In a digital age, more families are seeking connection to each other and to “The Great Outdoors”. Cue Dan Ackroyd and John Goodman. Roughly 40 million people went RVing in the United States in 2019.
Many weekend warriors have become full-time nomads trading daily traffic for mountain and coastal routes. RVs offer the peace of mind and efficiency of having everything you need anywhere with room to spare. The days of cramming the family in a station wagon and driving across the country have passed.
Here comes the big question! what are the must have RV accessories & supplies to RVing without hassle?
We all know scrolling through the options can quickly become overwhelming. We cover the whole spectrum with something for everyone in one place. Our comprehensive article covers RV must haves for the newbies, to gadgets to upgrade your RV for the full-timers.
RV Must Haves for Newbies (Easily Forgettable)
If you’re wondering who forgets the items in this section, you’d be surprised how often it happens. It also wouldn’t be much of a comprehensive list without the basics. Think of this section as more of a first-time owner’s checklist.
Everyone’s needs are different based on what you’re using your RV for, but this list is a great start.
- Emergency Kit
- flashlight, spare batteries, fire extinguisher, ropes, road flares, and spare fuses
- hammer, screwdrivers, wrenches, cordless drill, bubble level, duct tape, and a shovel
- 2 Different Colored Water Hoses
- 1 for sanitary water /1 to flush out the sewer system (about 15-25ft. long each)
- Extra bedding
- Spare sheets, pillows, blankets, and comforter
- Bathroom essentials
- towels, soap, toilet paper, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and general hygiene products
- Kitchen Essentials
- pots and pans, tableware, trash bags, refrigerator bars, and non-slip cabinet mats
- Cleaning Supplies
- mini-vacuum, dish soap, multi-purpose cleaner, sponges, and towels /rags
- Outdoor Essentials
- Water bottles, sunscreen, insect repellent, and foldable chairs
- First Aid Kit
- Regularly check for expiration dates
- Antiseptic wash
- Sterile gauze pads, medical tape, and scissors
- Elastic bandages
- Adhesive bandages
- Instant cold packs
- Disposable gloves
- Sting and bite treatments
- Antibiotic ointment
- Salt/Dehydration Tablets
- Regularly check for expiration dates
- Emergency Information
- Have copies of emergency contacts, personal allergies/medications, etc., in your RV
Every RV Should Haves
On the road, you’re going to run into a lot of things that are out of your control. These are gadgets for the things you can control and will spare you some frustration on the road. You could survive without some of these items, but veterans know they make life much easier if you have them. So these are must have RV accessories for every RVer.
Weather Radio/Device Charger
Bad weather happens, it’s inevitable, especially when you’re on the road. When the weather turns and you need to know what is happening, this gadget is crucial. Everyone should have one of these in general, especially if you live in areas with severe storms. They hand crank for power, so they don’t rely on batteries making them essential in emergencies. Weather radios are the swiss army knives of RV gadgets with added features like an emergency flashlight.
Chokes are the things that keep your RV from rolling away when parked. You can be resourceful and use something like wood, but this is a mistake you want to avoid at all costs. Your manual will have a wheel chocks page so you can make sure you’re getting exactly what you need.
Shore Power Cord
Some RVs don’t come with a shore power cord, if yours doesn’t, you need one. Don’t try to use an extension cord unless you’re OK with your RV potentially catching on fire. You’ll need to check your amp rating to make sure you get the right one for your rig. You can easily find your amp rating in your owner manual.
Most campgrounds don’t provide a coaxial cable. If you’re planning on watching any television while parked, it’s best to have about 25’ of cable on hand. This is something small and simple but can be very inconvenient if you need it.
Walkie Talkies (Two-Way Radios)
Two-way radios are worth their weight in gold. Beyond being fun to play with, they have a variety of uses that can save you a lot of frustration. If you’re new to driving an RV, they’ll be a blessing when you’re parking and maneuvering. They’re also great for hikes or large events when phone service is not always reliable or available.
Some RV drivers remain steadfast to using paper maps, but most drivers these days are using some variation of GPS. You can obviously use your smartphone or tablet, but beware, some don’t have height settings. If you have a big RV, we suggest for you to get an RV GPS. They’re designed to find routes based on the height and weight of your RV. It’ll help you avoid receiving surprise tickets and fines or becoming a convertible as another overpass casualty.
Cast Iron Cookware
Cast iron can be safely used on the stovetop, in the oven, and over any campfire. If you’re unfamiliar with cast iron, make sure you learn proper care and these things will last you forever. No one can deny the versatility of cast iron.
