How to Stock Your RV’s Medicine Cabinet

Apr 7, 2020 | Food & Camp Cooking

How to Stock Your RV’s Medicine Cabinet

Limited space inside an RV can make it difficult to know what, and how much, to pack in your medicine cabinet—we've got essential packing tips here.

By Autumn Bailey

Photo: Autumn Bailey

Having lived in an RV for many years, my family and I have experienced all of the ups and downs of life on the road. Over time, we’ve learned to develop our own rhythm for both daily health and general wellness. And while living and traveling in an RV can pose some challenges when it comes to personal well-being (after all, the closest pharmacy might be miles and miles away), we’ve picked up a few tips along the way to make sure our tiny medicine cabinet packs a big punch.

Close up of various jars, herbs, incense, essential oils, and grinders on a wooden counter top
Photo: Autumn Bailey

1. Look in Your Kitchen

One of the biggest—and easiest—things we’ve found to help combat sickness on the road is to take advantage of various herbs and oils. You likely already have some herbs, spices, and oils on-hand for cooking, but expanding your collection just a little bit can help you feel prepared for a variety of situations, without overcrowding your cabinets and cupboards. Things like honey for coughing, turmeric for arthritis, and ginger for nausea are pretty common natural remedies, but I also like to keep dried elderberry for flu symptoms and dried calendula flowers for minor wounds and skin inflammation.

Side by side picture of a stocked pantry full of glass jars next to a young boy smiling at a glass jar full of lemons peels and water
Photo: Autumn Bailey

If I had to pick two kitchen items to always have on-hand, it would probably be lemons and honey. I often make lemon, cayenne, and honey tea for sore throats, or infuse lemons with vinegar to make an all-purpose house cleaner (it works really well!). And while my kids love honey and put it on everything, I like to use it as a hydrating face or hair mask whenever I can squeeze in a little self care “mom” time. However, it’s important to always consult a doctor or pharmacist before trying any natural remedies, especially if you are taking any prescriptions or over-the-counter medicines.

2. Think Biodegradable

It’s important to be mindful of waste, especially when you’re on the road for extended periods of time. In an effort to help with that, we recommend buying biodegradable bandages and wraps. These are a great alternative to plastic and latex bandages and are usually fully compostable. I also like to keep natural products around that serve multiple purposes and aren’t harmful to the environment. A good example of this is bentonite clay, which not only is great for facial and hair masks, but also helps treat poison ivy rashes and sun burns. St. John’s wort is another natural super-product that can help boost mood, aid sleep, and fight anxiety and nervousness.

Woman's hand with tree tattoo holds a small glass bottle of St Johns Wart, with an open cabinet full of bottles in the background
Photo: Autumn Bailey

3. The Hidden Power of Smells

Essential oils seem to have taken the world by storm and, despite the hype, I do think smells can have a powerful impact on our wellbeing. I have a small diffuser in my kitchen that I regularly use and fill with a variety of scents depending on my mood: peppermint for energy, rose to reduce anxiety, and citrus to help with headaches. One of my favorite essential oils is lavender—not only has it become an integral part of my kid’s bedtime routine (the smell promotes relaxation and sleepiness), but applying the oil topically can also help treat bug bites, bee stings, and the occasional burn.

Side by side of a woman pour essential oils into a blue bottle next to a close up of various essential oil bottles scattered on a wooden counter next to a bowl of ginger root and garlic
Photo: Autumn Bailey

4. Small But Mighty

Space is always something to keep in-mind when packing your medicine cabinet. That’s why we always keep the following items around—they don’t take up much space, yet serve a ton of different purposes. Tweezers can save the day in a lot of circumstances; they can remove thorns or stingers, help pull out threads or strings, and assist with tape or sticky substances. Biodegradable wipes can be stored just about anywhere, and can help clean everything from your dog’s dirty paws to bathroom counters and sinks. Hand sanitizer is small enough to fit in a drawer, purse, or backpack and is great for when you’re boondocking or limited on washing water. Coconut oil can be kept in a small jar in the kitchen and used for both cooking purposes and topically on skin. Plus, it has a very high heating temperature, making it safe for frying and campfire cooking. Relaxation pads are both heating pads and cooling packs in one! They come in a variety of sizes and can be used in both the freezer and microwave, reducing your need to pack two different pads.

Side by side photo of a white cabinet in a bathroom full of toiletries next to a woman standing in front of a sink and mirror in a bathroom scoping lotion out of a small jar
Photo: Autumn Bailey

Even though you may find yourself in RV parks or camping close to major cities, there could be a time when you take your unit to the outskirts and do some boondocking. In those instances, getting back to a city or town for some medicine might not be convenient. With these tips, hopefully you’ll have some peace of mind knowing that your RV medicine cabinet is fully stocked and ready to handle whatever comes your way.


Autumn Bailey

Autumn is from the Gold Country of Northern California and has been traveling full-time with her family in their 2016 Keystone Fuzion Toyhauler for the last four and a half years. She and her family strive to live minimally and intentionally on the road, and find their joy in the day to day adventures of nomadic living.