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. 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.
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.
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!
8. 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.
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.
10. 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.
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.
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12. 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.
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!
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?! 😉
17. Outch Ointment
Okay, this one might seem random, but it definitely deserves a mention. This stuff is seriously life-changing! I’ve been dealing with chronic back pain for YEARS.
It started when I was 16 and my back randomly decided to go out. Fast-forward 8 years to when I was in medical sales and injured my already problematic back, making things much worse.
I absolutely love RVing and hiking, but my pain can be high and extremely limiting at times, especially when we have a long driving day. Aside from limiting the things I can do, I hate holding my hubby back from all the activities he wants to do. That’s not a good feeling.
I recently started seeing a chiropractor again and also got a few therapeutic deep tissue massages for my back pain. After my first massage, I was hurting (in a “hurts so good” kind of way, but painful nonetheless). The masseuse knew I was going to be feeling the effects of the massage, so she rubbed a magic ointment on me.
Within minutes, the pain was gone! I’ve never experienced that kind of relief before. What was the magic ointment you ask? Outch Ointment, a combination of CBD and ancient Chinese herbs. I knew I had to get myself some.
My husband was skeptical, but I bought some anyway. He had been having shoulder pain and tried it reluctantly. But with almost immediate pain relief, now he’s a believer too!
It’s great to take along on long drives and easy to apply. We use the regular strength roll-on and always have it handy for aches and pains to help us live the lifestyle we enjoy.
18. Dry Shampoo
This is another one that might seem like it doesn’t belong on a list of RV must-haves. But trust me, it does! Dry shampoo is my BFF for everyday life and even more so when I’m RVing.
I hate washing my hair in a tiny RV shower with only 6 gallons of hot water. Dry shampoo keeps my hair looking fresh so I don’t have to wash it as often. No matter which dry shampoo I try though, I always come back to this Batiste dry shampoo.
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.