What to pack for your baby if you go on a full time or long term RVing trip through Europe? The different weather conditions in Europe ask for a decent preparation. Other things are perhaps not essential, but they are very, very convenient.
We started RVliving when our baby was 10 months. That baby boy is now 2,5 yo and we recently added a new baby to the family. You could say we have some experience with RVing with a baby.
So, what to pack? Check my packing list for RVing with a baby!
Baby clothes for RVing with a baby
RVing with a baby is all about layered clothes. In one day, you can encounter rain, sun and cold, so you need to be prepared. A breezing 25 degrees during the afternoon makes you think it is summer, but during the night temperatures can drop to zero. With layered clothes, you are prepared for all different weather types.
Also, your baby will play with sand, stones, and leaves all day and his clothes get filthy. You will notice that you don’t even mind! So don’t take too many clothes with you.
We have the following clothes with us:
Long-sleeved shirt 2x
When we left, our baby only crawled. In a few months, he learned how to walk, and we had to buy him a pair of shoes.
In the Netherlands, hydrophilic diapers (also called muslins) are a part of every set of baby gear. We use these things sooooo much! For example, as a spit cloth, a bib (for both toddler and baby), a tissue for the snotty noses and as a drooling scarf now that she is teething.
To whip our baby’s (and toddler’s) hands and face after dinner, to clean the table, the high chairs and much more.
Liquid detergent + bucket
To wash the dirty hydro’s and dish clothes, I use liquid detergent and a bucket. I clean the very dirty ones first by hand before putting them in our washing machine.
For drying, don’t forget clothespins and clothesline. Also, a drying frame is very convenient for the dish clothes and all the little socks and onesies of your baby.
Diapers + baby wipes
Diapers and baby wipes are in every supermarket available. But even so, you don’t want to be without them. Take some extra with you. Also, the diaper size of our toddler is not available in most European countries (Dutch toddlers are on average bigger than their European peers), so we have lots of extra XXL diapers with us.
Baby bath and changing mat
A baby bath and changing mat are convenient to bring with you, but not a must. Especially the baby bath can stay at home if you don’t have space for it. For washing, you can take your child with you in the shower or use a sink or (large) bucket. For changing, you can use a towel.
We take the luxury tour though because we not only have a changing mat and baby bath with us, we also took a baby bath ring.
And… we have our own washing machine 😮
When we left in September 2015, we didn’t have our own. I used the washing machine on the campsites. And mostly, this was fine but it has some downsides:
It costs around 4 to 5 euros per washing 5 kg
There is always a waiting line (at times, I had to go back 6 times before I found an empty one)
There are lots of people with dogs so I regularly found lots of doghair in the washing machine (I love dogs, but not their hair in my wash…)
So, when we had a stop over in the Netherlands (aka I deliver our baby girl Evi), we arranged a washing machine. It’s the perfect solution for all that dirty laundry! It takes more time than a regular washing machine, but after some time it becomes part of daily life. Every morning after breakfast, we swing on the machine for one little wash and this keeps the pile of dirty clothes manageable.
The sleeping stuff
When we traveled only with our oldest, we took a travel cot with us. Although this takes a lot of space, for us it was the best sleeping option. You can also do co-sleeping if it works for you and your family, but with our baby, this was not an option. We wouldn’t be able to get some sleep at all, none of us.
We also used the cot as a box when we needed our hands free, e.g. when we cooked or set up the awning.
Now we have a toddler and a baby, so things have changed.
We made the bunk bed baby and toddler proof so they can both sleep there. Our youngest also sleeps a lot in the master bed (during the day and at night) though.
Want to know how we made the RV baby and toddler proof? Read this.
For the sleeping part, you also need the following:
Bed linen 3x
Baby sleeping bag for winter season 2x
Baby sleeping bag for summer season 2x
Cuddly toy or stuffed animal 2x
The puking, peeing and pooping accidents tend to take place during the night. So take extra sleeping stuff with you and don’t forget to wash them the next day.
And be aware: even if you go RVing during the hot summer months, the nights can be very cold. Our baby sleeps in a thick winter sleeping bag at night (even in July and August), but in a thin sleeping bag during the day.
The eating stuff
We are a huge fan of the IKEA high chair. This baby chair is all plastic, so easy to clean and very light. Besides this, you can quickly take it apart, and it is not expensive. It is suitable for both baby and toddler so we have two of them.
Food and milk
Our baby drinks formula. It’s available in all European countries. Maybe not the same brand and it might be a bit more expensive. Also, you sometimes have to check where you can buy it. In Spain and Portugal, you can buy baby formula at the pharmacy, while in the Netherlands, you can get it in supermarkets.
We took a lot of formula with us from the Netherlands, so we don’t need to buy it in other European countries. If you don’t have the space to take enough with you, don’t worry about it too much.
Off course, we also brought a baby bottle and the necessary nipple teats with us.
Our baby already eats bread, fruit and some of the things we eat for dinner. All tableware is made of plastic, so we don’t have any special plates or cups for her. We do have some plastic baby utensils and a straw bottle though.
Also, we have a blender with us to grind some of the food that she cannot chew on yet.
Transporting the baby
Carrier vs stroller
The recurrent question is: do we take the stroller or the carrier? We have both with us, which is very luxury, but if you only have room for one, choose the carrier.
For sightseeing and hiking, we use the carrier. We have a sling for our baby and a Kelty Kids for our toddler.
We only use the stroller for small trips on the campsite, like a walk to the playing garden or the swimming pool. But mostly, we use the stroller for carrying our washing up bowl to the sanitary building 😉
In the car, we use a baby car seat; the Maxi-Cosi Tobi. The Tobi is the safest car seat, according to several tests (published in a magazine in The Netherlands) and suitable for kids from 9 to 18 kg. The Maxi Cosi
Maxi Cosi also has several baby car seats for smaller babies as well. I don’t know for sure which baby car seat we had, but I think it was the CabrioFix. However, we can recommend all Maxi-Cosi baby seats.
We only have the basic medicines with us, like ORS for dehydration and paracetamol (or acetaminophen, for babies) for when they have a fever or teething. For checking temperature, we have a thermometer plus cotton pads and medicinal alcohol for cleaning up.
Also, don’t forget sun cream and DEET (mosquito repellent).
Of course, if your baby requires special medicines, make sure you take extra with you. Also, check with your doctor or pharmacist if it’s possible to get new ones in other European countries.
Toys and stuff
We have toys for our toddler, and our baby plays with these too. However, when we traveled solely with one baby, we had fewer toys. He mostly played with peddles, leaves, sand, and twigs.
So if you have problems putting everything on the packing list in your RV, then start with minimizing the play stuff.
Packing list for RVing with baby
There you have it: my ultimate packing list!
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