Walking through your local RV superstore can be a daunting experience. There are multiple products for every aspect of the RV lifestyle. Some of the products are obvious novelties, but it’s hard to tell with others.
How do you know what you really need to add to your rig? How can you make the best use of the limited space? Here is our RV camping checklist to help you keep at the forefront of your mind items that we think you’ll need when RVing.
Category: Exterior (4 Items)
Campground RV sites are rarely going to be level. Properly leveling your RV is important to your absorption refrigerator and whether or not you roll out of bed in the middle of the night. Even if you have levelers on your RV, you’re going to encounter a steep RV site one day where you’ll need leveling blocks as well.
A set of properly sized and rated wheel chocks add a needed measure of safety. A travel trailer could roll away even if it seemed stable when set up. Even a motorhome could have a braking failure and begin to roll out of its site.
Everyone would love to be using their RV weekly and not have to worry using tire covers, but that’s not the case. Tire covers help protect your tires from sun and weather damage while in storage or parked in sunny climates with direct sunlight. Since many RV tires reach old age before coming close to their mileage rating, it’s important to take good care of them while off the road.
If you own a travel trailer, you’re going to want a hitch lock. Most trailers have an insert for a small padlock, but a more robust setup that envelopes the hitch will provide greater security. Get a hitch lock that is also easy to set up so you’re sure to use it every time you’re away from the trailer.
Category: Water (4 Items)
Drinking Water Hose
You’ll need this hose to hook up to running water at the campground and to fill your freshwater tank. Having two hoses at 25′ often works better than a single 50′ hose. Drinking hoses are often white in color and are made from materials declared safe for drinking water.
Drinking Water Hose Quick-Connect Fitting
This small item will save you from wasted time and frustration. Rather than threading your hose off and on each time you move your rig, a simple motion connects and disconnects the hose. You’ll appreciate this device when setting up and breaking down on rainy days.
Inline Water Filter
The water at RV parks and campgrounds often contains an overabundance of minerals and other impurities. Using an inline water filter will help remove impurities that can affect taste. Many of these substances also stain surfaces and can even obstruct the piping and fixtures in your RV over time.
Adjustable Water Pressure Regulator
The water pressure at RV parks and campgrounds can be unreliable. If the pressure is too high, it can damage the interior plumbing of your rig. An adjustable regulator ensures that the incoming pressure meets your RV manufacturer’s specifications.
Category: Sewer (3 Items)
You’re going to need a sewer hose to allow waste and dirty water to flow out of your RV. This is not an area to be cheap. Purchase a quality hose and replace it at any sign of wear or aging to avoid messy accidents.
Clear Sewer Hose Connector
Some sewer hoses come with a clear elbow at the end, but many do not. It may sound offensive to view the sewage running out of the RV, but doing so can avoid a potential accident if the hose becomes clogged. Seeing the water turn clear and stop flowing after properly flushing out the hose also confirms that the hose is ready for removal.
Bacteria and other microbes are all over sewer hoses. Avoid germs that can make you sick by wearing gloves whenever handling hoses and connectors. Even after using gloves, remember to wash your hands thoroughly.
Category: Electrical (4 Items)
RV parks and campgrounds in rural areas may not be on reliable power grids. RV batteries and power inverters are very expensive to replace. Lessen the chance of dirty power damaging your electronics by using a surge protector.
Shore Power Cable
One would think that every RV would ship with a power cord to connect the unit to shore power, but that’s not always true. You’ll need a shore power cable to hook up to campground electric. Doing so will allow you to charge your batteries and operate your RV without your generator.
Shore Power Adapters
No matter what amperage your RV typically requires, you will need a power adapter. Some RV sites will only have a single receptacle available. Be sure you have adapters that provide the ability to connect to 50 amp, 30 amp, and even 15 amp power outlets.
Many new rigs use circuit breakers for the electrical system, but others use fuses. A blown fuse can result in anything from an inoperable light to disabling essential systems in your rig. Fuses are small and relatively inexpensive items to have on hand.
Category: Bath (3 Items)
RV Toilet Paper
You shouldn’t use traditional, everyday toilet paper in your RV. Toilet paper designed for use in homes can cause clogging of both your RV’s system and the campground’s septic system. Purchase toilet paper labeled as RV toilet paper and as quick-dissolving.
Holding Tank Treatment
RV engineers try to do their best to ensure proper venting and proper sealing of gases from your RV holding tanks. Sometimes those systems do not work as well as one would hope. A biodegradable holding tank treatment will help keep unappealing odors from creeping into your living space.
