CHEF SUSIE’S RV PACKING MENU

As a private chef, my husband Doug (an avid bowhunter) and I love the flexibility we have to hit the open road, enjoy the weather, and explore great American destinations with our three dogs in our RV. From my experience, packing right and being well prepared cuts down on shopping while on the road, which allows us to fully enjoy each destination.

We have the packing process down since we have gone on countless RV and camping trips. My list is comprised of all of the on-the-road household items, and Doug takes charge of the big items, safety equipment, toys and pups.

Doug RV

First, Doug gets his list together and stages the items to pack.

Doug’s Packing List:

  • A small generator with extra gas for backup in case we don’t have a hook up while on the road
  • Flashlights – fresh batteries – camping tip – put a little piece of painters or masking tape on the side of the battery with the date of when you last replaced.
  • Matches / Fireplace lighter
  • Charcoal
  • Kindling for fire pit
  • ToolBox kit

First Aid / Cleaning Box:

  • Pain reliever – large container
  • First-Aid kit – we replenish every trip
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • Wet wipes
  • Laundry detergent – small container
  • Dishwash Soap
  • Sponge – Multiple

Chef Susie’s Mobile Kitchen Supplies, Equipment and Box:

  • Small hibachi grill
  • 2 cutting boards (one for raw meats)
  • Coolers with plenty of ice.
  • Drinking Water – Three – 5 gallon refillable bottles – we also have our personal refillable water bottles to cut down on waste.
  • Portable folding table
  • 4 folding chairs
  • French Press for our morning breakfasts
  • Saucepan and small saute pan
  • Paella Pan – I love to cook Paella and share with fellow RVers. We know most RVers enjoy their privacy, and so do we. But once in awhile when we are feeling social, this is a great way to break the ice.
  • Utensil Box: a good sharp knife, wooden spoons, slotted spoons and long/short tongs
  • Chef’s Knife Bag: a zester, different spatulas, wine opener, peeler, and small knife sharpener
  • Plastic wine glasses

When planning our meals for the trip I will break them out by meal and cross check for breakfast, lunch, and dinner ingredients. Dry goods and pantry items are organized and packed in labeled bins.

Here is my go-to list for Pantry Items:

  • House Blend Spices – I love to cook with so many different spices, so I create a house-blend that I pre-package at home in reusable re-sealable bags. See video for how to toast spices. I will include the recipe in my next article.
  • General spices include: cumin, coriander, turmeric, garlic salt, chipotle powder, kosher salt, and pepper.
  • EVOO also known as Extra Virgin Olive Oil and balsamic vinegar
  • Black beans
  • Diced green chili – small cans
  • Sugar, flour, baking soda, baking powder(plastic bags or canisters), just in case I have a top chef challenge on the road
  • Coffee – ground
  • Jars or cans – green and black olives, pepperoncinis, cornichons, chutney, crackers, Italian breadsticks for my fireside charcuterie plate.
  • Corn/Flour Tortillas
  • Popcorn – raw or popped
  • Root vegetable chips, pretzels, and dried vegetables
  • Meal Bars
  • Trail Mix – pre-bagged
  • Jerky – homemade or pre-packed
  • Bubbles (sparkling wine)

Then I pack a ‘Disposable Goods’ Box:

  • Paper plates, bowls, napkins, utensils – I always replenish this box when I return from a trip. I want to grab on go for the next adventure.
  • Campsite garbage bags
  • Industrial trash bags – as a caterer you can never have enough of these on hand
  • Paper towels
  • Window cleaner – you can clean anything with it
  • Wet wipes
  • Toilet paper – pack more that you think you need

Perishable Ingredient Packing List for Cooler:

  • Eggs – depending on where we headed, sometimes we can find farm fresh eggs on the road
  • Cheese – goat, fresh mozzarella, triple cream bleu, and a couple bags of shredded
  • Fresh Herb/root: ginger cilantro, parsley, rosemary, sage, and thyme
  • Fresh Vegetables: carrots, arugula, iceberg lettuce
  • Prepared Rice: Brown or White packaged in meal size servings
  • Bell Peppers – Red and Green
  • Onions – Yellow, Red, and White
  • Protein: Wild game, chicken, or beef

Planning is key. Try to create your cooking needs around easy and fast meal ideas so you can eat and go.

