What We Packed for a Long Weekend RVing in England

What We Packed for a Long Weekend RVing in England

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Our first RV road trip in the UK put us straight in the deep end. My fiance James and I rented an RV and drove three hours south from our cottage near Glasgow, Scotland, to The Lake District in northern England with our Bengal, Angus. We’re both well-seasoned outdoors people, but this was the first time making a trip in a six-berth RV with our one-year-old kitten to a remote site with no hook-up or cell reception. That meant we had to pack smart. We learned a lot over the long weekend. I simultaneously overpacked and underpacked. We ran out of essentials like garbage bags by the final day. We should have packed the cooler and quick-drying towels. But we also had some wins. Below are some of our packing essentials that will join us on our future RV adventures.

Where we stayed in The Lake District

Driving down Honister Pass, a mountain pass in the Lake District, we were met by this stunning vista. Photo: Katie Scott Aiton

We rented our RV from a UK-based site called Goboony. This Airbnb-style company for RVs allows private owners to hire out their vehicles when they’re not in use. The process was seamless, from the booking system and payment to pickup and drop-off.

Overlooking the campsite from Fleetwith Pike. Photo: James Gavin

Our route took us from the Central Belt of Scotland, near Glasgow, over the border into England, and on south to The Lake District. The Lake District is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the north of the country — and for good reason. It’s simply stunning. Known for its calm waters and mountainous terrain, the region is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, with opportunities for hiking, cycling, sailing, and kayaking on its many lakes.

Calm morning at the edge of Buttermere Lake, next to the campsite. Photo: Katie Scott Aiton

We stayed on Lake Buttermere, a remote off-the-grid spot and home to the annual charity paragliding festival, The Buttermere Bash. James, being half man and half bird, we plan many vacations to places where he can enjoy paragliding and speed flying and peaceful locations where I can get away from screens and enjoy nature.

What we packed for a long weekend camping in England

BLUETTI Solar Panel

This was a saving grace. One of the best investments we’ve made. Photo: Katie Scott Aiton

This was a purchase made with just this kind of trip in mind. The RV had off-grid capability, with leisure batteries and a solar panel. However, these only powered the van’s interior lights, awning lights, water pump, etc. The power outlets required an electric hook-up, not something we had access to in a field in the middle of nowhere.

Step in the BLUETTI EB3A with 200w solar panel. This can be charged fully at home and then topped up using the solar panels while away. We were able to charge a MacBook Pro, one iPhone using the built in wireless charging pad with another iPhone plugged in to USB, and still had outlets to charge more, all while the solar panels were topping up the power station.

Capacity-wise, the EB3A has 268Wh of energy with a maximum load of 600W. It won’t power any really energy-hungry devices, such as hairdryers; you would need to opt for a larger model for that. However, this was ideal for keeping our devices charged for the weekend.

Buy now from Amazon from $299

THE NORTH FACE VECTIV Fastpack FUTURELIGHT Hiking Shoe

Photo: Katie Scott Aiton

These are the second pair of NorthFace VECTIV we’ve owned. We recently upgraded from the high-top trail runners –which became an everyday wear — to the Futurelight hiking shoe. The reason for this transition was primarily aesthetical. The new range of NorthFace running and trail shoes are a little too modern looking for our taste, but we wanted to stick with the VECTIV technology.

The fabric is impenetrable to moisture but is breathable, which is so important being in the UK, where we live in constant threat of rain. They are also lightweight, have great cushioning, and offer superb stability. The shoe is designed for hiking, but they don’t look out of place being worn on daily errands.

Buy now from Amazon for $299+

YETI Rambler 26 oz Bottle

Photo: Katie Scott Aiton

We are not at the stage of matching jackets (although that day will likely come), but we do have the same black YETI Rambler. These come with us everywhere we go; we’ve had them for years. One of the best things about the tumbler is that water stays cold. This is so welcome on a sunny day hike or hot days in the RV. It’s worth noting that you need to be mindful to clean every element, from the straw to under the lid. We do so by soaking them in a bucket once a week using cleaning tables purchased for our Invisalign — it’s a quick trick and does an excellent job.

