29 Essential RV Accessories and Supplies for a New Camper or Travel Trailer
We were cleaning out and re-organizing our RV and realized how much stuff we had purchased to fully equip our RV. Some of our gear was to make life convenient and comfortable and some of it was essential equipment or camper accessories we needed right away.
So if you are in the market for your first RV, camper or travel trailer, or you just bought one, then check out our list of essential supplies and gadgets we came up with so you won’t be caught without something you really need. We tried our best to offer the best tips and guidance to make RV living as easy as possible.
The video below is a good guide for all of the best RV accessories we highly recommend before you go out for the first time in your new travel trailer or motorhome.
I guess I’m starting out the list of RV must-haves with the crappiest items first…but a good sewer dump hose is essential. Let’s face it, dumping the wastewater tanks is not a fun job so you want to make sure you have the correct equipment to make the job easy.
You will want to keep a few things in mind when buying a sewer hose. First of all, you should consider the hose length. I have found that the 15′ sewer hose length works best most of the time. The 10′ hose is too short and the 20′ hose is too long.
Second, look for a hose with a clear or translucent elbow so you can see when the hose is empty before you disconnect it. Trust me, you don’t want to play a guessing game when disconnecting your sewer hose.
Third of all, not all sewer hoses are the same. Some are much stronger than others and will withstand you occasionally stepping on the hose without it cracking or breaking. And, you will step on your hose occasionally, so buy a good one so you don’t break it.
Finally, most RV, camper or travel trailer bumpers are designed to store the sewer hose. I didn’t discover this until well after I bought my first RV. The sewer hose itself will almost always fit in the bumper but the attachment pieces on the ends of the hose don’t always fit. So, try to find a hose where the attachments will fit in the bumper too. If you can’t then you will need a tote with a tight lid to store your sewer hose in your storage area.
Whenever you are dumping your holding tanks you want to be sure to wear gloves to avoid contact and keep clean. The cheap latex gloves you can buy at the pharmacy or your grocery store just won’t cut it.
There are a few things to consider before buying gloves. First of all, they should be nitrile and not latex. Nitrile is more puncture resistant than latex and there are no latex allergy concerns with nitrile, which is a synthetic rubber product.
Second, your gloves should be long and heavy duty. I suggest at least 6 mils in thickness but 8 mil is better. The last thing you want is for your glove to rip while working with your sewer hose. And I also recommend the 9 1/2″ length of the glove so it covers your wrist, as well as, your hand.
Third of all I recommend disposable gloves. They are very inexpensive and you won’t have to clean them after every use. Just use them and lose them.
I like the neon orange 8 mil nitrile gloves by Gloveworks. This brand has great reviews and the gloves have a diamond grip pattern too. They work great.
We have a 15′ Rhinoflex Sewer Hose Kit and it’s a great hose.
You need to add deodorizer chemicals to your toilet or you will be driving down the road looking at your partner wondering “was that you?” Toilet chemicals are flushed down the toilet and help to eliminate odor and they also help break down RV toilet paper and keep your holding tank clean.
There are many toilet chemicals on the market but the one with the best reviews is Aqua-Kem RV Holding Tank Treatment. Not only does it work the best but it also lasts the longest. It is hands down the best product on the market.
You probably don’t know this if you are new to RVing but you can’t use the regular toilet paper from your house in your RV toilet. You have to buy special biodegradable toilet paper so your black water holding tank doesn’t get clogged up. Better to learn this lesson sooner rather than later!
But even more importantly than that is the softness of the toilet tissue. Many biodegradable toilet tissues are one-ply and not very soft or comfortable to use. But Aqua Soft RV Toilet Paper is a two-ply toilet tissue that we find to be the best option for us.
A dedicated fresh drinking water hose is not a green garden hose. Water quality is the biggest concern when it comes to finding a good fresh water hose. Most good drinking hoses are made of Phthalate and PBA free PVC low lead level hose assembly parts so they are safe to use.
Your fresh water hose should also be kink resistant so I recommend going with a NeverKink 25′ Fresh Water Hose.
It goes without saying but never store your water hose and sewer hose in the same storage compartment. Or at least keep the sewer hose in a sealed container of some kind if you do.
