As we prepare for Baby Greatley’s arrival, it’s time to do a little spring cleaning and reorganization of the Airstream.
One of the realities of living in a small space is that gunk and fuzz tend to accumulate much faster than in a larger living space. While we can surface clean and tidy our entire space in about 5-10 minutes a day, an annual deep clean is really a good idea.
Since we’re also making room for another person in our home, this is also a great time to re-assess our possessions. Am I ever going to buy an out-of-state fishing license so that I can use my fishing gear? Does this year-old can of sardines spark joy?
Over the space of two days, we removed all our possessions from the Airstream, deep cleaned all the nooks and crannies, and re-loaded and re-organized everything we decided to keep. Here’s a log of everything we put back in.
Clicking the image below will open it in full resolution, so you can get a better look at what’s in the picture. I haven’t listed every item in the picture, but I’ve tried to itemize the important stuff. The photos include pretty much everything we own, but there may be some duplicates (like dish towels) or other items (like the clothes we were wearing or other things listed as “not pictured”) that are not in the picture.
Many of these links below are affiliate links. So if you want to copy our load-out, we may earn a small commission for referring you, but it won’t cost you any extra.
This is the zero to three-month load-out for baby stuff. We expect to rotate some of this out once we’re past the brand-new baby stage.
Diaper Bag - Nice unisex design with lots of pockets and a built-in portable changing mat.
Ergo Baby Carrier - Great for long walks or hikes. Lots of support, and includes a hood for baby to keep the sun or rain off their head. This one can be used right from birth with no added pillow insert (less things!)
Kiinde Twist Bottle System - Super convenient and compact milk pouches and a matching baby bottle for feeding and storing pumped breast milk. The pouches are one-time use for sanitary (and sanity) reasons, but they’re recyclable. This isn’t a zero waste solution, but it’s the best thing for our lifestyle. We won’t be using the included shelf organizer in our tiny freezer, but this kit includes a starter supply of pouches, two bottles, and the adapters needed to connect it to most breast pumps.
Folding Baby Bath - This amazing little device fits in a small sink and cradles baby for a bath. It weighs next to nothing and folds flat to take up hardly any space.
NoseFrida- SO much better than those snot sucker bulbs.
Cloth Bins - For organizing Baby’s things, these fold flat when not in use.
Collection of board type books: It’s hard to choose just a few books to bring with us, but thanks to the Indestructible series, a few more fit in our little box. These books are washable, chew and rip proof, plus they have beautiful illustrations and diverse characters.
Flip Hybrid Cloth Diaper Covers - Fit both flats and inserts, are adjustable from newborns to toddlers, and rank highly for leak protection, ease of use, and durability. And when we’re done with them, we can sell them. As it turns out, there are entire communities for selling used cloth diaper supplies. We have a few used covers, but most of them are new, since we figured the time required to replace worn out elastic was worth more than the price difference between used and new.
Swim Diapers - So that we don’t have to use disposables. Also, they’re super cute.
Reusable Fleece Wipes - DIY, chopped up a piece of fleece from the fabric store. Along with a spray bottle of water and a little baby soap, these will substitute for disposable wipes, and get washed along with the cloth diapers.
Cloth Diapers (various types) - We’re doing cloth diapers for a lot of reasons, but we haven’t found enough information to decide which types will work best for our lifestyle. So, we’re trying a few, and will report back on the results. We have cotton flats, hemp blend flats, and the flip hybrid inserts. We also made fleece liners out of fleece from the fabric store. We suspect the flats will work better for us, but we’ll see. If you want to learn more than you ever wanted to know about cloth diapers, Fluff Love University is a great resource.
Bandana bibs - Nice easy-to-snap washable drool bibs
Dining bibs - Stain and odor resistant bibs with a pocket to catch dropped food, and a super easy Velcro attachment.
Onesies - The “Little Black Dress” for babies. Some thrifted, some gifted, all super adorable.
Sleep Sack - For maximum coziness and safe sleep.
Swaddle Blankets - Montessori is generally against swaddling (it restricts free movement in a way that Baby can’t choose to get out of), but some babies love it in the first few months. We’re planning to let Baby decide what Baby wants.
Leg Warmers - These are the perfect compliment to a onesie for a mobile baby. They provide warmth and leg protection, but don’t need to be removed for diaper changes.
Sun Hat - Great for outdoor activities without having to constantly reapply sunscreen. Adjustable for a wide range of head sizes.
Booties - These are the best baby booties. When you unsnap them, the back opens all the way up, so you don’t have to try to wrestle a baby foot into a bootie, they just slip right on.
Dry Bags - Good for all sorts of wet and/or smelly things.
Topponcino - This pillow is designed to cradle an infant and provide a sense of consistency and security as they are passed from person to person, or from a person to a surface. It’s a classic Montessori material — did you know Leanne is a Montessori educator?
Lamb Skin - Aside from a nice accent piece when draped on the back of the couch, this lamb skin will provide a comfortable surface for Baby when lying on the floor.
Travel Bassinet - This is where Baby will sleep until it’s time to switch to the travel crib (around 3 months). We’ll put the bassinet on the counter next to our bed, though it also works as a co-sleeper. I’ve added some hooks to the wall behind the counter to make sure I can’t accidentally knock Baby off the counter. This bassinet folds up flat for easy storage and weighs next to nothing. Also, sheets.
Travel Crib - This will be used after Baby outgrows the bassinet. We’d love to do a Montessori floor bed, but the only place we’d be able to close off to avoid trampling from the dogs is the shower, and … no. The travel crib will live on the couch/bed and provide a safe place for our child to sleep without getting aggressively snugged by the Bailey. I really like this model because it’s super lightweight and portable, and it has a bottom zipper that we could open for our child to crawl in and out on his/her own.
Car seat - This is really the only thing you have to have before they let you drive away with a brand new baby. You’d think there’d be more things, but nope.
Portable Changing Mat - A clean surface, even if nothing else is.
Baby Spoon - The best first spoon in the world. Made out of soft silicone, it’s easy to hold and unlikely to hurt sensitive gums. It holds only a small, manageable amount of food at a time, and has a suction cup on the base to hold it upright between uses. AND it looks like a beautiful plant.
