Getting a new RV is a big decision. Before you embark on your first trip, there are going to be some things that you need to make sure you have.
To make it easier, I created a list of must-haves and another list of suggested gear for RVers.
Essential RV Accessories
- Dump Hose
- Bathroom Essentials
- Drinking Hose
- First Aid Kit
- Water Pressure Regulator
- Water Tank Filler Valve
- Insect Repellent
- Kitchen Accessories
- Handheld Vacuum
- Extension Cords
- Gas Can
- Bubble Level
- Surge Protector
- Air Compressor
- Leveling Blocks
- Pocket Knife
Generator (Purchase A Quiet One)
While many campgrounds offer electrical hookups, it’s always a good idea to have a generator on hand, especially if you’re gong on a longer camping trip. There are plenty of generators out there. The quest is to find one that does not make a ton of noise. It just breaks the immersion of RV camping. One I reckoned to purchase is the Honda EU2200i 2200-Watt 120-Volt. It is quiet. It runs well. This newer version has improvements from the last model. It runs smoother and the oil drain is more functional so it doesn’t spill and make a mess. It is a popular brand.
Another idea that I find useful is generators with a remote start. You can just sit in your camper and press a button to start up the generator. I would suggest the Champion 3500-Watt Portable Generator. It has a wireless start and you can be up to about 80 feet away. I don’t know why you would start it from that far but that leaves plenty of room for you to be chilling in your RV to just start it. You can stay warm and cozy in your RV.
You should not leave home without a generator. You’re going to need power to do anything in your RV. You need it for your fridge, water heater, etc. Everything in your RV will use power. There are so many generators out there. Just remember to get a quiet and if you want, a wireless remote one.
Related Reading: Solar Panels or Generators for Campers and RVs: Which is Better?
Now you may argue that you can just use google maps for traveling and I would be inclined to agree. The only thing is that
If you are going somewhere remote, the GPS has so much more of the advantage. Plus, the GPS doesn’t waste your data. Save your phone for other things and get a GPS.
If you really can’t stand the idea of using a GPS or buying one, there is an app you can get called “CoPilot.” It is a pretty costly app coming in at $59.99. It is really extensive, but it is also a cheaper alternative to a GPS.
Generally, if you have an RV, you will be travelling to places you aren’t completely familiar with. That is why a GPS for your RV is super useful. Some people might not think that it is essential but in our modern day, why would you not have one?
RV Sewer Hose
An RV Sewer hose, or dump hose, is a hose used to dispense the grey and black water from the tanks of your RV. You’ll have to dump out this water at dump stations. When receiving your RV you’ll likely receive a barely functional hose. Trust me, if you take some time to find the right hose your efforts will be rewarded.
The best RVdump hoses are around 15′ long. If your hose is too long it can be a struggle to get the grey and black water to flow through it. However, you have to have enough length to reach any dump station that you plan on using. 15′ is the perfect sweet spot. 10′ is a little too short and 20′ a little too long.
This hose is the perfect size and an overall great option for you.
Also, don’t forget your disposable gloves! An rv just haves!
RV bathrooms can have a few specifics that may not be what you are generally used to. The biggest one being the type of toilet paper that you use. On top of toilet paper make sure that you grab a good toilet bowl brush and toilet chemicals.
All refuse in an RV is going to go to your black tank, which eventually will be cleaned using your dump hose. So RV toilet paper has to be able to break down enough for the limited water used in flushing to break down the paper enough to flow through the dump hose.
Toilet chemical helps in breaking down the toilet paper and other substance in the black tank. To have to best effect before you start your RV trip, and after you dump your tank hold the toilet handle down for 45 seconds to add water to the black tank, adding this chemical in when you do this will give you the best black tank break down experience.
It can be hard to find the right toilet paper here is one example that provides some comfort while still being functional for an RV bathroom.
Opposite the dump hose, is the drinking hose. The first step when picking a drinking hose is to get one that is lead-free. You want to make sure that the water that you are drinking is safe to drink this means avoiding lead hoses.
Next, make sure that your drinking hose and dump hose are different colors. Generally, you’ll see lighter color drinking hoses and darker color dump hoses. Do whatever works for you, but don’t mix your hoses up.
