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RVing - How To Set Up An Outdoor Living Area

Updated on September 25, 2014

Welcome to the world of RVing - Now, let's make it comfortable to be outside.

I just bought a 2013 Shadow Cruiser travel trailer in May so I'm brand new to RVing, but one thing I have quickly figured out is how to set up an outdoor living area while camping.

I like my creature comforts so much that some people call what I do 'glamping' (glamorous camping). I'm good with that....

My love of the outdoors along with my love of the creature comforts of my home living room is why I opted to buy a travel trailer instead of a nice tent when I go 'camping' - 'camping' is in quotes for a reason; I'm not one to rough it (those days are for those in their 20s and 30s) and my outdoor living area while camping is about as nice as the set up on my balcony at my house.

In this article, I'll introduce you to the camping items for outdoor use that I personally own and will even show you a few that are on my wish list should you feel generous (grin).

Photo credit: All photos on this article are my own photos (or Amazon products) and, yes, those are my own dogs cooling their jets while we're camping this weekend.

Note: I found so many wonderful things to help me make my RV into a home that I set up a whole website where you can find many other fun items. Come visit me at:

A portable gas campfire is allowed even in places where fires are restricted

The very first thing that my wonderful boyfriend John gave me when I bought my new RV was the Little Red Campfire. I love this thing! Note: That's my Little Red Campfire about in the picture, set up and ready to go.

Even in areas where open fires are not contained, the Little Red Campfire is welcomed as it runs on propane, just like your grill does. This makes it incredibly safe to use, even in highly forested areas.

The Little Red Campfire comes with an 8' hose so I can attach it right to the propane tanks on the front of the trailer. But, I've found that I prefer to tote along a regular 20 lb propane canister on my camping trips as it makes my campfire very portable - I'm not tethered to just 8 feet from the RV.

A portable gas campfire is a wonderful gift for anyone who owns an RV or likes to camp a lot. We even use our portable campfire on the balcony of my house during chilly winter nights or snowy winter days. It puts out just the right amount of heat to keep us toasty warm.

Click the link to the left to see this beautiful traveling bar set
Click the link to the left to see this beautiful traveling bar set

The Picnic Time Manhattan Insulated Two Bottle Cocktail Portable Travel Bar

We found out the hard way that carrying bottles of liquor in a cabinet in the RV was a no-no. We lost a very good bottle of Scotch, ostensibly, while rounding a curve....broken bottles of liquor are a sad thing to find when one is setting up camp (for a number of reasons).

That's how we discovered the Picnic Time Manhattan Insulated Two Bottle Cocktail Portable Travel Bar (you can see it by clicking that link). This is just the perfect traveling bar to have in our travel trailer as John likes Scotch and I like Vodka - 2 bottles works for us. And, with the nice accompanying glasses and shaker, we're ready to go with happy hour the minute our outdoor living room is set up.

This is a great gift, not only for an RV owner, but also for a boat owner, or even a senior citizen who enjoys a nightly cocktail.

Define your outdoor living area with an outdoor rug

I have an outdoor rug that I got from World Market, and I just love it. It's made of plastic fiber and is woven loosely so that sand and mud just sift through. After a camping weekend, I just drape it over my home deck and hose it down.

An outdoor carpet is a must when RVing. A carpet will not only be a great finishing touch to an outdoor camping room but will also protect your feet from rocks, stumps, etc. My personal outdoor rug is made of 100% polypropylene like those below. Polypropylene mats are also really light. My outdoor mat is 8x12 and weighs just 4 lbs.

Here's some very nice outdoor rugs/mats on I suggest picking a color that maybe goes with your RV outdoor living room theme - my theme is green and yellow (and, well, there's some pink flamingos hanging around - literally - too).

A Good Outdoor Fan Will Be Your Friend For Years

rv camping gas campfire
rv camping gas campfire

My next gift from John was a very powerful Lasko fan that you see in the picture above.

This little fan is very portable (it weighs no more than 4 lbs) and has 4 speeds, the highest of which is cyclone! I use it when I'm sitting outside to chase away the bugs.

The fan is strong enough to keep the bugs out of my whole outdoor living area when camping or even when just sitting in the backyard.

Tip re: camp chairs

Make sure that whatever chair you select doesn't have a bar across the front where your knees will be. That hurts after awhile.

Make Sure To Get A Good Camping Chair

You wouldn't believe how important comfortable camping chairs can be - that's why we chose a pair of these Picnic Time Reclining Camp Chairs.

Camping is so relaxing so, in between hikes through the woods, you might be sitting around just enjoying 'being.' And, since I like to write these types of articles while sitting around in the great outdoors, a large enough chair where I can sit 'indian-style' was very important to me. And, I've been very happy indeed with my choice of camping chair.

This particular camping chair is very well padded and has 3 levels of reclining. To be quite honest, it's not a chair that one would nap in (it doesn't recline that much) but it does give you options for positions in which to sit.

More Information on Beginning RVing Or Having a Good Time While Doing So

I've started a series of articles about camping in a travel trailer or RV to hopefully shorten the learning curve of those entering the world of RVs. The below are a few articles you might like:

Good Gifts For RV Owners
This is another of my RV articles you might like. This is the first of the series of my camping articles so some of my ineptness might show. I've gotten smarter!

Shadow Cruiser S260BHS Review From An Owner
This is a review of my new Shadow Cruiser. 2 months after I picked it up and about 3 weeks worth of camping in it, I love this RV! The perfect entry level travel trailer for me.

Top 15 Travel Bars For Those On The Go
We like to have all the conveniences of home when we're off camping in the RV so that's where this portable travel bar comes in. Martinis anyone?

Are you a camper? - Got comments?

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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      No I personally use a tent, but my camping friend does have a camper. It is essential to have some sort of tarp (may come with the camper) for rainy days and a camp lantern for evening activities such as a game of cards.

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 

      5 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Well yes, I have been "camping" in the last few months - but we won't talk about that... I love the rug, and I was going to make fun of the fan until you said it helped keep bugs at bay, which makes it so much better in my book than bug zappers! I have one suggestion: get a rice cooker that has a slow cook selection - you can cook everything from hard boiled eggs, chili or even a pot roast. Lots of options for a fairly small/portable appliance.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      5 years ago from Central Florida

      Yep, we are RVers too. We have the outdoor carpet (and some pins to stake it down so no one trips over the corner of it) and the folding chairs). Hadn't thought of the fan for outdoors. Good thinking on the bugs plus sometimes it's darn hot outside but we hate to retreat inside with the air conditioning.

      We also like having some party lights to hang down from the awning. Looks festive. Have you tried watching your TV outside yet?


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