Even though there are tons of cool RV gadgets to make RV camping fun and easier, there are some RV essentials that you really need before hitting the road and camping for the first time. These RV must haves are pretty crucial to the safety and operation of your new (or new to you!) camper.
You can find huge lists online with 30 – 60 items that are said to be RV essentials, but I don’t think that you actually need all those items to go camping in your RV. Everyone has a different idea on what is an essential RV item, but I tried to stick with the basics that beginner RVers need.
RV Camping 101: Essentials
I know some people may just hook the new camper up or hop behind the wheel with little thought to what RV essentials are necessary, but you truly do need a few things before heading out on your first adventure.
If you buy a new or used camper or RV from a dealer, they may give you some pointers on what you need to purchase to start the RV camping life.
But if they don’t (or if you just want some recommendations) the following items are what I consider the RV must have essentials.
Hint: The pictures in this article are clickable so you can check prices and read reviews!
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RV Electrical Essentials
The electrical system of your RV is one of the most crucial parts of your RV and requires a few things to keep it humming safely and properly.
RV Surge Protector
A RV surge protector is one of those pricey items that you really need to protect your RV electrical system and RV appliances and electronics.
Choosing a RV surge protector can be a little confusing. The first surge protector pictured above is just a “plain” surge protector. It is designed to protect your RV appliances in the event of a power surge.
For complete protection of your RV appliances and electrical system you should consider an EMS surge protector.
Both products are available in either 30 or 50 amp. Some people prefer a hardwired surge protector, but we have been satisfied with a portable unit.
Check out this video for an explanation of surge protectors and EMS (electrical management system) surge protectors.
RV Cord Adapters
Having cord adapters will ensure you are able to plug into any outlet regardless of what type (amps) of outlet is available.
Your RV will have either a 30 amp or a 50 amp electrical system. Many campground outlets are 30 amps, or they have a limited number of 50 amp sites. If you have a 50 amp electrical system you would need a 50 amp to 30 amp power cord adapter to hook up to a 30 amp outlet.
Keep in mind this adapter will only enable you to plug into the outlet – it will not increase the amps available.
Adapters for 30 amp to 50 amp outlets are also available. You will be limited to the capacity of your electrical system.
RV Extension Cord
An RV extension cord comes in handy if you need a longer cord to reach the power outlet to hook up. You do not want to use a small, regular extension cord – they are not designed to handle the amps your RV needs. You can choose either a 30 amp or 50 amp cord based on your RV electrical system needs.
Tip: Keep extra fuses in your RV. Fuse sets are inexpensive and easy to store.
RV Water System Essentials
Water can be your best friend or your worst enemy in your camper. It is so wonderful to just turn the tap on or flush a toilet, but that wonderful water can cause damage. A couple items will get that water to you and protect your plumbing too.
Drinking Water Hose
Skip the traditional garden hose and get a water hose that is approved for drinking water. These high quality hoses are specifically designed for your drinking water. They are usually white or blue, making it easy to always grab the correct hose. Be sure you get one long enough to reach any water hook ups at the campsite.
Some people also take a specific hose for flushing their black and gray water tanks. You can’t miss this bright orange hose or take a regular garden hose for this task.
Water Pressure Regulator
This affordable regulator can be the difference in a worry free experience or the disaster of busted, leaking water lines and plumbing fixtures. Water pressure at campgrounds can be very strong and can damage your water system, so don’t hook up without a regulator!
RV Sewer System Essentials
Ah, the mysterious black hole that is your sewer system. It is amazing how well the toilet and sewer system of your RV works – usually. Taking care of the sewer system is probably an RVer’s least favorite job, but it isn’t so bad with the proper RV sewer system essentials
RV Sewer Hose
What goes in the black tank must come out! You will need a sewer hose to connect to your black tank to empty it. The Camco Sewer Hose Kit gets the job done. It includes the hose and connections needed to hook everything up to your RV and the dump station. Don’t forget disposable gloves!
RV Sewer Hose Support
This handy sewer hose support holds the sewer hose off the ground when it is hooked to the dump station. It is angled down to help drain the sewer hose contents.
Black Tank Deodorizers
Your black tank will get stinky if you don’t use some form of deodorizer. These black tank drop in deodorizers are easy to use and work. Not only do they deodorize, they also break down waste and toilet paper.
Natural blank tank deodorizes are also available for those wanting a more eco – friendly option.
RV Leveling and Stabilization Essentials
You definitely want your RV level and stable at the campsite (and home!).
RV Wheel Chocks
RV wheel chocks are affordable and will help stabilize your RV. Just put them snugly behind and in front of your tires. There are tons of options to choose from – some people prefer heavy duty rubber wheel chocks over plastic ones.
RV X Chock Wheel Stablizers
Don’t just count on your wheel chocks. X chocks will provide added stabilization and prevent tire shifting. They are used in addition to regular wheel chocks. If you have ever experienced shifting and rocking while in your camper, you’ll really appreciate these. They are worth the money!
RV Leveling Blocks
Not all campsites are level – even if they look like it. These leveling blocks stack and hook together to add the amount of height you need.
Camper Levelers are another popular option that appear super easy to use.
You can also take some 2 x 6 boards to level with.
RV Jack Pads
Jack pads (or a piece of wood) keep your jack from sinking into any soft ground. They are available in different sizes and either hard plastic or flexible rubber. We have the larger, plastic ones and they have worked fine and have no cracks after several years of use.
Don’t forget some basic hand tools!
It never hurts to have some tools with you. Screwdrivers, wrenches, ratchet and socket sets are handy to have. My husband and son are both DIYers and wouldn’t dream of hitting the road without their tools!
What Are Your Must Have RV Essentials?
All the lists and info for newbie Rvers can be overwhelming to sort through. I tried to include the basic RV essentials that you need before camping for the first time. I know there are tons of other RV accessories that many people think are essentials (and they may be essentials to them!).
Sure, you need to stock your RV with kitchen, bathroom, and outdoorsy essentials, but I will cover those in separate blog posts! What do you think are RV must haves? Did I miss anything that you can’t camp without?
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