Haakaa Silicone Manual Breast Pump - This item came highly recommended by the lactation consultant as a backup to the electric breast pump. Good for when your electric pump is unavailable for any reason, or you need an on-the-fly solution for other common issues. Unlike most manual pumps, you don’t need to repeatedly squeeze this pump for it to work.
Radio Flyer Walker Wagon - We’re using this instead of a stroller for longer walks, or to double as a gear hauler. The side flap even folds down to make a loveseat!
Comotomo Silicone Teether - This is my favorite teether because it stands up by itself, making it easier to babies to grab it.
Black and White Art Cards - For the first few weeks, babies see high contrasting images best, like black and white. These cards from Wee Gallery are super cute.
Rubber Boots - Baffin Men’s Enduro PT Rain Boot - Rubber boots are essential for our lifestyle. They work great when we’re set up somewhere muddy, since we can slip them on easily to take the dogs outside, then slip them back off just inside the door. And for farm work, they’re the only thing you want on your feet when walking through shin-deep manure.
Brogues - My dress shoes are gray suede brogues, which are fairly versatile for formal to business casual affairs. When I replace these, I might go with brown leather instead.
Flip Flops - Sanuk Mens Beer Cozy Primo Flip Flops. These are my second pair of Sanuks, and the most comfortable flip flops I’ve ever owned. Only downside of these is that they tend to soak up water, so they don’t double as shower shoes.
Shower Shoes - I keep a cheap pair of flip flops in my gym bag for shower shoes. Mandatory equipment if you ever intend to use a public shower in a gym or campground (hint: you will).
Trail Running Shoes - Altra Men’s Lone Peak. I like these because they’re extra wide in the toes and have zero rise in the heel, which allows you to have a more natural gait while running.
Chucks - Good for casual, non-running/hiking wear
Pants - Two pairs of Levi’s jeans, two or three pairs of chinos
Shorts - Four pairs.
Shirts - Mostly tech tees and golf shirts, plus some button-down shirts and a flannel shirt for layering.
Gloves - Aerostich Elkskin Ropers. Part of my riding gear before I sold my bike.
Jacket - Roland Sands Barfly. Pretty spendy since it’s an actual motorcycle jacket, not a fashion accessory. This was part of my riding gear before I sold my bike, and money becomes less of an object when compared to your actual skin. If you’re looking for a jacket that’s basically indestructible and will last forever, real moto gear is the way to go. This particular style is discontinued, but Roland Sands still makes quite a few styles of high-quality leather and non-leather jackets.
Rain Jacket - Patagonia, discontinued style.
Down Vest - Columbia Men’s Lake 22. Super versatile and packable vest for layering.
Socks - Darn Tough Socks, various styles. These really are the best socks. If they wear out before you feel you got your money’s worth, Darn Tough will replace them for you, no questions asked.
Underwear - Saxx Quest 2.0. While I have a few straggler pairs of Exofficio boxer-briefs, I find SAXX much more comfortable, and I’m particularly fond of the tech fabric in the Quest 2.0 version, which dries quickly and lasts longer than other styles.
HBY Multifunctional Head Wrap. These are the incredibly handy accessory you never knew you needed. It’s a stretchy tube of tech fabric that works well as a neck gaiter, but I mostly use them as hats. As my hair gets longer—who has two thumbs and is saving a ton of money on haircuts?—they work great for keeping my hair out of my face at the gym and on the trail. And they work well for a less-feminine looking method of plopping. Leanne stole a couple of them from me the other day to use as pregnant belly supports. It’s basically a thneed.
Boots - Red Wing 1907 6-inch Moc in Copper Rough and Tough. Tired of buying new boots every year after my Sorel boots started falling apart, I decided to get a serious pair of work boots instead. I expect these to last me at least a decade. These boots run large, so Red Wing recommends getting 1/2 size smaller than your true size, which was the right call for me. I suggest trying them on in the store, and if the D width that they carry in store is too skinny for your liking, order the EE width online.
Whatever else I was wearing when I took this picture.
Sun Hat - Coolibar Men’s Beach Comber Hat. Constantly changing outdoor spaces are a huge part of what makes our lifestyle so great. That means we spend a lot of time outside. For farm work, foraging, and otherwise hanging out in the sun, a wide brim hat makes the difference between a relaxing day and roasting your face off.
Rubber Boots - Great for rain and mud — two things we see lots of whether boondocking or in camp grounds.
Trail Running Shoes - Altra Women’s Lone Peak. These are the women’s version of Dan’s running shoes, which I like for the same reasons. Zero heel rise and wide toe box for the most comfortable running and hiking.
Flats - My work requires lots of business casual outfits, which means lots of shoes. Fortunately, women’s flats don’t weigh much or take up very much space. Almost all of the shoes in the photo fit in the black bin at the top of the picture.
Capsule Wardrobe - It’s much more difficult to arrange a small, functional wardrobe for women than men, but it’s not impossible. My wardrobe is built on a few essential “staple” items that coordinate with one another, and that I can augment seasonally with various accessories. This is my maternity capsule wardrobe, and I have a few pieces here that are also nursing friendly. I’ll be swapping back in my normal wardrobe as my belly goes back down and things fit again. Almost everything I wear is thifted.
Exofficio Give-N-Go - These bottoms pack small, dry super fast, and hold up for years.
Socks - Darn Tough - Various styles.
Whatever else I was wearing when Dan took this picture. Probably pajamas.
Tech and Recreation
Gym Bags - Lives in the car.
Lifting Belt - Schiek 6011. Stabilizes your core when squatting/deadlifting heavy. Leanne and I both lift weights at the gym, and think it’s one of the best things we’ve done for our overall health and wellness. Leanne is 9-months pregnant with zero back pain this entire time — imagine that! Training your body works. If you’re interested in starting a gym routine, I highly recommend Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe, which is one of the items we removed from our Airstream today since we’ve both read it multiple times.
Stoic Wrist Wraps - I (Dan) injured one of my wrists last year while squatting, so I aside from using a different grip for that exercise, I use these wraps during movements that might bend my wrist backward, but are not wrist training movements (i.e. squatting).
