Household Essentials for the RV

Should we go ahead and call them RV essentials, yeah. Living in an RV equals less space for cleaning supplies, small kitchen appliances, personal items and maintenance products. We simply have less space, so simplifying what we have is an excellent way of managing our space.

I’ll go ahead and make these RV essentials into a series of blog posts. Kitchen Essentials, Cleaning Essentials, Bathroom and Personal items, and Maintenance Gear.

Unfortunately knowing what you need in your RV will not be a one size fits all situation. I can recommend my favorites to have on hand but there is a lot to do with personal preference and your specific needs. For example I use a french press coffee maker, which means I don’t need counter space for my coffee maker to sit out, but I do need a water kettle. I leave my kettle on the stove because I use it everyday! Be it for tea, coffee, oatmeal or anything else that requires a little hot water. If you prefer drip, single serve, or percolated coffee you will have a different setup then myself.

Kitchen RV Essentials

There’s a lot a person might want to have in their kitchen, there are so many useful small appliances and tools. Only the largest brick and motor kitchens can take full advantage of the available kitchen gear. As full time RVers we recognize the need to prioritize. We start with what we will actually need on a regular basis, and if we still have space left over we can add in a few of the more niche-y kitchen products we love.

So let me share what I feel are some of my essentials, when it comes to Tableware I use Corelle. The plates and bowls can take a lot of punishment without breaking, and they are super lightweight! In a trailer I think both of these features are a big deal. We have tried using plastic plates but it has never set well with me. Not only is plastic bad for the planet but they are harder to clean and many of them are not microwave safe. We do have some left over from when we first started out and use them as backups.

Corelle Tableware

Cups are a little bit of an issue for us, I honestly have only had success with travel cups. We have kids in our trailer with us, so when we try to do glass they end up broken or spilling. I don’t like using plastic, which doesn’t leave as many options. They have camping stainless steal wine tumblers nowadays which work great for adults and the kids. Bonus, most of these have decent lids so you have a chance to pick the cup up before the liquid is ejected all over your trailer. I love lids. Another option if your looking for something lightweight and unbreakable is the classic camping dish sets. I’m sure you have seen the iconic blue with white speckles plates at some point in your life. In this style you can have matching plates, bowls, mugs, silverware, stove top peculators, pots and pans. Most camping gear stores sell them, at a variety of price ranges. I remember my parents having these when I was a kid and they lasted my entire childhood. Down side is you can’t microwave them, but that may not stop your kid from trying! Cue childhood memories of our microwave on fire, Yikes! If you aren’t big on microwaving this wont be an issue.

I don’t intend to host parties from my trailer, maybe you do. I don’t have serving ware and if for some reason I ever needed any I would probably go with a disposable option. There is no way I could justify keeping a serving platter in our RV kitchen >.<

What I do have are a good set of mixing bowls, whisks and spatulas, bread pans, cookie sheets and pizza pans. We just so happen to bake in our trailer. If you don’t intend to bake you could probably skip these items. I have one large glass mixing bowl that doubles as a serving bowl for pasta, fruit or vegetable salads, cut up watermelon and popcorn. I also have a colander and fold up steamer we got from Ikea. I stack all of these bowls together in my overhead cabinet.

We have pots, pans and casserole dishes in our under-sink cabinets as well as a crock pot! Yep I absolutely did make room for my crock pot. I know, I know that’s crazy. I don’t use it as often as my other kitchen appliances and I would do fine without it. I love a good roast though, so I keep it around. Another small kitchen appliance I own is a ninja blender. My ninja is also a food processor, yay for multi-use products! These are things that I have made room for because I enjoy having them.

Pioneer Woman Crockpot

This crock-pot doesn’t have as many features as some of the others on the market but it has served me well.

Ninja blender + food processor

It can even mix bread, this thing is a V.I.(Product) in our RV

Coffee! I mentioned this at the beginning of my post but it needs its own paragraph. Like I mentioned earlier we like french press coffee. You can’t use regular ground coffee in a french press. You’ll either need access to a grocery store with a grinder that has course grind settings or you need to have a grinder in your RV. When you are on the road looking for a place with course ground coffee will be headache, really not practical. We loved our travel manual coffee grinder from Amazon Prime. It’s tiny, taking up virtually no space. I’m sad to say we lost the handle, so now it’s useless :(. Kettle for hot water, should it be electric or stove top. I like leaving my kettle on the stove. It’s a cute kettle so it is aesthetically pleasing to leave out and it’s convenient. Electric kettles are going to have some limitations. You might not always be connected to power and an electric kettle isn’t going to do you any good.

