OMG, I just bought a brand new RV! What do I need?
If you have this question running through your mind right now, rest assured you are not alone. Every new traveler will be suddenly overcome by the worry about what exactly they need to use their new RV or travel trailer.
Unfortunately, your new RV isn’t going to come with the accessories you need for it to function. From hookups to hoses to every type of camping supply, there is a long list of items that you’ll need to acquire if you want to make the best use of your new rig. Some are non-negotiable, while others are simply nice to have.
Learn from my and others’ experiences and go through this list to grab everything you need for the most stress-free experience you can imagine. No matter what type of RV you have – motorhome, fifth wheel, travel trailer, camper, pop up, etc, here are the basics for every new traveler.
RV BASIC ACCESSORIES
This is definitely the most important thing you should NOT skip when buying RV accessories. In the event of an electricity problem in a campground, these can save you time, money and hassle. Electric issues are way more common that you’d believe. And anything from an improperly wired pedestal, a power surge or even a brown-out can damage your trailer irreparably. In fact, I’ve seen entire RVs be written off due to power surges.
The point is, make sure you buy this item. You can go for a hard-wired version that you install inside your rig. Or go for the portable version, which is what most will opt for. An EMS provides more protection than a surge protector.
Have you ever had a pipe break in your home or seen it in an office building? The damage can be catastrophic. If this happens in your RV, get ready to spend big bucks on costly repairs.
The simple solution is a water pressure regulator. It keeps the water pressure even so you never get big bursts or little trickles.
While at a campground, you’re going to need a dedicated drinking water hose, which you will use to fill your fresh water holding tank or to connect to city water. They come in various lengths, which is great because there are times when the spigot is farther away that you’d like. Usually 25 feet of hose is enough, but you may want to have two, just in case.
Sometimes when you’re traveling in your RV, the water supply around you can be rather iffy. A lot of time it is fine, but others it’s just plain gross. Using an RV water filter helps to keep the yucky crud out of your RV water pump AND out of your body.
Believe it or not, some RVs don’t come with a power cord. If that’s the case with you, then you definitely need one. Not only that, but it’s always a good idea to grab one for ease of use when your power is too far for your power cord to reach.
NEVER use a regular home extension cord, as this can cause a fire and/or fry your whole system. Instead, check which amperage you need and buy the right one for your rig.
If you want to connect your RV to your home electric, you are going to be disappointed. The amperage in your home electricity isn’t going to work. This inexpensive adapter allows you to hookup to your campground’s power pedestal or a standard 15-amp outlet at home, adapting the connection to fit your 30-amp RV.
The least fun part of RV travel is emptying your sewer tank. But it’s a necessary evil (unless of course you have a composting toilet). You’ll need a sewer hose to hook up and release all that nasty gunk into the sewer.
DO NOT USE REGULAR TP IN AN RV OR TRAVEL TRAILER.
Seriously, if you are going to use your RV toilet, you need to be sure to use toilet paper that is made for RVs or is septic-safe. There are many different brands, and it’s pretty simple to find in your grocery store or RV supply store. Whatever you do, just make sure not to grab the regular stuff.
You might think you can cope with your RV being slightly skewed, and maybe you can. But most people don’t want to sleep on an angle.
But more importantly that comfort, having a level RV is imperative if you have an absorption fridge, which most do. If your RV is not level, it can damage your fridge, and then you’ll need to replace it. More money down the drain!
Getting levelers is extremely important.
Chocks keep your RV from rolling away when you park it. These are especially important for travel trailers and fifth wheels, which don’t have automatic brakes.
Chocks are a necessity and should not be skipped. Make sure you buy them before heading out on your first adventure.
There’s nothing worse than a stinky RV. These treatments deodorize and keep your rig from smelling like poo. More importantly, though, it also helps break down what’s in the holding tank, preventing clogs and helping keep things working well.
Look, there’s nothing worse than getting sewage on your hands while dumping out your sewage. Wear gloves and keep yourself from having a very unpleasant experience. ‘Nuff said.
RV KITCHEN ACCESSORIES
You may or may not have children running around, but even if you don’t, having durable, reusable and microwave-safe plates are a must. These ones are beautiful and perfect for RV life.
