RV Food Storage

This information somewhat applies more to RVing either with a camper or a motor home, but also has some roots of practicality in packing your car/truck/SUV for roughing it camping in a tent. To be discussed more in another post will be dealing with refrigerated or frozen food items. This discussion will be only on dry goods.

The issue is with using your space for maximum storage capacity. The discussion will now turn to many people’s favorite High School subject – geometry. And yes folks, that was sarcasm. However lesson one is a quart of storage is a quart of storage regardless of if the container is round, square or rectangle. The difference is going to be when you put containers next to each other. Two square or two rectangle units will fit nice and snugly with each other. Two round, not exactly. So rule number 1 boils down to no round containers.

Rule number two – multiple sizes may create problems. If you are going to be long term out and about, empty things like cereal, pastas, dry goods and similar packed items in uniformed storage containers. Now that does not mean they have to all be the same exact size, but often buying sets where they fit together neatly will help minimize wasted space. There will be some – many motor homes and campers have curved roofs, so there might be less space in the back of a cabinet versus in the front. The goal is to get as much efficiency in your storage system as possible. Look at some of the examples below for ideas on what will work best for you and your specific camper or motor home.

Rule number three – weight is a precious and limited quantity. This comes up in other discussions, but you must maximize your weight savings. Plastic storage containers and serving bowls are much lighter then glass or ceramic ones. Glass storage may be okay on the home kitchen counter – but once you start dealing with RV/Motor Home/Travel Trailers, you have to be concerned about the weight of everything you pack. For the weight of one medium sized glass storage unit you can pack dozens of assorted plastic items. Carelessly not considering your total vehicle weight could cause serious and dangerous conditions. Follow the manufacturers maximum GVW and GAWV (search this site for more information) and stay under the totals. Even weigh your unit before starting a trip and consider removing items that might be nice, yet not actually required.

Quart or gallon resealable bags can be used for some items and allow for the ability to ‘cram’ things in. But it is east to get carried away with this and end up having no ability to easily retrieve specific items from the cabinet without removing many items you don’t need.

There is no one answer to fit everyone. Just as different people need different shoes – the storage needs will depend on where you are storing your supplies, how long you will be gone thus what amount you will need to store plus what you will be cooking. A lot of dry pastas, or dry cereals, or flour and sugar, etc has you are a scratch cooker.

Many lesson used in modern RVing / travel trailering / back area camping actually have their roots in boating and people doing full time boat living. Compact storage and with some form of uniformity is highly recommended. One of the way to achieve this will start with some pre-planning and some trips to the local department store or possibly an out doors/sporting supply store such as Cabela’s. (This unpaid plug provided because most of their stores are RV friendly, some with a dedicated overnight RV stay area. Plus they have good products.)

At this phase you will be pre-planing your pre-planing. Confused? I actually hope so. Before you can start buying items to include in your home on the road, you will need to do some serious online research or some in store hands on touching. You will want to make sure the items are comfortable to you. If you have smaller hands, you might need different items then a person with larger, brawny hands. Personal comfort and appeal is your choice.

A key factor is interchangeability. First rule of storage containers is parts will get damaged or lost. That is why it is recommended that purchases be made in sets so lids and containers can match with other items from the set.

A variety of sizes is also important. You don’t want to store a cup of sugar in a 2-quart container nor do you want a dozen 1-cup containers all filled with elbow macaroni.

Dry or Dry/Wet containers need to be considered. While most plastic storage containers are equally good at storing both keeping air and imposture out while also keeping liquids in, consider carefully the age old issue of once you put tomato based sauces in the container, will it be permanently tainted. One age old trick if dealing with a product that might taint the container – first put the food item in a high quality seal-able plastic bag and then into the hard sided container. The baggie will protect the container and the container will protect the baggie from being punctured resulting in a lot of mess everywhere.

You will develop you own personal style and tricks to fit your personal needs plus the travel unit you will be using. And – from personal experience – the ‘this is perfect, I will buy it” system will likely not be the only purchase. You might out grow the system or simply discover what you thought would work, will not. Do not be afraid of ditching one complete does it all system or product brand for another one if you find it will work better.

In closing, you have your own style and preferences in shopping. Some people will only pay the highest price for the highest quality while others seek the cheapest and are willing to replace items damaged. Which ever your shopping preference, buy smart and buy with fore thought.

Pictures below are provided by contributors or supporters of this website. If you are interested in sharing your pictures of Nevada, please drop us a note.


Courtesy S. Ward – Lehman Caves, Great Basin National Park