Your bags are packed, you have a full tank, and you'll be ready to set off as soon as your bikes are racked up at the back. We’ve come up with a simple guide to loading your RV up with your baggage and everything else you need so that you can enjoy your vacation in safety.
You should make sure that all your baggage is loaded correctly, otherwise your RV might quickly start to sway from side to side. Items that have been properly secured will stay in place in the curves of a mountain pass road or when you have to hit the brakes, so they won't harm the RV's fittings or its passengers. It isn't always easy to keep track of all the different things you need to take on vacation. It's such a long list, and you worry that you'll forget something important. There's a risk that you might overload what's already a fairly heavy vehicle. That's why it makes sense to plan carefully and leave out things you don't really need. Draw up a list of essentials before you start and make sure you have plenty of time for loading. AXA Accident Research & Prevention has drawn up this handy guide to packing and loading your RV:
Just like when you load the trunk of your car, you should put large and heavy items into the RV first. It's advisable to lay all of your baggage out in front of the RV and sort it by weight. Pack the heaviest items first and as low down as possible to keep the center of gravity low for better roadholding. Lighter items should fit in the RV's storage cupboards, and you should put the lightest in the upper compartments. You can also use the back of the RV or any sleeping area, either under the roof or extending, to pack light items such as clothing and bedding.
Carefully planning how you pack your RV will make for a more comfortable journey and take the fuss out of unpacking when you reach your destination. Think about which items you'll need as soon as you arrive, which should be within easy reach, and which you won't need until later. Heavy items should be placed on a non-slip surface so they don't move around under braking. Give yourself plenty of time to pack – your vacation will be safer and less stressful as a result.
Gas bottles are absolutely essential for a camping trip, and most RVs have a special compartment designed to store them safely. Depending on its size, it can also be useful for lightweight items such as a folded-up inflatable dinghy or watering cans. Remember not to store any electrical equipment like lamps or anything else that might cause a spark together with gas bottles due to the risk of fire. Make sure that the valves on your gas bottles are fully closed for the journey.
Rattling noises can be very annoying while you're driving. They might come from glass bottles, bowls or even your favorite glamping plates. As a general rule, it's worth replacing anything you can – mugs and bowls, for instance – with versions made of biodegradable plastic or recyclable materials. As well as rattling less, they'll also be easier to wash up than expensive ceramics. Non-slip mats are a good way to stop things sliding around in your RV's kitchen cupboards. Plates, cups, and glasses should normally be stored in the roof cupboard. Heavier cookware such as pots and pans belongs at the bottom of the kitchen cupboard. Boxes with firmly closed lids are handy for your spices, oils, and other provisions.
Looking forward to riding your mountain bike or racer on vacation? It clearly deserves to have pride of place, and special rear-mounted racks and boxes are available for RVs. If you're towing a trailer, you can't put bikes on the roof or use a towbar-mounted rack. There are other options: you can place them inside the trailer or on a rack at the rear or on top of the trailer coupling. If your car's big enough, you might be able to fit them in the trunk, otherwise you can use a rack mounted on the car's roof.