Do you want to keep your personal belongings safe while traveling in an RV? The answer is to store them correctly and use the right products to hold them in place.
RV road trips entail lots of bumps and vibrations that can dislodge your camping gear, kitchen supplies, food, bathroom toiletries, and so much more.
To avoid having items shift or break during RV travel days, I’m putting all my personal experience after thousands of RV miles to good use and sharing with you all the tips and products that keep everything tidy and safe inside your camper.
I no longer worry about damage in my RV during travel, and neither should you, so check out the info below!
Why You Need to Keep Items Secure during RV Travel
The longer you RV, the more items you tend to accumulate within your recreational vehicle. And yes, many of us RVers like to eat off dishes that aren’t plastic.
Moving down the road puts all your items and camping supplies at risk for damage if you don’t secure them properly.
Another real danger of improper storage of items is that they can become projectiles in the event of sudden stops or swerves while driving.
If you’re in a motorhome, the driver could get injured, causing an even more catastrophic accident.
Lastly, even if people and pets arrive safely at your destination campground, having to replace or repair broken items is frustrating and starts off your trip on the wrong foot.
Early on in my RVing life, my worst experience was forgetting that my portable fireplace was on wheels. As it wasn’t in use at the time of my campsite departure, it was sitting off to the side, and I didn’t think to secure it.
One hour later, while on the highway, I had to slow my motorhome quickly. The vibration while driving made the fireplace wiggle away from its nook, and that thing came rolling forward to the cab area so fast there was nothing my passenger or I could do to stop it.
Not only did it smash into the center console and crack the plastic, but the noise it made was so loud that I almost lost control of the RV!
That was the start of me making sure all my items were fully secured in my RV at all times while traveling. Over the years, I’ve perfected my packing routine for road days into a well-oiled machine.
Next are all the things I’ve learned from trial and error and other RVing friends that let me travel peacefully in my camper!
Best Tips to Keep Items Secure during RV Travel
While I share tips that I use to keep things in their place inside my RV, I also point out the products that have proven to work well for that task.
I hope you find them helpful to keep your RV belongings secure as well!
Corraling Cabinet Clutter
Recreational vehicles are often chock full of cabinets, but the interiors are wide open and hardly function well to keep items from sliding around.
Tip #1: Use Baskets and Packing Cubes inside RV Cabinets
Bins, baskets, or packing cubes that fit snugly inside each cabinet space will solve most problems with items shifting so much they cause damage or injury.
Take good measurements and find ones that fit snug but still are easy to maneuver in and out. I find that stacking ceramic dishes inside packing cubes between folds of kitchen towels keeps them chip-free.
Tip #2: Add Shelving to Separate Large Spaces into Several Smaller Ones
Shelving increases efficiency for storage and use during all portions of your camping trips and prevents things from being able to bounce around as much.
The shorter the distance an item can slide, the less force it can generate to pop open a cabinet door or fling across the RV.
For example, my pantry was one tall, deep closet that was great for a broom and for hanging some clothes but useless for much else aside from a case of beer or water bottles at the bottom with food stacked on top.
I instead divided the space by installing shelves then purchased plastic bins slightly smaller than the dimensions of each shelf. The bins can easily slide in and out like a drawer and surprisingly hold more food items than setting them directly on the shelf.
Now I can open the pantry door after travel and not worry a can of beans will fall on my toes.
Tip #3: Add Wood Strips to Upper Cabinets
A wood barrier will help prevent boxes, pots, or bulky items from slipping forward against the door and forcing it open.
Cut and nail down a 3/4-inch tall strip of wood across the front length of each cabinet opening just inside the door frame. Many hardware stores sell short lengths of wood perfect for this project.
This wood acts as a stopper to prevent items from slipping to the outer edge and falling out when you open the door. The wood strip is low enough to allow you to see and access what’s inside without any hassle.
My favorite are square wood dowels from Amazon, but most hardware stores carry them.
Tip #4: Bypass Using Retainer Bars in Cabinets
I find that trying to use tension-style bars to hold items in cabinets to be inefficient.
Aside from needing a large quantity to get the job done, you don’t always have a stopping point to secure it as many upper cabinets are open to each other on the inside.
I suggest adding wood dividers between cabinet sections to separate one from the next, then stack packing cubes or add a bin inside to corral items. The divisions prevent things from sliding too far in any direction and picking up momentum.
Tip #5: Use Items Already in Your RV for Padding
Use kitchen towels, pot holders, plastic shopping bags, drink coozies, or even clean sponges or socks inside your baskets to pad any glass bottles or dishes.
Please don’t waste money on special padding or bins with dividers to stop breakage and annoying clinking sounds while driving. It’s not necessary.
Some RVers do love the quality and anti-microbial properties of Scoot-Guard. This special gripping padding is especially nice for between dishware, so if you want to invest a few dollars this item is one to check out.
Tip #6: Use Items Already in Your RV for Travel Bins
I have a friend who showed me how she unstacks her pots and then tosses in all her random loose items to use as free travel baskets!
One may hold her salt and pepper shakers, hot sauce, napkin holder, and large utensils.
Loose paperwork, change, keys, hair ties, phone chargers, or pens go into another. She puts all her toiletries into a couple more.
