Weather you have an RV or are getting ready to purchase one, there are some things you will need to have on hand right from the start. Sure there are thousands of fancy gadgets and gizmos that would be nice to have and can be purchased down the road, but if you are just looking to get your RV out there as soon as possible, we have made a quick and easy list of the “must-have RV items you will need right from the start”.
1. Wheel Chocks
Wheel chocks are probably the most important item you will need before you ever even unhitch from your tow vehicle. There are several different makes and models but we really like the Maxxhaul Solid Rubber Heavy Duty Wheel Chocks. They come in a 2 pack and come in different sizes. We use the 8’’ x 4’’x 6’’ pair because, well, we’d rather have too much than too little. The heavy-duty rubber provides solid traction and the all-weather material helps to keep your RV secure in any climate. We have personally seen people crush those smaller plastic chocks, which is why we highly recommend investing in something more durable like the Maxxhaul Solid Rubber Heavy Duty Wheel Chocks.
2. Leveling Blocks
Not all camping spots are level. You will need to have some way of leveling your RV side-to-side and front-to-back. The biggest reason for this is that many refrigerators will not work properly if the camper is too unlevel and it could even damage it permanently. Not to mention, it’s just not comfortable when you feel like you are leaning to one side when you are sitting, sleeping, or walking around. Now, different RVs require different modes of how get them level. We have a bumper-pull travel trailer and we use the Andersen Levelers to level our RV side-to-side. They are easy to use, light weight, and can lift one side of the RV between ½’’ and 4’’ increments. This has been the only thing we have needed to level our RV side-to-side since we started using them. They work that well. Be sure to pick up a set of these for easy set-up. We also suggest picking up a set of Camco Heavy Duty Leveling Blocks for under the nose jack since, we have a travel trailer. This is what you will use to level your travel trailer front-to-back. If you have a 5th wheel or Class A RV, these can still be useful under your stabilizer jacks or tires for those tricky spots.
3. Sewer Hoses and Connections
Now to talk about the elephant in the room…poop. We all do it and at some point, you’re going to have to dump it. This is not the time to skimp on the accessories needed to make your dump successful. We have used several different brands, sizes, and models but we have come to the conclusion that we like the Rhino Extreme 20-foot Sewer Hose Kit. It seems to be the most well-put-together kit for the price. This kit includes (2) 10-foot hose sections with built in swivel bayonet and lug fittings, (1) transparent elbow with 4-in-1 adapter, (1) translucent swivel wye fitting and (4) storage caps. Depending on your particular RV, you may need to add an extension hose for those far-to-reach sewer inlets. We also recommend picking up a Camco Flexible 3-in-1 Sewer Adapter Hose Seal.
This allows for a nice, tight seal when you hook the hoses up to the sewer inlet. Trust us, you don’t want any leaks. While we are at it, some campgrounds require your sewer hoses to be elevated up off the ground so we also suggest throwing in a Camco 20 ft Sidewinder RV Sewer Hose Support.
This light weight contraption will keep your hoses up off of the ground and it folds up nice and compact when not in use.
4. Water Hoses
Water is obviously essential, so we want to make sure you get hooked up with something that is light-weight, kink-free, and safe to use for drinking water. The 50 ft Teknow Apex Zero-G RV & Marine Hose is perfect for your RV. It is lead safe, 42% lighter than a standard drinking hose, flexible but durable, and rated safe for drinking water. We opted for a 100ft hose because sometimes the spigots are just out of reach and that extra length comes in handy, but you can decide what length works best for you.
5. Water Filter
Speaking of water, you are going to want to trust us on this one; a water filter is a MUST if you are planning on staying in campgrounds. We have stayed at hundreds of campgrounds and they are notorious for having terribly dirty water. You have several options for filters. There are some pretty expensive ones that are great, but there are also some quality filters that are affordable too. One that we recommend is the Beech Lane External RV Dual Water Filter System. We started out using one of those cheap blue Camco water filters that screw on to the hose but we quickly realized that it wasn’t going to cut it. Weather you plan on drinking the water or not, a quality filter will extend the life and cleanliness of your pipes and your holding tanks. The Beech Lane Water Filter System has a lifetime manufacturer warranty because it was constructed for rugged outdoor use. It includes 5 Micron and 0.5 Micron filters to filter out large particles like sand and dirt as well as smaller particles like chlorine. This system is affordable and so are the replacement filters.
