great advantage to rugs is that you can easily shake them out every other day and, voilà, you’ve cleaned! Plus, when we stayed in Monument Valley, that fine red dust stuck to the bottoms of our shoes and to Nola’s paws, so we really appreciated the rugs there.
5. Baskets, Bins, Cubbies, Caddies
We’d been on the road for all of a day before we realized we needed baskets, bins, cubbies, caddies — whatever you want to call them. We actually found ours at a Walmart in Iowa, but these from Amazon appear to be identical except that they come in 4 different colors, which should make organizing even more fun!
Keep one on the dinette table to store books, glasses, cables, phones, gum, cards, etc. Use another in the galley for paper towels, a flashlight, even a tea kettle. When it’s time to hit the road, just slip them into the closet.
These baskets feature prominently in Ep 6: Organizing Tips for Your Rental RV.
Thanks for reading!
Questions? Tips? Leave a Comment down below…