Thera Cane Massager - You know when you have a knot in your back or shoulder (or anywhere) that you just need some direct pressure to work it out? The Thera Cane is the best thing in the world for that.
Fractional Weights - Most gyms don’t carry weights for the Olympic bar below 2.5 lbs. So if you want to go up in smaller steps than 5 lbs at a time, you need a set of fractional weights. A must-have for most women lifters.
Yoga Mats - Good for yoga or just general stretching. If you can get the dog off them.
Lacrosse Ball - Good for trigger point massage
Bailey’s Harness - Atlas Lifetime Harness. Bailey hasn’t learned to walk with a loose leash yet, so we typically keep her in a front attachment harness, which keeps her from pulling very hard. The Atlas harness is nice since it’s easy to put on, and it stays put even if Bailey is trying to pull. Downsides are that it doesn’t have a back attachment, so it can’t be used with a car seat belt attachment, and the nylon webbing is a little rough for her sensitive chest skin, so we can’t keep it on all day or it’ll chafe her. We also have a Ruffwear Front Range harness for Bailey which is more comfortable for long walks, and has a top clip for the car, but I don’t like the way it twists around her when using the front clip. She also pretty well shredded it when we left it on her 24/7 for the first couple of months we had her.
Bailey’s Leash - Bailey is a Treeing Walker Coonhound, a super independent breed with a laser focused prey instinct. She’ll come back eventually if she gets loose, but it’s going to be years before we have voice control over her. A normal leash clip can catch on the Ruffwear Front Range harness back attachment in a way that causes the clip to open. It’s hard to duplicate, but it happened three times in the space of a few weeks, with exciting results. So, we’ve switched to a leash with a locking carabiner, and our walks have been somewhat less exciting since.
Luna’s Harness - Luna’s harness is nearly identical to the Ruffwear Front Range, but with some extra reflective stitching. We’re not worried about Luna getting loose, since we have voice control over her.
Luna’s Leash - I really like how this leash performs when it’s brand new. A hands-free leash is super convenient, and so much easier to run with. Unfortunately, the elastic in this leash tends to wear out after a year, and we’ve had to re-stitch the handles as they’ve come apart with normal wear. At some point, I imagine I’ll be in the market for a better hands-free leash if I can find one.
Dog Bag Holders - Both leashes have a dog bag dispenser attached, so we’re never without a dog bag when we need one.
Treat Bag - This is one of the best investments I’ve made in leash training. Having a bag full of training treats clipped to my belt makes it so much easier to reward the behavior I’m trying to reinforce.
CB3 Armor XL Bluetooth Speaker - While it probably won’t win any audiophile awards, this speaker has some pretty impressive sound from such a small device. It’s a great improvement over the phone or laptop sound, and all we need for home use at the moment.
Scansnap S1300i Scanner - Along with the included software, this is our paper filing system. We scan all of our important documents into a searchable format, and then shred the originals. That saves us having to carry around paper files, or having to worry about not having access to the papers we need.
Logitech C922x Webcam - Much better than the built-in webcam in the laptop, we use this camera for professional video calls, or for filming things like webinars.
Kindle Paperwhite - If you like to read but don’t like hauling around hundreds of pounds of books, an e-reader is the way to go. The Kindle Paperwhite has more storage than you’ll ever need, and a soft backlight for reading at night. And with the Libby app and my library card, I can borrow e-books from the library for free and send them straight to my Kindle.
USB DVD Drive - We don’t own a standalone TV, but we still like to watch movies and shows. We watch DVDs on our laptops and Netflix on our laptops or phones, and since our laptops don’t have built-in DVD players, we use this USB drive.
Dawn Simulator Alarm Clock - Dan has seasonal affective disorder, which responds best to travelling South for the Winter, but light therapy also helps when we have to be further North. This is one of the few SAD therapy lights (10,000 lux and the right blue wavelength) that is also an alarm clock, so it wakes you up with light rather than sound. And as an added bonus, it runs natively on 12 volt, so you can connect it directly to the RV electrical system with a 5.5 x 2.1 mm cigarette lighter adapter.
Futurama the Complete Series Box Set - No explanation needed.
DSLR - Good for high quality photos and medium quality video.
USB Microphone - For video voiceover work.
Laptop (2) - One standard cheapo HP laptop for general work use, and one “gaming” laptop for video editing.
Laptop Case - Cheap protection for travel.
DVD Binder - Filled with our DVD collection
Canon iP110 Printer - Super compact inkjet printer. I’ve had several of these printers over the years (starting with the Canon i80) which I used for work, and they’ve all been excellent. There’s a battery available for this model so you can print on the go, but we power it with our house battery so there’s no need.
Verizon Jetpack - Critical piece of equipment for remote work. Ensures we have dependable wifi wherever we have a good Verizon signal. Throttled after 15 gigs each month, but we can still use email and stream Netflix on a cell phone using the throttled connection.
Harmonica - Hohner Special 20 in C - Good for harmonizing around the campfire, or making the dogs howl.
Cell Phone Booster - It won’t get you a signal if there’s nothing there, but often our cell phone booster is the difference between being able to work where we are, and either having to move to a different site or drive into town and work in the library.
Wifi Booster - We use a Pepwave Soho router and a Surecall omnidirectional antenna as a wifi repeater. This setup is really only useful when you’re moochdocking in someone’s driveway and you have their wifi password. Campground wifi is really not worth the trouble. We moochdock or house-sit a lot, so this system allows us to work inside the Airstream when we couldn’t otherwise.
Foraging tools - live in my daypack. An Opinel mushroom knife for cutting mushrooms and herbs, and a Hori Hori knife for digging and sawing. And a few of our mesh produce bags and reusable grocery bags.
Tools and Utility
Rotary Chimney Cleaning Kit - Adjustable rotary cleaning system that can be modified to fit small size chimneys (in my case, 4”), and attaches to your cordless drill. I use it midway through the heating season when I’m using the stove continuously, and once before stowing the wood stove chimney for the Summer. Thoroughly cleans the flue system in one or two passes.
Trash Grabber - If you boondock much, you’re going to run into campsites with a lot of trash. People don’t seem to respect free camping areas much, which is a shame. But if you carry a trash grabber, you can clean up your immediate area in less time than you would have otherwise spent complaining about all the trash. Win-win.
