Dressing properly for our RV travel lifestyle is crucial to our overall enjoyment and health. Since we spend so much time in the outdoors, it’s important we dress for the elements and the environment and be comfortable.
Being prepared for weather extremes is also something we think about. As much as we do our best to travel with fair weather, surprises like a rare snowstorm in Tucson, Arizona do happen.
We’re often asked, what are your must-have items to maintain the RV life? Are there particular products or favorite items we use? Are there products/things that we just could not live without? What is essential gear? On this page, I’ll share what we wear; items that make our life a little more comfortable.
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Ah, sun exposure! We spend a great deal of our time meandering around the west and the southwest United States where we enjoy as many as 300 days of sunshine a year. Oh yeah, these former Midwesterners have embraced those blue skies. Considering we aren’t fans of repeated sunscreen application, we choose to cover up in clothing, which I’ll admit, is not always comfortable when temperatures might be soaring in the 100-degree Fahrenheit range, but a sunburn is even less fun.
Al and I love our lightweight Columbia long sleeve shirts. They solve our problem of keeping the sun off our skin as well as bugs when we travel back east. The long sleeves roll up easily and have straps to secure them in place. We also like the super comfy long sleeve lightweight T-shirts.
Most important gear for RVing
Our most important gear (and should be for anyone who travels) is footwear. This is one area where you don’t want to go cheap or compromise. There’s nothing worse than hiking with friends or strolling a beautiful European city only to have your feet start hurting within the first thirty minutes of the walk. I won’t even mention blisters … ouch!
If you travel west of the Mississippi River, dedicated hiking shoes are an absolute must. I started off our full-time RVing adventure with the typical running shoe, but after hiking at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, I knew I needed something with a thicker sole that offered better gripping.
Even if you aren’t an avid hiker, there are some scenic overlooks throughout the country that have loose gravel while some are on slick rock near ledges. You definitely want a shoe with a sole that offers a solid grip. Or when visiting the desert southwest there are cactus needles on the ground to think about and a quality pair of hiking shoes will make the world of difference for your overall travel experience. Quality, comfortable shoes, regardless of your travel mode, are a must for anyone who enjoys exploring … a traveler’s essential gear.
I love my Merrell hiking shoes and I’m already on my third pair. Al is partial to a high-top hiking shoe. He likes ankle coverage protection. And don’t overlook quality socks. They are every bit as important as the shoe.
Of course, since our goal is to follow the weather … that is flip-flop weather … then certainly flip-flops are a must-have item. We prefer the kind of flip-flops that can get wet. When we take showers at a campground, we keep our feet covered for health reasons and shower with flip-flops on. Yeah, no picking up some foot virus for us! We also like our Keen’s for any boating activity and even for washing the RV and trucks. And a gal’s gotta have cute yet comfy walking sandals.
A note about sizing: When it comes to buying hiking shoes, please buy them at least a half size larger than you normally wear. Your feet will swell while hiking, and you definitely want enough toe room while hiking down a hill. You don’t want your toes jammed to the front of the shoe because if they do, you might lose a toenail like I did. If you’ve watched the movie Wild starring Reese Witherspoon, then you already know her character loses a toenail. I wish I had seen that movie before learning this lesson the hard way about hiking shoes and sizing.
Sandals are another story. My Merrell and Teva sandals were purchased a half size smaller and fit perfectly. For some reason those brands seem to run large in the sandal department.
Hats, hats, and more hats!
You’ll rarely see Al or me without a hat on. There’s nothing that’ll age your skin faster than sun exposure, not to mention the risk of skin cancer. We have several friends who are dealing with skin cancer, and as much as their skin cancer is treatable due to early detection, the ongoing process and treatments are a total pain … literally and figuratively. Please wear a hat!
There are so many fun hats out there. I’ve even convinced my millennial-aged daughter to cover up when hiking. Even though we live in less than 300 square feet, Al and I still find room to add to our hat collection. Between the two of us, we probably have around two dozen. Although we do have our favorites that we seem to wear the majority of the time, we still like having a variety of choices.
Purses and Packs
Whether we travel by RV, car, bus, plane or train, we do need to keep our personal items organized. For everyday use, I prefer using a crossbody purse like this Baggallini crossbody bag. I think if I were to travel internationally, I might consider getting this anti-theft messenger bag which offers a tad more security. Both bags come in other colors, but I’m partial to black thinking it’s less noticeable. The last thing I want to do is draw attention to my bag or make it look like we have a lot of money.
For hiking purposes, I use a backpack with a removable bladder while Al prefers a fanny pack that’ll hold two large bottles of water. We usually don’t hike more than two hours, but when we do, he can add a couple of more bottles into the pack.
Coats and rain gear
Al and I love our fleece jackets. For the places we visit, this is all the jacket we need. We do, however, keep heavier coats in our closet for those rare times we find ourselves in unusually cold and inclement weather. We also keep raincoats in the truck at all times.
We love our collection of T-shirts. Quite frankly, in my opinion, one can never have too many T-shirts. Okay, let’s be honest, I have a T-shirt addiction, but talk about a perfect souvenir. Justification! I rarely visit a national park without buying at least one at the visitor center. I also like buying local T-shirts especially if I know we’ll be doing a photo-op with us in the photograph. I think between Al and me, we have six T-shirts from Sedona, Arizona alone 🤦♀️ And of course, you have to have some humorous T’s … which round out our RVing wardrobe … it’s what we wear!