Are you a new RV owner, or thinking of becoming one? There are several basic essentials you need for a smooth and enjoyable RV camping trip. Luckily, once you stock your RV, these essentials can stay put, and you won’t have to worry about them again.
Read on to learn about the 18 must-haves RV camping essentials!
1. Drinking Hose
Water matters, and so does how you get it from source to straw. You need a clean hose that’s suitable for potable water—so, not your run-of-the-mill garden hose!
The 50-foot Camco TastePURE Drinking Water Hose gives you plenty of room to reach a water hookup, and it’s made from BPA- and phthalate-free PVC, so you can feel secure that it’s safe for all your water needs.
Although it may be tempting to use an existing hose when you see one already hooked up to a water source, don’t do it! Aside from being made from potentially harmful materials, the donor hose may also be full of organisms that can make your whole RV party sick.
2. Water Pressure Regulator
Another RV essential is a water pressure regulator. This little gadget threads onto a water source with one end and the other onto the hose you keep in your rig for getting water. Because the water pressure coming from your campground water source may be unpredictable and sometimes far more than your RV’s plumbing system can handle, you absolutely must use a pressure regulator whenever you hook up to water.
The Renator RV Water Pressure Regulator is well-made, inexpensive, maintains water pressure even when someone in your rig is running more than one tap at once, and keeps your RV plumbing safe from unexpected pressure blasts.
3. Sewer Hose
When imagining your next RV camping adventure, no one likes to think about the less-than-glamorous aspects of the trip, but it’s a necessary evil. One thing you want to be absolutely sure you have on hand is a good-quality sewer hose.
This Camco model is sturdy and well-made, meaning you won’t have to worry about leaks when you empty your sewer tank. It collapses down to 19 inches, making it easy to store.
4. Disposable Gloves
If all that talk about emptying your septic tank made you feel a little squeamish, you’re not alone. It’s always a good idea to have some disposable gloves on hand. From emptying the septic tank to repairing a blown tire, disposable gloves will keep your hands clean and safe.
These Med Pride gloves are strong and durable, and they’re latex-free, which is great in case you have someone in your camping party with a latex allergy. They’re relatively inexpensive, but not cheap, and always true to size.
5. Leveling Blocks or Chocks
Even if your rig comes with leveling jacks, you’ll still likely find yourself at a site where the jacks can’t get the leveling just right.
These Camco blocks are suitable for all types and sizes of rigs. They’re heavy-duty yet lightweight, and they can be easily stored until you need them. Unlike their wooden counterparts, these easy-to-use blocks won’t rot or disintegrate over time.
Consider getting more than one set if you have double wheels on your rig.
Everyone could use a generator at some point in their lives, including when rigging. This Westinghouse portable generator is perfect for keeping power on in your RV for up to 12 hours with one gas and oil fill.
This generator is easy to maneuver, if a bit heavy—it weighs about 100 pounds, but its wheels make it pretty easy to move to where you want it. It works great for going off the grid, especially in a place where a solar-powered generator might not be able to garner enough juice.
If you have a little more cash to spend on a generator, though, take a look at this Westinghouse Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator.
As the name implies, this little machine is much quieter than many others, including the Westinghouse mentioned above. It also comes with a key fob so you can start it remotely (but beware of your battery draining overnight if you leave the generator switch turned on. It’s wise to plug the generator into an inverter on battery backup to maintain power).
The due-fuel system on this generator lets you use propane instead of gas.
7. Air Compressor
One of the best things about RV camping is getting away from “it all.” That becomes a problem, however, when you blow a tire in the middle of nowhere.
An air compressor will be your savior if you end up with a flat tire on your RV camping trip. This GSPSCN Dual Cylinder DC 12V Air Compressor inflates quickly and comes with an array of adapters and add-ons, like an extension air hose, nozzle adapters, a spare fuse, heavy-duty cables, clamps, and a travel carry bag so you can keep everything together.
8. Walkie Talkies
If you intend to travel with other vehicles when you’re rigging, walkie-talkies are essential. You never know when you’re going to lose your cell signal and, therefore, communication with anyone else in your party.
These Midland two-way radios are a must-have in your RV. They can cover an area of at least 36 miles and can be used hands-free. You can use several privacy codes to make sure your conversations stay within your party.
Maybe the coolest thing about these walkies is that you can use them to scan NOAA weather band channels and receive severe weather alerts for the area you’re driving through.
You might be surprised to learn there are specific RV GPS units on the market that are designed to be especially helpful for rigging.
The Garmin RV 780 comes with a high-resolution display screen that measures nearly seven inches across.
