Most of my clothes

Clothes for Full-Time RVing: 43 Essential Items You Will Need

In RV living by Christopher Schopf

RVing gives you a lot of freedom.  Unfortunately, it also takes away a lot of closet space.  If you’re new to full-time RVing, you might be struggling with what to bring and what not to bring into your RV.

In this post, we’ll go over the clothes you’ll need for full-time RVing.

Follow the advice in this post and you’ll have exactly what you need regardless of how large or small your RV’s closet happens to be.

The Basics

When planning a wardrobe, you’ll first want to consider the basics like socks and underwear.  This should be based on your average laundry cycle.

In most cases, you’ll want to consider doing laundry on a weekly basis.  This means you’ll need a minimum of 7 pairs of socks and 7 pairs of underwear.

This being said, you’ll probably want to pack 8 to 10 pairs of each as it is always good to have extra pairs of socks and underwear.

Not only this, but these items are usually sold in packs of 5 or 10 so it is just easier to pack 10 if you’re buying new clothes for your new lifestyle.

Once you have the basics covered, you’ll move onto pants, shirts, and shorts.

Most of my clothes

Most of my clothes

Think about dressing in layers so that you can mix and match short sleeve shirts with button downs, sweaters, and jackets.

Dressing in layers increases the amount of clothing you have to style and it also helps to reduce the number of items you need to bring for colder weather.

Not only this, but it can be extremely helpful to dress in layers when you’re in areas that have cold nights and mornings and hot afternoons and evenings.

Sweaters, sweatshirts, and pants can be worn multiple times between washes, so don’t feel like you need to bring 10 or even 7 of these items along with you.

I’d recommend just a few pairs of pants and one or two pairs of shorts that you can wear multiple times between washes.  The same holds true for button down shirts as you’ll have a short sleeve shirt underneath to protect them from sweat.

One set of clothes you may also want to think about adding is a set of dress clothes.  For men, this could be a suit, a dress shirt, a tie, and some shoes and for women, this might mean a dress and shoes or heels.

However, if space is at a premium, you may want to just consider renting these items if/when you need them.

Outerwear You’ll Need

Coats, jackets, sweaters, and sweatshirts all seem to last a long time.  You probably have at least 10 coats and jackets and maybe even more sweaters and sweatshirts.  Unfortunately, you won’t be taking all them full timing with you.

The best solution is to bring one sweater or sweatshirt, one light rain jacket, and one fall jacket.  If you’re going to be RVing in extremely cold weather, you might also want to bring one winter coat.

Everyone else can layer their sweatshirts and sweaters with their fall jacket to create an outfit that is suitable for winter.

If you’re really short on space, skip the rain jacket and buy one of those portable ponchos that you find at the dollar store.  This will help keep you dry should you end up having to work on the RV in the rain and it won’t take up much space at all.

Also, remember that you can use your jacket and coat pockets as additional storage spaces.  Store items like sunglasses, lighters, and lip balms in your coat pockets and it will give you more space in your kitchen drawers.

Footwear Is Really Important

It is easy to quickly accumulate a lot of shoes.  In fact, according to a survey conducted by Time Magazine, the average man in the United States owns 12 pairs of shoes and the average women in the United States owns 27 pairs of shoes.

Looking at the numbers, it is easy to see that both men and women will have to dramatically cut down on the number of shoes they own if they are going to go full-time RVing.

But what should you keep and what should you give away?

Here are my footwear recommendations for full-time RVers.

  • Flip Flops
  • Hiking Boots
  • Trainers
  • Casual Shoes
  • Dress Shoes

Flip flops are great because you can use them on the beach, the lake, to the pool, and to the showers.  While you might start off thinking you’ll never use public showers, you might end up having to use them anyway.  This could be because you’re at a site that doesn’t have water because something is wrong with your plumbing, or simply that you’re tired of cleaning your RV shower.

Even if you never end up at a public shower, you’ll probably end up somewhere near water at some point.  Having flip flops will keep the sand out of your other shoes and will give you some versatility in your wardrobe.  Not only this, but flip flops don’t take up much room and you can often hang them up against a wall or inside a coat pocket.

Hiking boots can be used for hiking, for dealing with snow and rain and can even be fashionable during the fall and winter months. 

Bring along a pair of lightweight hiking boots and you’ll have a lot of flexibility.

Will you be working out while full-time RVing?  Trainers can be used for general fitness workouts and can even double as shoes to go walking or jogging in.  These shoes also look good with a pair of jeans so you can wear them around town when you need to.

A nice pair of casual shoes can be used when you need to get out of your trainers.  This will give your trainers a chance to dry out and will give you another option when picking out your outfit for the day.

Choose a neutral color that is different than the color of your trainers so that you can add some versatility to your wardrobe.

Dress shoes are optional and will depend on whether or not you think you’ll need them.  If you’re into fine dining, you might find that you need to wear dress shoes on a regular basis.  The same holds true if you intend on attending business meetings while full-timing.

Not everyone who full-times waits until they’re retired and it is important that you have everything you need when you begin your journey.

For others, you might want to skip the dress shoes and consider renting them when needed.  In a pinch, you can always wear a pair of leather trainers instead of a pair of dress shoes.

Accessories You’ll Be Glad You Remembered

It is incredibly easy to go overboard with accessories.

This is because they don’t take up a lot of room by themselves so it is easy to forget how quickly they can take up space once you add them all up.

Items like watches, jewelry, hats, scarves, and gloves should all be paired down to just one or two of each.

Here are some items worth considering:

  • 2 Hats
  • 2 Pairs of Gloves
  • 1 Watch
  • 2 Belts

You’ll need a hat to protect you from the sun and another hat to protect you from the cold.  Bring a wide-brimmed hat and a winter hat so that you’ll have both.

The winter had can be folded up and put into your winter coat’s pocket for storage and the wide-brimmed hat can be hung on the wall.

A thick pair of winter gloves are great for cleaning snow off of cars and RVs.  However, thick winter gloves aren’t really necessary for trips around town or in milder weather.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t protect your hands during these times though.  A nice thin pair of cotton or leather gloves can easily be stored in a coat, jacket, or even sweatshirt pocket.

In fact, you can even store them in your glove compartment when not in use.

The watch is unnecessary since almost everyone owns a cell phone that can tell them the time.  However, if you have to have a piece of jewelry other than a wedding ring, a watch is the way to go.  Watches make great jewelry for RVers since they can also serve other functions.

Standard watches can tell time and act as jewelry while smartwatches can serve even more functions.

Belts are optional but it is nice to have a belt for casual use and a belt for dress purposes.  If you’ll be renting your dress clothes, feel free to omit the dress belt.

Multi-Purpose Items

When creating a wardrobe for full-time RVing, it is always a good idea to bring along items that can serve multiple purposes.  Here are some suggestions to get you started.

  • 4 Season Jackets
  • Aquatic Hiking Shoes
  • Smart Watches
  • Reversible Belts

Four season jackets are jackets that come with multiple layers.  You basically have a spring jacket and a fall jacket that zip into each other to create a winter jacket.

This is a great space saver.

Aquatic hiking shoes can replace shower shoes, hiking shoes, and waterproof shoes in mild climates.  They can also be worn to the beach, the pool, or anywhere else you may get wet.

Smart watches can be used as jewelry or as smartphones.  This is especially useful for RVers who have standard phones over smartphones.

Reversible belts give you two different color options so you basically get two belts for the price of one.

In Summary

When going full time as an RVer, be prepared to give up some of your clothing.

Just be smart about it and you won’t actually have to give up anything you really need.