The right length for a water hose is 25′ you want to have a good length so that you don’t have any problems filling your tanks, but the longer the hose the more effort you’ll have to put into unkinking the hose. 25′ is the right size for minimal effort while still getting the job done effectively.
For a great water hose option check out this Amazon product.
Along with your drinking hose, I always attach a water filter to ensure the water coming into to travel trailer is clean.
First Aid Kit
Whenever you go camping or any adventure, it is super important for you to bring a first aid kit. You never know what might happen so, bring one. I have had some of the most random things happen down to the small things happening, like needing a simple band-aid.
You can build your own or buy one online. If you want to build your own, the Red Cross has great instructions for building your own. You can buy one from them for about $15.
Related Reading: The Best Camping First-Aid Kit
It is obvious why this is essential. You never know when disaster may strike. Okay, that is a little exaggerated but you get the idea. The point is to be prepared in case you need something so you don’t have to go into town or anywhere to find the things you need.
I would also suggest getting a triangular bandage for your first aid kit. What is that you ask? It is a triangular cloth used for arm sling or even to control bleeding. There are many applications for it and I highly suggest using one. You can get them over $10 online.
Water Pressure Regulator
When you are traveling with your RV you can never be sure what the water pressure of a campsite will hold for you. As a result, spending some money on a water pressure regulator is a worthy investment as it will prevent your trailed water system from getting overloaded.
Just attach the water pressure regulator between the drinking hose and the RV. There are many options for you but Camco has an effective and cheap option for $6.
Water Tank Filler Valve
When it comes to filling up your tank you’ll want to use a water tank filler valve. Trust me it makes your life easier. So if you want to avoid “bubble back” and just fill up the tank with ease spend some money on a water tank filler valve. This Amazon option is inexpensive and will fulfill everything could need from a filler valve.
If you’re like me at all, bugs are your least favorite thing about camping. You want to keep the bugs out and bug repellent will keep them away. There are plenty of ways to repel bugs. There are mosquito sticks and others. Just go with the simple spray. That does the trick. You can spray it on yourself and the area around you and you’ll be good.
I would suggest the humble Repel 100 Insect Repellent. It is cheap and it works. All the hikers I know use it. This is an easy one.
RV Kitchen Accessories
This will be pretty similar to any kitchen in a normal home with a few tweeks for the RV. I think the first to mention will be a carbon monoxide detector. You can’t really know if you have a problem with that unless you have one of these and it could save your life.
Other things that you will need will be little odds and ends like a microwave cover, dish drainer, cutting boards, paper towel holder, etc. Some things can be incredibly useful like stackable bowls or like a hanging spice rack. These aren’t necessary, but they are useful. They will be a good investment in the long run.
If you are a full-time rver, your kitchen should be stocked with everything you would typically have in your home kitchen.
Related Reading: 16 Helpful RV Kitchen Accessories I’d Never Camp Without
Handheld vacuums are small vacuums that you can attach to a wall in the RV or be easily stored without taking up too much space. Use them to pick up any crumbs or dirt that makes its way into the floor of your mobile home. It happens a lot and there is no reason to live in a dirty home just because you can drive it around.
Vacuums like this one from Amazon are a great choice to keep your mobile home mess-free. Plus it has nice flexibility to be used in the tight corners of your normal home or in or around the driver’s seat.
You can find a pretty simple extension cord anywhere. A fairly cheap and viable one is KMC 16AWG Power Outdoor Extension Cord. It works. It won’t break easy. It has a little light on it and that is helpful in the dark. You never know how much cord you will need to get as much as possible. You will probably have a couple of these and at $15, that is not a bad deal.
It is always a good idea to have an extra few gallons of gas for your generator when you need it. You should have your generator full before you go. I would suggest that you buy a couple of 5 gallon gas cans. That way with what you have already and the extra will be enough for about 24 hours or more of use.
For anything big and expensive you own, you are most likely going to want insurance. It’s a nice security blanket for your investment. Insurance can be anything from $200 to $500 a year. A lot of it will depend on the size of the vehicle, your age, and your driving record. Having an RV is an investment that you will want to use for years to come. So, do yourself a favor and insure your RV.
