How to pack for an RV holiday

Family in front of Apollo Motorhome

Sarah Marinos

Posted March 05, 2021

Pack your RV with precision with these top 10 tips from Apollo Motorhomes. 

As more and more Victorians are discovering the delights of exploring our own backyard, caravans and motorhomes are booming in popularity. Never mind passports and flight schedules, an RV road trip promises freedom and endless possibilities, with the flexibility to head off when you want, where you want and change plans on a whim. 

Many of today’s recreational vehicles come with just about every convenience you can think of –from TV and microwave to hot shower, toilet and air-conditioning. Clever design means there’s also good storage space but you still need to put some thought into what to pack – and how to pack it. Weight is a major factor in road accidents involving recreational vehicles, and safe weight distribution is key, especially when travelling with caravans and trailers.  

“Too much weight at the back can lift the rear of the tow vehicle, causing poor traction and movement management, and too much weight up front can impact a vehicle’s suspension,” says Richard Barwick, CEO of the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia. 

“It’s best to keep heavy items centrally located over the axles or balance out weight with some up the front and some up the back to avoid weight on the towball being too heavy or too light. And too much weight on one side or the other can cause poor handling and sway.” Find more safety information at

Apollo Motorhomes' top tips for packing an RV

 Swap a suitcase for soft bags

“Soft bags make it easier to stow things in spaces where a suitcase won’t fit,” says Melanie Van Dalen, Rental Sales and Partnerships Manager at Apollo. “Soft bags are also less likely than a hard suitcase to damage the interior of your RV.”

Get stuffed

Score extra storage space by removing the pads from inside cushions and packing cushion covers with soft items like gloves, scarves, jumpers and fleecy throw blankets for cooler nights, hats.

Take storage containers

Your RV may come equipped with cooking utensils, crockery and cutlery, but take plastic containers to store ingredients or leftovers. “The fridge will be smaller than at home so make space by stacking food and using a travel Esky for drinks,” says Melanie. And don't forget to pack cutlery and plates. Stop any rattling when you’re on the road by putting paper plates between dishes and tightly packing a tea towel over the cutlery drawer. Nesting bowls and measuring spoons save space, too.

Save space

A few handy space-saving devices can keep everything in place. Install a peg board against a wall to hang pots and pans, hang fruit in a small hammock – it will ripen more evenly too – and invest in under-shelf baskets to boost storage in cupboards. In the bathroom, hang a shoe organiser and use it to store towels, and hang a shower caddy to keep toiletries tidy. Hang a caddy from the side of your bed to keep late-night essentials in one place too.

Remember the entertainment 

Be prepared for days when the weather gods work against you. Pack books, DVDS, iPads and a few favourite toys for kids. “A trusty pack of cards is handy and use Ziploc bags to store boardgame pieces,” suggests Melanie. Use a magazine holder next to a couch to store laptops and iPads and use Velcro on remotes to keep them in place.

 First-aid first

“Make sure your first-aid kit is refurbished. As you take things out, replace them and make sure nothing has reached its best-before date,” advises Richard. More: What you need in your travel first-aid kit.

Clothes and coat hangers 

Minimise clothing and wash and dry a few essential outfits at campgrounds with laundry facilities. “If you’re taking bulkier items, use space-saving vacuum storage bags,” advises Melanie. “Take coat hangers for a few special items, like a dress or shirt and pants, if you’re going out to dinner.”

Take a toolbox 

“A few simple maintenance jobs may pop up. Major mechanical repairs will need an on-site professional but some basic items to help you along the way include a windscreen repair kit, silicone rescue tape, hose clamps and tyre repair kits,” says Richard.

Take a charger 

Many motorhomes have power outlets so mobile phones and tablets can stay charged. Pack some spare batteries for electrical gadgets. “If you go off the beaten track for a night or two, make sure you have portable chargers,” says Melanie. 

Make memories 

As you travel you’ll take plenty of photos, so pack a spare memory card. There’s nothing worse than having to delete photos to make space for new memories. More: How to turn your travel snaps into a photo book.

Apollo Motorhomes is a partner of RACV.