RV ESSENTIAL PRODUCTS
When purchasing a RV for the first time, the list of items that need to be purchased is very long. When we first purchased our RV we wanted to make sure that we not only purchased the best quality, but also the best price. When researching products and prices, we found most of the best prices on Amazon.
Here is our compiled list of products that we personally purchased from Amazon. We have separated the list into essential items and items that are nice to have. Essential items are items that you will need in order for your RV to function. If you're buying a used RV you may receive some of these items with the RV purchase, but most RV purchases do not come with these items. The items that are nice to have make RV life much easier but are not necessary to make the RV function.
Essential RV Products
1. Drinking Water Safe Water hose:
When purchasing a water hose for your camper, there are two things to be sure of: the water hose is drinking water safe, and that you have a long enough water hose to reach for when you arrive to a park and the connections are further away. We carry 2 50ft water hoses in order to create more length when we need it. We prefer the Zero G brand because they are much lighter in weight and take up less space. Space and weight are always something to consider in a camper, especially if you are full time, and need to bring along more items with you.
2. 15/30/50 Amp Connectors:
We have a 50 amp rig, but not all campgrounds have 50 amp service, so we always carry a 30 amp connector with us. This does mean we can only run one A/C at a time, and we have to be careful of the wattage that we use, but we will still have electricity. If you have a 30 amp rig, it is important to also have a 50 amp connector for when you show up to a campground with only 50 amp spots.
We also carry a 30 to 15 amp connector, which we do not use often and we aren’t able to run much in our rig, but this is nice to have if we are parked at our family’s house and need to run our basics and charge our 12v batteries: landing gear, lights, plugs.
3. 50 to 30 amp connector:
If you have a 30 amp rig you will need a 30 to 50 amp connector:
50 or 30 amp Extension Cord:
An extension cord is essential because you will park at a campground where the podiums are far away and the original cord that came with the rig just won't be long enough. We don’t need this often, but you do not want to be stuck without one when you do end up needing it.
50 amp extension cord (what we use for our 50 amp rig)
30 amp extension cord:
Protect your investment. You never know the quality of the power source at an RV park and it is very expensive to repair sensitive electronic devices that could be damaged from a power surge or bad power.
50 amp surge protector: (what we use in our 50 amp rig)
30 amp surge protector (if you have a 30 amp rig)
4. Sewer Hoses
We have two gray and two black tanks in our rig, so we have double the sewer hose of a single tank rig. With two tanks we like to have at least 40ft of hose on hand. We don’t always use all of the hose, but we have needed the extra length on numerous occasions. We have stayed at one campground where we could only empty one tank at a time because the sewer connections were so far away that we did not have enough hose on hand to connect them both at the same time.
5. Sewer Hose Support
In some states/campgrounds it is legally required to use a sewer hose support . We also prefer using a support because not only does it keep the hoses off of the ground, but it helps with gravity to create a downward slope when emptying the tanks
We have 2, one for each of our tank connections.
6. Water Pressure Regulator
A pressure regulator for your water connections is essential because a lot of RVs have plastic water fittings. Too much pressure can cause damage and leaks. Water pressure isn’t always regulated in RV parks. A pressure regulator will regulate the water pressure, it is recommended to keep water pressure between 45-50 psi.
7. Water Filter
RV parks typically have questionable water sources. Sometimes larger sediments can get in the water, and it is important for the water to be filtered. It is essential to have a water filter for your rig, this is a basic water filter, we prefer our Clear Source water filter to allow our whole RV water to be drinkable (see below in the “nice to have” list - make this into a link??). The basic water filters mainly protect your rig, but do not make the water safe to drink at all locations.
8. Wheel Chocks
Wheel chocks are essential when hitching and unhitching to make sure that your camper does not roll off. Two are needed, one in the front of the wheels and one at the rear wheels to prevent forward and backwards rolling.
9. Leveling blocks
The less your stabilizers are extended, the less movement your camper will have. Having 1-2 packs of leveling blocks allows the stabilizers to not need to extend as far down. We also use these if we are unlevel side to side and we need to bring up the wheels on our camper, as it is not good for the wheels to be off of the ground, and the weight to be fully placed on the stabilizers.
10. Happy Camper Sewer Holding Tank Treatment
It is important to do a sewer treatment in your black tank to prevent smells and build up, this is the best brand we have ever used. We treat the tanks every 3-4 days.
11. Universal lug wrench
Most RVs do not have the same size lug nuts as the tow vehicle, and do not come with the appropriate lug wrench. A universal lug wrench allows you to change a tire if needed. This is definitely an essential item.
12. Tire pressure gauge
It is important to have a way to check your tire pressure on your truck and camper. We use an air compressor (add link) which will not only check the psi, but will also refill the air if need be. At minimum a tire pressure gauge is needed.
