You’re pulling up to the campground after a long day of traveling. You and your family are amped to spend this weekend kicking back and enjoying the great outdoors.
This is your first time using your RV and the summer is yours.
As you’re getting set up, you realize something dreadful.
“Uhh honey, do we have leveling blocks?”
Don’t worry, we’ve all been there and it’s a right of passage. Not just the leveling of your rv, but of equipping your RV with the essential accessories guaranteed to make your next camping trip a pleasant one.
In fact, RV accessories go a very long way in making your RVing experience so much more fun, and today we’ve gathered all the items you need to go from beginner to veteran overnight.
We’ve even broken down our list of rv accessories so you grab only the stuff you need at your current RVing stage.
Let’s dive in!
Non-Negotiable RV Accessories
Most of the time, accessories are just… accessories.
They’re “nice to haves” but not super essential. I mean, there’s a reason watches, necklaces, and purses are accessories. They’re supplemental to the main course – you know, your clothes.
In the case of RVing, there are some accessories which we consider non-negotiable. Meaning, you never leave home without these items because they’re critical to the enjoyment of your camping experience.
And this bucket is all about the non-negotiable accessories. These items you’ll want to have on your checklist for every drive.
- Fresh Water Hose
- Sewer Hose
- Water Pressure Regulator
- Water Filter
- Leveling Blocks
- Surge Protector
- Dog Bone (Power Cord Converter)
- First Aid Kit
- RV Toilet Paper
- Cast Iron Pan
Fresh Water Hose
You will need a dedicated drinking water hose. Typically these are blue in color and are only to be used for connecting to potable water sources.
Remember the rule of 3, you can survive 3 minutes without air, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food.
You do not want to be in a situation where you’re without a water hose trying to carry a bucket of water to your RV. Not fun.
The longer the better for your hose length with 25-50 feet being optimal.
Second on the non-negotiable list is a blackwater or sewer hose for your RV. These hoses will connect to the sewer line to help flush your black water tank.
Trust us when we say, it’s the least fun part of camping with an RV, but we are beasts of burden and going number 2 is just part of the fun.
Many RV manufacturers don’t provide a sewer hose as part of the RV purchase, and if you’re buying a used RV, you don’t want to bring along the used sewer hose.
It should also be mentioned that you keep a box of nitrile gloves with you for cleaning your RV. Consider this a bonus item related to your sewer hose!
Water Pressure Regulator
There are few things more frightening than finding leaks within your RV.
Why? Because mold, mold, mold.
One of the main culprits to leaks is due to excessive water pressure just blowing out the water tank system within your rig.
This happens far more often than you might imagine if you’re new to RVing.
Some campgrounds have done an amazing job regulating the water pressure within their area, but you don’t want to leave this one to chance. As the saying goes, hope is not a strategy.
A water pressure regulator will do exactly as it sounds, regulate the water pressure so you can have enough to enjoy a nice shower, without flooding your RV.
A good regulator will actually let you control how much pressure gets into your RV.
Don’t leave home without this accessory.
I don’t know about you, but I’m very particular about my water. Personally, I don’t trust most tap water systems in general, and I wouldn’t drink from them unless I absolutely needed to.
Am I picky? Sure, but have you actually seen the water coming out of most campsites?
This is why a water filter is recommended for those who are also questionable about the quality of the water they drink.
Regardless of drinking from city water or well-tapped water, you’ll have a filter catching any additional sediment or particulates before you shower, cook, or drink the water.
Consider this accessory a must have.
RVs don’t have parking brakes. Well, electronic parking brakes would basically zap the battery in your rig if you have them on all the time, so you can’t count on the brakes working unless hooked up to your tow vehicle.
With that being said, if you park anywhere with a slight incline, your RV will run away on you.
But not unless you have chocks!
These fun little items are designed to snuggle up against your RVs tires and keep them from running away.
Consider these part of the essentials.
Odds are, you’ll be parking your RV on an uneven spot. Even if you’re traveling to major campgrounds and not boondocking, you’ll find the camping location to be uneven most of the time.
