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Camping 101: 21 packing hacks for camping clothes, inside your RV or tent and tips for dirty laundry


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Feb 16, 2024
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Camping 101: 21 packing hacks for camping clothes, inside your RV or tent and tips for dirty laundry

This isn’t sexy – just is practical hacks for RV travellers and campers for INSIDE your RV or tent. These are packing tips we’ve picked up from tent camping with the kids, our motorhome trip around Oz, and as caravanning empty nesters. And I’ve saved the best tip for last!

  1. Pack nothing that needs ironing.
    Who can be bothered when you are camping? I do stash a “nice outfit”under the bed – but it is still wash and wear. Same with sundresses (I love wearing dresses, summer and winter) some are ‘scrunchable’ others stretchy.
  2. Always pack a scarf
    It is lightweight for warmer trips and doubles as a sarong. I tend to pack larger scarves that act as wraps for winter trips, they are fantastic for warmth, and instantly dress up an outfit.
  3. Poncho
    I always pack my woollen lightweight poncho. It rolls up into nothing, is super warm, versatile, and even thin enough to work as a scarf.
  4. Fabric coathangers
    We don’t have hanging space in our van – so I don’t bother with it. But Heatley hangs up his collared shirts and any coats behind his car seat. Another tip is use velvet or fabric covered coat hangers. This is because they don’t knock against the window like wire or wooden coat hangers.
  5. ALWAYS pack raincoats
    Our raincoats stay in our backpack, in the back seat or boot. We learnt the hard way to ALWAYS pack raincoats. I do bring a puffer coat in winter – they also squish up to nothing.
  6. Mats
    Rather than rugs, we add a bathmat to our RV floor. We have always used a door mat that gets rid of sand. I am going to give a shout out to Tidy Turf Mats, they are Aussie owned like us! They safely fit to our van steps and we have a small turf door mat for the ground. (PS – If you are a camps+ member (our premium app) you can get their brilliant offer in the deals.)
  7. Avoid lights and whites
    Choose older, dark/patterned tablecloths, tea towels and towels. Then with clothes, I never bring a white or pale top or dress, and aim for darker options – except socks, bras and undies! Why? One, stains are more easily disguised, so you can get more wears from the item. Two, all the clothes go in the same wash (I always separate colours when washing at home).
  8. On washing
    I still separate my towels from everything else. But if you include beach towels, bath towels, bath mats, hand towels for the en-suite and kitchen, you can still get your money’s worth with coin operated machines. Here’s another dirty laundry hack we love: I carry a pretty zippered cushion slip – and this is where our dirty laundry is stashed until washing day. It just looks like a pillow, there’s no need a basket out, and it is great for carrying to the washing machines.
  9. Laundry space savers
    We’ve recently swapped a bottle of laundry wash to the detergent sheets – mainly because unlike powders and liquids, they don’t spill, are lightweight and take up little space (and less plastic landfill). Instead of a stain spray, I pack a little yellow ‘Exit’ stain remover stick. It is a great space saver, too.
  10. On toiletries
    With our van – we need to keep toiletries in cupboards as we travel. So, we keep our most used items in our own toiletry bag (I actually use a tall lunch bag) – that we take into shower cubicles.
  11. For our en-suite
    I pack soap and sanitiser dispensers in a little container. This means they sit upright in the cupboard and don’t get squashed or fall over (no spillage). Plus, when setting up camp, I open up the roof hatch, pull out the container and loo paper and we’re good to go!
  12. Back to tablecloths
    The humble old tablecloth is seriously underrated. We often stop at picnic areas, or set up near a picnic table bush camping. Tablecloths are great to separate your food from whatever happened on that table – be it bird poo, spillages or whatever! I love the old seersucker ones because they never look creased – and I grew up with them. I pack two, one for public tables, with the aim to place the underside in contact with table each time. Another smaller one for our folding table.
  13. Bed linen
    I travel with a multi-coloured doona/bedspread, sheets and pillow slips. Again, this hides most marks as we don’t wash our bed linen as often as we do at home.
  14. Bed pretties
    I do add in a throw rug – they come in handy. And a second pillow to relax against when not sleeping. Bonus, they are pretty, and don’t weigh much – if you have the room. Friends vouch for a bamboo mattress topper for sleeping comfort – we plan to add this, have you tried one?
  15. Must have extra blanket
    We ALWAYS travel with an extra blanket, even in summer. You just never know!
  16. How I pack
    I roll up my T-shirts, scarves, shorts and active wear into a clear container. This hack makes my storage area more accessible and items easy to find.
  17. Container packing
    My other container has togs/bikinis/rash shirts in summer, and those scarves in winter – plus a small bag for jewellery and a small cross body bag that is great for hiking or going out. (My smalls and socks have a little drawer each.)
  18. On togs
    If I know we are off to lots of swimming destinations – I now bring a few pairs. This is because it is so easy to wear them under my clothes for the day, ready to strip as soon as we see a waterfall or creek! Also, I don’t know about you, but I much prefer to put on dry rather than wet swimmers.
  19. Shoes are a bug bear
    I always want to pack too many! It is just the two of us, but it looks like a caterpillar lives in our van. Regardless – always bring your Ugg boots and thongs.
  20. This one is well known
    Always wear thongs in amenities blocks! Make sure your kids keep them on when they shower to prevent catching tinea.
  21. And now for the BEST tip we were ever given
    So far, anyway! It sounds really simple, but it MAKES for a huge difference in your comfort. Place a woollen blanket UNDER your mattress. Even in well insulated caravans, motorhomes or other RVs this little remedy helps keep it warmer in winter and cooler in summer. And in a tent or camper trailer it makes the world of difference to your comfort. Is it something you do, too?

Not all of these packing tips may suit you, or your style of camping – but we’re interested to hear if any of these hacks help you out. We even have 7 more packing tips here for the rest of your camping gear! And always pack your CAMPS guides and download your offline maps in the Camps Australia Wide App. What are your canny tips when camping?

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