Buying your first RV and wondering which RV must-haves you need to get started RVing? I’m going to help you out and share the items I make sure to have when I’m RVing.
When we bought our first RV back in 2014, we assumed it would come with everything we needed. But nope. There’s a lot involved with RVs, and we didn’t realize all the extra stuff we’d have to buy for RVing.
The RV dealership sold us a bunch of RV accessories. And being first-time RVers, we had no idea what items were RV must-haves versus what was unnecessary.
Figuring we’d better be on the safe side and get it all, we ended up dropping quite a bit of cash (and being stuck with items we never even used).
Now that I have over a year of full-time RVing under my belt, I’ve come up with a list of RV must-haves we can’t live without. Hopefully, this list helps you figure out what you need (and don’t need) for your RV.
Also, be sure to download my free RV Trip Packing Checklist to make sure you don’t forget to bring anything important with you for RV living or your RV trip!
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RV Must-Haves to Help Make RV Life Easier
1. Power Cord
You’ll need a power cord to connect your RV to electricity at campgrounds. Make sure the cord is long enough to stretch from the power connection on your RV to the campground’s shore power.
It’s also a good idea to have a threaded locking ring like this power cord to create a secure, weatherproof connection.
2. Power Adapter Cord
It’s always good to be prepared when RVing! That’s why I recommend having a power adapter cord. It will come in handy if the electric hook-up at your RV site only supports a different amperage than what your RV has.
For example, our travel trailer uses 30amp power, but we were at a site that only provided 50 amp power. So we used a 30amp to 50amp adapter cord to convert the power appropriately. There’s also a 50amp to 30amp adapter cord option if that’s what you need.
3. Power Tongue Jack
If you have a Travel Trailer that came with a manual tongue jack you have to crank by hand, it’s time for an upgrade! This power tongue jack makes it so much easier to raise and lower your tongue jack with power versus physical labor. Plus, it’s actually super easy to install!
4. Power Tongue Jack Cover
When you have a power tongue jack for your Travel Trailer, it’s a good idea to cover it to keep it protected from the elements and prevent fading. This handy power tongue jack cover does just that plus much more!
It also has a pouch to protect the electric plug that connects to your tow vehicle as well as hooks to hold the safety chains up off the ground. You can even lock the cover to prevent theft! I love how functional this cover is!
5. Sewer Hose
You’ll need a sewer hose to dump your RV’s wastewater by connecting the black and gray water tanks to the dumpsite (whether at your campsite or at a separate dump station).
Make sure the hose is long enough to stretch from the sewer connections on your RV to the dumpsite. You may need additional hose sections to extend the overall length of the hose.
And you definitely want a durable sewer hose, one that’s flexible with locking fittings for a secure connection so you don’t get leaks.
6. Sewer Hose Support
This accordion-style device will support your sewer hose and hold it in place while creating a slope for proper drainage. This helps the waste to flow down from the RV connection into the sewer connection so it doesn’t back up.
A sewer hose support can be really helpful, especially if the sewer connection is above-ground. It also protects your sewer hose from getting dirty on the ground.
7. Freshwater Hose
If you want to have running water in your RV, you’ll need a freshwater hose to connect your RV to the campground’s water supply. And you’ll want to make sure it’s an RV-specific drinking water hose like this freshwater hose.
8. Heated Freshwater Hose
If you’re going to be RVing in the winter during cold weather, a heated freshwater hose is a must! It will help prevent your water line from freezing, so you can still have running water even in below freezing temps.
9. Water Pressure Regulator
A water pressure regulator is a valve used when a campround’s water connection has high water pressure. It reduces the water pressure to a safe level for your RV’s plumbing.
Many campgrounds actually require you to use a water pressure regulator and most sell them in their camp stores. But rather than paying a premium or risk not having one, you’re better off buying one in advance.
We actually like to have at least one extra water pressure regulator with us for back-up because we’ve forgotten them at the campsite before when unhooking our water hose. Oops!
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10. Water Hose Elbow
This small and inexpensive little tool helps take the pressure off the connection from the water hose to your RV, which in turn helps keep the hose from leaking. We’ve found that our water hose elbow has made quite a difference.
11. Leveling Blocks
Most campsites are not level, so you’ll want to use plastic leveling blocks like these. They stack on top of each other and are used under the stabilizers to help level out your RV as needed.
12. Wheel Chocks
Wheel chocks are heavy-duty plastic wedges that you slide under your RV’s tires to prevent your RV from rolling away. They may seem unnecessary, but trust me, wheel chocks are very important!
Most campsites are not level. One time we were parked on a slope and forgot to use our wheel chocks before unhooking our Travel Trailer from our truck. Next thing we knew, our TT started rolling down the hill towards a lake!
Luckily, our RV didn’t make it all the way to the water, but it scared us enough to always use wheel chocks before unhooking the truck now! We like these wheel chocks that come with a rope to make it easier to pull them out from under the RV’s wheels.
13. Portable Tire Pressure Inflator
We saw a fellow RVer using this portable tire inflator and wondered how we’ve gotten by without one. This is such a handy tool to have!
You can check your RV tires as well as your tow vehicle tires and pump them up with air if needed. Plus, the digital gauge makes it super easy to keep track of how much air is in each tire.
This portable tire pressure inflator typically comes by itself, and you have to purchase the battery and charger separately. But this portable tire pressure inflator kit comes with it all and includes everything you need!
