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Old 06-05-2019, 07:28 PM   #1
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Default What food to keep in kitchen when not in use?

Hello all!

I'm trying not to jump the gun on getting an Rv until the end of the season, but man do I want that thing now! Anywho, I'm trying to do as much preparation/research beforehand so I can be prepared for RV life. I will be using it almost every weekend for short trips. To me, the best part of an RV over a hotel is the ability to just get up and go, without packing/unpacking everything. Iím planning on keeping everything in there and I even have designated ďvacation outfitsĒ so clothes and shoes will stay in there except when I need to wash them.

I really want to just stop at the grocery store and grab some steak, veggies and beer on my way out. I've already figured out that I can keep a lot of condiments like mayo, ketchup, mustard, etc. in those little packets that you get from fast food restaurants. They donít need to be refrigerated. And Iím going to switch to a lot of things with individual containers that donít need to be refrigerated until they are ready to be used (applesauce, fruit cups, pudding cups, etc.). I will be keeping spices, dry pastas, and canned tuna/chicken in the pantry at all times as well.

BUT, there are some staples that I use daily that I donít want to buy a new container of, or haul in and out every weekend. Things like eggs, butter, salad dressing, milk, etc. I thought about keeping a bin in my home refrigerator with these so I can just grab it all at once. What do you guys do? Are there any other staples in terms of food I should stock the pantry with?

Since I live in the deep South, it will be HOT in there when not in use. And this is off topic, but what about deodorant? I would think the stick deodorant would melt and the aerosol might explode. Should I be worried about leaving anything else in the heat (aerosol cooking oil, anything from first aid kit or beauty products)?

Last question: any portable propane griddle recommendations? I'm thinking a griddle would be easier to clean up on a campsite than a grill. Plus, I like my steaks greasy.

Thanks in advance for any tips!
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Old 06-05-2019, 07:48 PM   #2
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Can't speak to the grill since we don't have one. Nor to the deodorant. There are a few food items that we do keep in the camper when not in use but not many. Mostly dry goods like you have suggested. We live in AZ so the RV gets hot when stored.

One thing that we do for all of our trips incuding non-RV travel is to have an extensive list on the computer. It's divided into categories like clothes, food, etc. So in the section on RV mechanical prep it would list [a few examples] check battery, check oil, tire pressure, prime toilet black tank, start refridge, turn on power to house battery, etc.. I go through that checking off items as I complete them. Same with packing clothes, food, electronics. It gives us a lot of confidence that we haven't forgotten anything. Each time we get ready to go, we print a copy of the list.

Incidentally, there's also a section for the house: setup light timers, water plants, lawnwork, notify neighbors, etc.
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Old 06-05-2019, 09:23 PM   #3
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We don't leave any food items in our van when we are not using it. They are just rodent and ant food attractions.
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Old 06-05-2019, 11:15 PM   #4
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We also live in deep South. As per your concern, we do not leave anything in van between trips. No food, no aerosols, not even liquid soaps. Only towels, pot & pans, cups, plates, paper products, hoses, cords, window coverings, etc.

We use a few large plastic baskets to unload things and store them indoors until the next trip. As others have mentioned, we have a extensive check-list of items to take so that we don't forget them when it's time to depart.

And don't forget to take a well equiped toolbox. I have needed quite a few tools for little repairs on the coach. One tool that has come in particularly handy is channel-lock pliars. You need them sometimes to remove the large PVC caps on sewer hook ups at campsites and rv parks. They can be stubborn if the last user over-tightens them.
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Old 06-06-2019, 12:51 AM   #5
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I don't leave food in my rig between trip - the heat becomes an issue instead I have two smallish bins that I can quickly load and then take out at the end of the trip.

One has spices and packets as you've described, the other has staples. For me that includes olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sugar, rice, oatmeal, flour, grits and cornmeal. I also usually have a couple of packages of dried soup and coffee and tea.

For containers I use wide mouth plastic drink bottles like this: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07Q58HPDV
They come in a variety of sizes - I like the 12 oz size.


When it's time to travel, I load the bins and swing into the market for the fresh stuff.
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Old 06-06-2019, 12:31 PM   #6
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Nothing. Even dry goods have a shelf life. Bring ‘em in and use ‘em up.

Maybe it’s just me, but the whole “grab some clothes and hit the road in five minutes” bug-out has been a pipe dream. Best I’ve come up with is having all kitchenware and bedding in the camper ready to go. Cooling down the fridge takes hours anyway. Use the time to stock the trailer.
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Old 06-06-2019, 04:54 PM   #7
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That sounds great. Can you post your lists for us poor souls?
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Old 06-06-2019, 05:00 PM   #8
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Thanks for the advice GallenH! I make lists for everything, so a laminated list for this would be great. Just mark it off with a dry erase marker every time we go.
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Old 06-06-2019, 06:04 PM   #9
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Hi Jon in AZ,

I guess I should have clarified how much time we will be spending in the RV. We will be leaving Thurs. evening to drive to our destination and will be arriving back home on Sunday evenings. I can turn the fridge on several hours before we leave (thanks for that advice), but I will still be working that day. Since we are spending 40% of our time in the RV, I doubt the few dry goods I plan on storing will go to waste. The individually prepackaged items I'm taking are things I would only eat on vacation anyway. I LOVE to cook and make everything from scratch while at home. I even make my own boudin, sausage, etc. TIP: if any of you eat boudin, squeeze it out of the casing and make a patty, cook like a hamburger, top with a poached egg and hollandaise sauce. Your family will vote you brunch VIP.
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Old 06-06-2019, 06:18 PM   #10
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Given your application, one option is to put the food stuff that does not require a refer in a container that you live out of in the B and at home. Just move the container from one to the other or some variation of this.
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Old 06-06-2019, 06:33 PM   #11
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Thanks guys!