6. Surge Protector
Now that you’ve made an investment into your RV, you want to protect it from electrical issues just like you’d want to protect it from water damage or accidental damage. A good surge protector is the best way to protect your electrical system from power surges and low voltage issues. We’ve stayed at numerous campgrounds, RV parks, and resorts that had bad power issues and our surge protector has saved us from thousands of dollars-worth of damage. If you have a 50 amp RV, we recommend the Surge Guard 50 amp Portable Wireless Surge Guard (34951) by Technology Research Corp. This guard protects from faulty park power and low and high frequency surges. It also comes with a built-in anti-theft lock ring. If you have a 30 amp RV we recommend the Surge Guard 30 amp Portable Wireless Surge Guard (34931) by Technology Research Corp.
We like this brand because we have put it to the test numerous times and it has protected our RV every single time. We know there are cheaper options out there, but considering you spent tens of thousands of dollars on your RV, a good surge protector is worth protecting your rig.
Be Prepared Right From The Start
There are dozens of items you can purchase for your RV to make your experiences more enjoyable and upgrades you can do to simplify things. Just be sure to snag the items on this list first. They are the most crucial items to have a successful RV experience.
Blog Written By:
Jodi & Corey F.
X-Chock Wheel Stabilizer - Pair + Ratchet
Stabilization in an RV is always a challenge. The bouncing can feel overwhelming at times and people do all sorts of things to try and get more stabilization. The X-Chock Wheel Stabilizer is a great accessory to any RV arsenal. The X-Chock fits in between each axel and locks the wheels in place by applying force to both tires, preventing tire shift, and aids in RV stabilization.The light weight durability of these chocks make it a great tool for any RV.
About X-Chock Wheel Stabilizers - Pair + Ratchet
These tire chock stabilizers weigh 5.6 lbs. each and retract down to 1 3/8'' and extends out to 10''. They provide stabilization and prevent tire shift by applying opposing force to both tires on each axel. The X-Chocks work with the natural movement of the tire making it easy to use. They also have a rust inhibitive coating to keep them protected and working great for a long time. An added bonus is the pair comes with a plated ratchet wrench to tighten them down just right.
We have used X-Chocks in addition to the big rubber ones but really love the added stability they provide us inside the RV. We have 2 kids, 2 adults, and a dog who live in our RV full-time so we are sensitive to when the stability is off kilter. We have tried it with and without the X-Chocks and we can all tell when we don't have them engaged. We give them two thumbs up and recommend them for other RVers looking for more stabilization.
On-The Go Portable RV Water Softener-16,000 Grain Double Standard (OTG4-DBLSOFT)
Having a good water softener is a great way to keep your RV appliances from getting major calcium build-up, clogged sink and shower heads, and to keep your skin and hair soft and healthy. Campgrounds are notorious for having terrible water so a good water filter paired with a good water softener, will have you feeling safe, clean, and soft. Lucky for RV'ers, On-The-Go provides a great portable option for an RV water softener.
About On-The-Go Portable RV Water Softener
The Double Softener and Conditioner produces twice the gallons as the standard model and is the largest compact RV softener on the market. It is built for any RV or boat and supplies about 40% more soft water than any other unit on the market. It regenerates with 2 containers of table salt within 30 minutes. With each re-gen, it provides soft water for up to 1,600 gallons or up to 40 days. The compact design is perfect for small spaces and provides high flow rates with very low pressure drop. The On-The-Go water softener is constructed with an easy to carry handle on top of the unit, has a large mouth opening for easy salt addition, is made with high grade premium resin, and is has a cap & plug feature that allows quick plugging and zero leakage when transporting. You can use a standard garden hose connection to hook up to most spigots and requires no special tools or electricity to function. This unit measures a 22'' height and 9.50'' diameter for compact storage. The 32 lbs. is well worth the weight-investment when you are protecting your RV, boat, skin, or hair.