After they’re full, she sets them inside her stove and secures the door shut or places them in the base of cabinets.
Another great tip is to place the coffee pot, toaster, or other small appliances into reusable shopping bags with handles and set the bags into your kitchen sink or bathtub if you don’t have cabinet space. Add a towel at the bottom as a buffer against vibrations.
My favorite: Diommell Multi-pack Extra-strong Reusable Bags
I use my shower basin to hold my RV potted garden plants when I travel. I use an extra tension shower rod at the level of the pots to keep them in place.
The pots are out of the main walkways, and any spills of water or dirt are easy to clean up.
You can use a shower rod to hold a large plastic tote secure as well. Tons of items will travel safely inside the tote.
Keeping your items cold inside the fridge while traveling is an excellent perk of RVing. Keeping all the condiments and drinks upright while driving is another matter.
Tip #7: Do Use Retainer Bars in the RV Fridge
The fridge is one place I find tension bars to work wonderfully to stop food and drinks from slipping around or spilling and making a mess.
Go with the double-bar tension rod for more control. Push the items all together to the back of the interior shelf and install the rod tightly against them so they can’t move.
If you don’t have many items, group them all on one shelf. You can put shorter things to the back and taller ones in front, so the bars make better contact.
If you can’t get a tight fit, pad the gaps with extra kitchen towels or another soft item like a t-shirt before installing the bar.
My favorite: Camco Double Retainer Bar for Refrigerator (This model has a spacing bar you can pop off to use the bars separately when necessary.)
RV Doors Security Solutions
RV door latch designs should hold firmly or lock into position until you pop a button. The problem is that even with a special build, RV doors pop open all the time, especially when you’re cruising down bumpy roads.
Tip #8: Reinforce RV Door Latches
There are many doors you need to keep shut during RV travel such as the:
- Fridge and freezer
Velcro straps are inexpensive, easy to install and work like a charm to hold many doors shut, but they aren’t always the most attractive.
Some people use tape, but I find it leaves too much residue you need to clean off.
There are door locks for RVs that work well, especially for refrigerators you can get at most camping stores.
My solution that works for metal microwave, oven, and fridge doors is a homemade magnetic latch. It consists of two super strong magnets with a 6-inch long magnet strip glued between them.
I slap it on the appliance side and over onto the door front, so it’s tight. It works, and it’s easy to remove with a gentle pry of a plastic butter knife.
I leave mine hanging on the appliance side when not in use, and it never gets lost.
- Velcro Heavy Duty Hook and Loop Tape
- Fresher Acc Door Locks
- For DIY latch: DIYMAG magnets and X-Bet magnetic tape
Secure Free Standing RV Furniture
Remember my fireplace missile?
Tip #9: Tie Up The Floaters
Avoid having large pieces of furniture move by using bungees or straps to tie them to stationary objects in your RV.
Most RV tables have a pedestal base that bolts to the floor. Push any loose items to that area and secure them to the base.
You can also space out and screw in a couple of large picture hanging hooks along a wall or floor and use those as attachment points. Ensure you are screwing into solid wood stud and not only the flimsy pressboard wall panels.
Keep RV Decor Where You Want It
Many RVers hang pictures or other decor and then add double-stick pads or a blob of museum putty behind it to keep it from swinging around during travel.
This method is an option, but I found putty often fails on vertical surfaces, and the goo left behind from sticky adhesive pads was hard to remove without damage to the wallpaper.
Tip #10: Screw in Wall Hangings
The solution is to pre-drill small holes into wall art frames or decor and use screws with decorative heads to attach them permanently in place. Now you’ll never have to have items falling to the floor during travel nor need to adjust everything back to level.
My favorite are the Veranda square-head screws that come in a variety of colors to blend in with your decor piece.
Tip #11: Use Removeable Putty for Horizontal Surfaces
Once I found Museum Putty, my RV world changed for the better.
Now I could leave out my toothbrush holder and coffee maker and secure all my baskets for toiletries on my opens bathroom shelves, so I didn’t have to move them to a larger bin during travel.
Whatever you don’t want to move, lift the item and place a few blobs of the putty underneath. Ensure the surface is free of dust or grease first, then return the item and press down slightly.
The putty will grip the surface, and the item will not move. You have to work pretty hard to pull up the object if you want to clean underneath or switch it out, but the surfaces will not have any damage once you roll off the putty.
If you have a freestanding microwave, stereo system, or gaming components, a bit of putty under the feet will stop them from sliding about, so don’t forget to use it on other items and not strictly home decor.
I’ve never had anything move while driving once I put the putty underneath, and I’ve had some items in the same spot for years.
The best part is that it’s also reusable!
My favorite: The Museum Putty Collector’s Hold
Keep Your RV Belonging Safe and Sound on Travel Days
No one wants messy, broken bottles in the fridge or items falling from cabinets after a long day of RV travel.
I hope you use the tips and products above to secure your camper from damage and you and your family from possible injury. I find the methods work and are also functional for general camping organization and speed up the time it takes to break camp.
The more items you can safely group and secure inside your RV, the safer the trip to your next destination, so give them a try and happy travels!