Buy now from Amazon for $32

Birkenstocks

Photo: Birkenstock

I live in Birkenstocks. I have had a few pairs over the years because they are the most comfortable sandals and are so versatile. They are great to wear with socks on a long drive, and having a pair of sandals you can slip on quickly is vital for an RV trip. It saves time and hassle with laces if you need to nip out the van quick or go to the bathroom at night. They are also waterproof (make sure you use a protection spray if you opt for Nubuck) so they should be ok to wear in communal shower blocks, which is a blessing at a busy campsite.

Katie Scott Aiton

Buy now from Amazon for $100+

Paragliding wings

The valley of Buttermere has two interconnected lakes surrounded by mountains on all sides, making it the perfect backdrop for the annual event, which gathers paraglider and speedwing pilots from across the UK and visitors from further afield.

Testing the Line, the new speed wing by FLARE. Photo: Katie Scott Aiton

For this trip, I packed a 26-meter Koyot 4 paraglider from Niviuk Paragliders for thermalling and gliding high over the valley and a 9.5-meter Mirage RS speedwing from Swing Paragliders for flying down the mountains fast and close to the terrain.

Gliding over the Buttermere lakes on the Niviuk Koyot 4. Photo: James Gavin

Given the weather conditions, I opted only to fly the paraglider while we were there. I took in some stunning views while gliding around 2000 feet above the valley floor.

James Gavin

Buy now from NIVIUK PARAGLIDERS

RevolutionRace layers

Photo: Katie Scott Aiton

Packing layers for a camping trip in the UK is crucial. Regardless of the time of year, the weather can change from glorious sunshine to end-of-the-world rain to hail by lunch. This makes packing for an RV road trip tricky. Space will always be an issue, and learning how to maximize your storage will take time, but an excellent place to start is to choose multifunctional clothing. We opt for RevolutionRace layers because they are practical and they are versatile enough to wear to the pub or up a mountain.

Buy now from Amazon for $59+

La Sportiva hiking boots

Resting after a two hour hike up High Stile mountain. Photo: James Gavin

Having used these boots for at least the last two years, they are my go-to for any hike. They are an approach shoe, more suited to scrambling over rocky terrain than wet, muddy trails, and this is where the majority of my use for them lies.

They are lightweight, comfortable, durable, and provide exceptional hold. Having hiked up some of the highest peaks in Scotland with these on multiple occasions, they have endured a lot, and two years later, they are still going strong. Footwear is very individual, and what fits one person may not fit the next. But I have absolutely loved these boots, and should I exhaust them, I’ll be off to get another pair.

James Gavin

Buy now from Amazon for $150+

Bridgedale socks

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Bridgedale has built a reputation for being a top choice for hikers, runners, and outdoor adventurers because its socks are built to last. When James first introduced the brand, the price was a shock. However, they are pricey for good reason. Bridgedale has been crafting socks for over 100 years. They are versatile and so comfortable. Whether you need waterproofing for wet trails, breathability for running, or warmth for winter hikes, they’ve got you covered.

Buy now from Amazon for $24.99+

Scrabble

Photo: Katie Scott Aiton

Without cell reception, we needed some kind of entertainment, something we could enjoy together in the evenings. We packed cards, Yahtzee, and a Scrabble set. Being avid Wordle players, this was a great shout.

Buy now from Amazon for $34.99+

Petzl headlamp

Photo: Petzl

Even the most well-planned RV journeys can encounter unexpected detours, so having a head torch is non-negotiable. Petzl headlamps are known for their exceptional durability and versatility. They’re built tough to withstand the bumps and jostles of off-road trips while offering a variety of lighting modes to suit any situation. Whether you need a powerful beam to navigate a dark campsite, a night light for reading a book, or a red light for nighttime bathroom breaks that won’t disrupt your fellow travelers, a headlamp is a must.

Buy now from Amazon for $34.95+

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Hi, I’m Steven, a Florida native, who left my career in corporate wealth management six years ago to embark on a summer of soul searching that would change the course of my life forever.

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