Camco Aluminum Sewer Hose Support - Helpful to support your dump hose when you’re at a full hook-up site for an extended period of time. Was very nice to have last Winter while we were camp hosting at Greenbelt National Park. We kept our valve closed on our (heated) gray water tank, and just opened the valve intermittently to dump.
Spare Propane Tank - Standard barbecue style tank. I had it when we started full-timing, and have kept it since it’s been reasonably useful. I use it as a backup tank in case our only option is a tank swap, and to plug the propane hose when I take one of our 30 gallon tanks for a fill. I also leave it by the tongue when we’re camping in case someone is looking to steal a propane tank, hopefully they take the cheap one.
On the Go Water Softener - Keeps lime scale and iron out of our plumbing system, lets us use less soap for washing, and keeps our skin and hair soft. I (Dan) spent 10 years in water treatment before full-timing, so I’m particular about my water. Regenerates a few times a year with regular table salt.
Water Filter Carbon Block - Pentek FloPlus-10 0.5 micron. Because we’re filling our tanks with potentially questionable water supplies, and storing that water in tanks for an indeterminate amount of time, I follow the CDC recommendations for back-country water treatment. I keep our tanks chlorinated (NIH guideline 1/8 tsp per gallon of water with minimum 30 minute contact time), and then I run all of our water through a 0.5 micron nominal carbon block filter rated for removal of protozoan cysts, which significantly reduces the residual chlorine and any organics that might be tagging along. Filter is installed using this housing attached to the pump with the adapters and one of the hoses from an extra pump silencing kit.
Bleach - Chlorox, unscented. Used for drinking water.
50A Adapter - Not sure if I would replace this if I lost it, but I have it, so I’m keeping it. It’s pretty rare for there to be a 50A plug but not also a 30A one. I’ve encountered this situation once in two years of travel, and there was a 20A plug that I could have used, but I wanted to run the AC and the dishwasher at the same time.
Air Compressor - I use this every time we hitch up to top off all eight tires. I also use it along with my blowout plug to blow the water out of the water softener in the Winter, and would do the same to winterize the rig if we ever needed to do that.
Suction Cup Dent Puller - A surprisingly useful tool. Used for putting a handle anywhere you want on the outside of the Airstream. Also used for removing a plate that was stuck inside a bowl, and actually pulling a dent out of the truck body.
4-Way Silcock Key - I’m not saying that I’d steal water out of a keyed silcock on the outside of a commercial building under normal circumstances, but I could with this key, and I would in an emergency. There are lots of keyed faucets in public areas if you know where to look (hint: around back), and they all use the same square silcock key.
Camco Water Bandit - If you want to connect your fill hose to a nonstandard faucet or one without threads, this is the tool you need to do that. Haven’t needed it yet, but water is important to me, so I’d rather have it.
Adjustable Pressure Regulator with Gauge - A must if you’re connecting your rig straight to the campground water. I generally don’t, since I prefer to fill my tanks periodically to run the water through my filtration, but it’s nice to have the option.
Storage Cap - This vented sewer cap is meant to be used for storage. I’ve never used it since we never store our rig, but I imagine I will one day.
Hose Elbow - Useful if you’re connecting campground water directly to your city water supply.
Jerry Cans - I keep two, empty, in the Airstream so that I can fill them when I need to haul in water. These are heavy when full, and aside from having twice the capacity, it’s easier to carry two full cans than one since it balances the load.
Coco Coir Bricks - Used for priming the composting toilet. Seasonal item that sometimes can be found at Home Depot, or otherwise needs to be ordered online. Should cost about $3 each. If you can’t find them locally, try googling the UPC 816101002047.
Spare Liquids Tank for AirHead Composting Toilet - You really need two liquids tanks if you’re using a composting toilet full-time. I mean, do you really want to hold it while you go find a place to dump the tank?
Toilet Bowl Cleaner and Wipes - For emptying the liquids tank into a toilet. I like the Ms. Meyers Lavender toilet bowl cleaner, but you can use anything of a fairly liquid consistency - no gel. The Chlorox Scentiva Lavender wipes are purely an aesthetic choice. Inhale, dump the tank into the toilet (try not to splash), flush, exhale, spray down toilet bowl with cleaner as you flush again and breathe normally. Wipe down tank with a wipe, and if you splashed, wipe that up, too. All done, and you haven’t made the bathroom smell like a gas station men’s room. Unless you’re in a gas station men’s room, in which case, at least you haven’t made it any worse.
Rem Oil - Gun oil is a great all-around oil for tools, squeaky hinges, and most things that need oiling.
Goof Off - Good for removing adhesive gunk. Incidentally, works great for removing old Airstream weatherstripping.
Electrician’s multimeter - If you want to have any hope of diagnosing electrical issues, you need this tool.
Outlet Tester - Good for checking your work after you’ve wired an outlet, or checking someone else’s work before you plug in.
Non-Contact Voltage Tester - Tells you if a wire is hot before you touch it. Another tool you should have if you plan to do your own electrical work.
Stripper/Crimper Pliers - I’ve gone through a few sets of stripper/crimper tools, and these are the nicest I’ve had so far.
Electrician’s Hammer - I need a hammer frequently enough that it makes sense to keep one with me. While it’s a lot smaller than most, this 12 oz electrician’s hammer is plenty of tool for my occasional use.
Pop Rivet Gun - Pop rivets are the fastener of choice in an Airstream interior. If I was starting my renovation over, I’d probably invest in a nicer rivet gun, but this one is adequate for maintenance.
Duct tape, flattened - There’s no improving on duct tape, but you can make the roll smaller if you take the cardboard ring out of the middle and flatten it.
Allen Wrench Set - I keep looking at this heavy chunk of a tool set in my bag and wondering why I keep it. But then the very next day I need a specific allen wrench, and there it is. So, I’m keeping it.
Flashlight - I keep one by the door, and one in my tool bag.
Sikaflex 221 - My favorite Airstream sealant. Aluminum safe, easy to work with, and isn’t tacky when cured. Incidentally, it’s also a pretty impressive adhesive.
Captain Tolley’s Creeping Crack Cure - Good for plugging up leaking rivets.