As above, bowls are also great to have on hand for campfire soups, beans, breakfast cereal, and other liquid food.
You’ll definitely be wanting to keep hydrated on your travels, and these cups are durable and just the right size.
Buy all three as a set of 6 if you don’t want to do it separately.
RV refrigerators are often VERY small. These trays are small enough to fit in there without taking up all that precious freezer real estate. The silicone makes it simple to remove the ice, and with a lid, you don’t have to worry about spillage while traveling
Have you ever been out in the hot desert in summertime and just wanted some ice in your drink or to rub over your sweaty bod? This countertop ice maker is worth the counterspace it takes up. Make tons of ice very quickly, then put it in bags in your freezer. Never run out of ice again.
These are perfect for RV life as they won’t break when stored. They have silicone sleeves that make them easier to grip and less likely to slip off surfaces.
These bowls are oven, microwave and dishwasher safe, and they collapse down while not in use to save on storage space! You’ve gotta love them!
Most RVs come with a fairly inefficient absorption fridge. But if you add a battery-powered fan, it will keep the air circulated and the temperature consistent so your fridge doesn’t have to work quite as hard to stay cold. It’s especially good when traveling to areas with hot climates.
There’s never a bad time to have an Instant Pot on hand. It makes great food quick, and it’s perfect for meals on the go. It can replace a ton of cooking accessories, which is great when you’re traveling and forget something you need.
Safety is always a top concern when traveling. Your rig should have come with a fire extinguisher, but it’s never a bad idea to have extra. Keep one in each closed off room (like the bathroom or bedrooms) as well as common areas.
Campground picnic tables can be really disgusting. Having a cover means a much more sanitary experience. Don’t forget some clamps to hold it in place!
BASIC RV TOOLS
The Mega Hitch Lock is the very best and most foolproof hitch lock. It makes it hard for anyone to drive away with your trailer, which would be absolutely awful. Other versions can be hacked, which means this one is worth the price you pay for it.
Every rig should have a selection of replacement fuses for those times when you blow one. they are definitely an essential item.
Look, having a good toolset is just smart. You will never know what might break, bend or unscrew while you’re on the road. Stuck in the middle of nowhere with no way to fix what’s broken is no way to live. Get a good set of tools and keep it in your rig.
It hasn’t happened to us yet, but I know others who have found themselves with a flat tire in their travel trailer or fifth wheel who had to keep going with no way to fix it. What a nightmare!
The truth is, this isn’t a cheap accessory, but it’s HUGELY important for safety. Keeping an eye on tire pressure is really important so you can know ahead of time you are losing pressure BEFORE it becomes a big problem. Ignore at your peril.
In addition to a tire pressure monitor, you’re going to want to invest in a good air compressor. Keeping your tires at the perfect level will help prevent a blow out, and believe me when I say, you DO NOT want that.
Walkie Talkies have a variety of uses when traveling. From talking to one another between cars when caravanning to helping guide someone into a parking spot, these are a good inexpensive option.
If your battery dies when camping, and no one is around to help give you a jump, what do you do? If you’re smart, you’ll buy one of these to make it easy to give yourself a charge up.
A torque wrench is really important for checking the torque of your trailer or RV’s tires regularly. You’ll need to make sure you get one that is strong enough (about double what you need) so that you aren’t using it at the highest or lowest settings.
OUTDOOR ACCESSORIES FOR YOUR RV
A nice outdoor mat just makes for a more inviting outdoor space and keeps dirt from making its way into your RV. I love this one, as it’s way less expensive than a lot of others, and it is cute!
You’re not going to want to spend all day inside when camping. Grab yourself some comfy camping chairs so you can relax and enjoy the scenery.
There are a few different types of tables you may want to consider when traveling. Side tables are great for holding food and drink. Food prep tables can help keep you organized and efficient when feeding a crowd. And even a travel picnic table can be great so you’re not stuck inside eating.
Keeping yourself and your family safe is important – especially when boondocking. These lights don’t use power, as they have solar rechargeable batteries. They help to give good peace of mind.
There are a ton of other RV accessories you may want to get as well, but these camping must-haves will get you started. Remember not to get too stressed out. And always do a test run first, close to home so you can grab whatever you inevitably forgot.