Tips for Buying an RV With the Right Amount of Storage for Your Needs

senior couple packing RV
••• RV storage can make or break what you take on the road. Digital Vision/Photodisc/Getty Images

RVs are meant to be self-contained living spaces that happen to have an engine and wheels. So if it’s meant to be utilized as a self-contained space for days, weeks and even months at a time there is one important component: storage. 

RV storage can make or break a trip or how well you like your RV so it’s important to make sure you not only have enough of it but that it’s the right type. 

The quest for perfect RV storage begins at the RV dealer’s lot.

You never want to buy or rent an RV that won’t suit your RV storage needs so it’s a good idea to go into the lot ready and prepared. So how do you know if an RV will fit your storage needs before you’ve even bought it? Simple, bring a packing list to the dealer.

What Storage Information to Bring to the RV Dealership

Make sure your packing list is as detailed as you will need it to be. Here are some tips for making the best shopping list:

Don’t just start listing items you think or know you will bring. A list this detailed will need a more methodical approach. You will likely know what type of RV you will be searching for before you hit the lot, with the type of RV in mind you need to create your list in sections. Start in the driver’s area and move backward, dividing the RV into sections such as the entertainment area, bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, miscellaneous storage and more. Don’t forget about the outside of the RV, if you are purchasing a larger RV such a fifth wheel or diesel pusher, you will likely have storage on the exterior of the vehicle.

Using this approach, you can go area by area and list things that you might need on any given potential trip. It’s best to split things into two lists of wants and needs because utilizing a small space like an RV and making compromises go hand in hand. If the item is debatable if it is a want or need than it is a want.

Spend a nice chunk of time on the lists and get input from other people who are likely to tag along on your RV adventures. Try to set the list down for a couple days, then go back to it, this fresh look can help if you’ve forgotten anything.

What Storage Features to Look for When You Buy an RV

Now that you have your handy list available, you’re ready to hit the dealership. Move through different RVs in the lot and compare them to your list. Will you be able to store your skis in the outer compartments? Can the bathroom store your necessary toiletries? Does the kitchen have room to store pots and pans you like to bring along? Can you use disposable dishes? Paper plates? Foil pans? What can you leave behind for something smaller and disposable?

Just like you went through your list, take the same methodical approach while moving through the RV. Make sure that the vehicle can take care of your needs first before moving onto your wants list. If the RV can’t handle all your wants, that may be okay if the everything else in the RV fits your needs. Once again, spending time in a small space will take a good deal of compromise. Bring along people you will be RVing with to help give you a second opinion on storage as well.

You don't want to be packing up for a trip and realize there’s nowhere to put extra sheets or keep your favorite cast iron pan. By hitting the RV lot armed with your storage needs and taking a methodical approach to storage, you will remove the risk of coming up short on your next road trip.