3M VHB tape - Tape for when you absolutely, positively, never want something to let go, ever, but you don’t want to have to drill a hole, either. This stuff has been holding my solar panels and antennas on to my roof for years. AM solar has used it for thousands of RV solar installs and hasn’t lost one yet. Serious, permanent tape.
8 mil Nitrile Gloves - Full-time RVing offers lots of opportunities to do things that you don’t want on your hands.
Trailer Aid Ramp - Ramp for jacking up a tandem axle trailer without a jack. Good for changing tires and packing bearings.
Drain Cleaner Tool - A side-effect of water conservation is that if you don’t run lots of water through your bathroom faucet, it tends to get gunked up with hair and soap and fuzz and who knows what. We keep a drain cleaner tool around to clear the drain when it starts to slow. No chemicals needed, just something to remove the accumulated skuzz in the trap.
Plastic Organizer with Various Small Parts and Spares (fuses, screws, electrical crimp connectors, spare screen for toilet, spare bumpers for barn door, spare latches for cabinets)
Dewalt 18V Drill/Driver - NOT an impact drill. Used with the Camco Jack Socket Adapter (or any 3/4” hex socket) to raise/lower the weight distribution jacks and the stabilizer jacks. Important not to use an impact driver for that job, since it would thrash the gears in the weight distribution jacks. Also useful for other drilling/driving tasks. To be honest, I’ve had my eye on the Dewalt 20V Max Drill/Driver for some time, but my 10 year old 18V set is showing no signs of slowing down, so I probably have a while longer to wait.
Tape Measure - Part of my set-up/take-down kit. Used to set my weight distribution jacks to the right height, which I’ve determined by taking my rig to the truck scales.
Torque Wrench - Used for torquing hitch bolts and lug nuts to spec.
Breaker Bar - Used for hitching up the ProPride Hitch
Speed Bar - Came with the Airstream. Manual backup for power drill, fits stabilizer jacks and weight distribution jacks
Lynx Levelers - Used mostly under stabilizer jacks and tongue jack to protect the pavement from damage, but also works under the wheels as a backup for Anderson levelers.
Pro-Pride Hitch - The most expensive trailer hitch system you can buy, and worth every penny. Eliminates the “tail wagging the dog” phenomenon of trailer sway through some interesting physics. Incorporates weight distribution so all the weight isn’t on your back wheels. Lifetime warranty (my life, not the hitch’s life), and top notch customer service. This one is not an affiliate link, I just really love my hitch.
Driving Cap for Wood Stove - Blocks off my chimney for driving after I’ve removed the detachable section.
Outdoor Rug - for our “porch” area.
Zero-G RV Hose - Super flexible and collapses down small. Only downside is that it’s not made for continuous pressure, so you’re not supposed to use it for a direct city water hookup.
Camco Tank Filler Adapter - Super handy fitting gives you a valve on the business end of the hose, so you can shut it off without running back to the faucet.
BAL X-Chock - These are the best chocks for a tandem axle trailer. They lock the two wheels together to prevent any movement, which makes for a a less “bouncy” feel inside the trailer.
Ratcheting 3/4” hex wrench (comes with X-Chocks and fits X-Chocks, stabilizer jacks, and weight distribution jacks)
Gray Water Hose - For routing gray water into the bushes when it’s OK to do so.
20A Extension Cord - 50’
OXO storage containers - Fantastic for pantry storage. You can often find them cheaper at TJ Maxx, Marshalls, or Homegoods.
Misto Oil Sprayer - Like aerosol oil, but you get to pick the type of oil, and don’t have to get the other garbage they put in aerosol oil. Refillable and washable.
Salt and Pepper Grinders - Freshly ground pepper and salt in the exact grind size you want is worth the trouble.
Food - I’m not going to list all the food we carry, since that’s a question of personal taste. I will say that Stadium Mustard is totally worth sending away for. We tend to carry 1-2 kinds of something, like pasta, vinegar, or grains and choose a different one when we eat one up. Our pantry may be small, but we can cook almost anything from scratch with it.
All the food that was in the fridge when I took this picture.
Whirley Pop - The best stovetop popcorn maker. You can frequently find these at thrift shops. It looks like it takes up a lot of space, but the bowl nests with our cooking pans and the top folds flat, so it’s a little bulky, but we like popcorn enough that it’s worth it.
Plates - We carry six 8” plates. The ones we have are from IKEA, but if I was buying them again, I’d get Corelle. Corelle is lighter weight and hard to break, while still being “real,” not plastic.
Blates - Four. Again, the one’s we have are from IKEA, but I’d suggest Corelle.
Bowls - Two from IKEA (I suggest Corelle), and three vintage pyrex because Leanne loves her some vintage pyrex. Most of her collection didn’t make the travel cut.
Allclad Sauce Pans - One medium, one small. You can often find these cheaper at TJ Maxx, Marshalls, or Homegoods.
Cast iron dutch oven - Yes, it’s worth the weight. We use it all the time. I like the ones with enamel inside, which protects the cast iron from acidic foods.
Cast iron skillet - Also worth the weight. We use it every day. I like the ones with enamel outside but bare cast iron inside so we can build up a layer of seasoning. If you’re not sold on the weight of cast iron, consider getting a carbon steel skillet, which has a lot of the same properties as cast iron but at a fraction of the weight.
Small nonstick skillet, excellent for making eggs or one grilled cheese.
Quarter sheet pan (2) - These fit nicely in an RV oven, and you can use them to make an insulated pan by stacking them. If you’re cooking something like cookies or biscuits in your RV oven that you don’t want to burn on the bottom, using an insulated pan underneath your baked good is the secret.
Silpat - Washable, reusable nonstick mat. This size perfectly fits a quarter sheet pan.
Silicone Ice Cube Tray - I like these large ice cubes since they don’t melt as fast in drinks. Silicone trays are easier to get the ice out of, and I like the more compact size of these trays compared to standard ones since they fit better in a small RV freezer.
Blender Bottle - We have two. Used for making protein shakes. My super protein shake recipe: 8 oz milk, 4 oz pasteurized egg whites (comes in a carton), 2 scoops chocolate whey protein (I like the Trader Joe’s brand), 2 tbsp peanut butter.