You will probably be disappointed the first time you step into your RV shower. Replace that factory shower head with a premium model designed for RVs. Doing so will provide the comforts of home but will still conserve water.
Category: Kitchen (4 Items)
When your kitchen and cabinetry are rolling down the road, some shifting will take place. Purchase the extendable bars designed for cabinets and refrigerator shelves. Your groceries, glassware, and pantry items will now be right where you left them.
RV Refrigerator Fan
The design of most RV refrigerators is different than the refrigerator in your home. This design makes them mobile and able to be powered on propane instead of electricity, but it also makes them more susceptible to frost and cooling issues. Adding an RV refrigerator fan can improve operation.
Space is a premium in your RV, and bowls of different sizes can take up a lot of room. Purchase collapsible bowls that fold flat when not in use. This makes them stackable regardless of their size.
Again, we’ll repeat that space is going to be a concern in your RV. An iron skillet is a valuable addition to your cookware. It can be used to cook and bake a wide range of dishes, and it can even be used on an open campfire.
Category: Camping Accessories (4 Items)
When far from city lights, nights can be especially dark. Some RVs have exterior lights, but they will rarely point in the direction you need them to. Procure a headlamp, lantern, or LED exterior light to ensure that you’re never left in the dark.
Portable Propane Grill
Part of the appeal of RVing is being outdoors. But cooking over a campfire nightly can be a challenge. A portable propane grill will enable you to prepare meals outside efficiently.
Most campground sites will have picnic tables, but they’re quite uncomfortable. A set of folding camping chairs take up minimal space but provide comfort and flexibility to sit around a roaring fire. Some camping chairs offer impressive features, such as cupholders, coolers, and built-in tables.
You will find that a folding table will prove itself useful on the campsite. A picnic table, if provided, can quickly become cluttered throughout the day with various items. A folding table allows you to prepare a meal or play a game without encroaching on your dining space.
Category: Technology (6 Items)
The GPS out of your car can help you map directions to your destinations, but those directions are not tailored to an RV. An RV GPS can help you avoid low clearances and sharp turns. You can often input the specifications of your rig and receive appropriate routes.
If you’re new to RVing, it’s going to take a while to get used to backing your rig into a spot. A walkie-talkie can help your spotter communicate directions while you maneuver the RV. They are also great for hiking in areas with no cell phone coverage.
It’s often nice to open the RV windows and enjoy the fresh air, but sometimes it seems like it’s just a couple of degrees too warm. A fan will help keep you cool and keep the air circulating in your RV. A 12-volt fan can provide relief when you don’t have access to shore power and don’t want to run a generator.
Wi-Fi and Cell Phone Boosters
Face it, even when in the great outdoors you don’t want to unplug. A Wi-Fi booster will help your devices communicate with an RV park’s network and keep you connected. A cell phone booster will ensure that you can make calls, receive texts, and access the Internet when the provider’s signal would normally fail you.
Tethered Cell Phone and Compatible Carrier Plan
Not every campground or RV park has Wi-Fi. The download speed can also be very slow when they do, and the network can be unreliable. Tethering to a cell phone can provide you with the connectivity you need at much better speeds.
You may not think you’ll ever want to watch TV in your rig. But if you’re in a park that’s offering a full cable package and your favorite team is playing, you may change your mind. RV parks don’t always have a spare cable for you to use, so you’ll need to bring your own.
Category: Tools (4 Items)
Every experienced RVer knows that even when your RV is new, things are going to break. It’s a house that rolls down the highway. Having a simple toolkit allows you to make minor repairs on your own at immediately or at your convenience.
Tire Pressure Gauge
Even with a tire pressure monitoring system, there’s nothing like a trusty tire pressure gauge to be certain your tires are properly inflated. Changes in temperature and elevation can drastically affect tire pressure. Monitoring tire pressure regularly can alert you to a slow leak and allow you to address it before it becomes a safety hazard.
Tire Inflator/Air Compressor
If you notice a tire is low, you’ll need a way to refill it. An accessible air compressor at a fuel station may not be readily available. Operating an RV with low air pressure in the tires is very dangerous.
Jump Starter/Battery Pack
A low battery on your tow vehicle or RV can ruin the time you wish to spend exploring. Getting a jump from a neighbor at an RV park or receiving roadside assistance can be especially challenging when traveling in an RV. You may not even have a cell phone signal, and it may be impossible to call for help.
Having these items with you will make your RV camping trips successful. You’ll enjoy the exploration and experiences that RV travel has to offer. So stock up, and plan your next trip!