Don’t Forget Backup Power on Your Camping/RV Checklist

There are few worse feelings in the world than remembering that you forgot something. Especially if it happens at a time when you can’t un-do your forgetfulness.

Like when you’re well on your way toward a vacation destination. Or when you’re in your RV, traveling to that special cabin in the woods. Or after you’ve arrived at a campsite. 

In fact, I hate that feeling so much that I always put together a comprehensive essentials checklist in advance of my trips. And I literally check off each item after it’s packed.

I’ve been told I’m anal-retentive. But I’d much rather be called that than suddenly realize I had forgotten to pack something after it’s too late to remedy the situation.

Fall camping is fun 

The fall is a great time for camping. Whether you’re driving there in your car, truck or RV. The weather is not too hot and not too cold. To quote Goldilocks, it’s just right.   

And if you have all the stuff you might need, you can fully relax and enjoy your time away from the busyness of everyday life. 

Today I want to provide you with a list of camping essentials that I use. I’ve tried to include everything, but you probably won’t need it all. Just pick what works for you and your family or companions.

The last time I compiled a list like this for you, I emphasized food items. They’re still very important, but today I want to single out backup power. It always comes in handy.

I’m also adding items for those of you using an RV for the first time, or one of the first times.

Don’t over (or under) pack

One of my family members likes to say, “If you’ve got it, pack it.” I’m not too crazy about that idea. I want enough but not too much for a camping trip.

To me, camping is about getting away from the rat race. I want a different kind of routine when I’m away from home. It’s a nice change of pace to see, use, wear and eat different things than normally.

You can make do with less on a camping trip by reducing the clutter. At the same time, you can still take all the essentials.

So, here’s the promised list of camping items. How many of these you pack could depend on whether you’re roughing it or heading to a campground where some amenities are provided. It might also depend on how long you’ll be gone. 

  •           Tent, with footprints, stakes and mallet/hammer
  •           Ground cloth/tarp
  •           Sleeping bags
  •           Sleeping pads
  •           Backpack
  •           Blankets and pillows
  •           Headlamps, flashlights and extra batteries
  •           Camp table and chairs (if the site doesn’t have them)
  •           Mini-grill or camping stove
  •           Lantern
  •           Clothesline with clips
  •           Toiletries
  •           First-aid kit
  •           Prescription meds
  •           Sunscreen and protective hats
  •           Insect repellant
  •           Lip balm
  •           Rain gear
  •           Extra clothing, including several pairs of socks and underwear
  •           Hiking boots
  •           Bandanas
  •           Survival knife
  •           Multi-tool
  •           Duct tape
  •           Paracord or rope
  •           Saw or ax for cutting firewood (if needed)
  •           Compass
  •           Binoculars
  •           Field guides for flowers and insects
  •           Whistle
  •           Walkie-talkies
  •           NOAA emergency radio
  •           Disinfectant wipes
  •           Documents including vehicle registration, insurance, reservations, etc.

Food/food-related items

  •           Perishable food packed in a cooler or ice chest
  •           Non-perishable food for snacking
  •           Plenty of bottled water and other beverages
  •           Personal water purifier
  •           Fire starters
  •           Cooking, serving and eating utensils
  •           Cooking pots, pans, plates and cups
  •           Tongs and skewers
  •           Oven mitts
  •           Cutting board
  •           Tablecloth with clips or tape
  •           Canteen/thermos
  •           Coffee pot
  •           Can opener
  •           Heavy duty aluminum foil
  •           Dishwashing liquid and sponges
  •           Paper towels and napkins
  •           Tupperware
  •           Zip-top bags
  •           Trash and recycle bags

RV Essentials

During the worst of the pandemic, sales of RV campers skyrocketed. Many people who traditionally vacationed in popular and often crowded places decided to limit their contact with strangers.

RVs are a great way to travel and camp. But it’s best to know what to take with you in order to handle potential problems with a new-to-you vehicle. Here are plenty of items to consider, taken from a variety of sources:

  •           Your RV manual
  •           Drinking water hose
  •           Sewer kit including hose
  •           Surge protector
  •           Generator
  •           Electrical adapters
  •           Water pressure regulator
  •           Tire pressure gauge
  •           Emergency road kit
  •           Extra motor oil and fluids (washer, transmission, brake)
  •           Fire extinguisher
  •           Wheel chocks
  •           Rubber gloves
  •           Emergency brake cable
  •           Tire iron
  •           Tire patch
  •           Jack
  •           Leveling blocks
  •           Emergency warning light
  •           Fuses
  •           Well-stocked tool box
  •           Jumper cables

Stay powered up

As mentioned, I want to remind you of the importance of backup power when you’re on a camping trip. There are plenty of reasons for needing backup power. They include charging up your… 

  •           Cellphones
  •           Emergency radio
  •           Mini-fridge
  •           Electric blanket
  •           Blender
  •           Hotplate
  •           Lights inside a tent
  •           Outdoor security lights
  •           Laptop or tablet
  •           Coffee maker
  •           Toaster oven
  •           CPAP machine and other medical devices
  •           Handheld electronic games
  •           Boombox
  •           Electric razor
  •           Mini-TV
  •           Blow-up mattress pump
  •           GPS unit

Without backup power, any one of the things listed above could prove useless to you on a camping trip. Yes, you could get by without some of them, but what if you had to make an emergency phone call?

What if an unexpected storm was headed your way and you needed information about it quickly? What if your perishable food started to go bad? Worst of all, what if you needed to power up crucial medical equipment? 

Camping trips are a lot of fun and a great way to unwind with family or friends. They’re good for your body, mind and soul.

Just make sure you don’t forget to pack any of the essentials before you leave home.

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