Contigo Travel Coffee Mug - We have two. Spill-proof, and keeps hot drinks hot practically all day. If you had one of these years ago and liked it but found the top hard to clean, you should give the new ones a try. The new design is a cinch to clean.
Duralex Tumblers - We have six. Real glass, but practically indestructible. These live in a drawer, separated by the cardboard insert from a case of beer.
Wine Glasses - Schott Zwiesel Titan Crystal. Real crystal that’s surprisingly resistant to breakage and dishwasher safe. We started with six which was more than we needed. We’re down to four because I broke two, but both were due to me accidentally smacking them on the sink while washing them — none broke while we were moving. Four is the right number if you ever want to entertain.
Tulip Pint Glasses - I carry two of these for beer. Not totally necessary, but nice to have.
Insulated Low-Ball Glasses - We carry two of these, and they’re surprisingly versatile. They work well for whiskey or strong cocktails, and the glass won’t sweat if you use ice since it’s insulated. But they also work great for hot drinks like coffee and tea.
Steamer Basket - Essential equipment for steaming veggies or anything else. Lightweight and nests nicely in our mixing bowls.
Nesting Steel Bowls - We carry two stainless mixing bowls that nest in each other. We’ve seen others suggest getting collapsible mixing bowls, but they don’t seem to actually save any space when stacked, and rigid sides are a pretty important feature for a mixing bowl. Having metal bowls is excellent for softening butter in the oven, or making an impromptu double boiler to melt chocolate.
Collapsible Colander - We like the mix of stainless and silicone in this collapsible colander, and it does indeed save space over a normal colander.
Silicone Popsicle Molds - Dan likes popsicles, but they’re expensive and often full of stuff we don’t really care to eat. So, we freeze orange or other juices in these popsicle molds for super cheap and healthy treats. I imagine these will also be handy for toddler snacks.
Anova Immersion Circulator - This is Dan’s favorite kitchen gadget, used for “sous vide” cooking. It heats a water bath to the exact temperature you want, within a tenth of a degree. You put your food in a bag, and put it in the water bath to cook it, then usually sear the outside when you’re done. People rave about how amazing sous vide steak is, but its most valuable food trick may be elevating cheap cuts of meat. Braised-all-day and then grilled pork butt or ribs are incredibly delicious and so easy to cook it feels like cheating. Cook a chuck roast at 131 degrees F for 18-24 hours and then sear it on the grill for something resembling prime rib, but at 1/4 the price.
12 Quart Cambro Bin - Used for Sous Vide, along with a silicone lid and neoprene jacket (and wrapping the whole thing in a towel) to keep the water in and save electricity. But I also use it for hydrating coco coir, as a bucket for cleaning, and as a bin to store stuff in the Airstream trunk area.
Zerowater Pitcher - Along with softening, chlorinating, and filtering all the water in our house, we also run our drinking water through the Zerowater pitcher, which removes anything else that might be a problem. Zerowater is a deionizer, not just a filter — it actively removes nearly all the dissolved solids in your water that things like Brita filters don’t. I like that it includes a TDS meter so you can measure its performance, and know when it’s time to change the filter. It won’t remove bacteria, viruses, or cysts, but the chlorination and filtration steps mentioned above take care of those before the water reaches our faucet.
Probe Thermometer - The key to cooking fantastic meat is as follows: buy meat, then don’t ruin it. 95% of making meat delicious is in the art of getting it hot enough to be safe to eat, but not so hot that it’s dry and overcooked. There’s all sorts of tricks that sort of work, but a good instant read probe thermometer is the only way to know for sure when it’s time to pull that meat off the heat.
Spoonula - This spatula/spoon combo is a great fit for a tiny kitchen that doesn’t have room for a ton of stuff.
Whisk - For whisking.
Potato Masher - For mashing.
Aim-a-Flame Style Lighter - the piezo igniter on our Atwood range is dodgy enough that it’s worth keeping one of these next to the stove.
Waiter’s wine key - Gets you into a wine bottle with minimal drama. Also has a bottle opener.
Can Opener - No way around having one of these if you want to get food out of a can.
Champagne Stopper - Takes the urgency out of an opened bottle of sparkling wine. Unless you like to feel obligated to finish the bottle before it goes flat.
Fish Turner - This is my favorite spatula, and the one I would keep if I had to pick just one. The flexible design and angled tip makes it easy to use, and the slots help keep food from sticking to the spatula when turning. This is the best spatula for fish, eggs, and anything fragile.
Steel Reusable Straws - We keep a set of these for smoothies and our other straw related needs. Comes with a cleaning brush. Silicone straws might be a bit more comfortable to use—a steel straw against my teeth gives me a visceral feeling of unease—but we haven’t tried those.
Lunch Blox - Nice, modular system for storing leftovers or packing lunches. These containers nest neatly together, and come with a cold pack that mates with the containers. There’s lots of different kits to choose from.
Capresso Burr Grinder - Fresh ground beans make a huge difference in the quality of your cup of coffee, and a burr grinder gives much better results than a blade style grinder. Instead of pulverizing the beans to inconsistent sizes and shapes, a burr grinder produces size and shape coffee grounds for better extraction.
Bialetti 6-cup Moka Pot - Our coffee maker works on the propane stove top, or on top of the wood stove. The “6-cup” model makes two small mugs of strong coffee.
Oster Blender with Mason Jars - The base of the cheap model Oster blender jar unscrews and fits perfectly on top of a standard mason jar. We don’t carry the blender jar, just the motor part of the blender and mason jars for smoothies. A small personal blender would probably also work for our purposes.
Mason Jar Lids - If you’re using mason jars for food storage, it can be nice to have one-piece lids.
Cutting Board - This cutting board has a flat side and a channel side for catching juices when carving. It’s a “best of both worlds” material, using natural wood fibers but in a nonporous dishwasher safe material. It also happens to perfectly fit as a platform in our kitchen sink.
Cutting Mats - However much I prefer our cutting board, we often find ourselves preferring to use these flexible cutting mats instead. They’re just easier to wash and handle in a small kitchen than a large rigid cutting board.