Most RVs come with a gas can, so I know what you’re thinking, “why do I need 2 gas cans?” Good question. A smaller gas can is mobile and versatile, and lets you easily know how much you have. We recommend a gas can that’s the same amount as your generator. Depending on your use, generators can typically last for a few days on one fill. If you’re relying on a gas generator as a source of power, a spare gas can could be lifesaving.
Water Pressure Regulator
A little extra money can save you a lot of headaches with this little gadget. Some campgrounds have extremely high-water pressure systems, which can cause stress and eventually lead to leaks in your system. A broken shower or flooded RVis a quick way to sidetrack trip. We recommend you get a regulator with a dial that controls the pressure. This will make sure your pipes aren’t stressed from high pressure or a shower with no pressure.
RV Water Filter
Speaking of water, you’ll be using water from a variety of sources in your RV while traveling. Some water is great, some look like it’s pulled from the river no matter how much you run it. A filter will help keep those particles and sediments out of your water pump and from you drinking them.
Water Tank Filler Valve
A water tank filler valve is a device that’ll save you a ton of time. RVs can come with this device but if not, this cheap gadget is highly recommended. Filling your water tank can take ages and unnecessary monitoring without one. They’re quick and easy connect, giving you more time to enjoy the reason you hit the road, to begin with.
Holding Tank Treatment
Holding tank treatment helps break down waste in your holding tank and deodorize it. Some RVs never smell, but you don’t want to be without this when you find out yours does. Most owners would say this is optional, but fortune favors the prepared.“When you gotta go, you gotta go”, but no one wants to smell it let alone live in it.
Clear Sewer Connector
Although this isn’t the most visually appealing, it is highly beneficial. The last thing you want is to remove your connector when your holding tank isn’t empty. Now you can know exactly when your tank is clear and never worry about finding out firsthand if it’s empty. What a relief!
Luxuries Your RV Could Have
Now we can get into the good stuff, the bells, and whistles! These are RVgadgetsthat are versatile for most types of RVs and mostly depend on budget and wants. This section is about the fun gadgets for the luxury seeking owners or the full-timers. We would argue these could also be in the RV must haves for newbies group.
However, these gadgets require more commitment because they’re more expensive items and benefit long term owners most. These RV items will make your life on the road much easier and help minimize your carbon footprint.
Tire Pressure Monitoring System
They’re not cheap, but a blowout will cost you a lot more. A tire monitoring system is a quick and easy way to make sure you and everyone around you are safe. You need to regularly check your tires whether you’re living in your RV or taking a few trips a year.
Tankless Air Compressor
An air compressor will save you hours of misery of blowing-up floaties and hand pumping bicycle tires. It can also be used for daily and seasonal tasks. A compressor can remove dust or dirt from a hike or day at the beach, or help winterize your RV.
Mini Solar Device Charger
A mini solar device charger is exactly what it sounds like. It’s exactly what you need to generate a little energy for your devices on long excursions or expeditions to nowhere. If you have the sun, no matter where you are on the planet, you have free energy. Who doesn’t love free?
RV Solar Charging System
If you have some extra cash, you can go completely off the grid with an RV solar charging system. You don’t have to worry about electricity wherever the road takes you. You’ll also be helping to reduce our carbon footprint, helping the planet.
Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot
Having an RV with a Wi-Fi hotspot allows you to stay connected while on the road. Consistent and strong Wi-Fi is the life strand for remote workers and digital nomads. Veterans will tell any newbie, just because a campground has something doesn’t mean it’s good. Like water, Wi-Fi is “find out on arrival” and is a dangerous gamble if you’re working remotely and not prepared.
All the Options
An RVs allure is in its versatility and array of options that come with it. You can buy an RV and rough it with the essentials. You can also buy an RV that replaces your home, providing all its comforts wherever you decide to go.
To review, bare-bones you should expect the accessories of a normal vehicle. A radio, windows, doors, engine, etc., and after that your budget becomes the major factor. Most RV owners start small and change priorities as a family and their lifestyle changes.
It’s important to remember that an RV is an investment and you generally get what you pay for. Some people are happy with something like Cousin Eddie’s RV, something cheap, and does what it needs to.
The full-timers are going to want more of the bells and whistles. Going for an experience that’s more sustaining and on their terms. In either case, RVs offer plenty of options to make sure you have the experience, you’re looking for. Now you can experience the world to any capacity you want. If a picture is worth a thousand words, experiencing the moment is priceless. Welcome to the new great outdoors, we can’t wait to see you on the road.