If you are hitting the road, you might be thinking you need to get rid of all your outdoor gear, but that's only the case if you are planning to RV like a minimalist. For us, we didn't even really have any outdoor gear at all. It doesn't matter if you are always on the move or in for the long stay, I have come up with a list of fun gear that will make your outdoor time enjoyable for you and the whole family. Here comes the list, in no particular order...
The outdoor rug is a pretty basic outdoor item. You can set this up whether you are boondocking (camping without water, sewer, electric) or in the fanciest of RV resorts. The rug makes the area look nice, defines your outdoor space, and can help minimize the amount of dirt that you bring in.
We've stayed in some non-paved sites, and the outdoor rug has kept us from trudging through mud and bringing it inside. If our site comes with a picnic table, we often move the picnic table so it sits on the outdoor rug. Oh, and don't forget to get some stakes to keep your rug secured. They sell some specifically for rugs, but we just use old fashion tent stakes.
Now, what would RV camping be like without chairs? No very much fun, I know from experience. Our old camping chairs all died in the same week. Squatting by the fire is no fun at all.
Anyway, we have remedied that now. We not only have budget-friendly light-weight camping chairs that we can take anywhere, but we purchased some new-to-us zero-gravity chairs for the campsite.
Something we learned pretty quickly on our RV journey, is that not all campgrounds and RV parks have fire pits. Of course, if you are boondocking, there isn't always going to be a fire pit or fire ring available. That's why I recommend that you have your own. You can go as fancy or as simple as you would like. It's just nice to have so that if you find yourself somewhere without a fire ring, you can still enjoy a campfire.
There are different kinds of fire pits out there: the traditional wood-burning fire pit and portable propane pits. The advantages of the propane pits are zero campfire smell and the ability to use during fire bans (always double-check though)!
This is one is pretty obvious. It's rare that I see someone camping out in their RV without a portable grill. It still took us nearly 4 years to get one! Like so many other outdoor items, there are many, many different kinds you can get. We opted for a charcoal tabletop grill, but there are some that are free-standing and gas-powered, just small.
Whatever you choose, just make sure it is big enough to prep whatever you want while still being portable enough to fit in your storage areas.
If you will be anywhere near Florida or any other mosquito habitat, you will need some mosquito repellant. Of course, you can wear some, but you can also create a mosquito-free environment. One of my favorite (and budget-friendly) way is to set up some citronella candles in your camping area. Picnic tables are your best bet. The candles are pretty and keep your space mosquito-free.
If you don't think citronella candles will be enough, you can also get some citronella torches!! These can be useful if you want to keep more of your campsite mosquito-free or don't have any outdoor tables.
Again, we aren't talking minimalist outdoor gear, we are all about enjoying the outdoors with ALL the gear!! This is why I am adding a gazebo tent to the list. Not only do they create an additional room for ya, but they will also help keep bugs out and let you enjoy the outdoors without being subjected to the elements - rain, cold, etc.
I have spent many a cold night enjoying a portable fire pit and comfy camping chairs inside a Clam. These are quickset screen shelters (aka gazebo tents). They are easy to set up and tear down. They might not be the smallest setup, but they fit in larger storage bays and in the back of tow vehicles.
There's nothing quite like lighting up your campsite. String lights, free-standing lights, lanterns, solar lights, blinking lights...lights, lights, lights! Outdoor lights are especially fun as the days get shorter and the temperatures drop. In addition to being pretty, outdoor lights help you see your surroundings. Making it a little safer.
We have recently added bluetooth speakers to our outdoor gear arsenal. For the longest time, we lived without them. We would just hook our phones up to the RV stereo and then just use the outdoor speakers, but we would always end up having to go inside the RV to adjust the playlist. Now we just keep the speaker and phone with us and adjust as needed. Bonus, you can take the speakers anywhere you want too. Some are even waterproof and shockproof!!
Ok, so maybe this isn't exactly outdoor gear, but it will definitely make your outdoor space a lot more enjoyable. You might not have to mourn your lawn ornaments after all!! There plenty of gnomes, butterflies, flags, holiday decor that you can bring along with you. Just make sure you don't max out your RV storage with your holiday decorations!! Oh, and make sure whatever you bring is quiet. You don't want to disturb your neighbors.
Nothing says "I'm relaxing" like a hammock! Depending on your RV lifestyle, you can either choose a traditional hammock or a camping hammock. The traditional hammock will be bigger and heavier in weight. Camping hammocks are smaller and are made with tent material. Always check and make sure that you can hang your hammock on surrounding trees. We have RV camped in places that did not allow anything to be tied around trees.
If you've had enough relaxing, you might want to set up a slackline. Its kind of like a balance beam meets a tight wire. So you have webbing (flat "rope" that's 1-2 inches wide) and a ratcheting system. You can control how far off the ground and how tight or slack you want the line.
This is definitely something I want to try with my family. Not only is it a great way to bond as a family, but a way to build self-confidence.
If you are planning on really enjoying your time at your campsite, keep some lawn games around - cornhole, ring toss, horseshoes, etc. This might be a fun way to bond with your family and also invite others to your campsite for a little competition. If you don't have to worry about extra weight and have lots of storage, get a giant Jenga set!! Oh, and if you do, I want to come over and play!!
This one is a no-brainer, right?! Save on fuel, burn some calories, and enjoy the great outdoors with bicycles. Our goal in the next few years is to get bikes for everyone. When we first started RVing we actually sold all our bikes. We had some disastrous attempts to bike as a family and we needed the cash. Robert and I always cheer when we see families out and about on their bikes.
Ah, kayaks and paddleboards, we dream of having these one day!! They come in so many different varieties too. Do you want to go on the ocean? Do you want inflatable ones? You can find one that fits your specific needs. Whatever you do though, don't watch videos of people trying to get on any paddleboard. Otherwise, you might not ever own one.
After a full day of adventure, your shoes and boots aren't the cleanest things around. I recommend getting a boot scrubber!! This way you can get all the gunk off of your shoes so you can bring your shoes inside. I have only left water shoes and flip flops outside, too much time living in places with bugs to leave my shoes outside!!! I don't want to find any wriggly surprises the next time I put them on!
Not all campsites come with picnic tables, so might as well bring your own. After a few awkward RV camping trips without an outdoor table, we purchased a small portable folding table. It works well for our needs - mostly holding drinks, mini-coffee station, and mini-office. We are pretty minimalist in our outdoor gear and still felt it was a good item for our RV life.
Inflatable Hot Tub
Nothing says, "I'm not a minmallist" like having an inflatable hot tub that you tote across the country. The first time I ever saw one of these I thought it was so crazy. Fast forward a few years and now I kind of want one. If you think you need to be more stationary and plugged in for this one, think again. We were boondocking along with some other RVers and someone had an inflatable hot tub. And let me tell you, they put it to good use. Moral of the story, you do you when it comes to what you want to take on your RV journey.
Have a movie night right at your campsite with an outdoor projector. This is a great option whether it's just for your family or if you want to invite others. Projectors are fairly small and lightweight, so you don't have to feel guilty about this one!! We have considered getting one too!!
Alright, that was the list!!
What do you think? Did I miss anything? Remember, get the gear you want and need to make your RV life a good and happy one!!
Exploring the Local Life is a Latino Roadschooling family of four that has been on the road since October 2015. We blog and vlog all about RVing, but it's not always rainbows and campfires. It's real-life every day as we navigate love, unschooling, and breaking free from the mold in our 26ft home on wheels.