I have a prepacked "boat bag", "fishing bag" and a "beach bag" with everything I need. Guess I need an "rv bag" as well to keep my dry goods in since many have mentioned bugs. I have narrow stackable bins that should be the exact width of my pantry so I can quickly unload the bins. I am also planning on taking advantage of those wide mouth jars, so thank you for the link.

Thanks for the tip on the channel locks as well! I have already started collecting tools to keep in the RV, but did not think about adding those.

As for the aerosols and liquid products: I have a hanging makeup bag that I was hoping to get away from using since it doesn't hold all my beauty products and first aid items. I can keep makeup powders, toothbrushes, cotton pads, band-aids, gauze, etc. in the van. I think all my liquids and aerosols will then fit in the hanging bag and I can keep that in the tote. Thanks for all the suggestions!
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Old 06-06-2019, 09:36 PM   #12
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We remove all food items including condiments. We do keep soap and cleaning supplies on board when stored during the in season months. Winter storage everything is removed.

To help organize our packing we use LL Bean canvas bags (zip top version) in different colors (and embroidered initials). My wife has a green bag, I have blue, and the "van" has red. we also have a "fishing" bag that is light blue with vest, waders, boots, etc. The red bag is for anything supplies we brought home and need to bring back to the van. Makes it super easy... "toss it in the red bag" during the week or couple days before so everything is ready to go. Also, the LL Bean bags are very easy to stow when unpacked and we can use them for shopping, day trips, etc. when traveling.

https://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/3703...=677-GN3&csp=f
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Old 06-13-2019, 09:46 PM   #13
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Leaving food in your RV is inviting mice and other rodents to camp with you. Once they move in they are like a lazy no good brother in law. Tough to get out.
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Old 06-14-2019, 04:14 AM   #14
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We live in Pacific N.W and we leave some food in RV year round (it is our earthquake back up).

At the beginning of each season we add more non refrigerated food (and check expiry dates). We often store it in old, metal, cookie boxes.

Each RV season we create a basket in home fridge with refrigerated staples like mayo, butter, salad dressing etc (write expiry dates on small containers).

Usually we have to bring milk, fresh fruit and vegetables, bread, proteins, cold drinks. We have a food list. It works well for short trips.
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Old 06-14-2019, 08:36 PM   #15
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Thanks Lou! Iím really not sure why some people keep saying that you canít leave any food in the RV. In what way is it different from my house or my car? I donít have bugs or mice in my house because I keep it CLEAN and I keep my food in airtight containers. And I have always left snacks in my vehicle like granola bars, etc. to eat on my work breaks. Never had bugs in my vehicle because I keep food in containers. I will be using the RV as my primary vehicle and I will be spending as much time in it as I do my house (Thursday night - Sunday night). So, whatís the difference? Iím assuming that those negative experiences have to do with people who let their RVs set up for long periods, but thatís not the case with my particular situation. I am very blessed to be able to teach online and I have a lot of free time on my hands. This camper will be getting a lot of use.
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Old 06-14-2019, 09:01 PM   #16
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I kind of agree that the "remove all traces of food" advice is a bit overblown. We remove all significant foodstuffs between trips (doesn't take long). But, we leave spices, toothpaste and other staples in the van for the season. Never had an issue.
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Old 06-14-2019, 10:44 PM   #17
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I don't have an RV yet but I had a cabin for many years. I would keep some staples up there in secure containers like glass or tin.

On top of the bedding mentioned already, we kept a few items of clothing like pants, shorts/swimsuit, socks, underwear, a sweatshirt and a shell. Just enough for a few days.

We also had a cooler and a Rubbermaid bin on standby to quickly load up and go. The time between "Hey, lets go..." and "Honey, did you lock the door?" was about 30 minutes. Maybe we should have made a list.
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Old 06-14-2019, 11:22 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyTink View Post
Thanks Lou! Iím really not sure why some people keep saying that you canít leave any food in the RV. In what way is it different from my house or my car? I donít have bugs or mice in my house because I keep it CLEAN and I keep my food in airtight containers. And I have always left snacks in my vehicle like granola bars, etc. to eat on my work breaks. Never had bugs in my vehicle because I keep food in containers. I will be using the RV as my primary vehicle and I will be spending as much time in it as I do my house (Thursday night - Sunday night). So, whatís the difference? Iím assuming that those negative experiences have to do with people who let their RVs set up for long periods, but thatís not the case with my particular situation. I am very blessed to be able to teach online and I have a lot of free time on my hands. This camper will be getting a lot of use.
Since you question why people say you can't leave food in an RV why then did you ask? I will not offer my opinion from direct experience, I let you find out from your experience. My only advice is don't think that is coarse ground black pepper in your cabinets.
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