We LOVE this thing! We spent the first few months or so on the road without using a water softener and we absolutely could feel it. Our faucets and shower heads were clogging with calcium deposits, our dishes were heavily water spotted, and our skin was literally cracking from being so dry. Campground water is notorious for being terrible so once we found the On-The-Go portable water softener, we were more than pleased by the performance. It is easy to operate and the portability makes it a breeze to set up and take down. It only uses standard table salt to regenerate, so the maintenance is next to nothing. Once we installed ours, we felt an immediate difference on our skin, hair, and appliances. We swear by the difference it makes and will never go without one again. We HIGHLY recommend one of these for your RV. Check out our video to learn how to regenerate it and click the links below to learn more about this great product.
GR Innovations llc Tongue Jack Trailer Towing Organizer - Plastic Chain Saver Kit
We were looking for a solution to keep our safety chains and power chord off the ground and in good working order. GR Innovations llc provides a quality product that does just that. Their Tongue Jack Trailer Towing Organizer attaches easily to your tongue jack and once installed, it stays on during towing. The organizer also comes with an attached 7-way plug cover along with a chord to attach to it so it doesn't get lost. If you are looking for a solution to keep your chains and chord out of the mud and muck, check out their organizer.
About GR Innovations llc Tongue Jack Trailer Towing Organizer
This tongue jack organizer fits tongue jacks with a 1 7/8'' - 2 1/4'' diameter and only weighs 4.3 ounces. It is made in the U.S.A. and is a great solution for tongue jack organization.
We love our GR Innovations llc Tongue Jack Trailer Towing Organizer. This light wight and durable solution was also affordable and convenient. Once we installed it, it was able to ride in place as we traveled. Once we get to a site, we are able to keep all of our chords and chains off the ground and out of the elements. We also included a cover that fits over our entire electric jack motor along with the organizer. We feel that investing in the little things makes life easier and your gear lasting longer.
Anderson RV Leveler Chock Kit - 2 Pack #3604 x2
The Anderson RV Leveler is the original drive-on leveler for campers. It's an easy and convenient way to get your camper level in no-time. No need to carry wooden planks or stacks of leveling blocks. You can simply drive up on the Anderson Levelers and level the low side of your RV, chock it, and fire up the grill. You will need one set of levelers for each axel on your RV. These levelers work in increments between 1/2'' and 4'' (lifts up to 4''). These levelers make leveling your RV easy and quick. Anderson has this kit with 2 levelers/chocks or you can purchase them individually as well.
About Anderson RV Leveler Chock Kit
The dimensions of the Anderson Levelers are 16.25'' x 13.03'' x 12.36'' and weight 12.25 pounds. The levelers work on any trailer up to 30,000 lbs. and with tires up to 32'' in diameter. For trailers that have dual tires or smaller spaces to fit the levelers between, they can be trimmed down to work for your configuration. See the Anderson Hitch website for detailed instructions.
We have used the Anderson Leveler Kit since the beginning. We love how easy it is to roll up on them and level out the RV quickly and easily. We purchased the 2 pack since we have dual axels and we rarely need anything else to get level. We like that it give us up to 4'' to get level. They are durable and even seem to provide a little extra stability in the trailer. We are very happy with this product and recommend them to RVers looking to take the struggle out of leveling their RV.
Camco Rhino Heavy Duty Portable Waste Tote w/ Hose & Accessories-15, 21, 28, or 36 Gallon
When it comes to hauling off your waste, you want to make sure you know what you are doing. "Poopsies" can happen, but if you have the right gear and a little knowledge of how to use them properly, the chances of a "poopsie" are much smaller. The Camco Rhino portable waste tote is a great choice for durability, functionality, and transportability. We have used other totes in the past and they did not measure up to the Camco. Camco offers four different sizes to choose from which makes it great for any size family or RV. It offers the ability to haul off your gray or black waste in such an easy and mess free way. The designs are done well to make dumping easy. The best part, you don't have to pack up the whole RV in order to dump. You can hook up the Camco Rhino to your tow vehicle and haul it off with ease.
About Camco Rhino Heavy Duty Portable Waste Tote
The Camco Rhino Heavy Duty Portable Waste Tote allows you to transport your waste to a dump station when you don't have close enough access to a sewer dump. Includes accessories to help make your dumping process run smoothly. This tote is constructed with large heavy-duty, no-flat wheels with bearings that help transport effortlessly. Be sure to stay under the recommended 5mph speed limit in order to keep your wheels in tip top shape. There is a removable steel tow adapter that allows you to hook the tote to your tow vehicle and roll it to the dump station. It also doubles as a ladder hook as well. the integrated tank rinser and the smooth body makes it easy to clean as well. The body is made of durable blow-molded, UV stabilized HDPE that won't leak or deteriorate in the sun. It is also proudly made in the USA. The measurements of each tote vary based on size to click the link below to get specifics on measurements and weights.
