How to Protect Glassware While Traveling in an RV

Tips on how to protect glassware from breaking in an RV

For many of us, an RV is our home away from home. Ideally, this means having all home amenities such as glassware. The only difference—and it’s a big one—is that our home is on wheels.

The dilemma then becomes how to secure items while on the go. Cookware, glassware, and other kitchen items are some of the most obvious pieces in jeopardy of sliding around. In particular, glass is the most fragile and needs extra protection. I have some simple tips and tricks for protecting your glassware while on the go.

Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Step One: Purchase your glassware

Many RVers choose from glassware that’s already in their home. This can be a great way to clear out your home’s cabinets and make room for upgraded drinkware. Keep in mind that not all glasses will be suitable for life on the road. For example primarily thin glasses are not as good.

If you need to purchase new drinkware consider the durability factor. Choose thicker glasses over options that are thin.

Glass alternatives

I know that many RVers opt for glass alternatives such as plastic that hold up to abuse better. This can be a viable option as it decreases the likelihood of breakage. However, I prefer glass and believe glass is still the best option. Here’s why:

  • Glass feels like home: Not everyone wants to feel like they’re roughing it while on the road. Using glassware adds an at-home feel and can even add a touch of elegance to a campfire-side meal.
  • Glass wears better: Although glass might be more fragile than alternative materials, it wears better in the long run. As long as it stays well protected, it’s likely to stay in better condition for a longer time than plastic which can scratch, fade, and dry out.
  • Glass doesn’t leach or retain smells: One of the major concerns as of late is the leaching from plastics. Plastics are made with a mix of chemicals that might transmit from the plastic to the contents of the plastic in the container. Plastic is also more porous than glass and can retain smells.
Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Step Two: Preparing your RV kitchen

The first thing you’ll want to do after choosing your glassware is to figure out where you’ll be storing it. Where you keep it will help determine what you need to do to protect it. Some people like to pack away their glasses into storage containers while on the road to provide a bit of extra protection (and peace of mind). Many leave them in the cabinets.

If you leave your glasses in the cabinets you’ll want to make sure those cabinets stay shut while you’re on the road. Turning corners and hitting bumps can jostle doors open and allow your glasses to go tumbling out. 

The last thing you’ll want to do when arriving at an RV park is clean up a mess of broken glass. Therefore, you’ll want to keep cabinet doors from popping open. There are many options to lock cabinet doors from the outside and keep them shut. Many are easy to take on and off, similar to childproofing locks. Others can be mounted permanently.

To keep glasses from sliding around inside the cabinet, many RVers use non-slip matting. This thin, rubberized matting typically comes on a roll and can be cut to size. Lay it down inside of the cabinet and on cabinet shelves and items will be less likely to move.

In addition to keeping your glassware from sliding around you’ll also want to keep them separated so they’re not knocking into each other. Jostling against each other while in tow could easily cause cracking or chipping.

There are a handful of companies that make storage systems specifically for glassware use in RVs and boats. These storage trays typically are made of plastic with round cutouts for glasses to sit it, neatly and safely separating one from another.

Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Wine on the go

Many RV owners opt for the stability of stemless wine glasses. These can be stored easily using the separator trays mentioned above. For those who want to keep the stem to add extra class to their glass, hanging wine storage racks are a great option.

Just be sure that the rack can be locked on both sides so that wine glasses can’t slide off the ends of the racks. Speaking of the racks it’s better if they’re padded. Metal racks could cause breakage depending on the terrain you’re traversing with your camper. Lastly, you’ll also want to make sure there is padding between the glasses. Slipcovers can be purchase to go around each glass or you can use my DIY sock solution below.

Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Alternative and repurposed glass protection solutions

If purchasing RV-specific products isn’t your style or within your budget there are a few do-it-yourself (DIY) solutions you can consider.

Save the box

First and foremost when you purchase new drinkware save the box. If you don’t mind packing and unpacking your glassware between stops the original box is probably one of the safest places you can store your glasses. Once they’re packed away in the original box you can place them in a cupboard or drawer.

Old (or new) socks

If you cut the toe off a sock it becomes a cover that you can easily slip over and around drinkware. This works well for short glasses, tall glasses, and even wine glasses. They’re cheap and effective. If you have old socks lying around it’s the perfect way to repurpose them. However, you might want to opt for new socks to be as hygienic as possible.

Tie or belt storage organizers

Wardrobe organizers can double as drinkware holders too. Those designed with small squares for organizing ties or belts are usually the perfect size for glasses. The organizer’s soft fabric will keep the glassware padded and separated.

The above should spare you not only from broken glassware but also from annoying clanking while driving down the road.

Worth Pondering…

The older I get the more wisdom I find in the ancient rule of taking first things first. A process which often reduces the most complex human problem to a manageable proportion.

—Dwight D. Eisenhower