Why is an uneven RV a bad thing? Because an unlevel RV adds unnecessary stress on all your amenities (like cabinets, doors, fridge, etc) while also causing your water to not flow properly. This leads to pooling and uneven reads by your monitoring system.
Also, a level RV is a safe RV. You can easily retract and expand your slide outs, use your fridge and propane systems, and sleep soundly.
This is why leveling blocks are both popular and necessary when traveling in your rig or just boon docking in your backyard.
A lot of people might think this is nice to have. Personally, we believe it’s part of the non-negotiables.
Over time you’ll find yourself boondocking more and more with your RV, and a generator (regardless of being installed or just carried along) will provide you with all the power you need to run your rig when you don’t have access to electrical hookups.
Even if you have a solar set up you won’t be able to run multiple appliances at once. Those items all draw a lot of power, and with a generator this gives you the additional “umph” necessary to keep things rolling.
If you want to protect your electronics, you will absolutely NEED a surge protector. This device will plug into the electrical outlet at your campground and will help protect your rig from any power “events” which are far more common than you’re probably used to.
Power surges, bad wiring, black or brownouts, and more can cause your electronics to short circuit and ruin them forever.
A surge protector (or an EMS) prevents the frying of your electronics by absorbing excess voltage and keeping a steady flow to whatever is hooked up to it. Keep in mind there are surge protectors for RVs that use 30 amps and surge protectors for RVs that use 50 amps.
As mentioned earlier, there are two “classes” of surge protectors too. They include:
- Regular Surge Protectors – these do a good job of preventing any unusual spikes, which is the reason for the name.
- Electronic Management Systems (EMS) – this is the upgraded version which prevents voltage surges all the way up to polarity issues. It’s highly recommended to go with an EMS whenever possible!
Dog Bone (Power Cord Converter)
Most modern large RVs are going to be 50 amp because of the amount of electronics on the rig. With this being said, you’ll find a majority of campsites having a 30 amp plug. This means you’ll want a 30 amp to 50 amp plug adapter to help keep everything inline. The same is said for 30 to 15 amps, and 50 to 30 amps, etc. You’ll need to make sure the correct amp is male or female depending on your rigs power needs and the source provided at the campground.
These converters are lovingly called “dog bones” because of the fun shape.
Consider these really really useful when traveling to different campsites.
First Aid Kit
We often find first aid kits are overlooked as a non-negotiable accessory to your RV. However, when you consider the nature of RVing, you’ll find yourself in rather remote areas usually far from medical care (especially if you’re boondocking).
Most of the time you’ll just be dealing with minor scrapes and cuts, stuff that doesn’t require more than a bandaid.
There are those times when the unexpected occurs, and trust us, you’ll want to be prepared for it.
That’s why in the spirit of the boy scouts, “always be prepared” and keep a first aid kit on hand. You’ll be thankful for the peace of mind!
Toilet paper might not be the most glamorous RV accessory, but it will make you feel the most comfortable (outside of the good shower in my humble opinion!).
You do not want to be in the middle of nowhere trying to find a campground restroom in the middle of the night after a heavy… movement.
Yea, not fun.
As a heads up, you must use septic safe toilet paper (or at least made for RV toilet paper) so you don’t clog up your black water tank.
Cast Iron Pan
Last but not least on our list of non-negotiables is the cast iron pan. This bad boy is the superhero of cookware, ready to save your taste buds from mediocre meals!
Beyond making a great tasting dish, they’re super practical because they can be cooked on a variety of surfaces and withstand a significantly hotter fire.
You can cook eggs, steak, shepherd’s pie, hash browns, sweet potato, and much more from an open fire.
Plus, cleaning up is usually pretty easy as you just need to let the pan soak for a bit before wiping it off.
Highly Consider These RV Accessories
We’ve walked through our list of the non-negotiable accessories. On every trip you’ll want to bring those items with you, they’re that important.
The next batch of items are optional but ones we HIGHLY recommend you consider as your budget opens up or as you get further into your RV lifestyle.
These RV accessories will make life quite a bit more comfortable if you have them on hand.