Related Reading: Average RV Insurance Costs
When parking on uneven ground it’s a challenge to get the RV level, don’t settle for an uneven RV though get yourself a bubble level to keep yourself level. These levels don’t cost that much you can easily get one for a few dollars but for the best accuracy, these bubble levels are some of the highest reviewed on Amazon.
You’ll be using a lot of power for your RV. That’s just a given. Now with a lot of power comes… some consequences. Buy a surge protector. In case something blows, you can protect your RV and yourself if you have a surge protector to… well, protect you from a surge of energy.
Do yourself a favor and get the Progressive Industries Portable RV Surge Protector. This one is a little expensive but worth it. It has electrical management system (EMS) which is a technology that offers impressive protection for your RV. You’re going to need a surge protector so you might as well get a good one now instead of later.
When RV campers go off-road, they usually let a little air out of the tires to provide better traction. This sounds weird but it works. After you get ot your campsite and you’re setting up, you’re going to want to have the air back in your tires to have as much support as possible while people are inside. Also when you get back to paved road, you will want the air back in your tires.
Since nobody has the lung capacity for blowing up tires, you are going to want an air compressor for your RV. Some places might have air stations but it is not something you want to rely on. You will want to have a portable one. The Viair 40040 400C Air Compressor Kit is a fantastic piece of equipment that will work great on your RV. It’s not bulky or large and it will get the job done.
When you are trying to level out your RV sometimes where you park does not agree with you which means you’ll need leveling blocks or a shovel. It is tiring to dig a hole deep enough to level out your RV though, not mention having to dig enough so that you can drive out of the hole you dug.
Leveling blocks are the easier choice. Amazon has some great option for them like these. Just make sure you have the right equipment to get then under your RV.
Whenever you are traveling its important to have a knife on you. Whether you just need to open the box of something or you are cutting off the string from something you tied a little too well, pocket knives are essential. My pocket knife has helped me time and time again.
With the many Swiss army knife options out there you don’t have to just have a knife to cut things. Go ahead and find the best multitool for you. I personal like to keep my pocketknife slim like this option on Amazon.
One of the tenants of keeping your RV clean is making sure that you have bed sheets to keep the beds clean. This can be especially important in RVs as many RVs use the beds as other seats or storage. One of the benefits of bed sheets is that it keeps the smell on the sheets and not on the bed itself. That way you keep things clean and you make sure everything smells the way its supposed to.
Bed sheets are all up to you and based on your personal taste but for a cheap but still quality option here is one of Amazon’s choices.
There are quite a few things that you will need to have in your RV. Making sure that you have the essentials first is always important. However, it’s always great to expand and have some things extra in your RV, either for fun, or for ease.
Below are some other products that I suggest you take a look at because they will make your experience even better.
This product is so convienent. I have one at home. An Instant Pot is basically like a crockpot on steriods. It cooks food fast and easy. You can make stew in an hour rather than letting it cook all day. It’s something that you can use daily on your trips as well.
An Instant Pot will make your trip a lot easier because you don’t have to plan ahead of time and you can use up your canned food storage. It’ll help you make soup, stew, rice, and roasts which will all be perfect for a dinner out in the wild.
Check out this Instant Pot. It is Amazon’s best seller and can come in different quart sizes, depending on your families needs!
Walkie-talkies make camping and traveling fun and add a little bit of safety. Especially for young kids, walkie-talkies are great to pack along. It’s like having a phone that can work out in nature and brings in a bit of nastalgia for parents.
This product is also practical. Whether it’s for parking or keeping in connection with other family members who are out exploring, walkie-talkies are very handy. Especially if you don’t want to use your phone data or you don’t get service in the area you are traveling in, walkie-talkies make communcation easy.
This set of walkie-talkies has a 3-mile range and is easy for kids to use. A bonus feature is a flashlight!
Bringing movies on your trip can be a lifesaver if you have kids, or if you get stuck inside the RV on a rainy day. It is not necessary but it is a really good idea to have a couple of movies tucked away somewhere on the RV to pass the time if needed.
