Getting Ready to Go: Assembling the Gear

Getting Ready to Go – Assembling the Gear

I, Barb, quit work on Labor Day September 7, 2015. Fitting, I think. Our maiden voyage departure date was to be around October 23, 2015. That gave 7 weeks to get The BluSea Cafe packed and the house closed up. Plenty of time!

It’s been 15 years since we did this and I’d forgotten everything that needs to be considered during preparation. Seems like last time we just hopped in and took off. To give you an leg up on preparation I’ll go through the rig as it was at departure and recap what we found to be essential to bring on board.

Expandable file folio (yes, I’m the bookkeeper and naturally would start here) to keep receipts, medical information, stamps (both 1st class and postcard), envelopes and important mail that has been forwarded, passports for the unexpected trip over the border and passwords for web sites unless you have them stored on your phone or elsewhere.

Also in the folder is medical information: medication list, Advance Care Directives, insurance information and any relevant medical history that can be passed on to doctors if the need arises. We travel with cats so their licenses and rabies info are included here in too.

Box with electronic gear: all device chargers and small (Belkin BST-300bg) surge suppressers.

Maps and campground information. I know all this can be available online, but if you are in the middle of nowhere with no internet access, what good are all the apps in the world? Might be old fashioned, but I like the feel of a map or state campground directory (available at state Welcome Centers) in my hands occasionally.

We have a junk drawer that contains a plug in polarity meter for checking interior receptacles when plugged in at campgrounds, the dongle for determining what code comes up when the “Check Engine Light” illuminates on the dash (more about this when we discuss the rig maintenance stuff), a bag to collect quarters for laundry days, the Swiss Army knife, extra key for the Toad and whatever small things that usually end up in the junk drawer. Yours will be different than ours, no doubt.

Dishes should be light weight (we use Corelle, thin and not too heavy; don’t like plastic dishes), We use thin, Bp free, Govino wine glasses for drinking anything except wine (glass for that), they work inside and outside. Cooking vessels are specific to your needs and set up in your galley. We have a micro-convection oven and didn’t plan to make cakes on the road, so ended up purchasing a bundt pan, hand mixer and nice set of mixing bowls (nicer than we use at home, with rubber bottom for no slip) so Liz could make a couple birthday cakes for son Gabe. For us, a cast iron pan & griddle are essential, albeit heavy, as I love Liz’s pancakes and we like grilled sandwiches.

We have a counter top Multipure water filter which is the best for reducing a wide range of contaminants that affect both the healthfulness and the aesthetics of water. It stows in the sink while underway. We use stainless steel Hydro- Flask water bottles from Amazon or REI that will keep beverages either hot or cold. Hate those throw away plastic water bottles. Did you know that unless they are biodegradable it takes over 70 years for those bottles to decompose, (That’s another topic.)

Clothes are up to the individual but think layers, rain gear, rubber slippers for the community showers or beach, hats, comfortable hanging out clothes, a set of work pants and shirt for the dirty days. Since there aren’t lots of drawers, we put hanging cloth shelves in the closet. Light weight and everything visible. We used the rest of the closet bar for coats etc.

Bathroom stuff is also individual but remember some sort of bag in which to bring clothes and toiletries to the shower. We are still working on that ideal bag and will keep you posted. It’s important to remember eye drops, nose drops, sunscreen + lip protector, bug juice and any medication or OTC stuff you use at home treat eye, ear, nose and throat issues. Bring extra personal medications, it can be a hassle to have to transfer prescriptions and some states bar out-of-state doctors’ prescriptions.

Our essential accessories: camera with lenses, scope, binoculars and bird book of the region. Bird lists you can pick up on site. Tripod to use for camera, scope and binos. Walking sticks and butt packs which we like better than back packs.

Of course this isn’t everything, but this list will give a good start to stocking the interior of an RV for your voyage. We’ll address items stored in outside compartments and stocking the kitchen soon.