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 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 we came up with so you won’t be caught without something you really need.
1. Sewer Hose
I guess I’m starting out 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′ 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.
We have a 15′ Rhinoflex Sewer Hose Kit and it’s a great hose.
2. Heavy Duty Nitrile Gloves
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. They have great reviews and they have a diamond grip pattern in the glove too. They work great.
3. RV Toilet Chemicals
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.
4. RV Toilet Paper
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 is a two-ply toilet tissue that we find to be the best option for us.
5. Fresh Water Hose
A dedicated fresh 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′ 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.
6. A 90 Degree Water Hose Elbow
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!
8. Water Pressure Regulator
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.
9. Electric Surge Protector
A good surge protector prevents the 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 and 50 amp surge protectors always have the best reviews and ratings and we agree.
10. Short Queen Sheet Set
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 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.
11. Waterproof Bottom Sheet for Small Children
If you travel with small children or grandchildren we recommend a waterproof bottom sheet. It’s a must-have when traveling with small children.
12. A Good Mattress Pad
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 mattress pad. We find 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!
13. A Quiet Propane Powered Generator with Remote Start
If you have a travel trailer, 5th wheel, or pop up then you will most likely need a good portable generator. Most RVs come with a generator so you probably won’t need to buy one if you have an RV. But if you do need a generator here is what you should look for.
You will definitely want a quiet generator so you don’t drive yourself, and your neighbors, nuts if it’s too loud. You will also want a remote start feature so you can start it up without having to go outside. We love making coffee first thing in the morning so when we don’t have shore power we fire up the generator and get the coffee pot brewing! This is where remote start comes in really handy.
But the most important feature is to find is a propane powered generator rather than a gasoline-powered generator. There are several reasons for this and here is what we found that led us to our great decision to buy a propane powered generator.
- Generators aren’t used all of the time so they sit idle for long periods. Gas generators are very hard to start after sitting idle. You know what it’s like starting your lawn mower every spring after it sits idle all winter. Well, the same thing happens to your generator. The gas can go bad or freeze, and the carburetor can get gunked up and then they can be really hard to start. Propane is WAY BETTER because it burns cleaner so there are no gas problems and the carburetor stays nice and clean so it starts right up even after sitting idle for a long period.
- It’s a huge hassle to refuel a gas generator. You have to carry a can of gas on board which can leak, spill and creates gasoline odors. Plus the gas only lasts a few hours between each fill-up. So you can end up re-filling the gas tank quite a bit. A propane generator runs off of a gas grill tank and it lasts for hours and hours. My propane generator will last approximately 10 hours on a standard gas grill propane tank. And there are no spills, leaks or odors to worry about.
We have a propane powered generator and recommend the Westinghouse WGen3600DF Duel Fuel Remote Start Generator. You have the choice of either using gas or propane but we recommend always using the propane option. It’s absolutely your best choice for an easy to use, and convenient portable generator at a great price!
14. Leveling Blocks
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.
16. A Fire Extinguisher
If you buy a new RV or camper it will most likely have a new fire extinguisher with it. But if you buy a used camper it will likely have an old out of date fire extinguisher. When we bought our first RV it was used and the fire extinguisher was 8 years old!
You should check to see if your state has any requirements for the type of fire extinguisher you need before you purchase one. But definitely purchase a new one if yours is old and expired.
17. A 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.
18. An Emergency Roadside Kit
A good roadside emergency 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 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.
19. A Drill Gun with 3/4″ Socket for Levelers
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.
20. Damp Rid
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. A Portable 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 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.
Additional Items to Consider
Not everyone will need a large generator like the one I listed above. In fact, one of our readers commented below that she only needs a small generator for coffee and charging cell phones etc. In this case, I would recommend a small super quiet generator like the WEN 56125i Super Quiet 1250-Watt Portable Generator. It runs for 9.6 hours and at an amazing 51dB, it is quieter than any other small generators I have found. And, it is less expensive than it’s competitors too.
Thanks for reading this article. We hope you find it useful when you stock up your new camper or travel trailer accessories and supplies.
If you would like to contact us directly please feel free to visit our Contact Page and send us an email.
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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!
I am an avid RVer and full-time blogger who loves camping, fishing, hiking, and biking. I started RVBlogger.com to share my lifetime of experience and knowledge about all things outdoors.