We’re often asked, “What are your must-have items to maintain the RV lifestyle”? Are there particular products or favorite items we use? Are there products/things that we just could not live without? On this page, I’ll share items we absolutely need for our RV lifestyle and a few items that make our life a little easier – Our RV Gear!
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RV must-have items
Let’s talk first about the less pleasant, behind the scene’s necessity. We figuratively and literally carry our crap around the country 😆
Being self-contained is a wonderful thing. It allows us the flexibility to explore some amazing backcountry with all the comforts of home, which includes a bathroom.
But eventually, those waste tanks fill up and they need to be dumped properly and fresh water needs to be replenished. Al has some favorite hoses and connectors.
For dumping our tanks, the clear fittings aren’t exactly for entertainment purposes, 💩 but rather, an information indicator. Al can tell when the water is running clear. Yes, full of crap has true meaning in the RV world!
15-Foot Dominator RV Sewer Hose Kit – Be sure an always carry an extra sewer hose in your storage compartment. First, you never know when you’ll spring a leak, and second, you don’t want to find yourself a foot short when trying to connect to a dump station.
Valterra Clearview Hose Adapter – 90° – Using one of these clear connectors allows us to see that the tank is indeed empty and running clear with fresh water after dumping. It can be a yucky sight, but one of the realities of life … living the dream!
Twist-On Waste Valve, Mess-Free Waste Valve for RV’s, Campers, Trailers – This twist-on waste valve is a lifesaver when your dump valve breaks. Keep one of these in your tool kit as a backup. You’ll thank me one day.
15ft Sidewinder RV Sewer Support – In some states, Arizona being one, it’s the law to have your sewer hose supported off the ground and sloped. We use this easy-to-store Sidewinder support.
And an extra RV sewer cap is great to keep on hand just in case a wild critter runs off with yours, and yes, I’m speaking from experience – Black Termination Sewer Cap.
So now let’s talk about fresh water.
We have a couple of drinking water safe hoses meant specifically for fresh water, along with a water filter. It’s better to have more hose length than what you think you’ll need. Most of the time our 25-foot hose is more than enough in length, but we’ve stayed at some very poorly designed parks and needed that second hose more times than I can count.
We highly recommend using a water pressure regulator with a gauge when hooked up to water in an RV park. It’ll protect your RV plumbing and hoses from high-pressure city water, which could easily cause damage to your RV.
We have a few more little products that make life just a tad easier. The Y valve/2 Way Connector allows us to stay connected to city water while also having a hose connected to our clean water black tank flush valve or as I like to call it – the swirly.
A nifty little product that we were introduced to by a fellow camper while camping at Devil’s Lake State Park in Wisconsin is the water bandit. The campground didn’t have any water hook-ups and finding fresh water to fill our tank would’ve been a challenge. The freshwater spickets throughout the campground were not threaded, which meant we couldn’t attach our water hose to fill our tank with ease. The thought of using jugs to fill our tank was daunting until our neighbor allowed us the use of his Water Bandit.
How to power your RV
There are times the built-in RV electrical cord is not long enough to reach the electric pedestal at an RV park and an RV extension cord becomes a necessity. Be sure you know your RV and whether or not it runs on 30 amp or 50 amp. This is something specific to each RV. The majority of the larger RVs are 50 amp while the smaller ones like our 31-foot Fifth wheel run on 30 amp.
Keep in mind, not all RV parks cater to both 30 amp and 50 amp. Thus, an amp converter comes in handy. This RV Pigtail Adapter connects an RV 30 Amp to RV 50 Amp or this adapter goes from RV 50 Amp to 30 Amp. Or how about wanting to plug your RV into a standard 15 amp household plug? 15 amp to TT-30 RV Plug Adapter Are you confused yet? I know, I used to be!
Camping without hookups
We do spend about a quarter of our travels dry camping/boondocking …. camping without hook-ups. It’s never a good idea to allow the battery(s) in the RV to drain or run low. This will shorten the life of the batteries. Many folks install solar panels on the roof of their RV for their electrical needs and to keep the batteries charged up, but Solar is an expensive endeavor and until you figure out how YOU like to travel, we recommend you hold off until you know you’ll be dry camping a lot. Personally, Al and I can’t justify the expenditure of solar at this point and time, and therefore, we use a Honda 2,000 Portable Generator when we’re camping without hook-ups.
The generator powers everything in the RV except the air conditioner. If we added the Honda 2,000 Companion Generator then we’d be powered up for everything. We have friends that love their 100 Watt Portable Solar Panel Suitcase and it’s something we’re considering. These panels are meant for boosting the batteries but won’t power the TV, fridge, microwave, etc.
Solar versus generator? It’s a personal choice. If we find ourselves boondocking more and more, we may bite the bullet and add a couple of panels to the roof of the RV, but for now, we seem to be staying in parks with hook-ups and therefore, it doesn’t make financial sense for us right now. However, the solar suitcase might be the perfect way for us to ease into solar without making the big financial investment of roof panels.
How to level an RV
When we do get to our campsite and it’s time to set up, we have some essential gear. Some of the higher end RVs have all kinds of self-leveling equipment. Not us!
Al laughs at me when I grab my torpedo level. Having previously worked in the homebuilding industry, this nifty little tool went everywhere with me, and now I continue to use it regularly to help level us up on our campsites. I use it to check the rear bumper first, check it on some exterior framework, and then the countertop inside the RV. If we need a little help to achieve level, these Lego style leveling blocks are awesome. And of course, we need to block those tires before disconnecting the Fifth wheel from the truck. Rubber Wheel Chocks
We do have a couple of these RV stick-on bubble levels strategically placed on the outside and inside of the RV, but I still use my torpedo level for the final decision making.
Emergency & Safty products
We’ve experienced several blown tires on the RV over the years as well as low air pressure on the truck tires and this Portable Compressor has come in handy during those events. We love our Two-Way Radios. We use them routinely when parking in an RV site. There have been so many times due to angle or other situations that Al can’t see me or the site in his rearview mirror and the radios provide both of us with a little more confidence and assurance. Also, if we’re traveling with two vehicles, we’re able to stay in communication easily. When we’ve had those blown tires and need to put on the spare an All-in-One Bottle Jack is a must-have item.
Products for the interior of the RV
Let’s head on into the RV. This wall clock is awesome… Atomic Wall Clock with Indoor/Outdoor Temperature We love knowing what the temperature is outside as well as inside. We’re on our second one, considering the first one fell off the wall during year two and broke.
And speaking of things falling … sometimes those cabinet latches won’t hold. After my favorite blender went flying out of a cabinet and shattered, on travel days, we faithfully secure certain doors with these latches – Dreambaby Sliding Locks
An electric space heater is wonderful to have on board and as much as we try to stay in a warm climate, winter does visit. Sometimes all we need is to take the chill out of the air and this works perfectly.
Containers, containers, containers! You can never have too many containers with locking lids. We like the clear ones which allow us to easily identify what’s in each container. Al uses different sizes to store various items in the RV belly and I use smaller ones placed throughout cupboards.
Command products are an absolute must for hanging things on the walls and making your RV feel more like home.
Grip shelf liner in the cabinets helps keep things from sliding around while the RV is on the move. The large wire shelf adds an additional layer of storage and the over door storage organizer basket works well in the kitchen or bathroom as does the over the door hook.
Another product that helps keep things in place while rolling down the road is museum putty. This putty works pretty well with certain items, but I’m not sure I’d trust it with something valuable sitting on a counter while traveling. I still prefer storing items in a secure manner.
As I think of more of our must-have items, I’ll be sure and add them.