- Clear Sewer Connector
- Blackwater Tank Treatment
- Tool Set
- Tire Pressure Monitoring System
- Battery Jump Starter
- Signal Booster
- Portable Air Compressor
Clear Sewer Connector
You might be asking, “why would this be highly recommended?”
Well, it’s because the only way to know if your blackwater tank is empty is if you don’t see brown coming down!
With a clear connector you’ll find it easy to tell when the tank is clean because the contents being flushed out will be clear(ish).
This item is one those little details people don’t know about until they’ve had to clean their tank and realized they didn’t know if it was clean.
Blackwater Tank Treatment
“Do you have to, do you have to, do you have to let it linger…” – The Cranberries, talking about your smelly RV.
But on a serious note, your waste will smell after a while and a tank treatment will offer deodorization along with breaking down the waste to prevent clogs.
Some people swear they don’t need to do this for their rig because it never smells. I for one am far too sensitive to disgusting odors and like to keep things as clean as possible.
In my experience, many people are like this which is why I consider this a highly recommended accessory.
Life on the road comes at you fast and if you’ve spent any time traveling you’ll inevitably come across unexpected repairs. Whether it’s for basic tasks like tightening loose screws or more complex issues like fixing a faulty water pump, a well-equipped tool set provides the means to address these issues without resorting to costly professional services.
You’ll want to keep some handy items in your tool kit like:
- Duct tape
- And more
You never know when you’ll be in a remote area without service or assistance so having the tools on hand will prove invaluable.
Speaking of tools, make sure to include fuses too. If you blow a fuse you’re left stranded without any of your accessories.
What are fuses you ask? Fuses are little pieces of metal which prevent electrical overflow by melting if too much current passes through.
Every amper will need new fuses sooner rather than later, so they’re nice to have after a couple trips!
Tire Pressure Monitoring System
One of the most dangerous situations on the road is blowing out a tire, and a tire pressure monitoring system is extremely helpful for keeping everything in check.
This can prevent situations such as slow leaks that lead to underinflated tires, which can cause the RV to use more fuel and can even lead to a dangerous tire blowout. By providing accurate and real-time updates on tire conditions, a TPMS helps ensure your safety on the road and improves your vehicle’s efficiency. Therefore, having a TPMS is essential for any RV owner.
Battery Jump Starter
When traveling frequently, you’ll find batteries have a tendency to get zapped out of the blue. While exploring remote locations or camping off-grid, access to roadside assistance or a nearby vehicle to provide a jump-start can be limited or even non-existent. A dead battery in such a situation can transform a beautiful getaway into a stressful ordeal.
With a portable battery jump starter in your RV kit, you can swiftly and independently get your vehicle running again, reducing the potential downtime and anxiety associated with battery failures.
We highly recommend you consider this in your arsenal for your future trips.
RV adventures often take travelers away from populated regions and into locales where network coverage is spotty or weak, potentially impacting essential communication, navigation, and entertainment services. A signal booster helps in these scenarios by enhancing the quality and strength of your cellular signal, providing more reliable and faster internet and call connections.
This can be particularly critical during emergencies when reaching out for help is vital. You’ll also find it helpful for working on the road because let’s face it, the campground wifi is almost always trash.
Portable Air Compressor
Flat tires suck. They can put a damper on your travel plans and potentially cause injury.
As tire pressure can fluctuate with temperature changes, elevation, and road conditions, a portable air compressor allows RV travelers to quickly adjust their tire pressure, improving vehicle safety and fuel efficiency.
Besides tire maintenance, it can also serve other inflating needs, like air mattresses for outdoor camping or inflatables for a fun day at the beach!
Every journey in your RV is going to be different, filled with both ups and downs. And while each journey might vary, you’ll find the need for these items will remain consistent. They offer peace of mind, enabling you to fully immerse yourself in the beauty and adventure that RV travel provides. Remember, preparation is key to any successful adventure, and investing in these essential RV accessories is an integral part of that process. Enjoy the journey and embrace the freedom of the open road, knowing you’re well-equipped to handle whatever comes your way.