I don’t know about your RV or camper but my RV has a plastic city water intake and this is a problem for two reasons. One, the end of my fresh water hose is metal and seems to be wearing out the plastic city water intake. And two, the fresh water hose screws into the city water intake at a 90-degree angle which stresses the plastic city water intake and causes the fresh water hose to partially kink.
So, for a few bucks, we invested in a 90 Degree Water Hose Elbow to alleviate these two problems and it works great. We bought a Camco 90-Degree Water Hose Elbow and it works like a champ.
7. Water Filter
A good water filter will not only make your water taste better but it will also make your water safer to drink. Water filters can remove the taste of chlorine, and also remove contaminants and sediment too.
When looking for a water filter try to find one that is in line, which means it connects between your fresh water hose and your RV. Also, try to find one with a flexible hose protector to prevent stress and strain on the hose connection points.
We like the Camco TastePure Water Filter with Flexible Hose Protector. It comes with the flexible hose protector and it’s a great value that will last all season!
An RV water pressure regulator is a small, but useful, device that keeps the psi of the water entering your RV down to a safe level to prevent plumbing pipes from developing pressure leaks. What is the proper psi for your RV? The recommended water pressure for newer RVs is around 60 psi, and 50 psi for older ones.
The water pressure can vary quite a bit from campground to campground and without a gauge, you will have no idea what the water pressure is when water is entering your RV. You can try to guestimate the amount of pressure by adjusting the water spigot but you will regret that decision once you see a leak pop up.
Don’t make the mistake of just buying a water pressure gauge though. You want to buy an adjustable water pressure regulator with a gauge so you can know the water pressure and adjust it if necessary. Also, you will want to make sure you buy a safe brass product that meets the low lead requirements for safe drinking water.
A good surge protector prevents the power voltage to your RV from either dropping too low or surging too high. It protects your RV’s electrical system, appliances, TVs and computers from serious damage due to these voltage fluctuations. This one investment that can literally save you thousands of dollars.
There are many surge protectors on the market but the Progressive Industries 30 amp and 50 amp surge protectors always have the best reviews and ratings and we agree.
What’s the difference between a queen-sized bed and a short queen bed? About 5″. The queen-sized bed in your house is about 60″ wide by 80″ long. The short queen, which is found in most RVs, campers, and travel trailers is 60″ wide by 75″ (and sometimes74″) long. So if you were planning to use your bed sheets in your camper they won’t really work well. The bottom sheet will be loose and personally, I can’t stand it when the bottom sheet isn’t tight.
We like these Short Queen sheets on Amazon because they are inexpensive, a darker color, good quality with deep pockets (to cover our mattress and our foam mattress pad) and we keep them in our RV.
Rinsing our black water tank after dumping has always been a hassle. It took forever to fill the black tank with water to flush it out. We would have to hold the toilet valve open or drag a hose through the RV window to fill the black tank through the toilet.
But now flushing the black (and gray) water tank is super easy. We just use the Rhino Blaster and connect a hose to it to quickly and easily fill and flush the black water tank.
The key is to buy the Rhino Blaster with the Gate Valve. RhinoFlex sells the Blaster without the gate valve for less money, but without it, you can’t fill your black tank because the water is pouring down the sewer hose at the same time you are shooting water into the black tank. Anyway, this is a great item that is easy to use and has made maintaining our black tank a breeze. We absolutely recommend this product!
If you plan to spend more than a weekend at a time in your new RV, camper, travel trailer or pop up them we recommend getting a good quality RV mattress pad. Any RVer will agree that most camper mattresses aren’t very comfortable and getting up in the morning feeling stiff and sore is no way to start your day.
We bought a mattress pad which was basically a top sheet with polyfill quilted in. It gave no support whatsoever. So don’t waste your money making the same mistake we did. Get an actual 4-inch thick memory foam mattress topper.
A 4″ thick memory foam mattress topper will provide great support for your back while you sleep. We have a memory foam mattress pad at home and in our RV and we sleep great!
When we RV we like to leave the windows open at night rather than run the A/C. But sometimes it is just too hot inside the RV to do that. We wished we had more windows to open to get more airflow. So we figured we could at least get a windshield visor to keep some of the heat out of our RV during the day and that way maybe it would be cooler at night.
While we were searching for a windshield visor we found the perfect solution to our problem. The new windshield cover we found has side window screens built into it so we can roll down the driver and passenger side windows and get much more airflow without bugs flying into the RV! And, it also reduces the amount of heat that enters the RV.