Chain Mail Scrubber - I used to use salt and paper towels to scrub my cast iron, but this chain mail scrubber with a silicone core works better with just a little water. You need to scrub gently to avoid damaging the seasoning on the pan, but with a little water to dissolve stuck-on food, you can clean your pan in no time without having to waste paper towels and salt. Be sure to thoroughly dry the pan before putting it away.
Plastic Scraper - This is a great tool to save tons of scrubbing and water when washing dishes and pans. Just scrape stuck-on food right off.
Baking Stone - Evens out the heat from the oven burner and (in conjunction with a double-pan), makes the oven behave much better. Lives in the oven on top of the wire rack. Ours cracked after two years on the road, but we haven’t bothered to replace it because the crack doesn’t negatively affect its usefulness.
Silicone Food Storage Bags - We’ve tried several types of reusable food storage bags, and these have been the best. While the idea of having a separate plastic piece to seal the bag was initially off-putting, the longevity of this design makes it the hands-down winner. Other reusable bags with integrated zippers tend to wear out over time, and are often not usable for the high temperatures used in sous vide cooking. These silicone bags, however, are showing zero wear after years of use. We use the gallon size for most sous vide tasks.
Cleaning, Bath, Dogs, Grill, Wood Stove
Zymox Otic - This is the cure for itchy, gunky, or smelly ears. Luna periodically gets ear infections that cause her to repeatedly scratch at her ears. This over-the-counter treatment includes hydrocortisone to soothe the itch immediately, and an enzyme to break down bacteria and yeast when used daily for a week. Luna knows how well this stuff works, and will ask for her ear medicine if her ears are starting to bother her, days before we realize there’s a problem.
Zymox Topical Spray - While not quite the miracle product that Zymox Otic is, topical hydrocortisone spray helps when Luna is munching her feet. We spray the affected foot and then put on a dog sock so she won’t lick it off.
Heartgard - Heartworm is awful. This monthly treatment keeps our pups safe.
NexGard - We’ve tried various topical treatments like Frontline, and aside from being gross, they really don’t work. NexGard costs twice as much, but it actually works. Both dogs will do tricks for this soft beef flavored chewable. Since starting with NexGard, almost every tick we’ve found on the dogs has been trying to escape. The rare times a tick actually bit the dog, we found it dead before it was able to feed. If only they made this for humans…
Furminator - Very effective de-shedding tool for medium hair dogs like Luna. It’s a little aggressive, but works great if you’re gentle. Doesn’t work at all for Bailey’s short hair.
Undercoat Rake - Great tool for gently removing the Winter undercoat from most dogs. Works great on Luna, but doesn’t do much for Bailey. I made great friends with the rottweilers when we farm-sat in Kentucky using this rake to remove itchy clumps of Winter fur.
Clicker - This is a very helpful device for dog training. It’s sometimes difficult for your dog to identify exactly what action you’re looking for. A clicker makes a distinctive sound that you trigger at the exact moment that your dog completed the action you’re looking for. By associating the clicker with a treat (and treating every time you click), you can use it to mark the exact behavior you’re looking for, which helps your dog learn faster. When you are training “sit,” click the instant the butt hits the floor. When you’re training “shake,” click the instant the paw hits your hand.
Musher’s Paw Wax - Great paw protection for snow and ice or long hikes when we’re not using the dog shoes.
Dog Seatbelt Tethers - These are more to keep the dogs in place than for their safety in the event of a crash, but I imagine with a padded rear-attachment leash, these tethers would be better than nothing. Certainly don’t attach one of these to a collar.
Pizzles - Made from a part of the steer that most people would refuse to eat, pizzles (a.k.a. bully sticks) are our dogs’ absolute favorite treats. They’re good for several minutes of intense chewing. They’re expensive ($1 a piece would be a very good price), so we save them for special occasional treats.
Dog Nail Clipper - Clipping dog nails without hitting the quick is tricky business, but it’s an important skill to be able to do yourself. We’ve found that if one person holds a peanut butter spoon for the pup to lick while the other clips the nails, our dogs are far more cooperative and even excited to get a pedicure. And if you screw up and accidentally cut too deep, which happens occasionally, a dog nose-deep in peanut butter is likely to be sufficiently distracted to stay relaxed.
Dog shoes - One set per dog. We get lots of comments every time we walk our dogs with shoes on, but we don’t have them because they’re cute. Paw injuries are seriously debilitating for active dogs, so some protection is warranted when walking on sharp rocks, around broken glass, or on hot pavement.
Weber Jumbo Joe - A full sized Weber grill in a compact size that works great on the ground or on a picnic table. I’ve modified mine with a hinged grate for easy additions during slow cooking and smoking, and the one-touch cleaning system, which needs to be slightly modified to fit, but works better than the standard damper.
Weber Compact Chimney Starter - For starting charcoal without lighter fluid. If you feel you need to start more charcoal than fits in this chimney starter for an 18” grill, then I question your cooking methods.
Probe Thermometer Set - A must for low, slow barbecue and smoking. One probe goes in the meat, the other one goes on the grill, so you can monitor both the cooking temp, and the internal meat temp.
Frog Mats - Nonstick mesh mat, cut with scissors to fit the grill. Great for cooking smaller foods on the grill that might slip through the grates, or fragile foods like fish or citrus that might stick.
Water Pans - Small aluminum pans to fill with water and place on the bottom grate next to the charcoal, for smoking.
Chunk Wood - I keep a small bag of chunk wood (usually cherry) for smoking, or adding smoke flavor when grilling.
Firewood Carry Bag - I use this canvas tote to carry firewood, and store it once it’s cut. I like the closed sides, so I can use it to store store shorter logs short-ways.
Kiln Dried Firewood - While bulk cordwood is cheaper and foraged wood is free, transporting air-dried firewood can bring wood boring insects along with it that devastate local forests. When we’re traveling, I exclusively burn kiln dried firewood, which has been heated enough that any bugs inside are dead. As an added bonus, it burns super-clean.
Firewood Chopping Block - After always looking for a piece of wood to chop against, I made myself a chopping block out of some spare butcher block and an old leather belt. I’ve been using it for a year and a half, and I think I might need to replace it in another year or two.
