If you’re new to RV camping, below are my suggestions for Setting up your RV campsite: mats, lighting, and campfire equipment.
As I mentioned on my “About” page, the focus of this blog is to help other families. One way I do this is by writing reviews about products that I actually use and like, I generally don’t spend any time on products I’ve had a bad experience with. Sometimes I have to buy several brands of a particular product until I find one I like, which is time consuming and frustrating, so hopefully I help save you valuable time by sharing with you products that work for me.
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Most people that go RV camping set up an area in front of their RV door so they can take off and put on their shoes when entering and leaving the RV. Typically, most RV campers place a large mat on the ground so they don’t have to stand in the dirt and be poked by rocks, twigs, etc.
I tried many different types of mats. First, I purchased one at Costco that was large, heavy, and relatively inexpensive, but it was heavy and the back side begin to crack when I rolled it up to store under the trailer. I purchased a different mat that was much lighter, more flexible (didn’t crack), and had a more carpet like feeling. But, it attracted and retained dirt and sand. No matter how much I beat it, it would still retain a lot of dirt and sand. See pictures of both of these types of mats below.
So, I continued to search and tried a third mat. This mat did not appear or feel like any type I tried previously. It was relatively lightweight, stain proof, and the best attribute was that it did not retain dirt and sand. All I do to clean it is hose it down and it dries instantly. It’s also great for the kids to stand on while you hose them off after a day at the beach. See picture below.
I believe its intended purpose is for use in commercial kitchens to help cushion a person’s feet from the hard tile floor. But, it works great as a mat in front of my RV door for me and my family. Below is a link to purchase:
Commercial-Grade Drainable Anti-Fatigue Mat (3′ x 5′) – https://amzn.to/3qkY1Hq
Commercial-Grade Drainable Anti-Fatigue Mat (2′ x 3′) – https://amzn.to/2Za1gpp
Most RVs today have exterior LED lighting under the awning. But, they are typically not that bright and sometimes the campsite is large and the RV lighting does not illuminate other areas of the campsite like the picnic table or campfire ring. So, most RV campers typically have some other types of portably battery operated lighting for the campsite.
We use two types of portable lighting: camping lantern and work light. The camping lanterns are great for lighting up the picnic table for dinner or on a low setting illuminating the ground near the campfire so you don’t trip on anything. We also use lantern stands too. Below are some of our camping lantern pictures and links to purchase.
LitezAll 2000 Lumen Camping Lantern – https://amzn.to/2MT8PhP
Coleman Multi-Purpose Lantern Stand – https://amzn.to/3jMqBio
We also use a portable work light at our campsite. Work lights are intended to be used for construction projects to help light up an area that you’re working on at night. Because work lights are so bright, I found them helpful when cooking outdoors, so you can see how your food is cooking. Typically camping lanterns and RV led exterior lights just don’t cut it when you’re cooking. See my review of the work light I like to use, click here. Below are some pictures of me using a work light for cooking, as well as link to purchase.
Sanlinkee LED 3000 Lumen Work Light – https://amzn.to/2Z96ul8
You’ll need a few things for your campfire:
Some campgrounds don’t provide a fire ring or campfire pit, so you’ll need to bring your own. We use one that is elevated off the ground and has a cover (required by campgrounds in the Santa Cruz area in California), and that breaks down for easy storage. For my review of the this campfire pit, click here. See pictures and link below to purchase:
Best Choice Products 22in Fire Pit Bowl – https://amzn.to/3pfIiIx
Wood splitting ax – To get the best campfire, you’ll need a good wood splitting ax. What I’ve found is that if you don’t cut down the large pieces of wood into smaller pieces, your fire will be harder to start and won’t burn as intensely, it will smolder and not provide a lot of fire or heat. Below is the wood splitting ax I purchased in 2019, it cuts firewood into smaller pieces with no problems, and it is small and easy to store. For my review of this ax, click here. See picture and link below to purchase.
Collins TJ-3FD-C EMW7118136, Brown/A – https://amzn.to/3rP3syR
Grilling gloves (Kettle) – Heat resistant grilling gloves are great for grilling, but they are also great for tending to the campfire so you don’t burn your hands. I also like to warm up coffee for me and my kids like to warm up milk for hot chocolate while we sit around the campfire, so the gloves come in handy for handling the hot kettle. I purchased the 3 cup kettle for my coffee and the 8 cup kettle for the kids’ milk. Below are links to purchase both the gloves and kettles that I use:
Heat Resistant Grilling Gloves – https://amzn.to/2Nkhfi2
GSI Outdoors 3 Cup Coffee Pot (3, 6 & 8 Cups) – https://amzn.to/37anJXJ
Camping chairs and tables – Getting sturdy camping chairs and tables is important so you can enjoy your time around the campfire. I purchased the Coleman camping chair below and it appears to be well built and sturdy, I haven’t had any issues with it. It has a built in “cooler” for your extra drinks, but I haven’t used it yet as cooler. I usually keep my extra drinks in the RV refrigerator or ice chest. Also, I purchased the Outry Lightweight Aluminum Folding Table (22″ x 15.9″ x 16.1″) below, it’s easy to set up and breaks down to be compact and light weight for easy storage. I haven’t had any issues, works great.
Coleman Camping Chair – https://amzn.to/3dgCGv0
Outry Lightweight Aluminum Folding Table – https://amzn.to/3tNsFvg
Marshmallow sticks – My kids love cooking marshmallows (and hot dogs) over the fire. If you or your kids enjoy this too, then you’ll want to get a set of marshmallow sticks. My wife purchased the MalloMe Premium Marshmallow Roasting Sticks Set of 5, and they work great, but I think the Marshmallow Roasting Sticks Wooden Handle Set of 12 are a better value when they are on sale. And, I like that the prongs are closer together. See links below:
MalloMe Premium Marshmallow Roasting Sticks Set of 5 – https://amzn.to/3da9y90
Marshmallow Roasting Sticks Wooden Handle Set of 12 – https://amzn.to/3qhSDoC
Campfire grill – If you enjoy cooking over the campfire like my family does, then you’ll want to check out the Stromberg Carlson GR-1522 Stake and Grille. We use it often. It’s easy to set up and easy to store. It has a wide range of adjustment to suit your cooking timeframe and preferences. And, it is easy to clean with a grill brush as compared to washing pots, pans and your RV or camping stove. The only issue we’ve run into is that one campsite had concrete around the campfire, so we were not able to put the metal stake into the ground, but we improvised an laid the grill over the fire ring.
Note in the picture above, there is a red cover over the metal grill handle because the metal grill handle can and does get hot when you use it. You’ll also want to buy a grill cleaning brush so you can brush the grill before and after using. Below are links to the grill, handle cover, and grill brush.
Stromberg Carlson GR-1522 Stake and Grille – https://amzn.to/3bgnhsn
Silicone Pot Handle Holder – https://amzn.to/3adVdX0
Cuisinart Grill Cleaning Brush – https://amzn.to/3rNthiL
I hope you found my article helpful, Setting up your RV campsite: mats, lighting, and campfire equipment. Happy camping!