We have owned the 28 gallon Camco Rhino Tote for about a year. We have enjoyed the freedom that it has given us to camp in more remote areas and not be connected to sewer. The durability of the body is heavy duty. The wheels are large heavy duty, but we ended up filling the tote up all the way and then drove over the recommended 5mph speed limit which ended up making the wheel wobbly. It is fixable, but we recommend filling this size tote up only about 3/4 of the way full as to not put so much weight on the wheels/axel. We have seen others modify their tote with different wheels and axels and we may upgrade ours as well in the future. For now, it is working out fine for us. Another way we use the tote is by putting it in the bed of the truck and then using a Flojet macerator pump along with a 15 foot hose to macerate our waste and pump it right into the tote in the bed of the truck. We do this when we know we will be driving a longer distance to a dump station. They can get very heavy to lift into the bed of the truck when full. Other than that, we have been very pleased with our tote. In the future, we may opt to go with the 21 gallon just for the sheer size of lifting it on and off of our rear ladder. Check the link below for a more in depth description of each size tote.
Other accessories to consider
Ivy Bag Portable Water Bladder-Collapsible & Durable Water Tank (10, 25, or 50 Gallon)
One of the greatest additions to our RV gear list is our Ivy Bag Portable Water Bladder. We opted for the 50 gallon bladder but there are several options to choose from that could fit your needs better. It allows you to dry camp or boondocks in more remote places and still have the capacity to bring water back to the RV. The portable bag makes it really easy to fetch water from designated spigots, fuel stations, other RV parks, or wherever you can get fresh water from. You no longer have to pack the RV up and haul it around to find water. The Ivy portable water bladder rides flat in the bed of the truck when in use and when it isn't, it folds up nice and compact for storage.
About Ivy Bag Portable Water Bladder
The Ivy Bag Portable Water Bladder is constructed with TPU-coated nylon for durability and flexibility. It is ultra lightweight and compact to make maneuverability and storage quick and easy. It features two garden hose compatible ports and one port with a 3/4'' ball valve for great flow capacity. The Ivy bag is also constructed with for or six tie-down grommets to secure the bladder in place during transport. The six grommets are only on the 50 gallon bag. Ivy Bag backs its product with a two-year warranty against manufacturer defects.
We have owned and used the Ivy Bag portable water bladder for the last year and half. We have been able to boondock for over 2 months in the Arizona desert in the winter, dry camp out in beautiful Moab, Utah, stay at the majestic Custer State Park in South Dakota, and so many other amazing places and the water bladder has given us the freedom to do so. It has also come in handy when RV parks have their water shut off for the winter and we have to use a designated spigot at the front of the park for fill-ups. Water is essential to life so being able to grab safe and fresh drinking water while we are out and about and bring it back to the RV has been a game changer for how we have been able to camp. We love being in RV parks with the amenities and all but we have discovered that we like to find a bit of freedom as well. We have been very happy with the quality of the Ivy Bag and it being compact and light weight has been great for storage. We would absolutely purchase another one in the future and recommend this product to other RVers. Check out the link below for more information.
Ivy Water Bags
Zamp 140-Watt Portable Solar Panel Kit w/ Integrated Charge Controller & Carrying Case
The Zamp 140-Watt Portable Solar Panel Kit has been a great addition to our power set-up for our 38ft Grand Design 312bhts travel trailer. Weather you have traditional lead acid batteries, AGM’s, or even lithium batteries, you will need a way to keep them charged. Sure, you can use a generator, those work just fine, but if you are looking for a light weight, portable, and quiet form of recharging your batteries, then you may want to look at a solar suitcase option. You are in luck, we have already done some research for you.
About Zamp 140-Watt Portable Solar Panel Kit
This Zamp 140-watt Portable Solar Panel Kit has a built-in integrated 10-amp digital charge controller which protects your battery and lets you monitor your power. It weighs 39.7 pounds and the dimensions are 32.4 x 21.5 x 3.1 inches. It is hand crafted in the United States, comes with a 25-year output warranty, and they boast the best-in-class solar cells. There is no installation required and includes everything you need. It charges most 12-volt batteries as well as lithium. This kit is compatible with Zamp Solar Ready RV ports and comes with both SAE plug and alligator clips to connect. The total suitcase includes a 140-watt foldable panel, 10-amp charge controller, tough nylon carrying case, and a 15-foot cable to give some flexibility.