Stove top water kettle

No need for electricity with this kettle, perfect for the stove top. It isn’t as pretty as some of the cast iron kettles you can get but it holds a lot of water and is lightweight.

French Press with some extras

We purchased this French Press from Amazon. It’s great, a great price and came with some extras you may enjoy.

Manual Coffee Grinder

This manual ceramic burr grinder has an adjustable grind. If you prefer to grind your own coffee it works great. From espresso fine to french press course ground.

Single serve coffee makers are probably the most popular. This is an option if you can make room for one on your counter and don’t intend to park anywhere without power. There are some really compact and affordable k-cup compatible single serve coffee makers available on the market. If you want an electric free option but don’t want to use a french press there are also stove top percolators, and pour over options.

Speaking of electric appliances, lets talk about which products have electric options that you may or may not want. We don’t have an electric toaster. I do like toast however so I bought a camping fold down toaster, I just set it up on the stove and viola , Toast! It has a little bit of a learning curve, but saving space is more important to me then having an electric toaster.

The one electric appliance I have that I could do without is an electric can opener. I have been having issues with the standard manual can openers. They either fall apart or are painful to use. I recently splurged on an electric can opener. I ordered it from Amazon and couldn’t be more thrilled with it. I want to have a backup manual can opener for days when we aren’t connected to power so if you have one that has lasted tell me about it!

Electric Can Opener

I haven’t had this can opener very long, so far I love it! If you Go with electric you should have a backup.

Every kitchen needs a dish drainer! What works in your specific RV will likely vary greatly from what another Full timer is using. We all have different size sinks and some of us even have roll up dish drainers that go right on top of the sink. As of right now we have a big bulky dish drainer. It fits a few places so I move it around based on need. Right now it is in the left hand side of my sink. When I am washing dishes I put my stove cover down and put my dish Drainer on top of that. Some options are fold up bamboo drainers, roll up metal drainers, classic dish drainers, foam pad dish drainers or kitchen towels.

Another thing I find essential in my RV kitchen is a utensil caddy. None of the available drawers in my RV kitchen are the ideal shape for silver ware and utensils. The caddy sits behind my dinette against the wall. It has enough weight to it that I can store my cutting boards behind it without worrying it will all tip over. No one wants knives falling all over the kitchen. My largest cutting board stays out at all times. I keep it on the edge of my kitchen table and treat the space as though its a counter top.

Trash cans…I have a love hate relationship with our trash can. They are obviously essential but in an RV they can be incredibly annoying space hogs. The newer RVs tackle the issue of Trash cans by placing them in the kitchen island. A beautiful fix. If you have this sort of setup then you probably aren’t having any trash can problems. There are a couple places you can put a trash can in our specific RV. For us they are all problematic due to our toddlers obsession with knocking the trashcan over. If this was not an issue my favorite place to keep ours is under the dinette table. When we replaced our trailer table top we made our table a little longer. The extra lip allows us to put our trashcan under the table. Pretty nice! Another way to deal with an unsightly trashcan is to get it in a fun color that coordinates well with your kitchen. Our trashcan and stove top kettle are the same shade of robins egg blue. I think they look lovely together in our black and white kitchen.

Color Pop Trashcan

If you have pets, or children Rving with you this trash can has a locking lid, essential!

I would like to briefly mention cast iron pans. A good cast iron pan set is absolutely worth the purchase if you are willing to learn how to take care of them. Cast iron pans are meant to last through generations of use. We had lots of pots and pans meant for an electric glass stove top when we first moved into our trailer. They aren’t holding up as well with the gas stove. Once they have reached the point of no return we will switch to cast iron. I look forward to sharing that experience with you when the time comes!

Other things to think about are, Tupperware, Jars and storage containers. I intend to make a separate post about storage solutions. The topic definitely deserves it own post.

That about rounds up all my favorite kitchen gear. I would love to hear about the must haves you made room for in your RV adventure! Send me a message or leave a comment below. Thanks Everyone!


As a reminder the above pictures are affiliate links. If you choose to purchase one of these items I may receive a small commission. This wont affect the cost for you.