Meal Planning

  • Breakfast
    • Egg Burritos Wraps
    • Muffins – prepared
    • Meal Bars
    • Coffee
  • Snacks am/pm
    • Trail Mix
    • Fireside Charcuterie – includes dried salumi, cheese, and pantry items
    • Root vegetable chips, pretzels
  • Lunch – can’t go wrong with wraps, easy to make and easy to carry when on the hiking or biking trail.
  • Dinner – It’s a little trickier to plan for dinner, as it all depends on what is in the freezer, since Doug is a game hunter. Could be venison steaks or elk for tacos.

We can’t forget about the pooches! So we have a packing bin just for these three: Gunner (10), Angus (9), and the new addition Zeek (4 months). We love our boys and they make our trips so much fun.

Chef Susie

Pooches Box of Essentials:

  • Dry Food for the seniors
  • Dry Food for Zeek
  • Medicine – Prescriptions and shot records
  • Tennis Balls & Toys
  • Treats
  • Beds
  • Kennel Crate
  • Water Bowl
  • Feeding Bowls
  • Collapsible travel water bowl
  • Poop bags 🙂

What a list! And that is just so we can eat and keep the pups safe and comfortable. After all our exploring, our comfy outdoor chairs make each campsite a slice of heaven where we enjoy the scenery and a good book.

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Want a print-out of Susie’s full packing menu? Get the full list here.

GO RVING WITH A BABY

Our plan was to leave Orange County, California where we lived for 8 years and move near family on the East Coast. We wanted to settle down in a brick & mortar house and have babies. I convinced Danielle we should have one last hurrah by buying an RV and traveling for 6 months on our way out east.

We quickly realized that living in an RV can be just as “normal” as living in a brick & mortar house, except you get to enjoy scenery and experiences that would never happen living in a traditional house. About a year into our full-time RV travels we found ourselves pregnant while in Texas. It was exciting, but we had to make a big decision…do we settle down, or do we continue the incredible life to which we’ve become accustomed?

For me it was a no-brainer, CONTINUE RVing! Danielle had a few things she wanted to get cleared up before committing:

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CREATIVE MEAL PACKING FOR CAMPING OR EXPLORING

When camping, traveling, exploring or entertaining allergy free/safe food is always our primary concern. We don’t have the luxury of stopping by a deli for a quick bite, so we had to come up with some creative food storage ideas over the years. Although you might only need to think about what your lunch scenario might be like on your hike, we need to think about each and every meal ahead of us. Whether it is an overnight stay, a day trip, a mid-day snack or 3-day camping excursion, packing food creatively has become a lifestyle for us.

We have come up with some simple food packaging ideas, recipes, and creative container solutions to share that might help all campers well beyond allergy sensitive explorers.

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MAKING MEMORIES (AND SAVING THEM)

We’ve all seen it on social media…the “humble brag,” scenery almost too beautiful for real life, and photos so perfect that they must have been staged. Just because some people pair their adventurous lifestyle with social media doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. However, the process of documenting your RV escapes can be both a fun and rewarding endeavor no matter what you do with it. With a little preparation and planning, you can preserve your adventures to look back on and create something to share with family and friends who might be interested in taking a peek at your life on the road.

 

Phone taking a picture of a stunning waterfall with greenery

 

Before you start your adventures, or if you’re already adventuring, we found that asking yourself a few questions will help you document your experiences in a more organized way that will yield better results.

 

Why do you want to document your adventures?

 

Portrait of woman in hiking gear with canteen

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FINDING BALANCE ON THE ROAD

Even though we’re part-timers, James and I have been on the road a lot lately.

 

 

James is fortunate. His day job allows him to work remotely, so it’s easy for him to hit the road. He’s actually pretty great at balancing work while still making the trip feel special.

 

 

I guess I’m to blame for why we aren’t out there RVing more. I’m a personal trainer and wellness coach, and even though others in my field can do that remotely, I feel I’m more effective working in person. But, that’s not the only reason we’re not full-timers.

 

I like the balance of having an actual home, and having the RV as a vacation, and keeping the two things separate. So when I told you we’ve been on the road a lot lately, you probably assumed that was a good thing. And…it usually is, but when the RV starts feeling a little too “home-like”…you know, the days start to look the same, or I’m less interested in exploring my surroundings … I start getting nervous. That’s when I know it’s time to head home.

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