It even comes with a carrying case to keep all the parts together making it super convenient to bring on the road! So glad I found this handy tool! Love it!
15. Road Atlas
Have a back-up road atlas just in case there are any issues with the GPS. It could also help you find interesting places to check out on your route or off the beaten path.
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17. Roadside Emergency Car Kit
In case you run into any car trouble on the road, be sure to have a roadside emergency car kit with jumper cables and other helpful items to get you back on the road.
18. First Aid Kit
A first aid kit is one of the most important road trip essentials to have. You never know when someone could get injured, and you want to be able to address their wounds if possible. We’ve used bandages from our first aid kit numerous times and are always glad we have it.
19. Plastic Storage Bins
One of the lessons I learned the hard way with RVing is to stow EVERYTHING that isn’t bolted or strapped down while in transit! Remove things from counters and contain anything in cabinets (just because something is in a cabinet does not mean it’s secure).
Our pantry door popped open while we were on the move, and the olive oil and salt fell out, opened up, and went EVERYWHERE! We made the mistake of thinking because they were in a cabinet, they wouldn’t go anywhere… WRONG!
Now we have everything in cabinets kept in plastic bins like these. Plastic bins and containers should be your BFF when it comes to RVing. Use them for everything you can fit into them to keep things contained, especially when you’re on the move with your RV.
20. Mattress Topper
If you want a comfortable night’s sleep in your RV, a foam mattress topper is a must! The mattresses that come with RVs are usually very basic (i.e. thin and hard). They remind me of the mattresses in pull-out couches.
So if you don’t want to feel springs poking you every time you move in your RV bed, get a foam mattress topper. It’ll seriously be one of the best things you purchase for your RV! You can get this mattress topper in different sizes including a Short RV Queen which is the mattress size most RVs have. Make sure you get the right size for your RV bed.
22. Keurig Coffee Maker
I’ve gotta have coffee in the morning, and I’m a sucker for Keurigs because I’m all about convenience. They’re just so easy, and this mini Keurig is the perfect size for small RV kitchens without much counter space. Its compact size makes it easy to store as well, and I love how lightweight it is. I also love its built-in cord storage.
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22. Instant Pot
Do you have an Instant Pot? If not, what are you waiting for?! Now that I have an Instant Pot, I can’t live without it! I love cooking everything in just one pot for easy cleanup.
The same goes for a slow cooker, but with an Instant Pot, you don’t have to plan so far in advance and can have dinner ready to go much sooner. I use this 6-quart Instant Pot but I’m thinking of getting a mini 3-quart Instant Pot specifically just for my RV.
23. Electric Saute Pan
If your RV is hooked up to power, an electric saute pan really comes in handy for cooking. By using electricity instead of propane, you don’t have to worry as much about running out of your propane and having to get your LP tanks refilled.
Propane costs can add up! So if you can use electricity instead of propane, go for it. And this electric saute pan actually folds for easy storage! Score!
24. Dish Drainer
This RV-specific dish drainer fits in small RV sinks. It also doubles as storage to hold items while you’re on the move heading to your next destination. We keep our hand soap, dish soap, and dish brush in it on our moving days.
25. Adjustable Shower Head
The standard plastic RV shower heads are extremely basic and tacky with terrible water pressure. Upgrading your RV shower head is a simple way to improve your RVing experience.
This is a popular RV shower head with RVers. It features several different spray settings and claims to use less water while improving the water pressure. Win-win! Plus, I couldn’t believe how easy it was to install!
26. Poncho or Rain Coat
You never know when the weather will take a turn for the worse, and you’ll be stuck having to hook up in the rain. A poncho or rain coat will be a lifesaver if you’re outside when it’s raining and need a waterproof cover.
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27. Fire Torch
We had the hardest time lighting a campfire before we found this game-changing fire starter. You can read all about our initial disastrous attempt at a fire here. Pair this fire torch with one of the fire-starters below, and you’ll have a blazing fire in no time! You’re welcome… haha!
Sometimes you don’t have access to kindling or the firewood is damp, making it nearly impossible to start a campfire. Using these fire-starters with the fire torch above will make it so much easier to not only start a fire but also keep it going. I mean, isn’t a campfire the whole point of camping?! 😉
29. Seat Cushion
Long drives can take a toll on your body. If you get lower back pain, a seat cushion will help immensely on driving days heading to your next destination.
30. Back Cushion
Lumbar support with a back cushion is also helpful for extended drives, especially if you suffer from back pain.
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Wrapping Up RV Must-Haves
Well, that about does it for my RV must-haves. There are plenty of other RV accessories and products out there. Some you may use, some you may not. Just keep in mind that less is more when it comes to RVing.
With limited storage, the fewer items you need for RV life, the better. Start with the basics above, and add other items as you go. You’ll figure out what you need and what you can live without.
Is there anything I’m missing for RV must-haves? If so, please let me know in a comment below! Also, be sure to grab my free RV Trip Packing Checklist to help you keep track of what you need to bring RVing with you.
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Very helpful list for RVing essentials.
Happy to help, Justin! 🙂
This is such a helpful and detailed list of RV must-haves. I hope to get an RV someday in the near future – this is great! Thank you for sharing!
You should definitely get an RV! Hope this list comes in handy when you do. 😊