Another great benefit of our windshield cover is that we no longer need to use the privacy curtain. This gives us easy access to the front seats so we can get to the radio, RV GPS, glove box or our USB chargers. We can also use the front seats for storage while we camp. And, without the privacy curtain up, the inside of the RV feels much larger too.
I don’t know about you but I can’t stand sleeping in a camper that is not level. I hate it when my head is lower than my feet. Susan calls me the princess and the pea! Ugh! Anyway, you want your camper to be level for sleeping purposes and just to be comfortable while walking around inside your camper too.
We recommend the 10 Pack of Tri-Lynx Leveling Blocks. They have been the industry standard for over twenty years. They come in a convenient bag so they don’t end lost in your storage compartment and they are bright orange so they don’t get left behind when you break camp.
15. Wheel Chocks
If you don’t have wheel chocks you will need a pair so your camper doesn’t shift or roll after you have it all set up. We like the bright orange Tri-Lynx Wheel Chocks because they are easy to see and we don’t forget them when we leave our campsite. Plus you can snap them into place with the leveling blocks above for perfect leveling every time.
So, how are you supposed to make coffee in the morning if your campsite has no electric and it’s quiet time so you can’t fire up the generator? We run into this problem when we camp in National and State Parks because they typically have no electricity and they do have generator quiet times to deal with.
So, we discovered the propane percolator coffee maker. We just use it right on the stove top in our RV kitchen! We don’t even have to go outside to set it up on the camp stove unless we want to.
The coffee maker makes great coffee and it’s just like using our electric coffee maker. Just put in the filter, coffee and add water. Turn on the propane and in a few minutes we have fresh hot coffee. One other nice benefit is that we can control how fast it percolates. We like strong coffee so we use a lower flame setting to boil the water more slowly and it makes stronger coffee this way. Perfect!
17. First Aid Kit
A good first aid kit is a must-have item in your camper – just in case. Some of the features to consider are if it is lightweight and compact so you can take it with you when you are off hiking, biking or fishing.
We like the Swiss Safe 2 in 1 First Aid Kit because it is stocked full of the essentials and it is very light and compact. It even has a mini first aid kit built in that you can take with you so you don’t need to carry the whole kit.
A good emergency roadside kit is a must and should include jumper cables, a tow rope, road reflectors, flashlight, first aid kit, and much more. The tow rope and jumper cables are the most important though.
Some emergency roadside kits even include gloves, a flint fire starter, emergency blanket, a multi-tool and so on. All of these items can come in handy in case you have a flat tire on a busy roadway or in the middle of nowhere.
The Roadside Rescue Emergency Kit has everything you could possibly need and it also has a 5-star rating on Amazon.
I don’t know about you but I never ever want to level a popup, 5th wheel, or travel trailer again by hand. So we recommend you keep a battery operated drill gun with a 3/4″ socket on hand to make the job of leveling much easier and faster.
I’ve had a Ryobi Cordless Drill for years and I love it because the battery lasts forever, it has a keyless chuck, which makes changing bits a breeze, and it comes with a battery and charger. I can’t believe they sell cordless drills without the battery and charger but they do.
All kinds of moisture can build up inside your camper from cooking, showers, humidity in the air and more. So, we always have DampRid in our RV to make sure all of that moisture doesn’t buildup and cause mold or mildew inside. We just open one up and keep it in the RV at all times and it lasts for about 45 days.
They are disposable so at the end of it’s life just throw it away and open a new one.
21. Adjustable Step
Sometimes the distance from your camper to the ground is just a little too far and it can be uncomfortable or unsafe especially when you are carrying things in and out of your camper. We find that a good quality step makes a huge difference. Here are some important features that you should look for in a good adjustable step:
- First of all, your step should have adjustable legs. You should be able to adjust each leg independently. This way, you can adjust the step to be level even if the ground outside your camper is not.
- The step should have legs that can fold under so it’s easy to store and put away
- It should have a no skid surface in case the step is damp or wet and no skid feet so it doesn’t move if placed on a hard surface.
We like the Camco Adjustable Height Aluminum Platform Step. It’s an absolute must-have accessory.
Our RV floors used to get dirty pretty quickly. We almost always take our shoes off when we walk inside the RV but we were still tracking some dirt inside. And then when we were barefoot or in socks inside the RV we could feel that gritty feeling on the floors! So, we bought one of these grass style doormats and what a difference!