We have owned and used our Zamp 140-watt solar panel for about a year. It has provided us with the flexibility to camp longer and go to more remote places. It has allowed us to park our rig in the shade in order to help keep the inside cool while being able to move the solar panel out in the sun. The durability and build quality is five star quality in our book. We love knowing that we have a 25 hear out-put warranty to back up the performance as well. It is fairly light weight and has a really nice and high quality nylon suitcase that helps to protect the panels when not being used. Overall, we have been more than happy with the Zamp 140-watt portable solar panel kit with a built-in charge controller and would recommend it to anyone.
Predator 3500 Super Quiet Inverter Generator
If you are looking to camp a little more off-grid, then you will need to think about your power source. There are really cool things being done with solar panels and battery banks, but if you camp mostly on weekends or want to save money on a big solar install, then a good generator will work perfectly. Generators are a great way to bring power to your camping experience. The best part about the Predator 3500 is how quiet it actually is.
About the Predator 3500 Generator
This generator weighs 99.2 lbs. and the dimensions are 22.7 x 17.3 x 20 inches. It fits perfectly under the bed cover of our truck. The engine is a 4 stroke and can put out up to 3500 watts of power. The advanced inverter technology produces more power and has a low fuel consumption. You can run this generator for up to 11 hours at a 25% load. This powerful inverter generator is super quiet as well. The output is 57 dB which makes it ideal for a campsite. It is parallel capable and comes with a 30 amp adapter.
We have used this generator for well over a year now with our 50 amp travel trailer (with a 30 amp dog bone). It is a bit heavy, but the power capabilities and the quietness makes up for the weight. We have been able to dry-camp for weeks at a time with the Predator 3500. We have been able to use our instant pot, hair dryers, microwave, and even power our Green Mountain Grill Smoker. It has an easy on/off switch as well as wheel locks to help with stability. The heavy duty build and strong handles make it easy to lift and maneuver. You are definitely getting a lot for your money and we would absolutely purchase it again. The only thing we would do different is get the extended warranty for extra protection.
GREEN MOUNTAIN GRILL "DAVY CROCKETT" PORTABLE GRILL/SMOKER
If you are looking for a great portable grill/smoker for either an RV, tailgating or just to have at home, the Green Mountain Grill “Davy Crockett” portable Grill/Smoker is perfect. It’s no secret that we LOVE to grill, so when we came across this product, we jumped right on it. We have used ours for about a year now and still love it. We smoke meats, grill and bake on this thing. It is an all in one and we have put a lot of miles on ours.
About the Green Mountain Davy Crockett Grill/Smoker
This portable grill/smoker weighs 57 lbs. and folds up to fit in a trunk, in a truck-bed, or RV storage compartment. The dimensions are 31.75” H x 34” W x 23” D (with legs extended), or 20.5” H x 27.75” W x 17.5” D (legs closed). It has a built-in Wifi Smart Control so you can monitor your grill from your couch or on-the-go. Just set the meat temp, stick the probe in and monitor it from your phone using the GMG App. The temperature range is 150 degrees to 550 degrees with 5 degree increment control. Another great feature is that it comes with 110v or 12v with adapters for 3 power options.
Before we started fulltime RVing, we had a big smoker at our house that we used regularly. It was part of our lifestyle. When it came time to sell it, that was a tough pill to swallow. When we discovered that Green Mountain Grill makes a portable and compact grill/smoker, we were so excited. It felt like bringing a part of “home” with us on the road. We have cooked long smoked pork butts, racks of ribs, tri-tips, burgers, chicken…you name it, we’ve grilled or smoked it. The versatility of how you can power it has also come in handy, being that we like to camp off-grid. Over-all, we have been extremely satisfied with the GMG Davy Crockett Grill/Smoker and recommend it to anyone looking for a well-built portable unit.
We are fulltime Rvers who enjoy sharing the journey. That includes travel, gear reviews and anything else we find that can help others get the most out of RV Life and Travel.
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