Your RV is just the core of your homestead. Home is where you park it, so “home” is really the RV plus the campsite that surrounds it. And that changes with every campground you visit. How can you make each campsite an extension of your basic RV household?
Here are some ideas for turning every site you visit into an integral part of your indoor-outdoor home. A fire ring or grate plus a picnic table are probably already on the campsite. Let’s take it from there.
- The old saying “put down stakes” derives from the days when one literally staked out a claim to land. Now we can “stake out” our campsite with simple, inexpensive solar lights. They add a warm glow, cost little and they easily pull up and stow before you move on. I also like to have a small bouquet of reflector stakes to stick in the soil around the campsite. Just place stakes in a way that they aren’t a tripping hazard.
- An all-weather patio rug helps define your private space. It also catches dirt from shoes and paws before it gets tracked into the RV. When it’s time to leave, hose it down and it’s ready for the next place. Many durable materials, sizes and patterns are available.
- Do you sew? Stitch up three- and four-corner sun flies in different sizes and shapes. They store flat in no space at all. Bring plenty of lightweight cord to mount them around the campsite for shade and privacy. Note that some parks prohibit tying anything to, or hanging on, live trees.
- Extra door mats take up little room and they save a lot of sweeping. Many indoor-outdoor rugs come in multiple sizes, so it’s possible to have matched sets.
- Explore the full range of pop-up portable pet shelters, sun shades and playpens. They weigh almost nothing and stow flat.
- Inflatable child-size swimming pools provide hours of splashy fun for little ones right at your campsite. They make a good pet bath or laundry tub too. Giving a party? Fill an inflatable bathtub with canned and bottled drinks, then cover them with bagged ice from the camp store.
- Tie the campsite look together with color. Color-coordinate the patio rug, awning, hammock, folding chairs, lanterns, picnic table cover and other items.
- Can you reserve one patio-side basement compartment to be a sort of cupboard for patio life? This is the place for your barbecue tools, folding tables and chairs, an extra ice chest, a pop-up trash container, bug spray, lanterns, fire starters and any other items used in your outdoor “room.”
- Many cleverly designed, freestanding, collapsible drying racks are found online. A small folding clothes dryer rack, placed in an out-of-the-way corner of the campsite, can hold beach towels and swimsuits. (Note that outdoor clothes drying may not be permitted in the campground.)
- It’s handy to add an extra hose with a nozzle to your patio supplies. Use it for cooking and cleaning.
- Making luminarias is a satisfying hobby for all ages. Bring a supply of inexpensive paper lunch bags. They’re usually sold in packages of 50 to 100 for a few pennies apiece. Decorate, add sand or pebbles for weight and place an inexpensive, flameless candle in each bag. Set them around the perimeter of the campsite.
- Curate your own outdoor movie nights. OUTTOY makes inflatable movie screens for front or rear projection in sizes 14 to 20 feet or so, weighing as little as 8-10 pounds. They come in their own carry bag, usually with their own inflator.
- An outdoor game or two? Beyond cornhole, there are Twister, Putterball, Lego and magnetic darts. Oversize, outdoor versions are available of popular standards such as Scrabble, Jenga, Yard Pong and Tic Tac Toe. (We happen to love this cornhole-meets-basketball game, Bean Bag Bucketz. Read our review.)
- Patio clutter does have a minus side. Adorning a campsite with too many flags, kitschy string lights and plastic flamingoes can detract from the natural setting. Too, bright lights and outdoor speakers can be a nuisance to your neighbors. Flimsy folding and inflatable pools, pet shelters and playpens are not secure. Never leave children or pets alone in them.
the more you put out…..the more you have to take down. leaving a vacation is hard enough….i try not to make it too hard to leave
Do whatever makes your happy place work for you… but then again I’m one of those people that can sleep soundly at a Motel 6… well, until the Police arrive…🥳
An outdoor movie screen is really invading your camping neighbours privacy.! I remember staying at a beautiful California beach park . It was ruined by the people across from us putting up their huge screen with an extremely violent movie. We had to go inside to avoid seeing it and with everything shut up we could still hear all of the blood and gore!
Outdoor movie night? Your neighbors might not wish to be subjected to your choice of entertainment. Outdoor TVs and radios are bad enough–no need to supersize it.
Great ideas! We usually go with ‘less is more ‘ but for those longer winter stays some of these would be homey and feel good!👍😊
I like the last suggestion the best.
In a campground? Do you have any grassy areas within your site?
#1- refrain from putting down patio rugs, etc. on grass. The people who use the site after you also want to see healthy grass.
#2- buy a roll or two of inexpensive surveyor’s flagging tape and mark trip hazards like ground stakes for guylines
#3- is the grass mowed by park personnel? Do your best to remove all your clutter from the grass if you hear mowers – or are leaving your site. By the way, guess who is responsible if any of your stuff is damaged by mowers or weed wackers? – check the agreement again – it is rare that the park or its staff are responsible for any damage. A good park may try to cover damage if it appears staff were truly negligent, but that is wholly up to park management. Conversely the park may hold you liable for equipment damage or staff injuries.
Make your site homey, but be reasonable.
Thank you! That’s a lot of stuff! 😉
I like simplicity. The fewer bits of tacky junk hanging around the better I like it. Also, lights that stay on all night are bothersome.
You point out a few times throughout your article to check the rules of the park/campground before you put things out, hang things up, or stake things down. That’s a very important point that more and more RVers/campers are ignoring (IMHO). As a workkamper I witnessed ignorance of the rules on a pretty regular basis. I’m also starting to witness blatant disregard for rules too. Too many people are seeing themselves as entitled to do what they want but the truth is you’re on someone else’s property and they reserve the right to tell you what you can and can’t do. RVing/camping is great and I still love this way of life but a few rule breakers can ruin the experience.
(Now getting off my soapbox)