13. First aid kit
It is important to have a first aid kit on hand while camping for many reasons. Weekend camper to full time, not having to bring the first aid kit back and fourth from the house prevents being left in a situation where you forgot the first aid kit at home when it is needed.
14. RV toilet paper
RV sewer tanks need special toilet paper, the best RV paper we have found is Scotts RV and Marine toilet paper. It is cheaper at Walmart, but can also be purchased on Amazon.
15. Heated water hose
This can arguably be an essential item depending upon if you are parking your camper in freezing temps. No one wants their camper pipes to freeze up and burst. There are precautions that can be taken to prevent needing a heated water hose, but then you run the risk of forgetting a step, and it is quite a bit of work. We don’t need this often, and try to stay out of freezing temperatures, but we have been very grateful when we have needed this that we have this on hand. I put this in the nice to have category since everyone has their own camping style and not everyone will need a heated water hose.
16. Garden hose splitter
This is an item we deem essential, but you can function in a RV without it. Most RV parks only give you one water spigot, which will run directly into your rig. We like having a second water hose available for rinsing off dirty shoes, cleaning the truck, etc. It is an inexpensive item that is definitely nice to have, but you can function in a camper without it.
17. Nicer water filter
As stated above, living full time in our RV we opted for a full RV water filter system so that we can drink water directly from the tap, we love our 3 stage Clear Source water filter to make most water situations safe for us to drink.
18. X chocks
X chocks are nice to have in a camper for multiple reasons. The main reason they are purchased is to stabilize your camper from moving as much when walking around inside. They also prevent theft when a lock is placed at the top of the x chock. If someone were to try and pull off with your camper, the wheels would not move and it is just one extra step someone would have to take to steal a camper.
19. Outdoor rug
Outdoor rugs are amazing to have because different campgrounds have different landscaping. From rocks to grass, to dirt and mud, you never know what you are going to end up with, and an outdoor rug not only prevents as much dirt, grass and mud from tracking inside, but it defines your outdoor space a little more and gives a cleaner spot to hangout on.
20. Ice maker
I love my ice, and very few RVs come with ice makers. I love this stand alone ice maker so we do not have to take up valuable storage space with bags of ice from the store.
This is great to power your rig if you are boondocking, or the electricity in your RV park goes out (which has happened to us multiple times). See our full guide on boondocking here (link)
22. Portable waste holding tank
Sometimes lovingly referred to as a Honey Wagon, when there are no sewer connections this allows you to carry your waste water to a dump station without hooking up the RV each time the tanks need to be dumped. The type of camping you do will depend on whether or not you will find this essential to have.
Part of the fun of camping life is cooking outside. We love our Blackstone griddle for most of our outdoor cooking. With a family of 5 we chose the double burner.
24. Propane fire pit
We love a good campfire, but especially out west where forest fires are a serious threat there are often burn bans in effect. Typically when a burn ban is in place a propane fire pit can still be used as they are more controlled.
25. Air Compressor
We like to have the ability to refill the air in our tires when we need to without having to find a place to refill the tires if they are low. This air compressor is rated for the higher PSI that is on larger trucks like our Ford F450 Dually truck and camper tires. A traditional air pump usually does not have the proper PSI rating for larger vehicles
26. Leaf blower
This is really nice to have when cleaning off the roof and top of the slides before bringing them in so that leaves and debris do not get caught in the slides when they are brought in. We also use this to clean off our outdoor rug rather than sweeping as it is just a bit faster.
27. Walkie talkies
The kids love to play at campgrounds, but we want to be able to get in touch with them at all times. They do have cell phones, but there isn’t always cell signal at RV parks, and if they are off riding bikes, etc it is much easier to radio them if I need them to come back, or if they need to ask us a question rather than texting or calling. We have gone through two brands of walkies and this is the best brand we have owned. The batteries last a long time, and the range distance is much further than any brand we have owned before. The docking station makes it so they are easily charged.
28. Foldable wagon
We use our wagon constantly. Before we had our washer and dryer in our rig, we would use it to take laundry to the laundry facility at the RV park. We also use to collect firewood if we are in a location where we can collect firewood. We will also use the wagon to bring trash to the dump at the RV park.
The kids often use the wagon in fun ways while paying with their friends. If we could only bring one toy for the kids it would be the wagon as they have been able to come up with so many creative uses for it during our time in the camper.
29. Picnic table cover
We never know what the RV park will be like when we arrive. Some campgrounds have brand new picnic tables, and some have old rusty picnic tables. Either way, we always use a picnic table cover for 2 reasons. 1. You never know what someone else put on the table, we have seen people put their sewer hoses on picnic tables. 2. We do not want to ruin any picnic tables. The kids will often paint and do crafts at the picnic table, and it is much cheaper to replace a table cloth than an entire picnic table.