Heat Powered Stove Fan - This sits on top of the wood stove and helps to distribute the heat into the air, rather than just heating the immediate area around the stove. It doesn’t blow air very hard, but it does make a big difference in the heat distribution in the Airstream.
Camella Oil - I keep a small bottle of this oil around for coating my carbon steel knives and axes to prevent oxidation. It also makes a good lubricant for the bow saw.
Bahco Bow Saw - 21” model with dry wood blade. I use this for cutting cordwood down to size, and cutting logs when foraging for wood. It’s a serious tool that can zip through logs faster than you might think, but it’s small enough to be reasonable to store and carry around. The dry wood blade is the right choice, since if I’m going to be using the wood immediately, it needs to be dry anyway. If I had time to cure the wood after cutting it, I wouldn’t be using a bow saw to cut it.
Gransfors Bruk Small Splitting Axe - Do you really need a hand-forged artisan Swedish splitting axe to break down your firewood for your tiny wood stove? No, there are decent cheaper options available. But what other excuse are you ever going to have to buy one?
Gransfors Bruk Small Forest Axe - Not as good as the small splitting axe at splitting, but much better for cross-cutting. This is a much more versatile camp axe.
Dyson Cordless Vacuum - This is the perfect vacuum for us. It’s compact, bagless, and battery powered. Some reviewers complain that the battery only lasts 5 minutes of continuous use, but that’s long enough to vacuum our entire house a couple times over.
Seventh Generation Powder Dish Detergent - We try to use biodegradable soaps and detergents so that we can percolate our gray water into the ground where appropriate without causing any damage. This powder dishwasher detergent works great.
Flour Sack Towels - Used for kitchen towels and light cleaning, and will double as burp cloths. We have lots more than what’s in the picture.
Gray Wash Cloths - Used for cleaning messier stuff. We have lots more than what’s in the picture.
Handkerchiefs- these replace the need for tissues
Dish Brush - This dish brush from IKEA is our favorite, with a suction cup on the end so you can stick it to the side of the sink.
Broom/Dust Pan Set - Along with our vacuum, this little dust pan and broom set is all we need.
Braided Elastic Clothesline - Great for hanging clothes to dry without the need for clips. One end can attach to the Airstream awning anchor, and the other end can attach to a tree, or the truck if necessary.
Turbie Twist Towel- to help wet hair dry faster.
Electric Hot Pad - For aches and pains.
Spray Bottle (1/2 water, 1/2 white vinegar, small splash of Ms. Meyer’s toilet bowl cleaner) for spraying down composting toilet
Neti Pot - Sometimes the best thing for a cold or congestion is a neti pot. If you’ve never used one, you’re going to be skeptical. This involves pouring room temperature salt water in one nostril until it runs out of the other. Done properly, there’s no feeling of pain or drowning like you’d expect, and it can put a stop to nagging sinus symptoms. Takes a little practice to get used to. Make sure you use previously boiled water so you don’t get brain eating parasites. No, really.
Safety Razor with Feather Blades - Dollar shave club has got nothing on me. The best blades in the world at about 22 cents a piece. Takes a little extra practice to get the technique down (hint: you’re pressing way too hard), but totally worth it. Both of us have a razor.
Alum Block - The only aftershave you really need. Helps prevent razor burn and ingrown hairs. And one block will last a looong time.
Body Groom - Gentle, battery operated trimmer for sensitive areas. Safe to use in the shower.
Wahl Clippers - Good for people and dog grooming.
Sonicare Toothbrushes - Try it. You won’t go back.
Incense - Nag Champa - Delightful smell. Burning the sticks is a bit much unless the windows are open. But if we’re using the wood stove, setting an unlit stick on top of the stove fills the air with that wonderful scent without any smoke.
Dog Food Bowls
Dog Water Bowl - Slopper Stopper. Keeps the dogs from getting half their water on the floor when drinking, and basically impossible to spill. Kinda spendy for a plastic bowl, but totally worth it.
Dog Busy Toys - We keep a couple of busy toys around to give the dogs something to do on rainy days when they’re antsy but can’t run around outside. We carry one Busy Buddy Barnacle, which Bailey prefers, and one Busy Buddy Waggle, which Luna prefers.
Dog Bones - Benebone Wishbone. Dogs need to chew, but Bailey is able to reduce natural chews to an unsafe size surprisingly quickly (often in one sitting!). The best chew we’ve gotten her is a Benebone, which stands up to aggressive chewing for a long time. And it doesn’t shatter into sharp pieces like bones and antlers do. It’s not edible, so it’s important to monitor chewing and take the toy away if it gets anywhere close to a size that could be swallowed, but we’ve had great results with the large sized Benebone. We’ve tried a few different styles and our dogs prefer the wishbone shape.
Slicker Brush - Good for regular maintenance or de-tangling after a bath.
Curry Brush - This brush works great for Bailey’s short hair, and also getting hair off the couch upholstery. Unfortunately, the rubber nubs wore out after a couple of months of use and it no longer works. We’re going to try metal curry comb like the kind made for horses instead.
Gransfors Bruk Ceramic Sharpening Puck - To maintain the edge on our axes.
Bottle brush - for cleaning the composting toilet.
Books and Furniture
TV Tray (thrifted)
Edible Wild Plants - Eastern/Central North America by Lee Allen Peterson
A Peterson Guide to Wildflowers: Northeastern and North-central North America by Margaret McKenny and Roger Tory Peterson
Edible Wild Plants: A North American Field Guide to Over 200 Natural Foods by Thomas Elias and Peter Dykeman
National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Trees of North America by Bruce Kershner
National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms by the National Audubon Society
National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees: Eastern Region by the National Audubon Society
Mocktails: The Complete Bartender’s Guide by Kester Thompson
Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling by Meathead Goldwyn and Greg Blonder
Stalking the Wild Asparagus by Euell Gibbons
Ukulele Aerobics by Chad Johnson
These are the pregnancy books we’ve been carrying around, soon to be swapped out:
What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel
What to Expect the First Year by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
Nurture: A Modern Guide to Pregnancy, Birth, Early Motherhood - and Trusting Yourself and Your Body by Erica Chidi Cohen and Jillian Ditner