Congrats! You’re now an RV owner. Unfortunately, even after you’ve bought your new rig for tens of thousands of dollars, there’s still a handful of RVing essentials you’ll need to gather before traveling fulltime.
For the life of me, I don’t understand why RV dealers don’t add $100 to the sale price and throw in all the hoses and gadgets you’ll need to actually live in your RV.
But they don’t, and if you’ve never RVed before, there’s a short list of essential, but bizarre things you’ll need to buy immediately.
Please note: This post contains affiliate links. That means if you buy through my link, I receive a small commission. I actively use every item on this list, and highly recommend them all. Click here to view this list on Amazon.
First things first, sewage. Because everyone is always concerned with the aspect of dump your own…you know.
RV parks aren’t always designed by geniuses and more than once, we’ve had to stretch our sewer hose the entire 20 feet just to reach the dump at our site or at dump stations. It’s always better to have plenty of hose, than not enough. Camco is the go-to brand for hoses and what we’ve used for the past three years.
When your site isn’t level or if it’s raining, muddy, etc, you’ll want to have tracks to keep your sewage line off the ground. These are designed to let gravity help your waste make it to the dump connection, and are must have if you’re planning on staying in a site for any period time.
Onto happier subjects! Water: You need it to survive. And you need it to *fingers crossed* not burst your pipes or make you sick.
Drinking Water Hose
First things first, you need to buy a hose specifically for drinking water. Sure, we all drank water from the hose as a kid, but as adults we realize that is not a great idea. I highly recommend buying a 50 foot drinking water hose. This is one area where you cannot afford to skimp, unless you’re planning on buying bottled water constantly, which is not environmentally friendly or economical.
And while we’re talking about drinking water, you’ll probably want to attach a filter directly to your hose. This will filter your water before you even turn on your faucet.
Some RVs, like our 2016 Winnebago, will have water filters built in, however, most RVers filter their water in 2-3 places for maximum purity. We also use a Brita Dispenser in our fridge as an additional point of filtration.
Water Pressure Regulator(!!)
Tiny but powerful, this is literally the first thing we bought after purchasing our first RV. Water pressure at RV parks can be insanely powerful. The first time we hooked up, I thought the faucet was going to explode off the top of the sink it was literally bouncing up and down from the high pressure.
To protect your pipes and faucets from being blown away by high pressure, you need a water pressure regulator. Attach it to your hose and leave it there forever.
You’ll want this purely from a convenience standpoint. It makes it 10 times easier to attach the water hose to the RV, plus the elbow-shape protects your hose from bending at connection and makes it last longer.
Your rig will come with the plug you need for electrical connectivity, however, if you plan on camping in driveways, on farms, or at garages on the road, you’ll want a few adapters.
50 AMP to 30 AMP Plug
If you have a 50 AMP rig, you 100% need a 50 to 30 AMP electrical adapter. All too often, we visit RV parks that don’t offer 50 AMP service or are sold out 50 AMP sites. You’ll need this to plug into 30 AMP service. This is probably the most-used gift we’ve ever been given. (Thanks, Frank!)
30 AMP Extension Cord
We often find ourselves parked in the driveways of friends and family. Many houses have 30 AMP outlets outside of garages, so we invested in this 30 AMP extension cord to be able to stay in more driveways. We’ve actually had to use this at a couple RV parks as well, when the electrical box was in such an inconvenient location we were forced to use an extension cord.
30 AMP to 15 AMP Adapter
If you’re ever looking to power your rig off a normal outlet, you’ll need a 30 AMP to 15 AMP adapter.
When you’ll need to use this:
- Staying with friends and family
- Working on your RV in a driveway
- When you’re stranded at a mechanic and need electrical service because it’s 100 degrees outside and you feel like you’re dying in a tiny hell.
Other Super Important Things
Finding a nice level site isn’t easy, and sometimes your stabilizing jacks won’t be enough. You’ll want leveling blocks for your tires to help stabilize your jacks. Many people cart around 2x4s or cement blocks, but these are lighter and easier to use. We used to use 2x4s, but we lost them all because it’s just too easy to forget a piece of wood on the ground–especially when they get wet or muddy.
Side note: If you’re an RV park owner, level your sites! This is the bane of every RVers existence.
Pretty sure the shower heads that come in RVs cost about $.52 and are designed to make you lose all of your hot water instantly. You’ll want to upgrade to a shower head that has better water flow. Plus heads like this one have a switch on the side to cut water flow for when you’re taking military showers and need to conserve water.
Every time after you dump your tanks to start a new day of travel, you must–MUST–trust me on this essential step: Add deodorant to your toilet. There’s plenty of options on what to use, but we typically stick with the liquid. You can pick it up at your local Walmart. It is something that you will always want on hand. Can you tell I’m speaking from experience?
Note: If you’re dealing with sewage smells and you’re out of toilet deodorant, dump baking soda + a splash of vinegar down your toilet to neutralize the aroma.
Your RV probably came with a rock as a mattress. You’ll want to immediately buy a new mattress.
Here’s the catch: RV mattress sizes are NOT the same as household mattress. Typically, they are slightly more narrow, and because of RV design, you may not be able to fit a household mattress in the space where your RV mattress fits.
So you have two options: buy a new RV specific mattress for a lot of money, or buy a mattress topper and cut it to size. We’ve purchased memory foam toppers for both of our rigs and cut them to fit on the RV mattress. It’s the cheapest solution and you can make it work with any RV mattress. (Our first mattress didn’t have corners to allow for you to walk around the bed. Definitely can’t find mattresses like that easily!)
Those are all of our must have’s! I know it’s a lot, but we literally use all of these items on the daily. They are completely worth the investment.
What is something you bought as soon as your bought your new RV?
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