But here’s where an RV-specific GPS outshines its personal vehicle counterparts. This particular GPS system takes into account the size of your rig when finding your best route, and it warns you when steep grades, sharp curves, or weight limits are ahead. It can be paired with your smartphone so you can use voice commands with the GPS.
The RV/camping bundle is preloaded with a campground and RV park directory.
10. RV Mattress
Do not underestimate the importance of good sleep when you’re on the road! The best way to assure you can get your zzz’s is to purchase a good mattress for your RV.
This 8-inch foam and spring mattress is a short queen size, meaning it will likely fit in your RV bed space.
This RV mattress is delivered to you rolled up, making it easy to maneuver into your RV’s sleeping space. Once you’re there, unroll the mattress and give it about 24 hours to flatten itself and settle into the space.
Let’s be real: you’re not hitting the open road in an RV because you like to stay indoors. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a comfortable recliner with you to use as you skywatch.
The Nemo Stargaze Recliner is worth the price. It swings smoothly on any surface—including dirt, rocks, and sand, and reclines without runners that take up space and are prone to damage.
The stash pocket can hold your book or tablet, and you can place a beverage in the integrated cup holder seated in one of the padded armrests.
This chair is lightweight and folds down compactly, but once you’re all set up in it, you may never want to get out long enough to pack it up.
12. Folding Table
It’s so easy to overlook a basic RV camping essential staple when you’re rigging, like a versatile table. This Lifetime adjustable table will meet all your needs on the road.
Foldable and lightweight, this table can hold up to 200 pounds (evenly distributed) and can be adjusted to your desired height. Use it to prep food, dine, play board games, or craft on the go, then fold it up and store it easily in your RV’s storage area.
13. Grill and Utensils
Obviously, you’ll need a way to cook the food you’ve prepped using your foldable table! This camp stove is a little bigger than those you might take tent camping, but the two free-standing burners mean you don’t need to take up table space or cook on the ground. The stove legs detach for storing, making it similar in size to a legless camp stove once it’s broken down.
What sets this stove apart is its ability to heat evenly at whatever temperature you need.
14. Cell Signal Booster
Whether you need to stay connected to do some work on the road, or you just want to be able to talk with family and friends, you’ll definitely want a cell signal booster for your RV camping trip.
The weBoost Drive Reach is made specifically for RVs and excels at increasing your bandwidth, even in remote areas. It’s compatible with all kinds of cell phones and carriers.
This cell signal booster is easy to install; the weBoost app even has step-by-step installation instructions.
15. HotSpot Antenna
One more RV camping essential item to consider is a hotspot antenna. Even if you aren’t going off-grid or super remote, we’ve all had occasions when our cellular signal drops out. When you’re on the road, that can mean a minor inconvenience, like not being able to stream your favorite podcast, or a major event if you can’t contact emergency services when you need to.
This hotspot antenna from Netgear is made with the same high-quality technology you would expect from the company. It mounts easily to your RV rooftop and is definitely a must-have for your RV camping adventures.
16. RV Toolbox
You never know what kind of handiwork you’ll need to do on the road, so it’s a good idea to keep a basic tool set on your rig.
This Cartman tool kit has all the essentials for basic repairs. Think of it like a first aid kit—it’s not going to have everything you need to build a new engine, but it’s adequate for more everyday tasks.
This particular set is nice because the tools are good quality and it’s relatively inexpensive and compact. Perfect to store in a cupboard in your RV.
17. First Aid Kit
Don’t forget to store a first-aid kit in your RV, too. This one is compact but contains everything you need for basic first aid while you’re RV camping. It’s loaded with quality supplies, yet is somehow less expensive than if you bought each item individually.
18. Surge Protector
Campground hookups can be tricky and blast unexpected power into your RV. That’s why you must have a surge protector in your rig. This simple tool can save you a ton of money on electrical system repairs.
If you have a smaller camper or RV, a 30-amp surge protector is just what you need. This POWSAF model is waterproof and durable and will tell you if the power current you’re hooked to is good or faulty. It’s easy to install and is an absolute must-have if you plan to plug into RV park power.
For larger rigs, purchase a 50-amp model. The Progressive Industries 50-amp surge protector can hold up in temperatures as low as negative 40 degrees and as high as 105 degrees and offers reliable weather resistance overall.
With the hard-wired unit, you can see the real-time current draw, line frequency, voltage, and error history on the indoor display.
Stock Up These RV Camping Essentials and Hit the Road
Now that you know the basic RV camping essentials to stock, you can start researching the fun stuff, like tech gadgets! For more information on buying and outfitting a new RV, see our Buying an RV page!