These mats really do a great job scrubbing the dirt or sand off the bottom of our shoes. So, we end up sweeping and vacuuming the RV less often because it stays cleaner longer! It made a huge difference for us. It’s totally worth the minimal cost.
These Xero Gravity Lounge Chairs are our full-time chairs when we are on a camping trip. We have the other upright regular folding camping chairs but they hurt my back because I sink down into the chair. In an attempt to make myself more comfortable I would actually grab one of the dinette backrest pillows and sit on it while in my camping chair.
Then one weekend we took all 4 of our camping chairs out of the RV and forgot to put them back. When we went camping all we had were the Zero Gravity Lounge Chairs. Oh no! But that’s when the light bulb went on for me! I realized over that weekend that I could just use my zero gravity chair full time when we go camping and be much more comfortable.
Not only are these chairs much more comfortable for sitting around the campfire but we took them to a concert at a Harvest Host Winery and to movie night at another campground. They are also awesome for kicking back and star gazing! We definitely recommend these chairs!
We absolutely love our camping table. In fact, we have two of them. We keep one camping table in the RV and the other in the car. We always set it up when we are sitting in front of the campfire at night and it holds our drinks, snacks, cell phones, and outdoor speaker. The lower shelf is great too for a flashlight or whatever else you need. We actually have the red and the black colored tables. This is definitely an RVBlogger favorite!
All too often my fire poker was a stick that I found laying on the ground. And most of the time it would break in half or catch on fire – or both! I would get frustrated because I like to have a nice fire and keep it going…and Susan would laugh at me.
But then she took pity on me and bought me this awesome log grabber and fire poker and I love it! It has a spring loaded grabber so I can literally grab a burning log, pick it up and reposition it. And it’s heavy duty! I push it into the ground so it stands up – that way I don’t lose it or step on it.
Now it’s super easy to tend the fire and keep it going!
26. Magical Flames
TWICE THE COLOR, half the price! Want to add a little magic to your fire? Magical Flames are the perfect accessories for any wood burning fire! Simply toss an UNOPENED packet or two into your fire for a magical experience that is sure to delight all ages! Magical Flames adds dazzling blues, brilliant greens, and delightful purples to transform a boring yellow and orange fire to a dancing rainbow of flames!
27. RV Camping Mat
We really try to keep the inside of the RV as clean as possible. We just can’t stand the feeling of dirt or sand on our feet when we are in socks or barefoot inside the RV. So, we discovered this RV Camping mat which is great for creating an outside 9′ x 12′ patio that helps to keep us from tracking dirt or sand into the RV. It’s essential to have the camping mat if you ever camp at the beach or in a sandy area. It makes a huge difference in the sand.
When combined with the Grassworx doormat listed above we are able to keep the inside of the RV cleaner for longer. It’s nice to get out of the bed in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and not feel sand or dirt on the floor.
I don’t know about you but we definitely do not have enough countertop space in our RV. The sink is right next to the stove which leaves about 4″ of countertop space. Yikes! So, luckily we found this stove top cover and now we have a place to set up the coffee maker and toaster in the morning or a place to put our cups if we want to pour a soda.
The great thing about this stove top cover is that it is universal so you don’t have to guess if the stove top cover will actually fit on your stove. We bought ours and used the template on the back to measure where to install the rubber cups that stick to the burner grates. It was very easy to install and now we have extra countertop space. And the rubber cups that hold it in place prevent it from squeaking too!
29. RV Journal
We have been RVing in a lot of really cool places and after we stay somewhere Susan loves to Journal about it while we are on the road to our next destination. We can record the route we took, mileage, people we met along the way, memorable sights and events. It’s fun for us to relive our journey as Susan writes about it. Plus it’s a perfect gift for your favorite camper or to keep for yourself.
Thanks for reading this article. We hope you find our list of 29 Must Have RV Accessories for a New Camper or Travel Trailer useful when you stock up your new camper or travel trailer accessories and supplies.
Over the past few years we have seen lots of other RV gadgets and accessories like tire pressure monitoring systems, lithium jump starters, two way radios, air compressors, cast iron skillets and even instant pots! (We have an instant pot too) But we feel that these items are one tier up from the must have tips and lists we have seen.
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What is the one must-have accessory you just can’t live without when you are RVing? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!