8 Must-Have Items when RV’ing with a Toddler

When you’re RV’ing with a toddler there are different challenges that come with the territory. You want to make the most of your time and for the parents that means being prepared which can make your travels a lot easier. We aren’t going to cover the basics like diapers and wipes, clothes and a crib, we want to dive into the items specific to being in an RV with a small child. We are frugal, but there are some areas we do spend money because the price is well worth the value these items bring. Here is a list of the top 8 items we recommend when taking to the road with a baby on board.


This content may contain affiliate links… actually it definitely does, like 8 of them.

#1 – Camelback Drinking Bottle

This is an absolutely outstanding bottle for children, it doesn’t spill even a drip when turned over (unlike other bottles it actually doesn’t leak). It can also handle being dropped, thrown, chewed on and pretty much anything else a typical kid does to bottles. Take it from an SLP (Ashley) that the big bite valve mouthpiece that Camelback offers is exceptional for children moving away from sippy cups and into straws. They also come with fun designs for kids so it doesn’t take much convincing to get them to use it. You can find the a bottle just like the one we have by Clicking Here.

#2 – Baby Monitor

For us a baby monitor is a must have, your child is in a new place constantly and getting used to their new space so you will want to keep an eye on them. We definitely recommend a monitor with not only audio and video but also a temperature gauge. The temperature gauge is a big deal because the temperatures from room to room in an RV can vary greatly depending on insulation and heating/AC ventilation in that room. For us that means Evelyn’s room gets much hotter and colder than the rest of the house, therefore we need to adjust the thermostat based on her needs even if that means we are a little too hot or cold on our end. Lastly, look for a camera and monitor that are battery powered, this will allow you to dry camp for longer and more comfortably knowing that you aren’t draining your RV battery bank. This Babysense Monitor is perfect it offers a rechargeable battery that will last around 10 hours, displays the temperature in the child’s room and of course everything else you expect in a great monitor.

#3 – Remote Temperature Gauge

The Remote Temperature Gauge can be used if you don’t have the room temperature displayed on your baby monitor. This device simply shows you the temperature of any given room based on where you place the thermometer. This can also be useful for knowing outdoor temperatures as well as refrigerator and freezer temperatures. As mentioned before the temperatures can vary greatly from room to room in the RV and unlike a brick and mortar house outdoor temperatures will have a much greater impact on indoor temperatures. The ThermoPro Gauge is great because it is very affordable, is dependable, battery powered and allows you to add additional thermometers as needed.

#4 – Back Pack Carrier

The Kelty Kids Carrier has been an absolute game changer for us. With our daughter you never know if a hike will be an awesome day or a complete melt down. With this back pack she loves it every time… okay almost every time, but some days just aren’t hiking days for Evelyn Kate. She loves sitting up high and being able to see what’s in front of us, plus if she gets tired she can rest her head on our back. This model also has plenty of storage space so it serves as an actual pack for anything you need, but for us it holds diapers, wipes, water and plenty of snacks to keep Evelyn a happy hiker. It’s really easy to get her in, and pick her up, you only need one person, plus now we don’t have to wait on our little distracted walker to keep up we can complete a hike and do it as a family!

#5 – Battery Bank

Our RV came with one 12V battery when we purchased it, this is good for opening and closing the slides and awning, and using a few lights, but for actual power usage the one battery just doesn’t do much. So for very little cost and a very simple DIY install we added 2 more 12V batteries so that we now have a three 12V battery bank. While this still isn’t huge, it’s enough to get the job done for our needs when camping without electricity. This allows us to comfortably keep a light on at night, keep Evelyns baby monitor and camera plugged in and run the air purifier in her room for white noise and air circulation/cleaning. We can run that setup for all 12 hours of Evelyn’s sleep each night for 3 nights straight without issue. We could also use that battery bank for anything that runs from a standard wall plug, such as charging all of our devices like cameras, phones and computers. To convert the power from DC power (what the batteries output) to AC power (what your devices and outlets run off of) you will need a DC to AC converter which you can pick up at Wal-Mart or you can get the one we use on Amazon here. We like this one because it has multiple outlets and allows USB charging.

Your check list for a DIY Battery Bank just like ours:

  1.  3 – 12 Volt Deep Cycle Batteries.
  2.  4 – Battery Cables to connect your 3 batteries together.
  3.  1 – DC to AC Converter.

#6 – HEPA Air Purifier

When traveling with a small child one of the most important and stressful things are making sure they sleep well. A good air purifier is perfect for helping in this area. The air purifier not only creates white noise, but also circulates and cleans the air, and when Evelyn isn’t sleeping it still works great for cooling us down on a hot day and making sure the air quality is top notch.

You may wonder why not just get a fan? Do you really need an air purifier? Well if you you’re not aware wild fires are a major issue. You may be able to avoid the fires themselves, but avoiding the smoke is much more difficult. If you plan on making your way into Montana, California, Washington or British Columbia having a HEPA certified filter will keep the air in your RV pure. The impact of smoke in the air is much more apparent in children so if they’re playing outside a lot then you’ll quickly notice they are coughing more and have considerably less energy. You may not be able to change the air quality outside but you can control the air quality in your RV and give the family a save haven. It’s not just the Pacific Northwest either, as I write this article there are currently wildfires in California, Washington, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Utah and Wyoming and that’s just in the US.

When it comes to items having multiple functions we are on board, it saves space in the RV, keeps us healthy and saves money in our wallets. We use a HEPA Certified Air Purifier and this is absolutely perfect for us. We did attempt to find battery powered, rechargeable fans, but none of them had enough power to create any real white noise or air movement. You can take a look at the exact purifier we have, but really any good True HEPA certified purifier rated for your RV size will do.

#7 – Portable Vacuum Cleaner

A vacuum cleaner is a must have for traveling in your RV, and if it’s battery powered that’s even better. After a mountain hike, or a day at the beach there is plenty of dirt, sand and everything else being tracked into your RV. When you’re living in a small space the last thing you want is for it to be dirty. You can’t just get any vacuum though because they use a ton of power so if you’re dry camping a plugin vacuum simply couldn’t be used. Luckily there are powerful, portable and battery powered options. This is the one we use, it’s powerful, has a long battery life and is half the price of a Dyson!

#8 – Baby Shoes

When you’re on the road, constantly visiting new places your little one is going to need a great pair of shoes! First and foremost they need to fit well and be comfortable, they also need to be easy to put on and take off, it helps if they clean up easily and if they are water proof then you’ve found a keeper. For us this is the Keen! This serves as an all purpose shoe for Evelyn. She can walk on rough rocks, walk through creeks and streams or just wear them out to dinner, either way she is always on the move and these shoes make it much easier on us.

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