Make sure that you have a device to play your movies from too. If you don’t have a TV and DVD player, try to download some movies onto a device ahead of time. Netflix has movies available to download for free if you already have an account, so you don’t have to pay anything in addition.
Berkey Water Filter
This non-essential item is definitley nice to have, especailly while traveling. It’s a filterering system that you can set on your counter and have access to clean and fresh water. It’s also a bit on the fancy side and looks really nice in the kitchen.
Having clean water is important when you are traveling because you don’t want to spend any day sick or dehydrated. This also means you don’t have to buy a huge pack or water-bottles just to get you through a week on the road.
To look and invest in one of the Berkey Water-filters, click here. Again, these are a bit on the higher price range. Here is a more basic and cost-friendly option that filters water as well. It’s not going to filter out as well as the Berkey products.
A propane firepit is a way to always have a firepit with you. You put the propane firepit outside, in the dirt and away from flammable objects. It’s really easy after that, you just turn on the propane and light this baby up. The fire pit will keep you warm for hours and provide a nice
One of the best things about having a propane fire pit that is portable is that you can have a fire almost anywhere. There are a lot of areas that you can’t have woodburning fires because of safety concerns. These fire pits are allowed!
The Outland Firebowl is a great product. It has high-ranking on Amazon and has tons of good reviews, 4.5 stars! It’s a great find and good size for outdoor adventures and does not take up too much space to store it.
Packable Beach Blanket
A packable beach blanket is basically like a light-weight tarp that helps keep the dirt and grime off of you. You can use it even when you are not at the beach. It’s a great thing to have with you if you want to take a meal outside or lay out underneath the stars.
Packable blankets can cover a lot of area on the ground when you need it, but be stored in a tiny pouch. That’s another fantastic reason to keep one in your RV. They are easy to clean and come in handy if you ever need some extra sitting room by the fire.
This is a product that I highly recommend. There are a lot of different kinds and options out there but this Outdoor Picnic Blanket comes with a way to stake it to the ground. It comes in a wide variety of colors as well.
Hot Spot and Signal Booster
Hot spot and signal boosters are available to add to an RV. Basically what they do is make it easier to connect with the internet and the outside world while you are traveling. Hot spot helps the internet and the signal booster is intended to make calls more clear.
This may be put in the non-essential category, but for some people who have to work while vacationing, this may be super critical to have. It also might be an extra comfort knowing that you can call anyone if you get stuck or have an emergency, even if the area does not have great reception.
I’m going to give you a couple of options because the price ranges can vary widely. The less expensive option is found here. It is the basic package and has pretty reliable reviews.
WeBoost is the brand name and they have a lot of customers backing up their products as well. They are more expensive however, so choose the product that works best for you.
Adding in a different shower head is a good idea. A lot of the times, the showerhead that comes with the RV work as good as hotel shower heads. That is to say, they don’t work very well.
After being down and dirty, playing outdoors and traveling, you probably will want to have a shower that makes you feel like you are actually clean. That is a great reason to switch your shower head, plus, you may be able to save money because of the difference in water pressure.
This Oxygenics showerhead is handheld, which is a nice feature. It also is supposed to control water pressure a bit more and has good reviews. Go check it out!
Cast Iron Skillet
Cast iron skillets are a great thing to add to your RV kitchen section. Cast iron skillets are heavy duty and are multifunctional. You can put them on the burner, on the grill, over the fire, or in the oven. Cast iron skillets don’t require a lot of dishwashing as well (which is an awesome perk).
Cast iron skillets will be good in camper or RV because you are able to use it outside or indoors. The versatility will basically eliminate the need for other pans. Just get a couple of these instead.
One of the best options for cast iron skillets is here, in this 2-piece set. These have hat pad handle holders which makes it easier to use safely. They are also pre-seasoned, so they will work great and won’t have your food stick.
Having an outside mat will help you keep your RV a little bit tidier. The mat is meant to wipe off some of that mud on your shoes before you enter your living quarters.
This mat, available through Amazon, is heavy duty, so it will really help get the mud out from your shoes. It’s also not too expensive and it’s easy to clean.
Final Thoughts on RV Must Haves
Going out for the first time can be overwhelming with all the rv gadgets available. Start with the essentials and go from there.